Otis and I return back to Los Angeles in high spirits. Cradling his rock as I go through Customs, I feel Philip’s loving presence in every moment of the day.
Out of the blue, the other woman tells Otis that she is planning on moving to Los Angeles. In a moment of spirited generosity I invite her to come live with us. I feel the three of us living together could be the perfect situation for me to learn unconditional love. We both love the same man, we could love each other too, thereby widening and extending the circle of love.
Yay! She agrees to come, brave soul that she is. I also feel that her move is a testimony to how much she loves Otis. This girl is in love with the man! Just like me. I feel a certain kinship.
The Prostitute says, “In old China, there was the first wife, the second wife, third wife, even fourth wife. The Yellow Emperor had three thousand wives. Men are a lot of trouble, it’s actually better to share. Spread the workload. I like my statue as the first wife!”
But she does not want to be the second wife so the two of them make a deal: they will only work together and not have sex. That arrangement actually makes me feel very good!
She and I make arrangements about the amount of work she has to do in order to pay off the rent. We talk about the use of our car, gas, food, privacy, etc. We talk on the phone and send emails back and forth. All three of us feel that we are enlightened, spiritual beings collectively entering something new. The three of us will be platonic co-creators in building a circle of love. Our lives together will be our art. We will jump into a new world together holding hands.
She uproots her life in Portland, packs all of her belongings into boxes and sends them to us. She herself doesn’t come right away. Instead she wants to make some money working a temporary job. She won’t arrive until winter. I don’t think much of it. I figure waiting three months makes no difference in eternity, where love dwells.
Boy, was I wrong. Winter arrives suddenly. Sunny California gets 300 days of sun a year but those sun-free days all seem to appear during winter. Days are short and sometimes the sun doesn’t appear at all.
Psychologically, I feel that the world around me goes into collective hysteria. There are more people on the road, traffic becomes more complicated and I get very tense on my bicycle. The stores are pushing a hyper-excited end-of-year buy-buy-buy message. Otis becomes a sloth and moves in extreme slow motion. He sleeps ten hours a day. He eats and speaks very little. When he is up, he is melancholic and gets depressed easily. He seems suicidal to me. I worry and get depressed myself. We’re constantly on edge.
Into this mess she arrives. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve: it’s sun down. I knock and peek into Otis’s darkened room. It stinks of bad breath.
“Hello? How are you? Happy New Year’s Eve!” I find Otis still in bed. He turns to look at me, his eyes are blinking like a blind person. I want to smack him and send him flying, “It’s New Year’s Eve, can’t you cheer up?”
He tells me, “I want to tell you something. We hooked up.”
“What?! I thought you guys made a deal!”
“It wasn’t working out that well…”
I sigh. “Oh my man… I already knew this would happen. It’s okay with me.”
“This cold, dark place is killing me. I want to go somewhere sunny and warm. My guidance says to go to Thailand for three months.”
A few days later, I am speaking with the other woman when she says, “I’m going to Thailand!” She beams of happiness.
“Wait, isn’t Otis going to Thailand?”
“Of course, I am the one who suggested it to him. He needs to be somewhere warm and sunny.”
“He didn’t tell me that you two are going together?” I’m lost for words.
“Well, we’re not going together. He’s going first and then I join two weeks later.”
“I call that going together!”
Her smiling face is like a dagger to my heart. This little girl, who is younger than my daughter, is taking my man. She wants him just like I want him. She doesn’t want to be the second wife, she wants to be the first wife.
I feel Philip beaming a white golden light on me, smoothing my pains. I keep my breath even. I want to be mad and I look for my Black Witch in my imagination. I find her play acting the “Lucy & Tizzy Really Awful Show.” She is dodging Tizzy’s fire balls and is throwing her own right back at him. They’re laughing merrily. My Black Witch has a new life of her own and I don’t want to disturb her.
My fury is under control. I pull together a smile, “Best of luck.” And I mean it too. She is a feisty young girl, daring enough to duke it out with a powerful Black Witch like me. I admire her.
The night before Otis is to fly away, I help him put all his heavy winter clothes into a nice chest of drawers. I put the chest of drawers beside my bed. “I will keep them safe until you return.”
Otis leaves first and two weeks later, I help her move all of her stuff to her aunt’s house and take her to the airport.