There once was a woman who felt like a robot because everyone around her treated her as if she was a robot. They made this fatal mistake because Crystal separated business from pleasure, so to speak; she divorced her emotions until the end of the day, where she sat and reflected upon what happened throughout the course of the day. As she processed the occurrences she was subjected to and part of, she held judgment. Once each incidence of interaction was properly judged, she held court with her emotions.
‘Hello, disappointment, my constant companion,’ she greeted her most reliable friend. ‘I see we are having tea once again. Will you try my latest chai recipe, good sir?’
‘Yes, of course, Sansara,’ Disappointment responded. He would never let her down.
‘One lump or two?’ Sansara mocked British tea mavens everywhere, offering zero sugar at all. This was to be expected. Disappointment was not… disappointed.
‘Hello, God,’ Crystal piped up suddenly as the new member joined the tea party. ‘How are you today?’ she asked, interested to hear from him.
‘I’m doing well, Crystal, thank you. I heard the word chai and I just had to come see what you’ve cooked up this time, my lovely,’ God spoke solemnly.
‘I’m delighted to have you over for tea, sir,’ Crystal and Sansara said together as they poured God some delicious chai. ‘We do hope you’ll like it.’
God smiled and accepted the offered tea gratefully, sipping carefully at the extremely hot liquid. ‘Mmm. Might I suggest a touch more cardamom?’
‘I thought it was a bit weak on the star anise, myself,’ Sansara countered.
‘I’ll just add more of both to the next batch,’ Crystal replied, happy to be receiving feedback on her latest creation from such highly esteemed members of her tribe.
‘Stop criticizing,’ Crystal said to the audience suddenly. ‘I already told you that I’m crazy. I accepted that a long, long time ago. What’s harder to accept is that I cannot move around for more than about an hour a fucking day because I’m disabled.’
Sansara hugged Crystal, wrapping their vessel’s arms around her gently. ‘It’s okay, Crystal. We did the best we could do. I know there’s still more to do, but we will get there with persistence. The good news is that tonight, you should be sleeping in your own bed, finally.’
Crystal looked truly pleased, then sipped some of her chai herself. ‘I think I’ll add more peppercorn, as well,’ she offered to keep the conversation going. She wanted the perfect chai. Perfect for her, anyway. She was happy to take Sansara’s and God’s suggestions. She was willing to make this recipe over and over again until she got it just right.
‘Tell me what my future husband thinks of it,’ Crystal requested of God.
God took another sip and rolled it around on his tongue, looking thoughtful. ‘I don’t think he’s going to know the difference, honestly. He’ll have to taste a lot of chai to know what he’d like more of or less of. You should just make it the way you like it best; I think he’ll like it just fine.’
‘Very well, then,’ Crystal replied. She smiled and tapped her feet along with MercyMe’s Shake, starting to move along with the song as her Tylenol finally kicked in to relieve her considerable back pain. She hardly ever gave in and took acetaminophen, but today she had to get the walkway shoveled for the movers. Her father, of course, added to that heap of work by indicating she should shovel out around the furnace intake pipe which was in the middle of the house on the yard’s side… bombarded with four feet of snow. She knew it! She should have bought snowsuit pants so she didn’t have to shove the whole way to the pipe (or get all wet — ew.)
‘I like this song,’ God offered suddenly, bringing Crystal back to Urth.
‘Me, too,’ Sansara concluded.
All three of them smiled as the sounds of Plini’s Selenium Forest washed over them. They sipped their chai gratefully as the song played for the millionth time. Crystal loved this song. They all did, really. It has wonderful movement, skillful guitar work, and a soul of its own. Plini is a genius.
‘I wish I wasn’t broken,’ Crystal offered in the easy silence that they’d all been sharing. ‘I’m really disappointed in myself for not being able to keep up with the snow storms and keep that sidewalk shoveled.’
‘I could deliver less snow,’ God started to say. Crystal looked at him, abhorred.
‘What?! No way! Snow is beautiful and nature should run its course. My disability is not important in the grand scheme of everything,’ she protested loudly. She started to sway to the music. She’d danced with her future husband to this song in March of 2021. She was so happy to know he was out there somewhere, even if he wasn’t in her arms just yet.
‘I know I’m crazy, shut up already!’ Crystal said to the audience just then.
‘How does she do that?’ they asked again, looking around.
‘MAGIC!’ she cried aloud. ‘I am just magic. Get over it. Nobody else can, so I’ll forgive you if you can’t, but I suggest you try to tap into your own magic.’
‘God works in mysterious ways,’ she said mockingly. ‘No offense, G-man,’ she added, remembering she was in good company. ‘People just say stupid stuff that makes no sense about you.’
Sansara studied her mug of chai, smiling as Astral Projection’s Dancing Galaxy started to play. The three of them had built this playlist ages ago and every time they listened to it, they always enjoyed it. The song is a trance tribute to Dune. ‘The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel.’
‘We’re going to have to get our own premium Spotify account again,’ Sansara remarked. Their friend, Belialtrix, who had graciously shared his own account for months now, was no longer able to support her audiophile habits. He’d texted just a few nights ago to tell them that. They hope everything works out for him, really.
‘That’s okay, we’re saving so much money by using the cheap-as-dirt cell service we found. It’s enough to cover Spotify and Netflix both,’ Crystal reminded Sansara. ‘We don’t get GPS services or data in general, even though we pay for it, but other than that… it’s not really a big deal. And Erie is so small we don’t even need it. We know how to find home and that’s really all we need, isn’t it?’
God smiled. Crystal originally freaked out completely over the idea of going without GPS. In fact, she was worried that she would not be able to drive from St. Louis to Erie without it. It was a twelve hour drive (once you included some breaks.) However, it only uses three or four highways and the signage was pretty good, as long as you knew which cities you were passing through. She made it in thirteen hours when she drove it in September, moving her three cats with her. Her dragon treasure.
‘They’re an hour late,’ Crystal said, waiting patiently for the moving men to arrive. She didn’t really mind, she wanted to shovel the driveway and the walkway so they could easily carry her items inside and upstairs. She felt broken because she just used all her able-bodied energy moving everything in her apartment to make it easy for the moving men to deposit the boxes without obstructions. That’s what she did, made it easier for people to do their job.
She did it at Wegmans, too. She loaded the conveyor belt so that cold items were all bunched together and produce was all bunched together and meat, as well. But most importantly, she loaded the stuff that was easy to crush at the very end and the least fragile stuff up front. This allowed the cashiers to scan and go. They didn’t have to hold back on their bags to fill them up properly like their training dictated, they didn’t have to think hard about how to fit it in the cart because the first things that came to them were not fragile and could be underneath other things no problem. Things like sacks of almond meal and monkfruit sweetener and nuts.
That’s how Crystal was. Maximize life for complete efficiency everywhere.
She liked it better that way; it caused less hassle. She hated hassle, it took time away from auterspace. The place her little autistic brain goes when not engaged actively with the real world. Godspace, really.
‘How long do you think I have before they get here? I want another cup of chai,’ Crystal asked suddenly.
‘It’ll be another hour, pumpkin,’ God replied.
‘Hmm… I think I can get another cup in before I shovel some snow. That Tylenol is already well at work, even though it’s been ten minutes,’ she declared.
‘I believe that’s because your stomach is empty, m’lady,’ Sansara replied, chiding just a smidgeon.
‘Then fill it, silly goose,’ Crystal replied. She didn’t like having to do the work of feeding the vessel, no. Sansara complied and retrieved some nuts to have with the chai. Furthermore, she offered the audience nuts and chai, too.