Horizontal Lives

True Tales of the Infamous Courtesan: Persephone N. Hades and her Horizontal Life underground. How she got there, her mis-adventures and her struggle to re-surface.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Honoring a Hero on Memorial Day

Memorial Day—A Time to Honor Remembrance

September 11th, 2001.
Manhattan is hit by a terrorist initiated human bomb amputating and nearly disseminating It’s lower extremities.

Days later, photocopied faces of our beloved missing appear on building walls, on chain-link fences, on mailboxes that flank the veiny Streets and speedy arteried-Avenues.

One life plastered economically close to the next and the next endlessly down one side of the flow of traffic and continuously up the other side bookending the stream of motion.

In the crisp September night, Candles in small round glasses; Candles in tin cans; Candles long and tall all burning the loud prayer, "Please!"

Pretty flowers, any kind, every kind, still wrapped in cellophane or placed in small patterned cones lay under the photos of the beloved.

Markered information, in all handwritings of grief, state the Basics—names, who, what, where, when last seen, phone numbers to call, sometimes personality traits of the missing.

My heart, your heart, what it must look like inside our hearts: Arteries rushing through and veins calmly feeding it but as we grow faces, names, histories of love and deeds;
They line the walls.
Some we will never see again but with candles beneath them—Spirits that can never seem to let go unlit.

Years pass. We go on. What choice is there?

February 2005.
A new Client comes to visit. He is markedly nervous. His hands shake.
Eventually the story unfolds.
He has never seen a Courtesan.
I am his first.
He has studied my Website for a year before calling.
He is married.
He loves his wife. Deeply.
Together, they have a close-knit family of two daughters.
He had a son.
A son that was his best friend and the light of his Soul, the reason his heart beats.
His son died in the Towers on September 11th.
A Hero.
His son escaped but chose to return inside the building and single-handedly pulled many Souls to safety.
On his last journey into the Towers, the building collapsed.
It was only recently his body was recovered.
Since that time, he cries everyday.
He and his wife have been unable to regain romance or intimacy in their relationship.

I don’t want to weep when he tells me the story.
I don’t want to steal the tears from him.
But I am unable to restrain the hot wetness escaping the corners of my eyes, streaming down my cheeks, the salty trails dripping between my pursed lips.
My heart cramps.
I can only embrace him and hope to absorb some of the ache.
In that moment, I love him.
I love him in the way only one human spirit can love another,
I love him in empathy.
I love him in admiration that he was even able to survive such a crippling tragedy.
Is there anything worse than to lose a child?
I love him because in his eyes, there is contained the naked truth of the journey we are all traveling:
We are all so vulnerable. Try so hard. Are faced with such enormous challenges.
We cry out for tenderness. For kindred Spirits. For love and comfort and the chance to come alive again.

In his eyes, through his fingertips, the connected way we make love, I know deeply and clearly he feels me.
He knows I feel him.
I allow his tragedy to penetrate.

And then we learn to laugh.
We find ways to create joy again in a heart that is tattered and broken. His and mine.
And this elation I sense he delights in with me, is a rope,
A rope to God again.

We see one another again, and again.
And again.

In between our meetings, he is so utterly kind to me.
Every week, in between visits, I receive a package of something lovely and precious from Tiffany’s.
But not only a gift of sublime subtle jewelry, but companion to it, a card speaking of the love and new life that I, without doing anything but caring, bring to his Spirit.

I save the cards. I wear the jewelry daily.

I am grateful for the gifts.
And I am grateful for the words that accompany the gifts.
But I am more grateful for him.
Grateful that he trusted me.
Grateful that he held his heart in his palm and trusted I had the sensitivity to nurture it.

Grateful that he saw in me the Spirit I hoped I had become after these many years of struggle.

When I am with him at times, those days following September 11, 2001, when I walked the streets are born again within me.
They are shrunken down to miniature; small enough to be contained within the boundaries of my heart, placed in the now smaller dimensions of my chest.

When I am with him, in his arms, I feel the pace of the cabs racing the Avenues as the fast anxious beat of my blood pulses against my ribs.
The New York City of 2001, living inside my body.
The grief and fear and pleading desperation of all those photos.
The burning heat of the lit candles.
The hope and love in the honoring flowers.

During our last meeting, he tells me he wants to take me shopping.
I have bought nothing in the way of extras, (bags, shoes, clothing) for myself in many many years.
I suggest Louis Vuitton as it is the one designer that fits me perfectly off the rack.

(I am plagued with one of those petite but curvy bodies not in fashion on the runways.)

We decide to meet at the store, shop, go for lunch and then back to my place.
He asks what he will owe me for the day.
I tell him just my usual two-hour rate is fine since we will be shopping.

Before I get there, I tell myself he intends to buy me a skirt and perhaps a blouse.
I also tell myself that while we are there, I might as well shop for myself as well.
All my clothes are old and patched and truly, it’s time to restock.

The day is glorious and so much fun.
Like a scene out of "Pretty Woman".
The fay, wonderfully enthusiastic salesman sits my beau in a comfy seat in a mirrored room next to my dressing room with a bottle of Evian and a book.

Flouncing throughout the store, I pull item after item off the rack.
My Beau suggests that one of the items, a sweater, looks too much like "Westchester House Wife."
I beg to differ, informing him, "I promise you. On me, it will look like Marilyn."
He has to see it to believe it.
In high-heeled, but sturdy and sexy ‘fuck-me’ pumps, I parade out of the dressing room in outfit after outfit, all of which make me look like a Fifties Cheesecake Starlet.
"I like that one!" he whistles.
"Oh really?"
"Umm hmm."
"This is the Westchester House Wife Sweater."

We cannot decide.
In the end, we must take them all.

I know he doesn’t understand the prices of the clothes at Louis.
When we get to the counter to pay, I hand my credit card to the Salesman and insist he put most of the items on my card.
My Beau, being a Gentleman of the highest degree, staunchly refuses this gesture.
I rebut by telling the Salesman,
"If you don’t charge my card, I will never come back here again."
The Salesman responds to my Beau by saying,
"Lord! I have to do what she says."
(He seems to know on which side his bread is buttered.)

With my card safely tucked in the Salesman’s hand, I totter off to the Ladies room.
However, when I return,
I realize my Beau has paid for all the items in full.

I am astonished.
I am speechless.
But I am also feeling a terribly guilty.
It was not my intention.
I do not—I DO NOT—want this lovely man to feel I took advantage of his generous offer to go shopping.
Especially not this man.
This man with the wounded heart.

We go to lunch.
At lunch, I apologize again for the mis-understanding.
I never would have tried on and chosen so many items had I known he would feel an obligation to pay for all of them.
And again, he astonishes me.

"Perhaps," he says, "in the World of the Spirit, the World my Son lives in, Love and Sex are seen differently. Perhaps, my dear son could see the ache and the emptiness and the struggle within me. And perhaps he led me to the one person who could salve that wound. I could have gone to so many others but I didn’t. I was led to you. And you were just what I needed. When I am around you, I am happy again. And that is the greatest gift I have had in so many years. I feel alive again when I am with you. Perhaps, just maybe, my son, in compassion and love, led me to you."

I have no words.
Obviously, there is no way to know if this is True. If this is Wishful Thinking.
But it is too beautiful and so gorgeously Human and so sweetly Religious that again, I can only hold him close and feel his heart talk to mine.

Men come and go in my life.
Some, who do not have the courage to understand their feelings simply dispose of me.
Some have the warmth to say ‘goodbye’.
I have no idea when I will see this man again.
Or hold him.
Or comfort him.
Or laugh with him.
But we touched eachother’s lives in so many ways.
I will not only never forget him,
But I will always grateful to him for allowing me to be what I always hoped I could be,
Especially within my (sadly disdained) Business.


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