Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
This is TC's... wife? Fiance? Just kidding. Girlfriend... for now.
That's why we all say, you're a keeper!
TC, bring her by before you go to the airport tomorrow, okay?
Lauren, my grandmother is looking for you.
And the kicker. We were at dinner. He got a text. His mother.
"I brought grandma's ring to give to you. You can have the diamonds re-set and give it to Lauren."
He showed it to me. "Look what my mom said." He shook his head, a little smile. I asked what he replied. "I told her to keep it until I'm ready." Very logical. As always. We didn't speak of it again.
I want to marry him. We talk realistically about it all the time. But that tiny ring, that little band of gold with some sparklers resting in it, made it so real. A tangible thing. Proof of a never ending commitment. It made my stomach tighten up and a silence settle over the table. It doesn't scare him... it scares me.
He drove me to the airport the next day, and I cried a little for the end of our blissful vacation and a little for how much I'd miss him while I was home and he was here.
A thoughtful silence filled the car, and then he asked, "What do I do with the diamonds? Have them re-set?" For one brief second I let myself picture it happening, a random Tuesday while I made tacos in sweatpants and an old tank top, and he danced around to Michael Jackson behind me. He'd say, "Hey, Lauren?" I'd turn around and he'd be there, on his knee, with the sparklers. And I'd be happy. I'd be so, so happy.
The ring. It means fear and happiness all in one. And it just got a little more real.
Friday, May 20, 2011
If the three potential outfits packed in my bag don't already give it away, I'll come out and say it. I'm nervous. What do they know about me already? How will the conversation flow? Should I buy lots of drinks? And. The one that all the others stem from. Will they like me?
A seems to think so. I guess we will find out.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
This morning, 8:13am: "I love you and I miss you. It looks warm out but it's very windy and cold. Please wear a coat."
These would never be lines from a love song. But it's what reminds me every day that he's the one.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Not my own. But a breakup still.
Both parties are my friends and so I heard both sides. “I think M. would see me every day if she could!” he griped.
I’m smack in the middle of my first real adult relationship. We’re 9 months in. We’re happy as clams… most of the time. We spend a few weeknights and every minute of the weekends together, sometimes taking hours upon hours to lie in our own filth and do nothing and then tell each other that these are our favorite moments. There is no one I am happier with. No one I would rather spend my time with. Dave Matthews was right: it’s not where but who you’re with that really matters.
“Let’s play Wii tonight! We haven’t played in so long.”
“I’m gonna try and get some work done tonight.” Work tonight. Work tomorrow.
Crushed. Silence. “Are you mad?”
I wanted to text back that of course I was mad. I knew he wouldn’t end up doing work. I knew he’d come home from his day job, peruse Facebook for two hours, watch bad TV, eat takeout, and watch more bad TV until 4am. The following night he would come home from his day job, nap, go to his show, drink with his friends until 4am, and come home and crash. I’d see him Friday and our weekend cycle of filth and nothing would ensue.
So why was I mad? Why did it hurt? Everyone is allowed time on their own. I was even thinking myself earlier in the week, “I can’t wait to come home and read my magazines and have nothing to do and be alone.” But when he says it… rejection. TV and the internet are more desirable than me.
Is this a girl thing? Was M.’s ex-boyfriend right to break up with someone who wanted to spend every minute with him? I thought back on M.’s relationship, as I had been privy to almost every moment of it, and I knew the schedule she kept with her boyfriend: they’d see each other a few times a week, and more often than not he liked to be alone or with his friends. I even said to TC once, “I think M. wishes she had the kind of boyfriend that I have: one who wants to be together all the time.” If I ever complain about not seeing him enough, TC will come back with, “I’m going to spend my life with you! We’re going to live together. For the next 5 months until that happens, I think it’s alright if we spend a few nights a week apart.”
And it is fine. My rational brain says, “Are you a lunatic? Give the guy some space. He wants to do guy things.” My emotional brain will probably cry myself to sleep tonight because I’ll imagine how much fun he’s having without me.
I know this isn’t normal. I know this smacks of insecurity.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
I shrugged off the advice. What did my mother know anyway? She’d lived in Rochester her whole life, married a man from Rochester, raised kids in Rochester. All in an era when it was expected for women to really make something of herself; create an equal partnership with someone from their class, their upbringing, their morals and values. I grew up knowing I’d marry someone just like she did. My husband’s parents and my parents would be great friends. Our moms would meet for coffee in our hometown. Our dads would go golfing.
And then I met TC. And he broke every expectation I had for a partner. Certain things became important that I never knew I needed. He turned into my best friend. The best advice giver. My protector. My clown. My head-over-heels love affair. He grew up in the antithesis of my household. His parents were both addicts in different ways. His mom would fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon when he was 3 and 4 years old, and leave him to make dinner for himself. His dad would drink too much and hit his mother. His mother disappeared for a few years, and then came back. All this was happening while I sat at a clean kitchen table in suburbia and was made to drink my milk before homework and an early bedtime.
Yesterday I met his mother. He loves her. Of course he does. But I can not help but listen to her talk and judge her based on the stories that I know. “When TC was little, he got scarlet fever. And when I took him to the emergency room, they said, ‘Why did you wait so long to bring him in?! Why didn’t you bring him in at the first signs?!’ As if I would wait to bring my sick son to the emergency room!” But I knew that she probably had. I hated her for it. I smiled at all of her stories, her non stop stories, and acted interested when she went on and on about horror movies. She pestered the waitress for Coors Lite. No Coors? Michelob Ultra. And make sure it’s VERY cold! Is this cold? Did you pull it from the bottom?
Suddenly I pictured myself years from now. At a small, dirty house in Colorado with this woman at Christmas time. Heavy drinking. Smiling along with her stories. “You seen the Exorcist? I own it.” My holidays. My holidays that are usually so bright and cheerful and involve omelets and stockings and my mother apologizing for always giving me something corny like a Yo Yo because, “I just can’t help it.” These things are important to me. How can I give this up?
I know you don’t realize it now, but background becomes very important in a relationship. I haven’t talked to him about it. I don’t know that I will. Somewhere along the line, background became important. I just can’t force myself to look at it yet.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Here’s the thing. It had everything to do with being single. In middle school, when the popular girls started carrying their roses and balloons and teddy bears through the hallways, I wore pink and pretended like the box of chocolates from my mom made me feel loved enough. In high school I received a few tokens but from a lanky, strange boy who sat alone in the cafeteria and solicited giggles when he approached me at my locker. In college I experienced my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend but it came right at the end of the relationship. “If you don’t want to come up for Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to.” “I want to. I think it’ll be good for us.” He showed up at my dorm with a grocery bag filled with candy and Pepperidge Farm cookies; a clear afterthought and a last ditch effort at a failed romance.
This is the year. My year. I’m in love. Seven blissfully happy months in comes the day when most couples hunker down in dimly lit restaurants to sip red wine and spoon feed each other chocolate cake, and the day that I’ve spent 24 times before dismally alone and trying to convince myself that relationships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
“Valentine’s Day is so lame!” I griped to TC. “Restaurants charge you an arm and a leg for a pre-set menu, they totally screw you out of their real food, and everything is totally overhyped and stupid. Valentine’s Day is SO stupid. Let’s not do anything.” “I totally agree,” he said, of course. “I hate all that fancy, cheesy shit.”
He probably thought he hit the jackpot. A girlfriend who abhors the day as much as any man.
Can I tell you a secret?
I want the sappy dinner. I want a card he went to Hallmark and picked out himself because inside it had poorly written lines about love and forever and mush and gush. I want a glass of red wine and a box of Jacques Torres chocolates. I want to be the girl in the office who has beautiful flowers to smile at in between sales reports.
But thus far in our relationship, I have prided myself on not being the girl who needs to be spoiled and doted on and gushed over with materialistic crap. His last girlfriend spent hundreds on her haircuts, thousands on vacations, and made him feel poor and inadequate in the process. “It was all about things,” he told me once. I try so hard not to be her. And I’m not. But part of me wants the things.
He tells me every day that he loves me. He isn’t shy about his feelings, and he never has been. He makes me feel pretty and special and taken care of every single day. He says things like, "At our wedding" and "When we have kids" openly in front of my friends.
So why does a stupid red flower have to show up to prove it? And why do I feel like such a jerk for wanting it?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
It was late. I was disappointed. He was embarrassed. I tried my best to keep from crying as I stared out the passenger side window out into the drizzly, sparkling night. I had seen a side of him I never thought I'd see. He let me see a side that he never intended to show. He was fighting back tears himself.
Say something. I couldn't.
I don't know what to say. He needed my approval.
You want to leave me? It hurt my heart to even hear him say it.
No. I love you so much. I did. I do. I will.
He looked out over the road, gripped the steering wheel, looked at me quickly, then back at the road. 29 years of shame slid down his cheeks.
I never want to lose you.
I come to life when I'm with you.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
How funny you are today New York
like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime
and St. Bridget's steeple leaning a little to the left
here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days
(I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still
accepts me foolish and free
all I want is a room up there
and you in it
and even the traffic halt so thick is a way
for people to rub up against each other
and when their surgical appliances lock
they stay together
for the rest of the day (what a day)
I go by to check a slide and I say
that painting's not so blue
where's Lana Turner
she's out eating
and Garbo's backstage at the Met
everyone's taking their coat off
so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers
and the park's full of dancers with their tights and shoes
in little bags
who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y
the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won
and in a sense we're all winning
the apartment was vacated by a gay couple
who moved to the country for fun
they moved a day too soon
even the stabbings are helping the population explosion
though in the wrong country
and all those liars have left the UN
the Seagram Building's no longer rivalled in interest
not that we need liquor (we just like it)
and the little box is out on the sidewalk
next to the delicatessen
so the old man can sit on it and drink beer
and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day
while the sun is still shining
oh god it's wonderful
to get out of bed
and drink too much coffee
and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I have never seen a whirlwind, but I think it looks like the past couple of weeks. I don't even know what we did. The whole memory is a mess of color and conversation, laughter - and yes, a couple of tears and raised voices too. A bright warm shot of espresso in the middle of a cold, grey winter.
Late nights, early mornings. Spicy food and ginger tea. Hugs from a great-uncle, my grandma drawing her fingers through my hair as I rest my head on her lap. Adjusting my sari, holding my hands out for hours on end waiting for the henna to dry. Frantically looking for a blowdryer because you can't be in pictures looking like that! Curling up in a warm bed, tucking my toes under D's knees. Watching my mom run around like a hare. Sitting with my dad waiting for everyone to get ready. Greeting great-aunts I haven't seen in years. Admiring my little niece's hairpins and my nephew's shoes. Pulling a cousin close for a photo despite her efforts to get away. Holding back tears as I imagine my grandfather in the photograph. Clutching my baby nephew awkwardly as he wonders whether to scare me off with a wail or reward me with a dimpled smile. Trying to keep my eyes open for just one more minute. Living it, living it all.
Crouching awkwardly in my seat, trying to get comfortable. Filing a lost baggage claim. Pausing for a moment before I open the door. Entering. Nothing.
I couldn't bring myself to eat dinner last night. Isn't it scary how quickly you get used to not being alone and lonely? And worse...coming back to nobody.
Monday, January 3, 2011
But I do.
When I first met TC, I noticed that he’d occasionally mention her on his Twitter profile. I saw her name pop up in a text on his phone once. He told me she made a cameo in the short film he was working on. When I asked months later if he had a crush on her, he said, in his no-holds-barred way, “No. She’s married. We’re friends.” I ventured further. “She’s really hot.” He shrugged. “Yeah, she’s nice and sexy.” He has never been secretive or uncomfortable talking about her. She's just some girl.
All my life I’ve had women in my life telling me what I was worth. I am more than the package I’ve been put in. I am more than blond hair, and I might have to work hard to make people see the intellect in me. I should be as smart as I want to be without repercussion. I should be as pretty as I want to be without worrying about the judgment. It’s hard as a woman to prove you can be both, and I think I’ve spent time and energy proving to myself before others that I can be. And then there’s this girl. This girl who makes me question myself, and then brings me right back to who I know I can be.
“She’s following me on Twitter!” I announced one day. He laughed. 15,000 people follow her. She follows 97. I felt flattered, as if I’d been chosen. Her career, her identity, her public person is a semi-nude model. She is physically flawless and when I look at her and then I look at me… look at her… look at me… I feel like a little girl. And then I read her blog. Spelling errors, run on sentences, endless emoticons, diatribes about her morning workouts and her “yummy!!!!” lunches followed by ridiculous webcam videos of her in the bathtub. I look at her… look at me… I feel better. Substance. I remind myself that I have substance.
I don’t want a curvy girl in lingerie to make me question myself. Am I striking the balance? Do I care enough about how I look? Too much? It has nothing to do with TC anymore. He’s disinterested in this girl and sees her for exactly what she is. “What if I was a stripper?” I asked him once. “Then we wouldn’t be together.” “Why not?” “Are you serious?” I didn’t really even need him to say it.
There’s this girl. She shouldn’t make me feel so uncertain. But she does.