Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Part One: Does he love her? We’re not sure yet, but there’s definitely something wrong with that chicken.

I finally stopped looking for him in crowded places – malls, bars, restaurants, parties. It feels good to relax, to not see his face on a random passerby and suffer those few moments of terror and anticipation, inevitably followed by disappointment. And I finally stopped rehearsing what I’d say or what I’d do should we ever end up in the same place at the same time. Letting him go wasn’t the hard part. Forgiving myself for transgressions he never once named was the most difficult.

I was nuts about him from the moment we met. He was the most beautiful geek I’d ever seen – black hair, blue eyes, and a smile so bright it hurts my eyes just to remember it. He was quiet, well mannered, driven – the perfect Christian boy and every mother’s dream. Somehow, despite our vast differences, we became friends...and that initial attraction I felt was pushed to the back burner. I knew he would never return my feelings, so I took what I could get.

Throughout my high school years he was the one constant theme. We went to the movies and bowling, we hung out at “the parking lot” with all the other kids, and he spent more time at my house in the summer than most of my girlfriends did. He was there, playing with my sister while I got ready for a military ball or cross legged beside me on my bedroom floor, mucking out desk drawers.

But things changed during my senior year. He was serious about a girl. Not just any girl, but a girl like him – beautiful, insanely smart, soft spoken, and religious. She lived an hour and a half away and he would drive his motorcycle there on weekends. While he was gone I spiraled out of control. I don’t blame his absence for my bad behavior, but I know I was a better person when I was with him.

We grew apart. One year of sporadic phone calls and random run-ins turned into another year in which we completely lost touch. I was moving all over the place, partying it up, and he was in college and from what I heard from mutual sources, still with that girl.

Then FLASH BANG everything changed again. I became a mom and moved back home.

I well remember the day we reconnected, though I can’t remember who called who or how it came to be. It was a beautiful June afternoon and there he was standing at my door, looking exactly the same - Messy black hair, slouchy frame, awful shoes, and a huge grin. No one I knew gave hugs like him. He would squeeze so tightly that you’d beg him to let go. That day I squeezed back just as hard.

We spent the afternoon walking down old back roads, catching up and reminiscing. He was newly single, he said, because she wanted to experience other people. I was angry at her for hurting him, but there was a part of me that was jumping up and down and fist pumping the air. After all that time apart, all it took was one afternoon. One afternoon and I was consumed with thoughts of winning him over.

I still had some feelings of inadequacy. How could I not? An unwed mother back at home with a penchant for trouble, compared to a man on the fast track in the real estate world. The main difference was that I had new confidence in my appearance. And, like so many women that use sex appeal to get what they want, I had developed an ego that needed constant feeding.

We became even closer than we’d been before. We slept in each other’s beds and cooked dinner together. I helped him work on the house he bought and he went to the zoo with me and my daughter. He lay with his head in my lap when we watched movies and read sex articles in magazines out loud to make me laugh. We did everything together, except what I wanted. He never once tried a thing.

Underneath the best friend role I was playing, I was dying to really touch him. I did everything I could think of to tip his hand, to make him do something. For the life of me, I just could not come out and say, “I’m in love with you. I want you. For the love of gawd, can we have sex already!?”

Beneath the messy hair and sweatpants of his seemingly relaxed best friend, the legs (etc) were always shaved and the underwear was always lacy. I was determined that when he decided to pull his head out of his ass, I’d be ready. Every flirtatious word he said, every intimate gesture he made I saved in my head and filed under “He loves me”. Likewise, anything that gave me pause was filed under “He loves me not”. Half of the time I was positive that he wanted me and the other half I was convinced I wasn’t good enough for him and he knew it. But his shyness with the opposite sex was legendary, and I clung to that too. It kept me from tipping the scales in one direction or another.

To an outsider we looked like a couple. People questioned me about our relationship incessantly, especially my own family. The only answer I had for them was, “I don’t know”. And I didn’t.

I didn’t know how we could curl up next to each other on the couch, his hand caressing my calf when he thought I was sleeping. I didn’t know how we could drive two hours to Charleston and spend an entire day browsing the market, laughing over lunch, and strolling along the battery at sunset. I didn’t know how he could look me in the eyes and not realize that I was crazy about him, that the childhood crush and years of friendship had turned into something much, much deeper.

I needed him to be the man and make the move, but it just wasn’t happening. So when my friend invited me to go to an outdoor music festival in Florida with her and her boyfriend, and suggested that I bring him along and seduce him, I agreed. After all, what could be more romantic than a hippie festival in the woods? We could listen to the music, get drunk by the campfire, and keep each other warm in the tent at night.

I was too busy with my fantasies of fireside confessions of love and erotic tent sex to really think about what I was agreeing to do.

Go camping.

I’d never been camping in my life, and for good reason. I didn’t do dirt, I didn’t do bugs, and I most definitely didn’t do using the bathroom in the woods.

He agreed to go, of course. He loved camping and anything outdoorsy. Yet another of our many differences.

He couldn’t make it down the first night because of work and would have to drive down alone the following day. I used my time alone with my friends to pump them for thoughts and suggestions. These particular two had never met him before and I was anxious for their take on the situation.

We arrived in Florida, stoned and in good spirits. Everywhere we looked there were hippies in long skirts and bikini tops and plumes of smoke filling the air at intervals throughout the crowd. We bought our tickets, drove past the crowded campsite areas, and chose a spot my friends were familiar with from the previous year. It was far enough from the main area to seem remote, but still close enough to be involved.

It was blisteringly hot and I was suddenly horrified by the realization that I was going to have to pitch a tent. Work, in any capacity, was not something I relished at that point, while the sweat dripped down my back and makeup began a steady slide down my face.

That first afternoon and evening without him was filled with several more daunting realizations.

Most worrisome, the communal showers and bathroom were over a mile away from our campsite. The distance didn’t bother me as much as the word “communal”. I kept picturing a row of showerheads pointed at a row of hairy, natural women that were feeling the “free love”, outdoor concert vibe. And nothing about the description of the facilities suggested there would be any place to plug up my hair dryer or apply my makeup comfortably. My girlfriend insisted that she’d tried to warn me that my idea of camping and their idea of camping were about as similar as the Ritz Carlton and a Motel 6.

Then after the area was cleared, tents pitched, and fire set up, it was discovered that when advising me on what camping gear I’d need, no one mentioned an air mattress. I never, in a million years, would have thought to bring one. So that night while I huddled, freezing, in the center of my tent with only a sleeping bag, pillow, and small blanket, my friends were living it up next door on their queen sized air mattress. Roughing it indeed, the bastards.

Food was another thing I apparently never thought about. I wasn’t too keen on putting a hotdog on a stick some creature might have defecated on at some point. Nor was I excited about the vast array of chips that, with words like vinegar and BBQ, spelled out “toothbrush” rather than “kiss me, you fool”.

Still, reclining in a chair with my feet propped up by the fire and gazing at the stars through trees dripping with Spanish moss, I had a bit of hope left. Being stoned the majority of the time also helped keep my anxiety level lower than it would have been otherwise.

The next day we made a few rounds of the fields, checking out the different bands. The Allman Brothers Band, The Derek Trucks Band, Susan Tedeschi, Sister Hazel, Nickel Creek, Gov’t Mule, and a lot of others were there that year. I was a newly converted fan of that genre of music and seeing it live, in such a beautiful, open area was amazing.

That afternoon, when he showed up, I was definitely feeling the love. I was nowhere near the point of growing out my leg hair or sucking on a communal bong in the back of a van, but I was having a good time. And, as it turned out, there were curtains to separate the shower area and I’d made use of them twice. My friends found my obsessive showering and my horror over lack of makeup hilarious. It was too hot during the day to put it on; it would just slide right off. And the nights were very cool, but putting it on by firelight or flashlight wasn’t a good idea. Not that I tried that...

After introductions were made and lunch was eaten, the real fun began. He joined in the drinking and smoking without batting an eye, which surprised me. He didn’t normally do either.

By the time night fell, we were lounging on towels in a field and listening to a band. His legs were stretched out next to mine and I leaned into him, watching the lights flash onstage. I was relaxed and comfortable and I thought to myself, “tonight”.

As we left the field we passed rows of food vendors and t-shirt booths. There was a sort of Chinese teriyaki stand that everyone wanted to try. We got “chicken on sticks” all around and happily munched them on the way back to camp.

That night we got drunk and played a game where one person would take a long stick and put one end on the ground and the other to their forehead. Then they would spin around and around until they couldn’t spin anymore and attempt to walk without falling into the fire or breaking a limb. Part of the clearing was made of thick sand that seemed to make every move more labored and we tired of that quickly, pulling up our chairs around the fire. Before long the conversation died out and one by one we retired to our tents. My friends went first and he suggested I go ahead of him if I wanted to change.

I made quite the drunken production of stripping of my clothes, knowing the light from the fire on the tent would show my silhouette. I had no way of knowing if he was even looking, but I wasn’t willing to cut corners. When I had my sleep shorts and t-shirt on, I poked my head out and told him he could come in.

He’d brought extra blankets at my request, but it was still rough lying on the ground. We lay close, but not touching and I thought about what I would do. Now that the time was here, I wasn’t sure if I should just reach for him or speak. I thought I had it all figured out this time, but I was rigid with nerves.

How long this internal battle went on, I couldn’t say, but the moment of decision was suddenly upon me. I whispered his name, and then said it a bit louder when he didn’t answer. While I’d been agonizing and debating, he’d fallen asleep.

As I half sat up and stretched my hand toward his face, intent on waking him, a sharp pain tore through my body and I doubled over. My stomach began cramping so badly that each wave of pain stole my breath. I lay down, rolled away, and curled into a ball, willing it to stop with my silent mantra. “No, no, no, no, no.”

But it didn’t. I’d only have a minute or two of relief before the next cramp arrived. By that time I knew what I would have to do, but I was fighting it anyway. I only succeeded a few minutes more before I vaulted up and out of the tent, slipped my feet into the first pair of shoes I saw, grabbed a lantern and a roll of toilet paper, and took off running into the woods.

It’s safe to say that during that painful sprint into the dark Florida wilderness, seduction was the last thing on my mind.

To be continued...

Monday, March 29, 2010

This way for attention

Things have been a bit tough around here lately – monetarily, physically, and emotionally. (I’ll be using this as an excuse for my sporadic involvement in blogland.)

I’ve been alternately slammed with work, then so bored that I have to stop myself from wasting the entire supply cabinet’s staple stock by shooting them randomly at people as they walk past my door. Professionalism is not as entertaining, you know.

I received my lovely income tax return and wept over the most beautiful bank balance I’ve had since, well, last tax season. Then I wept again because every single dime of it went to catch up on bills. But the joke is on me, because I’m still not caught up. Mainly because there’s always something unexpected happening. Like two flat tires, an alignment, and another bridesmaid dress.

That’s right. I’m officially on my way to becoming Katherine Heigl’s character in the rom com 27 Dresses.

The only difference is there’s no leading man to watch me try on my collection of pastel colored finery or make out with me in a car. Not that I’d want to make out with anyone in my car. The inside should be featured on a poster for Ebola awareness or a support group for hoarders. Then there’s always the “who gets to sit in the kid's car seat” awkwardness. You know what I’m talking about? The one that’s not sitting in the car seat always feels like a pedophile and the one that is sitting in it can’t spread their legs comfortably. Unless you have one of those fancy ones with the arm rests that lift up. And a cup holder for your beer.

And did I mention that this bridesmaid dress I have to purchase it the exact same dress I wore in last September’s wedding? Did I? Oh, well it is. Only it’s a different color. Instead of candy pink, it’s called watermelon, and would you believe they can’t (read: won’t) dye the motherfucker?

I met the girls at the shop on a Saturday morning a few months ago. It just happened to coincide with one of my rare nights out at the bars and I showed up wearing brown yoga capri pants, a yellow tank top with a pink one over the top, flip flops, a blue knitted headband (yes, yours Erin), and white disco style sunglasses covering truly heinous leftover makeup. I was, to put it mildly, extremely hung over and extremely cranky.

I was half an hour late and one of the attendants immediately shoved a dress in my hands and sent me to a changing room. It wasn’t until I’d slipped it on that I realized it was from the exact same collection as the previous wedding. At first I was miffed, but then I thought, “Hey! I can get the dress Whitney wore. It still has pockets for my cigarettes and I don’t have to worry about tan lines again. Stupid strapless...”

(The collection I’m referring to is of the mix and match variety. All the bridesmaids wear a different style dress, just in the same color.)

I stepped out of the dressing room in a bright orange number (the try on dresses aren’t necessarily in the color you will be ordering), still wearing my blue headband and white shades. Thankfully everyone found it hilarious. I was afraid the bride would blame me for ruining her fitting by crawling out of a liquor bottle.

“I don’t like this one”, I said.

“Neither do I”, said the bride. “Here, look at the book and pick a style you like and they’ll see if it comes in the color I picked.”

Shoulder to shoulder with an attendant, I leaned over a catalog and leafed through the pages. “What about that one?” I pointed out the dress Whitney had.

“That one doesn’t come in watermelon.”

“That one?”


“Ok...that one.”

“One of the other girls already picked it.”

I glared at the attendant and the bride, sensing trouble, intervened.

“I loved you in the strapless. Let’s do that one.”

“But I didn’t really want...”

The attendant already had the dress in her hands and she thrust it into my arms. “Go put it on and let’s see, hmm?”

“I already know what it looks like”, I grumbled.

“Humor me”, the bride replied.

I sighed, went back into the changing room, pulled on the dress, and stomped back out. All the girls did that collective murmuring in the affirmative and it was settled: I would wear the blushing twin of the dress I’d worn in September. “...without the headband, please”, the attendant added.

I stomped on her toes on the way out.

In another conspiracy to bankrupt me before thirty, the kid is turning five next week.

Some of you non-parents may not be aware of this, but you can’t half-ass a five year old girl’s birthday party. You might get away with just family, cake, and ice cream for the first two or three years, but after that they expect you to buy stock in Never Never Land, shoot glittery fireworks out of your ass, and invite every snot nosed brat they ever laid eyes on.

Every commercial that comes on the television advertising a toy is followed with: “Maaaaama! Can you get me that? For my birthday, mom? Seriously, I need it.” Every window display that has anything remotely colorful: “Maaaaama! I want that for my birthday! It’s in two weeks, right? Didn’t you say it was in two weeks?”

It’s crunch time and she’s not taking any shit or accepting anymore noncommittal “mmm hmm’s” or “We’ll see’s”.

I was in the shower the other day, blissfully shampooing my hair, when the door flew open. “Mom!”

“WHAT”, I screamed in panic and covered my bizness. (It's a reflex. Flashback from being startled in the shower and maiming myself, you know.)

The shower curtain whipped open and she shoved a glossy toy ad from the newspaper toward my face. “Can you get me this for my birthday!?”


“But can you get me this?”

I jerked the shower curtain back into place. “Boundaries, kid! We’ve talked about them.”

“But can y...”

“If you don’t get out of here right this minute there will be no presents and no party! Out, out, out!”

She then burst into tears and ran from the room.

The kid is one of the best actresses I’ve seen. Watching her in action, I’m often torn between admiration, frustration, and amusement. Usually I settle on amusement...and sometimes I taunt her a little. She particularly hates it when I chant, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,”...then once I’ve gotten her really mad switch to, “I see your hiney, so bright and shiny. You better hide it, before I bite it.” (I’m southern. Hide and bite rhyme, ok.) But I digress. Birthdays...

I haven’t picked up a single present or made a single plan yet. Sure, we’ve kicked around a few ideas: bouncy house, dress up party, Tinkerbell theme. But I just can’t seem to make a decision. All of them are going to cost me lots of money and cause some type of emotional and/or physical damage.

The bouncy house was my first pick because once it got dark and all the children were gone and mine was in bed, my cousin and I could get drunk, bounce around, and laugh our asses off. But after thinking about it more carefully (popping, vomiting, etc), it didn’t seem like such a great idea.

I hate character paraphernalia, so Tinkerbell wasn’t at the top of my list to begin with. That leaves...the dress up party, which would be very loud and messy. Someone, who might be dead before this is over with, even suggested we make it a slumber dress up party. Oh, dear gawd in heaven.

Do you know what would happen? Somebody’s kid would freak out and decide at 2 o’clock in the morning that it wants it's mother. It's mother who isn’t home because it’s her first free night out in 6 months and she’s too busy line dancing and snorting coke off the brim of a cowboy hat to the tune of ‘Redneck Woman’ to answer my phone calls. And then do you know what happens? It’ll ask to sleep with me since it can’t go home and I’ll be completely creeped out when it gets all cuddly and grabby. Then I’ll have to get up and make them all breakfast, but someone will be lactose intolerant and vomit all over the rug...right next to the purple eye shadow they ground into it the night before. And, at some point during all that, I’ll likely teach them a few words their parents will later say launched their cutting careers. “This way for attention, dear.”

Sigh. I’ll keep you posted on what we decide.

Either way I’ll likely need a second job. Anybody know a nice pimp?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


“Well I declare!”

My mother reads aloud from a book she just purchased, a sort of comedic take on the customs, sayings, and mannerisms of Southern women. At least I hope it was a comedic effort. The title boasts of being a “guide”, but silly lessons in manners and a few catch phrases are a paltry substitute for the real deal in front of me.

The Grandmother stands at the stove, knotty fingers deftly dredging pieces of chicken in a flour concoction and transferring them to a popping frying pan. I lean against the door frame, as fascinated as ever by her ease in the kitchen. She laughs as my mother reads, hands flying from plate to pan and back again.

I remember being a girl in this same kitchen, white 50’s style table covered with baking paraphernalia. Those same hands, albeit less spotted with age, placed over mine, kneaded a ball of dough the size of my fat little head. Sunlight poured through flowered curtains and touched the ruffled yellow apron around my waist. Kneeling on a low wooden stool with my grandmother’s bare, capable arms on either side of me, gently guiding me through my first batch of homemade biscuits, I was happy.

I’m happy now too, but there’s a tinge of urgency that wasn’t here all those years ago. I feel time’s increasing pressure on this scene.

The Grandmother’s old sheepdog, Duchess, wanders in and nudges her leg. They are the perfect pair, a vaudeville act in the early afternoon, dancing around each other on arthritic limbs. Duchess is almost completely deaf, yet TG chatters at her incessantly. “Oh Duchess, you poor old girl! Mama loves that girl! Go on now, stop pawing at me, old thing!”

The dog’s facial expression is nothing short of exasperated. I can’t say I blame her. She can’t hear, she’s always tripping over things, and to top it off she’s just received her warm weather shave. Her white fluffy coat, spotted sporadically with reddish brown, is gone, leaving her bare from neck to tail. The hair on top of her head has been trimmed haphazardly and stands up in a way that makes her look like a canine Rod Stewart.

Bored with tangling herself between TG’s legs, she ambles slowly back down the hall where she spends the next 10 minutes lowering herself to the floor, still managing to look haughty in the process. Duchess indeed.

As we eat lunch The Grandmother flutters around the dining room table. Even at holiday dinners it’s impossible to get her to sit down for more than a few minutes. Its part Southern hostess and part OCD. I wonder if there’s a chapter in my mother’s book on that.

“You need to get out in the sunshine, get some good vitamin D in your system.” TG says this to no one in particular as she picks up plates and cups. Any offers to help clear the dishes are always rebuffed.

I’m not an outdoorsy person, much to her chagrin, so she takes my daughter out instead. I watch them from the window, wandering around the well kept backyard, stopping often to examine a new bloom. I can’t hear them, but I know she’s saying the same things she used to say to me at that age in her over enunciated southern drawl. “Look at this beautiful flower! I planted this with my own two hands and my little trowel. Wouldn’t you like to help Grandmother plant more flowers?”

Back when I didn’t abhor dirt she taught me how to loosen the roots on a plant before placing it gently in a hole. We wore brightly colored gardening gloves and carried our small tools about in an old strawberry bucket. Her third husband, Hubert, made me a swing out of a wide board and two thick pieces of rope. It hung from the huge pecan tree, the main focal point of the yard, and I would swing on it for hours. In the summer time, with the flowers and tress in full bloom, you couldn’t tell that it was a tiny backyard in the middle of our buzzing capitol. I would wear my great grandmother’s dress up beads and a flowy skirt and pretend I was Alice in Wonderland, swinging out over my make believe wilderness while my grandmother, in her wide brim gardening hat, was the mad hatter.

When they troop back inside I ask TG if she has any curtains she could spare for my bedroom. I want something long and thick to keep out the light and she has quite the obsession with curtains. She’s always buying them, ripping them apart, and sewing them together to fit her current style.

“Of course I do. Check the back room, there should be a zip bag full of them.”

I find them straight away and take them to the front bedroom. She begins pulling them out and making suggestions. In the end we decide to sew two sets together – pale pink cotton for the liner and a light green lace over top. She’s surprised that I want to start on them immediately.

I dig her sewing machine out and we settle at the dining room table. While the kid watches TV and mom gently snores in the rocker, we set to work. I rip out the old seams and baste a few gathers to make the two pieces fit and she runs each one through her sewing machine, making a place for the rod to go through.

While we work, we chat about the same old things. She lectures me on being more patient and soft spoken. Rather than rile her up, I just smile and nod in agreement.

She knows anyway, even as she’s lecturing, that I’ll never be patient or soft spoken. I’ll never be able to breeze around a kitchen quite the way she does, nor will I ever be able to keep any plant other than a cactus alive for very long. I’ll likely never sew anything more than a hole in a sleeve or a button that’s in danger of falling off. She knows I have a foul mouth and a temper that doesn’t become a lady.

And still she’ll keep telling me, and I’ll keep promising, to be the Southern woman she raised me to be, even though we both know the truth: The most Southern things about me are my accent and my ability to charm the pants off anything that wears them… “When you want to” she always adds.

We don’t quite finish all four curtains before it’s time for us to leave. As I gather my things she promises to have them hemmed and ready for me to pick up after work the next day.

At the door I kiss and hug her goodbye. Sometimes I’m relieved to get away from her lectures and her attention, but not today. Today I’m sorry to go so soon. Today a silly guide for Southern women made me appreciate learning from the real deal, even if I’m not terribly adept at the execution of those lessons.

She cups my face in her hand and gives me a look, one I recognize as mine alone. It’s a touch of amusement, a touch exasperation, a touch pride, and, of course, love. Patting my cheek she says, “Behave yourself, you hear? Be good.”

“I will Grandma”, I say with a smile. She chuckles and moves on to my daughter. I watch them hug and TG smoothes the hair back from her face.

I’m not the praying kind, not even sure if I believe in God at all, but I find myself pleading with something or someone: Please let this woman be around long enough to teach my daughter all the things I can’t.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I’ve been reading blogs all morning. When you can’t write, read instead.

“But why can’t you write, Alyson?”

Do you really want to know, pretend-other-person-that’s-actually-me-because-no-one else-really-cares?

“Yes, I do.” *shifty eyes*

There are so many reasons, but I suppose the one that stands out is that it’s not good enough; my standards have risen higher than my capabilities. Then, I feel as though I’ve written myself into a corner, limited myself to one certain kind of thing. I can’t write about the sex I’m not having. I can't write funny anecdotes because my brain has turned to mush and my ovaries have turned into ripe peaches ...Hey, pay attention!

“What? Oh...peaches, right!”

Technically my ovaries have nothing to do with this. I’m just obsessed with them in a strange way at the moment because my cousin just had a baby and I went to visit them two days in a row. I went back the second time because he was asleep the first day and I didn’t get to hold him. I wanted to hold him badly and when I did it was great. I was all, “look at your tiny face and your tiny hands”, and I totally bogarted the fucker for 20 minutes while all the menopausal bitches glared at me and sharpened their canes into spears to stab through my 24 (almost 25) year old baby making mechanics.

“Heh, Ute-Rus!”

I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation. I don’t like children. They smell bad, take over the TV, and ruin your carpet. So basically they’re like men and animals all rolled into one package that won’t leave for 18+ years AND comes out of your vagina. Ugh. Why am I cooing over a baby? Am I going to turn into Octomom? There’s a conspiracy afoot. I’ve been having suburbia daydreams too. Someone or something is putting hormone meds in my food and drink...maybe even in my body lotion.

“Ok, now you’re just being paranoid. Heh...whore moans.”

Seriously. You’re ridiculous. I’m trying to tell you that I can’t write, I’m cuddling babies, and imagining a white colonial with a collie and a Volvo. Maybe my family was right about commitment – the psychotic kind not the relationship kind. Except instead of being treated for anger issues and problems with authority, I’ll be going for Suburbia Syndrome. Just like that movie that Nicole Kidman sucked in. Only I’d have better hair, facial expressions that surpass the range of a blow up doll, and my husband wouldn’t have to point his remote control at me for sex.

“Yeah, you should have more of that now.”

You’re telling me! Do you know I’ve had a handful of opportunities and I’ve passed on them?

“Maybe you are on drugs...”

That’s what I’m telling you! The lack of creative genius, the cooing, the ovary ripening that women who can’t have babies anymore can sense, the weird dreams, the turning down of prime one night stand ass: it all adds up. I’m being poisoned! Sprayed with eau de Fresh Fetus! Brain washed into looking for an ideal mate to MATE with and produce SUBURBAN SPAWN OF SATAN!

“You might want to calm down. Heavy breathing like that is only for orgasms and serial killers. I mean, unless you want to get off at work. I’m totally fine with it...”

Shut up! I’m trying to concentrate. I need to make a list of suspects. Who would stand to gain the most from slipping me...

“A length?”

...personality tranquilizers? *glare*

“ Hmm...Lunch Box Boy? He totally wants to fertilize your Vagunia.”

Idiot. He’s gay.

“Maybe for revenge, then?”

No. It’s not him. It’s got to be someone I see almost every day – like mom, Lee, or The Grandmother.

“My money is on Wrinkles. She’s been after you for years.”

You’re right. I’ve been spending more and more time over there lately. And she’s been way too nice – making me pie, rubbing my hair, not watching me in a creepy stalker fashion while I sleep. My GAWD! It is her!

“So what are you gonna do now, Sherlock Hormones?”

I’m going to confront her!


As soon as I finish cross stitching this blank...I mean...Oh, just get the hell out of here!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The shoe and the man parade

The black and white tile floor is littered with the debris of celebration: plastic cups, napkins, beads, and even a stray high heeled shoe. There isn’t much room to move around. The crush of bodies is excessive even for this place – a sea of green revelry.

But the shoe sits in a small circle of calm, dancers move around it as if there’s an invisible force field. I stare at it, idly stirring my drink. I wonder who it belongs to and if they’ll come back for it or just leave it to be swept away with the rest of the night’s waste.

The thought makes me sad and at that moment I realize that I look a bit like that shoe – lost, out of place. I’m standing near the center of a group of friends and for once, I’m not cracking jokes or running the conversation. I’m not even listening, really.

The festival has been going on all day. I might very well be the only half sober person in the room. Even the two people I came late with have drunk enough before hand to fit right in. I decide that I need to be on their level and I head to the bar for another drink.

Ten minutes later I finally have another Jack and coke. As I’m walking back toward my group, weaving through the maze of people, a cool hand grabs mine. I smile as I turn, thinking it’s one of my friends. It isn’t. He looks Brazilian – tan and dark, short and muscular, with a thousand watt smile. He’s mouth watering. He tugs on my hand, attempting to draw me to him. I resist, free myself, and continue pushing my way through the crowd.

Back in my original place, I can still see him. He reminds me of another man, most certainly Brazilian, that I had years ago. The sex was fantastic and I have a feeling it would be with this one too. He has the same look in his eyes – a confidence that should seem arrogant and off-putting, but somehow isn’t. Rather than kick myself for not acquiescing, I simply marvel at my self control. After all, I haven’t had sex since New Year’s. I smile to myself. I’ve become a regular girl scout.

I attempt to be sociable and I manage, but not with my usual flair. I’m hauled back to the bar for shots with my friend Claire and the small town heartthrob from a rival school that I’ve met many times over the years, yet he still has no idea who I am. He’s good looking, though dressed in the oddest manner. In the middle of gold beads, stilettos, green t-shirts, wigs and face paint, he wears a plaid button up shirt, tan sweater vest, and loafers.

More shots are passed around. Sweater vest guy tries to coerce me into dancing to every song that comes on. He’s very handsy and I suspect he may be on Ecstasy. It amuses me to turn him down, but it bothers me a bit too. I don’t exactly want to say no, but I can’t say yes either. Maybe this isn’t self control after all. Maybe it’s something entirely different.

The man parade continues with an old flame I ran into right before Christmas. The friends I’m with know him well, but they have no idea about our past indiscretions. He looks at me and I smile nervously, hoping no one notices my discomfort, most of all him. He walks over, but instead of standing in front of me, he walks around and half presses himself into me from behind. He’s over a foot taller and has to lean down to say in my ear, “I sent you text messages. You didn’t respond.”

I turn to face him, an apologetic smile on my face. “I’m sorry! I meant to, but when I got them I was busy. Then by the time I remembered, they were gone and I hadn’t saved your number.”

He looks properly unconvinced, but pulls out his phone anyway. “Should I call you now so you have my number?”

“Oh, you can just text me later. I’ll save it.”

I look up at him, trying to exude a casualness I don’t feel. In truth, I feel like I’m being pulled in different directions. On one hand - he’s attractive, he wants me, he’s free, I’m free, and seeing how much I still affect him is a rush. On the other – I feel dirty. Being around him makes me think of what we did and where we did it and who we could have hurt had we ever been caught. I wonder why I didn’t feel that way when it was happening and I can only assume that it’s because I was too young to really care. Guilt is a rare emotion for me, it was then and it is now. Now I feel guilty for the past, and for avoiding his text messages and not having the balls to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t”, when confronted.

“Ok”, he says, pocketing his phone again. He must sense my reluctance to be near him so he hugs me, says goodbye, and moves across the dance floor to another group. I catch him staring at me often.

When he leaves a little over an hour later, he comes to say goodbye again. I’m pretty drunk, surrounded by three men in a semi circle while I regale them with nonsense. He stands on the edge and holds out his arm hesitantly, like he wants to touch me but he’s not sure if I’ll allow it.

“We’re leaving”, he says.

“Ok!” I smile and throw my hand up in a half wave. “See you later!”

“Yeah, later”, he replies, dropping his arm and backing away.

Without him there to remind me, the guilt disappears. I'm relaxed again. I even dance a little bit. It is my cousin’s birthday after all.

She’s dancing too, grabbing my hands and twirling us around. Claire slaps my ass and I laugh. Someone else hands me a shot and I take it, still moving. My cousin turns around, intent on backing her ass up in my direction, knowing I have no where to go but back into a wall of green clad men. Suddenly she stops, screams, and lurches forward. She jumps, wrapping her arms and legs around someone I can’t see.

When she lets go and backs away, I’m not happy. I’m too drunk to stop the words from coming out of my mouth. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Trey doesn’t hear me, but other people do. Her boyfriend’s expression matches mine, but at least he can keep his mouth shut.

It’s not that I mind Trey, exactly. It’s that the night has already been a bit of a drama fest without having him around too. One night stands are supposed to fade into the background and not pop up every where you go. I’ve never been lucky in that respect.

We say hello to each other and take shots. The act feels a bit like using Novocain – numb the reaction. He’s a fun guy, but he’s also an arrogant asshole. And, truth be told, not that great a lay – though I must admit the circumstances were a little difficult.

We used to work together back when I was seeing the kid’s dad. I’d known Trey for a few years though friends. I went to a few of his parties, smoked with him a few times, but that was about it.

One night a bunch of us went out drinking and ended up crashing at a friend’s apartment. Trey and I shared one of the couches – his head at one end, mine at the other. People were scattered all over the living room floor and the other couch. I don’t recall there being any flirtation between us at all.

I was almost asleep when I felt his hand on my leg. I was drunk and I knew he was drunk, so I decided to ignore it. Then, somehow, ignoring it progressed to having sex. I don’t remember all the details in between, as this was several years ago and alcohol was involved, but in the beginning we attempted to do it without changing our original positions - scooting together, legs laced.

It worked at first, but then it just wasn’t cutting it.

He dragged me off the couch and into a bedroom that was supposed to be off limits. We started going at it, but again, things just weren’t going well. By then the sun had been up for awhile and we started hearing people wake up in the living room. We stopped and I had to make the dash of shame, wrapped in a comforter, to get my clothes.

Not a great experience.

Things are awkward at first. We have nothing to say to each other and I know he’s probably thinking the same thing I am – why did I do that?

Our stilted conversation is interrupted by the blinding overhead lights. The bar is closing and everyone is being hustled out. I pay my tab and wait while my friends do the same. I watch as the room that was so packed mere moments before the shouted “closing” empties rapidly. The sea of green is gone. The black and white tile floor, previously only seen in bits and pieces, is open. Trash, mud and glass are everywhere.

My cousin joins me, linking arms, as much for stability as habit. We trip toward the stairs, her boyfriend and Trey following. I realize I left my jacket on a stool and I tell them I’ll be right back. They continue down as I hurry back, kicking plastic cups away as I walk.

Thankfully my jacket is still there. I pause to put it on and that’s when I see it – the lone, black, high heeled shoe. It’s turned on its side, surrounded by bits of broken glass. I can’t leave it there.

I pick it up and take it to the bar. “Someone lost this”, I say. I hand it to the girl. “In case they come back looking for it.”

She looks it over. “That happens all the time. She’ll be back for this one, it’s expensive”, she says, sticking it under the counter.

I turn and walk away. “I don’t believe she will.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms.”

“Your grandmother thinks you need to be committed”, my mom said with a satisfied look on her face.

I rolled my eyes and turned back to my book. Here we go again. I moved my lips along with her next statement, parroting it word for word:

“Really, she does. It used to be that when you turned someone over to the loony bin, they’d give you $50. I hate they don’t do that anymore. I could definitely use the money and you could definitely use the help. Heh, heh, heh.”

My family just loves this “joke”. It makes the rounds every so often, along with:

1) You’re just like your father.
2) Men won’t date you because you have sex with them too soon.
3) We sometimes think you’re a lesbian, but it might be preferable to being a whore.
4) You’re not a nurturer. Just move out and leave the kid with us. You know you want to.

That last one is my favorite. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. But I digress; let’s discuss this insane theory, hmm?

Mental illness runs in my family – manic depression, bipolar disorder. And I’m relatively sure my cousin is schizophrenic. No one ever knows who the fuck he’s talking to.

Aside from all that, I’ve always considered myself the “normal” one. While I might be weird to the general public, especially women, within my family I like to think that I collected all the marbles they lost and stored them up to use when needed.

I’ve seen my share of therapists, it’s true, but I attribute the majority of that to dealing with the neurosis of others. When you’re always around whack jobs you start to question your own sanity, to get drawn down into their rabbit hole of floating furniture and talking caterpillars that smoke the ganja.

My second to last therapist diagnosed me with ODD – oppositional defiant disorder. That’s about as crazy as I get. According to The Grandmother, this is enough to make a “vacation” necessary. Even though the diagnosis is from several years ago, it’s the only thing they have to cling to right now. Desperate people – grasping at straws!

But they have nothing left to fall back on because there’s no way I still have it.

Symptoms of ODD:

  • Actively does not follow adults' requests
Technically I’m an adult now so I don’t necessarily have to follow other adults’ requests, right? And it’s not like I’m discriminating. I don’t follow anyone’s requests. Just the other day this kid asked, no told, me to buy his chocolate for a fundraiser and I said, “I don’t eat chocolate! DO YOU SEE THIS ZIT, KID? Get outta here!”

See? Equal opportunity refuser – that’s healthy, not crazy.

  • Angry and resentful of others
Now that’s just silly. I’ll bet even Mother Theresa was resentful on the inside, and isn’t it better to leave everything out in the open? People know where they stand with me.

For example: If you just received a ridiculous sum of money from a dead relative I’m going to be resentful, I’m going to call you a lucky fucker, and I’m probably going to be angry that all my relatives are poor. It’s totally natural. But I’ll be happy for you as long as you share. Nevermind about your dead relative. You got money, ass cheese. Crying is for pussies.

  • Blames others for own mistakes
Yeah, ok, maybe.

“It’s not my fault she said ‘damn’ at school! You said it four times the other day and I usually just say ‘fucker’, which she didn’t say so there!”

“It’s not my fault that my car payment is late. The barman seduced me with Jack Daniels and karaoke!”

“It’s not my fault he likes me better. You should have slept with him first. I mean....”

  • Has few or no friends or has lost friends
I have plenty of great friends. Though, sadly, I did sort of lose one recently. See, she’s very selfish and cuntastic and also related. So I can’t really get rid of her completely. But we went from being likethis to like-------------------------this.
  • Is in constant trouble in school
I suppose we can change school to work and go with that.

I’m not in constant trouble. I occasionally get reprimanded for being late (and by occasionally I mean three times a week) and for occasionally wearing “unprofessional” attire (and by occasionally I mean three times a week) and I occasionally get the “oh, no you din’nt face” for saying things like “eff that shit in the ahole” and “your mom likes sausage” (and by occasionally...ok you get the point).

And just for the record, that last one is not fair at all. My boss is always saying things that cause me to make the “oh, no you din’nt face”. Like when she refers to lesbians: “licky splity”.

  • Loses temper
I’ve been working hard on this and it’s gotten so much better! Instead of yelling and getting all crazy, I’ve been speaking calmly and rationally so they can understand exactly what they did to piss me off and how it needs to be rectified. (Snicker...rectified.)

For example: When my sister, the soul sucking twig of perfection, says something incomparably rude like “You’re a sucky mom” (I’m paraphrasing, but trust me, that’s exactly what it boils down to.) I respond with a bland facial expression and a quietly spoken:

“You listen to me you little asshole (soft smile). What you know about parenting could fit into your – A cup bra. When you push an 8lb squalling chunk of human out of your fucking vagina, in front of assorted strangers and one nurse turned paparazzi, then you can give me parenting advice. That may be happening sooner than you think since you can’t seem to keep your legs closed. Zing. Now, I suggest you turn around and toe-touch your little cheerleading ass out of the general vicinity before I decide to karate chop you in the face (innocent eyelash fluttering).”

  • Spiteful or seeks revenge
I wouldn’t really say I’m a revenge seeker. It just sort of falls into my lap: Ohmigawd! How did this shampoo bottle and a can of tuna end up right here? Oh well, I should probably just put them together and leave them out in the sun for a bit. Mmm, that’s nice.

Spiteful? All women are spiteful to a degree, even my 75 year old grandma.

Me: “I don’t want to go to church. I like gay people. I don’t care about politics, it’s boring. No, I don’t know anything about Al Gore and global warming because I don’t watch the news.”

G-ma: “I made this beautiful chocolate brownie pie with cream cheese icing. It’s absolutely delicious! You should try a piece. Mmm maybe a smaller piece, dear. *Hip poke, hip poke*. Actually, you know what, (takes back pie) you might just want to eat this piece of lettuce instead.”


“How do you feel about gay people now?”

  • Touchy or easily annoyed
Only when I’m on the rag. Usually. Ugh, fine. Having a kid is synonymous with “easily annoyed”, damn it!

“What’s that clicking? Are you clicking something?” Cheeky grin from child in question. “You don’t fool me, I hear clicking.” 5 minutes later: “OH MY GAWD WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE?!”

“Put your pants on. Put your pants on. Put your pants on. Put your pants on. OH MY GAWD WHERE ARE YOUR EFFING PANTS KID!”

Kid: “Mom, what are those?” Points in the general direction of a million different objects.
Me: “What are what?”
Kid: “Those!” Still pointing.
Me: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Which thing are you pointing at?”
Kid: “That right there!” Finger wavers over a plethora of things and stuff.
Me: “Seriously, kid.”
Kid: “Why?”
Me: “Don’t start with the why stuff, please.”
Kid: “But why?”
Me: Deep breath...”holy mother...”
Kid: “Mom! WHAT IS THAT?!”
Me: Tugging on hair, eye sockets exploding - “I DON’T KNOW! I DON’T KNOW! CHRIST ALIVE, I DON’T KNOW!”

That kind of stuff goes on all day, every day. I’m thinking about having the closet sound proofed.

Obviously there is no need for me to be committed. I’ve been looking into new therapists, but I probably wouldn’t need one of those either if the stupid doctor would just give me some pills that make me deaf for 14 hours a day and every other weekend.

On second quiet are those padded rooms?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Coitus Interruptus (

I’m sitting on the hood of a car. It’s boxy, like a Cadillac. My hair is loose and wavy around my shoulders and I’m wearing a light blue, calf length dress that buttons all the way down the front. It’s made of a thin material that billows in the slight breeze and the top few buttons are undone, the material gapped to expose the lacy edges of my bra. I’m leaning back on my elbows, bare feet propped on the grill and legs slightly open so that the dress pools in a V between my thighs.

He walks toward me across the full parking lot, smiling in anticipation. I smile back. We both know what happens next.

Stopping in front of me he slides his hands over my knees and up my thighs. The dress rides up his wrists, stopping with his hands at my hips. He pulls hard and we’re suddenly against each other. Lips brush my ear, my neck, my collarbone. One hand grabs my hair and pulls while the other gathers the back of my dress in a tight fist. He bites the top of one breast and I grab him and pull his lips to mine.

As we kiss his hands fumble with the button on his pants. I pull away and lean back to allow him time. We stare at each other while he pulls down the zipper. He smiles, opens his mouth and says,


I tilt my head in confusion, hearing but not really understanding. “Hmmm”, I say.

He opens his mouth again and says, “MAMAAAAAA! I. SAID. MAKE. ME. SOME.COFFEE!”

His form wavers in front of my eyes before completely dissipating into darkness. I hear an insistent tap, tap, tapping near my head. Light starts to seep around the black edges as my eyes flutter open. I squint, my dry contacts rejecting any attempt to open my lids further.

The kid is standing by my bed in her pale green Tinkerbell pajamas. Her hair is stuck to one side of her face and she’s peering at me in irritation. “Mom! I need you to turn on the TV and make my coffee.” She taps the bedside table with her plastic Tinkerbell wand, emphasizing each word. She presses a button on the handle and it makes a “brrrrrriiiiing” noise, giving off a feeble flicker of light in its clear, star shaped tip. The batteries are almost dead, thank gawd. So much for getting laid, I think as I force myself up and out of the bed. Interrupted.


Alone time is not something I take for granted. Alone time means sex – whether it’s with myself, just a dream, or, miracle of miracles, with another person.

As most of you know, I moved back in with my family when I had my daughter almost five years ago. That means that at any given time there are four other people, two cats, and a dog always encroaching on “me time”. When I was seeing the fireman, and by seeing I mean banging, it wasn’t really an issue. For about four years I would stay over at his place, have marathon sex, then go home and bask in a few days of post coital bliss. Rinse and repeat.

However, now that I’m not seeing anyone, and by seeing I mean banging, things are a bit more stressful. And when things are stressful and there are no sexy time opportunities on the horizon, my hand and/or ‘piece de resistance’ and I become infinitely more acquainted.

There was a time when I would never admit that to anyone, stranger or best of friends. Masturbation was a dirty, dirty word and if people knew you were doing it they would make an “ew” face and act like they’d never once tried it themselves. Liars! Hypocrites! Baptists!

Anyway, so now that I’m on a penis sabbatical I’m all about the (whisper) masturbation, dirty dreams that won’t fucking quit, and sometimes the phone sex. This is fine. It doesn’t really bother me. Except for one thing...

Bitches are always interrupting my groove!

Take the intro to this post as the first example. If I had a nickel for every time in the past few months that someone (mainly the kid) has interrupted my dreaming at an inopportune time, I could pay a hit man to put me out of my misery.

My family doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “privacy”. If my door is shut, they bang on it and fire questions like missiles, or worse, just walk right in. If I’m in the shower, they pry the locked door open and sit down to chat. If I’m on the phone, there’s another onslaught of questions: “Who is that, what are you talking about, are you going to be on the phone all night, are you sleeping with him, what’s his name, is it a girl, are you a lesbian, how much motherfucking wood could a woodchuck chuck before you went ape shit and stabbed us to death? Huh, Al? Huh, huh?!”

It’s like they’re all conspiring against me, plotting to keep me and myself apart.

The other week I stayed home sick. Alone on the couch, I decided to pop in one of my favorite movies: Unfaithful. Diane Lane getting raunchy with Oliver Martinez never fails to make me hot.

When my favorite sex scene came on I was sitting cross legged on the couch, leaning forward and clutching my pillow, ready for it. I bit my lip and happily watched while he nailed her in the public bathroom stall, glad that I didn’t have to look like I wasn’t very interested. Had anyone else been home, I would have smoothed my face into one of relaxed disinterest.

I clutched the pillow harder, wiggling with excitement. Suddenly there was a loud TAPTAPTAPTAPTAP by my head. I whipped around to see my little cousin standing in the window right behind the couch. He gave me a big thumbs up and pointed to the door, signaling me to let him in.

And come in he did...and he stayed for two hours, yapping my ear off about stupid teenage girls. By that time my sister had made it home with the kid. Sigh. No getting off that afternoon. Interrupted.

The most recent incident was just last night.

After work I had a few errands to run on the opposite side of town so mom agreed to pick up the kid. I got home around 5, settled on the couch and started watching a movie.

Around 6:45 or so, I realized I hadn’t heard from anyone. I called my sister and it turns out all of them decided to go out to dinner and they were just sitting down to eat. I was ecstatic. Having the house to myself is a luxury.

I happened to be texting my friend when I found out about their delayed arrival. When he asked what I planned to do, I invited him to join me for the phone sex. The first time that late night whispering wasn’t necessary.

It took a bit of time and playful banter before we got down to the business at hand. Sometimes he can be a bit shy.

I’d guess maybe 10 minutes had gone by and things were at that point. You know, eyes rolling back in the head, legs jerking kind of point. By request I was in a...precarious position, when three sets of car lights flashed across my darkened bedroom window. FLASH FLASH FLASH.

“Oh gawd!”

He made a noise of agreement.

“Shit!” I tried to get off the bed, but somehow ended up tangled in a sheet and toppling to the floor. The phone went across the room and I jumped up, trying to pull on my pajama pants. Car doors slammed and I panicked, trying to stick both feet in the same pant leg and falling over again in the process. I managed to flick my light on and yank my pants into place right as the front door opened and my mom’s boyfriend walked in. (My bedroom door is right by the front door.) Interrupted.

He looked at me, the expression on his face clearly saying, “What the hell are you up to?”

My shirt and pants were twisted, my ponytail halfway falling down, and my eyes squinty due to going from semi-darkness to bright ass interrogation lights. I immediately looked down at my phone to avoid confrontation and went directly to the bathroom.

After dumping contact solution in my eyes and straightening myself, I walked back out. The rest of them were coming in the door when my phone rang. I answered, told him to hold on, and said hello to everyone. Then I went outside to explain.

Lighting a cigarette, I told him what happened, unable to keep from laughing. “Did you get off”, he asked.

“Yes”, I said, but I tried to explain that it hadn’t exactly been ideal because at the moment of euphoria, I was toppling off a 5 ft. high bed, terrified that my mom’s boyfriend would find me with my bare ass in the air. He laughed at my relayed antics, but I still detected a note of bitterness there because I finished and he didn’t. Poor thing.

“Maybe I can do it while you talk normally...about the weather or something”, he said.

I laughed. “Yeah. I could talk about big, fluffy, sexy, white clouds.”

He laughed too, thank goodness, and I promised to call him back later.

When I walked back in the house mom was standing at the kitchen counter in her short, hot pink nightgown with big black stars all over it, glaring. “What are you doing”, she asked.

I gave her my practiced look of relaxed disinterest. “Nothing”, I said innocently.

Her eyes narrowed further. “Humph”, she said as I walked away. Always suspicious, she’s the Masturbatory Gestapo. I can picture her in a suit made of bubble wrap, clutching a bottle of disinfectant and muttering, “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, I’ma catch a bitch with her pants on the ground...”

So...I’ve been looking for my own place for a few weeks now. I’m working hard so I can (hopefully) move out by the fall. Fingers crossed. Because this shit has got to stop.