A Taxi Ride to Tiffany’s Posted on 04 Mar 00:55 , 0 comments
By Vivi Rathbone.
One day my tooth started aching, and it never stopped. I went to the dentist, who offered me one serious solution.
The tooth had to be pulled.
I pleaded. “Isn’t there some other way? There has got to be some other way!”
There was no other way. The tooth had to go. I scheduled an appointment.
I showed up at the dentist office that day, full of dread. My dentist noticed my nervous state and tried to comfort me.
“Here, we can put some music on, to distract you.” He turned up a radio.
“Don’t worry, it’s just a tooth. With the novocaine you won’t feel anything.”
He gave me a shot of novocaine and waited for it to kick in. Then he gave me another. He pulled out his wrench, and started to go to work.
As he wiggled my molar with the wrench, and I felt the pressure of the muscle and force used to ply it free. I cried out in pain. I could feel it. I could feel everything. It was pain and discomfort and bad memories. I started to cry. The dentist soothed me. ” It will be over soon, don’t cry.”
This continued for an hour, until my tears and cries reached a breaking point. I stopped the dentist. I can’t go on! Stop, we just have to leave it. I can’t go through with this.
“Vivi,” he consoled me. “You can do this. This is all in your head.”
All in my head? It was a big enough idea to distract me with existentialism. I laid back and tried to breathe through the pain. I listened to the music. A good song came on.
Wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style, someday.
You heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way.
The tooth tore from my gums, sending rays of relief through my entire head. I saw stars. I cried and laughed. It was finally over. My dentist laughed too, happy to be free of his sobbing wimp of a patient. We hugged.
I lay in bed the next day, weary from the trauma. My face was swollen.
I took a pain pill, which made me groggy and didn’t do much for the pain.
The pain wasn’t an ache from the raw skin or the stitches. The pain was where my tooth used to be. I could feel a phantom tooth where there was now an empty space in my head. The fantom tooth ached a painful misery of loss.
I stayed curled up in my bed, in a painkiller induced haze. I ate red jello, which made me feel sick when it mixed with the salty taste of fresh blood in my mouth. I shut the wooden slats on the windows to block out the day, and retreated to the farthest, safest corner of my bed and fell into a trauma induced sleep, and a Truman Capote induced dream.
I dream that I am in a taxi. My hair is in pig tails and I have a cat. Seated next to me was a handsome man, his blonde hair as stiff as his trench coat solemn. He turns to me and speaks.
“Vivi I’m in love with you.”
“So what?” I reply.
“So what?” He is upset. “So plenty! I love you, you belong to me!”
“No, people don’t belong to people.” I rebuke.
“Of course they do.”
“I’m not going to let anyone put me in a cage!”
“I don’t want to put you in a cage, I want to love you!” His voice is stern.
“It’s the same thing!” My voice is on the verge of becoming hysterical.
“No it’s not! Vivi!”
I erupt. “I’m not Vivi, I’m not Vina either, I don’t know who I am! I’m like cat here, we’re a couple of no name slobs. We belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”
“Vivi! The cat is a symbol for you affection. It remains with you, and you love it, yet you refuse to give it a name. It is a forced rejection of your need for affective love.” I’m sure he is a cohort of my psychoanalyst.
I am outraged. “Stop the cab.” The driver stops and I open the door of the yellow taxi unto a rainy sidewalk, next to a garbage filled alley.
“What do you think?” I address the cat. “This looks like the right kind of place for a tough guy like you. Garbage cans, rats galore.”
I push the cat out of the car, into the rain. It is hesitant and attempts to remain in the car.
“Scram. I said take off. Beat it.”
I slam the door. The cat sits, sad and pathetic on the sidewalk, water drenching its slick fur.
“Let’s go.” I command the driver.
We start to drive away. I put my hand to my cheek, my fantom tooth throbs. It aches so terribly, but it isn’t there. It is an ache of emptiness. ‘It’s all in your head’, I recall my dentist staying.
It’s all in my head? I look over at the man. He is reaching for his wallet, to pull out a bill.
“Driver, pull over here.” He pays the driver, opens the door and gets out of the car. He turns to look back at me, right in the eyes.
“You know whats wrong with you, miss, whoever you are?”
His voice is nasally as he loosens his tie. He pulls out a paper to recite to me a poem. His brown eyes are sharp and focused.
You got no guts.
Your afraid to stick out your chin and say;
OK, life’s a fact.
People do fall in love.
People do belong to each other .
Because thats the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.
(My phantom tooth throbs, and I look away, distracted by my pain. I try to ignore his poem and the pain. I can feel that his eyes have gone grey and move from the page and onto me.)
You call yourself a free spirit.
A wild thing.
And you’re terrified somebody’s going to stick you in a cage.
You’re already in that cage,
You built it yourself.
And its not bound in the east,
By Buenos Aires
Or in the west,
By Boise, Idaho.
It’s wherever you go.
Because no matter where you run
you just end up running into yourself.
My jaw drops and he pauses, shocked by the accuracy of the confrontation. His eyes are olive green. I look down and he fumbles in his pocket for a small box.
“Here, I’ve been carrying this thing around for months. I don’t even want it anymore.”
He tosses the small box into my lap, shuts the door and walks away into the rainstorm. The rain washes him away from the dream sequence.
My hand trembles as I hold the box, and open the lid.
I’m frightened of what I might see.
It’s my tooth. My tooth had been turned to gold.
I am startled and I leap out of the cab, in search of the cat and the man and my happily ever after.
I find him, walking down the street yelling:
“Here cat! Caaaaat! Here cat.”
I run towards him. Where is the cat?
His bright blue eyes light up but he shakes his head. “I don’t know. Vivi, it isn’t the cat that is lost. You never really lose anything. At most you are separated from it, temporarily. You do not see the cat, because the cat is a symbol for your affection. You are separated from your affective self. You have rejected the cat, a symbolic rejection of your own affective nature.”
I turned down the alley. It was full garbage cans, wooden crates, rats galore.
“Cat? Cat? Cat!”
I run, a little frantically, yelling, until finally I’m shrieking:
My shrieks become sobs. I’m reduced from anger to despair. I exhale a gasping sigh. The rainwater mixes with my tears.
“Oh cat.” I’m sure the cat is lost forever. I give up completely. Just as the man had given up and tossed my golden tooth in a box had walked away, abandoning that which he no longer wanted, because he had seen my unwillingness to give the cat a proper name.
I walked back out of the alley, and saw the man waiting at the end of the aisle.
We were far but our eyes locked. I saw him clearly. His eyes sparkled with golden rays like sunbeams in his irises. The light in his eyes illuminates my own, and for a shining moment, the windows are open. I saw stars.
I open my palm. My golden tooth has melted in my hand and is now a shiny polished stone.
“Meow!” I turn and see cat’s little head peaking out from inside of a crate where he had been hiding.
“Cat! Cat! Oh Cat. Ohhhooo.” I sobbed, clutching the cat towards me, putting it inside of my coat, to protect it from the rain. You’ve never seen a girl so happy to be reunited with what she had so recently rejected, that is, unless you’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
I walk slowly down the alley, towards the man.
Moon River starts playing.
Off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world
We’re after the same
Waiting round the bend
My huckleberry friend
I approach the man, he reaches out to me and kisses me, the cat in between us. The camera pans out, and we’re just two small figures, together in the rain.
I open my eyes and I’m curled up in my bed, clutching my pillow protectively to my chest. My cheek is still swollen and my tooth is still missing. My lips feel numb, like they did after the novocaine, that had long since worn off.