I haven’t gone to the bathroom (number two) in six business days. I feel five months pregnant. I feel septic. I feel like Florida in the summer — unbearably hot, sick and sweaty — a swollen cloud teeming with water praying for the relief of rain. Humid. I feel humid.
I shuffle out of the bathroom defeated, yet again.
“Did you ‘make’?” Savannah asks, in a mock accent that makes her sound like she’s from Flatbush, not Westchester. (For those of you from normal towns, “Did you make” is what old-world Jews and Italians from the Tri-State area say in lieu of “Did you take a shit?”)
“Did you take a SHIT?!” Dayna asks, emerging from the kitchen in a silk nightgown. Dayna is an Italian from Long Island and because she’s always teetering between crass and class she switches back and forth between saying “make” and “shit.” I notice that one strap of her nightgown straps has snapped and is hanging right at the curve of her waist. She doesn’t seem to notice or care — why would she? A broken strap is fucking chic. And you’re a loser if you think otherwise.
“I did not,” I say cooly. On days three and four I had a sense of humor about my lack of evacuation. On day five I’d had enough.
Day six? I’ve not only had enough but I can see the red mist alarming me that I could launch into a violent, blind rage if I’m not careful.
“Let me go to the store right now and get you an enema,” Savannah says in a way that is both pushy and authoritative. Like a strict but loving school teacher telling her failing student that SHE HAS POTENTIAL IF ONLY SHE WOULD DO HER HOMEWORK! I get her intensity. Like me, Savannah is Jewish and struggles with bouts of acute constipation. I think because our origins are that of the desert we’re both very dry inside.
On the contrary, I’ve never known Dayna to go more than twelve hours without making/shitting. Italians have consistently consumed a fuck ton of extra virgin olive oil through-out their lives that they’re generationally regular. I’m very proud to be Jewish but Matzo doesn’t exactly lubricate the insides the way OIL does — if you know what I mean.
“Did you try eating FIBER?” Ana, Dayna’s fiancee screams from the kitchen. She’s Asian and goes to the bathroom the exact same time a day, every day.
I feel the warm flood of unabashed rage wash over my constipated limbs. I’m so constipated I can feel it in my arms. “OF COURSE I’VE TRIED FIBER I’M NOT AN ANIMAL!” I scream back.
Ana is the sweetest and most generous host who has been patiently listening to me bitch about my bowels for the last five days and doesn’t deserve to be a victim of my temper tantrum. But anyone who’s ever suffered from constipation understands how deeply infuriating it is to be asked such elementary questions from someone who’s never been backed up a day in their perfectly regular lives.
Have I tried Fiber? I’ve swallowed castor oil and have paid strangers to stick a hose up my ass, honey.
“Just let me get you an enema,” Savannah says gently this time. Her beautiful, soulful eyes teem with empathy. Her chocolate brown hair hangs in front of her pale face and she looks like some kind of Hebrew Angel! I imagine her with fairy wings gracefully flying into a Duane Reade clutching a star of David as she swoops up a pile of enemas with her sparkly angel hands.
I look outside and my fantasy immediately evaporates.
“NO! It’s BLIZZARDING!” I dramatically gesture to the window. We all peer outside. The snow is coming down heavy. The flakes are so big they look like cartoon snow-flakes. I swear I can almost see the unique patterns on them! It’s mesmerizing.
For a moment I forget that I feel like a basketball is gestating in my stomach.
“It actually, like, low-key is blizzarding,” Dayna says in her best San Fernando Valley accent, pulling a bottle of sauvignon blanc from the fridge.
“I can’t handle you dying while driving to get me an enema.” I pout like a petulant child. “I feel bad enough as is.”
“For what?” Savannah asks.
“Nothing in particular. Guilt is my general baseline.” I notice that there’s a kernel of popcorn in my bra. No wonder I’m backed up.
She nods her head in deep understanding. There aren’t certain things Jewish girls intrinsically understand and one is generalized baseless guilt.
Dayna pours each of us a liberal glass of wine for two in the afternoon.
“Drink this,” She orders, handing me a wine glass. “It will make you feel better. It’ll relax you and then you’ll go make!” She giggles, her upward turned Cleopatra eyes look like black diamonds. We both know it’s probably not true as alcohol dehydrates you, but we both also know that we love any excuse to indulge our inner alcoholic. I clink my glass against her glass. We’re in cahoots, babe.
The soft velvet blanket of gratitude covers me from head to toe and I’m suddenly warm, soft.
“Thank you guys for being so supportive of me,” I say like a Grammy winner to her fans.
Am I about to cry? I don’t know if I’m about to get my period or if the constipation is rendering me hyper-sensitive or if it is indeed rare to have a wolf-pack of girlfriends wildly concerned about your unsavory stomach issues.
Savannah looks like she might cry too. “We’re always here for you, Z.” She says her voice slightly shaky, her angel eyes glistening.
Dayna puts her arms around both of us. “I will literally stick my finger in your ass if you want me to,” She says this like she means it and I’m certain she does.
I sneak away to the kitchen to pour my wine into my favorite Hello Kitty mug. Have you ever noticed that all mentally ill girls — regardless of their age, class, or creed — have this irrepressible love for all things Hello Kitty? I think it’s because our dark, corrupted little minds covet the simple innocence of a white, plush-coated cat. She represents something very specific we don’t have but desperately wish we had: Wholesomeness.
That or we connect with the overall mania of Hello Kitty, herself. I mean she’s an overweight cat with a giant head who wears bows? No “normal” cat would ever choose to wear a bow. They’d rock a switchblade maybe. But not a bow. Bows are for sissies and no cat is a sissy. A cat is swashbucklin’ dyke that walks with her pelvis leading the way.
Or maybe it’s that us mentally ill girls are just stuck in the age of repressed childhood trauma.
To think that Yale hasn’t conducted a study…
Dayna pads into the bathroom and comes out with a phallic-looking bottle of body oil. She’s wearing hot pink slippers that have been torn apart by her chihuahua and dachshund mix (the two most mentally ill breeds combined).
“Lay down,” she demands.
I’m British. I don’t ask questions. I shut the fuck up and do as I’m told.
“Oh, babe! Are you going to give her one of your famous poop massages?” Ana asks, her eyes lighting up like a flickering neon sign at a Southern motel.
“Fuck yeah, I am,” Dayna says, strictly-business.
She lubes up her arm and gets to work, kneading on my stomach. I can feel air moving around and I can’t help but release a loud fart. It’s not a productive fart, it’s one of those farts that’s just air. It’s me as a fart: shallow but noisy.
Everyone hysterically laughs. Wine flies out of Savannah’s nose. Dayna is dry-heaving laughing, the kind that is soundless because you’re choking and the laugh is stuck in your throat.
I look down at my outfit. I’m in a head to toe pink sweatsuit with playboy bunny logos all over it. A year ago I would’ve been in a DVF wrap dress putting final touches on my soon-to-be-released book, from a chic women’s only coworking space in SOHO.
Now I’m farting in front of my friends in sweats on Long Island.
I start laughing. Fat, wet, tears roll down my bloated cheeks. (Not shitting for six days will triple the size of your face).
“Never trust someone who can’t laugh at a fart,” my Auntie Marie once told me. I agree. No one is above laughing at a fart. And if you are — you need to take the metal rod out of your ass and unclench that sphincter and let one out! All that holding it in is making you bitter, babes.
Twenty minutes later, we’re all curled up together in Dayna and Ana’s bed slightly drunk from our daytime wine.
“I feel like when I drink it just stays in me now. I must be so toxic.”
“HOLD ON!” Savannah rushes to her laptop. She flips it open and begins to furiously type. She looks like a journalist working at rapid-fire speed, ready to break the story that will make her career.
“I think I found a place that delivers enemas,” she says this breathlessly.
Dayna perks up like a meerkat.
“Where?” I ask. I’m cautiously optimistic.
“711 must sell enemas,” I say. “All my gay boys are always going to 711 and it’s certainly not for the donuts.”
“Call your brother. Isn’t he a 711 connoisseur?” Dayna asks.
I nod my head. He is. He knows everything 711 stocks and he’s never wrong.
I text him: “Does 711 sell enemas?”
He doesn’t respond.
“That dick.” I hiss under my breath, constipation rage firing off inside of me like a round of gun-shots, yet again.
“If they sell them I’ll help you insert it,” Savannah purrs.
“No! I will!” Dayna growls.
“Oh my god, are you FIGHTING over who is going to insert my enema?” I place my hand against my heart.
“Yeah,” they both answer in unison. We’ve been attached at the hip for several days and have been creepily speaking in unison. It’s like the identical twins in The Shining only we’re lesbians in Greenport during a blizzard and a global pandemic.
“That’s the nicest thing I’ve EVER experienced!” My heart is so full of love I feel like it’s going to combust. I imagine plastic hearts the color of the inside of a rare steak — bursting out of my chest and flying around Dayna’s perfectly white room.
(Did I mention we haven’t left the house or had a gulp of fresh air in days? The cabin fever is making us all batty. But you should only feel bad for me because I’m both backed-up and batty. And you thought I was privileged! Shame on you!).
I take in the room. I have two girlfriends arguing over who is going to give me an enema.
What the fuck would I ever have to complain about? I’ve been dreaming of this moment my whole life. More than being a writer or an actress or Paris Hilton’s best-friend — I’ve dreamed of having friends to wax poetic over the nuances of bowl movements with.
The dark curtain that covers my brain is suddenly lifted. Light pours in. I have real friends. Real adult friends.
“Remember before you knew me and you would read my articles about having sex and partying?” I ask.
“Yes,” they answer, once again in creepy unison.
“And cut to the present and I’m shamelessly farting all over you?”
“We like this version of you the best,” Savannah says.
And just like that, I feel a rumble deep inside my loins.
“Guys,” I say because my favorite hobby is misgendering my friends.
I gulp. “I think it’s time.”
Dayna clasps her hand in Catholic prayer. Savannah hands me a book, knowing in her gut that I need reading material. In fact, all I’ve ever needed in my life are prayers and reading material.
I smile at them and brave the bathroom. My body full of shit, my heart full of gratitude.
I enter the bathroom, take a deep breath and close the door.
My debut book GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP: THE BAD GIRL’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR SH*T TOGETHER is available NOW on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, AUDIBLE, and BAM! If you send me a screenshot of your order, I’ll send you swag!