The journey of a thousand miles begins with a—Drop by drop is the water pot fil—Every fresh moment is a new—
Brie sits in the Meditation Garden at The Center, munching a tofu hand roll and scrolling through the new inspirational quotes app she downloaded this morning as a show of commitment. Her astrologer is expecting great things, but so far, she feels a bit sluggish here on the path to spiritual enlightenment. Maybe it's like going to Machu Picchu; you have to rest a little while—you know, acclimate—before the journey may begin.
An unexamined life is not worth living. –Socrates
"Old," she says, scrolling to the next one.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha
"Fat." She shoves the rest of the sushi into her mouth.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. –Steve Jobs
Brie collapses onto the grass. "Dead."
The path to spiritual enlightenment seems too steep at the moment. Maybe there's a tram.
"Hey Grumpy Smurf," a voice says. Brie looks up to find Dita, her favorite fellow Anti-Aging Ambassador, towering above her wearing insanely high Alexander McQueen platform boots and a new color—silver—striped through her infamous long black hair.
Brie closes one eye. "Hey Bride of Frankenstein."
Dita cops a squat on the grass beside Brie and unzips her boots, laboring to remove them. "Ahhhh."
"What the?" Brie is grimacing at the lace undergarments adorning Dita's feet.
She wiggles her toes. "Foot panties. Aren't they sexy?"
Brie rolls over and curls like a fetus.
"What wong?" Dita says, nudging Brie with her panty-clad feet. "You no happy."
Brie sits up. "My new gay astrologer told me it's time to grow up, so I'm seeking the path to enlightenment."
"Fuck your new gay astrologer!" Dita shouts. "You're coming to Vegas for my fortieth, you promised, whether you take the ecstasy or not."
A thin blonde woman across the reflecting pond seated beside the peace sign topiary is shushing them and pointing to a sign:
PLEASE REFRAIN FROM TALKING OR USING ELECTRONIC DEVICES HERE IN THE MEDITATION GARDEN. NAMASTE.
"Namaste!" Dita bellows across the pond, waggling her long black fingernails in apology. She turns to Brie and whispers, "That woman's a gnarly bitch. She's moody because she's anorexic and her closeted husband makes her get her asshole waxed and bleached every two weeks so he can dork her in the bunghole."
Brie makes an unpleasant sound. "Why not just come out? LA is like the gayest place on Earth."
Dita takes out a can of Cookies & Cream Pure Protein from her purse and shakes it. "So what have you found so far on the path to enlightenment?"
Brie moans out a sigh. "A twenty-one-year-old lacrosse player." She stretches her legs long. "Actually, I wouldn't say I'm quite on the path yet. I'm more looking for the trailhead." She looks at Dita. "I think I need a mentor. Any suggestions?"
Dita takes a slug of her lunch. "Duh, Oprah."
Brie slaps herself a V-8. "Totally," she says, pulling up oprah.com on her phone.
"Or Deepak. That dude knows what's up."
"Genius in foot panties." Brie taps a link. "Oh my God, look at this, it's a twofer: Oprah and Deepak, Energy of Attraction, Manifesting Your Best Life, 21-day Meditation Experience. Register and participate for FREE! Oh my God, this is it! Wait, shit—it doesn't start for two weeks."
The groundskeeper is netting a baker's dozen of dead koi from the reflecting pond. The heat brought on an algae bloom and overnight, many fish passed on.
"Oh goodie," Brie says. "Explore Past Experiences." She clicks the link. "Oooh... Expanding Your Happiness, Finding Your Flow, Desire and Destiny, Miraculous Relationships..."
Dita crushes her empty can. "A relationship would be miraculous, wouldn't it?"
"...Perfect Health, and Creating Abundance. Start your journey now. This is exactly what I'm missing! Get this, Deets: Oprah. Deepak Chopra. From now on, I'm not listening to anyone whose name doesn't rhyme with theirs. They're like the gods of the 21st Century."
"No, Girl. Twentieth Century. Like, 20th Century Fox?"
Brie shakes her head. "No, Dumbshit. They're just due for rebranding. Ask Oprah and Chopra, they know what century it is. Ahh yeahh," she says. "Total Transformation Bundle, Volume II. 34-CD Set. Wait, what the hell? $239.99? Are you serious? Aren't these people rich enough? That's so expensive!"
Dita is laying on a fresh coat of mascara. "Excuse me, you spend two hundred dollars on La Mer Eye Cream every two months."
"Yeah, but look at my eyes."
Dita laughs. "Yeah, but look at your soul!"
Brie flings her phone across the finely hewn lawn. "Oh, forget it. I don't even have a CD player. Besides, seems like Oprah and Deepak are spread a bit thin these days. I need a mentor I can touch. I was thinking of going on one of those meditation retreats where you take a vow of silence and after three days of suffering, a bolt of lightning jumps out your crown chakra and all your problems are solved. What do ya think?"
Dita shrugs. "Hot yoga guys."
"But are they?" Brie shuts one eye. "I'm always feeling like the guys at yoga aren't wearing underwear."
Dita dances her eyebrows. "Ooh, maybe I'll wear my foot panties to yoga tonight. Boom! Set that trend."
Brie downward dogs over to her phone and checks her schedule for the afternoon. "Why is my entire PM blocked off in the calendar? Where are my appointments?"
Dita sings, "First Thursday."
First Thursday of each month, The Center invites a group of terminally ill women to come get beautified and pampered, free of charge.
"Great," Brie mutters. "Commission-free afternoon."
"Oh come on, be nice. These poor women are dying!"
Brie wrinkles her nose. "There is nothing more traumatic than French braiding someone's hair when their hair is falling out."
"How about being the one whose hair is falling out?"
Brie considers this. "Fair enough. Just feels sort of weird touching them. I'm just being honest."
"It's not contagious." Dita struggles on her boot. "Besides, seems like helping those in need is something someone on your path is supposed to do."
Brie frowns. "Your name doesn't rhyme with Oprah."
Dita snorts. "Neither does yours, Miss Baggio."
Brie watches the groundskeeper walk past, the bucket of dead koi fish swinging at his side. She looks at Dita. "Do you think I'm selfish?"
Dita plucks a blade of grass. "Everyone I know is selfish."
A silence passes, and Brie and Dita watch the intern who claims to have had sex with Justin Bieber on his tour bus walk across the Zen Garden and chime the giant gong. Meditation hour is over, outdoor Zumba will soon begin. The path to spiritual enlightenment, for now, remains hidden.
YOU ARE READING
Brie Baggio thinks she's ready... for marriage, kids, the whole shebang. She's pushing forty, and even though she's the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at Los Angeles's hottest med spa, Botox can't paralyze that nagging feeling that it's now or never...