day after christmas, 2009.

it's funny. nina misread it as being 'exmas'.

i wonder how long we can go on like this, really.

i mean, it's been like four or five days of talking talking talking. and neither of us is happy. and sometimes i just want to scream in his face: 'it's OVER.'

but we keep talking until we're just exhausted, completely tapped out. and then sleep. and then wake up like everything is fine and normal. nothing to see here.

last night, it was kinda late. i'm still sick, so i was ready for sleep. and i turned off the tv and the dvd player. turned off the lamp after i put my book on the nightstand.

and he said 'can i talk to you?'

and i said, 'no.'

he asked again, i said no more emphatically. followed by an 'i need to sleep now.' and an 'i am all talked out.' and probably an 'i don't feel good enough for talking.' for good measure.

i keep saying that we're talking more than we have in years. because it's so critical right now.

yesterday, before lunch, on christmas, he went into this whole talk about how he can't lose his house, and his dog, his whole life, and his wife. and i said 'id never take the house. i'd never take shiva.'

because i've put a lot of thought into it.

all of this after a lackluster christmas morning. when i got him the coolest present ever, and he got me something i had to return.

i feel like an ASSHOLE. i mean, i don't remember ever returning a christmas present. i'm sure i have. in fact, i'm sure i've gotten two of something before, and returned one.

but i've never returned something he gave me. and he's given me some silly stuff that i just didn't have the heart to tell him wasn't 'me'. but this was too expensive to hang on to.

and even read my mind, without knowing it, when he said 'i feel like you are thinking, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ME!'

because that was EXACTLY what i thought when i opened his gift.

it was so strange. it's not like it was a shitty gift. just a really expensive one that i didn't even want to open, but did out of politeness. he knew that it was a gamble, told me repeatedly that he was worried about what he got for me.

i recently started reading. mostly because one of my friends is published, and another is trying to become that way. so i've been reading stuff by people i know. and then that marriage book.

we were in staples last week, and i pointed to the sony reader thing, like an amazon kindle, but the sony version. i was telling him about it, what little i knew. and the next thing out of my mouth was, 'i don't know how i feel about it - i think it's going to dismantle the entire publishing industry.'

so why he thought i would want a kindle, or even why i would be willing to justify him spending $300 on it, is beyond me. and i hate that it's such a monopoly. like if you have one, you have to keep pouring all your money into amazon for books on it. it seemed really single-minded. single-functioning.

and for someone who doesn't read, and only just started again? ugh...

he knew right away. he knew that i wasn't into it. and i wrestled with the idea of keeping it, and getting into it. but almost instantly just knew that i didn't want it at all. i know how hard we work for the money we have, and it just seemed a waste. and a gift that required so much more of an investment.

call me old school. i love BOOKS. i love dogearing pages. i love writing notes in the margins. i love highlighting lines. i love underlining passages. i love my booklight. i love bookstores, and libraries, and i love how tactile the reading experience is.

so that's the story of the best worst christmas. i got him the coolest present i've ever gotten him, an ipod touch. it's so multifunctional. he had cracked the screen of his tiny nano, and had been dealing with that for almost a year now. so when i knew i wanted to get him a new one, the touch just made sense. he can check his email on it, use it as an ipod, play games on it, take it on the road. there's just so much more to it.

and i don't even know what all it does. but i knew it was cool. that he needed it. that he'd want it. and that he'd use the hell out of it.

and guess what? i sent the kindle back today. the day after christmas.

it felt good just to have it away from me. it's the perfect symbol of my fucked up life right now. it just doesn't suit me. it doesn't fit me. i don't like it. and i'm not going to keep it for the sake of not making waves. because that's not who i am anymore.

christmas eve, 2009.

on the eve of the best worst christmas ever.

we actually were able to buy each other presents this year, so in a way it feels like the best christmas ever. i bought a mini tree, the 3 foot fake variety, wrapped presents and put them all under the tree.

it's the worst christmas ever, because we keep walking to the edge of this cliff, discussing breaking up every two to three days, on average. and debating taking the plunge into an abyss darker than either of us has seen as of yet. every two to three days.

i've been sick with a slightly lighter version of the flu (due to my flu shot, i suppose), in bed for two days now. day three, upon waking, feels much better. a hot shower should fix me.

so, he got into bed yesterday to talk. i felt like shit. i didn't want to talk. but he smoked and thought it wise, i guess.

he keeps reiterating that if i can't say that i'm in love with him, that maybe he should just say 'fuck you.' and end it and move on. and i keep telling him that i just need some time so i don't make a decision that we both regret.

he keeps telling me that he shouldn't have to sit and wait for me to make up my mind, and decide if i want to stay or go. and i keep telling him i need to sleep on it. for a week or a month or a few months. because this feeling might only be temporary. (i do not believe that it is, for the record, but i just need time to clear my head...)

he started talking about finishing the basement again. and it made me cry again. i told him that i don't think he'll ever understand money in a realistic, responsible way. and that i'll never reach the fork in the road where my dream lies to the right. because every time i get a little closer to it, he creates another financial fork.

nina really had it right with that someecard:

'let's never speak of 2009 again.'

and, another bummer...

he was taking a mini-road trip, which he wanted me to go on, for new years. however, he was getting a separate ride, and wanted me to drive myself. i invited hum to go with me. who i haven't seen in almost ten years. so i was very excited at the opportunity to catch up with hum during a 4 hour drive due south. and a 6 hour drive due north afterwards, taking him to his new home.

then ever's ride fell through. so after i made my plans, and hum got out of work to go with me, without saying it aloud, ever's inviting himself to ride down and back with the two of us.

i'm completely pissed. after i was uninvited to go with him, i made alternate plans. how do i uninvite him, since he's not getting my hints? i don't want him tagging along, i need my time with hum, who i haven't seen in TEN YEARS to catch up, without editing, without censorship.

this is bullshit.

and. in other news...

if anyone cares to read backwards, i'd written a bunch of things over the past few months, which were not posted, but only saved as drafts. i posted them today, so there's more to read, all the way back to the beginning of blog time...


'if one was looking for something to do, where might one go?'


buzz. view message.

'where i last saw you.'

i was already halfway there. having a glass of wine to cure my boredom. paid, tipped. left, walking briskly.

i walked in. he was happy to see me, or so it seemed.

we talked for a while. over my second glass of wine.

i had something very specific in mind. 'what are you doing tonight?'

'hanging out with you?' smiles.

'wanna go on a tiny suburban adventure with me?'

'yep.' we left, locked arms.

i drove to my parents' house. he'd been there only once before, not inside. on a similar adventure years before. i wondered if he remembered.

we chatted on the way, but traveled mostly in silence betwen us, listening to a deliberate mix. i pulled into the driveway. left the car running with him in it.

i went inside, grabbing my laptop and heima. my ipod and a splitter with two sets of headphones. i wouldn't tell him that i'd planned for this. mom was baking, a tray of cookies was warm from the oven. i grabbed three in a napkin and went back to the car, handing him two.

'my mom's been baking.'

he savored, slowly, each bite.

put the car in reverse, pulling up to the stop sign. 'alright. i grabbed a movie and a way to watch it. where should we go?'

he thought for a few seconds.

i offered, 'how about a field somewhere?' it was a mild night, the kind perfect for laying out in it, in the dark, lit only by the moon and the stars.

'that's good.'

so i drove back toward the city, to a lake with which i'm quite familiar.

parked under that same tree. pulled the blanket from the trunk. spread it out and set up camp.

i turned it on, and started the movie.


i'd been waiting for this for a very long time.

we watched in silence, my head on his chest, the laptop warm on his belly.

i cried at times, couldn't help it. it has that effect on me.

the movie ended over an hour later, but we weren't ready to leave yet.

'it's a good thing i grabbed music then.'

handed him headphones, but had the volume down so we could still talk.

'tell me something. anything...' i said, my head was still on his chest, he squirmed slightly, and started telling me a story.

my mind wasn't following entirely, i could never concentrate when i was thinking about him, and the same was true now, listening to him.

we fell asleep to the music. he stirred and woke me. i sighed, 'oops. i fell asleep. should i take you home?'

'sure, will you come inside?'

'sure.' i tried to hide my smile. it was dark, but i think he still saw.

his place was not as i'd imagined it. familiar art adorned two walls. a simple space, a house. the wood floors i'd imagined, knowing he lived in the historic district. the last place i'd known was sparsely filled. mostly with a stereo and music. he still had that, only a tv now, and movies. we sat on the couch, nervously.

continued other conversations we'd started earlier. he poured two glasses of wine. we talked until my need for a cigarette kept me from sitting longer. took the wine onto his porch, staring into dewy grass.

'this isn't how i thought it would be.' i launched into the story of my recent life, he listened contently, hugging me as things got hard to talk about.

'it's unsettling, you know?'

he knew. not from experience at all. but from the way i explained myself to him.

'your turn,' i said, tired of hearing myself talk about my life.

two cigarettes later, we'd reached th ebottom of our glasses.

'i'm getting sleepy,' he said, tired. 'would you like to come take a nap with me?'

i obliged. it was how we were. curling up in all of our clothes, perfect spoons, sometimes he was big and i was little, sometimes i was big and he was little. i watched him sleep for a while, then followed suit. amidst nightdreams of being with him, waking up to re-realize i was really with him. excited for a moment, then falling asleep. repeatedly until the sun was about to come up.

he woke up, nuzzled into my neck, head on my chest. i liked his breath there, but knew i needed to be home. i didn't want to see the sun come up. i didn't want the night to end.

' i should go.' i slowly got up, put on my shoes, watching him watching me. 'thanks for having me.'

'this was nice. will i see you again before you leave?'

i tried to wait to respond, changing my answer from an emphatic yes, to 'well, that all depends. gimme a call if you want to hang out again.'

he nodded, walked me to the door, watched me pull away.

the sky was turning from navy to turquoise. the sunrise was near. i raced it home, beating it just in time to get into pjs, and smiled. i fell asleep. the best sleep i'd had in years.


(this is the 'leaving' i was referring to in 'after leaving')

it took everything i had in me. i mustered up my strength, and sighed it on an exhale, 'i want my own place. i'm moving out.'

he stood dumbfounded. 'what? is that supposed to be funny?' he glared at me, with fear and disdain in his eyes.

i started to cry, and he immediately knew that it wasn't joke. in fact, it wasn't funny at all.

i'd thought about it alot since december. we'd talked about it a lot since december. but never felt that he really ingested it. i knew that this was my fate, delayed for the sake of rationalizing away gut feelings, and growing anxiety. i knew what i wanted now. and i was going to stop at nothing, making impossible decisions along the way, to take the reigns and get it.

we'd promised to try to work it out. we'd made an honest go of it, we talked more than we had in the last nine years we'd known each other, after the honeymoon phase of dating had worn us thin, before we were even married.

i repeated myself, tired. i'd told him almost everything. that i wasn't happy. that this wasn't a marriage. that it was a business partnership, that i needed more. that i wasn't feeling loved. that i was only feeling wanted in the most animalistic sense. they way that your body becomes comprised of parts, with only the purpose of satisfying a primal need.

i needed to be loved. i needed to be kissed and courted, as he had when we first started dating, before he charmed his way into my pants. and it had been years since i'd been satisfied, in bed. we'd worked on that, too. but you can't start a fire without a flame, and the passion had long since been dead.

we'd tried. both of us, mostly equally.

but we'd failed.

the life that we'd known together would never be the same now. it seemed so sad, the difference that eight words could make. he was crushed. absolutely.

i never thought i'd be one to say 'my first marriage failed.' nothing could have prepared me for the road that led to this point in time, late at night, exhausted from nit-picking. the thermostat. the dishes. the laundry. the dog. the condition of the office. spending money we didn't have on unnecessary things that go up in smoke. the way he didn't take care of something we spent more money on that we could even afford. there were financial problems. he'd been sleeping on the couch for months.

we were passing ships. in a violent storm, becoming lost at sea.

i'd tried to work on it on my own. i read voraciously, hoping that there would be a line in a book that said that everything would be okay. that this was just a passing phase. that it was possible to rekindle, and fall back in love again.

but there wasn't a book that told me that. instead, reading perpetuated my fears. books warned that our style of partnership was doomed without valiant effort. and our efforts were great, but didn't make the grade.

we'd fallen victim to our differences. i never really believed that opposites attract. and when we first started our path together, i'd felt that we had so much in common. but over the years, i stayed the same, and he changed slowly. then i changed slowly, he changed me to be more like him. until one day i woke up, and realized that i was still the same person, just buried below layers and layers of hardening. a little death of the person that used to be me.

and once it dawned on me, i was never the same. yes, i'd tried. but i'd also not been able to fully concentrate on our problems. because in the back of my mind, i knew that it wasn't going to work. there wasn't enough of a bright ember core to rekindle and relight the fire. the coals had burned out long ago.

everything would set me off. anything would set me off. and when he finally caught a break in his work, i was genuinely happy for him. i was happy for me. because it would serve to soften the blow. if he at least had that going for him, it wouldn't make losing me so bad.

plus, in all fairness, i was relatively certain he was sick of my bullshit. my shenanigans. my attitude. my eyes when they were staring back blankly at him, when his were full of hurt and love for me. he called me a bitch often enough to make me aware of it. and rightfully so. i'd become mean, hardened, bitter towards him. and he hadn't really done anything that was bad, or wrong. nothing deserving of what i was dishing out to him.

when he drank, i used to call him an asshole. all the time. to the point that, when he was in a room full of people, he said he'd turn to anyone who said the word asshole, thinking that they were addressing him.

he'd changed. for a time. and i liked to fix broken things. and he was very, very broken. had been for his whole life. and i came along, and i brightened his life, i minimized his problems. i understood completely why he was so content to be with me. i was good for him. i picked him up and dusted him off. when he would backslide, i would encourage him. i helped to heal him.

but he hurt me. he made my life dimmer, and it wasn't entirely his fault. depression is a bitch. he gave me problems, whether it was worrying about him drinking or resorting to drugs, making it home alive, making it to me without crashing or getting pulled over, worrying about him being faithful when his mind was cloudy.

when we first started, we were tumultuous. and it worked for me, because i'm volatile. and i enjoy a good argument, and an even more powerful makeup. but after years of discension, i was tired of making up. i didn't want to fight anymore. i didn't want to fight it anymore.

i just wanted to live. live my life, and be HAPPY. and it was something i could no longer do with him. he couldn't be included anymore. he became so desperate to be around me, that he followed me everywhere. and all i wanted was space. from him.

and then, i decided. everything will be ok. i'm leaving.

i had begun mentally divvying things up, which had been the biggest obstacle so far. he got the dog. i loved her immensely, but thought he'd die without her. i was more of a cat person anyways. they're more independent, like me, and can be left alone to ward off mice and take care of themselves when i travel. which i intended to do, in an effort to make up for lost time. he couldn't travel. panic attacks kept him from flying, and i wanted to go places that we couldn't drive to. i wanted to go overseas. out of the states. see the world.

i would get the car, because i could make the payment, and needed it for work. he rarely left the house. that was easy. but the house. this had posed a problem. we needed to get it out of my name and into his. i needed to pay my parents back, they'd spent so much time and money on our house, only to have us split up just after the one year mark. we were so rightside up in it, that selling it to him wasn't really an option. that would come with time. as long as he made the mortgage payments, i just wanted a tiny apartment. until i decided to buy a house on my own, someday. i really hate renting. it is such a waste of money. but for now, it was a necessary step.

i'd get a new computer. he could keep the old one, he used it for work, he needed it. i'd claim the wii, a present from my parents. it's all so insignificant, things to quibble over.

i'd leave the bed, even though he rarely slept in it. beds in apartments don't always fit up staircases. so an ikea special foldaway was right up my alley.

i'd leave him almost all of the furniture. only a couple things meant something to me, everything else just belonged in that house. everything except for me.

those were the big things. i hated the amount of money we spent on fancy appliances, because now they'd be his, and he rarely used them. i want a contract. in the case that he ever sold the house. i'd get half. or more. but at least half. he'd been the one to put all the elbow grease into it. but i'd financed it and paid for it all. i don't know how that piece will work out.

i mean, what else is there? custody of the pup. the house. the car. i can fit what is mine specifically into the car. i don't have a lot. it's mostly things for him.

all my books. all my old journals. keepsakes, pictures, memories, cds. that's all obvious.

writing it all out, our life is really just his life. we don't have anything other than things for his work. how unfortunate for me, upon my leaving. but this was to be a new beginning. better to have to buy new things and start fresh than to bring things with negative associations attached to them. this was key to my new life. owning things for LIVING. not for working. buying things for a home, not a home office.

what a mess.

financially, i should have an idea of what i'm giving up to leave, i guess. it hardly seems fair to have paid for more than half of everything, and to have nothing to show for it. but like i said, i guess that payoff would come with selling the house. i couldn't ever really picture that happening. unless it became too hard for him to be in it if i wasn't.

it was just a matter of him having a roommate or two, i think. there are 4 rooms in the house, plus a basement. it could definitely be arranged, especially if i wasn't in the house anymore. people practically live at our house anyways.

so that is it. it was settled. the divvying commensed. i'd already found my new apartment. a tiny little thing. with a nice stove, which was important to me. and a small space for the dining room table. room for my bookshelf. room for a new bed. room for the old table and new tv. room for a futon. not much else. closet space for my clothes. which there was too much of.

it was perfect. it was exactly what i needed. i was leaving. yet, somehow i was arriving.

after 'leaving'

3 am.

came downstairs from writing 'leaving'.

had no idea what was in store.

a huge discussion. i'd had four beers and a piece of a glass of champagne in the five hours that came before. two parties, attended alone.

he started it. i don't know where it came from. i guess it had been in his mind, but not in the front, until i climbed into bed. he'd called me downstairs from writing to get into bed, which i was too awake for, and not ready for. i was writing fluently, and was sad to stop. but i answered his call.

we talked. he still is convinced that i just dreamed up all these problems while i was home. that because i read a book, i was now believing that we had problems that i didn't think we'd had before i read it. like the book created problems in my mind. in the same vein that i diagnose myslef with various mental disorders when i read about them and identify.

i took plenty of time to remind him of the conversations we'd been having since at least easter. also in the years preceding, but especially over the summer, and constantly in these last few months.

he cannot come to terms with the fact that he isn't happy. he swears that he is. yet he can also acknowledge that he is lonely, underappreciated, and other things that point out ways he feels neglected. i kept trying to drill it into his brain that he isn't happy, based solely on things he says and admits. he won't have it.

that he needs to get out to realize it. that i want him to go away for more than just four days. because i want him to have the clarity i have. to come back with a fresh mind and a rejuvenated spirit. to know what will make him happier. that will motivate him to change the things in his life that are keeping him from happiness now. that i think he needs to get it all out of his system, all the things he does vicariously through his 'employees'. traveling in the same clothes, without bating out of necessity, not by choice. that his actions show me that he wants to do it, despite him denying it, much less realizing it for himself.

he repeatedly blamed my unhappiness on hormones. and depression. and on seasons. and on the book.

it was my idea to get help. to see a shrink and work my head out and figure out what to do about my life. with my life. that i write things down to process and delay saying them in the moment, when i edit them later. and i told him that i'm not going to go to a dr and take some pills and be magically happy. that i've been figuring out what it takes to make me happy on my own in the meantime. and that, because he doesn't join me when i do things that make me happy, that it means that i'm happier when i'm not with him. because i'm tired of not having fun. and tired of living a hermited life that he insists on living himself.

he didn't want to leave. he didn't want to be social. and that is fine, but that's what i had forgotten that i was. and i'd forgotten the happiness it brings me, to be in a social setting. over drinks.

i told him that i have huge problems with him drinking, even if it's only once a year. because he's an alcoholic, and i don't want to be part of his life if he's gonig to walk that path again. because i already walked that path with him, and it led to our one and only breakup while dating. i gave him an ultimatum then: me or drinking. and he chose me and quit cold turkey. he might be okay having a few beers every once in a while. he might be able to stop there. but it's a fire that i don't want to toy with, and i don't want him to want to do it. and i don't want to see him fail at it. because it's an addiction issue, which his entire life has been plagued with.

i told him that he can't think he's unhappy because of the drugs that he uses to protect himself from those feelings. that it started with his antidepressant. which he NEEDS. but he has chill pills (adavan?) and he takes them every single day. and i think he should only rely on them when he's anxious. and now, with the weed. i told him that he's constantly numbing himself to things that are painful, stressful, and bad for him. and that he can't see through the cloud he puts himself in the midst of. that he thinks of them as crutches. but it's more like being committed to getting around by way of wheelchair.

i told him that i'm aware that i've been using drugs to escape, too. and that i'm not proud of it. that since i started to realize that i was changing that i drink more than i used to, smoke cigarettes like a fiend. or really more than i had in years since we got married. i drank a couple times a week when we were dating, quit because he had to quit completely. and that i don't want to smoke weed every night. but choose to, and that i'm not proud of it, and need to stop. because it's blocking me from making decisions that rely on motivation. that it sucks that right out of me. that it feels fun, but leads to problems, on the most basic level, to financial problems.

i told him that i changed physically while i was away, that i couldn't eat because of the physical stressi was under as i was realizing all the things i couldn't see when i was here. he continues to believe, and said, that i just went home to goof off and to get my family to spend a lot of money on me, to run away from my problems with him, and to let my family buy me clothes and material things. i explained that those things were just side effects, because my mother knew that i'd never do it for myself. and that i NEEDED it to feel better about myself, my life, the position i hold in my job, the way i see myself when i'm staring myself down in a mirror.

it had to happen. i'd felt like white trash for so long before it, and it was something that $600 fixed. and what a small price to pay, to change the way you feel about yourself, lacking confidence that causes daily depression. i make super decent money. and cannot afford myself simple things, like new clothes that help with professionalism.

and i just needed to be nudged and helped along, to be able to do those things for myself, starting while i was there, and that i will continue to do in the future, because now i know now, for certain, that it is worth it.

he actually said some pretty alarming things. that, if i think i'd be happier without him, that i should just end it now. that if i want a separation or a divorce, that i just need to decide that, and do it. and i told him that i don't want that now, not so soon. that i need time to process (which i repeated repeatedly) and to adjust to what i'm figuring out about myself.

and then he said that it might not be up to me to end it. he said 'sometimes people don't have the control over calling it quits.' i was confused by that, and he clarified by saying that it might not be my decision. which really freaked me out. because it told me that he would end it if he thought i was going to; to beat me to the punch. he could preemptively end our marriage, if he thought that it was what i wanted.

problem being, he is a very heady guy. he thinks he knows what is going on in my mind. always. but he's only right a small part of the time. and the other part of the time, he's just deferring his issues onto me.

he said that he knew what he was getting into before he asked me to marry him. and that i am whining about it being hard to be married, and that it's too much work, that i don't feel like doing it. but we've been working on it for so long, this isn't new.

he said that he knew who he was before he married me. i told him that i'm just now figuring myself out, and that i'm not who i thought i was.

i told him that i didn't know what i was getting into. that i didn't really understand what marriage entailed.

he said that he knows the milestones of relationships. living with women before i came along taught him what happens at the one year mark, two year mark, and so on, to the five year mark. he did it twice, five year live-in relationships.

i reminded him that, not only did i not have that experience before marrying him, but that i was never in a relationship for more than two years until him, and that he's the five year professional. to cut me some slack while i learn all the things that i didn't know until i was committed. that we didn't see each other more than just on weekends until we got married and ran away to start our life together. and that it was SHOCKING.

i just had to keep telling him that i'm trying. and i'm tired of trying, but that i'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. and that, yes, it's tempting to take the easy way out, and just quit. but that i'm not there yet.

he said that he knew it would be hard. and work. and that he signed up for it. he didn't remember telling me that he thought it was a mistake to marry me, both a week before he asked me, and the very next day after. nor that he thought i was just getting married for the sake of getting married (i didn't remind him of this statement last night, i'm just remembering it now), which he also said the day after.

he blamed my desire to live my dream on hormones and seasons also. said that i bring it up a couple times a year, and that when i don't mention it between those times, that he thinks it's not important to me.

i explained that i just need to be on the path to that. and cried, saying 'i can't do that to myself. i can't think about that all the time, because it's a TEASE. it's a tease to tell yourself that you can have something you know you can't have.' i can't trick myself or have blind faith that i will get it. so i told him what it would take to get there:

to pay off our credit card debt, $15k. and to buy myself a years' worth of time to not depend on the income from my cafe, that i'd have to save up a years' worth of my salary. so that if it flopped, bottomed out, went under, that we wouldn't lose the house, just the business. i know these things from experience. it is what i know.

he said, 'what if i just went to work, making what you make now? so that you could do it. would you do it?'

and i said that it wouldn't work that way, because we'd be in the same cash-strapped boat that we're in now. just with a role reversal.

that we'd have to pay off our debts, and save up an additional $45k to make me feel like i could even try to do it. and that he'd have to be making what i make now to make that possible, with $60k socked away. that we have no retirement set aside, no savings, no 401ks. and that we're not getting any younger, and that we've set ourselves up to fail because it's not early enough to be starting it. that we should already have done it years ago.

i know that he's trying. but he doesn't think about money logically, the way that i do. the way that i know we have to, just to make the mortgage and keep the heat and water and electricity on. and that every time he throws one of his dreams at me, it is a huge mental setback to me, because it just adds to the money that we don't have, and can't obtain. and tacks on tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the amount that it will take to live my dream.

that when he talks about finishing the basement by the end of 2010 (a $40k project, conservatively), and about buying another building to grow into and rent out ($100k for the half he thinks he can swing), that it devastates my dream.

he tried to downplay those daydreams, but it's about where his mind is. it's not on me. it's not on making my dream come true. it's about perpetuating the hobby that he calls his work. and he has no concept of income, and what it takes to survive. because i haven't made him pay bills. he doesn't get it. and probably won't until he is on his own, and doing it.

luckily, we are on the edge of a cliff right now. we got a call that really could change our financial situation exponentially. and i know that the opportunity is there, for him to be paid just now for what he's been working toward for the last seven years. it's almost payoff time. if his 'employees' don't fuck it up.

which i do fear. i am afraid that it's not going to happen on their end, and that it's going to blow a chance to change our future, financially.

he told me that he tries every single day to make me happy, by telling me that i'm beautiful and kissing me and hugging me and thanking me. and that i don't try to make him happy. i told him that every time i ask him to come to bed, and he declines, that i'm trying to make him happy. that cooking for him every day, cleaning up the house here. that these are my efforts.

that just waking up and going to work everyday is my sacrifice to make him happy by enabling him to live his dream out, in real life. which he didn't think of before that. and will probably promptly forget.

i told him that i am honestly trying. and that i need some space. and i had begged him repeatedly to not try to have this conversation last night, because i was too tired and angry and upset. and that my biggest fear in the place we are in, in our marriage, is to say something irretractable, out of tire and anger.

that he should know this, because he needs to 'sleep on it' practically every day. to take the time to think about the problem, whatever it is, digest it, and then decide what to do. that reminded him of times when he would have temper tantrums in the past, and i'd lock myself in a room away from him to give him time to cool down and get over it, so that we could talk about it later. he really used to freak out on me when i'd use that tactic. because he saw it as my way of running away from my problems.

he thinks that i think that my life will magically be wonderful, better, happier, without him. that if i left him, that i thought all my problems would disappear. that everything in my mind is his fault.

i told him that i am not so simple to really think that leaving him would equate to my happiness, when he suggested that this thought was in my head. i am not that stupid. i am honestly scared to death that when i'm alone, i'll 1. realize that i made a huge mistake in leaving him, 2. that i'll not be comfortable alone, because, at 32, i've never really been alone in my life, and that 3. i know i can't run from my problems, that if they lie within (which i am aware that some of them do), that they'll be with me no matter where i go, or who i'm with, if anyone. if anyone other than him.

i don't know. the whole conversation lasted over two hours, with two cigarette breaks. and two nose blowing breaks, from crying.

the last thing before we went to sleep for the night. i told him that, in the back of my mind, there was this little thing that had always nagged at me, tugged at me when i felt less than confident in our marriage. that when we were dating, he used to accuse me of cheating on him and on getting 'booty calls' (never had one of those in my entire LIFE - i'm nearly asexual). and that, in my experience, limited as it was, that accusations usually signified that the accuser was the guilty party.

that i got an std (don't know the name, guess it's the best kind, because you take one pill and it's gone forever) about six or eight months into our relationship, out of the blue. and that it had always made me wonder how i'd gotten it. i didn't tell him that my dr had told me it was entirely possible to get it from a toilet seat. i told him that it's a std. that you get it from having sex with someone who has it. and that, for the last nine or so years since, it had planted a seed of doubt in my mind. that, during the two weeks we broken up while dating, that i'd been fairly convinced that he'd been with someone else, one of his fuck buddies, to get even with me, and to get what he wanted. instant gratification, no strings attached. and that i'd never even know.

he looked me dead in the eye and said that he had never been with anyone else, the entire time i'd been dating him. that he hadn't seen anyone else since we met and started dating. that i should've mentioned it before now, because it's something that eats away at me, and fucks with me. and i told him that how ridiculous he made it sound that i could think such a thing, was precisely the reason i could never bring it up. but that i wanted to put it to rest once and for all. that i'd never even kissed anyone else since i started kissing him, that it had been six months before him that i was with someone else, and that person was a long term boyfriend, not some random guy.

the whole conversation now is so surreal. how do you move past that? he went about his day today (after a four hour nap lasting from 6 am to 10 am) as if nothing was wrong. that everything was fine again. i feel sick. can't eat. it's after dark, i've had nothing other than coffee. i'm just now needing to eat to stay upright.

he said that i'm giving him mixed signals. like push away, pull back. and i denied that, because i don't think i have. i told him that i'm not a fake person, i'm not a liar. that i don't care about keeping up appearances for the sake of the people we interact with on a daily basis, mostly his 'employees'. that i can't just pretend that nothing is wrong, amiss. and that i am trying to be true to myself and take care of myself so that i can get through this, and eventually past this.

but he made a very good, very valid point. at my birthday dinner, with kit, and mostly his employees, he had tried to sit across and down from me, at the table. and that i asked him to come and sit next to me.

at the time, i think now that it might have been for the sake of appearances. so maybe i am guilty of that. but it wasn't intentional. i thought at the time that he was leaving space for kit, who had yet to arrive. and i was trying to put myself between them, so i could sit next to both of them.

but it is what it is. it was the appearance of us being together. companions. after the last discussion we'd had where he threw around the words divorce, single life, and mentioned selling the house now, to get it over with.

when he said the piece about divorce and separation last night, he said that he wanted to get out before we hated each other, if that was where we're heading. i told him i could never hate him. that i truly love him very very much. and i meant it.

but i also know that loving someone isn't the solution to all your problems. in fact, thinking on it now, i realize that it just serves as a complication to potential solutions. because my heart will always get in the way. i will always delay something painful until i simply can't take it any more. just to avoid hurting myself or someone else.

lately, i've become more self-centered. until now, i have always sacrificed my happiness for what other people want or need. i'm the healer. i take pain on myself so that the people around me have less of it. and the thing is, i just can't wear myself so thin like that. because it's taking a physical toll on me, and it will kill me. or hospitalize me. so i won't do it anymore.

i'm glad to be going through this. catalyzed metamorphosis. i'm so glad that i'm on this path. and little things keep happening to me, showing me that i'm going in the right direction. that i'm doing what i'm supposed to be doing. and that things are going to change for me, whether they happen to me, or whether i make them happen. or whether it is a joint decision to just cut our losses. and fucking RUN.

i don't know what my future holds, but every day, i'm less afraid of it. and that is a healthy place to be.

future tense

i was driving. very fast. due west. i couldn't remember exactly the events that had lined themselves up to lead me to this point. it was all a rushy blur. my heart was pounding as i thought back in time. but i couldn't get past that morning in my mind.

but i was driving and i was HAPPY. i was beaming, smiling, ear to ear. teeth showing and all. my face hurt from smiling so hard. my cheeks ached. a headache was forming.

when we left, it was warm. far too warm to be january in florida. somewhere midway through louisiana, it started to cool, and now i had the windows down and the heater set to high, blowing up from the floorboard. a favorite sensation.

it had been a rough road. literally. i had tried to fit everything that meant anything to me in my car. i had made a clean break. my life had changed so many times over that i was a completely different person. barely recognizable as my self. even my reflection was different.

i woke up one day. and i wasn't the same. and never would be again. i suddenly knew what i wanted, and would stop at nothing to get it. being confined for so long, i had broken free, flown the coop. i was making a new life, for myself. for ME. for the first time in my life.

it began in a tiny apartment. very, very simply. a bed with a bright red comforter. a small round white kitchen table with two chairs. a furry white rug. a white laquered table, long and skinny, topped with a tv and a stereo. and one painting on the wall - i'd painted it within weeks of waking up.

everything was white. everything was clean. everything was quiet.

i went on in my day to day life, feeling empty and awake. like i had been deprived of my senses for years. nothing looked the same. the leaves on the trees were a shimmering green. nothing smelled the same. coffee made me want to be in my bed, dreaming again. nothing felt the same. the cool metal and warm plastic of my bicycle beneath me made me want to rush to wherever i was going, especially when i was riding home. nothing sounded the same. lyrics that had passed me by had a whole new meaning, applicable somehow in my life before, but now as they were intended to be applied. nothing tasted the same, pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies made me long for my mother's kitchen.

everything had awakened in me. at first, there was an immense sadness. i was so sad that my life had become something that was so unhappy, so dulling. like a headache that sneaks up on you, slowly irritating and ruining your day until it is substantial enough to elicit a response.

then a dramatic fear. one that kept me from eating for days on end. and i am a girl who loves to eat. there is no shame in filling a third plate at the indian buffet.

a vacation from my life, a new beginning based on epiphanies i could only have realized in the precise situation i was immersed in. if any one aspect of my time away had been different, the end result would likely not have been the same. it was a perfect storm. it was devastating.

but a few things happened then, and once realized, there was no turning back. no going back. no coming back from that. i boarded a plane filled with such dread. i didn't want to leave, which was nothing new. but it was never from the dread of returning back to my life.

when the plane pulled away from the gate, taxiing to the strip to take off, i wanted to scream LET ME OUT OF HERE, i can't go!!!' instead, i quieted my screaming mind, and cried silently, hiding my face beneath the brim of a hat. and i couldn't stop. i finally calmed myself down, mostly out of embarrassment, and read more of a book that told me all the problems i was dealing with, and what would most likely come of it.

i fought it. i fought it long and hard, tooth and nail. holding strings that no longer held balloons. trying to fight the inevitable. out of sheer stubbornness, and a desire not to fail in life. wanting to keep my parents proud, not disappoint them.

but time passed. and all the work was in vain. and we called it quits.

it was a slow untangling that followed. amicable, yet stressed. strained. tense. separating ten years of time spent together, piece by sad little piece. into boxes. and up. and out. and away.

everything else in my life stayed the same. i did the same things, i went to the same places, i kept the same job. believing that, one day, if i stayed how i was then, life would be its new version of normal, and that i wouldn't feel so horrible and awful anymore. that i would be forgiven.

and one day it was. the apartment was set up, i came home from work, i got into my pjs and climbed under my warmest blanket in the middle of the day, pulled taut to my chin, in clenched fists. i had a good cry, and then a cup of hot chocolate with extra mini marshmallows. and it was over. i was free from the burden, from the decision that had bound me. finally.

and i decided that i'd waited long enough. and that i had wasted enough of my life waiting. and i put a calendar on the wall, and circled a date. it was six months away. it was very near my birthday. it was the day that i would leave. for a trip home. that would last exactly one month. until new years' day. and that i'd have exactly that much time to decide if, what i felt in my heart was worth the sacrifices it would take to make it happen, it was worth it.

i'd planned it out meticulously. which is quite unlike me. i like to fly by the seat of my pants. but this trip needed to be thought about, really thought out, and i needed details to commit myself to the decision to take the trip, under its circumstances and conditions.

six months moved along. with one week left, i let him know that i'd be coming home.

i'd rented a storage space. anything i had of value, i stored away. and i left my tiny apartment that had seen so many firsts in my life. my darkest days, initially. and finally finding happiness in the end, again.

i put the things i couldn't live without in my car. and hit play on three days' worth of music i'd compiled into one long playlist, and started driving south.

sixteen hours later, i was home. everything was as it had always been, but everyone looked at me through different eyes. eyes that made me feel like a quitter. like i'd let them all down, only none of them voiced the sentiment. they just looked at me with those eyes.

and one night, my phone rang. and by the end of the night, things were again how they'd always been.

and now here we were. smoking endlessly chained cigarettes. together. driving to the grand canyon, to throw our old lives in, and leave with a new one. it was new years' day.

i had so many questions. i'd been thinking them up over many years, since the last time we'd played 20 questions together. when he was my seatbelt keeping me safe in the passenger side of his car, on our way to dark spaces to stare at the sky.

where we were headed at this hour, well, it was to be the best place we'd ever seen the sky. and i'd been before, as had he. but it was different being there together. it seemed so unfair that we'd have to wait through two more days of driving to get there. we were stuck in the eternal loop of driving through texas. which felt like it would never end. the sky was dark, the sun rose, the sun set again, still in miserable texas. i hate texas. its sole purpose is to keep you from getting where you're going.

but on just the other side sat new mexico. and i'd loved new mexico, in passing, the last time i'd driven west. the long trains slipping through the desolate desert in the night. lights moving along with the pace of the car, seemingly toward the same destination at the same speed, yet somehow, not. the scale of the space was so unbelievable to me - i realized that the trains always seemed to be so close, relative to the mountains, but that if i thought about it, the distance between them would have been miles on each side.

shadows of clouds moved along the ground, on top of the rocky landscape. the flats of texas slowly gave rise to the hills and small mountains that slowly gave rise to the shape of the mountains. crazy pillared mountains that look as though they are made of magic sand and run on together forever. the magic sand that lets you build stalagmites in water, and when pulled from the water become dry sand in your hand again. and the pillar mountains gave way to the canyon landscape so slowly that it wasn't realized.

then we were in arizona. the stars were moving about the sky, new constellations revealing themselves in the stark darkness. and then, many hours later, we were there.

staggering trees lined the two lane highway into the national park. as had been the case the first time, some elk had wandered into the road after dark, when twilight was darkening and stars were beginning to appear much brighter in the windshield. the car was in park. we were so antsy and excited at being nearly there. we were bouncing expectantly in our respective seats, bodies shaking with anticipation. and the gut wrenching realization that one mile on either side of the car lay the vastness of the grand canyons struck me so hard that i trembled.

carved out over millions of years, telling a story so beautiful. so awesome. in the most literal sense of the word.

we'd decided somewhere in texas to camp out under the sky. it was a cold desert night. much too cold to actually go through with the camping plan. no degree of closeness could warm enough in this weather. without seeing the beauty surrounding us, we sulked and decided on a hotel.

then i remembered.

the morning when everything changed... the morning after the night he called. still awake, still together talking. hours had passed. and for the first time in my life, i was anything but regretting what had been spoken aloud in the moment, from my heart to my mouth.

there had been a very sweet kiss. so slight. only hinting at something simmering beneath - i had held back. and i was okay with initiating it, because i'd waited long enough already. he kissed me back, briefly. and then we just laid there, staring into each others' faces in that moment. and i said it.

'come with me. right now. i have to leave now, i want to take you with me. but it has to be RIGHT NOW. will you come with me?'

he wanted to know where i was going, and how long i'd be gone. i told him i was going to the grand canyon by car. and that i didn't know when i'd be back, or if that was even the final destination. he had so many questions, i just wanted him to come unconditionally, but he had a life before i rolled into town and into his life again, so i was trying to wait for his answer patiently.

he said, 'we'll get some sleep. and pack and leave first thing in the morning.'

'really?' i said with so much shock and wonder that my voice wobbled and my eyes teared up. i had been waiting my entire life for this one solitary moment to define it, and i was here. i was in it.

i couldn't sleep, but let him. i decided that he could drive the first leg while i rested in the car, and i watched him sleep. i just wanted to be there immediately, and knew that i had three days' driving ahead of me. i was incredibly antsy and excited. and awake.

and here we were. three days later. so close to the campsite, waiting on nature to run its course. waiting for the elk to realize that we were, in fact, waiting for them to move.

and after about 20 minutes of the car in park and the engine turned off, they moved. just as they had fifteen years earlier. i started the car, pulled slowly away, deeper into the canyons that teased us from the other side of the trees.

we pulled into the hotel parking lot, got a room, and tried to sleep. because it was night, we had yet to see anything. we made a pact to wake up before the sun, and make our way to the rim with coffee, to see the sunrise over the most beautiful place in the contiguous states.

and we did. cracked out from three days pent up in a car, and sleep deprived after a fitful attempt at rest, excited for what the morning would bring. we made our coffees and shared a wool blanket, shuffling along together, slowly, huddled, sipping carefully, so as not to spill. tightly bound together by the plaid blanket, arms laced at each others' hips.

we were not the only people there before sunrise, with the same dream. we walked the paths until we found a spot no one else had found. we were there, finally. squinting our eyes in the darkness, adjusting to the silent darkness. there was no guardrail, there was just the end of the earth. and the abyss.

we stepped carefully, closer to the edge. within three feet of the edge, stomachs dropping from under us at the thought of falling in. and inched backwards.

and stood waiting. like solemn children, waiting.

the sky turned from navy to true blue, from cerulean to turquoise so quickly. the sun peeked up from a place so far away that the space between us and the sun looked like an oil painting. like a backdrop for a film, painted to scale on a set. my eyes were streaming tears. it was the most beautiful thing i had ever seen. and he just held onto me from my side, not wanting to affect my experience, but wanting to share it with me. squeezing. comfort. appreciating it deeply, personally.

i threw the things from my life into the canyon: disappointment, fear, regret, sadness. we slowly backed away from the edge once the sun was free from the horizon, and in the sky.

i didn't know what he was thinking at that moment. i was mostly sure that he was happy he'd dropped everything to come on my crazy adventure with me. i was entirely sure that he was glad he was there.

we stayed for three days in the canyons. we continued west, to san francisco - my favorite city - and up the coast, staying with an old friend in oregon, before making it to washington state, to seattle.

then the long, sad trip back to our lives as they were, before i'd interrupted them with my impromptu road trip. carving our way diagonally. down, down, through idaho. wyoming. down through tornado alley during its off season. eventually down through arkansas, alabama, the panhandle.

a few hours later, i pulled into the driveway where i'd picked him up eleven short days before. we'd gone so far, in so little time, all things considered. he grabbed his knapsack from the back seat, slung it haphazardly over his shoulder, and his compass from the dash. he said goodbye in an understated, tired way, and looked back to wave from his front door. he unlatched his door, stepped in slowly, and closed the door behind him.

i backed out of his driveway slowly, sadly.

driving home, i kept forgetting that he wasn't in the passenger seat next to me. i'd start to say something, after my thoughts carried me away. open my mouth and sigh inward, then out instead of starting a sentence that would never be said aloud. i stared at the empty car seat next to me. i preferred him sitting in it. i preferred him.

i drove home, to my mother's kitchen, for a hot meal, and to sleep and recover.

dreams. december 11th.

what is there to say?

i have broken his heart because he knows that i've at least entertained the idea of calling it quits.

there are some things to think about...

we are both lonely. we aren't feeling loved. or appreciated. we are both critics, defensive. flooded emotionally when we fight. not even fight. discuss. argue. whatever.

he took something i said as him holding me back.

because i said that i have a dream, too. and that i thought it would have happened by now. it was my birthday. and birthdays tend to be heavy times for me. when i evaluate my life and check its pulse and pressure. and then have a subsequent meltdown because of missed milestones that i'd wanted to have passed by now.

and that i can't accomplish my dream if i keep doing what i'm doing. that i was around people who were living their dreams this week, and that it was inspiring. and that it wasn't the first time.

he said on a 1 to 10 scale, that he is a 3 as far as how bad our issues are. and i said sometimes they're a 7 or an 8 for me, and sometimes only a 3 or 4, that it fluctuates. and he was so sad. because it doesn't feel that bad to him. and i don't know how he can be so lonely and feeling underappreciated, and not be so bad for him. maybe that it has something to do with him having it easier than me until now. and that i'm the one putting my dream off for him. and that i don't know if it would be different if he was letting me have mine, but that it probably wouldn't feel as bad.

he just didn't know or expect it. rightfully so. i mean, how could he? he didn't know.

but he did learn that he stonewalls me, which he says that i do, too. i only missed by one question, qualifying, so he's not so far off.

he wants me to see a therapist. he wants me to get medicated.

the thing is: we are both living these sad lives. and i don't want to be this sad all the time. i mean, just yesterday i was writing that i prefer being sad, because i am inspired when i'm heartbroken, and prolific. it's ok in small doses, but not on this scale. not swimming in it.

he minimized my going home to soul search and think. and discounted the time i spent there, down from trying to think outside the situation, to just hanging out with friends and family. he didn't understand my analogy. it's just an intense situation that you have to stand out of, so that you can figure out what's going on, what to do about it, and how to fix it.

what i know is this. i have made a pact with myself. in one year. if i am not happier than i am now, i will do something to change my situation. it is a generous amount of time, i thought. nina and my sister concur. i think i will have an idea by summer.

he is losing me. i've drifted so far away now that it would take heroic efforts to get me back. i don't know that there's any coming back from this. but i am willing to stick it out and try harder.

i know that my life has changed. i know that i figured out so many things about myself. maybe it was kenna's story. about being married for so many years, realizing that she wasn't in love and couldn't keep doing it, and that she wasn't happy. i want to say that she said that, within 6 months, it was over. and that it wasn't until then that she could really learn who she was as a person. and that it was when she was either 32 or 33.

i know that i want to travel more. i know that i have fun with my family. that i love being home. that home is where my family is, not where i live now. i know that i was too excited to sleep, days before i went home. that i didn't waste time sleeping while i was there. i only got an average of 4 hours of sleep a night, for 6 nights in a row. that when i left there, i cried inconsolably. and that i was filled with dread at returning here. and that when i arrived, i cried three times, because i was back to this life.

i am so full of life. i need so much more than this. i need love, and fun. that i love to be in the sun, and near the water, and that i always give that up for him. i know that i love the beach and traveling. that i love road trips and mini adventures. that i love being with my family and my nina, and that i don't want to spend so much time away from them. my grandparents are all getting so old, and i know i don't have much time left. and that i hate losing time with them by being here.

i don't want to move home. i did for a minute there. at first, because it's instinctive. but also, to go back to school and get a business degree to put myself in a better position for what i want to do someday. which feels like it is getting further away. but i don't think that's a viable option.

i guess that i thought i'd be somewhere else in my life right now. and i told him that it's not that i want to be alone or somewhere else with someone else (which, unfortunately, is not true, but i couldn't tell him that, and won't ever), but that i chose this path with him, and it didn't lead where i thought it would. that in the beginning of the path, i didn't realize what i was giving up by choosing a different path. that it's not that i think my life would be better, just different. that i've always had this dream, and that i can visualize it, and that i want it, and that nothing i'm doing right now is going to lead me there. and that i can wait. and that i will wait, and that i have waited.

and also that i don't think that if the roles were reversed, and he was waking up and going to work everyday, that i'd be magically happy. but that it would probably make me a 3 and him the 7. he tried to say again that he didn't know that there were money issues, which i corrected. again. because he said he knew when we bought the house that everything stopped flowing in.

i hate that part of my parents' support for this rethinking phase of my marriage involves him not having a clock in job. my dad really takes an issue and knows not to ask me, but still does mention it from time to time. and i know that he thinks about that alot.

i just feel right now that i married the wrong guy. nina said something so valid, that it bears repeating. she said that, the day of my wedding, she knew me really well, and that she didn't have this feeling. i was marrying this guy that she didn't really know very well, and she didn't have that general feeling of him being the perfect guy for me, and that it didn't make sense to know me for so many years, and not to think 'THIS is the guy she's supposed to marry.'

i had that feeling at her wedding. but she didn't have it at mine.

and that meant alot, in hindsight. of course, i had no idea at the time, and maybe she didn't either, yet, consciously. but she said it to me when i saw her, and it made too much sense.

i just got tired of waiting for the boy i was supposed to marry. i was in some rush to do this, and i don't know why. it makes me want to yell at young girls who run around so excitedly at their bachelorette parties. don't do it. just wait. there is no rush. don't do it.

i have this guy friend who told me a few years ago that he never wanted to be married. and i could never understand that. i really struggled with it, because he is such a good friend, and so much like me, and i didn't get why he would feel that way. he is SUCH a catch.

and it was just a matter of time. i really feel now like i should only have been married when i wanted to have a baby. i don't even know why, maybe traditional standards. but until then, if that day ever came, i shouldn't have been.

and i don't think that i would choose it again, if this does in fact end.

this isn't some tiny little daydream. the book i got for kit said that something like 72% of women think about leaving their husbands, while only like 28% of men think about leaving their wives. i wish i had the book in front of me. i mean, these poor women. who never do anything to change their situation, except think.

honestly, in my mind and heart it is over. because i knew when i came back that i can't be happy with him, not like i was, not like i want to be. he isn't it for me, and he doesn't do that to me. i had a little taste, a sip, of that feeling. for one night. and it made me thirst for it again. like, i really WANT it for myself.

and i can only picture seeking it out initially in the same old way, pseudo-obsessing again, living back home for a bit to feel it out, only i want to leave there. i want to run away. i want to go on a road trip, and start over somewhere else. and i want to take that boy with me.

i know that i am acting stupidly, on a whim. because of the way i can still feel inside, given the right person and situation. because this, immediately, is based on a falsified feeling, gleaned to get a reaction out of me. i am such a pro at reacting. at times, he's been like a puppeteer. and i wanted so badly to think that he had changed, and that he meant what he was saying. enough to do something about it. but it didn't happen. and i wasted a birthday cake candle wish on him. again. for maybe the sixth birthday of my life. all those wasted wishes, all those years wasting away.

and i don't think it will ever happen. in fact, i have been telling myself that i will probably never see him in person again. just to try to calm my fleeing mind. because i can't let myself go there. but everything in me is trying to trick me into doing it. all these little seeds that were planted years ago. weeding them for years, but never growing the plant. and never discarding it either.

it's keeping me up at night.

'and there's no blame
for how our love did slowly fade...
and now that it's gone,
it's like it wasn't there at all.
and here i rest
where disappointment and regret collide,
lying awake at night.'

that ben gibbard. <3

a last cigarette before i end this. i have to limit myself. tomorrow is going to be a big day for me, a long day. and i want to be well rested. one more day until i can sleep away part of my day.

i have so many things to say now. i want to write them all out because they are so real. fresh wounds. and i'm learning so much about myself. i love to write. in a few weeks, i'll be making art again, with kit. and starting to plan my path to my dream.

and whoever walks down the path with me, if i'm not alone, will not be there unless they are helping me get to my destination. because life is too short.

it's too short to give up on pieces of yourself that define you, and that always have.

i'd like to think that i'd just want to be alone. for a long time. but that when i was ready that i'd be thinking this way:

i'm in search of one hopeless romantic who doesn't think that the world lets you live on our love alone, but who wants to see me through. who makes me melt again, the places that have frozen over. to inspire me, and make me better. to bring me up, not hold me back. not drag me down. i want to be free to go and see things and just wander around.

i'm mentally and emotionally exhausted. and so much smarter now.

rtw 21 wishes 12/2/9

i wish my life was easier.

i wish i had more money.

i wish i could be successful at doing my own thing.

i wish i could go back in time.

i wish i wasn't filled with regret and doubt.

i wish i had met my soulmate. or if i did, i wish i would've known it.

i wish i was happy. i wish i had fun.

i wish i could go dancing and drinking more often.

i wish i could be a famous writer.

i wish i had musical talent. i wish i wasn't afraid to sing in front of people.

i wish i was young again.

i wish for more wishes.

i wish i could travel more.

i wish i could make out. i wish i could be kissed.

i wish that mike and amber hadn't died. and i wish that heroin didn't ruin the lives of people i knew and loved. and know and love.

i wish that i'd known. i wish that i'd known about the notes. i wish that i'd known about anyone who held back and didn't want me to know.

i always wished for love on birthday candles. i can't remember anything tangible i ever wished for on my birthday. it was always about unrequieted love, i was practically a professional.

rtw 18

rtw 18 12/2/9


the way velvet feels, and how you describe other things by saying they're like velvet or velvety

sandpaper's abrasiveness, and how it makes things smooth. grit. rough. harsh. cutting.

the way a worn pair of jeans feels. thin cotton shirts.

how a person feels

soft skin. the skin smooth that runs between the hips and abs. the little carved out valley.

lips. plump. fleshy. soft.

tickly eyelash fluttering on your cheek

hugging a person

skin on skin

round shoulders, pointy elbows

stubble on an unshaven face.

understand through texture:

for me, it's about how things feel. not literally, but how it feels inside to do something. whatever that is.

rtw 48


101 places i want to go:

(x2 means i've been there before, but want to go back. CAPS means i want to go more so than other)

melbourne australia

sydney australia


south of france




san francisco x2


new york city x2

guggenheim museum



mexico (cabo?)

virgin islands

sanibel x2

chicago x2




st louis

six flags

busch gardens va x2

kings dominion

mall of america

disney land

magic mountain?


29 new delhi india





grand canyon x2




machu pichu perus













barcelona spain

madrid spain





53 portland or

cape cod

portland, me

salt flats

burlington vermont

upstate new york





the moon

hershey park

celestine prophesy cities

coffee's place

tap room

68 shambala

dc x2

new orleans x2

death valley


no cal (san luis obispo)


providence ri

76 boston

set of the office

ani concert

tori concert

sigur ros concert

bjork concert

day spa

hot springs


bed & breakfast



las vegas

florida keys


great barrier reef



94 new zealand


white water rafting

lazy river tubing




san juan

coney island


something happened. something that is both good and awful.

because for an hour, i felt the happiest i'd been in ten years' time.

and because i went on this little mission to do some very real soul searching. and i was severely wishing that i'd get over an age old love for coffee. the person, not the ground up beans. i feel it necessary at this time to also declare that the beans are responsible for the title of this blog, NOT the person.

i'm going to be so tired tomorrow. but i'm going to try to get over that, because all i want to do is write. and type. for DAYS.

i don't even know where to start, really. i mean, all of my best things were about him. he is my ultimate muse. and not in the cheesy, movie plot way. i literally become a flood of words at the mere thought of him. and apparently, some things never change.

in my daydreams of him, we're only hanging out innocently as friends, the way that we were so many years ago. but he wants to know everything, and i want to tell him everything and know everything, and i want to start with music.

i was left with an image that was both glorified and rusty, in my mind. how i remembered him, how he appeared in my dreams and daydreams and the nightdreams that keep you up at night. the him of 9 years ago.

but, in person. living, breathing, twinkly eyed warmth brimming over with hugs for me and eyes for me, and hanging on every word. my open mouthed gasps over his 'i know. i KNOW' comments. over things that no one else might be so into. but that were always for me, and to a greater extent, him.

i started this mini-obsession about 2 months ago, if i had to guess. the monster obsession, about 12 years ago. the mini obsession involves a truly amazingly mind-blowingly incredible show called the universe that hulu graciously posts for repeated viewings.

the first couple were average-ish for me. i was getting lost, i was unable to focus on it, without my mind wandering to another place and time, trying to relive moments.

but something happened. the moon. mars. jupiter. saturn.

the moon, three times. mars twice. jupiter twice. saturn, indefinitely.

watching these history channel documentaries cracked my mind wide open to a whole set of things that i'd been taught in something like the third grade. those rediculous coat hanger styrofoam solar system mobiles. my very educated mother just served us nine pies. they teach you nothing about what is really going on out there. in deep space:

how many earths fit in each planet. how many orbiting moons the planets have. the fact that planets aren't all solid masses, that some are gasses. they never taught me that. and they have moons nothing like ours, that orbit them, with frozen water, looking exactly like a snapshot of earth, at some time in its life.

one night, two weeks ago. watching saturn for the umpteenth time. cgi pullaway effect. leaving the surface of earth, looking out into space, showing saturn just sitting there. in the middle of the fucking UNIVERSE. just hanging there. suspended in the air.

and started to sink into my brain. the sheer unbelievable-ness of it. some huge fucking ball of swirling gas with rings (that aren't rings at all - just particles spinning around at thousands of miles per hour), just rotating in vast fucking NOTHINGNESS, 20 or 30 years worth of traveling to arrive at it, sometime in the 2020's, via satellite.

i stopped believing in god at that exact moment. a slave of science. of astronomy.

back to the story at hand. present day.

so there i was. on a saturday, aptly, perfectly. the namesake of the planet saturn (*i learned of this from the documentary). i had put myself together this night, in such a way that i felt like i looked as incredible as i felt. for the first time in probably 8 years, maybe longer. i felt GOOD. and i looked adorable. and this is not something that i would ever admit aloud. i never feel like i look cute. but this night? well, this night, i knew it. a total makeover. put together by my mother. because she knew how much i needed it.

and i arrive to the bar. to nina's group of three, with my legal little sister in tow for the first time, ever.

lemondrops for three. long island iced tea from my sister to me. and a second from me, to be shared.

next group of three arrives. talking. a party of one - all of the oldest friends, from 13 years ago. talking about the past 13 years that we'd missed.

and nina's face lit up so much, so suddenly, that i thought the person she was looking most forward to seeing had showed. i turn my entire body to the person she is beaming at. searching, searching, searching. for what felt like 10 seconds, but was really probably only 3, for recognition.


coffee. right there, standing in front of me. smiling at me. i was at such a complete and total loss that i don't remember if there was an immediate hug or not.

there was small talk, during which i didn't catch any of what was said. well, very little. what i got was that two months ago, he was within 20 city blocks of me. and i didn't know it. other than that, names were escaping me left and right. i was catching scarce details of his career since i'd left off.

luckily, nina was paying very close attention, filing away little bits of information that she would reproduce later, when she created the most amazing evening of my life in the last nine years.

he got pulled away, stuck in other conversations with more recent friends. my interaction with him was very limited, and left one million questions in my mind.

he left. and i cannot explain it. though he said he'd be back, and i was feeling something that was beyond genuine intention, i knew he wouldn't come back. i forced myself to not turn to watch as he left out the door and walked quickly away to the right, in his fast paced theatrical shuffle. i only allowed myself to see his blur moving away from me, out of the corner of my eye. and i couldn't contain my smile. i was lit, and lit up from the inside out in two ways, and i didn't care who knew. and then there was a very calm feeling that came over me, as i thought, 'this isn't over yet, there will be more to this.'

the evening wore on. two hours of catching up with old friends, and two blue moons later, the party is over. we are weary from opening the bar and trying to keep up with drama, loudly, for hours. exhausted and in need of a change of scenery, and fresh air to smoke in, nina suggests taking a walk around the avenue. so we pack up and go.

she name-dropped the bar where he said he was headed, on a very specific mission to find this boy for me so that i can ask him why he never kissed me. and as we walk up to the bar, he is shuffling our direction, from somewhere else. he swoops in, all 'hey', and nina says they're on their way, and the three leave, in my mind, linked three arm in arms.

leaving me. and my sister. and him. standing in front of me.

(i was incredibly drunk. i rarely drink. i'd never had a long island iced tea before, much less, two. my memory of the events might not be entirely accurate. but this is exactly how i'm remembering it. and documenting it for posterity.)

and this boy, asking me what we're doing. i don't know what i said, but it was immediatley followed by something like a, 'come on.' and trying to keep up in drunken heels, a pace too quick, too excited. while he tried to grasp the fact that i'd been married. for a decent chunk of time, which he repeatedly called a decade. stopping in the middle of the street to stare at me in disbelief.

we three stepped into the dark bar.

and up to the bar to get a drink after a brief introduction to a man at the door. it's an hour before last call.

when i offered, my sister refused one, instead took my camera, and the sweater i was too warm for, off my arm. and walks out of my sights, leaving me alone to relish the moment. to connect. again. flashes flashed twice. and she was gone.

she was making sacrifices for me. for the night that she knew that i so desperately needed. entertaining herself for my happiness. my elation. instead of letting me take her out for her 21st drinks.

and they (the sacrifices) are still making me cry, thinking about what an awesome sister i have anyways, but how completely selfless she was right in that moment. and how she instinctively knew what to do.

and he showed a vulnerability for the first time ever, to me. after being the one to come to me, for the first time ever, only a couple hours before.

due to my drunken heels, i was taller than him. and he didn't remember me being that way, and said so. with a dissatisfaction in his voice. i kicked them off and put his arm on my shoulder, showing him the way he used to place his arm.

to lean on me, chest against my back, chin on the top of my head. i have never been able to get it out of my head. and on this night, the same elbowed triangles that used to lean onto me to hold him up in cold doorways when he was tired and just wanted to go home and drink wine with me. they were on my shoulder, at the accurate height, where i'm at least four inches shorter than him.

so he buys me a beer. and i lean toward the bar, to level the field. and we talk, taking turns, about pets, and jobs, about the place that we call 'home'. and about 'the universe'. how i have been up for weeks watching, and how he has one waiting for him at home. our biggest commonality of nights past, laying on my down blanket in his grass, his driveway; on his bed with our heads sticking out his bedroom window, stargazing for hours and counting falling stars.

and nina was so afraid of me missing a chance, and forming a new regret with him. i had intended to ask him why he'd never kissed me, in our nights of sleeping together for weeks on end. and i was drunk enough to ask. hands DOWN.

the night before i left for this trip, kit came to hang out and see me off. we talked of telescopes and my recurring nightmares, and 'the universe'. and about making a date for dark sky park for the upcoming quadrantids shower. it was the topic of conversation.

but with all there was to be said for 'the universe', and our intentions regarding the universe, and his experiences that left me dumbfounded. including the one where he told me of his telescope that points to planets and stars on command. and i asked if he could see saturn. and he said, 'yes.' and all i could do was shake my head in jealousy and disbelief.

time passed, topics changed. flowed flawlessly from one thing to the next. not a single awkward gap. only momentary pauses in conversation to hug me and tell me how happy he was to see me, and how much he'd missed spending time together.

the lights flickered off and on, signaling last call. minutes later, they came on and stayed on. and i was trying to focus on his eyes, and on his words, his lips as he made them. and i couldn't. i was spinny. dizzy from drinking, and from being with him. eyes dart from eye to eye to eye to eye, nose, lips, mustache, beard, lips, nose, eye to eye and over again. searching his face for some hint. some sign. that i wasn't making it up. that he was as happy and excited as i was. not like i was the same sad little puppy following.

and seeing his face in that bright, tell-tale light. the one that means, 'take a good look, make sure that you know what you are doing, and then leave together.' his face in all that light, with all of its imperfections. it had never looked better. NEVER.

i need to say something here. either he is really good at his game, or something else was going on. we hugged for minutes. just like we used to. more than once. a hug that made me feel whole again.

i nearly couldn't force myself to let go. and why i didn't try to kiss his cheek and drunkenly miss? well, i'll never know, because i always think of these things two days later, when i'm awake and can't sleep at night. right now.

it was over. the magic. the coincidences that put us together for that blink of time. the rush of it all.

but something happened:

he asked how long i was in town, and for my number. and called my phone so i'd have his. and i couldn't do it. in those last, fleeting, dreaded seconds, i couldn't ask him why he never kissed me. for fear of fucking up something in the next two nights. i couldn't ask a stupid question like that, signaling to him that yes, i had thought about him and those non existent kisses for the past 12 years. it couldn't happen in that moment. i chickened out, on a gamble. for more time spent before i left town for eight more months.

i turned away from him. and did not look back to see if he watched me leave. trying to be strong, but feeling incredibly weak and as though i was floating out into the street on a bursting drunken bubble.

i waited 40 hours. then i asked him to show me saturn for my birthday. and he did not offer. and i left, heartbroken as always. by the boy with the hold over me. the one who rocks me. who still has it after all these years. who makes me happier in those tiny moments than anyone could, doing anything for me, for the rest of my life.

i know that it isn't over yet.


we were holding hands. old friends who had other intentions for each other, but who had never actually followed through. we were in a bar, in my new town. it was our second beer of 12% abv. 'hey...' slightly slurry, waited a second, 'why didn't you ever kiss me?'

i'd been practicing. saying it without a quaking voice. which i nailed at this opportunity. but also, had made up a little pneumonic device for myself. for gauging his reaction, the immediate one, and the secondary, verbal one.

look, wait, listen, eyes.

i think i mouthed it, waiting for him to answer me.

look in his eyes when you say it. look for that twinkle.
wait for the pause, count the milliseconds as he edits his words.
listen to the words he chooses, and what he puts emphasis on.
show him for a full second, with your eyes.

twinkle. definitely. one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, really? that long? what's going on in there?? 'i...i don't know.' eyes show warmth, tearing up in expectation.

he repeated, 'i don't know.'

'but would you? right now. if you could. if you thought i wanted you to.'

'i don't know.' this time, laughing a little, only the tiniest bit exasperated.

'well,' gauging, gauging. safe? 'i wish that you would.'

he just sat there, holding my hand, which was sweating. 'come on.'

we got up, he led me quickly out the door and to the left, for a walk in a winter night that was much warmer inside the bar. he didn't drop my hand.

'why would you do that? this is so good. let's just stay the way this is, right now.'

but i didn't want to. my face fell, he saw it, too. and i didn't want him to. he'd conditioned me to not tell him how i really felt, not in elaborate analogies, drummed up by him as some stupid test that told him to break it off and disconnect and let me fall away again, so that i'd always be trailing him.

'i've been making pretty big decisions lately. and this is going to be the next one. i want you to kiss me, right now, becuase you want to. but only if you want to. and only if you mean it.'

and he did. right there. in the middle of the sidewalk, under a streetlight that had been standing there for a hundred years or more. though it didn't last as long as i'd wanted, there was enough of a sweetness that showed me that he meant it.

and he led me by my hand again. he didn't know where he was going, at least i didn't think that he did. we were walking to the prettiest park, nestled in the belly of my big city. i'd been there so many times, almost only wishing that he would someday be there with me. it was my dream. i'd given it up years ago, tired of waiting for him, but the park was a more recent dream of only the last six years.

his pace slowed. we'd walked blocks in silence. my mind was racing, my heart in my throat. i could hardly breathe the cold air burning my face and lips and lungs. we sat in the grass. reclined on our backs, the padding of our winter coats protecting us from frozen blades of dead grass that was green only weeks before.

we stared at the sky, holding hands. i was whole. it started to snow.


with one click, i updated my status.

and in my own defense, i completely despise any reference to social networking sites, whether it’s on tv, or in a movie, on a commercial. like, loathe it. but it’s important here.

sometimes i use this tactic as a fishing scheme. to try to bait someone in particular into responding. it is this pathetic little game that i play with myself. and i was doing it now.

‘is going to lake highland’.

and with one click, i was off. i grabbed the quilted blanket that i had grown up loving, literally, to pieces. my grandmother had made it by hand, and my parents never intended for it to leave the house. but in college, it lived in my car. it spent many sunny days and many chilly, lonely nights at lake highland. which was once so frequented that it was just referred to as ‘the lake’.

i grabbed a new book i’d yet to start, and my just-purchased blank journal. with skinny lined pages, just the way i like them to be, to get the most out of them. thinking twice, i grabbed my blank sketch book and a couple charcoal pencils, though i didn’t really expect that mood to strike at all.

‘what are you doing?’ i said, aloud, checking my tired, gray face in the mirror before leaving, weighted down with too many things for such a short adventure. the drive would take about 20 minutes, if there was no traffic.

i had a few hours, maybe five or six, until the reunion we'd arranged. i knew in my soul that i needed time at the lake to prepare for the evening out. and i knew that if i was to get my chance to catch up with the fish that got away, i'd have to leave now to be home in time to go back out again.

the drive to the lake gave me too much time to think about what it had meant to me throughout my younger/better/thinner/prettier single days.

days wasted, sitting in wait. for some boy that i’d put too much stock in, despite a ridiculous number of warnings from one person or another. the times when no one came to rescue me, or just to keep me company. no one ever showed.

though, one time, a boy did show up. i chalked it up to fate at the time. not my crazy stalker-ness, going there every day after work. and not calculating the 68743135 other times i’d sat there alone into the equation. it wasn’t about probabilities then - it was all about fate. and my blind naive belief that, if it was fate, he would come. whoever 'he' was.

i knew exactly what i was doing on this day. i was baiting. i was tempting something that i had no business whatsoever tempting. it was a tightly sealed box i’d been walking circles around, trying to figure out (for years now). was there a way to get inside the box, or even to just touch the box, without setting off any alarms, or creating any avalanches? i knew better. because that would make it all too easy. i shouldn’t be within proximity of the box, not even with a ten foot pole. because of the slippery slope.

but... i am a dreamer. i always have been.

i remember the day in college when i decided that my problem, all these years, had been the non-diagnosis of attention deficit when i was younger. or, possibly, the lack of diagnosis of the adult onset variety. it explained so much about me, about who i was.

because i daydream. when i am under pressure, or really need to get something done, i just space out. i’m an incredible list-maker. only i can never remember where i wrote the list. i start everything with enthusiasm, and finish nothing. being a horrible test-taker kept me from trying to get into grad school.

but in my life now, i lay in bed at night, willing my mind to dream things that could never happen in my real life. conversations i’d kill to have. missed connections i’d die to have explained to me. times in my life that i wish so hard to revisit, just to change one little thing. in an effort to change EVERYTHING.

because i only ever remember wanting, not being wanted. and, just once, wouldn’t it be sweet to truly be wanted? by the person you wanted to have want you? i had more than one of those in my short single-lifetime. mostly, one. but there were so many fleeting others.

i am in the habit of wishing i could go back in time. because i’d do it in a flash. and i even know the exact week i’d go back to. though there were three separate decisions i’d change, they all happened within seven days of each other, so i am nearly certain that i could completely unravel my current existence by revisiting one little blink in time.

i am also of the habit of getting my hopes up. probably from the lack or horror flicks (i couldn't watch) and the surplus of romantic comedies and dramas. i had always felt like i was supposed to have one of those ‘dream come true’ moments in my life. i’d definitely had a couple before. but not in the way i felt it should be, they were in a toned down way. not the kind i felt on my skin. like how your scalp tingles when you’ve had too much coffee. the kind that is so good, so incredibly unbelievable, that you would faint from being overwhelmed at the sheer amazement of it all.

on this day, i am driving the streets of my hometown. and nothing looks familiar to me anymore. i am certain i know the way, all these years later, from so many past trips. but the change in scenery always makes me think that i missed my turn. or went too far. and it had been several years since i'd been to the lake.

once i came home to visit, and was driving in the rain at night. and was so lost all i could do was cry. and i was only driving straight, on one very busy main road. no matter. i was completely overwhelmed at the change. i was so out of sorts that i couldn't even figure out at a point which road i was on, only i hadn't made any turns. it was awful. horrible. stressful.

with these thoughts running through my mind, i see an old familiar building on my left, and the tiny (most likely man-made) lake on my right, and know that if i don’t brake quickly, i will miss my turn. a quick glance in the rearview. no one that is too close, screeching turn onto the skinny road that will take me to my beloved lake.

a fear gains speed inside of me, because i realize that i don’t remember any of the trip here. i don’t remember intersections, i don’t remember lights. how did i make it without wrecking the car? without running red lights? i do not know. and this is not new to me. i don’t remember the last time it happened, i only sense that it was probably also on a visit home. so heady that you're on autopilot. not safe, not in the least. many years before, i was so lost in thought over a boy that i realized mid-gigantic-intersection that the light was very very red. luckily it was in a western town, where traffic didn't exist, and no one was around. i had to pull over that time, to recover, literally shaken.

about halfway between the quick turn and the lake, i got lost. i remembered having to drive through a neighborhood to get there, but not which street to turn on. i drove slowly through, hoping to not set off any neighborhood watch alerts. hoping for a glimpse of my glittering water through the thick landscape. heart rate picks up, not quite to a panic, but to the place just under panic, when you still have control.

‘slow down, girl. everything is going to be okay.’ apparently, i am also in the habit of speaking to myself when i’m alone and stuck in my head. cruising around the next corner, i see a very familiar stop sign. soft left. my lake, at last.

circling up and back around the street, to point my car in the opposite direction, the right direction, i pull up to my parking spot, under the huge tree. i never was any good at naming trees or flowers, but i’m going to declare it now as an oak. i imagined it had been there for a hundred years or more.

putting the car into park, and turning the key in the ignition, for a split second i’m sitting in complete silence. i can hear that my breathing is faster, and feel my heart racing. memories flood. stomach-sick over boys from my youth. my mind tries to slow itself down with negating thoughts: nothing is going to happen today; you're going to read your book; you're going to write some wonderfully depressing things down on paper; then you'll go home; and have a lot of fun tonight. that is all. go.

out of the car with all of my things in tow in one trip. like a day at the beach, dragging too many things behind you that you’ll never need during one short day at the beach.

just ahead of the tree trunk, far enough away from it to not lay on its knobby roots that poke up through the dirt, but still under its sparse canopy, i spread out my holey quilt, corner to corner, and smooth it deliberately. reading book on one corner. journal on the opposite corner. it wasn't windy - this was an old habit. i slid out of and balled up my sweater, hating for a moment that i forgot to remember a pillow, and placed it in the middle of the two corners.

i stretched out onto the quilt. a shiver ran completely up and down my spine, goosebumps down both legs, and out both arms to the wrists. i was supposed to be here. i could feel it. i had always come here at my most desperate times. my loneliest times. my most heartbroken times, hopeless times. and though this day didn’t feel that way, it felt close.

i hadn’t been kissed, good and kissed, in at least five years. and i couldn't take it anymore. before this time in my life, i only ever wanted to kiss. to make out. i never wanted sex, really. just to KISS. like, for hours. all night until the sun came up. and the hole that the lack of kissing had carved out in my heart was just too much to bear. it made me think horrible, permanent, awful thoughts about what i should do next with my life to stay happy and true to myself.

i lit a cigarette, and stared at the sky, smoking slowly and deliberately. why did the sky seem so much closer here? why did the world surrounding me seem so much smaller? i always thought it was strange, that, given enough empty space around you, the sky and horizon in your view just seems to be a half circle - a dome, like a snow globe. like you’re seeing the sky above that surrounds you, from a point that is precisely in the middle of the beginning and the end of the world.

back in my city, i never felt this way, because there was never enough space to make that perception possible. but home, i remember this thought again. and think, for a fleeting second, that i’m losing my mind.

the same way i feel when i wonder if my blue is your blue, and her blue and his blue, and if everyone sees colors the same way. or when i think that we’re all just some giant’s playthings, being made to live out trivial lives for someone else’s enjoyment. for play, as toys. not as in god, more like a big overgrown kid.

i realized that i was uncomfortable in this natural silence. that i needed music to really relax and enjoy this day. earphones in. i sigh at the new soundtrack i’ve created for my current life. laying flat on my back, arms crossed over my chest and holding onto the opposite sleeves for warmth, i let my mind wander.

i don’t know where it went, but i think i must've snored, because i woke myself up with a start. i assumed i’d fallen asleep, because songs had passed that i didn’t remember hearing.

i jumped suddenly, upon opening my eyes. i didn’t realize that they had been closed at all. and i didn’t realize that someone was standing over me. and i didn’t know for how long said someone had been standing there. i hoped it wasn't a snore that woke me... how embarrassing.

for that split second, i thought i was going to throw up. a rush of heat and redness to my face. and then pass out, as the heat was followed by pale whiteness as the rushing blood drained back to the various places in my body that it had been before i opened my eyes, whiting out everything in my line of vision. rushing to my pounding, beating heart.

the face above was familiar, absolutely. but i was confused from waking, even more so because of the way that seeing someone’s face upside down disfigures them in a down's syndrome kind of a way. i saw a frown; he was smiling.

i yanked the earphones out of my ears and propped myself up quickly on my elbows, twisting my body in an uncomfortable way that would likely induce vertigo, if i turned my head back too quickly. my vision started to go white again, before it came back with a dull pounding clarity.

the blood continued to rush down from my head and flood my chest. my heart was beating so loudly now that i thought it could be heard by the ghosts who have always haunted the school on the other side of the lake (you could see the figures in the window if you stared long enough).

it was then that i noticed the second car, parked just behind mine. my mind thought ‘what are you doing here?!’ but instead, gave me the seconds i needed to edit my words.

‘hi,’ with a slow smile.


he looked directly at me, but said nothing for a full minute. then, ‘may i sit here with you?’

‘of course.’ i tried not to sound as excited as i was. my heartbeat was in my ears now. i fought the smile from growing too wide, and settled for a shy, corners of the mouth upturned smile.

i grabbed my books quickly, embarrassed for no reason, and piled them on my side of the blanket. i moved to the right, making room for him, and put on my nap-warmed sweater. the sun had dropped a little during my dreaming, and there was the slightest hint of a chill in the air. not a chill, actually. a little soft breeze. it was rippling the glassy lake, just slightly.

‘do you mind if i smoke?’ i asked. my nerves were all balled up in my belly, and i thought that this would help.

‘no. can i have one?’ a smile. a warm smile. from someone you haven’t seen in a very long time. someone who is actually very happy to see you again. right-side up, he looked great. i nodded, shared, and lit his before mine.

slowly, trying to choose the best words for the situation, ‘so.’

funny thing was, he said ‘so’ at the exact same time. the tone i was saying it in, it was the knowing kind of so. the 'so' that would have been followed by ‘you took the bait’ if i wasn’t with all my wits. my brain was granting me some kind of grace this day, because usually i say stupid things quickly, and realize how wrong the words were about halfway through a sentiment.

his 'so' was in the only slightly busted kind of a way that would have been followed by, 'here we are.'

we both laughed nervously at our jinx. and didn’t speak for what seemed like a very long time; actually, probably, only a few seconds.

‘how have you been?’ he asked slowly, staring into my eyes as if they’d let him know if what i was about to say was not entirely true. i loved the way he talked. slowly, so you can get to the heart of what he's saying.

‘i’ve been alright.’ a pause to not choke on my words. i always choke on words when i'm nervous. like i try to breathe in at the exact moment a word comes out. a slight little hiccup in between syllables that makes me gulp. it's horrifying. i don't want people to know when i'm nervous, and it gets me nearly every time.

‘how have you been?’ i stared right back, trying not to be the first to break the gaze, even though i didn’t care at all about having the upper hand. because i had company.

‘busy. tired. but i'm well.’ and a smile. the kind of smile that crinkles the corner of your eyes. a genuine smile. he was happier than he was nervous.

silence again. there are a few types of silence. there’s the silence you intentionally insert in a situation when you want someone to crack and spill their truths to you. there’s nervous, uncomfortable silence, which is usually the type i find myself sitting square in the middle of. i’m truly horrible at small talk, i never know what to say or ask. which is sad, because i used to be great at it. if i'm talking to someone now, i tend to dive in deep. but before i get to the root of what i want to say and ask? tons of awkwardness.

but then there’s comfortable silence. when it’s okay to not know what to say next. that’s the kind the two of us were sitting in.

‘i hope you don’t mind that i came.’ he finally offered.

‘no. not at all. in fact, i think,’ one mississippi, two mississippi, calming breath, ‘i wanted company.’ my eyes cut away first, fake squinting to focus on something that was really nothing, somewhere that was really nowhere in particular, on the other side of the lake. this was, in spite of all the things i knew to be so dangerous, so slippery, exactly the boy i’d been baiting.

i sensed a smile, but couldn’t actually see it for myself, as i was so engrossed in the something that was nothing across the lake. maybe i saw it out of the corner of my eye, but i think i heard it in his voice.

‘i’m really quite happy to see you. i’m glad you’re here.’

he moved so slightly closer to me that i thought for a second that i was making it up. shifting my weight slightly to my left, i brushed his hand. looked down at it, then looked away again. he had, in fact, moved closer.

this time the heartbeat was panic. i didn’t know what to do. i mean, i wanted this. i had dreamt it over and over in my head. i had willed it to happen after midnight so many nights, especially recently. and now it was happening, and for some retarded reason, i instinctively wanted it to end. not the company, so much as the heart racing. the panic attack.

'in a way, i'm sorry that i am here. i know your situation. and i know that this complicates things for you. but at the same time, i knew i'd never forgive myself if i didn't come here.' he leaned back on his elbows, and i caught his profile. could he see the same nothing on the opposite side of the lake? i tried to follow his eyes, but studied his face instead, for about three seconds.

it was a nice profile. nothing stuck out too much, nothing overpowered anything else: nice true eyes, a nose perfectly suited for his face, a nice hairline to frame his nice face. nice teeth. nice close-lipped smile. and a peace that was both new and familiar. i wondered so many things about how he came to be sitting here, next to me. he was not necessarily the person who would stand out as the most attractive person in the room that everyone would covet, but he looked good to me. he was precisely my type.

'it's really okay. i'm glad you came.'

i laid all the way back, elbows out, head on stacked hands. the thought of taking off my sweater now seemed completely inappropriate, no matter how much my neck would hurt as a result of not having a pillow. i didn't want it to be perceived as flirting. and now it was too cool, as well - the temperature was definitely dropping. the sun was creeping toward the horizon, there were no buildings to obscure the view. just trees. it was the golden hour. everything was basked in warm, glowing orange.

we just stayed like that. in silence. there were so many things i wanted to say, to know, to ask. there was not as much history as i’d have liked there to have been. my mind couldn't put my questions in the best order, so nothing was said. i was pretty deep in thought, staring at the clouds freckling the sky when he broke the silence.

'it's nice here.'

he brushed the top of my hand. very very lightly. i perceived it as a way to initiate touch, allowing me to move my hand quickly, if i wasn't okay with the touch. very carefully, so that it was almost like an accident. in case i wanted to undo it. i lifted my hand slightly, as if it had jumped, as if it was a reflex. but it was not a reflex. and he took note. his hand rested on mine. perfectly still.

that initial contact. i mean, he had touched me in one way or another since i'd known him. but nothing that felt anything like this. this was different. this was forbidden. this was dangerous. this was exciting. this was scary. this was warm. this was well thought out on his end.

‘there are some things i wanted to tell you. i knew that if i waited until tonight, there would be too many people around. and i couldn’t say what i wanted to say, not the way i wanted to be able to say it. and you wouldn’t be able to hear me, the way i want to be heard.’

by now, my head was floating well above my body. my heart was outside my chest. my feet were completely numb, as were my hands. i realized that i was staring at the last few slowly dying leaves clinging to the branches above me, fluttering in the breeze. i looked sideways, fearing the eye contact i was about to make, but trying not to look scared. i didn't want to discourage him from saying what was on his mind.

thing was, the warmth in his eyes put me right at ease. i knew that anything he was about to say would leave me feeling great, days later. maybe even weeks. high.

he turned on his side, facing me. everything was so easy. what he was wearing, the words he was saying. how easily they flowed. it was like he’d rehearsed this time and again. probably even on his way to find me.

he told me about the first time i caught his eye. the first time he said hi to me. the first time that i was on his mind when i was nowhere near him. he told me that he was sorry that he never said anything. i wanted to let him say everything before i spoke, but i stopped him there.

‘i wish you would’ve said something.’ and i was completely aware of the sadness that flashed in my eyes. and i was more than relieved that tears didn’t follow. i cry so easily. sometimes just a thought, or a commercial on tv, will make me cry. sometimes i don’t even need a reason.

and, sadly, the same flash in his eyes, ‘me, too...’ his voice trailed off. he was trying to remember where he left off. trying to hop back on the train of thought that i’d slowed to a stop.

after a few seconds, he got it back. ‘i know that if i had at least just told you, my life would be different. even if it was only slightly. i wouldn’t have this feeling when i come home to visit. i wouldn’t have to think i see you. everywhere i go.' now, he paused. 'i have a confession...’

he looked to me. he needed a nod, or some acknowlegement that it was going to be ok, whatever he was going to say next. i said, quietly, hiccup-y, ‘go.’

he took a little breath, ‘i drove past your house. more than once. after you left. after i left. when i came back. actually, every time i came back. to see if i was crazy for thinking that you could be here during exactly the same time that i was.’ he looked from left eye to right eye and back again to center, scanning my face for a reaction that might not come in the form of words.

i realized that i was holding my breath. i had been holding my breath since i okayed his confession. i let out a sigh when he said those words. really? all my life, i wanted someone to say those words to me. i was speechless. my mouth had fallen open. just slightly, nothing drastic, just a reflex to take in a little breath.

‘i’m really sorry about this timing. i know it is shit. i know it’s really unfair to you, and not at all unfair to me. i know that i have nothing to lose by telling you all of this, and that i could put you in a very delicate situation at the same time. and i want you to know, i am really very sorry. but i just couldn’t let this opportunity slide away. i’d never have forgiven myself.’

he sat up so abruptly, i thought he was going to leave me sitting there dumbfounded. get into his car and speed away, so quickly that it would seem like a dream, or that i’d made the whole thing up. this is how things would have gone in my previous life.

instead, he reached into his pocket, but i couldn’t see what was in his hand. his arms were looped around his propped up knees, left wrist inside his right hand, grasping. i noticed that his shoelaces were ratty on the end, from all the places he'd walked in them. i loved his shoes. i loved the frayed ends of his pants, worn from wear. the way they slouched over the top of his shoes. i loved that he was here, telling me these things. it was exactly what i needed. when i needed it. i decided that i would tell him. as long as we were confessing things to each other.

‘you know... i needed this. there has been something missing from my life. for a long time now. and as dangerous as this is for me, i’m okay with it. because i had always wondered about you. and the things i didn’t know, well, they kept me up at night at differnt times over the years. and distracted me from my life, anyway. so your timing is actually perfect. and i can’t believe that you said it out loud. to me.’

i propped myself up again, because we were further apart than we’d been since he was standing over me, and after all that gut dumping, it seemed appropriate to be closer, physically. a little smile crept over his lips at the end of my string of sentences. he tryed to downplay it. downturn it. and i knew something was coming. something was about to happen. i lit another cigarette. i’d already smoked more than i’d smoked in the last couple days combined. i was anxious.

i followed the edge of the lake with my eyes, in a complete circle, all the way around it. no cars driving. no trains passing. a few cars parked at the school, but no one near them. no kids playing, in fact it was nearly silent. there were only small groups of ducks gliding between the grass sticking up in patches along the edge of the lake, little duck families. it was a saturday. and that was fortunate. i was glad we were completely alone. it took the edge off.

he turned swiftly on his axis. i had seen him do it before, just as effortlessly. he was facing me now, crosslegged. with a folded up piece of notebook paper in his hands that were sticking out of too long sleeves. he was curling the edges up. they were becoming slightly grayish brown. i wondered what he’d have to say before handing it over. or reading it to me. whichever he deemed best. i wanted him to do it in his time; i fought the urge to say, ‘what’s that?’ or the dorkier instinct, ‘whatcha got there?’ i am notorious for saying something really dumb at important times. and also for thinking of the perfect thing to say at night, laying in bed, so many waking hours later.

surprisingly, my mind wasn’t racing. my heart wasn’t pounding. i was calm.

‘so i wrote this thing. a long time ago. and i could never shake the thought of wanting you to have it.’ he looked down at my quilt, and handed it over.

i didn’t know if i should read it now or later. i was afraid to unfold it. i held it in my hand for a minute. it was still warm from his pocket, or his hands, whichever, both. he was toying with the gaping holes in the quilt. tracing the edges slowly, deliberately. he was afraid to look up.

‘thank you.’ i whispered. he looked up for a second, so i asked, ‘should i read this now?’

‘do you want to?’ he said, as a nervous laugh of words.

‘i do.’ i unfolded it. i hadn’t unfolded something that felt like this in my hands since high school. folded passed notes between excited girls with crushes. i was instantly back in time, maybe 15 years, from one tactile stimulus. the senses are an amazing thing. the same fluttery feeling in my stomach accompanied the sound of unfolding paper.

i read it once. it was not addressed to me, like a note, like i had expected. it was prose. i had to read and re-read so many times. my attention was darting, seeing words like flashes, wanting to skip ahead in excitement, missing meaning, going back. over and over. and he watched me read. it was sweet.

i folded it back up, and slid it into my pocket. ‘thank you. really...’ i touched his hand where it was resting on his knee and looked him dead in the eye. ‘thank you.’

i moved closer, on my knees, for a hug. i think i might have caught him off guard. this was full contact, now there was no doubt, and no fear. it felt great. it wasn’t a quick hug, like when you’re saying goodbye to someone you’re going to see the next day. and it wasn’t an obligatory hug. it was a long, heartfelt hug. a hug of longing, a hug that had so much more behind it, on both sides. a hug that didn’t want to end, to break up. a hug that had been waiting in the wings for several years, for the right moment.

my arms were around his upper back, draped across his shoulders, holding him close. his were around my waist. suddenly, i was very glad that i was wearing a skirt. a full, shin-length housewife skirt. i felt pretty and awake. it was laying so perfectly, covering my legs completely, material spread out. we sat like that for minutes.

finally, i sat back off my knees, afraid that if i needed to stand up anytime in the near future, i’d fall from the way i’d had my weight on them. the pins and needles from knees to toes hurt, but they were worth it, and faded.

it hadn’t said too much or too little. it wasn’t really all on the table, but because of the gesture of the passed note, it felt like it was.

‘i came here with the intention of kissing you.’ and now, it was on the table.

my face blushed. was he really saying this to me? would a kiss have been more romantic than speaking of a kiss? how thoughtful, to say what he wanted to do, without just doing it. he was really completely thinking about me. my life. my choices.

my stomach dropped. in a way, i wished he would’ve just kissed me. removed all guilt from me. taken the decision from me, for himself. made it so that he kissed me unexpectedly, not that i kissed him or welcomed it. removing blame. giving me the chance to break it off and walk away, without any need to think and rethink it after the fact. so that it wouldn’t have been a conscious decision. so that it wouldn’t have felt so much like cheating.

i realized that more than a minute of silence had passed while i thought this out. he was uncomfortable in it, so i said what i thought would make him feel better.

‘i wish you would’ve.’

he looked genuinely surprised. like he had expected me to tell him all the ways that it wasn’t going to happen, or that it wasn’t okay, or that i had no desire to kiss him, or to be kissed by him. and because of the prose, i pushed the envelope a bit further. i felt like i kindof owed it to him in a way. i'd been on his side of the table so many times, putting it all on the line, only to hear disappointing words follow my confession.

‘i haven’t been well kissed in a very long time.’ i expected to smile after saying those words, because they sounded ridiculous and silly, the tiny smile didn’t last at all. my face grew hot, and the fake smile faded very quickly into a sad face, on the verge of tears.

he put his hand on my shoulder. ‘this is what i didn’t want. i don’t want you to be sad. i wanted to make you happy.’ he grabbed my hand.

‘but i am happy. you’ve made my day. really, my whole trip. and with that, there is sadness, too. but it’s okay.’ my voice faltered. my eyes started to water. i was not crying. it was the same as the way that your eyes water from the outside corners when you’re riding your bike on a cold day. i know that my face is ugly and contorted when i cry, which is precisely how i was able to stop myself from falling victim to the sadness i was feeling.

i found my steady voice again, ‘it sounds a little crazy, but i like to be sad.’

somehow, we’d shifted ourselves now to be back in our original reclined positions with space between us. me, with my diamond arms holding the weight of my heavy head. him, leaning back on elbow triangle stands. both staring. i was wondering what to say or do next. what does one say after that conversation?

‘i feel like i should go,’ he looked at me, again. he was reading me. like a book. repeatedly. scanning my face, my eyes, for truth that words might not express.

‘i’d prefer if you stayed here with me. i hadn’t been here long before you got here. i can't believe i fell asleep so quickly - i wasn't tired. i mean, i haven’t started my book. i haven’t written a word.’ what i wanted, suddenly, was my sketch book. i wanted to draw his shoe, as it clung to his foot, on my blanket.

'can i get you anything?' i asked, showing the bag full of things packed for a long day at the beach. it was dusk. the sunlight was fading, i knew i didn't have much time. it would be dark soon. and i really wanted to draw that foot.

he went to his car and grabbed a composition notebook. i took notice that it was not the one that my page had been torn from, which made me smile - he'd planned this, absolutely. he sat down to write, neatly, quickly, in the time that the sun would allow us.

which, as luck would have it, was only about 15 minutes. we worked in silence. he stopped first. i stubbornly drew, squinting to see my lines in the dark, before giving up.

i put down the sketch book in frustration. i turned onto my side with my head propped up, and looked at him, on his stomach, watching me sideways. he turned to me and smiled, 'thanks for today. i feel lighter.'

'i do, too,' i said. my belly became full of butterfly flight. this was it. i could sense it on every square inch of my skin, electrified, i was shaking. i hope he didn't notice.

if we were ever going to kiss, it was going to be precisely now. at this moment. picture perfect. the sun had slipped beyond our vision. there was no more daylight. the moon was far away, high in the sky. it was full. maybe that explained this.

and then, right then, as i was looking at the moon, he totally went for it. at first, it was light lips. no hands, nothing else touching. if i wanted out, i could get out, but not for long. i didn't budge. i closed my eyes.

but then he touched my chin and neck with one hand, and it became more. and there was no getting out of it. i felt myself melting.

moving slowly closer, kissing. leaning down on me, with slightly more weight, kissing. our lips, kissing. arm around me, holding me, kissing. it was amazing. it was the way it is in movies. the way i'd wanted to be kissed for so long.

this was what i had been missing. and i didn't think it in a self-conscious way, or a guilty way, or an 'i have to end this' way. this was what my life had been lacking for so long. i remembered so suddenly how you feel so completely connected to someone when you kiss. i knew now the place where his words had come from. where his desire to see me and confess had come from.

i had craved this. and i had wanted him to be the one to break the drought, and he had done it.

we kissed for so long that i had time to think about all the times i'd been lying in bed awake at night, staring at the ceiling in the darkness, listening to songs about leaving and starting over, watching passing headlights on the street below create moving beautiful shadows on the ceiling while i stared blankly at it, heartbroken. it brought tears to my eyes again, in the moment.

i was completely lost in this now. we were entangled, horizontally. i was flat on my back, helpless to move, like a turtle. i didn't want to move.

there was no break, no stopping for breath. i felt my face blush as i realized that i'd never known his taste before. what a juvenile thought. and as if he sensed my discomfort at the fleeting thought, he broke the kiss. pulling back so that he could see my face. i smiled. a big smile. he returned in kind. not aware i was doing it, i caught a tiny bit of my lower lip in my upper teeth, and licked my lip. he didn't see.

‘we should leave.’ he sat up. it was over. my heart sank.

i knew that the few short hours between now and the bar would not be enough time for the wound up feeling to fade. and i had to work on it, because too many people would be seeing me for it to be apparent. i felt for a time like i didn't need a car at all, like i could just float home. high above this little town that calls itself a city. over other little lakes with other kissing people, over different neighborhoods familiar to me for different reasons. places i grew up, places i'd kissed other boys.

he stood up, and reached out his left hand to help me to my feet. i teetered slightly upon standing, dizzying white vision again. one short kiss, and a long hug later, we said goodbye. his arms were resting on top of my shoulders as he hugged me, leaning slightly. neither of us wanted to leave or end it, but didn't speak the sentiment. we just stood there like that, thinking for a few.

as was the case the whole night, he pulled away from me first, breaking the hug. he didn't break contact though. he inched away, backing up, but holding my arm. his hand dropped slowly from my arm to my wrist to my hand. and he just looked at me. all of me, like he was taking me in with his deep breath. and with his exhale, he dropped my hand.

it was over.

we got into our cars. he pulled away quickly, i watched his tail lights get smaller. it didn't last as long as i'd hoped, not slow motion lights trailing, like in a movie, like in that one song. he made the soft right, and was gone from my sight.

i sat completely still in the driver’s seat in silence. i was shaking, trembling. my fingers were completely frozen, as if i'd forgotten my mittens in winter. but the screen in the car said 68 degrees. and then, i was laughing and giddy. and then i was crying. i was everything. all at once. i was ALIVE.

i felt tapped out, exhausted. my mind was fleeing me now, leaving me there alone. i gave myself a minute to calm down before i put the car into drive. and left the lake.

i drove home. i changed into the outfit i'd been planning for months. the one i'd given up cookies and ice cream for. the one that would hopefully make me look an eighth as great as the way that i felt at that exact moment when he first started to kiss me.

i had changed. i got ready for my evening out. stuffing everything down inside, burying. trying to forget it before my ride arrived.

my partner in crime picked me up, we drove amid small talk about what our lives had been for the past few months and how much we missed each other. then asked, ‘so... how was the lake?’

i blushed as if i was busted, averted my eyes, but played it off cool. i knew i had to. ‘it was perfect.’ a telling pause, but she didn't pick up on it. ‘it was exactly what i needed.’

i wanted to spill. i wanted to show her the note, and brag that all these years later i had gotten it. all these years later, i got what i'd wanted. i wanted to show her the drawing of his shoe. i wanted to tell her everything. all the embarrassing little details. all of my racing thoughts. the fact that i was shocked about the complete lack of guilt. but i couldn’t do it. i couldn’t acknowlege it quite yet. it was too soon, too new. and i was trying my best to forget it, to put it out of my mind. to act normal.

we drove downtown, the same way that i’d driven to lake highland. passing the turn i’d nearly missed, i gazed out the window with glossy eyes at the little man-made lake i'd passed five or so hours before. and i decided just then that i’d never go back there again.

this was the best possible memory for the lake to be stored away as, forever. i couldn't risk replacing it with anything else.

two hours and a few drinks later, he was sitting across from me again, at a crowded rowdy table. sipping his beer, smiling. with the slightest hint of a secret smile, one that only i knew the meaning of. he only looked into my eyes silently for two seconds. it went straight to my head. i took a big sip of my drink.

and then he launched into a conversation, including everyone else at the table. we caught up, the way friends who haven’t seen each other in years catch up. we caught up on all the trivial bullshit we didn’t waste time on earlier in the day, when the words were more private, personalized. when time was fleeting.

he left after only one beer. hugged me goodbye in a nonchalant way, telling me it was nice to see me, and to catch up.

i didn't think that i could ever see him again. not alone, anyway. i knew that i would get too caught up in any moment to stop myself, or slow myself, and that it would be a grave mistake.

we stayed in touch, kind words exchanged from afar. nothing that even hinted at what had happened that night. my heart bubbled over, and i had a feeling that he felt similarly. it was too much to keep to myself.

a year later, drunk, home again for a visit, i’d admit it to her. and she understood it. she understood my motivation, she understood exactly how it made me feel, she knew why i let it happen.

i had written it out, so i wouldn't forget any of it. and so i could show her after time had passed. every detail captured, like a photograph.