Zoe & Sophia find Buddhism and Need Your Advice as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being
Do you have advice to offer two middle-aged, single women whose lives are suddenly crashing in chaos? Zoe and Sophia, BFFs for thirty years, find themselves unexpectedly cast into the world of re-creation and redefinition after decades of being faithful wives to George and Marty. They need advice from anyone willing to offer it. For instance, what advice would you give your Bff if she wanted back her copy of the book WHEN THINGS FALL APART by Pema Chodron? Any advice you can give to Zoe would be helpful, but this is the advice Sophia gave her.
When Zoe’s and Sophia’s marriages splintered into matchsticks, the first thing they did, after crying like feral cats, was to become Buddhists. Zoe’s therapist gave Zoe the book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Since Zoe’s marriage collapsed a few months before Sophia’s, Zoe had time to read and apply the concepts about living in the moment, accepting herself as she was, trying to replace anger with compassion and so forth. Zoe kept the book next to her computer at all times and read it in between corresponding with dozens of Match.Com guys who wanted to date her. Occasionally, she spilled food and drink on the book in a fit of sexual excitement, after particularly graphic exchanges with her growing stable of men, but she was always careful to clean off the book.
When poor Sophia found herself gazing into a metaphorical mirror of herself as an old, lonesome woman, no man would ever want, Zoe naturally handed her the book and said, “Read this.” Sophia took the book home and finished it that night. The next day she read it again, and the day after that, she read it from back to front. This went on for days. Sophia found Pema’s messages especially profound when she was in bed. With one hand she tossed onto her tongue fistfuls of Chex Mix, and with the the other, drew spoonfuls of Nutella, (the hazelnut chocolate spread) to her lips. Pema’s pages lay precariously in her lap, sopping up the residue of bits which failed to make it to her mouth.
A few days later the two women were travelling on I-95 South in NH, discussing the powerful notions from Pema’s book. Sophia turned to Zoe, who was driving, and said, “Pema’s ideas have changed my life.”
Zoe said, “Mine too. I knew you would love her.”
“Hey, Zo, I think I’d like to take formal instruction in meditation.”
Zoe’s face lit up. “I was thinking the same thing. There’s a place not far from here where we can do that. Let’s go check it out.” Infused with sensible purpose, they smiled and remained silent for a couple of minutes until they saw signs for the Foxrun Mall. A fork in the road lay ahead of them. The right fork would take them to a place where they could learn how to be meditating Buddhists. The left fork would take them to the stores at the Mall they loved like The Loft, Old Navy, and Victoria’s Secret.
Suddenly, Zoe said with undeniable defensiveness, “Well, we do have a double date tonight.” Sophia looked at Zoe baffled, sensing that Zoe thought Sophia had accused her telepathicallyof backing out on formal Buddhist instruction. The never uttered, inferred accusation could not have been further from the truth.
Sophia smiled widely. “So we do,” she said nodding, “and I need a new push-up bra before tonight, so go left, sister, go left.” And in the nick of time, Zoe steered the car toward the mall.
A few minutes later the two stood side-by-side in front of a mirror in the dressing room of Victoria’s Secret. Their tall, slender bodies were clad only in lacy panties as they tried on bra after bra without a good result. Then as if by a silent cue, their eyes met in the mirror, they flipped back their long, blond hair and gave each other “the look.” Within seconds they were fully dressed and disdain radiated from the women as they marched out of the store. Sighing deeply, Sophia said, “Let’s just go to K-Mart. I’m kinda broke, and I can buy a push-up bra for $7.00 dollars instead of $57.00 dollars.”
“Okay,” agreed Zoe vaguely.
“What’s wrong, Zo?” asked Sophia, sensing that her friend had something on her mind.
Reluctantly, Zoe answered. “Fuck sake, Sophie, I’m dating four guys at one time.”
“So what?” said Sophia.
“Do you think I’m a whore, Sophie?”
“Hell, no. What would Pema say? Accept yourself as you are, Zo.”
“Yup, but you’re not dating anyone.”
“So what?” said Sophia again. “I’m just too lazy and too scared to be as free as you are.”
“What do you mean by free?” asked Zoe as her eyebrow arched and her spine stiffened.
“What would Pema say?” asked Sophia again.
“How the fuck would I know, Sophie. You have my copy of the book, and you’ve written in it and turned down all the pages.”
“Oh, sorry, Zo.”
“That’s okay. I don’t mind sharing the book with you. But do you think I could have it back?”
“I don’t think so, Zo,” said Sophia shaking her head. “JUST LET ME BUY YOU A NEW COPY. WITH SO MUCH NUTELLA SMEARED ON IT, IT’S REALLY HARD TO READ.” Then Sophia drew the haggard book from her purse to show Zoe. Zoe winced and waved her hand at the glued, tattered pages.
The women had nearly reached Barnes & Noble to buy another copy of When Things Fall Apart, when Sophia asked,
“Which one do you really want, Zoe?”
“What do mean?”
“Which guy of the four you’re dating do you really want?”
“None of ‘em,” said Zoe, mystified.
“Huh,” said Sophia, “Then why are you dating them?”
“Fuck sake, Sophie–it’s the sex. Men have really figured out the female anatomy since we got married way back when.”
“Is that a Buddhist thing, Zo?”
“Sounds like,” said Zoe, nodding sagely.
That night, even though their Buddhist enlightenment had NOT progressed much, their eyes shined because their breasts were encased in fabulous $7.00 push-up bras from K-Mart. With Jay-Z’s tunes booming inside the warm car, the two roared at full tilt to meet their double dates in Portsmouth, off on another adventure of the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being.
To be continued, but PLEASE, help these women with YOUR advice.