Every time Inertia dusted off the large chunk of rose quartz she’d purchased ten years ago in Richmond, Virginia’s Carytown at Kewel Jewels gift shop, it meant only one thing, she was in emotional turmoil. She clung to the pink Matterhorn-shaped rock for comfort whenever she was feeling lonely and lost, which was happening a lot these days. She tried to pass the blame for her anxieties off on the fact that she was keeping long hours at work. As much as she hated to admit it, after seven years on the job, the traveling was getting to her. The senior flight attendants had tried to warn her that she was signing up for too many shifts and would quickly burn out, but Inertia never listened to anyone.
On every trip of serving drinks and demonstrating the proper evacuation procedures, she always made sure that each passenger seated in an emergency exit row felt they were there because of divine selection. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail and generally pleasant demeanor had earned her two Employee of the Month awards as well as regular two percent raises each year. However, shuffling passengers to and fro on an airline was not her idea of a special purpose. Inertia wanted to find herself again. Living, knowing that she had already accomplished her meaning in this life at the age of twenty, was difficult for her emotionally. The only goals she could come up with were the typical yearly resolutions: eat better, start a hobby and take advantage of the fringe benefits of Atlantic Airlines.
She was doing quite well focusing on the list of self-improvement tasks until she insisted on helping an attractive male passenger stow his very heavy and awkward duffle bag in the captain’s quarters. When the duffle bag’s zipper split open and released several juggling pins, a few clear glass balls and a glow-in-the-dark diabolo, Inertia simply stood in the aisle watching the items tumble to the ground. Sara, her fellow flight attendant, saw her struggling and quickly helped her scoop the stuff back up into thepassenger’s bag. Inertia imagined she could smell the burning fumes of fire batons, feel the warm spring breeze of an April day back in 1993, and see a slight, dark, mop-haired boy of twenty-two. She was never specifically sentimental, but she did have one weakness where the past was concerned, Sasha Findlay. He was the reason why she was now standing motionless in front of the cockpit, gobsmacked, and he was also the reason she’d purchased the fist-sized hunk of rose quartz crystal ten years before.
Inertia wasn’t happy with the way things had turned out between her and Sasha. She had pretty much given him the cold shoulder during her virgin pregnancy when she was carrying her fake mother’s child, begotten with the formerly missing gypsy blacksmith hunk, to save herself, her family and future generations of other circus performers who traveled the Ohio Valley, from the Inerzia curse. Inertia was unsure of herself and maladroit, which caused her to push away from the boy she had never stopped thinking about since the last time she’d stood him up at the Virginia Renaissance Faire.
Inertia wanted to know what Sasha was doing and where he was, but she was too shy to simply look him up. She had purchased her first computer after she’d landed the job with Atlantic Airlines and started playing on the internet, casually searching for a name for which no information ever popped up. Before crying herself to sleep the night before her first day off in two weeks, she’d placed the familiar crutch, the rose quartz, under her pillow and tried to sort out her renewed interest in her long lost love.
Inertia woke up the very next morning from a series of prophetic dreams. The last time she’d had such a vivid dream, it had involved the gypsy called Reynaldo—but this time the dream didn’t involve an urgent quest to find her fake mother’s mysterious blacksmith hunk. This dream had the blood in her veins pumping a bit faster than normal. She’d tried to keep her eyes closed in hope that she could go back to sleep to continue the feeling of happiness that flooded her body during the night. Dejected that she was simply too awake to recreate her imagination’s personification of her heart’s desire, she schlepped herself to the bathroom sink and stared at her reflection in the mirror.
She looked horrible. Her periwinkle eyes were large and puffy. She rubbed yesterday’s make-up off with a dry Puffs tissue, which only made her lower eyelid redder than 1998’s most popular bridal color, Mars Red. She also had a crick in her neck, which was making it almost impossible for her to turn her head to the left or right. She wondered if sleeping with the rose quartz under her pillow was doing her more harm, physically anyway, than good.
Inertia had learned everything she needed to know about rose quartz from Jasmine, the soft and sensitive peddler of semiprecious gems at the Big Tent Circus. The soothsaying woman was able to sum up all of Inertia’s disconnected emotional tendencies and hard-hearted facade in only a few short minutes. Of course Inertia’s encounter with Jasmine had also taken place ten years before when no one could stop Inertia from her acts of unselfishness and quests to mend those around her. Now, she was sleeping with rose quartz under her pillow in hope that she might someday be able to win her heart’s desire, worried that she was too late, because, after all, ten years had gone by.
A lot can happen in ten years; people get married, have children, move away, forget and become bitter. Inertia had a true story for every scenario. Her mother, whom she was able to jokingly but endearingly call her “fake mom,” had been able to fall in love forty-eight years previously with a man whom she’d finally found happiness with only ten years before. This gave Inertia hope that indeed people do not forget about each other. But Reynaldo and Grace were an exception, and the chances of such a bond being cemented twice in a lifetime, in Inertia’s thinking, was unheard of.
A looming matter impossible to overlook was the fact that during Grace and Reynaldo’s reunion, Inertia gave birth to their love child; true she was simply “cooking it” for Grace and Reynaldo, but Inertia carried her adoptive mother’s baby to term and birthed little Roman without the normal emotional attachment one would expect from a twenty-year-old virgin girl who had just found out that the woman she always thought was her mother had actually stolen her from the side of the highway when her birth parents plummeted off a mountain road in an exploding Chrysler Custom Newport.
After the events of 1993, life in Richmond, Virginia became too isolating and lonely for Inertia. Her best friend, Gina, had moved to Keyser with A.J. Smith, the farm boy whose twinkling eyes and warm heart melted Gina’s typically ice-cold heart. Meanwhile, Grace and Reynaldo were busy making up for the lost years apart. Inevitably, this left Inertia spending her time with Roman; she had to admit he was good company as far as ten-year-olds went. The actual object of Inertia’s affection had disappeared to faraway places. The last news she’d heard from Sasha's friend Phil, when she saw him during a brief encounter in the Ukrop’s produce section, was that Sasha was in Madagascar with his family.
Inertia wasn’t sure of the exact moment that she started having the fluttery feelings for Sasha. She had never been in love, or at least she didn’t think so. She didn’t want to confuse the butterflies in her stomach every time she thought of him with anything other than feelings she would like to come to terms with, in person and not by talking to herself in the mirror or to her piece of Swiss mountain-range-shaped rose quartz.
Of course, Inertia knew the difference between love and a crush. When she was on her quest to find the gypsy, Inertia became infatuated with Reynaldo from the pages of her mother’s journal. She longed to find him just as much as her mom. When Inertia finally met Reynaldo face to face, she understood immediately Grace’s adoration for the man with the sparkling coal-black eyes and the penetrating stare. Now, Inertia’s butterflies came from thoughts of Sasha, but she was reluctant to give in to them as she couldn’t let herself trust that what she was feeling was actually love, not her imagination wanting to make Sasha into her heart’s desire.
Inertia was afraid of what Sasha was doing, who he was doing them with and where. After all, a lot can happen in ten years, and her imagination was running wild with ideas, all of which involved a beautiful wife plus lots of mop-headed kids in a city somewhere far, far away...
Excerpt from Cursing Django, coming soon in December 2017!
Excerpt from Cursing Django, coming soon in December 2017!