Salty sweat beads formed on Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone's face and sculpted bare arms as she completed one hundred push ups. Her breasts were held tight by a black running bra, and she was also wearing a black thong. Madonna was as naked as someone could be without being naked. As she finished her last push up, she raised her slightly rippled butt into the air in the yoga pose known as a Down Dog, where her hands and toes were firmly planted on the red mat below, arms and legs straight, and her body forming an inverted "V."
Madonna's hair was long and tied into a pony tail, which hung down, its last few inches lying on the mat under her head as she remained in the Down Dog for a count of fifty. Madonna then stood into a sun salutation, raising her hands into the air, stick straight upwards, her palms together in prayer-form. She took a deep breath in and lowered her arms to her side.
Guy Ritchie sat on a bench drinking out of a small straw that was poked into a small soy milk pack. He looked at his wife, at her arms and legs and face. Almost every muscle was visible, all the striations of muscle tissue revealed themselves through Madonna's aging skin. The blue blood vessels ran up and down Madonna's arm and legs, not to mention Madonna's neck. The unstoppable juggernaut of age betrays itself everywhere, from head to chin. Of course, Madonna's oxygen injections and botox had smoothed out her face, and the strawberry hair and side part gave Madonna a thirty something look. But it appeared to Guy that his wife's passionate, no, obsessive quest to maintain a lean and mean body had actually resulted in making her look older, not younger.
Of course, everyone was in awe that someone 48 years old could possibly be so trim and obviously fit. But the unmentioned, the unspoken truth was that it aged Madonna, much like the marathon runner who looks older than their years. Guy couldn't say this. Not to his wife, of course. Madonna would launch into a fury about Guy's bad habits and poor nutrition. Hence, the soy milk pack Guy was holding in his hand.
Guy hated soy milk. He had given up beer. He had given up whiskey. He didn't smoke anymore. He was nearly a vegetarian. And there was something about the whole life style change imposed on him by his wife that drained Guy of any creative impulse. He had virtually dropped out of filmmaking. He felt lost and confused and supremely healthy. As if his life force had been sucked out of his libido and his penis and sent to his blood chemistry or liver, or some body part that had nothing to do with cranking out a story or shooting a movie.
"I think we should visit a mosque. It's the only way," said Madonna.
Oh Christ, thought Guy. Madonna had lost touch.
Guy Ritchie's wife wants to go to a mosque. Guy was not sure he heard his wife correctly. Madonna was in a twisted position on the floor of the Presidential Suite of the Westin Excelsior Hotel in Rome on the Via Veneto. The suite was the rounded corner of the famous hotel, which Madonna insisted on, or more accurately assumed she would get. The hotel had to move a Saudi oil minister to another suite to accommodate Madonna's expectations. Guy was aware of this because the hotel manager was in a tizzy to satisfy the Saudi minister, who was only mollified when offered the Hotel's Bugatti as a free car to use while in Rome.
"Did you hear me? Guy, I hate when I talk and you don't respond. It's so fucking annoying," said Madonna.
"Yes. I heard you," said Guy.
Guy had almost had enough of Madonna's quest to bring the world together, to somehow solve the mess in the Middle East with two gay dancers, one tattooed with a Star of David, the other with a Star and Crescent. Guy thought the two dancers wrapping themselves around an aging pop star whom was writhing and gyrating her body with sexual gestures was not only weak and shallow, but embarrassing. But no one was going to tell his wife that. No one could tell Madonna anything anymore. She knew best about everything. Certainly about how to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"I don't really want to go to a mosque," said Guy as he sipped some more of the dreadful soy milk through what Guy sometimes thought of as an infant straw.
"That's the point. Of course you don't want to. That is why we will go," said Madonna as she contorted herself into another yoga pose.
"I am not wearing that shit, and I am not lying on the floor praying to Mecca, or whatever the fuck they do,' said Guy.
'You just have no love in your heart, do you. We go to church, we go to synagogue, and now we go to a mosque. You must love the people who hate you. That is the only way. We can bring people together that way," said Madonna as she started to do one-arm push ups. Guy hated when his wife did one-arm push ups, something he could never do, and as far as he was concerned a feat meant only for men.
Guy thought his wife sounded like an evangelist. But that is what happens when someone starts to believe in the truth of their own shit. Guy hungered for that time when the ambiguities of character inspired him, the people who had turmoil, who wallowed in self doubt but carried on nonetheless. But Guy's wife, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone had long ago lost any self doubt. She was everything that Guy thought was totally boring about character. His wife was on a mission she firmly believed in. Guy loved people who were not sure about anything but slogged though the day just to make it to the evening.
"Yes, sweetheart. You are right. I need to get a little more love in my heart. What mosque do you want to go to? I mean, is there a mosque in Rome?" said Guy.
"We need to go shopping for the right clothes. Mosque clothes," said Madonna.
"You know, I don't think we can be together in the mosque. Don't they separate the men from the women?" asked Guy.
"We need to start a reform Islamic movement. Reform Muslims, like Reform Jews. We shall go into a mosque and start to enlighten them," said Madonna as she finished her one-arm pushups and stood, removing the tie from her pony tail letting the long strawberry hair fall over her marble-like shoulders.
"I think you are dreaming," said Guy.
"Typical. That is why you are who you are. I'm going shopping. Try to do something useful today, OK," said Madonna as she removed her running bra and exposed her round but sagging breasts. Madonna wiped the sweat from under each breast with the running bra, lifting each one with one hand as she daubed the bra on the red skin underneath. Guy thought that his wife’s breasts were looking baggy.
Madonna went into the large bathroom and shut the door. Guy Ritchie finished his soy pack and though it on the floor. He was going to do something useful. He was going to find an English pub in Rome and have a few beers. He was going to try to find himself again.