Skinny White Woman

By Stasia Minkowsky
Chapter 2

had moved to Arizona… because of the constant dreams I kept having that placed me on the reservation. But I had been in the Phoenix area for four months and still hadn’t met any Native Americans. I figured that for a city surrounded by reservations, there had to be some intermingling. Instead, I found the area extremely segregated with an ‘our side’ ‘their side’ mentality. When I questioned the locals as to why it was so segregated, no one seemed to know.
“All I know is that you don’t want to get caught driving around on the ‘Rez, especially as a white woman,” one bartender had told me. “It’s too dangerous. All kinds of things go on there and there’s a different set of laws. I heard of a white woman who was murdered and no one was prosecuted because there’s an underlying attitude that she shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
If I bided my time, I would have my car paid off in three months and few bills. That would give me the freedom I needed to move and find out what this lightworker business was all about. Having made this plan, life as a cocktail waitress in Scottsdale became more tolerable and made dating Ryan simple. I got drunk and high as much as I wanted and even invited Ryan to meet my parents after they had flown in from Maine to celebrate my twenty-fifth birthday. They were pissed about my plans to live in my car. I knew I shouldn’t have told them, but it was too late.
What is wrong with you?” my father wanted to know. He was still fuming from my decision to quit working for Tom Hanks.
“I don’t want to live in a big city. That’s why I left L.A. Sedona is beautiful. I can work just as easily up there as I can here.”
My dad stopped talking. He often did that when he couldn’t get through my stubborn head. I didn’t really want to get into the whole lightworker thing. My parents didn’t need another reason to question my sanity. It was like I was having a midlife crisis at age twenty-five. I didn’t want to do what the rest of the world was doing, like working responsible jobs and planning for the future. I had spent the last ten years of my life doing what I thought I was supposed to do. I had started working when I turned fifteen and responsibly purchased my first car. I was an honors student. I was captain of both the field hockey and swim teams. I joined extracurricular activities that would look good on college applications and was pleasant to teachers who had no problem writing letters of recommendation. I was accepted to Emerson College in Boston and moved into the dorm to have the ‘full college experience.’ I worked three jobs in order to study abroad and be ‘well rounded.’ I joined a national sorority that would look ‘good on my resume’ and became vice president my senior year. I moved to Los Angeles to participate in the college internship program and became an intern on the filming of The Big Lebowski. By the time I graduated cum laude, I had already received my first movie credit. Within months, I was hired as an assistant to the producer on Mel Gibson’s Payback and received my second movie credit. And by the time I had given my notice at Tom Hank’s production company where I was an assistant to the creative executive, I was on the verge of my first nervous breakdown.
But neither Ryan nor my friends at work knew about any of this. I didn’t want to talk about it because I was always asked the same questions.

“Oh my God! Did you meet Tom Hanks?”
“Yes, he was my boss.”
“What was Mel Gibson like?”
“He needed to be the center of attention.”
“Did you meet Jeff Bridges? What about John Goodman? What was he like?”
“Depressed.”
“Why did you leave?”
And that’s exactly what I didn’t want to get into. How I could have had this life and been so stinking depressed that I couldn’t see straight. I was enjoying living incognito, playing video games, riding Harleys, getting stoned and drinking every night. After all, didn’t I have to get it all out of my system before I went on my walk-about and became a lightworker?
My parents and I drove to Ryan’s house to pick him up. He had insisted upon taking my parents and me out to dinner for my birthday, but since he only had a truck, we decided to take my car. The restaurant where Ryan took us was owned by a good friend of his who treated us like royalty. We sat by an indoor fire place at a private table with crisp white linen, pre-set water served in wine glasses and a shitload of forks to choose from. We were immediately served an elegant arrangement of hors d’oeuvres that included shrimp, beef tenderloin and scallops adorned with fancy grass.
“Have you been working in the restaurant business long?” my dad asked Ryan in his deep formal voice as he eyed the tenderloin.
“Yes. It’s great money but it’s a dead end job. I’ve actually just started my own business tinting windows.”
“Is there good money in that?”
“Have you ever been to Phoenix in the summer?”
My dad fell in love with both Ryan and the tenderloin in that moment. My mom gave me the ‘this is good, he can support a family’ eye. I downed the rest of my pinot noir and requested another glass. My father and Ryan continued talking about the challenges of owning a new business and I motioned to my mother for a bathroom break. I need to confer with her before I slammed my second glass of wine.
“So, what do you think?” I asked her.
“Sometimes, I think what you’re looking for is right under your nose.”
It was the first time my mother had ever taken a boyfriend’s side over my own.
“I still want to move to Sedona.”
“I think you’re making a mistake.”
I shrugged my shoulders and studied my long auburn hair. I had twisted pieces in the front and attached butterfly clips to each row. Ryan had bought me the clips for my birthday and I had decided to wear all of them. The clips accented my long, broomstick skirt, pleated with tropical fish and sequins. I looked like I belonged on Haight-Ashbury and after my mother’s comment, all I wanted to do was smoke a joint. I hated how her insight could do that and I decided to ease up on the wine drinking contest I was having with myself. I wanted to make sure that I remembered everything about this evening so that when I moved to Sedona, I had a list of bullet points to argue why Ryan and I would not have made a very good couple anyway.

 

 

 

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