made of honor

I watched as they walked down the aisle – stopping and smiling for each photo op. I watched as the “I Dos” were exchanged and the cameras snapped. I even played my part as a well-placed prop to help set the scene. I listened when he responded, “it’s your photo album,” when she asked if he wanted to take pictures by the fountain.  

And then we sat down for a toast – each drinking our beverages as they arrived – liquids quenching impatience more than thirst.  I watched as they sorted through photos, picking the best ones for Facebook, while the sun was still at the same point in the sky as it was in those images.

“It goes by so fast” they reminisced, while I was still in the moment. “It really does,” she agreed, veil still on her head.

And we wonder why life feels so fleeting.

my life in objects

an assorted group of selected fortune cookie fortunes (ct: 15):

I don’t like Chinese food, but sometimes I eat it to go along with the group. I don’t eat fortune cookies, but sometimes I save their wisdom (even if it’s hollow, and written by Americans).

I started keeping fortunes when I got one that said, “Burnt bridges are hard to cross.” I think I was in high school, and anyways I probably needed a reminder to be nice (or at least not shitty) to people. I wasn’t very nice in high school – I always felt out of place – but I can’t dwell on that now.

Over the next 6-10 years, I collected 15 fortunes – 14 from meals I agreed to eat, and 1 that I found on the floor while going through a bad breakup (it read: “You have the uncommon gift of common sense,” which was probably irrelevant to the breakup, but I appreciated the world given me that complement, so I kept it and let it brighten my day). Most of them are silly, but I guess they fit what I was going through at the time when I first read them.

I am throwing these all away now, because I want to live more simply, and to designate less importance to material objects. And at 25, I am probably too old to decorate with cork boards and fortune cookie scraps anyways.

Note: I do not eat the cookie if I want the fortune to come true. I am sentimental, not superstitious.

 

Letters to People Who Deleted Me on Facebook

One year ago today (Christmas Day 2015), I moved every item I owned into a new apartment, and began what has been the best year of my life.  I had been living with my boyfriend, who moved with me from Philadelphia to Atlanta.  I moved to Atlanta for grad school almost as much as I moved there to get away from my life, and to start over. I wanted to break all of my ties, form new ones, and find out who I was. I told my boyfriend not to move with me – we could try long distance or just drift apart, or maybe we could end things now on good terms.

But he came along with me, and it didn’t work out. And on Christmas Day 2015, I moved all of my stuff out of the apartment we lived in together because I had wanted to go to grad school and start my life over again in Atlanta.  This wasn’t the worst Christmas of my life – it wasn’t even that bad a Christmas, to be honest. It felt like a big and necessary step forward. When I moved to Atlanta, I wanted to start over. I got to do that when I moved out of that shared apartment last Christmas.

I wrote him (my ex) a letter before I left, although I didn’t give it to him until 6 months later, when I wrote him another letter as I was packing to move again – this time from Atlanta to Cleveland, and this time for a guy, rather than a guy for me. I don’t think the first letter reflects who I am now, or how I would feel if I was put in the same situation today. More importantly, I don’t think I would left myself get into the same situation as the one I was in one year.

12/19/2015

I wish it didn’t have to end – especially under these circumstances. If you’re reading this then all of my stuff is probably already gone, and I won’t be seeing you again for a while. I’ll leave that up to you though… At least I’ll try to. I can’t say it will be easy – I think i’ve talked to you every day for the last two years. You’ll move on though. I might too. But I wish it could have worked out with us. I wish we each could have been more of what the other wanted, but maybe that doesn’t even make sense. The media has left me with a fucked up sense of what a relationship should be.

I feel like our relationship was chipped away at little by little until there was nothing left but rubble. I wanted a teammate, you wanted an audience. I wanted a partner in crime, you wanted a sidekick. I wanted us to be equals, but it felt like you had too much to prove. I could have been happy to be at home waiting for you every night, but you seemed to stop wanting that. I don’t know how to be any other way though. I give all of myself in a relationship. I don’t know how to do less. Maybe that seems dependent, but I don’t want to be completely independent. I want someone to go to when I’m upset. I want someone to care enough about me to ask how my day was – even if they know I didn’t have much to do. I want someone to listen to me even when they think I’m overreacting or that my emotions don’t make sense. And I don’t think that is too much to ask.

A relationship should be about give and take – and I gave as much of myself as I could without getting much back. You broke my heart every day without even noticing. But there were always glimmers of hope that things could get better. We stayed together so long because I am an optimist despite how you always call me negative. I thought we could make it work. I was so willing to try, but I felt like I had to beg for an audience with the king to have a conversation with you. And even if you would talk to me, it was with a timer ticking in the background. I felt so unimportant to you.

But in the end, it’s my fault. When you tell the story of us, I will be the villain. 1,000 acts of neglect and emotional abuse do not equate to sleeping with someone else one time. All of the times I sat in the other room crying while you pretended I didn’t exist aren’t as bad as that one time I went to someone else’s apartment and allowed them to do something nice for me (and I mean the dinner and conversation here). You threw me away, and then shamed me for looking elsewhere for affection. I couldn’t ask you for forgiveness, because I don’t think we’re good for each other. I think we used to be, but we stopped. I don’t know if we ever will be good for each other again. I’m sorry I hurt you, but I don’t think I’m sorry it’s over. You hurt me – worse than you seem to realize.

6/19/2016

I left on Christmas with a note in my hand – which you’ve either just read, will read next, or will throw away while thinking about the gall I must have to have sent this in the first place. The letter is for you, and it’s unfair for me to keep it in my possession. You are the owner of the thoughts I put on that paper because you were their inspiration.

If i’m being completely honest, the sadness didn’t stick around much longer after we said goodbye. I thought it would be difficult – I even felt guilty when it wasn’t. I was far more ready to move on than I knew.

I met someone. I won’t dwell on the details, because they’re only important to me and him, but he makes me feel like life is worth living, and living well. I am happier than I have ever been. I’m moving away to be with him. I’m not scared that I am making a mistake, because I already learned from you how not to treat someone you change your life to be with.

I want to thank you for helping me get where I am now. Even if the road was rocky. Even if we didn’t work out. Even if you hate me. I needed all of it to happen.

As for the Hitchhiker’s Guide: 1-3 were wonderful, but I didn’t care much for 4 and 5.

Green Christmas

 It’s close to christmas once again, and as I walk I wonder how difficult it would be to bite my fingers off one by one if I was so inclined to do so.  Today I went to the market and purchased bread and cheese and wine and toilet paper, because I needed the toilet paper but couldn’t fathom making the trip for toilet paper alone (not on christmas eve) although that’s all I really needed to get through today and the next. Two women helped me with my self-checkout purchase – a number higher than what’s required for a traditional check-out lane – and I pitied them both because their lives might never amount to much, although I’m sure they have families at home waiting for them to get done with their shifts.  And who really needs to be at the grocery store on christmas eve anyways? They should be with their families. Some things are more important. 

I wasn’t always like this – and not too long ago I was far worse.  Do you want to know how I got these scars?  My kittens sit by me while I write this, and they sit by me while I read. They probably don’t understand all or any of what I went through, because what I went through is pointless to them. They are warm and they are fed, and when I sit with them I remember that it is enough to be warm and to be fed. It helps to be drunk, or high, or even loved, but it is not necessary.

Oh, I wasn’t always like this, and I might not be for much longer, but it hurts when they call me “Grinch.”  And anyways, who’s green? I wouldn’t trade my life for yours. But do you want to know how I got these scars? It started with bad parenting – I know it always does, but don’t interrupt me there.  It started with bad parenting, and don’t try to tell me some kids had it far, far worse, because I find no solace in miseries worse than my own.  It started with bad parenting, which may be unfair to say, since even my own parents meant well at times.  Yes, it might seem unfair, but only children can decide if parents were good at parenting, and mine weren’t. That much is true.

I remember my mom going to a christmas party on christmas eve when I was 11, and my dad coming over to babysit.  I had been left home alone before, but I guess it’s cruel to leave a child home on the eve of the birth of the god-made-man who (as she was learning in school) had already saved her.  I didn’t have much to say to my dad, but I remember him drinking an entire six pack while we sat.  Time passed and bottles clang, and I thought about silver bells and holly jolly christmases and maybe how I was pretty sure I never believed in santa claus.

I remember my dad calling to order a second six pack, and although I heard no hooves on the roof when it arrived, and no cookies were exchanged, I could see in his eyes that he had gotten just what he wanted for christmas this year; he must have been a good little boy.  I remember when my mom came home and how it all happened so fast and he told me he was a heroin addict, although he was clean now.  I thought about rocking around the christmas tree, and a little drummer boy, and maybe how I was pretty sure I couldn’t believe in a god-made-man who had already saved me.

I remember fighting and my mom calling the cops and my dad telling them he always wanted to be a boxer. I don’t know what he dreamed of being when he was growing up. I don’t know if he ever believed in santa, or if he even believed there was a god, or if he couldn’t because he knew he still needed saving. I don’t know what I believed in that night, or how I went to sleep.  Maybe visions of sugar plums danced in my head.  I know he’s an alcoholic. I know he’s a heroin addict, sometimes recovering, and sometimes not. I know he became my dad when he was 21, although he didn’t ask for it and probably wasn’t ready.

That, in short, is how I got these scars, although they came in many different ways – some of which are fabrications, but still real to me.  Next year I’ll tell you about the last present my mother gave me for christmas – it was a hula hoop – but maybe there’s no more to the story than that. Maybe, after that, I’ll tell you about the time I got kidnapped by a cartel while on holiday in the Mexican capital. But the lie detector determined that that was a lie.

That was a lie.

That was a lie.

100 Small Deaths for Francis – Part 2

Francis looked over the MARTA map across from him, posted to the wall of the train and thought: they tried.  They tried because in looking under the lines used to represent tracks, to the city of Atlanta’s mapping, Francis thought: they didn’t, and isn’t it a little unfair that New York gets praised for its public transportation system for running a subway down a narrow chunk of land?  No public transportation system could make all of Atlanta’s sprawl easily accessible, and after all MARTA is functioning enough if it can get you to the airport so that you can leave the south.

As the train came to a pause, Francis was able to make out a sign just past the dirty train windows, and his own fogged-up glasses.  Five Points. It wasn’t his stop, but then again, none of these would ever really be his stop – he’d have to board and exit a plane before he’d be able to (once again) find that.  Francis wondered if this Five Points was Little, since he thought there might be a denoted difference between the two (Little and Not), but he wasn’t local for long enough to find that out for certain.

Francis thought about potential superpowers, and how he always told people he wanted to be super strong. But really, more than anything, he wanted to be able to rap.  Not for fame or fortune, no, but as a talent to grab from his back pocket in times of needing to impress or distract his peers.  That, or for when he was bored or didn’t know what else to do.  There were a lot of times when Francis was unsure of what to do, and it would be powerful if he could do more than nothing.  He imagined he made a lot of faces while he sat there, thinking to himself, but he had no way of checking, and at this point, most people are conditioned not to look at strangers anyways.

Francis exited the train at it’s final stop, and went through security with a pep in his step.  And as he waited for boarding, he looked at the strangers and wondered if he could differentiate those who were coming from those who were going, since there must be a swagger associated with a return home. When he boarded the plane, he did it with swagger (either real or imposed), and thought, maybe this time, he’d talk to his neighbor.

What if maybe bowling began with stranded people punching holes in coconuts and later throwing them into things? I’ve always loved a good origin story, and I sometimes wonder if I’m about to start mine.  I thought about it, and I would want to be super strong, if I were to gain a superpower, that is. Did I already mention that? Maybe I just thought it. And sure you can sit in the middle – I didn’t mean to separate you from your wife – it’s just on my ticket, is all.

Francis was quiet for a while, and he never learned to rap.  And they haven’t been able to find the plane yet, since the crash was so strange, that the search crew has sworn to avoid all eye contact with it – if found.  But some swear they saw it split apart mid-flight, and insist that both sides landed on or close enough to an island for the survivors to continue to survive – at least for a little bit longer. And if Francis survived the crash, he surely taught the others how to bowl, because his superpower was comic relief.  But he wouldn’t make it much further than the mid-season climax, because that’s just not the kind of guy that poor Francis is.

after all of this time

When I was younger, I thought that only one person was allowed to be good at something at a time. My cousin loved to read and write, and when George W. Bush ran for president, she supported his campaign because she believed in something, although she was too young to vote.

My cousin wanted to be a lawyer, and a writer, and a journalist.   Probably at overlapping, yet discrete times, and probably still (though she works at a bank). She was interested in politics, and (at times) used words I didn’t know. And though we read together, and created stories, hers was the realm of words and logic. She got to have the ideas, and to be the leader (I was younger, after all).

I got what was left over to be good at.  I got math, and I got science, and somehow I got dancing, and those talents took me through engineering school (where I learned to hate engineering) and gradate school (where I learned to love analytics).  I think I could have made a great lawyer (for reasons other than my libran birth date), but I’ll never be a lawyer, and I don’t regret that.  I’ve sworn off politics for so long, that I have morals instead of a stance. I can’t help but write, even though I’ve written it off for so long as something I do, but not a hobby. And maybe that’s true, after all.

hell and high water

She drank his fifth beer, on a three-to-six beer Tuesday night in December, and they held hands tightly as they walked to the strip club. She didn’t think much of him then, but then again, she didn’t think of much at all. She went along because she wanted to seem cool, and he made the suggestion still testing his limits. He got a lap dance from a stripper she thought was fat, but his eyes barely left hers, and the conversation never dropped, and it did count for something, despite what you think.  And yes it seems sad, but it’s the life that they chose.  

It must take an awful lot of core strength to hang upside down like that. And, no, I don’t want a lap dance, but I’ll still take that shot.  And the beer’s not too good here, but if it’s cheap, I’ll drink it. And when it’s lit, it’s fire, and when it rained, it poured, and one stripper’s dance so pleased the gods, that champagne and money both poured to the floors.  And through all of this his eyes barely left hers, and when the conversation dropped, it was time to leave, so they floated away.

She thought of him much as they started to walk home, still holding hands, though perhaps a bit more relaxed than before.  And they shared one of those conversations where no words are said. Two of a kind, we are. Birds of a feather. And he swore she could hear his thoughts, or at least she understood. One in a million, she is. A real gem. Through hell and high water, they’re in this together.