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When I was twelve, I liked a boy. His hair was wavy and long, compared to the spiky-haired boys in my class. But not long enough to cover up those big ears. They were cute, but I knew that when I was twenty-eight, and upset with him for working so late, Iíd hate them. Iíd stomp quietly around our tiny apartment, throw the TV remote into a pillow, and angrily collapse onto our lumpy couch to watch reruns of House. I would regret not waiting until high school to find a husband with normal-sized ears.
Whether we like it or not, this industry has changed. Instead of working our asses off trying to get it back to the way it was, letís embrace this change. Letís acknowledge that itís grown, and move on. It wonít go back. Still, amidst all of this,
company stands for something much greater. This is a business of caring for people, not their money. Above million-dollar sales, we value compassion, something those corporate fucks donít give a flying fuck about.
And then I stopped, because I didnít know what I was talking about or how to cuss effectively.
He looks at me with those big green eyes,
Takes a drag of that cigarette and sighs,
Girl, you'll never make it with dreams so big.
You can't see it now, 'cos you're still so young,
But when you're twenty-four, you'll bite your tongue,
say, "Man, I'll never make it with dreams so big."
And I push him back a little, just to see if he'll stand,
Jakey, but my dreams are not so grand.
I blow away the smoke and turn to walk away
You'll see I'm right,
he says to me.
One day. Some day.
I sat on a chair in front of the house and stared into the street. A few cars passed by, but they were going too fast to notice me. The wind was cold, my elbows were dry, and I thought about the dream I had the other night that put a strange emphasis on the words "The Chile." In my dream, it referred to the activity of waiting in an airport terminal. A car pulled into the driveway. It was Daniel. He parked, stepped out of the car, and walked toward me with a ripe pineapple. His hair was wild.
Those are some of the sounds that house cats make. Some of these words describe a sound, and the others are intended to be phonetic.
I've never written or typed the word
before, so I feel uncomfortable using it. I've only thought of it. And never in a complete sentence. I know it is an adjective, but I had a difficult time placing it in a sentence. I'm still not sure I've used it correctly. At least I knew how to spell it, right? Why isn't the word
spelled the way it sounds?
I wake up some mornings and dress in a way that suggests who I think I should be. I move the way I think I should move, and I say the things I think I should say. I perform to present myself a certain way, and I can't help but feel unsatisfied when it does not agree with who I really think I am. This account of my experiences as a librarian, a student, and a mild type of wild person, explores the different ways I've performed for others and the different types of persons I've thought I should be.
We ate chicken. There was no salt, just lots of pepper. I chopped up a few cloves of garlic and threw those in as well. The tomatoes in the fridge were about four days away from being inedible, so we cut those into big chunks, and tossed them over the chicken. I wasn't sure if cooking the almost-bad tomatoes made them okay to eat, but after peeling, washing, and slicing the potatoes and celery, we put it in the oven, and ate everything forty minutes later. I was sad that I hadn't saved any for lunch the next day.
I took off all of my clothes and stepped in the shower. I thought of a word that I really liked, and imagined a sentence it would work well in. It was beautiful, I thought, and it has the potential to inspire me for the rest of my life. I shampooed my hair and lathered my body with soap, and I sang a little tune, because I was pleased with myself. Because maybe my dreams of being a
writer would be realized when I was dry and had a paper and pen to record the most brilliant sentence ever.
I sat in the car, looking out the window at the rain and the gray sky. It seemed to cliche to be real. I wanted something original to write, but I knew I wouldn't get it with this weather.
The car was warm, and no one spoke a word. Max was resting his head on Daniel's lap, struggling to breathe. I didn't want to look at him.
After what seemed like forever, we were standing in a cold room at the vet.
I decided then that I wouldn't write about it. It would mean too much. Or far too little.
Starts and Parts of Things I've Thought
Show me what it means to.
How does it feel when you.
Drive fast, don't look back.
How can we learn when.
Learn to run, then walk, then lie.
In seven hours, he'll be home.
Pack your bags, hit the road.
Like a train.
Carefully, quietly, as quick as a.
Find a reason, burn some time.
Whatever happened then, it doesn't matter now.
Impossible to make sense of.
Better than what we planned.
In the dark, we closed our eyes, he held my hand and it felt so right.
Could not get cornier.
We were supposed to eat dessert at 7:30, and it's 7:40 right now. My dinner has settled, and I am ready to consume something sweet. My brother's girlfriend brought something over from the bakery down the road. I don't know what it is, but I'd try anything. Except something with coffee in it. Or coconuts. Or nuts. Well, maybe some nuts are okay, but I would rather there not be any. I don't think I would like a banana-type dessert tonight, but I would probably eat it anyway. As long as it came with a good crust.
I knew she was there, but I wasn't sure if she knew I was. So instead of saying hi and risking I-don't-know-what, I stayed put and continued my conversation with Nick like she wasn't there. If Melissa and I happened to accidentally catch a glimpse of each other at the same time, I wondered how surprised my face would look. Figuring that it would not look surprised enough, I kept my eyes on Nick and tried to do more things I thought would show how much I'd grown during the past eight years Melissa hadn't seen me.
I decided not to get my hopes up. Aaron said this would be a special dinner, but we've had special dinners before. I showered, styled my hair, and picked out my favorite dress. While I was curling my lashes, Aaron walked in. He kissed my neck and sniffed my shoulder. He said I always smell like strawberries.
"With you," he said, "I am who I want to be, and the dark spaces in the sky don't seem so big."
The restaurant we were going to didn't take reservations, so I slipped into my dress, and we ran to his car.
"No. No, Donny. Please. We have enough of those in the basement, don't you think? Besides, if Maxine gets into it, we'll have to make another two a.m. trip to the doctor and get her stomach pumped. Do you know what they'll think of us then?"
Donny shrugged and put the box back on the shelf. He understood that a decision had been made, but still contemplated purchasing it.
"They'll think we're bad parents. That we make bad decisions around our child because we subconsciously hate her and want her to die. Donny, I don't want our child dead."
I hate beautiful girls.
I especially hate the ones that guys think are
. Sometimes, I decide that I'm not going to let it bother me any more. But a week later, another pretty girl struts into my life, and this time, she's smart too. Just like me, she wears boring clothes. But she looks good in them. Good and sweet. I know I'm making it worse for myself by hating her, but I feel there's no other way for me to be. If I can't be beautiful, I can be outrageous, still, moody, bitter, and I won't care anymore.
happy birthday, daniel
i hope your day is great
i hope you like your present
and your chocolate cake
i'm sorry that it rained
and we decided not to go
to the beach like we had said
about three nights ago
maybe we'll go next week
when the sun is shining bright
but maybe i should not speak
'cos i like it most at night
today is not about me
it's all for you, you see
so, deck the boughs with holly
and decorate the tree
by now you've probably realized
i am running out of words
It's not that I didn't care. I cared. I still do. I'm just not gonna sit here the rest of my life waiting for something to change. Joe and Nina, they knew what it meant for me to get out of there. They fought for me to stay and even threatened the girls. But the night before I left, they gave me a pair of wool socks to keep warm and carried my bags to the station. I don't want to leave again. But I'm sick of the numbers and the words scribbled in those damn books. Set it up.
Last night, we went mini golfing with our friends and their kids. I don't know how to act around children. I feel like I should be an adult when they're around, but at the same time, I still feel like the youngest one there. Like I should be excused from the grownup conversations and innuendos. And when a kid comes too close to me, I freeze up and try to be an adult, but feel more like an uptight, boring lady that kids will never like or remember when they go home and talk about how much fun they had.
If there was something you wanted to tell me, I think it'd be best if you tell me now. Tell me, and I'll tell you a secret of mine. Wait, no. No, no, no. If I find that it's something worthy of one of my secrets, I'll give one to you. Just one.
What are you watching? What kind of movie is this? Are you uncomfortable watching this now? It is making me uncomfortable. I am going to sit here and pretend to be writing something deeply involved, because it is too much for me to watch now. Oh my.
He didn't know that I knew that when he kissed me on the forehead it meant he'd be leaving. I pretended to be asleep and turned over. That way, if I cried, he wouldn't see.
He'd gone Christmas shopping with me earlier that day. He walked right beside me, even held my hand for a little while, but I knew his mind was elsewhere. Probably someplace he felt free and had no one to look after but himself and his dog. When we met two years ago, he said he could picture forever with me. Now, that scoff seems appropriate.
"When you say that, Georgey, I just want to laugh," I said between sips of my margarita. Then I laughed, because it was funny and because we were both expecting it.
"If you were to tell me all of this a year ago," George said, "I'm not sure what I would have done." He flagged down the waitress for the check. "I might have demanded a divorce and ran away with the kids, or I might have cried into the gravel on your driveway. I'm just not sure."
"I know what you would have done," I said. "But, whatever, right?"
I was walking along the side of the road, and I saw her across the street. She was smaller than I'd imagined, and she didn't look like the billionaire I knew she was, but she stood out from the crowd. To me, at least. I ran across the road, remembering after to check for oncoming traffic. I stood just before her, shaking, sweating, and barely able to mutter a simple hello. I had so much to say, so much I wondered about and dreamt of asking, but I couldn't even remember my name. I only told her she was amazing.
Is this what you meant when you said goodbye?
What are you doing here?
Why are you standing on my porch holding a box with a bow?
There was more that I wanted to know, but I let him explain first. While he spoke, I realized how empty it all was, and how he could have been reading me his grocery list and getting more of a response. Instead of showing him my disappointment, I cried. It was cruel, because I didn't mean it. I wasn't sure if there was a real reason for me to cry. But I bawled.
I think I told you last year that I didn't like Christmas-themed things. So I'm not going to talk about the lights or the tree or the cold, winter air against my skin while we kissed and promised that next year, everyone would know that we love each other the way two people ought to when they plan to spend forever together. You would expect that. And I would feel that I hadn't changed much since the last Christmas. Or the few years before that when all I could write about were boys and being too much a teenager.
I've decided to collect owl shirts. I have two now. After the first one, I'd already made up my mind. There were so many possibilities. I know I'd seen a few before, and I was always impressed by the artists' ability to make them unique. I purchased my second one online last week, and it came in the mail a few days ago. I'm wearing it now. I shouldn't have paid extra for it to come so quickly, because I'm already very poor. But it's over now. It's fine. I sure hope this thread doesn't come out in the wash.
Today is my birthday. Sometimes, we go to a restaurant to celebrate, but this year, we're staying home. I asked only that my family play Scrabble with me and relieve me of my dish-washing duties. We sat on the floor, and my feet fell asleep. Everyone still thinks I'm a sweet girl, but if I were to lose in Scrabble, I would ask for a rematch and make sure to pulverize every one of my opponents. I wouldn't hold back, and I wouldn't fear using the obscure words I know most people would feel they had to challenge.
It's so hard to know what you're thinking, when you're wearing those sunglasses. Earlier, I thought it wouldn't matter. I thought I could tell by the way you moved your lips or the angle of your shoulders, but I couldn't. Are you trying to make it difficult? What do you have to hide? Are you keeping secrets from me? And if you are, will I hear about them in the future? And if I do, will it be good news or bad news? Will I love you the same, or will everything change? Please, just take off your sunglasses, baby.
Except for the times when you forgot about me, I cared about this more than you will ever know. It's become a part of me--a part that no human can take away, Lola. Not even Little Miss Albuquerque. You know what that means? You know that I've never held on to something so tight before? I swear, I'd find myself dead in the streets of New York City, trampled by the city people, before you find another man on this planet who cares more about this than me. What is it going to take for you to see that?
I am writing this letter in my room, next to an open window where there are droplets of rain floating in. I would close the window or move away, but I have to write this before I forget what I am thinking or decide not to tell you anything. Because just a few seconds ago, I really wanted you to know.
So, as quickly as I can, I will tell you what I've been thinking about for the past two days. But before I do, please remember how long we've been friends. And make sure your girlfriend is not around.
1. I regret the three years I'd been missing our conversations, so I'm really glad we've been emailing each other these past few weeks. It always makes me smile to see that I have a new message from you.
2. In high school, when we promised to move to Japan together and share an apartment, I only said it to upset the girl that liked you. And I'm pretty sure you only said it because you'd been watching too much of that sappy Japanese drama. But if you're still up for it, I wouldn't be completely opposed to the idea.
3. Right now, I'm not going to tell you that I like you. That would be predictable. And a little too middle school. Because, even if I had developed feelings for you this month, they would most likely be feelings of nostalgia for what we had that winter, five years ago. I've written about it, and I've talked about it, and I've romanticized it to the point that I can hardly stand to think of it. Because if it had really happened the way I like to think it did, I wouldn't have cried so hard the night you left.
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