Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Easy, Love

I can remember the beginning very vividly. We had been friends for around six months when I was certain the attraction extended beyond the platonic. One night I got a text: Just drove by your street and it made me think of you. He kissed me at a party and we snuggled under a blanket. A week later he asked me, “What are we?” “I don’t know.” “I want us to be together.” “I want that, too.” I was seventeen. It was so damn easy.

I had never wanted to be around anyone the way I wanted to be around him. I would leave for school an hour early so I could crawl into his bed with him for fifteen minutes before my day started. I’d skip dance class to sit at Charlie’s Burgers with him, my feet resting in his lap as he sat across the booth from me. We’d leave social gatherings early to park by the lake and talk about school and our families and television and nothing and everything all at the same time. I was the loudest swim fan at his meets, and he sent the biggest bouquet after my shows.

I was only seventeen, but I really loved E. I know I did. It’s the only romantic love I’ve ever known, and call me crazy, but I keep waiting for that second man to walk in and prove to me that love really is easy. It doesn’t involve games, or drama, or angst-filled Gchat messages that place blame and guilt. It’ll be as easy as my feet in his lap at a burger joint. I’m sure of it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I am yours now...?

I didn't cry that morning in the Hungarian's apartment nor in the train on the way to the airport, his image getting smaller and smaller on the platform. I didn't cry whilst sitting alone at the gate nor when the plane took off for Paris. But when this song came on my iPod, I couldn't hold it in any longer.

A part of me knew what we had was special; another part of me knew it was over.

And somehow this video sums it all up.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Long Awaited Meet and Greet

I met him outside. He had been so built up in my mind; this tall, familiar, comforting stranger that caused my head to turn. Never being one to get caught in a fantasy, I was shocked by the effect this man had on my imagination. What a strange feeling it was to wait outside for him. I felt as if I knew him, although, I did not. We only had months of distant attraction between us and a recent bombardment of text messages. Finally a face to face meeting, perhaps it could be considered a date. I had dreamt of this moment, filled with witty banter and possibly an overwhelming attraction shared by the two of us. Alas, there hung that looming hope, perhaps this is something real, perhaps this will turn into something lasting and true; perhaps I need to get to know him.

Stepping through the door in his entire six foot six inch splendor, stunning in his perfectly tailored, beautifully crafted pale grey summer weight suit; I noticed instantly his nervous energy. Leading me through the crowded streets of midtown Manhattan, he took the lead deciding which streets to cross and which lights to patiently wait for. Making comments about my city and commenting on the neighborhood as if I were the newbie; I found it quite endearing. Turning to enter the park to my regular favored spot, he stopped and gently guided me on to a further entrance. Laying out a blanket he chatted on boldly full of fumbles and mumbles.

The suiting jacket came off, the French cuffs were rolled up, socks and shoes discarded, he made himself comfortable exposing his perfectly sun browned skin. Situating myself on the blanket next to him, my shoes remained on, my stature much stiffer, I sat in puzzled amusement, something wasn't quite right. There was a familiarity about him, a comfort and ease about him that did not match his scattered dialogue or inappropriate over-sharing. Conversation was not easy or fluid as I had hoped. In fact he began to share of his family's dysfunction in detail. He let his heart leak out of the pain he'd experienced from his childhood, in front of me spilling out into a pool between us. He spoke of it with sarcastic tones as if it were all a joke. I was embarrassed by his nakedness, the brash bare reality of his situation. It was laid on me like a sack of dry bones. Though not what I was expecting during an afternoon picnic meeting this man for the first time, I felt for him, taking on his details like precious relics to be protected. He shot jabs at me too, using every piece of information I shared with him as ammo for his sarcasm. I realized, despite his cool demeanor, he must have been rambling out of nervousness. This conflicting confidence and unmistakable self doubt keep me confused. I left taken a back by his seeming insecurity.

I haven’t heard from him since, though the thought of him lingers. He remains a mystery and an unquenchable puzzle. Perhaps he will reach out again and we will give it another go. I can only pray he is more relaxed, a bit more himself. I wish to get a true glimpse of who he really is. If he does reach out again, I will make sure to bring a flask.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Looking for a friend? Look into yourself.

Tonight after many nights I am alone in bed. D is away for the weekend.

This is the perfect setting to be lonely and alone. My body is used to curling up with his. His arms around me. His breath punctuating mine. Tonight the bed is cold. The covers too big. The pillows too many.


I luxuriate in space. I sleep diagonally. I cozy up to all the pillows. Stick a foot out of the covers. And just one finger. I curl and uncurl. I stretch.

And I know. That no matter what, no matter where, I will never be lonely or alone so long as I have myself. Myself to hug. Myself to cuddle. Myself to curl up with.

I learnt this some years ago. Some years ago when I was feeling lost and lonely, friendless and misunderstood, frighteningly, deafeningly, horribly, astoundingly, crazily, funnily, surreally, alone. In the midst of family and friends I found myself to be an island, in contradiction of what John Donne had said. He was wrong, I thought. Or maybe he was talking only about men. Because it is entirely and completely possible to be an island unto oneself. Maybe we were just talking about different levels of connections, different stratas altogether. But in that lonely space I learnt about myself. And happily enough, I learned to like myself. To be friends with myself. I learned, then, to love myself.

Have you ever experienced a film-like montage? Where images of your life come crashing together, tumbling all over each other to make some sense in the end? If ever that happens to me I know at least one of the images that will wollop me over the head: Sister Maria saying "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else." Grey skirt, grey shirt with a white collar. Grey habit. Wrinkles worked deep into her face. Oblong glasses framing her eyes. Standing on the daiis for the daily school assembly. I see her now. "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else."

Tonight D is away for the weekend and I am all alone in bed.

I miss him.

But thankfully I don't miss myself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am not too much

The LDC doesn’t want me to move to Seattle. He said it. It doesn’t matter how he said it, or his reasons, or how I reacted to it. It is a basic fact that I should’ve seen coming from 3,000 miles away. This is a fantasy. It always was. When the reality of me actually being in his city stared him in the face, he ran scared. Fantasy is easier than reality. Texts are easier than visits. We will never cuddle on his couch in Seattle and make fun of reality television, or go to dinner at the dozens of restaurants in the Pacific Northwest that I’ve told him about. I won’t meet his mom and he won’t meet my dad. I’ll never have to lie to him about eating fast food or smoking a cigarette because he’ll never be able to smell it on me. And at the most basic level, he won’t care.

I’m disappointed. I’m frustrated that this thing I’ve been laboring over for a long time was all for naught. But in a sick, sad, twisted way, I’m relieved. This is what I’ve been expecting. This is the thing I’ve been trying to pull out of him for a year now. “Tell me that this is important to you,” I begged, but I might as well have asked him to tell me exactly how it wasn’t important to him. I was digging for affirmations because I expected that he wouldn’t deliver. It’s like being led blindfolded through a garbage dump but being told you’re in a rose garden. The blindfold comes off, and ah ha! I didn’t want to be right, but deep down I always felt I was.

Seattle will be strange without him. I’ll walk by his office building, and his parents’ store, and the restaurant he took me to on our first and only real date, and I’ll think of him. We’ll probably see each other every once in awhile. I’d feel sadder about this if I wasn’t so hopeful about the other great things going on in my life. Someday I’ll peer out of a TV screen at him from behind the counter of my cooking show, and maybe he’ll feel a little pang of regret that I turned out so great and he missed the boat. Even now I feel that way, that he’s the one missing out, and I guess I should be grateful for that. I’m still reminded of JRenee’s quote, and the more misguided relationships I have the more I actually believe it.

“Be you. You are enough and you are not too much.”

Playing it Cool

I went out with a boy who got me all excited. At long last, after a year of so-so dates (or no dates at all), my heart has done the flutter. I was worried that the flat line might be my fate.

I'm trying to pay attention to my heart, rather than using my brain to draw lines and conclusions that make me feel safe. I'm also trying to shut up my inner dialogue: "why on earth would he flirt with me? clearly there's something horribly wrong with him." This over-analyzing only produces criticism. He has a crazy laugh. Maybe he's a psychopath. He's being too charming. He only wants to get me into bed. He's overly honest. He's apologizing for being nervous. He's trying too hard. He's trying to play me. He can tell that I feel rusty and out of practice in dating, and he's taking advantage of that. Obviously my family will disapprove. I'll never attract the guy who's 'good enough for me' in their eyes. Endless loop of crap.

Decision: I'm going to play it cool. I'm going to let him pursue me, if he chooses, because at least then I can remove him and all the accompanying mental chatter from the equation of my life. And go back to living it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My loves. My lovers.

Let me introduce you to my loves. They are each special in their own way. They hold corners of my heart and threaten, nay, promise, to never let go. I want you to meet them. I want you to know them. They are a part of me. My past, my present, my future, my dreams.

Bombay was the arranged marriage that never went through because I moved away. I knew Bombay, I loved Bombay in my own young way. Even now it holds a thrill, a pull, a fascination. But some part of me wonders if it was ever meant to be. Because now we are almost strangers. There is of course always the possibility that things will work out, that the stars will align to bring us together, but the more life pulls me in one direction, the farther that possibility recedes. But I am open, because I know that there is so much to love, so much I could fall for if only I had the chance to get to know Bombay better.

Pune is another love I have known and known about for my entire life...and it doesn't seem that I can get to know it better even if I wanted to. Or rather, it doesn't seem that I can get to know it in a different way at all. Pune is the neighborly friend who has been living next doors for so long that you can't imagine your family without that friendly face. But I have only ever seen Pune through the lens of family. My entire knowledge of Pune is shaped and colored by my experiences with my family. I know only the restaurants we go to when we visit, only the parks I've walked in with my grandfather, only the movie theaters nearby, only the shops that we go to. And even though I know that there is more personality, more something, anything, hidden below the surface, somehow I can never crack it. And it isn't just Pune, hiding that glorious personality and that unmistakable charm, it is also my own perception. Pune can never be totally cool. Pune can never be totally different, or mine, or not-mine, or young, or independent. Pune can never be free of my memories. But like that true friend from next doors, I know that the love I have for Pune will always be there. That corner is taken.

My heart is getting crowded - how many corners can it have anway? But New York has a firm grip on the third corner. The lover I had seen out of the corner of my eye at twelve and with whom I had tumbled deep, deep in love. The lover who had enticed me with promises of adulthood and independence and me-ness. That lover welcomed me with open arms when, as a bright-eyed eighteen-year-old I first stepped into its streets. My every molecule woke up and smiled - laughed even, out of joy - right then as I stepped into New York's arms. There was no pleasure so intense, no happiness so mine and so original, as that. New York reaches for me across the oceans and continents so that no matter where I am, one corner of my mind and heart are pulsing to the same two words: New York. This lover showed me what it means to say "I'm home" even when you're moving every year. I'll tell you a secret that this lover told me, tells me even today, and I'm sure won't mind if I share it with you: home is where you are. Provided, of course, that that's where your heart is. You make sure to bring your heart with you wherever you go and there you'll be at home. New York is my wise, fun, inspiring lover who taught me to love, who showed me what the world can hold, and what we could achieve together. New York knows that I'll go back to it time and again. I may leave, but not for long. Some part of my heart I leave on that island, until again and again we are reunited.

Meanwhile, another lover tugs at the strings of my heart. We met when I was twenty, and four years later our love affair continues. I can't get enough, I keep coming back for more. Paris is my beautiful, refined, sexy, glamorous, intelligent, snobbish, delightful lover. Paris shows me what it is to take a romantic stroll as the sun sets. Paris shows me the pure pleasure of chocolate melting on my tongue. Paris shows me the wit and beauty and ideas that abound in this world. Paris seduces me, and I let myself be seduced. I am only too willing, willing enough to dismiss the fact that Paris turns its nose up at others - what should that matter so long as I am myself in Paris's good graces?! I let myself glide into Paris's soft, perfumed arms. Soft caresses interspersed with mischievous pinches - just to keep me on my toes, I say to myself. Just to test that this corner of my heart belongs to Paris and Paris only.

And now meet my most recent lover: Amsterdam. Amsterdam is cool, Amsterdam is fun, Amsterdam knows how to live the good life and let others live theirs. Amsterdam doesn't turn up its nose, Amsterdam isn't bogged down by memories or connections. I know I don't know this lover very well - we only met five days ago! But that shooting rush of recognition seated deep in my soul can't be mimicked. Some have come close: Madrid, Barcelona, even Malaga. London has almost grabbed onto another corner - or has at least started planting roots, possibly to blossom into full-blown love. But with Amsterdam it was instantaneous. A part of me wonders if it was just a spring idyll, but the rest of me banishes the thought before it can even become a complete thought. Our meeting was idyllic, but I can't bear the thought of it just being an idyll, never to be repeated. And maybe I'll be silly, writing love letters to a lover who has so many other interests, but maybe not. Maybe I'll get a response to my love letters. Because that corner of my heart is already taken now.

I don't know with whom I will end up. I don't know if I can handle all of these lovers tugging at different corners of my heart. But there they are, and I can't...won't...kick any of them out. They are a part of me, and in some way, perhaps insignificant as yet, I am a part of them. And I can't wait to see how these love affairs progress.

On the daily

A coffee before work, lunch sitting at the bar of some restaurant conveniently located between our two offices, or a brief pause on the grass of Dupont Circle, his head on my lap, before I set off for the burbs.

A: i like that that we try to see each other every day even for like a half hour
me: agreed

Stranger Who Flirts Via Text

‘Tortoise Boy’ has since become ‘Stranger Who Flirts Via Text.’ I’ve had two brief encounters and a fore of witty banter via text message.  He’s asked me to lunch twice, the day of, both to be denied. Now, today, finally, I will be meeting him for lunch, on the grass of central park; a brief lunch, during a busy work day. In roughly a half hour, I will finally be able to grasp a hold of the physical presence of this man. He is such a tantalizing mystery to me. Not sure what I make of him thus far, but am anxious to form an educated opinion. Stay tuned…

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Aussie, Part 2

I didn’t want to go. He’s not for me, he likes me too much, what if we run out of things to say, what if I’m awkward, what if he gets to know me and he’s disappointed, he dresses funny, if I wear my tallest heels I’ll be taller than he is. “Do you want to do dinner?” “I do but I’m hesitant. I’m moving in a couple months and I think dating someone in New York is not the best idea right now.” “I guess that’s fair. Shame. You’ve got such a different energy than any other girl I’ve met. But I’m not letting you off the hook that easy. We can still hang out.” “As friends?” “Sure.”

I agreed to let him take me to an improv show at The Pit. He smells so nice, jeans and sneakers this time, his shoulder touched mine, is he leaning toward me, is that body language, he touched my knee, please touch my knee again, he’s got a nice laugh, he hasn’t looked at his phone once the whole night I love that, he’s definitely leaning toward me, touch my knee again.

“Where are we going now?” I want to spend more time with you. “Do you play pool? I know exactly where we’re going.” A pool hall in Korea Town. “I know, it looks dodgy, but it’s cool.” Dodgy. In a tiny elevator, just me and him, twelfth floor, kiss me in the elevator, kiss me in the elevator, kiss me in the elevator, he’s smiling at me, shot myself in the foot with the friends statement, I could really like him and now he won’t kiss me.

He is terrible at pool, and I’m not much better but it doesn’t even matter. He doesn’t even care when I beat him, still not looking at his phone, touches my stomach as he passes by for the next shot, please touch me again, I don’t want to be your friend.

“Up for a location change? I know that look. It’s bed time?” I want to go home and think about how lovely this night was and I don’t want to drink any more to ruin it. Arm around my shoulder walking to the subway, if I hadn’t made the stupid friends proclamation he’d be holding my hand, he smells so nice, will he kiss me at the station? A hug. A long hug. A kiss on the forehead. A kiss on the cheek. You missed! Another kiss on the forehead. I am surely frowning as I say goodbye and jog down the subway stairs. “Text me when you’re home, yeah?”

Usually when someone asks me to text them that I got home okay, I forget. This time, I didn’t forget. Because he was all I could think about.

Dinner with The Man

I often hated the character of ‘Mr. Big’ in the Sex and The City series. I wondered why Carry kept going back to him, comparing every man she ever met to him...‘Mr. Big.’ Although, I thought him a royal ass-hole and a self centered jerk, I think I understand her draw to him. He was a man. He made decisions, he lead, he carried himself with maturity, and he took charge and wasn’t threatened by her strength.

Last night I had dinner with a dear friend of mine who is a bit older than me. We talked for three and a half hours and he asked me pointed questions digging to the heart of what I want in the world. He encouraged me and challenged me to jump, to risk, to believe that the fullest extent of life and love is worth grasping for. He pointed out things he sees in me that stand in my way, fears and doubts. I asked him questions too and he answered with surprising candor. I loved hearing from a man who knows what he wants in life and isn’t afraid to get it. There is something about his humble strength that puts me at ease and gives me the confidence to live fully.

Guy after guy, as much as I have adored aspects of their character, not one has held my respect like this man. I might have to wait for one such as this, and that I am willing to do... wait.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tortoise Boy Returns

Remember Tortoise boy who stole my gaze from across the room? The one who friended me on facebook and kept me guessing? Well…after a long pause, I was reminded of his presence in the world. That original feeling that crept up the moment I saw him arose once again. A couple months back, while I was dating my last boyfriend, a friend of mine grabbed me at a baby shower, exclaiming that we must speak the moment we found some privacy. The moment we entered a cab leaving the party she loudly exclaimed that she’d found out from another woman at the party that Tortoise boy was moving to Brooklyn that very day.. AND that he’d been thinking of me ever since!

Of course he decides to pop back into my life, once again, while I am dating someone else! Stunned by this news I thought it just my luck to miss a possible.. maybe.. almost chance with him, again.  It didn’t help the uncertainty I was feeling about my last boyfriend or the tough topics that seemed to be coming up in our relationship at such a tender stage. This man that set my heart aflame with just a glance and a snarky comment, was soon to be living in my city, and apparently shared the same instantaneous attraction that I felt months prior.

Twisted in knots, the guilt for feeling such things for a man that was not my boyfriend, started to kill me. I couldn’t get him out of my head or the curiosity out of my heart. Afterall, I didn’t even know Tortoise Boy, we hadn’t even had a single thorough conversation. I worked hard to put him out of my mind and to concentrate on the existing relationship I was apart of. That worked well for a while, until Tortoise Boy decided to send me a happy little sarcastic note via facebook, making his presence known. I kindly and curtly responded, then didn’t hear from him again.. until Easter Sunday.

Exhausted from a day of cooking and hosting, I went to a night service at our church only to find out that he too was there. While speaking to someone else he came up behind me and threw his hands out in surprise so to say, “I’m Here!” I turned around with a startle and a smile saying hello and greeting him with a quick hug. We chatted for a while and shared witty banter. I couldn’t help the glaring observation that the same glee I experienced upon our initial meeting was just not there. I enjoyed his silly humor and was thankful for his bold jaunt across the room, but expected a much grander initial attraction. Before we parted he asked if I’d like to have lunch and got my digits.

In the same fashion as his previous introductions, there was a lengthy pause before I  received word from him again. When I did, it came in the form of a 5 text long text message nervously and sarcastically asking me to have lunch with him that afternoon, followed by all the reasons I would most likely say no. I responded with equal sarcasm, but clearly to the point, telling him I would love to have lunch, but a business meeting that afternoon was preventing me from having lunch with him. That text was followed up by a day full of text messages. I felt so awkward caught in the incessant banter of two people who don’t really know one another, but have clearly made assumptions of the other. I hate that my passion for this stranger has slowed almost to a screeching halt, but happy that reality is confronting fantasy. Perhaps one day I will actually find myself face to face with this man, getting a glimps into who he really is. Then and only then will my true passions and desires have a chance to reveal whether this man is for me or someone else. Let the games begin… again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm in transit but I'm stranded on this boat. And I pledge my self allegiance to a better night's sleep at home.

Happy Monday to me:

M: ok well i had a talk with S last night and im not sure if this is my place to say, or what was S just passive aggressively doing her shit
but if it was me i would prob want to know
she said he's still kind of seeing J
M: like they are together every day

And my answer. And the end.

Pushing the open door

S sent me this a few days ago. That very same day I also received another email.

I am doing a fellowship next year at the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Next step?

This weekend, A and I plus two friends will go explore Philadelphia, his hometown, and we will be staying with his family.

Funnily enough, this won't be the first time one of us has done so. Ethnic stereotypes be damned, he spent the night at my house over the summer.

I invited him and a couple others to a family barbecue, and given the distance from the city, said invite included a stay at what has been referred to as the (insert my last name) B&B. When I picked him and J, our close mutual friend, from the metro, they came bearing a tupperware of roasted zucchini. We swam, ate, mingled with family friends, ate, helped clean up, ate, and nearly passed out from food coma on my bedroom floor. He shuffled off to the guest bedroom, and J (obviously a girl) and I snuggled.

Then there was the time I met his dad while out and about. He rattled off fun facts about me ("Afghan! Lives in Virginia!") that he remembered hearing from A, and I exclaimed that father and son have the same mannerisms.

All very very different circumstances.

I'm meeting his parents. I'm meeting his parents?

This should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ready Ready Ready Ready

I’m tired. And all I want to do is cut and run. The LDC and I hadn’t talked in a week. No texts, no Gchat, no phone calls, nothing. Somehow the balance of this “relationship” shifted from him texting me every three minutes to me texting him so we could at least have some contact, to no communication at all. I’m tired. I’m worn out over a lot of things and it is easier to just ignore the heartache that is him.

He: Hey stranger. Hope you’ve been well. Let’s catch up this week.
Me: Yeah, let’s catch up. Call you tomorrow?
He: Sounds good.

The next day
Me: I’m going to a movie soon – call you after?
He: I’ll be watching a movie, too.
Me: Well, if you want to call after I’ll be up late.
He: Why don’t we catch up over your lunch break? Seems like we’re both too busy after work.


Me: Um okay.
He: Am I off base here?
Me: No, I just haven’t really been on Gchat much lately.
He: You can call me on your lunch break. Who said anything about Gchat?
Me: Oh… You can talk on your phone at work?
He: Yes, I’m actually allowed to leave work whenever I want to.


He: Sorry, too much attitude. I’m just stressed.
Me: It’s fine. I’m stressed, too. I’ll call when I can.

This is too much work. I’m so tired and I don’t need this right now. I want to call him and cry my eyes out and pour out everything I’m terrified of right now that has nothing to do with him at all. I want him to be his logical self and tell me that everything will work out, that I just have to go for it and believe in myself and take a risk.

Instead we’ve become strangely platonic acquaintances. Every little scared bit of me wants to stop all communication right now and then call from the Sea/Tac Airport on August 1 to tell him I moved to his city, and can we start over now?

I’m tired. And all I want to do is cut and run.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How's It Gonna Be?

He walked into the bar wearing a black coat with a giant fur collar. His jeans were ripped and on his feet were expertly worn-in oxfords. This isn’t how it should be.

He ordered a gin and tonic, explained that he’s been a vegetarian for fifteen years, and hesitated before downing a shot bought for us by an old man across the bar. This isn’t how it should be.

He touched my knee after every joke, every light-hearted statement, every smile. He went to the bathroom and when he came back he hugged me from behind and kissed my temple. This was only date one. I pulled away rigidly. This isn’t how it should be.

He led us to another bar and sat next to me instead of across. “I’m sorry, I’m listening to you talk but all I can think about is kissing you. This is bad.” “Why is it bad?” I retorted. It was just a line. He leaned forward to kiss me and all I could think about was the feeling of his stiff hair on my forehead. This isn’t how it should be.

He walked me to the train station and the whole time his arm was draped over my shoulders. At every stop light he hugged me. All I could do was look down at those white oxfords and notice that he walked pigeon-toed. This isn’t how it should be.

Forget that he is Australian with a beautiful accent, has a lucrative and promising career designing computer software, plays the piano and sings, speaks eloquently and with conviction whether he’s discussing politics, pop music, or pizza. Forget that he was polite and listened to every single word that came out of my mouth, and that he laughed at my sarcastic jokes and told me how beautiful my eyes are. Forget all of that, because I have.

All I can focus on is how that’s not how it’s going to be.

Reaching out

We had all been having a delightful lunch, catching up and laughing and just generally having a good time. Everyone at the table seemed to compliment her on how she’d lost so much weight and how pretty she looked. She took a second helping of rice. How admirable that she managed to lose so many kilos just through keeping a strict watch on her diet!

She disappeared into the bathroom after lunch for about 10 minutes, and came back surreptitiously wiping her lips.

She has never liked rice.

Later in the afternoon we were visiting some relatives. Oh how nice you look now! Before you were quite chubby weren’t you? Yes she was pretty fat and now look! So pretty! Here, do you want a chicken roll? No? Okay well I’ll pack some up for you.

I cringed. She looked bemused – after all, what appropriate response was there? Well now I know what people really thought of me, she smirks. Humor is a great defense. Unless you have cousins close to your age who can see through your armor.

In the car my mother was singing her praises. I thought I’d approach it: You know, you should really stop that, and so should everyone else. It’s too much. My sister caught my eye and nodded: You know that she’s probably done it in an unhealthy way, right? I watched my mother’s brow crinkle: What do you mean? Well, there’s no way a girl loses that much weight in that little time just by eating less fatty foods. And she disappeared into the bathroom after lunch, didn’t you notice? And here everyone is telling her she was so fat. What? Bulimia? No, it can’t be. You girls have an overactive imagination. But. But what if. I’ll tell her mother she’s too thin. She should stop now. I’ll tell your other aunt who lives close by to keep an eye out. That’s horrible. I can’t believe it’s true. But I should tell her mother. How? I’ll just tell her indirectly.

Three months later her roommate called her mother. Auntie, she isn’t well. Do something. We’ve tried to talk to her, but it doesn’t work.

I could have reached out three months ago. I could have told her mother three months ago. I could have tried to help three months ago. And even now I don’t know how.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Today I am discouraged. I am disheartened. I am in despair. Because today, again, that gnawing feeling has asserted itself, almost breaking through my heart and out of my lips. Today again I have suppressed it and shrugged it away. Today again I've played an April Fool's joke on myself just as I have been doing for the past three years.

I should never have sent in that acceptance letter. I should have walked out that very first day. I should have waited a year to see how I felt. I should have waited for that Masters acceptance - the one that got there two months too late. No.

I should have applied for that Masters two months earlier, I should have only applied to programs I liked, I should have only applied to city schools. No.

I should have sat for a moment and thought. Thought deep and thought long. Before I registered for the LSAT. I should have researched and read blogs and stories. I should have looked into myself. I should have searched inside and outside and I should have found and listened to that voice in my heart. Yes.

I should have taken diverse classes. I should have majored in literature and languages. I should have taken writing classes. I should have explored my interests more. I should have tried harder to find myself. Yes.

Today I started an internship. And my feet were heavy walking out of the door. And my eyes didn't sparkle. And my hair felt limp even though it was freshly washed. Because once again I find myself doing things I don't want to do.

Ditch it, you say. Do what you want. Go find yourself. You're so young, your entire life stretches out in front of you. You can do anything. Don't get caught up in the daily doldrums, don't forget what's important in life: you!

I can't. I know it. In some ways I don't know myself at all but in some ways I know better than anyone else. I can't stop once I've taken a path. I don't know how to turn away. And even if I'm rolling in the wrong direction I cannot bring myself to stop.

Today I whispered "April Fool's" under my breath as I got off the metro. Today I shook my head at myself. Today I knew, once again, I'll still play this game for a while.

Until one day I throw up my hands and cook and write and draw and sing loudly and badly as I do all of those.

But I'll play this game for a while.

It is gorgeous outside.

The morning started with a perfect soy latte.

I sat in the sun and read during lunch.

Someone whistled at me, box of pastries in hand, while walking back to my office.

He and I are having a picnic under cherry blossom trees after work. It will be our first real "date."

I like today.