Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ride

I was waiting in line at an amusement park, but it wasn't until I got right up to the front that I knew what I was in for: a roller coaster. "I should tell you," I told TC's roommate. "I don't like roller coasters." The roommate smiled. "You'll be fine."

And suddenly we were in the car, but it was straight out of a cartoon, and there were no bars, no straps, no seats. We were standing in a small space with no roof and then we were off, speeding down the tracks. I looked back at where TC was climbing into the car behind me, smiling and full of joy and hope. I looked at the roommate. "You'll be fine!"

We were at the top of the hill, and the roommate looked at me again. "Here it comes! Are you ready?" My insides were like hot soup, sloshing around inside of me, and I watched the descent come into view. Before I could blink we were up and over and flying down the steep hill. Relief gushed out of me but it was short lived. Up ahead I saw the loop.

"I'm going to fall out!" I shouted to the roommate. I looked back at TC. Still grinning. I shouted one more time, "I'm going to fall!" The roommate pressed himself into a corner of the car and so I followed suit.

And then we were up. The car sped around and over the loop and then immediately pulled into the station. I survived. I climbed out of the car feeling a thousand tiny pin pricks of anxiety and adrenaline all at once. TC was behind me. Still smiling.

When I woke up from the dream, it was 1:30 in the morning. The day's earlier discussion was still heavy on my mind, and it had clearly manifested itself very literally in my sleep. I looked at my phone. He had texted me. "You ok?" I took a breath.

"I'm okay."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I get out of the elevator and walk down to my door. Open. Close. Lock. Shoes off. Take off my jacket, set down my purse.

And suddenly my heart is racing, thudding against my ribs as if it wants to escape or as if I've just run up and down the stairs two hundred times. It beats so hard that I can hear it in my ears in my palms in my throat in my belly in my chest.

I don't know what happens sometimes. It isn't a panic attack, not quite. But sometimes a little bitty thought that I don't want to think about will slip whoooosh out of its tightly wound up little corner and set off my heart like a hammer in a cage. A tiny little thought made of bits and pieces of various fears - of things that could be or things that could not be - of things that could bring down the house of cards. And then that wispy little thought is pushed away again. Back back back. Back where it should be. Tied in place with sturdy little ropes of hope and denial and blithe optimism and stubborn refusal.

Until the next time.

He finally got a Facebook and now we're exchanging messages on what it means to be a politician and reminiscing on his old nicknames for me.

~3 years ago, we saw each other at our friend's annual Christmas party
slash yearly high school reunion for our group of friends during winter break of sophomore year. He stared when I walked in. I smiled. He came over when he saw I had a moment free (my friends are very chatty). We talked over several glasses of boxed wine and stood next to each other during flip cup. A bunch of us decided to go to the bar and we danced. He said he liked me all this time. And he looked into my eyes and I thought he was going to kiss me. And I wanted him to. But he didn't. And I was disappointed.

We didn't keep in touch.

We decided to go to our traditional senior year breakfast together
held at our elementary school. We decided I would drive so he could fawn over my amazing manual driving skills. And I somehow, not intentionally, forgot we came together and left without him.

One day in Economics class, he turned to me and said, "You know, I almost asked you to prom." I looked at him in my awkward way and said, "OK." I know I already had a date. But in that moment, I wished I wasn't going with he who would cause me years of heartache and then some. He instead took an old friend that chose to be home schooled and therefore wouldn't have a prom to go to. Which was so sweet.

Never were we the best of friends. But we always laughed together at
our ignorant teenage counterparts and exchanged ideas on which special power we would like to possess if we were allowed one.

In high school, he was the really smart intelligent kid that would
choose dank above most things. Which I've learned is my "type" of guy. But never thought of him that way.

Then he became the kid that called me "Phamine" in junior high. We are
all awkward in junior high so I'm just not gonna say anything else.

He was just a kid in my elementary class. No adjectives. Nondescript.
Not in a bad way.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Talk

He got an 800 on the math section of the GRE. It was to be expected. At least, I expected it even when his nerves seemed to get the best of him. What I didn't expect was the turnaround. That I probably should've, but I didn't.

"Are you staying over Friday?"
"I'm intending to... why?"
"Cause we should go out for brunch on Saturday and have that talk I've been putting off."

He was right. He had been putting it off, with his "let's wait until after I take the GRE..." nonsense.

Now, here he is, with his expected perfect score, and his PhD applications to begin. And here I am with my future to ponder over before Saturday (which I have to make a sincere effort to do, since he warned me about "I don't know" answers).

Back to school? Look for a new job? Move somewhere for him? With him?

Truthfully, I don't remember much about our conversation over lunch today - the conversation announcing the date of another more important conversation. I remember lightheartedly making one of those fighting for air gestures. I remember saying that this feels so grown up, and him asking why. I remember telling him that I'd never had to do this before. I remember him telling me that we could be together.

A part of me is terrified. A part of me smiles. Most of me knows I need to do some thinking.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting Warmer

Sometimes I think he is getting closer.

“I told my dad about you.”
“Hey, we should take pictures of us while we’re here. We don’t have any pictures of the two of us. Have you already realized that?”
I woke up in the middle of the night last night while I thought he was watching TV but instead he was watching me, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear and resting his hand on my face.

And then sometimes I think we’re right where we were two months ago.
“I can’t spend five nights a week with someone! This is why I can’t have a girlfriend!”
“I don’t think I believe in monogamy.”
I texted him on a Saturday night to ask about our Sunday plans and he canceled with no explanation.

When someone tells you who he is, believe him. Is this it? Is this him? The guy who loves me and wants to be with me but not completely? The guy who has been telling me who he is since day one but is also asking me to stick it out? He says he’s not “there” yet. I wonder if he’ll ever be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heroes are still in demand

The stereotypical hero always has bulging muscles and quite likely weapons of immense and scary powers. He seems to pop up in the nick of time and woos the damsel in distress by staving off evil doers and stopping trains from falling off the rails. The hero may zoom in on an ultra modern car or gallop up on a white horse. And in armor! Always in armor - whether silvery metal or underwear-over-tights, a hero always has a uniform. A hero is big and burly and almost menacing in his own way. And a hero always, always saves the day.

I don't live in a crime-infested neighborhood and I don't really have issues with the mafia. Supernatural villains don't seem to be banging down my door either. (Whew, let's not tempt fate huh? Knock on wood!). And so, some might say, I don't really need a hero. At least not the flying through air-pummeling bad guys into pulp-stopping cars with one hand-white horse riding kind.

This weekend we stayed at D's friend's place. A place with a cat. A cat who likes to rub up against anyone and everyone, most especially, me. A cat who seemed to want to follow me into the bathroom and the bedroom and everywhichwhere. A cat who seemed to sense my dislike, my distrust, let's just say it, shall we, my fear, of all things feline in nature. A cat who was speedy and slinky and really just sneaky.

And D shooed the cat out of the bedroom. And he kept the cat away from the sofa I sat on. And every time (but EVERY time) I had to use the bathroom - whether to check my hair or to wash my hands, to shower or to do my makeup - every time D sat with that cat on the sofa or in a corner and kept it from following me and rubbing against me and meowing at me.

Who says I don't need a hero? In fact, I think I just found one.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Little Girl in a Man's World

"I got in a fight with the security guard in my building today."
"You did?"
"Yeah, he was just being such a jerk. And I couldn't hold my tongue."
"You have a problem with men. You have a chip on your shoulder. You even do it with me sometimes."

I didn't respond. A chip on my shoulder?

My whole life I've been the little blonde girl. I'm not very big. I'm not very tough looking. I've always looked younger than my age. And for as long as I can remember, I've been underestimated, undermined, coddled, and patted on the head. "You're very pretty, but what will separate you from all the other attractive blonde girls?" a professor in theater school once asked. At a bar one time I got, "You're very pretty. Do you have anything else going for you?"

If I have a problem with men it's because I have something to prove. I can't sit back and wait for someone to discover that I'm smart or funny or that I can throw a perfectly spiraled football. Someday I'll be completely comfortable with who I am and I'll let people uncover that on their own. But today is not that day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More than a Feeling

We were lying in bed, spooning and watching TV. I was drifting off to sleep when he put his hand on my shoulder so I'd roll over and look at him. I kissed his cheek.

"What?" I asked.
"Will you say something to me?"
"Will you tell me something?"
"Tell you what?" He scowls.
"Never mind."
I turn back to the TV and realize what he was asking. No, I can not tell you something. If there's something you want to tell me, you can put yourself out there a little and say it.

An hour later. Now we're lying side by side, about to go to sleep. He stares at me seriously for a second, and then in a quiet little voice, he says, "I love you." For one brief moment I tell myself not to say it back. My conventional mind tells me this isn't the way it goes. First comes commitment, then comes love.

But I love him. I do. Despite the non-traditional way this entire relationship has gone, I have grown to really love him. So I say it back.

And it feels so, so nice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Won't you wallow with me?

The thing is, I guess...I just. I guess I'm just lonely.
But you have buddies! You're going to meet up with R tonight, and what about E? And you said you were going to hang out sometime with S as well right?
I know, it's just that ...I don't have anyone real.
Come on, don't be like that, be cheerful, I thought you were happy to be doing this, you're not alone. You have me.
You're not here.
You have a family that loves you, awesome friends, people visiting you, people to hang out with, and -
You're right. I know, I just got into a moment of being down in the doldrums. I just need to get up and do something, ya know? I should just give R a call and get that drink we were talking about.

I know it's hard to hear sometimes. And I know it's easier for him to see a smiling face and to hear a cheerful account of my day. And I know he's just trying to cheer me up. And I know it's not good to work myself deeper into a black mood. But sometimes all you want is someone who will listen. For once, I wish I could just say it and have my listener understand that it just needs to be said, once in a while. Once in a freaking while.

I'm lonely.

Once upon a fern

There was story E. Blyton wrote, about a little gnome or an elf or some other fantastical creature, who would go around at night curling up the little ferns nice and tight so that in the morning they were ready to open up and unfurl once again.

Do you ever just want to curl up into a tiny little ball and hide away in a corner, possibly to die, or possibly to gather dust for a hundred years until everything is just magically done and over? neither...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In my little circle of light

The past couple of months have passed by. But not in a blur, no. Sharp pinpricks of startling clarity. Words and images and feelings that still curl around in my heart, like little ferns softly sleeping. And some I push to the bottom and the back, into a dark little corner, to keep out of sight. And some rush to the surface out of nowhere, and it is a struggle to get them back down again. And some I pull up even if they try to slip away, to feel that sunshine again.

The sand, soft but grainy under my feet, white and golden. The waves lapping green and blue, enticing me, drawing me in. And the hot sun, drying up the droplets of sea water even as they splash on me, warming my back, falling in joyous rays across my face. And I hold his hand as I walk into the water. I can't stop squealing and giggling and smiling. I can't stop.

Shouting, crying, tears, words. Horrid words. Hurtful words. Just words? But such words. She and I. I and she. Are we still the same then? The same as we were twenty years ago? Are we still scratching and biting at each other? There is nothing more lonely than the space inside my heart even as I am surrounded by the closest family I have. And I can't stop crying. I can't stop.

My throat is sore from talking so much. An entire day of sharing laughter and memories and the deepest, darkest of confidences. Talking over each other and under each other, short silences of comfort and understanding. But talking talking talking. Always so much to say, so much to share. And I can't stop talking. I can't stop.

And now.
I sit in my bed all alone. The lamp casts a soft glow, a close circle of warmth. I flip the pages. And in that little circle I am me, all alone, but me. There is no pretense, no reaction, nothing. And the loneliness claws a bit, but is kept at bay. Just outside this circle there is loneliness and anger and fear. Just outside this circle there is love and happiness and company. But for now, I am happy to just sit inside. And to think, for just a moment, that there is nothing outside this little circle of light.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The L Word

Hello love.
Thank you, lover.
I love being with you.
You totally love me, don't you?!
I love how sometimes when you smile only half your mouth smiles.

"Okay, I'll let you get some sleep, I love you sweetie, I'll talk to you tomorrow.
Boy, you are VERY liberal with that word.
I'm sorry... I didn't mean that... I was talking to my mom earlier, and it just... slipped out. Sorry."

That word is everywhere, and suddenly I feel like I'm walking through a rain storm trying not to get wet.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dream of ways to make you understand my pain

“This is the third time this has happened.”
The third time.

The third time I had one too many drinks and let myself think too much and unleashed all my insecurities on him.

We yelled at each for half an hour in the street.

We talked heatedly on my bed for another half an hour.

And then we were laughing.

“I’m glad I’m here with you,” he told me later.

It made me so happy.

And then there it was again.

An hour later in the still dark heat of his bedroom.

One offhand comment, one rude statement that rubbed me the wrong way.
I was crying.

“This night is one big tantrum,” he snapped.

I didn’t answer.


“Can you please get back in bed? I don’t want to wake up my new roommate.”

I crawled back in and then he held my hand.

This morning I felt sick.
What was I doing here?

Was I ruining this?
Was he ruining this?

Are we just too different?

And then a text at 10AM.

“The cleaners picked up my laundry this morning!”
The cleaners I found for him in his new neighborhood.
My neighborhood.

Part of me gravitates toward him because he swallows down all of my crazy and digests it.

And part of me wonders how much of it he’s storing up before it explodes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


... is it already September?