Monday, October 25, 2010

I Like the Pie

I like the pie. And that’s why I couldn’t give it to the old lady.

Marjorie is 85 and lives down the street from me. She makes me things and gives me things. I move large things for her and remove opossums from her garage. (Young opossums are strange-looking but pretty and white and fuzzy and curl up like cats when they sleep.)

Marjorie wears something on her neck. If she slips and falls, an alert center is notified, then I’m called. I wonder what that will be like.

Marjorie needed my help at her church’s flea market. She sells baked goods at one of the tables and it's a little hectic for her. She’s 85 and moves slowly and I move quickly since I'm not 85. So Saturday morning, I went with her and sold sweet things to other old people.

I also bought a sweet thing: a coconut cream pie.

The coconut cream pie was freshly made by a another old lady who is known to be one of the best bakers among the old ladies. They resent and admire her at the same time. She seemed to stand out among the crowd, full of self-confidence and, dare I say, a hint of smugness. It was interesting to me that even in their eighties, people could be highschool petty.

There was only one coconut cream pie that queen baker lady made and I bought it. For ten bucks.

Marjorie and I talked about coconut cream pie throughout the morning.

It went like this:

Beth: I really like coconut cream pie. It’s my favorite.

Marjorie: It’s one of my favorites too.

Beth: I really like coconut cream pie. I’m glad I bought it.

Marjorie: I really like coconut cream pie too.

Throughout the morning, a strange young man kept staring at me. He worked at one of the tables too. His stare was creepy but for some reason, I didn’t mind. I rather liked the attention. It made me wonder if I’m desperate enough to invite stalker types in my life as romantic interests because normally people staring at me gets me very agitated. Unless I desire them. Then I don't mind. But most of the time, I want to say, "What the fuck are you looking at?"

Anyway, the pie. I brought it home. I ate a quarter of it in a matter of minutes. It was transcendent. Queen baker lady deserved to look smug, I realized.

I’m a giving person. It’s my nature. You know the types who don’t have a pot to piss in but still give a visitor their last crust of their moldy bread? When people come over, I like nothing more than to serve them, give to them. It creates in me a strange sexual gratification that I’ve never quite figured out - to slave for someone, to give them a brown sugar experience (which I will shortly discuss).

Marjorie wanted some of my pie. I knew that. I knew it would be right and good to give her a slice when I got home. After all, the woman has made me cookies and cakes and all sorts of goodies in the past. Once she gave me a jello mold with salad ingredients in it, like celery. I found that strange.

Later that evening, after eating a half of the pie in lieu of dinner, I contemplated giving her the remaining quarter. I insisted on it. Perhaps real generosity is giving when you don’t want to. I’ve often thought that to be true.

I put the remaining slice of pie on a plate and wrapped it nicely. Marjorie would enjoy some pie too, whether I wanted to give it to her or not. I felt that old, familiar sensation of goodness. “I'm good,” I thought. “I'm doing the right thing. Again.”

When I was a child, one of the girls on my block named Kimmy told me to close my eyes and open my mouth. She then put a lump of brown sugar on my tongue. It felt amazing and sensual and overwhelming. I never looked at that girl the same way after that.

I want to be like Kimmy and give brown sugar experiences to others. I give. I give myself to people. Sometimes I almost give myself away.

Women give a lot. It can be extremely selfish, how much we give. We want to be indispensable, so we give as a form of investment, so people need us, like a junkie needs a fix. And then the resentment kicks in, when you want brown sugar in return and there's no Kimmy, just needy, gaping mouths. 

I’m eating Marjorie’s slice of pie now. I’m eating it and typing in between bites. Marjorie is a good woman and I know she’ll wonder why I wasn’t polite enough to offer her some.

She’ll have to go on wondering.

Marjorie deserved a slice of pie and I ate it anyway. Just to feel the decadent sensation of selfishness. To take my slice of the pie and their slice of the pie. To be ungood and like it. To give myself that brown sugar experience. I will get no gold star this time. But what does one do with gold stars? You can't eat gold stars and you can eat pie.

My mouth is always open, waiting, for more.

I don't need any more of these, thank you.