Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chapter Twelve: I Arrive in California, Where Xandra has a Surprise Waiting

FROM "SWITCH," a novel-by-blog, at

By Gina Morrison

I wake up on the rock hard floor and it is it takes me more than a minute to figure out that I am wrapped in Xandra’s red Navaho blanket and that it scratches at my face but for a minute I’ve got myself convinced that I'm back in 1883 lying on Sister Renata’s narrow bed beneath the crucifix.

I blink and then I see one thick leg of Xandra’s brass bed, the bed I was supposed to sleep in last night and I am a little frightened wondering how the hell I got here on the floor, I’m sure it has something to do with that bottle of white wine I downed on the plane and then the two, yes, two ativan I swallowed, one as the plane did a severe rocking and rolling and nosediving routine somewhere over Kansas. And the second one I took as we started to descend into SFO, that’s the moment I realized for the first time that I had actually left David 3,000 miles behind and the fact I did it sort of blew my mind and not in such a good way either.

I vaguely remember Xandra meeting me outside baggage claim in San Francisco, I remember her saying we should get dinner and I remember thinking I was so tired that I couldn’t hold my head up.

“Oh God, I’m starving, would you mind if we stopped somewhere?” So how could I say no? W hat I should have done was have a strong shot of espresso but instead I had more wine, and by ten p.m. when we were heading down the 101 toward San Jose, the lights along the Bay were like birthday candles all alight, whirling on the dark horizon with the stars bright overhead in the sky.

I don’t remember when, but I fell asleep.

The weird thing about the ativan is how it makes me forget so completely, it takes my memory and turns it into a piece of Swiss cheese. Sometimes it scares me, like the time I went to make a milkshake and I put a spoon in the blender and then I went to peel a banana and I turned on the blender and there went the spoon.

And so much for the blender.

David refers to ativan as “outofit.”

I sit up now, here on Xandra’s floor, and my head is still swimming upstream, and the first thing I realize is how I miss him, really totally miss him in the gut in my legs and in every other part of me I won’t even mention, especially in my heart , I ache and that feeling sets me into a sweat and frenzy.

At that moment the door squeaks open and I see what looks to be a powder blue curtain, which turns out to be Xandra in a chiffon bathrobe. Very sexy, and her dreds are a cloud flying in a million directions.

“Are you awake?” she whispers and I whisper “uh, yes, I guess so.”

She makes her way into the room. “What in God’s name are you doing under the rug?”

I push it away. “I wish I knew,” I mumble, rolling over.

“So I’ve got to get to work early today, but I want you to come with me. I have a friend I want you to see this morning."

"Who is your friend?"

"She is a therapist, but not the sort you've been seeing."

"What sort is she?" I sit up, and I am yawning and so at first when she answers I am not quite sure I hear her right.

"She does hypnosis for past life regression."

I don't answer right away. Finally I say, "I don't think so, Xand."

"Look, Gina, you just have to meet her. She's someone you would like. I work with her now and then and she's amazing. And all you have to do is meet her. You can decide later if you want her services."

I lay back down on the floor and close my eyes. "Right now Xand all I want is more sleep. I don't want to meet anyone. So if you don't mind, I think I'll stay here this morning."

Xandra doesn't say anything at first. Then she sits down on the floor cross-legged and suddenly I realize that she is studying me.


"Oh it's just that I was thinking of taking the afternoon off. I thought we could take a walk at this bird sanctuary and talk about what’s going on with you and David.”

"Sure. That sounds great. So you could come back and get me at lunch and I can sleep a few more hours."

"Yes, except if you stay here it means an extra two hours of driving."

I feel trapped. Xandra is pushing me way too hard, and I don't want to be pushed. I am about to say this to Xandra, except she beats me to it.

"Look, Gina, I know I"m putting a bit of a squeeze on you, but I really wish you'd go along with me here. I have a strong intuition that you are going to like this woman. She's helped a lot of people and she's very easy-going."

I am not happy, at all, but I decide that in the interest of keeping peace, I will meet Xandra's friend and get it over with.

I drag myself off the floor and head for the shower, where I stand for an extra few minutes, letting the water soak into my head and neck. Soon I am dressed and in the kitchen, where Xandra hands me one of her green "power" shakes.

"I'll take an English muffin, if you have one," I mumble. Naturally, she doesn't have English muffins.

I take a sip of the power shake and it tastes vaguely like my lawn back home. I place the glass very carefully back on the counter and soon, I'm sitting in Xandra’s BMW, and we are in traffic backed up the 101, and my new life in California, packed like a sardine in a car on the freeway, has begun.

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