Saturday, October 27, 2012


You know you’ve had enough when a sick full of dirty dishwater caused by an upside down sink plug wedged in the drain reduces you to tears. When people say life is all about the little things I don’t think this is what they mean. Bailing water so you can see the object of your frustration, everything that isn’t what you want, what you expected, or at all what you hoped climbs on your shoulders and laughs in your ear. Searching for something, anything to grab the stubborn plug in the drain, the laughter gets louder, where are the pliers , not with the screwdrivers and hammers, not with the batteries and assorted chargers, not in the toolbox – oh no, why would they be there . Last resort you find something and laugh at yourself for thinking it will actually work and not just make you feel even worse. Astonished when it grips, holds, and pulls the drain out, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry harder as you watch the last of the water circle into the drain. Your savior – still dripping in your right hand? A pair of large dog nail trimmers.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stripper funerals, indecisive vowels and feral cows

My pre-teen aged niece posted something on facebook about missing someone so much she wanted to write “I miss you” on a rock and throw it at their face., so they would know
how much it hurts. It made me laugh, and then it made me think of you. There’s
nothing to be done now, I’m damn good at closing a door and putting a dresser
behind it. I know it was unfair, me leaving the way I did. I know I owed you
more, you deserved more. More proof, if anyone needed it, that I don’t always make
the best decisions at 4 am. There wasn’t even a bottle of Jack Daniels in the
room, at least not an open one.
What I managed to do was talk myself out of this situation, this (potential) relationship by isolating the faults in myself that convinced me that whatever a good person (in this case,
you) might bring to my life, my inadequacy is going to screw the pooch, as they
say. So I start bailing, back pedaling, just plain running away. It seems I’m
hung up on wasted time. I don’t’ have to look too far back into my past to see where that originated. I’m sort of stunned by the urgency of it within me though.
If I’m honest with myself (and why else would I be writing at this hour if not to be
honest) this one really sucks. It’s just not that often I find people, any
people, but especially men that I connect with on multiple levels. I’m ashamed
to say, it was just too much for me. After all the crap I gave you about
refusing to look at the end before we even got started, I exited, stage left,
because I could see the heartbreak that was in store for me. I woke up that
morning, not because you called, but full of a sense of dread, full of just how
bad it was going to be when your calls weren’t what woke me.

I tortured myself for a couple of hours, thinking and writing, trying to tell myself that
the ride would be worth the fall, that I’d take the 10 minutes, 10 weeks,
whatever, of happy, but I couldn’t get my head there, my heart was already at
humpty-dumpty post fall. And I had no faith in the king’s men.

Not too long ago, I wrote myself a little love letter, and it was all full of hope and
happy things. Where that bitch went, I don’t know, but she seems to have packed
and left for the coast. She better come back sunburned thorugh, because there
sure isn’t any sunshine here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Polka dot engine block*

Once, seeing me hurt, a guy I knew dragged me out to the parking lot, tucked me into his red, 2-seater, death trap and took off, flyingup Hayfield Road. Driving with one hand well above the posted limits, digging a roach out of the car’s ashtray with the other hand, Fred assured me that laying he cause of my pain on a staircase and jumping on his knees would solve everything.
All he needed was name.

I don’t know that I’ve inspired such ferocity in anyone since – and I don’t really know why I did in him, really, as we weren’t that close. Touched even in my current state of hurt (and fear) – I still was able to recognize that his wasn’t exactly a healthy, much less normal response. I only remember bits of the rest of the car ride, and believe I spent it trying to calm him down and prevent life-long orthopedic injury to the person who hurt me that day.

Fred returned me in one piece, and while I never gave him that name, it is his threat that returns to my head when people I love are wounded in the same way. Fred was abandoned by his parents, left on the streets when he was in grade school, in and out of foster care, eventually returning to
live out most of his adolescence on the streets of Baltimore. Abused his entire life in virtually every possible fashion, Fred believed in violence. Not as a solution, he was too smart for that, but that it gave temporary relief to the mounting pressure in both head and heart, there was no denying. He told me that day, that he believed he had nothing left. All the feeling had been beaten, starved, belittled, or neglected right out of him. All he had left to offer, Fred said, was defense of those who could still feel. He wanted to save in others what had been stolen from him. There was no dissuading him of his belief that he had nothing left, I tried for all the years I knew him and there was never a flicker of hope in him. This was maybe the saddest thing I have ever seen.
He disappeared from my life almost as quickly as he appeared.

This morning I got to thinking about Fred. I wonder if it was easier to never have any expectations, except possibly to expect the worst of people, than it is to have expectations dashed, to be disappointed in those who do the dashing? Would that be easier to live with? I realize I’ll
never know the answer, unless I find another Fred in the world, because at least for me, hope may take the occasional day trip, but it does indeed always return.

I think of Fred more often than seems necessary, and often wish I knew where he was, or if he’s even still alive. Some part of me knows that if he never found hope for himself that is likely the very thing that killed him.

*Fred worked as an auto mechanic, once when he had my brother's car, he painted polka dots all over his engine block. It's the only memory I have of Fred doing something not out of anger.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A little love letter

My very first boyfriend once drove to my house late at night, threw rocks at my bedroom window and failing to wake me wrote the lyrics to “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure on a worn piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook and left it under my windshield wiper. At the time, I remember thinking this was the most romantic thing in the world.

A few months ago, I got talked into playing foosball with a bunch of half-drunk friends. The next morning stretched across my bed nursing a hangover and scratching my dog’s head, I had the realization that I was happy. That moment, the one Daisy told me would come last spring, over cold beers and more than a few tears from both of us, had arrived.

Today, I’m thinking about the fact that the people I am closest to are those that I never would have met if I hadn’t done something completely unexpected. These are the friends I can count on to tell me to pack my duffel bag and get on the greyhound bus, go lift some heavy shit, or show up at my doorstep on a random Tuesday night because she didn’t like the way I sounded. I wouldn’t give these people back to the universe for anything. I surely don’t know how I would have gotten here from there without these people.

I have a long history of being too hard on myself. It isn’t something I like it is just something I fail at controlling more often than I care to admit. It is no coincidence that the song lyric “every day I fight a war against the mirror, can’t stand the person looking back at me” speaks to me. Loudly. It is not all about physical appearance it is much deeper than that. I occasionally think this will go away, but reality says that at 42, I’m not likely to give it up.It’s as much a part of me as my freckles. I’d like very much to be as kind to myself as these people are to me. I’d like to be able, like Daisy does to hear myself saying or thinking something harsh and have my ‘kinder half’ jump up and cry “FOUL!” I’d like to have that same half remind me that in the past, I didn’t always sound as happy as I insisted I was, or even just remind me that in spite of my irrational fears I am still loved, and lovable.

Those handwritten Cure lyrics smeared from morning dew were the closest thing I have ever gotten to a love letter. I remember that for months after that first relationship ended I could not listen to that song. I know those now, 20-some odd years later, I still think of him when I hear it. Gratefully, I no longer have the accompanying gut-wrenching, heartbroken feeling, but instead I have gratitude for the gift of feeling loved at such a young age. The gift is in knowing that even then, with little to no direction, nothing I could call my own, and a diehard belief that platinum blond hair was the best look for me, he found me worthy of loving.
There’s no doubt I grew into a better version of that girl. There’s no doubt that 20-some odd years later, I am still worthy, even on those days I’m at war with the person in the mirror. There’s also no doubt that I hate the part of me that needs external reassurance of these things.

When I started dating it was incredibly forced, and probably, I had no business being there. I’d forgotten what it felt like to be on a date; to sit across the dinner table from someone who could get through a meal without looking at their cell phone once. It turns out, there are people in this world who find me infinitely more interesting, than their phone. That, in fact, when it rings, or buzzes or whistles, they actually only touch it to turn it OFF.

Last year when things were at their worst - I thought I had done the best I could do. I didn’t believe there was any more in me or for me. Turns out I was wrong about that. There is more, in me and for me.