The Transformation Of Amy Lunaro: Chapter One. {fiction}

Amy stepped off the boat and laid down 15,000 cash for a jeep.

It was the end of summer season on the little island off the coast of Maine, and the Brazilian man at the car rental place couldn’t believe his good luck. She pressed the pedal of the little green Wrangler into first gear.

Even though she hadn’t driven a standard since her father taught her on her fifteenth summer on a hill behind the high school, she remembered. There was peace for a moment remembering who she was before… everything.

Then she made her way up island towards the rental home her publicist had booked for her for the winter. Her hangover was raging and she was sweating Sauvignon Blanc through her pores and possibly crying it, but she hid that behind dark glasses.

She hadn’t taken those glasses off since he left her; they shielded her from the light, and anyone else from her raw ravaged sadness. The glasses shielded her, at least a bit, from life itself.

She felt, how she had felt since she was 16, that if someone looked at her wrong, she might shatter into a thousand pieces. And while she couldn’t remember who she was or what she was good at anymore, she knew she was good at that, protecting herself from life. Not participating in her very existence, numbing herself to it.

She had been doing it for fifteen years, since her mother’s funeral when someone handed her her first Xanax when she had started to do that convulsing, heaving cry. She remembered the first moment the tiny white specks of sedation swam into her bloodstream, the blanket of calm, like she had found a way out of the pain.

She remembered asking herself, dressed in all black, her mother’s orange and white scarf tied around her neck, “You mean feeling is actually an option?” And thinking to herself, “Well then, why doesn’t everyone just opt out?”

And from that moment, she did. She leaned way back out of her own life. And now life was demanding she lean back in, because there was no one left to do it for her. And there had always, until now, been someone to do it for her.

He was gone. James was no longer hers. And now, terrifyingly, all she had was herself. She wasn’t someone she liked very much, was all she knew. Recently she’d taken to slapping her own face in the mirror, which at first startled her, of course. But then it became a habit.

She did it partly out of self-loathing, and partly because it always seemed so glamorous to her when a tearful woman slapped a man and walked away; there was just so much, passion, and she wanted to feel passion, and she wanted, for once, to be the one who walked out.

Sometimes she slapped herself just for the sting of being alive, to wake herself back up. Once when she was about eight years old, she sat on the big yellow bus to school next to a normal, shiny blond-haired little girl and she was running her tongue over a sore inside her mouth. She felt tingly in her flesh when the pain flared up.

She said to the blond girl, “Do you ever play with something even though it hurts?” And the girl looked at her with big horrified brown eyes and said, without hesitation, “No.”

And that was Amy’s first clue she was different. She and James had played with each other’s hearts until they broke — which she never really thought would actually happen — she had thought that was Love’s Game, breaking each other’s hearts, putting them back together, then doing it all over again. But James had finally called an end to the game, and now here she was, alone on this island where she had vacationed as a child, but hadn’t been back to in five years, since their wedding.

She thought back to that night in 2009; she wore a white silk slip dress, combat boots and red lips and purple hair, and a serious red wine and pills buzz. But she had just signed the book contract, and James’ second record had a glowing review in Rolling Stone, and all looked bright.

But there had never been any intimacy. Fuck, she didn’t even know what that was, and she was pretty sure she still didn’t.

Their wedding had been a voyeuristic event; his whole hometown came and James had managed to turn it into a concert after the vows, with people crying his name like a God while she stood, drinking heavily in the shadows of backstage.

While she had made some good friends in his hometown, she still always felt like the imposter who had stolen away their golden boy, and she felt eyed with suspicion and walking a tight rope till she fucked up, when she would fall into a waiting trap of hungry alligators like in Romancing the Stone.

And she did fuck up. And they did eat her alive.

And thanks to the booze and the show, the wedding almost didn’t feel different from any other night on any tour, expect she had a conflict-free love stone on her finger, and she was dressed in white, and he had just professed his love for her in front of hundreds, but he could scream it from the world’s very rooftop and her heart still wouldn’t hear it.

He used to say no one could fill the hole inside of her. Not ten thousand men. She had thought marriage would finally make her feel safe and claimed and loved, but it was true, apart from the vows they had just exchanged, which, really, were just words, everything else had felt the same.

She was still terrified of losing him, and she was still standing in his shadow, and she was still slipping into substance oblivion to numb the fear of abandonment.

She had grown so used to the feel of the heavy velvet of the curtains of backstage while James played, the feeling of leaning up against them like falling into a soft vertical couch. She could half pass out standing up and no one really noticed. Because no one was really looking at her.

If they couldn’t find James, they would talk to her, but the conversation was about James and looking for James. And that was the whole thing about being with someone famous — it was like secondhand smoke, it made you famous by proxy, and if everyone loved him and he loved you, well, that must make you sort of special, right?

That summed up their relationship — the light on him, her in the dark. Him front and center stage, her in the dark of backstage, so dark she could, and did, disappear.

She pulled into the dusty parking lot of the Old Al’s general store she had worked in as a pudgy brace-faced teenager. She wondered where that wedding dress was, and if she could even fit a leg in it anymore.

She missed being able to throw on a slip, what others would consider for bedtime only, and go to dinner. She loved the shock value of her nipples raised through the thin material and the absence of an underwear line. She loved the lingering looks at her lingerie of HowDareShe.

She hadn’t realized what a full-blown attention addict she was. She had usually just risen an hour or so before it was time to party again. Getting wasted was her main motivation for getting up.

She had a glass of red wine in her hand five minutes after waking, and she lied to herself that it was glamorous, getting up as the sun was going down and drinking red wine in silk as you put your makeup on.

But it was unsustainable smeared-lipstick Courtney Love-ish glamor, and it lasted five fucked-up years. Courtney Love was partially to blame. She had worshiped her growing up. She had been absolutely enamored with the whole grunge scene. Hole, Nirvana, Pearl Jam.

Eddie Vedder swinging from the rafters, and Angela Chase moaning about the meaning of life and kissing Jordan Catalano in the boiler room but being ignored by him in the hallways, and that’s what love was to her — painful and dramatic and mostly unrequited — her own love for herself and from men. And plaid shirts and holey jeans and Doc Martens and teenage angst.

She cataloged every Rolling Stone and every Spin and every Sassy along the shelves of her childhood bedroom, and when other kids asked her why she didn’t do her homework, she’d say, “Because I’m going to become a rock journalist.” And she did and she was. Until she met James.

And now, ever since James had left her, she had only eaten frozen pizzas in the glow of bad Lifetime movies and drank wine like water. She had finally descended so deep into an underworld from which she had no hopes of returning. She was sure she had fallen too far to ever get back up.

It’s like she had gone drunken spelunking into a cave and the rope had broken, and no one had known or cared that she was gone. There was no one on the other side waiting for her to rise. It was just her, at the bottom of the world, looking up at everyone carrying on with their lives on the surface. They had the handbook and the map to this life, she had never gotten it.

When James was leaving her so easily, like a shirt he had grown tired of, an old friend from her early days at Rolling Stone had said, “I think, to be the kind of woman someone fights for, you have to be the kind of woman who fights for herself.”

And it was so true that it took the wind out of her, but she hadn’t known how to do it. She had officially given up, let herself go.

Her skin was gray and somehow, freakishly, both dry and broken out, at war with itself, and she was heavy in spirit, although she wasn’t sure she had one — and she was dark and heavy as well in what was left of her mind and her bloated body.

She wore sweats on most days, the same faded burgundy $19.99 set from Target, the ones that could make you feel homeless in your own home. If being at home with yourself meant being at home in your own skin, she was most certainly homeless, a beggar at the gates of her own life.

She felt — no, she knew — terrifyingly so, that she was waiting to die, like maybe that was all that was left to do. It was as if she had burned every bridge and there was nowhere left in the world to go.

She had this gnawing feeling that the last place to go was inside of her self, and that thought terrified her. That was where all the monsters were. Certainly not under the bed, but inside her very head.

This is an ongoing series from a forthcoming fiction novel by Sarah Durham Wilson of DOITGIRL.
Tune in weekly for the next chapter in ‘The Transformation of Amy Lunaro’.


Sarah Durham Wilson
Sarah Durham Wilson is a woman in the world who writes about being a woman in the world. She teaches workshops, courses, and retreats on awakening to one’s inner Divine Feminine nature. You can find her on Facebook and her blog.
Sarah Durham Wilson
Sarah Durham Wilson