That’s what she said when she realized who I was under all the green paint and witchyness.
“Demon wenches,” she slurred out as she looked beyond me to Kira and Greta.
But actually, you can go home again. And when you get there, your seventh grade health class tablemate will call you a demon wench. It’s refreshing; because if you return home expecting things to be the same or expecting some great sense of personal fulfillment or even that you will find that missing piece, and it will make your life entirely complete—something that your mom has been keeping for you in a box in the basement, perhaps—then you will be disappointed and sad. Home is what it is now, not what it was then, and it either needs to be rejected or appreciated on those grounds.
17 years or more after we graduated from high school, I am really only different in things I have and perhaps the way I look. Even green, I look much better now than I did then. It’s not that I arrive in Winona and immediately transform back into that insecure high school girl looking for approval from the alternative kids, but I remember that girl, and I appreciate her, too, for what she was and her part in getting me to where I am now: in charge of a whole fleet of flying monkeys.
Then Kira’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend’s mother died in Texas, so he took off at the last minute to attend the funeral, taking him away for the weekend. Kira decided to accompany us anyway, which made us happy, but she was of course sad that he would not be with her. Not to mention wondering why the gods just would not let her couples’ costume ideas work out.
Pete’s band played a great show, and everything came off just fine, even though we were running late from The Cities and then took a wrong turn, causing just a bit of tension in the car. I think that my heart actually stopped when Pete cut across a couple of lanes into en exit lane to turn around, coming up quite fast and quite close to a minivan that was also exiting in a more temperate manner. On Saturday, we took over the house. Luckily, my parents were out of town because we made a mess. By the time we were done, the family room looked like it had hosted a monkey fight. There were makeup tubes and bobby pins, feathers and bits of felt and fur everywhere. We just left it. Tomorrow is another day.
The party was populated by many people we did not know, some we knew by sight, at least one who should not be having a baby (I’m so judgmental), and a few of our high school compatriots. Some welcome, some not as welcome.
While it is disconcerting to see someone for the first time after what is probably a decade and have them be fat and clearly crazy, there is definitely a sense of self appreciation that comes from it. I really don’t care if this person thinks that I am a demon wench. It’s quite funny, actually. “FUUUCK you,” was the first response Kira got from her when she went to say hi. She was swaying and slurring by the time she got to me, and Mattress was complimenting her “bath towel attire” and saying things like “I love what you’ve done with yourself.” She didn’t notice. She was too far gone. Sure, it’s mean and done only for one’s own amusement at the expense of another person, but somewhere inside of all of us is a person who wishes we could just spend one day being Karen Walker. And besides, she was not exactly being complimentary toward us, and this is the same woman who gave Kira a second hand sheet wrapped in a second hand belt as a wedding present. The gift was prefaced with a “I looked really hard to find something that I really though was YOU.” Pete asked us in the morning what she was dressed as, because he was hoping that would identify her in his mind. “A fat crazy lady” was what we said. He didn’t remember her.
Crazy people or not, I’ll go home again. I have family there, and it really is a beautiful town. Winona is part of who I am; it molded me for 8 years and continues to reside in my psyche. It’s an identity, a cachet even in some remote circles, and I am just fine with saying I am from there. It’s full of memories and associations, not all of which are necessarily good, but which stir up the heart and the head and get the cells working, the synapses firing. Besides that, the beer is really cheap.
But what are we going to wear?