Sunday, April 29, 2012
Not a Travis
Author's note: I'm working on a memoir so I'm going to throw out some of the excerpts. Your feedback is appreciated. And now you can stop telling me you're sad I'm not writing anymore.
The Travis' had a lot of money. This I was certain of. The front room of the Travis home displayed oversized paintings with neon streaks on severe metallic backgrounds. There were soulless glass decorative bowls. Theirs was a house of cats. There were probably 6 of them but you only ever saw one - who would meow "fuck you little girl" as it walked over your face when you were sitting on the leather couch. Even at the age of 7, I understood that interior decoration and unfriendly pets were the accessories of the wealthy.
I was best friends with the daughter - Nicole. Nicole rarely spoke and spent a lot of time painting dolphins and playing piano. I spent my free time inhaling books at the library, creating inoperable inventions and writing long winded plays. She often invited me to sleepover at her palace where her parents Bill and Hinda Travis and the alleged 6 cats lived.
Her mom worked at a bank. She was very serious. You could ascertain the seriousness of her personality by the short length of her hair cut and her inability to smile. It was at this age that I decided that either women who worked could not have feelings or that banks are a very cruel place to spend your time. Her dad Bill sold dental equipment and was the kind of man who looked undernourished regardless of his food intake. He wore faded blue jeans with white tennis shoes and composed new age jazz music on the side.
Their daughter was a burgeoning pianist and had done actual things with her life. Real accomplishments before her breasts had formed. There were medals and concertos and strict piano teachers who insisted on keeping their appointments in odd minute increments - Nicole always left for a37 minute piano lesson and sometimes if she had behaved - they stretched it to 45.
I had no interest in the piano. Perhaps because I'm not gifted musically and perhaps because it was the kind of thing that my parents couldn't afford. Having hobbies that required more than your imagination led a child down a dangerously expensive path - first there is the purchasing of the baby grand piano, then the weekly checks written to an 80 year old music teacher, then the gas used to watch the young daughter perform 2 hours away in a concert for the melodically and financially gifted. No no. I was not a Travis. My only hobby was my mind.
Hinda Travis took a vested interest in my self invented theatrical career. Hinda said she had a friend growing up who ended up on Who's The Boss. "She was just like you" - Hinda said. "A lot of personality and no fear." This woman had convinced me that I had what it took to succeed. It was hard to disagree with her authority. This was a woman who had a treadmill in her bedroom.
Once while eating string cheese at their kitchen counter, Hinda asked politely where my dad lived. "The city" I said and kept munching. "What kind of place does he live in?" she inquired. "A studio" I replied. Nicole asked what a studio was. Hinda explained -- "it's a room as big as where we stayed when we went to visit Nana in Florida." "That small?" Nicole said. "That small," Hinda replied.