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When it started I thought it would be a passing fancy, but of course it extended into more. I’m in love and loving it. I’m scared that I’ll drive you away. I’m investing my soul in you, the essence of unpredictability. You don’t know how wonderful you are, but then of course you do—you have someone to tell you that every day.
I can’t sustain this level of energy forever, yet I can’t give it up at the moment. I suppose we’ll always be that way, you with your life, me with mine, together but not, suspended in between.
He asked me something last night. I read the words and adrenaline flashed through my veins. I wonder if he knows how tempted I was to say yes. But he wasn’t serious. Even now, if we were caught, he’d deny me in a second, just as the disciple Peter denied Christ before the Crucifixion. I can see it now: “Do you love her?” His eyes would flit between us, scared, any hope of retaining the life he’s known dependent on the answer. “No,” he’d say. “I love only you.” And so in the end, his question to me was irrelevant.
The perception of love changes people, more than they’d ever change for something true. When I was involved with my ex-girlfriend, she asked me one day if she was prettier than my best friend. It was such a simple question, and I thought I was in love—what could possibly be the harm? Terribly, appallingly, I said she was. Kinda dumb, I know, but I feel as if I betrayed her. Betrayed them both, really. Just call me treacherous. Now, I know better than to tell people only what they want to hear—but sometimes I still do it anyway.
Confidential from the lady to your left:
It’s been a year to the day since your first words to me: “You’re sitting in my seat.” I can’t express my appreciation for your help this last year, how you’ve patiently listened and responded through my rants, our debates, our endless dialogue. That semester was a dream, and now that the year has come around full circle, everything about the autumn—the crisp, faintly smoke-scented air, the ever-earlier darkness, the shouts of students returning to school—makes me long to be back in your classroom again, lady to your left once more.
The people in the apartment across the hall have a bird. Our landlords made it clear that no pets are permitted in the building. I wouldn’t care, but I want kittens and was told I couldn’t have them. Now these assholes get a bird? Maybe I should tell on them. For four years now my cat has been living with my parents, 600 miles away. When I visit, she seems not to know me for the first few days, and wary of me for all the time after that. Then I leave and she forgets all about me. Very unfair.
I have six months, thereabouts, until I take the plunge back into the world of academia. There are so many of us who want to be writers, who would sell our souls for a book deal, let alone fame and admiration. There will be twelve students chosen from a pool of two hundred applicants. I know I will not be one of them. I’m too young, too underdeveloped, lacking the raw natural talent that is required to succeed despite who you know and regardless of how much they can help you. I know this and yet I will try anyway.
My darling, I love you. I promise I will tell you that every single day for the rest of my life. We will be together always, in our hearts and minds, even if we are physically apart. It is true, regardless of my perpetually negative attitude (for which I owe you an apology; you don’t deserve that). Today I make a commitment to focus on happiness—yours, mine, and ours. If I have to make some concessions, if we have to compromise at times, it is all worth it in the end. I love you so very very much, always.
Let’s not have anything but happy thoughts tonight, okay? Let’s try to get through one conversation that doesn’t include endearments veiled in tragedy, ardent images tinged with pain. Let’s remind each other of why we’re together, not of why we’re apart. Let’s dream of the future, not the one we should have had, but the one we will have. Let’s be in love, and in lust, and all of the other wonderful things that go with being an “us.” For once in my life, I’ll be positive and happy and alive.
And if I don’t talk to you, there’s always tomorrow.
Are women really that transparent? I am one, yet I’m surprised each time I hear of this: she dressed to impress, made up to within an inch of her life (pardon the cliché), armed with her sweetest smile, all in hopes of catching the eye of the handsome, cocky, elusive male. He knows what she’s up to; he’ll retell the story all over the place: to his wife, to his friends, and his co-workers—and he’ll get the desired laughs, with random bits of sympathy on the side. There’s no role left for the woman but that of the fool.
The sexiest things:
Wearing a man’s shirt that still smells like him. (Only if you really like him.)
Make-up, expertly applied.
Tight jeans, a slim jacket, and boots. Extra points if the boots click on a hard surface.
Nude photos. Lose points if they end up on the Internet.
Getting caught in a rainstorm.
Looking over and seeing the droplets on his eyelashes tremble as he blinks.
Neckties and dress shirts—on a man.
Long hair—on a woman.
hair on a woman.
A spine-tingling singing voice.
“I love you.”
May God forever bless the victims of 9/11/01, and bless us all. But let us not forget, in our moments of fervent patriotism, that for every American vowing, “My country, right or wrong,” our counterparts in other countries are pledging the same. As difficult as it may be to fathom, if we were born in another country and raised with different beliefs, we would be loyal to very different ideologies. God helped make the United States the greatest country in the world, but it is by the luck of the draw that the citizens He placed here call themselves Americans.
My brother is nineteen today. We weren’t especially close as children, yet as we’ve gotten older I hoped we’d grow closer. I wonder if it ever will happen. Sometimes, when we talk, it seems as if we aren’t even related. How could we have been raised in the same household? He is so conservative; I’m wholeheartedly liberal. He likes to mock me, to get perverse pleasure out of the fact that he’s been deemed “the good one.” Sometimes I wish we loved each other, but other times I know it can’t be, that we’re destined for lifelong hatred.
I had a pregnancy dream again last night, though this one was the most realistically detailed ever. I knew the month—seventh—and the way my belly felt: taut all over with an especially hard knot down toward my groin, the skin puckered by stretch marks, my balance and center of gravity having shifted unnaturally. I wonder if it was an omen—will that be me in the near future? I can’t help but also wonder if the baby was yours. I hope it was, yet I know that could never happen in reality—so the dream will be everything.
Yesterday was a bad day. I hate this entire situation. The jealousy is the worst. It’s killing me. All I can do is imagine you with her, being romantic, being in love. It doesn’t matter how much you love me; none of it matters if we’re not together. Yet you know as well as I do that we don’t really want to be together. It only would have worked if we had met before the others. We can’t hurt them like that. As carried away as we get, we need to remember our mantra, my love: “World destruction is bad.”
Halfway through this month, I have to agree with many others and say that this project is harder than I thought it would be. I have plenty to say—don’t I always?—but to make it both coherent and 100 words is nearly impossible at times. I’m glad for this little forum, though, as an outlet to my frustration—my writer’s block with fiction is getting out of control. Every day, I promise myself I’ll finish something, or continue something, or
something for God’s sake, but I know it’s just hopeless bullshit. Maybe I should just drive a truck.
Traditionally, womanhood comes with puberty. Possibly, with the first sexual experience. Definitely, one would think, with marriage. But for me, womanhood came at the belated age of 22 and after all of the above—when I finally decided to stop wearing a padded bra. When the man you love tries to caress your breast and instead has to poke and prod through three layers of padding and lining (worn, in the first place, all in the name of “sexy”), you know something is wrong. So, finally, no more false advertising. Like ‘em or not, my breasts are now all natural!
I’m filled with longing for my first lady…my lovely, my beauty. Where the hell are you? Why haven’t you called? I know I haven’t called either, but jeez, I thought you were going to make an effort too. Oh, who the hell am I to talk? Here I am systematically destroying your life, and I tell you I miss you. But I do, oh I do, so very desperately. If you only knew…I still cringe when I think of the time I had to confess to you to keep you from finding out the other. Isn’t that always the way?
I have been a college alumna for exactly four months now, and still working at my alma mater has opened my eyes to the new crop of stupid bitches and macho, horny boys that abound on my former campus that is (somehow) renowned for its academic and research excellence. Was I ever like those girls, who go out on Friday nights in their platform boots and miniskirts that barely cover their asses in search of a drunken good time? Was my husband ever like those boys, grabbing all the cheap sex they can get? No, we weren’t. And we’re glad.
She has witchy red hair cut very close to her head. She’s pale-skinned. Her body is small—she’s around five-three and very thin, but muscular. How she can lift those packages for ten hours straight is beyond me. She’s in her late thirties and it shows, but she’s still beautiful. I get as close as I can to her without being a stalker. I just like to look. I still can’t believe I called her “ma’am” the first time I ever came across her, when her truck was blocking mine on the side street. “Ma’am.” Ugh. How seductive is that?
Four years ago, my fiancé and I decided that today would be our wedding day. We would marry in the early autumn, in a church, with all of our friends and family there to witness. But nothing ever works as planned. My fiancé has been my husband as of July 6th, and our wedding was on the shore of Lake Michigan, with an intimate (read: bare-bones) crowd. But we’re making up for it—we’ve a badass party coming up in December. Still, today would have been a nice day for it—warm and clear, although the leaves haven’t changed yet.
Sometimes it is so unbelievably hard. Sometimes it feels so tragic it’s almost funny. There are moments I can do nothing but scream in anger and frustration; others, cry in sadness and despair. The fateful question is, if five years ago I had known, would I have changed anything? Would I have maintained my friendship with the lady of the house (she
come first), would I have told you how I felt, even knowing the end result? Would I have gotten married? Would I have told you to go fuck yourself a long time ago? Would we be together?
What makes a friendship? Specifically, what makes a friendship when it consists of two very opposite individuals? It seems that most of mine are like this. They all go against type. There’s the friendly email exchange with the man four years older than my father. There’s the fairly intimate yet complicated affinity with the woman eight years older than I, whom I see every three or four months but with whom I manage to pick up right where we left off each time. Those are just two examples out of so many of the strangeness yet wonder of human interaction.
I’m lonely. My husband is in the other room, his snoring signaling his arrival into a deep and difficult to interrupt slumber. I’m writing my daily words, and all I can think of is you. I hope you’re enjoying yourself at work. I wish I were there, though the Lord knows I do enough work for three people. Tomorrow will be no exception, I’m sure. Then it’ll be Thursday, and I’ll get to talk to you again. That makes me very glad. I miss you. I can’t believe you honestly bought me a ring. That’ll be
easy to explain.
My husband isn’t a bad kisser, not at all like he used to be before I trained him properly, back when we started dating. Yet for some reason I don’t enjoy kissing him. I used to think it’s just the intimacy of it, the whole thing of mouths together, that makes even sex less intimate in my mind—but I crave kisses from you, my lover, all of the damn time. Sometimes I imagine us just kissing, and nothing but, for hours. So maybe it is my husband after all. Or maybe it’s just the magic of you and me.
I’m so tired. I hate going in to work at eight in the morning, but it’ll be worth it once everything calms down and I’ll actually be able to leave at 4:30. Winter is coming, and with it earlier darkness, and that means the solitary walk from the train station at dusk, hoping that in the five minutes from the station to my apartment building I don’t get a.) run over on the parkway, b.) mugged for the whole $5 that’s usually in my wallet, or c.) propositioned by some disgusting wino. Oh, unrelated—go Red Sox, AL wildcard winners!
Bring on the pain. I’m an expert by now. But there are only thirteen days until I see you again, my love. Only thirteen days until I am back in your arms. I love you so. I seem to be in a tender and philosophical mood right now, but as always the anger and the pain and the resentment and confusion are lurking below the surface. “World destruction,” our code, was brought up again. Even thinking about it sends a thrill of hope through my veins, but it also makes me sad and a bit fearful. It could never happen.
Dreams drive me crazy. For awhile now I’ve had this crush on a man who’s just a bit out of my age range—and that’s an understatement, believe me. So I go along thinking I’ve totally got a handle on it, I hadn’t thought about him in a sexual way for a month or so…until I had another dream about him last night. And this one was a scorcher. I woke up hot and bothered and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all day. It’s driving me nuts because it’s so frustrating…but the whole thing’s so fucking bizarre!
My apartment is the biggest goddamn pigsty anyone has ever seen. I’m such a bad wife. I don’t cook dinner, I don’t keep the place clean, I don’t do all of the things I’m supposed to do being a married woman. I fritter away my money on things like shoe-shopping trips and packs of Marlboro Menthol Lights and bottles of cheap champagne. My roving eye has led to my being embroiled in a scandal that I can’t extricate myself from. My apartment is like my life: if I try to clean it up today, it’ll just get dirty again tomorrow.
“Boobies.” When was the last time y’all heard that word? You were around nine, right? When boys start stealing their dads’ old issues of
and passing them around during recess? I actually heard that word yesterday, in a conversation with my lover, who’s in his mid-twenties. He was talking about strippers. (Yes, dear, that’ll get me in the mood—hearing about how you like to look at strippers’ boobies.) The last time before that was when the three-year-old son of a friend stuck his tiny hand up my sweater and said “I like your boobies.” That’ll tell you something.
Why am I such a bitch? Why do I pray to God nearly every day to not let there be a child? Lord in heaven, what a horrible thing to wish for. I’m going to hell for that thought, I know it. I’m going to burn forever in the flaming pit of eternal agony.
How’s this for another thought: when he’s lusting after me, is it extra good with her? Does he fuck her extra hard? Does he take her breath away, leave her wondering what’s gotten into him? What would she say if she knew he’d gotten into me?
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