Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Fictionalization of Pride

I spent Saturday moping around my apartment drinking too much coffee and feeling artsy and spontaneous until my underarms got too sweaty (then I was just a loser with an empty datebook in a Stevie Nicks t-shirt). Just before I fell asleep in the same clothes and all my makeup with a laptop open on my thighs I promised myself I’d leave my bed that weekend.

So I was trying not to be alone or something and invited my friend over to watch R. Kelly’s Trapped In A Closet operetta, which I had purchased on Amazon when I was feeling hilarious. He didn’t tell me I was good-looking. There wasn’t anything particularly nice to eat beforehand and we drank SKYY vodka out of cups I got with Acapulco kid’s meals, just to get really shitty. There was a Weezer song he hadn’t liked until now and an empty apartment. And a standoff.

Do you like me?
I liked you a lot when I didn’t know you. Yes.
Should we?
Up to you.
Which wasn’t entirely true, because it was partially up to me but also a little bit up to the SKYY and how good he smelled and the way we were obviously never going to be the same again, anyway. I’d just told him about this guy I was starting to see kind of but WHATEVER I guess and then we weren’t on opposite sides of a particle board dining room table, we were stumbling past a pantry of mostly empty cereal boxes with nearly no space between us at all.

I wonder what I’d feel like now if instead I’d said hey no look let’s just keep this friendly don’t worry things won’t get weird because we talked about it at length and it could have gone either way really. It’s funny because I really do like that guy I’m kind of seeing but the whole time I was just waiting for Him to give in and tell me he wanted to just as much as I wasn’t saying I did.

Anyway enough of that, because nothing noble happened and no use wishing it had right? We kissed in the dark on my twin extra long bed until we went to a party and then we came back and took off our shirts and kissed some more. It wasn’t loving but it was fantastic and while it was happening it’s all I ever wanted. I tried to maintain distance while becoming as close as possible but THE FUCKING SKYY so I just kept saying things like you always hatefuck and I don’t want to be another conquest and you don’t care and I don’t care. He shushed me or maybe I shushed myself but in any event, he didn’t smile in between kisses or cup my face and look at me.

And that’s probably exactly why I wanted him to do the things I pull the guy that will probably be my boyfriend’s hand away from. I was thinking it’s because I know Him better but to be frank sometimes I think I’ll never really figure him out (he’s virtually me but all my darkest parts). He doesn’t love me and I don’t him and I’ll never have to look at him and wonder if he thinks I’ve changed. He said I looked cute just before he left and that was the worst part. Neither of us left any of ourselves behind.

It’s a very good thing he didn’t spend the night for a lot of reasons but mainly because my roommate came home shortly after he left and she’s really nice and really conservative and that would have ruined me. I woke up and waited a long time before eating avocados and goat cheese but not to be hip ok just because it is a satisfying combination. And I don’t know what this means but every time I think about it I want to go sit in a more comfortable chair. I’ll tell all my friends of course, but a modified version where he kissed me and I said no no no and we left it at that. I won't be thinking of it on my date at the beach, or when that guy plays with my bangs a little too much and asks me over fortune cookies if there is anyone else. I promise. There was nothing sweet about it and I think there is a very good chance it will never come up in conversation but it was the most honest thing I have ever done.

Written March 2011. Updated December 2012.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Manifesto

That was how I liked to remember my family, in the late light of summer with the back door opened to relieve our cluttered home of dinner smells and pan-cooked steak smoke. Before my younger brothers spent their days dodging Playstation bullets and showers, and still came home sunburned and mosquito bit, when our bathrooms stayed relatively clean and my mother didn’t curse. I can’t blame them for not turning down the TV during meals anymore but I also couldn’t help leaning on my night shifts the summer I came back home to make them less painful.

I missed my Dad when I brought free kid’s meal desserts to tables that sheepishly inquired about AAA discounts or when fathers waited impatiently outside the women’s restroom for their preteen missing-tooth beauty queens. I came home late with my professional shoes caked in dishwash room sludge and violently ignored the exhausted shuffle of my worried mother.

 I went out after shifts and had ready-made relationships with co-workers and enjoyed pretending that everything was simpler. I freed myself from the things I felt oppressed me and broke my own heart when I accidentally missed the comfort of a boundary again. I worried that no one would really know me or what my face looked like before I was constantly recovering from a cry. On a treadmill I distracted my mind from muscular soreness by working out whether my experiences were mistakes, and hoped I wouldn’t be too selfish to realize when I was hurting someone else. I trusted myself through the transitions and finally let him buy me a drink.

When my mother decided to sell the house it was so foreign to me or I was so foreign to myself that I felt nearly nothing emptying kitchen cabinets and tossing boxes of nostalgia marked ‘miscellaneous.’ I craved the Oreo angst of 3rd grade and heartbreak from boys only my Password Journal remembered. My Dad’s eyes unclouded and he looked concerned for the first time since he woke from a three month induced sleep and started calling me by his sister’s name. The family moved to a condo where the dishwasher didn’t leak but my brothers stilled peed with the bathroom door opened.

I was home the weekend before his stroke. We had French-dip sandwiches in Downtown and he asked about my boyfriend. I was gone by the time he went limp in the late afternoon and quietly hemorrhaged on our unfinished patio.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Psychophysiological Anaphylaxis

Their shallow encasing mocked them. Their place, between the clownfish and anemone, mocked them. My presence mocked them, as did my day old makeup and the difficult decisions I ignored standing next to you in front of 27 jellyfish of various age, size, and phylum. Soft, and purposeful, a nearly undetectable deliberation under the pulsating ghostly glow. I wondered if the pain of their sting had more to do with a paralyzing hypnosis as they passed under a harsh fluorescent and approached the delicate place between my neck and chest.

You kissed my head and ear and cheek and I didn’t look at you, which I knew at the time was strange but I could not help myself. First I worried that I would look like someone typically interested in something beautiful. Then I didn’t care.

I’m sorry I ignored you when you said that scientists have evidence of jellyfish roaming the seas for about 500 million years. I read that plaque later so you’d think I was listening, which I had stopped doing altogether when you made the joke about the species of jellyfish that reproduce through the repeated release of sperm into the female’s mouth. I was also mad because you didn’t want a picture in front of the taxidermied bears where we first walked in.

They were thinking I didn’t deserve to look at them, probably. They wanted to kiss me with their nematocysts (also called cnidocysts) and cause me to tingle or collapse in agony, depending on their species. I’d like to think I could swarm and stretch my distal end as ambivalently in the gentle darkness, but know with extreme guilt that I prefer the tangibility of a foreign sting. You held me at the shoulders and said in my ear that we should leave as they crowded the spot where my breath fogged the class. Right before we walked on you touched your cheek to mine and stared and I knew you knew.

Jellyfish do not adapt to enclosed spaces. They depend on currents to transport them from place to place. Digital cameras flashed and children shrieked and my eyes adjusted to the light of the Seafood Safari food court. I took your hand and you smelled clean and I love you so much.

The Box jellyfish has 24 eyes, two of which are capable of seeing color, and four parallel brains that act in competition. This supposedly makes it one of the only creatures to have a 360 degree view of its environment. There is something so nice and so sad to knowing I will never have that kind of responsibility.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Finals Week is knuckle cramps.
Finals Week is wanting to see everyone before they leave with all the clothes they bought in California.
Finals Week is not wanting to see anyone until you're sure you'll pass Statistics.
Your best weather and your worst hair, and collages of meals to avoid the grocery store.
Crying softly into your pillow until your roommate comes home.
Wondering if they cry softly, too.
Feeling the best you ever have recognizing someone in the library; hugging them and their worn out face and knowing things are a little better.
I need to cut my toenails.
A dirty bathroom (idon'tcare).
'I'm too busy,' then staring at the internet until it hurts.
Seeing the end and feeling it never come.

Finals Week starts with my birthday, every year.
Finals Week is here.
So bend over.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

LOL, and other things I'll never text you

I wonder what the world sounded like before that little mechanical sigh nestled itself warmly in to all its dips and curves. What food is supposed to taste like when it isn't fortified, new or improved. What would I look like without a microwave? How inconvenient must things have been to make immediate conversation so vital? It is now, you know. Here's my phone, next to me. I'm hoping it will light up and buzz so I'll know I'm not alone. I've got to show you this link - it's a riot. Look how clever I seem to you now. Respond. Impart a feeling to your keyboard in capslock so I'll know you're ironic. Make me a gif. SHOW ME A MEME. Contribute to that tech whisper (it's a gas, you know? I read about that on the inside of my oven. It's odorless and you can't see it but it'll kill you and your dog while you're sleeping. Except I always thought it'd be hard to know because nothing really tastes like anything anyway).

But for godssake not my face. Don't look at me and don't say my name. I need too much time to think of what to say and I'm terribly impatient.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Because I’d wanted to be the kind of girl who wore a dress like that. I don’t know. Don’t ask I guess.

It was too hot even under the E-Z up tent and everything had a different smell. My fingers traversed worn silk lining of a creamy white pillbox hat with neat little netting, and I wasn’t listening to the woman in the fold up chair when she took a break from adjusting her own glittering spider brooch and vintage political pins to say ‘oh that belonged to so-and-so, only such-and-other dollars, a real deal, make a great gift.’ Thin handles of a grocery bag weighed comfortably on my forearm.

Its contents.

A small canvas on my balcony, a tall backless chair with evenly spaced rungs. Scratch – a small table and mismatched chairs on a rooftop. I’m sitting with a sketchpad and in my artistic passion don’t mind the smudges on my hands and probably a little on my face. Actually I’m obviously not even aware of them. The blue dress is hanging loosely and I’m not even wondering what it looks like when I drop my charcoal and it falls past the embroidered flower hem gracefully. My feet are definitely bare and my hair is a mess in the way that is still marvelous. I’m sipping something out of a mug, tea, and I’m using both hands.


Late afternoon and I’m reading a great book that not many people are familiar with. It’s a commentary on modern society told from the point of view of a kid’s goldfish and I’m thinking how they could never make a movie that would truly do it justice. Over there He’s beautiful and abstract and casually spinning a globe with one hand over his eyes and the other in a fist with one outstretched finger hovering in the small universe. The earth comes to a gradual halt and he’s in Berlin, potentially. I’m spontaneous (it’s why he loves me partly. It’s also that I’m completely witty and never say just kidding) so naturally we’ll leave immediately, as soon as he’s kissed me. He spins me once and we fall together red faced and smiling and I’m not worried the thin gold threading will get pulled from the handmade Indian pattern or that the slits on either side may be a slightly scandalous. A little sweat is evident under the arms of the billowy three-quarter sleeves, tastefully cinched with two buttons at the elbow. My feet are definitely bare and my hair is a mess; he’s telling me I look marvelous.

She’s set the hat price pathetically high and my head’s the wrong shape anyway. I’ve come to realize about a hundred things about her as I sneak out through heaving furs. The grainy powder embracing her drawn-and-erased face is frighteningly evident from a distance. She’s mumble singing Moonlight Bay.

It gives me a bit of a short torso. Also more ethnic looking than I’d hoped. I wore it once with a belt and it’s sharing a hanger with checkered capris in my winter coat closet.