It was three days after the wedding when Piggy came home and actually acknowledged that she was drowning. She threw off her slippery stilettos and parked herself in a dark kitchen. The moon outside lit the plastic tulips she had planted in her back yard several weeks ago. Rays of eery light made the pallid petals sparkle. She had decided in early spring to take up gardening. Her therapist/boyfriend had suggested it one day when Piggy fell asleep during one of their “sessions”. He thought it might ground her, or some crap like that. Piggy knew absolutely nothing about living things, and so after three hours of meandering through the isles of Mcverner’s Plant and Garden shop, she decided on a lovely bunch of white plastic tulips. She also purchased a spade, and a watering can; both of which were, of course, completely useless, as the stiff plastic stems could easily be shoved into soft dirt, and the perfectly nonexistent roots would never need watering. Nonetheless, Piggy felt that if she were going to have a hobby, she should have all the materials necessary for maintaining the appearance of actual activity.
The hobby, however, had not lifted Piggy’s spirits. The sinking began after Mitzy’s wedding. The frosting white and taffeta pink had made Piggy physically ill, and she had found herself scrunching past the knees of well-meaning in-laws during the ring ceremony, in order to make it to the bathroom before her breakfast made it’s second appearance that day. It had crossed Piggy’s mind that she might be pregnant, but everything considered, it was of very little importance, one way or the other. Now, she was sitting in the dark, wondering if the strange smell emanating from the kitchen had always been there. It had definitely had a presence earlier that morning, but she couldn’t quite recall if it had been there before that.
Piggy had been sitting in silence for almost an hour before her trance was broken by a fierce knocking. She turned her head towards the hallway gracefully keeping every other muscle in her body perfectly still. She stared at the the thick oak door for several seconds before finally lowering her feet to the floor and heaving her scant 105 pounds as if it were 200 out of the chair, towards the unlit entranceway.
Before opening the door she plastered a smile on her sunken cheeks, and took a deep breath.
“Angela, hello!” Piggy’s enthusiasm was clearly less than genuine. Angela, however, neglected to notice the chillingly cheerful tone. She proceeded to brush the water off of her bright pink and orange raincoat then pushed past Piggy into the dark hallway. Piggy looked past her and noticed that it had started to really rain now.
Sometime during her daydreaming the streets and become slick, and the air wet.
“This is…I mean really Piggy…this is simply ridiculous”. Angela removed her fruit-flavored parka and handed it to Piggy, who had closed the door, but still stood motionless beside it. She sighed and took the coat. Angela rambled on.
“And it’s raining and everything, and you know how I hate the rain, and it really is simply because I care so much about you. Martin’s waiting for me out in the van, but I really just wanted to see how you were. And …well, you know, after that incident at the wedding. My God wasn’t that whole thing just over the top anyway. I mean, I really can’t blame you for getting sick. Really, I almost did. All that pink. Who picks pink for their bridesmaids dresses any more anyway? Ugh. But, you are okay, I mean really? You are okay?” Angela finally took a breath and stopped bustling around the front entrance. In the few moments she had been speaking, Angela had turned on several lights, straightened up the carelessly discarded heels, and proceeded to lead Piggy into the kitchen. Now she stood facing her, one hand on her cocked hip, eyebrows raised.
Piggy sighed. “Fine Ang. Really sweetie, I’m fine.” She flopped down in the same chair where she had just spent the last hour.
“Your not, well you know…” Angela lowered her voice as if they were still seventeen and one of their parents might hear her say the dreaded word, “pregnant?”.
Piggy didn’t move. She simply stared ahead and let out another sigh, this one much less heavy. “Nah. Not likely,” she lied. A moment later, however, she began to smile ever so slightly and she turned to face Angela. “Can you imagine though”, Piggy huffed, “I mean, me as a mother. Can you just imagine?”
” Oh God” Angela beamed at the sudden engagement. “At least not with that shrink one. C’mon, Piggy you know how unethical it is, what you two are doin’. Really, far be it from me to give anyone else relationship advice. But Baby doll, really, that’s gotta mess with your head. I know you said….”
Piggy cut her off then and stood up. ” Are you hungry Ang?”
“Sure, I guess…you know you don’t…”
Piggy waved a hand in Angela’s direction as she began to rummage through the fridge. “I know I have some cheese in here somewhere. Or, maybe just some soda water, and a banana would be better. I think…you know I’m really not that hungry after all.” Piggy closed the fridge and stood facing it, one hand still gripping the handle.
“You know Piglet, it might be good for you to….”
“Did you say Martin is waiting for you in the car? You know you really should just take a class and learn how. The van’s an automatic anyway, it’s really cake. He’s truly an angle to drive you everywhere.”
“I am aren’t I.” Martin’s soothingly deep voice peeked through the door. “How are you Piggy?”
Piggy smiled again, probably her second all day. “Hangin’ in there, you know how things go.” The two hugged next to the steel faced refrigerator. For the first time in days Piggy actually felt warm.
“Martin you know that wedding….” Angela began.
“Are you still talking about the wedding baby. Piggy is she still ranting about that frosting fest?”
Piggy was about to comment that that was exactly how she would have described it, when Angela, having had her fill of being politely cut off, charmingly threw her two cents in, “Why, in God’s name did you get out of the car Martin?”
“Why, in God’s name, did you assume I would sit out there in this miserable drizzle for an hour?”
“Oh an hour may ass. It was fifteen minutes at the most. Fifteen right Piggy? Couldn’t have been more than twenty, twenty five.”
“At any rate we really should get going Angela, that thing is at eight and knowing you, you’ll want to swing by your place and change first.”
“Oh that’s right! Piglet, you really should come to this opening. It’s in Willmont, but it’s supposed to be absolutely gorgeous. Bruce and May will be there. Ooh and that dentist…oh what’s his name? You’d feel so much better if you…”
“Thank you Ang., but I’m really beat. It’s not my crowd anyway. Thank you though, both of you.” The third smile of the day made it’s appearance, and Piggy suddenly felt a wave of relief at the knowledge that her guests would be leaving. Martin ushered Angela towards the door and Piggy opened it, suddenly smelling the sweet melancholy of rain drenched earth. She handed Angela the day-glow rain coat and thanked them both for stopping by. Martin held her hand a extra second as they prepared to leave and then gently kissed her on the cheek. Angela wrapped an orange arm around Piggy and just before she let go Piggy whispered, “You know the shrink, he left me…said I needed help. Hurray for the mental health profession, huh?” Angela just smiled and squeezed Piggy’s shoulder.
“You’ll be okay,” she said as Martin pulled her into the soggy night.
Piggy turned off the hall lights, and then the ones in the kitchen. In the comfortable darkness she leaned against the sliding glass door that led out to her plastic garden. She twirled a strand of thick red hair around her finger. She twisted it tighter and tighter, feeling the pulse of a desperate blood flow suddenly cut off. She finally released the strand when it cut into the skin and it began to bleed. Absently she put the damaged finger to her mouth and sank to the floor, hugging her knees to her chest. She began to rock stiffly on the frozen linoleum and the humming reached an almost feverish pitch before she even realized it was she who was humming. Later that night across the street Dorothy would peer out her own kitchen window while finishing the dishes that Ed so kindly left crusting in the sink, and see Piggy on her hands and knees, digging in the rain. She was clawing at the wet, muddy earth, frantically pulling up dingy white plastic tulips.