Loved

I have a new perfume list for 2022. Here it is:

1. Guerlain Jicky parfum

2. Guerlain Après L’Ondee parfum vintage sealed and usable (2 bottles)

3. Chanel Jersey (finally!)

4. More Floris English Violets

Pat Wilson loves Lacey. Not like a daughter. Not like a mom. Not like a lover. Like a friend. Or maybe a sister. Or an aunt. Or a cousin.

“Lacey realized this morning that she’s never experienced a mother’s love this morning.” said Michael. “She’s never been able to truly relax her entire life.”

“But Pat Wilson loves you unconditionally?” laughs someone. He smiles. “How are you holding up?”

“I feel like I’m holding-up well enough.” says Lacey.

“I know. I heard you.” says Ginger.

“Thank you.” Lacey cries.

Lacey wears her black Roger Vivier heels. At the Minneapolis Museum of Art. It feels like home.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it is your home.” says a man.

“Like my childhood home?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.”

She sits there. “Home is the farm.” she says.

He nods.

“But this is also home. You’re right.” she adds.

Pat Wilson smiles behind Lacey. Looking mischievous. In the art museum. …Pat Wilson is a ghost.

“But you thought your mom loved you!” says a perfume hater accusatorially.

Pat Wilson refuses to answer.

Lacey remains silent.

“The thing is…she’s a bankrupt, 90 year old man living in the jungle. She had an obsession with buying wild jungle cats.” says Michael. He rolls his eyes.

A female perfume hater laughs thinking she’s in on Michael’s joke. She’s not. It’s depressing to watch.

“My word you love England.” says an Englishwoman to Lacey.

“It feels like a mother to me.” says Lacey.

The woman walks away to cry.

“And indeed it might be.” says a stoic Englishman. “One way or another.”

Another perfume hater laughs thinking they’re in on another joke they’re not in on. A fashionable gay man decides to laugh, pretending that he thinks he’s in on a joke too, just for fun.

“So Pat Wilson has claimed you?” the fashionable gay man asks.

“Yes. Seemingly.” says Lacey.

“Hmm.” he says. He blinks. Profusely. “Does that feel like a relief?” He smiles.

“It makes sense of my brain.” says Lacey. “Partially.”

“Like you love England. No questions asked. Irrefutably. Forever.” he says. “And you always have.”

“Yes. It’s all outside of time.” says Lacey.

“Two questions. One: Are you going to go see Botticelli? And…your whole life led up to this moment?” he asks.

“I don’t dislike Botticelli because I won’t let myself dislike it. But yes, I think maybe. Or this is one moment in many.” says Lacey.

He looks at her. “Who else do you belong to?”

“We’ll see.” says Michael.

“Would you really have found me attractive?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.” he says, trying not to cry.

They sit down in front of massive painting. A wondrous Kandinsky.

Van Gogh walks by and smiles hilariously. Entirely silently.

Lem sings Regina Spektor’s “Hero” quietly to himself in an adjoining room. Filled with French Impressionism.

“So your mom really didn’t love you?” asks a hater of Lacey. “You were supposed to love us!” he demands of her. “You were supposed to kill yourself because we didn’t like your shirt.” He’s sure he’s right?

“Yeah! If you’d been loved you’d have killed yourself when we didn’t smile at you enough!” says her first serious boyfriend. He sounds like he has the authority of God.

“It’s alright!” whispers Michael before sneaking up on the men to kill them. In the afterlife?

“See! The Rockefeller’s hate me! Look! Read this blog! It’s all there! See! I’m important now!!!” yells a hater, heartlessly, snorting. Literally, snorting. Because they act and look like a literal pig.

“Her mother pretended to love her. She was a brilliant woman. She can’t fool her now as an adult. But as a child Lacey thought she was loved. It’s only been since she became a mother herself that she’s realized how little she was genuinely loved.” says Bette. “You don’t know her beyond the truth.”

“Okay. So why did she realize that this morning?!” asks a hater with a gross amount of entitlement.

“Because some things are complicated and you figure them out completely, slowly.” says Bette. “She still can’t quite believe it. Isn’t that marvelous?! Her mother is a powerfully complicated and intelligent person. Are you that smart?” She thinks. “She’s very well-bred. Her mother raised her to be perfect. Essentially. …But…no. She might not truly love her at all.” She sighs. “Lacey is impressed. As awful as it is.” No

“But then Lacey isn’t loved?!” asks a hater.

“No. True. And that’s very awful. But it’s been reality the whole time. And maybe it’s nice for her to finally relax in that way and see the truth.” says Alfred Hitchcock.

“Alfred Hitchcock! I bet you all are sure now that I’m wrapping myself in celebrity to comfort myself. But I’m fairly certain I’m not. …And if you notice…they’re all interconnected. And my possible birth father may be the link. Or it’s something else like I’m Lem’s soulmate? Or Michael’s? I was extremely beautiful. And almost a certifiable genius. So…it’s actually just dull and logical. Keep-up!” says Lacey.

“You think we’re so stupid it’s gross that we exist.” says her first serious boyfriend.

“If you’re heartless then…actually it is tempting. Tempting to wonder why any of you were born on Earth.” says Lacey.

“You truly think we’re genuinely gross now.” says a hater.

“You outed that possibility about yourselves by calling me gross dozens of times.” says Lacey. “And I’m not gross. I’m sorry. I’m missing the validity of your argument.”

“I killed myself!” says a 20 year old woman.

“Yes. But why? Were you evil?” asks Lacey.

“Her fathers been busy this morning.” says Al. “Otherwise he’d be here.” He smiles at Lacey.

“Dads are nice.” says a fashionable gay man. “I’m sure you’ll figure out everything with your mom. But England seems to think your theirs too somehow.”

“And it might just be her great grandmother.” says a great grandmother.

“Or mine! I can be your mom.” says Coco.

Lacey looks at her.

“I get your mind. And you’re right. It is weird but now you know.” she says.

Lacey blinks.

“Eww!” says a Millennial hater.

“Eww because I’m not more fake sad?” asks Lacey.

“Yes.”

“You don’t understand. It’s not like that. Sweetie, no one loves me the way I thought I was loved. And in truth, I wasn’t loved at all necessarily. Why would I cry that much? Sweetheart…no one cares about me in that way, that I know of. It’s pointless.” says Lacey.

She slowly realizes what Lacey means.

She laughs.

Lacey laughs slightly too.

That scares the Millennial hater.

“No, she’s right. And if she is loved it’s not like she knows it. It’s crass and unfair to expect her to know it. I agree.” says Coco.

“We’ve been yelling at someone who doesn’t exist.” say the haters.

“Who in the world is this person?” asks Lacey.

“I dated her.” says her first boyfriend.

“What was she like?” asks Lacey.

“The person you were taught to act like?” he asks to clarify.

Silence.

“You’re like a Don Draper.” he says. “One way or another.”

Silence.

“How so?” asks Michael.

“Can I answer for you?!” ask Louis.

“No. I don’t need you to answer for me.” he says like a defiant toddler to Louis.

Louis is gracious.

“It’s…I won. I won against her.” the first boyfriend says.

“What was the battle?” asks Louis.

“She was always upset about something. You were angry all of the time. But you hid it because you wanted peace and control over other people. You were so hateful that way!” he says.

The Millennial woman who laughed with Lacey finds this hilarious now.

“So you two were really close?” she asks her first serious boyfriend.

He looks uncomfortable.

Erik Satie Gnossiennes (6) starts playing.

“Is any part of that…real?” he asks.

The Millennial shakes her head no and smiles.

“I was always angry. But I think it’s because of very deep sadness, so to speak. I should have been an art historian, for example. Not a political science major. But no. You were dating a character created by people who I thought loved me. Mostly.” says Lacey.

“It feels like you’re trying to control me.” he says.

“In what way?” asks Lacey.

“Do you like me?” he asks.

“Like you as a person?” asks Lacey.

He looks at her like they’re falling in love. Lacey restrains herself.

“Like you as a person?” repeats Lacey.

“Yes!” he says smiling.

She feels sorry for him. He looks so happy. She doesn’t want to ruin his good mood. “I like most people some. Although, I don’t suppose I like you more than most people.”

He smiles. Then he thinks.

He cries.

“But you said you were in love with me.” he protests.

“I did fall in love with you some.“ she says.

“But you don’t like me?” he asks, laughing.

“No, I wouldn’t say that. I don’t actually dislike you. I don’t like you either though. But I fell in love. I’m glad you broke up with me. But yes, I did fall in love some. You’re lovable.” she smiles.

He looks shocked.

“So, who was this woman you imagined based in my acting?! What would she have been trying to do in this conversation?” Lacey asks.

“You really just don’t care. Do you?” he asks far too intimately for Lacey’s liking.

“About being impressive?“ she asks.

“Yeah!” his wife blinks as she speaks.

“Not in the way you do, necessarily.” says Lacey.

His wife shoves her husband into the other room. Or tries to.

“Wait! Why was I trying to control you in your mind?” Lacey asks.

“I was your knight in shining armor. And you worshipped me. But you didn’t like it. And I was going to liberate you from your old pretensions to servitude. I felt I was going to uplift you. Save you from your fears.” he says. He cries, embarrassed. “I told people about it. …I thought we were friends, first. And I-I felt controlled by your anguish. Like, when someone is suicidal but would never do it, probably.” His wife looks at Lacey in a lordly manner, convinced by his speech of this reality again.

Lacey opens her mouth to speak but he freaks out.

“Are you furious with me right now?” he asks, nervously.

“Yes.” she says cooly, calmly.

“Okay.” he says, increasingly horrified.

“That’s just not me.” says Lacey. “And…”

He starts to cry.

His girlfriend (wife) rubs his back.

“Who are you then?!” he says angrily in tears.

Lacey rolls her eyes. “Get a grip. Go mourn the death of your imaginary ex-girlfriend in your supposedly brilliant, conceited mind. You don’t know me almost at all. I don’t hate you but don’t you dare act so overly familiar. Eww!” she scoffs.

He looks at her. Smiles to himself.

“You really don’t hate me?” he asks.

“No. Are you deaf or dumb?”

He shakes. Controls himself.

“You think I’m a total retard. Don’t you?” asks his wife. “Sorry for using that word so crassly.”

“Yes, of course I do. That’s only logical.” says Lacey before walking away. “I wish you both well. I’m glad you found each other.” Lacey says sincerely.

His ex-roommate who may have tried (unsuccessfully) to sleep with Lacey while she was dating him cracks-up laughing but restrains himself. He smiles. Walks off.

Yes. The roommate who her ex-boyfriend held hands with. And took naked showers with. And gave gifts to that belonged to Lacey.

“Did he know he was trying to sleep with you?!” asks someone.

“He wouldn’t have cared. I tried telling him things like that and he acted like I was massively overreacting.” says Lacey.

“Why didn’t you just sleep with him then?” asks the Millennial woman.

“It was going to be so-called meaningless. And it was against my principles.” says Lacey.

A woman laughs.

“But you wanted to?!” the ex asks.

“Yes.” says Lacey, unsure if she should say more.

“He liked you.”

“Why haven’t you just killed yourself?!” asks Lacey’s then college advisor. Look

“It’s completely illogical.” says Lacey in irritation.

“I was in love with you! But I didn’t think I could change you. And I couldn’t stand your lack of regard for yourself.” he says.

“So you lied? Or you’re lying now?” asks Lacey.

“Then!” says an actor.

“There are so many things I wish I could explain to you.” says a supposed friend from college.

“I bet it’d all be spiteful nonsense?” says Lacey, bored.

“Were we your friends?” asks her ex.

“Isn’t that an asinine question?“ asks Lacey.

He looks totally diminished.

“Okay. So I dated a super hot girl. And that’s all. I know you’re not crazy. Or evil. The way people mean that colloquially. But other than that I don’t know you.” he says, then smirks.

“I’m sorry about your loss. It sounds like you were in a very different relationship than the one I was in.” says Lacey.

His roommate laughs very loud, uproariously.

“You think I’m a wannabe jock.” her ex says.

“And wannabe player.”

He looks at her shocked. His ex-roommate nods his head in agreement.

Her ex looks at her. “You’re still beautiful.” he says somewhat coldly.

“I didn’t hate you. I just thought you were shallow. And a little vain, at least. And very competitive. And…extremely hardworking. And diligent and disciplined. And…manipulative and conniving. And egotistical. And lacking self-awareness.” she says.

“Did you-you thought I was manipulating you?!”

He interrupts. “So you didn’t think I loved you at all?!”

“Maybe? But…I actually wasn’t counting on it.” says Lacey.

“So why were you dating him?!” a perfume collector says patronizingly.

“I thought he was the best I could do.” says Lacey.

“You seriously thought I was the best you could do?!” he says.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” says a middle-aged man who went to Harvard for graduate school. “She’s right. She was clueless.” He almost dated her.

“Hey! He went to Johns Hopkins!” says his wife.

The man rolls his eyes.

“So I was just the best you could do?!” he asks.

“I’m not one to be proud of who I date in some competitive way. It’s about love, to me. But the thing is…everyone else is often far more shallow. So I just worked with it.” says Lacey.

“Did I devastate you?” he asks calmly.

“Yes. But one survives.” says Lacey.

He cries.

“Okay. So…you thought he was a total shallow fool.” says his wife.

“A very bourgeois one.” says Lacey.

“What did you garner from that relationship?” asks a professor.

“That most women were brainwashed, manipulated, dumbed-down bubble-heads. Because men today can’t easily love intelligent women who are honest about their intelligence. And making women stupider turns most men today on. And most men today are perversely weak and vulnerable. And they’d rather be with someone ugly and impressive than sexy who they have to take care of financially at all if they’re poor at all or insecure. …I’d have taken his rejection as some proof of my low status in the eyes of men but…I was almost hit on too many times while I was on dates with him to guess at that being accurate.“

“You’re a good actress!” says a hater.

“I was trained well too though.” says Lacey.

“You walked off stage during the performance and gave the Devil the finger.” says an English professor.

“Yes!!” says Lacey.

“Did I try to stop you?” asks her first serious boyfriend.

“You got in her way.” says the English professor.

“I didn’t help her?” he asks indignantly.

“Are you serious? No. Of course not! But I learned more about the trains between Philadelphia and D.C. and I took some interesting visits to that city.” she says.

“All things you could have done with someone else.” he says. “Do you wish you’d never met me?!”

“Well, I’m glad I met you. And I learned some interesting things about a great many things. Or made some observations anyway. …But, no. It was a bad experience all together. And I don’t like to think about anything romantic or sexual we ever did together. It’s mostlydisgusting to me.”

“Because she’s so far above you.” says his wife with a snarl. Hatefully towards Lacey, of course. Resentfully. His wife was of course the woman he cheated with.

“You really didn’t know I was reaching to be with you?“ asks her ex.

“What stupid question. You ugly brained piece of shit in my life.” she spits in his face and slaps him. Then Joe Jr. punches him unconscious. “I’d crush your useless skull in you lizard wannabe, but I don’t lack compassion, you whorish toad.” She smiles. “Of course not. And you knew that or you should have you held me while I told you my saddest thoughts.” She looks up at a physician. “Will he be okay?”

“Yes!” says the Nazi doctor, kindly.

“Good.” She kneels close to him. “Listen, don’t try to compete with me. I don’t enjoy being insulted.” she says. “I’m sorry I wasted your time. Please try to get over it.”

“How did you waste his time?” asks a woman who knew them both.

“He learned very little from me. It seems he want even dating me.” says Lacey.

They look at her.

She runs up to him, gets close enough to be heard.

“Say, I’m sorry your head hurts. And golly, I hope you find the woman you thought I was.” she says. “Should that be best.”

“Are we all dead or alive in this post?” asks a perfume hater.

“Did you ever understand her at all?!” asks his brother.

“It’s unclear!” says Lacey.

“No!” yes her ex at his brother.

“Why were you so heartless with her?” asks his father.

“I felt intimidated by her beauty. But I decided it didn’t bother me. But then it did. And so I started finding it repulsive. And then she just got prettier. And it wasn’t that she was dumb at all. But she wasn’t…impressive. She’s right. I needed someone who was doing well at their chosen career path. I’m not someone who could or would want to have any kind of trophy wife in the traditional way.” he responds.

“But you wanted a trophy wife?!” his father asks.

“Yes!”

“So what if Lacey had been at Harvard for graduate school?” he asks.

“That depends.” He says indignantly. “Would she be doing well?”

“No.”

“Then I wish her well, but no thanks!” he shrugs.

“You want a woman who is a street cleaner with moderately good looks?” asks his father. “Over a brilliant beauty with mental health issues of any kind.”

“It’s like a car. I’d rather have a beat-up, reliable old Ford than a brand new, elite car with issues I can’t figure out.”

“Because you’re really going somewhere!” says a hurt older woman. “What do you think your busted Ford would feel like when it finds out you’d rather drive a Rolls Royce?”

“My Ford would feel loved.”

“Because women are morons?”

“No. Because I’m proud of how useful my Ford is.”

“To you? Useful to you? But you’d rather it be a useful Rolls Royce?”

“Hey! You know…you need to come back to church.” says a good-looking, successful male lawyer.

Flustered but committed to his Ford (?) he says, “I’d be there next week, but I go to a church already.”

The well-dressed man looks disinterested.

“Let’s stop. It’s obvious I might be bisexual. And honestly, it’s also obvious I don’t necessarily think deeply enough.” he breaks the 4th wall to say.

“Did you want to be the trophy wife?” asks Lacey. “We’re you secretly dating me to pity me and get an ego trip and feel less insecure around men?” She thinks. “There are so many men you might have liked who found me attractive. Were you unable to love me because you saw me as another girl?”

Silence.

“What kind of car are you?” Lacey asks him.

“A used convertible Mercedes from the 1970’s.” he responds.

“I would have said a used orange Range Rover from the 1970’s.” she says.

“That’s-“

His wife cries. Nods her head. Laughs. Cries.

“That’s sad.” he says.

“Why?” his wife asks.She knew me, apparently, but I didn’t know her at all.”

His wife shrugs.

“What kind of car is she?” she asks.

“I don’t know!” he cries. “A-A-A-“ he shrugs. “I’m going to have to say, a-a Roman chariot?!”

She looks at him horrified. “Be serious. What kind of car?!”

He closes his eyes to concentrate. “A Ford-A Mercedes-No! I’ve got it! Just-Whatever kind of car those men drive in the past!”

She looks at him and smiles. Shrugs.

They think.