Zoe & Sophia Have a Slumber Party on Their Adventures as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being

January 1st, 2010

January 1

Could more of you PL-EASE offer advice to two single women whose lives are suddenly crashing in chaos?HELP. 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 who said to you, “I AND I DON’T NEED A THERAPIST.  WE HAVE GOOD TIMES. ” Any advice you can give to Sophia would be helpful, but this is the advice Zoe gave her.

Every few nights Zoe and Sophia slept at each other’s houses, just to help with the transition– from being goodly wives who rubbed their husband’s backs in bed, brought their husbands dinner on a silver tray, also in bed, and who wrapped their long, lithe limbs around their husband’s bodies at night–to the shimmering fifty-something women who slept alone (more or less). On one evening just before Thanksgiving, Sophia decided to sleep at Zoe’s house, and for the occasion, Sophia bought the first bottle of scotch she had in months. Scotch was the tithe that bound during the first six months after Zoe’s marital split, when she camped out at Sophia’s house while Marty and Sophia were still together. In early June Zoe moved back to her own house, just five miles up the road.  But there was little difference—both women owned marital homes built in the 1700s when Thomas Jefferson walked the earth—and both houses sat on large wooded lots on the same lake.

However–they had one other option. After Sophia put her hands around Marty’s neck one night in September, applying no pressure at all, she begged him for the truth about his affair with his “business partner,” Fugly. For an hour Sophia lay next to him then decided that she was either going to throw herself in front of oncoming traffic outside, or she was going to ask the question she knew the answer to–but dreaded hearing–with all her heart. Her choice of nights was a good one since Marty suffered from really bad diarrhea and lay to her left, rolled into a fetal position.

“Do you love her?” Sophia asked.
“Yes, I do,” said Marty.

And that was the end of that–as they say.

Within three days Sophia arranged other living quarters for herself in an unoccupied house in Exeter owned by a friend, a sweet, angelic woman named Grace. Apart from a desk, a couple of chairs, cooking stuff, clothes spilling out of suitcases, and Sophia’s de-luxe Coleman blow-up bed, the place was empty.  Zoe didn’t stay at the Exeter place too often because she had a dog she took everywhere, Sparky. Sparky was a stroke victim, which meant he was incontinent and couldn’t make it up the stairs (a bit like some of Zoe’s and Sophia’s Match.com dates). Because of Sparky’s condition, sharing Sophia’s temporary home in Exeter required the women deflate Sophia’s blow-up bed and drag it down a narrow staircase. The first time they tried this, the bed was not deflated enough, and both women were trapped against the wall. When Zoe finally liberated her end, Sophia nearly fell down the flight of steps. Apart from messing up their hair, they were fine until they contemplated what taking the blow-up bed back upstairs would cost them.

Anyway, the night in question took place at Zoe’s 1790 house on the lake. Sophia had opened the bottle of scotch by the time Zoe arrived home from work, and in fact, Sophia had made a healthy dent in the bottle. As usual, Zoe found Sophia sobbing at her kitchen table. Once in a while, whenever a text message came in, Sophia snuffled and answered the text with blistering clarity. She was texting with her ex, Marty, and their conversations were rarely kind. Next to Sophia sat Pema Chodron’s book, When Things Fall Apart, and although Sophia was trying to take Pema’s Buddhist advice about letting go, about embracing groundlessness, Sophia’s bitterness, agony and scotch haze were crowding out the open space.

Zoe was grateful that a dinner awaited her. One thing for which Sophia could always be counted on was to prepare an evening meal out of whatever meager stores she found. Sophia cooked the way George Benson played the guitar—with originality and depth—and her food was a pleasure to eat. Zoe would have tucked into dinner right away, but Sophia brandished that bottled of 12-year- old, single malt scotch, and Zoe tucked into that instead as she watched her friend cry and text.  Just as she joined Sophia in the hazy open space, they heard a noise outside.
“What’s that noise, Zo?”
“I don’t know,” said Zoe striding to the window. She pulled back the curtain and looked out. She saw a man’s back as he ran from the deck and into the darkness.

Zoe sighed.
“It’s just George, peeking in the window as usual,” said Zoe.
“You heard me, Sophie.”
“What the fuck is he doing that for?”
“He’s spying on us,” said Zoe.
“Why, Zo?”
“Because we are more interesting than the TV he sits and watches all day long.”
“Fuck sake…what is wrong with him,” said Sophia.
Since Zoe was too hungry to discuss the litany of George’s flaws, she simply said,
“That’s the price I pay until this place is sold. At least the judge gave me the big house to live in and relegated him to the cottage. But until the divorce is final, I’m stuck with the little harpy living twenty yards from me.”

At that point Sophia’s phone blinged, signaling another text message from Marty. After she read it, she burst into a whole new round of sobbing.
“What’s wrong now, Sophie?”
Sophia wailed, “All I asked Marty was that he let me have the house for Thanksgiving. I wanted the kids and my granddaughter to be there. Since Marty refuses to celebrate with us, I invited my childhood friend, the painter from Vermont–you know–Nicholas Thorndyke. But Marty’s pissed now.”
“What did Marty text you?” said Zoe
“I’ll read it,” said Sophia. While Sophia fumbled with her phone, Zoe was torn between the duty to comfort Sophia and the need to eat, so she rubbed her friend’s head for a moment then eased her way to the stove and turned on the burner under the pan of angel hair pasta in white clam sauce.
As the snot dribbled from Sophia’s nose, she read Marty’s text: “I’m not losing EVERYTHING for the holiday. You get the family; you get an old friend.  I’ll keep the house.”
Zoe looked at her friend incredulously before saying, “Is he crazy? He’s the one who had the affair. He’s the one who’s living with his rich girlfriend half the time. He’s the one who dumped you. What the fuck is he thinking? On what planet is he the victim?”

Without responding, because there was no intelligent response to the absurd truth of Zoe’s question, Sophia stood up and walked to the stove then forked a tiny bit of pasta on a plate and sat down again.
“Blow your nose, Sophie.  It’s irritating me.”

Without blowing her nose, Sophia thought about recent conversations she had with her daughter and her son. Then she said, “Poppy and Colin think I should get a therapist, Zo. I think that’s silly.”
Reluctantly, Zoe dragged her head up from her plate. “Why is it silly, Sophie?”
Sophia laughed. “I and I don’t need a therapist. We have good times.”

Unruffled by Zoe’s outburst, Sophia said, “We’ve had too much scotch. Let’s stay in tonight and flirt with guys on your Webcam, Zo.”
“Okay, Sophie, but I need to lie down. It’s been a long day.”
“But, Zo, how can we flirt with guys on the Webcam?”
“No problem. We take the computer to my bed and put it between us. But, Sophie, don’t you go giving guys the impression that we’re a two-for-one.  Got it?”
“Of course—what kind of crazy shit is that? Hey, Zo, are we gonna talk to that guy in Rhode Island—you know the one.”
“You mean the guy who wanted to have kinky Camsex, but first he had to go check to see if the homemade bread he was baking had risen?”
“Even though he’s hard to resist, Sophie, I want to be the bread he kneads, but you’re here, so I can’t do that tonight.”

“Was that a Buddhist thing, Zo?”
“Sounds like.”

Nestled warmly in Zoe’s bed, the fabulous best friends turned on the Webcam and began toying with the hearts and other parts of men from New Hampshire to California, as they set off on another adventure of the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being.

To be continued.  But PLEASE, help these women with YOUR advice.

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  1. Maizy
    January 3rd, 2010 at 03:04 | #1

    Ok my advice a therapist can’t hurt!

  2. January 3rd, 2010 at 22:09 | #2

    Zoe and Sophia thank you for the wisdom of your words, Maizy. Would you recommend a man or woman? Also, should Zoe hog-tie Sophia to get her to a therapist’s office or hope that she goes voluntarily?

  3. AMI
    January 5th, 2010 at 20:47 | #3

    Yes, therapy is an excellent idea… EVERYONE benefits from having an impartial stranger with no biases, background knowledge or personal opinions on the subject at hand to talk to, and here is why: A) They are COMPLETELY on your side (which is reason enough to have one, and the only justification I need for paying mine huge sums of money…) B) They can offer you a more global picture of the situation, which your friends (who may or may not want to rip Marty’s cheating head from his philandering shoulders, and therefore can never be truly objective) may not be able to offer. C) Sophia would be free to share her deepest, darkest, most depraved thoughts with no concern for the feelings of those in the room or any consequences… if iwhat she says gets out she gets to sue her therapist and then she will be unburdened and RICH!!

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