Cleaning Richard’s House
Night before last was one of the most incredible good earth things – Richard invited us over for dinner. We got there, bathed and shiny, long dresses, on our bicycles. I had made coconut – avocado cookies and brought them with a pale green cloth in an Indian basket, over the handle of my bicycle.
Richard was wearing his green – and – blue paisley bell – bottom pants and a skinny brown sleeveless shirt of Greg’s. His hair is getting longer, and we couldn’t take our eyes off him. He has a fine astonishing bod. He’s so brown! And so skinny!
Dinner was green stuff and lemons. Lettuces, endive, tomatoes, jicama, cucumber, radishes, celery, green onions. And my cookies.
Anyway. All of us crowded onto Richard’s balcony. Mary Anne came. Bob ate one of my cookies.
“Who made these cookies?”
“I did,” I turn my face up to him.
“Mmmm,” he kissed me, cookie mouth, it got good and better and cookieful and better! I couldn’t eat after that, I wanted to sink through the floor. He seemed to dig it too. Arms around everybody.
Becka got a bad bloody nose, to which she is somewhat prone. Richard and I got ice and tried to stop it. Finally it stopped, but she was embarrassed.
They all split then except Mary Anne, Bekka and me. Mary Anne had asked Richard if we could do the dishes. He’s usually too proud, but he said yes. They went to a concert.
From washing the dishes we got excited, decided all at once to clean up his apartment. He hasn’t cleaned it in the three years he’s lived there. He keeps it slightly ordered, but that’s all.
Oh how we pitched in and worked! Piled dirty laundry outside on the porch, took everything out of refrigerator and cupboards, eating as we went. (The Green Dinner was not so very filling.) I took over the bathroom and bedroom. Scrubbed floors on my hands and knees, we were so excited we kept grabbing each other. I spray – painted the toilet chartreuse and turquoise. The floor got many shades lighter. Windexed everything glass, “everything that can be ajaxed can be windexed,” said Mary Anne.
“I’ve discovered that,” I said.
I put all letters in a drawer (he had some interesting – looking ones) and dumped perfume on the mattress, shook it liberally into the bathroom and closet. Bekka and I took the dirty laundry to the laundromat on our bicycles. Bekka lugged a big pendulous blanketful over her shoulder, and we laughed all the way.
After I left laundry and Becka off I went to Huck and Sandy’s and asked Sandy if she wanted to help. She did, so then I sped on home to get bedspreads, cloths, and things to redecorate with. It was a good fast ride.
Off again basketsful of cloths, a box of powdered sugar to frost a cake with.
I scrubbed the floors, all of them. Paper – toweled the cupboards. Mary Anne defrosted the refrigerator, Mary Anne got Bekka and laundry in Tommy’s car, Sandy came over with groovy tissue paper. We glued it on the door and part of the wall. The kitchen was sparkling white and shiny.
I hung a striped cloth over the window, put one of my poem – illustrations over the table. On the table were a red cloth, a yellow paper towel, a colander of oranges and lemons. The poem – illustration was from Kenneth Patchen, on rice paper, the one saying –
“and the rice stirs usefully in our bellies.”
It has a mother and young boy on it, watercolored. Oh it looked good!
I put the old Indian bedspread Jim and I had on Richard’s couch. That may be a bad thing– I never want Jim to know it because that spread speaks of up North and Free School, balling and Jimclose. Maybe I’ll have to get it back. Get Richard another.
My peacock- feather cloth is over his bedroom door. His washbasin has a big hunk of porcelain out of the side, and I stuck a blue plastic rose in it drolly.
I baked a cake. It was getting late. He had no vanilla or baking powder, so we leavened the cake with eggwhites and flavored it with cognac. The frosting I made from sugar, egg yolk, cream cheese, and pineapple juice. Put walnuts, Leo food, in a design on top when it came out. Baked it in a frying – pan.
We knew he would come home soon. We planned to hide and surprise him. It got funnier and funnier. Cake in the refrigerator, house sparkling, we turned out the lights and sat in his bedroom waiting. Kai the baby was asleep on the couch in the middle room, so we decided to leave him there. What a surprise that would be for Richard, Kai’s little snores echoing through the house when he got home!
Sandy had had a dream about seducing him – Richard. And that he rejected her. She has fabulous dreams.
We planned to hide in the shower. We thought we heard him once, and had a trial run, and the shower, which is metal, wommed and warped and made great metal noises. In the dark. Oh – I sewed up his bright- orange pants, which had ripped out again.
What women we were! We danced in the dark, swaying our arms up and around the shiny house. I spray – painted a heart on one of the window – blinds. Mary Anne peeked out through it, watching for his car. She didn’t have her glasses on though.
“There’s somebody blocking the driveway,” she announced. “Richard will have to park in the street. The car looks like Richard’s. Somebody’s getting into it, they’re splitting, good! No! Somebody’s getting out of it! It is Richard’s car! He’s coming!”
We all ran into the bathroom and squeezed into the shower, and held each other’s shoulders round and round. Fought the giggle – battle.
Kai snored away out there. What would Richard think? Becky was almost choking to death on her laughter, I couldn’t breathe I was so full of suspense and laughter, Becky kept saying to me –
“breathe deep! Breathe deep!”
It was Kai that set it off. We heard Richard come in, heard him say –
Then he must have picked up Kai, because Kai began to whimper. That did it. We collapsed.
“Oh!” cried Richard, coming in to us now, he helped herd us sputtering collapsing gasping laughing out of the shower, held us as we laughed, kept saying –
“Wow! Wow!” Very tall and patting us.
He had come in carrying Kai, blanket drooping, what a sight! Sandy was having fits. That was only the beginning of the good time. We led him all over the house, showing him proudly what we’d done.
He made tea, having a hard time finding everything, and we brought out the marvelous cake from the clean refrigerator. Reported on the various scunges we had found. Mold in the refrigerator. Oh he was beautiful. Patting us in his colorful clothes.
“Where did you get those clothes?” Sandy asked. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy wear clothes that beautiful.”
Quite a statement, from her. He told us about the good concert.
I had slept about two hours in the past two days, so I was nodding over my tea. Richard sat by me and held me. We understand. I won’t die! Oh I won’t die! I guess Jerry doesn’t know that, that I get afraid I’m going to die.
We all went downstairs then (crumbs already on the tablecloth) and hugged many times. Sandy left, (I’m sure she’s thinking of Richard even more. I love her.) and Mary Anne Bekka and I huddled, swaying. For a long time, people just outing with what came to their mouths. I was almost falling asleep. Finally we all split.
That was not the end. Becka and I got to my house, and while I was frizzing my clean hair she had a nosebleed. Rather than waste all that beautiful blood down the toilet, we decided to dye something with it. So we hung a t-shirt over the toilet and she moved her round nose over it, and the dark blood dripped on the t-shirt. She held it this way and that, inventing designs as she went. We hung it up to dry.
Perversion! we cried.