Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Martha Remembers Erotica

I was 14 years old in 1992. My family was moving from Tokyo, Japan to Brussels, Belgium and while in transition, we were forced to give up our house and live in a small hotel.

My parents couldn't handle me and my little brother locking horns so my dad handed me the keys to the company apartment in downtown Tokyo, gave me some cash, and wished me well until our flight to Brussels.

Those weeks, I was consumed with three things:

1. A super hot French DJ named David (that's "Dah-veeed" to you). My girlfriend and I tracked him from party to party. He was tall, dark and wore a trench coat everywhere. We spent hours on the phone every night, falling asleep at 3 or 4 in the morning after our conversation faded to mumbles. He told me his dream was to open a nursing home where residents, like his grandmother, would actually get decent care. Swoon me now, please.

2. Corn soup. I fed myself a carton (yes, they sold them in milk-like cartons) nearly every day.

3. Madonna's Erotica Video. I don't think the video had even been released yet, but everyone was talking about it, because it was going to be dirty. So dirty that the news was convinced it would never air. The nerve of Madonna! She even simultaneously released a book called Sex. What could such a book be about???

While they wouldn't release the music video, they did release the lyrics, and I specifically remember this couplet:

Once you put your hand in the flame
You can never be the same

Once my parents let me have that taste of freedom, of living on my own and deciding when I wake up, when I go to bed, what I eat, and what I do with my time, I didn't want to go back to being told what to do.

It's not like I went crazy. I met friends in the Roppingi district for shopping. I made a lot of corn soup. I watched a lot of CNN. I went to a lot of dances around town. I slept in my own bed every night, alone, and I never let anyone up into my dad's company apartment.

As an adult, I now have that right every day, but it's never been as sweet as it was those weeks, that little taste of adulthood in the middle of my adolescence. I vividly remember it better than I can even recall what I did yesterday.

I remember David's widow weak. I remember the smoky paprika spicing the corn soup. I definitely remember wanting, wondering, and waiting for Erotica.


Sophie Littlefield said...

wow martha....I'm trying *really* hard not to get stuck on the "gave the keys to the 14-year-old in a major city" part...but if anyone could handle an early dollop of independence it's certainly you. And you make it sound wonderful. :)

Martha Flynn said...

It was awesome!!! An the thing of it was - I don't remember my parents making a big deal out of it so I didn't even think it was freaky. I sorta figured EVERY kid got to do this.

Juliet Blackwell said...

Great post, Martha. I think I would have gotten into more trouble, somehow ;-) But I love the sense of anticipation and titillation for a young girl...tasting independence and waiting for erotica. Brilliant!

L.G.C. Smith said...

What Julie said. :) And only you, Martha, could make a post on erotica sweet.

It's pretty interesting to look at how each of us has dealt with this topic. Very telling. (I think it might be time for some more therapy for me.)

Martha Flynn said...

please take me with you to the therapy. my eyes are bleeding from ya'all.

Rachael Herron said...

Hee hee hee. I think you did very well with this. :)