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Interior design interns are my office’s fashion plates. Shell earrings, turquoise necklaces, wooden sandals, “bumped up” hair do’s… Sometimes I want to hose them down and see if they resemble my dog during his baths, (deflated and secretly rat-like). I’m not one of the “unfashionable” girls in the office, in-fact for the most part I’m two necklaces and one bangle bracelet from joining the ranks of fashionistas. I tread that line gingerly and keep the old frumpy ladies happy with my occasional up-do and ballet flats. Tip: Do not be the girl who applies her make-up in the office bathroom.
The world is bubbling at a simmer. I read the news, see the violence and instinctively know that something is coming again. I dream that I know of a secret room in a house tucked far away… a safe place to hide and forget that there was nothing I could have done to prevent a world so bent on destroying itself. Am I wrong to think that I have too quiet a voice to tackle anything worth the effort? I accepted long ago that my purpose in life is to love and be loved nothing more effectual. Am I wrong?
I currently have 3.5 bosses. I take care of 2 firm owners, 1 client leader and have an office manager who peers over my shoulder periodically. (Honestly, she digs her nails in and reminds me that I will not be replacing her until she is firmly retired.) My work life is what I do best… taking care of the small details that everyone overlooks until they are huge wonkin’ douses. The guys treat me with respect and as if I am their niece or daughter. I work hard and smile a lot. It’s a simple job for the most part.
Isn’t it the fates that supposedly play with “life lines” twisting and turning them to include and exclude events, places and people? I found myself daydreaming about “fate” today… Will I have children? Will I own a house? Will my children be happy and healthy? Will my husband be happy and healthy? How much time do I have with my Grandfather? How much time do I have with everyone I love? Everyday we live with the knowledge that life isn’t forever, that we all are just grains of sand… I want to hold onto every moment and make it sacred.
When the world flipped upside down last year, Ed and I only had each other to cling on to. We were given limited choices and resources and made everything in our worlds stop and change in 3 weeks. Some part of me knew that the life that we had lived up until that point was just a small vacation away from the grown-up “plugged-in” world we tried to escape and vacate. Here we are fighting our way towards a “normal” life, house, dog, kids… job… and I find myself longing for those 3 weeks of us just hibernating in wonder.
She keeps pushing him, trying to needle him into relenting, to war for her one last time. Her tone, her mannerisms all seem foreign to him. He has no way to fight except to fly away and leave her to sort out her own anger and resentment. She has always wanted more, she’s wanted to be better, have more money, have a bigger house, have more children. Lord knows he tried, he’s not perfect, he’s been lonely, but he’s never strayed, he’s never given up until she told him to. It’s 6am and he looks out as the sun rises.
Grams has a job working at a small garden nursery in NE Ohio. She works 2-3 days a week for 3-5 hours a day. She pots seedlings, prepares fresh foods for their market stand and waits on customers. Her job is one of her few joys. Gramps has fallen ill and requires constant care now. Grams wants to work and keep doing what she loves, but is torn between leaving Grandpa alone and doing what she loves to do. I watch her as she drinks her coffee and mulls the future over. Her memories of my Gramps fill her senses.
I had my breakfast an hour ago and I can still taste cinnamon on my lips. I wonder if people that walk past my desk smell it and wonder where it’s coming from. No one asks any questions about the nice smells, they only stop and question Chris 4 cubes over about his area smelling like spoiled milk. (He forgot to put his coffee creamer away yesterday.) My hair is puffy and pulled back tightly… rain is in the forecast and I’ve already given up my battle with humidity. The river is too low to complain about a little drizzle.
My Grandmother has cut me out of her and my Grandfather’s will. My Father and his siblings were to inherit my Grandparent’s estate and split it 4 equal shares. Since my Father passed away when I was young girl, his portion was to go to my sister and I. Growing up, my Grandfather always whispered in my ear that I needed to learn how to save and be good with money, because I’d be inheriting quite a sum from him. Now that I’m an adult and married, it’s been decided that I no longer should get a cent. Ah, family.
Tuckered out and fed up, my shoes are begging me to take a hike. I’ve been daydreaming of a walk, a jaunt… a journey. Up and over the valleys, just my heart and I escaping life and the way I’ve been living it. I scrape dreams off as if under each peel, I’ll find a healthier more edible possibility. I’ve worn thin the hope that there is more than just ordinary. I’ve accepted simplicity and swallowed my vitamins… I’m almost nearly as healthy as I can be…. But why do I feel so far away from everything I’ve truly wanted?
Do you remember when you used to call in the middle of the night? Your voice would be dewy and slurred. I could hear you sip something hot… tea? coffee? My memory blurs on the specifics but I remember you talking to me outside, simmering in the heat of the summer, leaning against your Grandmother’s car, whispering so no one would hear you. I felt like we had a secret no one in the world would understand. You and I on our desert island of love and poetry. Eight years seem to have piled up between us. I miss you.
I know some girls have used you. Hurt you. Left you. I know that you want things that I can’t even fathom, things I’ve never done or want to go after. I’m not sure what I can give you, I can’t leave everything behind and come save you, live with you, stand by you. I don’t even know if I could hold your hand , but I know that I love you. Does that mean anything if I can’t touch your face? If I don’t tell you that I love you atleast once a month? Some things never waiver. Honestly.
True will power isn’t skipping a free bagel at work, it’s not emailing you when my fingers are dying to. I’m not even sure that I could stir your pot, an email from me may just be a drop in a bucket that is already too full. Are you used to me eyeing you from a distance and trying to fan your flames? Will you forgive me for being predictable and missing you? I’ll pull out every used line if it makes you smile wide. I’d be tempted to lay whatever you wanted at your feet. God, I love you.
She was too whiney, too dramatic…. A love junkie. I burned her off like a tick and walked away confidently. I’ve exceeded in work, marriage, dropped a person… but I can still hear her voice in my head. “I wanted more for you.” All of our old friends have faded away now. It’s just me who holds the memories of all of them. Paul. Bobby. Jackie. Heather. Alan. Skip. Fingerprints are all over my soul. Some part of me longs to go back in time or meet you all again in heaven. We’ll be a happy bunch. No lines between.
Nina’s on. She’s slow and solid. Co-workers buzz around me, but it’s just Nina and I. She’s slowly singing into my ears telling me that she knows pain too and I’m not alone in mine. The world spins on course, spiraling and whizzing by, but I’m sitting still. Eyes closed, mind shut off…. Soaking in every note she graces me with. Ms. Simone and her “Wild Wind”. I long to crawl under my desk and sleep until 5pm. Escape work and deal with the problems at hand: Grandpa is fading away…. How much longer before he forgets who I am?
It’s around 2pm, Mom and Cassie are at the doctor’s for Cassie’s six month check up. My Mother has left me in the care of my Grandfather who is busy repairing his fishing boat in his one car garage. To impress my Grandfather I have worn my favorite big bird turtle neck as well as my new over-alls. I watch my Grandfather from the stool he placed in the front corner for me. He has tan smooth skin, dark black hair, bright blue eyes and is wearing his usual outfit: A bright white t-shirt, worn-in levis and old brown loafers.
I have too much to do. I have lists and piles all over my desk. I’m overwhelmed. So here I run and hide for my 5 minutes, a vacation to think about something other than work. I want to daydream about fields filled with waving grass with no bug for miles. I want to think about apple trees in blossom without my allergies flaring up. I want to pretend the world is perfect without blemishes or bruises. I-pod is up loud, music blaring. If I could close my eyes and float away, I would. Friday at 3pm, 2 hours remain.
Chop Chop Chop. My hair is bobbed, curls have sprung out to say “Hallelujah, our lengthly torture has now ended!” I have acquired a new aura with my short trim… My husband eyed me up with a smile and I am now considered “brave” by women everywhere… some say I am their “champion”. I have under-gone scissors and returned not defeated or deflated, but triumphant! My bangs flitter, my ‘do bounces…. Wind adds mystery to my look. My neck is longer… my cheekbones are pronounced. I am a beauty. Confidence is flying everywhere and I do not regret a snip.
I woke up to a pair of big brown eyes staring up at me. What have I ever done to deserve this little guy loving me so much? Sure, I’ve scooped up poop (Edward has done the bulk of it), cuddled him when he fell down the stairs as a puppy (no injuries), fed and watered him when his bowls were close to empty… but nothing that deserves this much adoration. A small head of creamy fur, 4 big paws…. A fluffy cream tail…. Some of my favorite things to wake up to (next to my handsome husband of course.)
Cheryl prayed that I would go to church this past Sunday. She told me over a latte at Starbucks that she prays that I will find my way to God’s fold again. I admire her firm faith, her ability to let things stay simple and black and white. I fold my hands sub-consciously when I’m afraid, I close my eyes when I wish, I long to sing a church hymn when I’m happy, sad or scared, but I have no desire to feel guilty every Sunday when I find myself watching CBS Sunday Morning versus showering, dressing and hustling about.
Sometimes I feel like I’m all colored in. No room for a splash of color, a sprinkle of excitement. I’m brave because I don’t collapse, I keep moving… I’m stone and constant and accept life at face value. I surprise people if I let my past slip out. “You what? You loved who? You were like that?” I may have been a drama queen, but I don’t feel baths as well as I used to. I do not empty out the way I did when I simmered in emotion. Now I’m just steeping in life, waiting to be sipped again.
Dear Daughter: First off, boys aren’t amazing creatures that you just have to explore before you burst with peer pressure and lust. Buy a dildo, rinse, repeat. Second, listen to your Father. He’s amazing, he loves you, he can disconnect emotionally more than I can and give you far better advice than I ever will when you’re hurt or sad. Third, when you are hurt or sad, ask me to hug you, I’m a great hugger… and I’ll be the best Mom at those moments. Fourth, and most importantly, write poetry. Everyday write. Worship every syllable your hearts pours out.
Gabriel’s wisdom: If something scares you, don’t be afraid to admit it. Don’t use the ladder at the pool, just jump right in. If you know no one at the playground, just introduce yourself to the loudest kid and be loud with them. Sponge Bob is AMAZING! Flushing the toilet, is the best part of the bathroom experience. A step stool can help you get anything you want. Being outside is the best place to be. Computer games are wonderful as are: Noodles, Chicken, Ketchup and Fries. If you announce that you’re picking your nose, you won’t gross people out.
Bella’s wisdom: Just jump, regardless of high or how far…. You’ll always land, and it will be fun. If someone shoves you, don’t be afraid to scream and shove back harder. Pink is the best color in the world. If it’s pink, buy it, play with it, love it. Soft, fuzzy and warm are the way all blankets should be. Thumbs are made for sucking. If someone is hurt, stop what you’re doing and hug them. Do not talk on the phone for more than 30 seconds per conversation. If someone wakes you up from a nap, give them Hell.
My husband and I love children and since we met 5 years ago, we’ve often talked about children and how we’d like to have a family. Although I am eager to begin the process of trying to become pregnant, the reality scares me intensely. My puppy is healthy, happy and taken care of, so I know at some basic level I can take care of someone other than just myself… but a child… so much of who they will be will come from me and what I teach them. I’m scared of ruining their life…. being some Maury Povich Mom.
I taught my nephew (the adorable four year old, Gabriel) a poem about boogers and I thought my Mother was going to ground me. (You’re never too old to be grounded by my Mother.) At least my sister has a sense of appreciation for my Monty Python comedy style. (That’s giving myself way too much credit, I’m not that funny.) In any case, I need to learn how to tone down my inner John Cleese before we begin reproducing. Maybe instead of teaching our kids the lyrics to “Everyone sperm is sacred” I can focus on “Row Row Your Boat.”
Prince has a boo-boo by his man parts. Our vet “Dr. Bob” informed me yesterday that man parts are now called “Penis”. Which made my eye twitch, but I tried for the rest of the visit to call the location by it’s now proper name. “Penis” I once heard that dog’s saliva has healing properties…. And when a dog licks wounds, it helps speed up the healing process. Prince however, was licking his man parts area so much that I was afraid something was going to fall off. (what a mess!) In any case, it’s just allergies, not a VD.
I’m a huge fan of clichés. There is something comforting seeing similarities and common threads between people and events. I do not get why most people don’t embrace being a cliché and brag about it more. Who cares if you’re out of the “main stream”? What if being a nerd is main stream as well as punk, emo, etc… what if being the girl next door who goes to church and likes to wear Talbot’s and Ann Klein is out of the main stream and being cliché is totally rad? I think this topic is too big for 100 words.
Dear Jackie, You’d be 26 now. How crazy is that? You all grown up, married, maybe even a mother by now. I’m not sure how James is doing, he and I spoke a year or two ago, he still hasn’t stopped loving you, he still hasn’t moved on. I can tell that he likes to say your name, hear it in the air, make some part of you alive again. I often find myself wondering how your Mom is, how your brother is holding up, changing into a man. (He’d be 21 now, wouldn’t he?) I love you, dear friend.
I went to church on Sunday. Sat in a pew, laughed and listened. I looked around the congregation and felt like a stranger, an outsider. Someone said “Welcome” to me when I walked in. I wanted to remind them that it was my Father who helped build that church, my Grandfather who first began that congregation. I’m a braggart, a jealous wench who just wants to pray in the woods versus being asked by an eighty year old woman why I do not have children yet. But I went and I soaked up not feeling guilty by taking holy communion.
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