mental indigestion

(The) Lady is a Tramp April 15, 2016

Filed under: A-Z Challenge — mel @ 12:41 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve wined and dined on mulligan stew, and never wished for turkey
As I hitched and hiked and grifted too, from Maine to Albuquerque
Alas, I missed the Beaux Arts ball, and what is twice as sad
I was never at a party where they honored Noel Ca-ad (Coward)
But social circles spin too fast for me
My hobohemia is the place to be

I get too hungry for dinner at eight
I like the theater but never come late
I never bother with people I hate
That’s why the lady is a tramp

I don’t like crap games, with barons and earls
Won’t go to Harlem in ermine and pearls
Won’t dish the dirt with the rest of the girls
That’s why the lady is a tramp

I like the free, fresh wind in my hair
Life without care
I’m broke, it’s o’k
Hate California, it’s cold and it’s damp
That’s why the lady is a tramp

I go to Coney, the beach is divine
I go to ballgames, the bleachers are fine
I find a Winchell, and read every line
That’s why the lady is a tramp

I like a prizefight, that isn’t a fake
I love the rowing, on Central Park Lake
I go to opera and stay wide awake
That’s why the lady is a tramp

I like the green grass under my shoes
What can I lose, i’m flat, that’s that
I’m alone when I lower my lamp
That’s why the lady is a tramp


My roommate Lucy was the first American I knew who would add Sriracha sauce to green curry chicken. Every Wednesday, we’d trudge over from our dorm room to have dinner at the only Thai restaurant in the Pleasantville-like campus town.

It was only around her that I didn’t bother trying to sound American, and I could happily liberate my tastebuds to all the spices and herbs that made me feel a little less homesick.

Over these meals, she would tell me about her military family upbringing – she had been born in Okinawa, Japan and had spent her elementary school years in Manila. She hoped to join the SEALs one day, but not before backpacking around the world for at least a year or two.

She would ask me about what my plans were, but I never had much to say. I’d have much rather listened to her rattle on– she was a walking motivational poster that somehow did not make me snort. Instead, my spirits were lifted and in gratitude, I’d give her a few tomyam-flavoured cup noodles which my mother use to send over to me in bulk every few months.

Lucy was restless but she created an outlet for it by making friends with anyone she came into contact with. Everyone in our dormitory had had some form of heartfelt talk with her at some point in time, and as such, she was totally clued in on all the gossip.

“Nikki brought someone back to her room after clubbing last Saturday, but who she really likes is Cute Craig,” she told me out-of-the-blue while I was my laptop trying to finish some essay one night.

“Uh huh,” I acknowledged distractedly.

“That girl is a walking time bomb. In ten years, she’s going to wind up being this pothead single mother with an abusive boyfriend.” Lucy always had this sense that she had a sixth sense, and she’d repeatedly predicted that I would have a high-paying job. (I never did).

In the end, Cute Craig and Lucy dated till graduation, where she sensibly dumped him so she could globetrot without anyone to hold her back. She travelled for two years (she always sent postcards, with anecdotes of people she’d made friends with on planes, trains and buses) before deciding that she did not want to be a SEAL and pursued a Master’s Degree in Political Science in Melbourne, Australia. She’d met someone in her class who seemed to fit her bill of a perfect husband, and when I flew down for their perfect seaside wedding, I thought so too and sentimentally wept tears of joy.

A few years later, Lucy called me saying she was going to be in my part of the world for a few days, and asked if we could meet at a Japanese restaurant near her hotel.

She was still as radiant as ever but something in her eyes told me something had happened. I didn’t probe, but while we quietly observed the sushi train go round and round, she suddenly muttered, “I’m getting a divorce.”

Her husband had been abusive, and had cheated on her several times. Her two kids were now with her in-laws, and she was flying back to the US to get the necessary paperwork to bring them over where she’d figure out what to do next.

She grabbed a plate of edamame beans. “I made a mistake. I made a terrible mistake.” She looked at the plate listlessly, unsure of what to do next.

“Whenever one door closes, one more opens,” I said.


“You always used to tell me. And now I’m saying it back to you.”

She sighed. “I’m sorry for being such an idiot back then. What did I know? The truth is: the doors all fucking lead to blackholes.”

“Well, you can time travel in black holes. So they are kind of like open doors?”

Lucy let out a slight laugh, but immediately grew silent after that.

“Cute Craig was cute, wasn’t he?”


4 Responses to “(The) Lady is a Tramp”

  1. John Holton Says:

    Lena Horne was gorgeous, wasn’t she?

  2. Visiting from atoz

  3. mel Says:

    @john: impeccable! And her life!

  4. mel Says:

    @debra: thanks for dropping by! how is the challenge going for you?

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