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I cannot tear my eyes off the big black heap lying off to the side of the road. Poor, poor thing. Its size will make seeing it up close that much worse: more face space to cry over and mourn for.
Our car, like all others on this side of the highway, inches forward. I squirm with impatience.
Alas, when we’re a car-length away, I realize the heap is just a blown-out truck tire.
Now, if only this fucking traffic would just move already. Some stupid jackass had better be dead up ahead, damn it, to warrant this hideous delay.
Often her e-mail reads like diary entries like those I’m sure she’s read in “Bridget Jones”. She’s taken to using “v.” instead of “very”, and omitting articles and possessive pronouns.
Am reading story about grandfather’s life in the ‘40s.
Went to farmer’s market and bought loaf of fresh-baked bread and head of loose-leaf lettuce.
Want to slap across face v. much for this.
It’s like she thinks that somewhere down the line, she'll have achieved a status that, upon her untimely demise, will beg for a volume of her correspondence to be published and she’s sending these e-mails in anticipation.
In at least three sessions out of her last dozen, I suggested to Marla that she may find it somewhat easier to hang on to a fella if she didn’t insist on tearing up the floorboards of their apartments. At least not on the first two dates.
“But I’m sure one of em’s gotta be hidin’ some loot!” she says.
How do I break it to her that she’s not a gangster’s moll?
On Friday afternoon, she told me she’s started peering behind would-be suitors’ “wall hangings” for secret safes.
“Don’t do that,” I said. “The eyes – they follow you!”
Kisses that leave me weak in the knees, numb, even, to the buckling-point. The slightest of tongue-tip probing just beyond the first few molecules of my lips, delicate enough to flit between atoms yet wreak havoc on an entire nervous system. Even the gall bladder, resting wherever the hell it rests in the viscera, sits up, taking instant notice.
To say nothing of the heart. This thing pounding so damned furiously inside my chest that its outline can be seen bursting through the fabric of my shirt, like a cartoon.
All systems are not only go, but gone gone GONE!
Because I couldn’t say “no” for some reason – perhaps I wanted to appear like the helpful sort or am a masochist and knew I’d regret my “yes” later but thought I deserved punishment – I’m now in possession of a handwritten manuscript that one of my landlord’s friends gave him to review. Thankfully my fireplace is ornamental only, so the temptation to burn it cannot be realized.
“The sex scenes do nothing for me,” he said. “Maybe YOU can make them work.”
My suspicions are thus confirmed: He’s had his ear pressed to his floor those nights my boyfriend has visited.
I cannot escape myself. Even in the shower, wearing a shower cap (a stunning look, really), with water drumming onto my head, drowning out all other sound. Even crammed in a dark closet, hidden among the jam-packed jangle of sleeves. Not even in sleep, dreaming of my teeth falling out like cucumber seeds or being onstage in a play I didn’t know I was involved with in the first place or fumbling down streets whose geography I thought I knew. Nope, I’m still there, still conscious of me being me, trapped within my me-ness!
Accch, it’s like never-ending home arrest!
We wouldn’t know how to do it if our 13-year-old lives depended on it, but Debbie and I are disgusted by it, anyway. Because, really, who the hell puts THAT thing in her mouth? And, if you do, how do you do it without throwing up or wanting to die?
We can barely look at our moms, drinking coffee by the sink in my parents’ kitchen. And we’re certainly not going to kiss them before we go out. Not after what Debbie just told me she was sure of: That our moms HAD to have done it to our dads!
I don’t know who I love more: my new ergonomic keyboard or the boyfriend who gave it to me. It’s a tossup!
But oh my GOD, this glorious keyboard! However, last month, when I switched from a standard keyboard, I was all about “hating” this new one. I vehemently resist change when I don’t think the change is really necessary. Why fix what, yeah, “ain’t broke”?
Well, I didn’t really think I wanted a boyfriend, either, ten months ago. But now that I have one, I realize I was broken without one. And not just “one” – but this particular one.
At the Bodies exhibition, the thing I’m most attracted to is the teratoma. Given my fascination with body mutations, I feel I’ve hit the jackpot. I am riveted to the showcase housing this lumpy tumor -- its tiny black hairs and crooked teeth, removed from a part of someone’s body that, in its normal form, has no business growing hair or teeth.
I want to console it and apologize to it. Not just for my own staring but for the rude remarks I know others have flung its way. “I know you’re just trying to smile,” I want to say.
I bump my leg, for the bumpteenth time, on the uncapped end of my metal footboard. I tell my boyfriend it needs rubber bumpers.
“Rubber baby buggy bumper!” he says.
“Ugggh, “ I think, cringing. “I haven’t heard THAT in about 40 years.”
He laughs. I think I’ll have to hate him for thinking it’s a cute saying.
Instead: “Oh my god,” he says. “This is the first time I’ve realized that ‘rubber’ doesn’t refer to the baby. It’s not a rubber baby. It’s the
that’s rubber!” – and I have to love him even more than I already do.
I’m fine once I get to the theater. Okay, wait. No. Scratch that. I’m fine once I’m seated. Well, not really. I’m only fine once I’m seated, the curtain has risen, and the show has started. Then and only then can I relax (sort of) and enjoy (perhaps) the show.
Several things, however, threaten to ruin it anyway:
* Large heads obscuring my line of vision
* Gum-chewing anywhere near me
* Having to pee during the show
So I suppose I never really relax, then. Not until the show is over. Ahhh, yes, how I simply adore live theater!
To almost everyone who refers to his or her parents as “folks”:
Using this word does not lend a casual, chummy, down-home air to your relationship with the two people whose company you barely enjoy and with whom your interaction is clumsy at best. Using it makes you sound like you think you have the warm, huggy rapport that John Boy and his overalled, barefoot siblings had with Ma ‘n’ Pa. You are not lazily enjoying lemonade with them on the weathered porch of your country homestead. They no doubt drive you to drink.
So knock it the folk off.
I am not a fan of the smoothed-out, ultra-lifted, uber-cleavaged look running rampant among tits these days. No thanks to omniscient Victoria’s Secret and all its kin, clothed breasts have started taking on as natural an appearance as the obviously fake counterparts affixed to the chests of countless imbeciles.
I am not a fan of a let-it-all-hang-out approach, either, though, because this is often championed by those with way too much literal hang. Unfettered tits, flopping willy-nilly, Hershey Kiss nipples cockeyed and lookin’ for a fight, are just as revolting.
Somewhere there’s got to be a happy medium, doesn’t there?
She and her long-fingernailed husband spend weekends on “the farm” with his two dogs, where they hobnob with a curious collection of local septuagenarians with whimsical names like Jericho Joe and Haystack Henry, all of whom she photographs in close-ups so extreme we can almost see the dirt lodged in their pores and the tiniest beads of tractor-riding, checker-playing sweat clinging to their straggly, tobacco-stained mustaches.
Her ability to be exorbitantly happy here among these people and these trees and these picture-postcard farms is something she’ll bore you with non-stop, in an attempt to convince herself she actually believes it.
Unlike his friends, Warren doesn’t mind if a girl smokes or gives tea parties for stuffed animals. These aren’t deal-breakers. In fact, he’s been known to whip out his Zippo for a lady or enjoy a dainty cup of Earl Grey with Mr. Pibbles (giraffe) and Wobby Woowoo (walrus). But one thing he won’t endure is bathroom décor that includes any hint of an aquarium or seascape.
“I liked Debbie,” he says during his Wednesday session. “But when I saw those little soaps shaped like seashells and the fish on her shower curtain, I had to break it off immediately!”
Things only my grandfather could get away with saying, in his Polish accent, but which still made me roll my eyes –but for which I would gladly pay to be able to hear him say again, right now:
* “I’m on the seafood diet. I see food, I eat it.”
* (On a Sunday) “Tomorrow is labor day, yes?”
* “I have a haddock!”
* (On the phone, after asked what he’s doing) “I’m talking to you on the phone!”
* “I haven’t eaten in five days.”
* “I haven’t slept since Tuesday.” (or whatever day was three days ago)
Sometimes when we’re together, in the same room, doing quiet things that don’t involve each other, even watching a movie side by side, it’s like you’re not there – so much that I almost forget I’m not alone.
This is a GOOD thing.
I lie next to you in bed, and watch you sleeping, and it’s as if I’m watching myself. Except for your occasional snurfles and snores, I’d swear I was in bed with only myself.
This, too, is a GOOD thing.
Do you, sometimes, too, think we’re the same person?
(P.S. Don’t worry. I’ll never say we are “one”!)
Oh, please. You can KEEP your enormous shiny stainless steel gas grill that has more features and cost more than your Viking. Your frou-frou mixed drink that you pooh-pooh when your too-tan tennis-skirted wife hands it to you but which you secretly love (right down to the little umbrella) and your smooth polo shirt tucked tightly into your pressed pleated khaki shorts that will never ever get dirty because “doing up” the steaks on this thing is about as sterile as it gets.
A bigger man would be content with a fuckin’ Hibachi reeking of lighter fluid and scorched hotdogs.
Apparently I am a girly-girl. Despite my own declarations to the contrary before being so accused, and protestations, upon being accused, it has been determined, by someone outside my person, that I, Clarissa-Jo Feinmacher, am not only a girl but the girly-girl variety to boot.
I posit that his assertion came at a time when I’d just exhibited a few lavishly feminine traits in way too close proximity to one another: the proclamation “Oh, yes, I do loves the shoes” and giving birth, prettily and without even furrowing my brow, while simultaneously icing a layer cake and applying false eyelashes.
Little girls, beware of the sniffling, teary-eyed, whimpering little boy who chooses to plant his quivering ass on the stationary bench on a merry-go-round rather than on one of the horses that moves up and down the pole. He’ll grow up to be the schmoe who rolls up his window when riding in a convertible. The namby-pamby dork who chooses to sit on the lower, inside level of the red double-decker tour bus as it makes its ubiquitous way up and down the streets of my fair city. The blind date whose fantasizes about missionary-position sex with the lights off.
Have 30 years already passed since I made out with Jeff Jagiela (real name, just in case he’s self-Googling and wants to find something other than business associations or the results of a, I don’t know, boat race or something that he competed in seven years ago) in the groovy family room of my way too precocious best friend (she put Jenny Piccolo to shame!), after mutually deciding, as the result of a particularly steamy (or whatever passes for steamy to 13-year-olds) kiss after a bottle-spin, that we would break apart from the others and squish ourselves into the sofa?
Wolf whistles and cat calls appear to bounce off me, but that belies the truth: they’re absorbed immediately through my pores, like the most technologically advanced super-sponge created by the good people at O-Cell-O.
Fortunately a guy and his dog approach, and I engage with them, thus appearing to be untouched by these lunchtime mating calls. But when they leave, I still have to endure the onslaught.
“Is that what it takes to get your attention?” one of the geniuses says the moment I pass. “I have to get a puppy?”
“No, cretin,” I think. “You have to BE one.”
Today is the 46th birthday of my brother’s former best friend, after whom I lusted for about a decade, starting when I was about nine. A bit past the midway point of that ten-year span, we met in secret at the schoolyard of my old elementary school and cemented what he told me, to my surprise, had been a mutual longing, with a kiss that rivaled anything I’d ever dreamed of while pining for him as I smushed myself into my denim bean-bag chair, lip-synching “You Light Up My Life” with my eyes closed and my ridiculous heart fully open.
Every suburban neighborhood should have one purple house. One house, painted bright purple, to rankle and infuriate the people who inhabit the beige, white, and gray rest. People whose idea of “daring” is painting their living rooms “eggshell” instead of white and eating cold pizza for breakfast.
“It’s just wrong! That’s a color not found in nature!” would be the incensed cry across the bland. These are the sand-headed people who apparently haven’t yet come into contact with these really nifty things called FLOWERS that are all the rage now.
I want to be the one with the purple house.
Alone in my parents’ dining room. My dad sidles up and starts speaking
. I envision us on a cobblestoned side street damp from recent rain, sometime after nightfall, him barely opening his rain-coat and offering to sell me a gun from inside its lining. “You’re not a cop, are you?”
Instead he says, “I really like him. I mean, I really, really like him. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I do.”
I love him for it. He apparently thinks I’m 19 and don’t want my dad to dig the boy I bring home.
In a bulldog it all seems to fit. Compact behind its stout ribcage, held in by its thick muscle and strong will, I imagine yards of intestines snaked around a heart, lungs, pancreas, stomach, and all the other stuff I’ll never actually see firsthand (or is that firsteye?). But in a tiny dog? A long-haired Chihuahua, shivering her mom’s soft lap in the vet’s waiting room? It seems impossible that such a tiny, flimsy package can contain all that stuff. Am I sure that inside I wouldn’t just find a few cogs and wheels and a tiny pink candy heart?
It started off innocently enough, with one dress. Now the tally is up to seven in three weeks, one bought by my dress-lovin’ boyfriend who’ll surely benefit from these purchases.
His move to the suburbs turned me into Doris Day. I’ll greet visitors in a dress, holding a pie (store-bought) that I’ll have warmed in the microwave (soggy crust). I’ll appear Stepford for a while, mocking it behind closed doors. Eventually my brow will smooth, my voice will modulate, the pies will become homemade and crisp-crusted, and all will be right with the world.
This never would’ve happened in pants.
How would it feel to caress the soft, impossibly white skin exposed by the V-neck of the fleshy blonde’s knit top? He sneaks peeks from behind the newspaper he pretends to be reading across the subway car aisle.
Oh, and to touch his fingertips to the puff of her pale mouth! And to hold, for a split second, the pillowy hand, adorned by the tiniest wedding ring, resting on her purse!
Would it ease the dread of going home to his wife, her body stringy and hard, her mouth a black line that opens only to berate and belittle him?
I must admit, with the downward, demure eye-fluttering of an ingénue, that I look pretty swell in my pretty new summer dresses. Even though I’m still not convinced, despite perplexed reactions from my boyfriend and mom (large question marks hovering over their heads – Sharpie-black, Courier New for him; grass-green, Comic Sans for her), that I don’t look like a tranny-in-training. I still say it’s only a matter of time before some over-indulged Upper West Side brat, cowering adorably behind its mommy’s flat, flabby ass, points a snot-crusted finger at me and stage-whispers, “Mommy, why is that man wearing a dress?”
As I sometimes like to do, I’m once again thanking you for reading my 100 Words. Actually, 3000 words. Or more than 3000, given my penchant for hyphenated terms -- the Siamese twins, or the parasitic twins, of the word community. You know the sort: a rudimentary head, growing from the side of an otherwise normal-looking baby, with eyes that blink and a mouth that cries soundlessly.
So, thanks. And please, if I’ve made typos or omissions, know that I know this already and am cowering in mortification. Just like I’d do if I were a Siamese or parasitic twin.
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