By Kelsey Roshetko
A few years ago, I got addicted to benzodiazepines. Thankfully I kicked the habit and got sober. But my complete spiritual reliance on the postings and stories of one Ms. Caroline Calloway (née Gotschall)? Her I simply could not quit.
This is the story of my last day as a Caroline Calloway Stan.
The chords of a harp rouse me from my sweet slumber as my alarm goes off, and I immediately identify a want: what is she doing? Where is she? Luckily she is three hours ahead (her in New York, me in LA) so she has probably already been to pilates, spin and the sauna. I greedily type her name into the search bar and relish in the splendor of the pics of her sneakered feet at each location. Joy sparks within me!
I am at my desk writing, which means I am doing nothing of the sort. I am quickly clicking through the 10+ new stories Caroline has posted about her “Dreamer Bbs,” which greatly annoy me. This is not the content I am here to see. I don’t care that she’s ripping off Matisse, but I do care that she’s wasting my time with it. I want to see her face and will not accept this Michael’s bullshit in lieu. I hurl my phone at the wall out of sheer frustration before running to its aid and cradling it, apologizing. Some therapists would define this as “trauma bonding”.
I lazily deliver spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s vanilla Icelandic yogurt to my mouth while reading the newest CC article, this one by Teen Vogue (CC advertised it minus the “Teen” part… a misleading queen whom I nonetheless will follow to my death!) She doesn’t like the way she is portrayed. I make a fake gmail account and begin cyber bullying the “journalist”, as Caroline refers to her. If against my sweet orchid-clad influencer you illustrate ill intended moxy, then sorry sweetie… you gon get doxxied! 🙂
I am on the verge of hysteria. Cloying for my mistress. It has been two and a half hours since her last post; she is at after work drinks (off the record) with someone prominent, she relayed in her last story. I dig my nails into my palms until they bleed. Smearing the red stuff off my thumb, I unlock my phone and type “florist near me” into google. I grab my keys and rush out the door.
I arrive at Jasmine’s Garden on Hillhurst Avenue and make a beeline for the dendrobiums. I feel safe as I stroke the petals, pink and spotted. My stomach begins to grumble, but I cannot walk away from the bouquets that make me feel close to her. I am like a baby rhesus monkey clinging to my cloth mother instead of the wire mother who could provide me sustenance. I will choose comfort over food. I try to leave the flowers but start to caterwaul; I ask the salesperson to take the lot of them to my car. $200.
I’m back in my car. It feels like a luxe jungle, my own portable tableaux. Candles burn precariously in the backseat, their white wax melting directly onto the black leather seats. My vehicle is like a womb, and I replay Caroline’s appearance on the We Met at Acme podcast for the millionth time. I recite her words like they are the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song. I memorized them months ago.
The sun has just begun its descent here in Los Angeles, but my east coast smol bean’s day is all wrapped up. It is time for me to wile away the hours until morning, when she blesses the timeline with her transcendent captions once more. In a sense, Instagram is her Walden, and no one can take that away. I pour over the notebooks of Cecil Beaton, glancing up and giggling with the portrait of Caroline I have taped to the wall. It’s not weird to have these pretend conversations. I learned in 10th grade English that one of the Brontë sisters whispered dialogue into the curtains. I, like Caroline, am an artist.
Yesterday, I awoke with a rush at midnight. I opened the blogsnark reddit only to find the name of the pilates studio CC attends classes at each day. I felt as if I were in a fever dream. I barely recall booking my ticket or calling an Uber to LAX. Now I am here, in the West Village, waiting for her outside the door of the studio. I know she is in the faded purple leggings and matching bra set. I see her figure walking towards me through the door’s glass! I grow excited, giddy, I spin around with glee—
The spin was my end. I stepped on the lace of my own shoe and spilled into the street as a bus passed. I was squished and died on site. Now in purgatory, I scroll Caroline’s feed. She has made an emergency appointment with Phillip to discuss witnessing the accident. She is shaken up. She doesn’t use my name in any of the posts about it. She makes it about her.