No Sex In The City

by Marjorie Jensen

A personal tragedy has overshadowed my ongoing deconstruction of privilege. There are wars overseas I could be discussing. “Community Government? is an AdCil agenda item. But I have to speak about the dead. I hope my prose-form elegy will move you, dear reader, to feel some empathy (or sympathy, as the case may be).

I mourn the loss of a loved one. It is an unfamiliar death. Last Saturday, at the penultimate moment of passion, my vibrator died. I have had to revive my most constant and loyal lover with the occasional battery or two, but death was never this permanent before. No matter how much I shook with tears in my eyes, I could not bring life back.

Now, you have to understand how long we have been together. I spotted this pink, sparkly piece of ecstasy over six years ago. Others have tempted me, but I usually couldn’t afford them anyway. Mine was uncomplicated, somewhat realistic, the perfect size. Reliable, you know. It never changed between us. Things were never awkward.

I never expected my most steadfast lover to abandon me in the city, to leave me alone so suddenly in a cold (and windy) metropolis. I have fretful dreams. Nights seem longer. I am uncomforted, frustrated. The loss of something without life leaves me mystified. How do I cope with this unexpected loss? Does everyone grieve differently?

I suppose I should think of it as an opportunity to buy something I’ve really wanted, something special and new. But the obsession with the familiar is unshakable. I crave the one I know and have loved. How do I find another exactly like the one that has died? I live with wanting and waiting. I hesitate to replace, to dismiss.

I have to escape somehow, forget my loss, and begin to love again. I live under the cruel, Petrarchan hand of the subject of my research- Elizabeth Regina. She speaks of a perfect courtier that pursues her with no intent to capture. I see her everywhere. She permeates my textsher gendered rhetoric correlating Twelfth Night to The Maid’s Tragedy. In all their women I see her words reflected. “To think of making love by sentiments!? Sterne speaks to me from the reading for class tomorrow, mocking not only the conventions of travel literature. I’ve been trying to seduce with words Gloriana of Spenser’s imagination; the ultimately unattainable woman outside my text. She is a signature under my hand, a poem written in Latin. I have only remnants.

While this Renaissance Queen has captured my days, my nights still beg to be filled. I work late hours on the weekend, playing hacky-sack, in Jimmy John’s apron and all, to fill the quiet before the storm hits at about 2am. My co-workers make me forget in my laughter. We make enough in our tip jar to go out for breakfast. We close the store as the morning crew unlocks the door behind us.

I mindlessly enter data in my comfortable cube in the Development office at the Newberry after events. Before bed, I try yoga, familiar movies, drinks with kids from JJ’s. Nothing eases me into sleep. I lie awake and remember years together, unfailing, perfect, effortless. I know I have to find another to make this cycle of half-living end.

Coming to the end of this conceit, I find I have no more euphemisms to shroud my loss. I’ll invoke New-Age magic to heal me. Hitachi’s wand awaits me online. I’m sure my quest will have a happy ending.