the ghost of home past and the ghosts of home present. june 30th.

i am haunted.

i am haunted by someone.

i am haunted by decisions i have made, and more often, decisions i have decided not to make.

today, in an effort to milk the melancholy, i picked up my old yearbooks.

and it was innocent enough. i wanted to show kit who i was in high school..

this coming after a tour of the house, finished off with a tour of the photos that line the hall. fighting emotion of staring down my brother who was taken at one and a half from my family by a swimming pool in march.

she knew it would be hard. and asked me if i was sure i was okay to do it in my fragile state more than once.

i was emotional, but not crying. she knew the history. now she had pictures to illustrate it.

mom stood by and listened to what i explained, correcting me when i identified the wrong infant.

and interrupting to point out that the picture at the center of my own personal year by year photo frame was covering up my wedding photo.

the picture is one nina took of aubree and i standing in front of a sign stating that the bar we stood in front of was a good place to make bad decisions. it's a phrase my mom overuses. make good decisions. we took it specifically to show mom.

and if you were able to blow up this particular picture, you'd probably see coffee walking toward us. it was taken all of ten seconds before he asked me to that fateful december drink. it is my mom's favorite picture of the two of us. my sister's also, because she loves the way she looks in it.

the irony is still sinking in. i can't quite come to terms with it, actually.

but the yearbook. to show kit who was my senior year, because that was the one i had a huge role in creating. and creative control over what was inside. the year i got to call the shots of the yearbook that would encapsulate who we were. the class of 1996.

and pictures of my ghost tucked inside, that i stole, because i had access. before he died.

and, just like the box of journals that stares me down every single fall, i opened to the back of the book. the blank pages where everyone said we'd be best friends forever and that they loved me and were happy to know me. drawings and inside jokes that felt like they'd never die at the time.

this one was different, because no one really said 'see you next year'.

and i knew that my ghost had written a note in it. not simply his signature with the apple drawn around it. but that he'd really taken some time penning. and when i read what he wrote after the class when he wrote it, i was made most happy by his note to me.

i knew that, in my current fragile state, i could not possibly deal with reading it. i did not.

i caught a glimpse and skipped over it. i was looking more to see pictures and show her the people she'll meet tomorrow. and to see who had written in my yearbooks at all. and then there was the insert, our senior wills.

and because he always was one of the first named, he was on the front page. and seeing 'senior wills' near his name made me look away before i could read what he'd written as some kind of a joke. not knowing that he'd be needing a will a short time later.

i knew that i couldn't handle it right then.

we went to dinner as a family. i cried just before we left, in aubree's bedroom with kit. but i don't remember why now. it was definitely coffee-related. but i don't remember specifically. she hugged me while i sobbed and told me it's ok.

we stepped out for a smoke so i could pull myself together. i was mad at my brother, because we were having a nice family dinner out at the cheesecake factory, and he decided he wasn't joining us. we never get together as a family. maybe once a year? and he didn't want to go. aubree couldn't convince him. i couldn't. his fiancee couldn't. i wanted to punch him in the face.

so it was a messy mix of exhausted raw emotion, and the feeling that something much bigger was lying just under the surface. and being picked at. like an angry sore.

and don't you know that the restaurant was a place i'd driven past last night. lost and lost. it's funny how my ghosts never set me free. and they are probably my biggest reason for not wanting to come home. i ran away from problems here, and can normally avoid them when i visit by dodging entire sections of this city.

but this trip of closure is forcing itself on me, in addition to the ones i'm seeking out. and we took the same roads i wandered last night, lost.

past the sun's neighborhood. past my college years independent record store. past the college with the radio station that cracked my head wide open with this thing called indie music eleven years ago, twenty one and returning from my tahoe adventures.

the ride in the car was made perfect by my request for fleetwood mac, which was already in the cd player. dad switched from the radio to the cd to see if we were so lucky.

we were. and we all tend to sing the harmonies. it's a family thing. i hope kit liked it. i know that it made all those ghosts seem a little less haunting. fleetwood mac will always be home to me. and the timeless words were also fitting.

so we came home, dad went to work.

kit sat down at the piano to play. i am sorry for the awful tuning. but happy that i forgot about the piano, because she's been jonesing to play for the last few months, and it's come up quite often. and i didn't think of it as being in existence. and she was very very happily surprised.

i wanted to show her my high school boyfriend, the one who shares a name with her recent ex. it was a strange thing to date two very different boys with nearly the exact same name.

so i grabbed the yearbook from my junior year in an effort to finish what i'd started earlier. only i had forgotten that the boyfriend had already moved by then, and realized i'd grabbed the wrong one.

while she played sad and beautiful music in the 'bible room', i leafed through the end pages.

i didn't remember the ghost writing in this one. i was expecting the apple drawing.

imagine my surprise when there was an even longer note.

i read it.

and about halfway through, sitting in mom's bible room, i felt like i was being stabbed in the heart. i was crying over kit playing the piano, i was crying so hard i was sobbing. enough to get her attention through the playing to stop and turn and see what had happened.

all i could say to my mom who was sitting next to me was, 'it's so unfair. it's so unfair.'

this is what he had written:


wuz up freak! you're one of the most down to earth real people i know and since we are only in latin together and i'm not taking it next year (not that you are) i'm going to miss you. and don't think this is just one of those "you're so sweet and nice have a great summer" kind of things, because i'm being sincere.

i'm writing kind of fast. stream of consciousness or something. anyways, if i don't see you again, i wish you the best of luck in everything you do and want to stress that you never change. your temporary friend, (ghost)'

a death and a rebirth. all in one.

he did take latin the next year. and i claimed my seat next to him as i'd gotten pretty good at it, despite being at the opposite end of the alphabet. luckily nan let us choose seats. and i had my eye on the prize.

now as i type this, i can deal with the next year's note. it's funny to realize that his choice of words is awkward. this is the one i remember reading repeatedly for months after he was gone.

it's not as meaningful to me as the one i forgot, but it's equally bittersweet:


i can remember back to a project or something we got paired together on in the ninth grade. what i remember is how you and your family behaved when we went to the library. they were real! (which is very rare in my eyes) it was one of the few times i felt that i was around people who weren't trying to live up to an image. ever since then, as wierd as it may seem to be, i've had much respect and admiration for you. you're you! and you're a wonderful person. never live it down, be true. your fellow cell mate, (ghost)'

five days after he wrote that, he was dead. gone forever.

i don't know what this is.

i think that i'm keeping myself from thinking about dudermints. and the only thing sadder than that is a dead friend. who loves to come to dreams and who i know will until the day that i die. it's been fourteen years since he died. and i still feel the ache. like it was yesterday. or last week.

it was the shock at not remembering that the first note existed.

and my eyes were swimming when i read 'if i never see you again'.

it was really just too much. it was an accident to stumble upon it. i was caught off guard. a theme...

i've been crying off and on throughout the day. weepy from lack of sleep. i only got three or four hours last night, due to the aftermath and writing thereof.

i woke up crying, definitely remnants of last night, when i couldn't cry despite wanting it and needing it. mom heard aubree and i talking and giggling and came in, asking about the night. and i cried for a bit, got up and explained it away as being too tired to function without tears.

then i got excited for kit's arrival. nina had read the post and texted me that she was weepy and sad and worried for me.

i called her and she called me back while we were driving to the airport, all of two minutes before getting kit. i was excited, happy, bubbly and it made her feel better about the events of yesternight.

i was laughing about it again at that point. trying to pick the things i didn't tell her yet, in 120 seconds.

it was perfect timing back again. kit's arrival was the best thing for me. we ran around and found a bathing suit for her, and rushed home to the pool, where we swam with aubree and talked and laughed and goofed off all day, and all afternoon.

it was ideal. i was great. i called nina back and talked for a few minutes. trying to explain my confusion with the clusterfuck of coffee.

it's starting to sink in now. this i know.

and let me say right now, that if i don't get my five minutes alone with him to talk before i go back, i am swearing on my life right now... i will call him and settle it while i am on florida soil.

i have to.

god, kit's post on her blog tonight nearly brought me to tears. such an honest expression of the feelings that watching me go through my life and its motions and emotions is having on her.

how, as fate would have it, she sat across from the boy who professed his love to her while i sat across from coffee, trying to say the words to him. though i would never tell him that i'm in love with him and always have been and fear i always will be, the heart is in the same precise place. i didn't know it until i read it.

oh, how i was robbed.

i don't usually play the victim role. i can't stand people who do. take control of your life and what you can control. and learn to roll with the punches when you don't have any control. like, for example, when an unannounced girlfriend descends upon your table at the exact moment in time where you have taken a deep breath and told yourself that if you don't put it on the line, you'll never experience the payoff.

she wrote about it as a gamble. and how she thought it would pan out for me.

no one saw this coming.

especially not me. sideswiped. ever would laugh his ass off at my expense. if only he knew what i was up to.

my backup plan has failed. miserably. i didn't get that kiss. it's still five months since my last sex.

and what gets me now, is that everyone is angry at him for doing that to me. and mom called it accurately i think, when she said that he probably knew i'd leave or never come at all if he'd been forthright. or if he'd warned me that she was showing up.

i'd have said my piece, paid my tab, and left at approximately 927 pm, eastern standard time.

she friended me today. and i'm nearly certain it's to keep tabs on me. and for me to see things like 'best ever <3' that she wrote on his wall today.

and that's fine and good.

we collectively (mom, kit, aubree, and i) stalked her photos, trying to pinpoint the time when she came into his life.

as i see it, he came onto the horizon on april 5th.

i couldn't bear to look at the album of their trip to disney. i just couldn't deal with it.

i'm glad i know my limits. that i don't torture myself any more than i know i can handle at each moment in time.

like, how i could come back to the yearbooks a few hours later and handle it without crying at all.

i remember that day that the ghost was referring to. i was in the astrovan with mom. aubree and my brother were all together. it was embarrassing at the time. fourteen and in the ninth grade, which is plenty awkward as is.

i remember when i got paired with him, how excited i was. and going to his mother's door to pick him up. the moms waving to each other. the way he slid the van door shut behind him.

and i remember being at the library, putting together the report, though i have no idea which teacher had decided my fate. and feeling very, very lucky to see him outside of school walls.

to think of the chance of it now, it was a quick decision made by some poor teacher who was underpaid and underappreciated. and now, eighteen years after, i am grateful for that split second decision. because it was on his mind four years later, enough for him to mention it. and for me to accidentally stumble upon it all these years later and have a good cry.

and tonight, it gives me a lot of comfort.

because he knew i'd change, and hoped i'd return to myself.

and here i sit, doing just that.

i miss that boy. he was robbed, too. he made one single bad decision. for the first time. and it stole his beauty and his youth and his fucking LIFE. from him, but also from me. and i was just a blip on his radar. and i will never be the same. you don't come back from these things, wholly.

but back to coffee. it will be two more posts before i get to the end of the story of last night, and i'm okay with that.

i'm going back and forth between this window and last night's so i can interject what i left out.

and to say that i feel i looked the best i have ever looked, presenting myself to him is a big deal. i lack self confidence. and last night, i didn't. thing is, if i can't steal his heart looking like that, i don't stand a snowball's chance in hell. i don't stand a ladybug's chance in a one bedroom apartment. or on her key ring or my key ring. representing the opposite things.

he was being polite to everyone but me. and maybe it was an effort to derail me. because i wasn't hiding heat and desire in my eyes. in fact, i said heavy things and looked him dead in the eye. sparks and twinkles and all.

i understand the dynamic of his relationship with gf to be as such: she wears the pants, like i do in my relationships. she tells him what he should do. and i don't know why, but he does it.

she made sure to point out that she picked the color of his new car.

and maybe if i really loved him and wanted him to be happy in this life he's choosing for himself and letting her choose for him, i should have said two things to him. 1. make room for her in your place. 2. she'll get sick ofmowing the yard in about two months when the august heat sets in.

selfishly i kept this to myself. in an effort to derail his relationship with her. i had to learn the hard way. and now i know. so he can, too. in an effort to speed up the break up that would make the flossing of my teeth and willingness to not smoke while i was there so kissing me wouldn't be like licking an ashtray would be slightly less embarrassing.

it's just me and stella poolside. i am not going for five am naked swim. i hope to sleep without that tonight.

kit passed out writing, aubree turned in early. the time alone between the hours of one and five am have gained importance since i've been home. and i'm grateful for them now.

i cried so hard today. aside from the ghost cry, while kit hugged me in aubree's room. she's now seen me cry more in half of a day than in the year that i've known her. divorce withstanding.

i bet his stupid gf doesn't even give two fucking shits about the sky. but maybe she does. and maybe that's how it all started.

the first thing gf said when she arrived was, 'where's oscar?'

which made me think he'd said, 'darling, i'm meeting an old friend of mine and oscar's. don't worry, he'll be there.'

and also made me feel like my being there alone with him was very wrong. and how i thought i'd gotten him into a substantial amount of trouble with an entirely clear conscience. because he didn't warn me.

and when telling her what had happened with the texting, it bothered me to see him lie so easily to her. add something that wasn't there, and omit the part about the long hug. the flirty comment, made through a mutual friend's words. and the giggle was painfully absent.

how is it a good idea to live with someone who is already brainwashing you to believe you are an asshole? beats the shit out of me. but i did it, too.

in five years from now, maybe he says it. maybe he says all the things i have written. that he was settling. that the clock was ticking and that this was the closest thing he'd found to mad passionate love. that he'd missed the mark entirely. that he'd made a huge mistake. and that it would take five years to see it. or seven, as my luck may have it.

mowing the lawn thing? sounds stupid right? well, does it sound so stupid that i told ever for YEARS that if we just bought a house, i'd be delighted to clean it? because those words came out of my mouth. and she will start to resent him for it the first time she doesn't feel like doing it alone, and that he chooses not to help her.

points of contention. that lead to resentment. i am a professional.

i can spot it from a mile away.

he'll smarten up. and from the looks of her, and the words she spoke, it shouldn't be long now. it shouldn't be long...

in my stalking online, i realized that she seemed really young.

and in looking at her birthday, in april, that she is seven years younger than me. and that he is older than me. and that a ten year gap will be pretty difficult to overcome.

is he having an almost-mid-life crisis?

will she get sick of being interrupted by annoying customers who want to talk beer? i'm not demanding at all, and it bothered the hell out of me.

the first cigarette break made me incredibly nervous. she'd been very cool toward me up to that point. and just like him, she caught me off guard asking me to join her. like he'd said, 'hey, be nice. she's my friend and she's alone. go make friends. she's nice - you'll like her'.

she talked about being from tennessee. about her shitty job that she hates. about acting. about moving back and forth between two cities for a year at a time.

which reminds me of a random thing he said earlier in the night.

he'd said in december that this is home and that he'll never ever leave. and he repeated it last night, but added that, if someone said 'here's a chunk of money. live here and i'll pay you a ridiculous sum of money', he'd go. he'd do it.

back to her one on ones with me.

she was fine. she was warmer, but still cool. i don't remember talking about much other than music and her life. we went back in to the bar, where he was. and that was when she sat between me and him. when he gave her the keys to his place.

when he lectured her about giving the spare he'd made for her to someone trustworthy. when she said that she'd give it to friend that he knew, to watch the dogs when she went home to meet his parents for the first time this weekend.

when he said that it was a big deal, and that she can't just give it to anyone.

when she had another glass of 'bubbles' (your age is showing, retard) and told the bartended who'd fallen in love with me four times by then to pour one for me.

i declined politely, spilling lies about my sister needing her car and that i should really be going.

i had a large water, she grabbed her champagne, and asked me to join her for another cigarette.

i wonder how nervous it made him to see us walk out together twice, not once, to talk without him. i wonder what he thought i'd say, if anything. what he thought i'd own up to or admit. i wonder if she knows i'm divorcing. if he assumed i mentioned it, and made an offhand remark to him about it when they rode together to their next destination.

if it caused another discussion.

i want to scream, 'i've been where you are', only i don't know for certain, because he didn't talk about their relationship at all.

all this talking is so unneccessary. all of these conversations that can't wait and don't respect your boundaries as a grown man. as an autonomous person out and talking to someone else.

like brownies, eight or nine years ago, watching me be happy with her, and not the same variety of happy when ever decided we needed to have a talk that couldn't wait.

only he didn't cry to me. and i'm not his best friend. nor was i ever.

he finally came outside. she and i were sitting on a big bench seat, cross legged and smoking. he sat across from the two of us on a throne chair. fittingly.

watching two women talk relationships and motherhood and family while he probably didn't pay attention, and hopefully fought an internal draw to stare at my tits.

i liked her more when i left, but still didn't get it. and it made me feel only slightly better that i'd walked in there determined to kiss him even if he didn't kiss back, and left without kissing him. she wasn't exceptionally rude to me. and she'd made an effort to get to know me a little. though it was a bit like 'this is my history'. i'd asked the questions. she asked a couple if any. i don't remember. i could only look at her and think, 'what does he see in you? will he ever see more than that in me?'

and then her phone rang and he and i talked while she had a conversation. i don't know what it was about now, but i think maybe her cell phone etiquette is rubbing off on him?

so she hangs up and says, 'we're going to ibar.'

she tells the story of her gay best friend moving to town and bringing his new boyfriend out to meet everyone. and that she's going.

and he gave her these sad, tired eyes. and said he didn't feel like going, and certainly wouldn't be dancing.

and she said, 'babe, i go out with you all the time when i'm tired and don't feel like it. you're coming. we'e going. we'll take your car home and go.'

and he said he didn't want to. really didn't feel like it.

and i started to pray. i'm a praying atheist, i suppose.

please. just go. without him. let him say he's going home. and stay here with me. so i can finish what i started before you so rudely interrupted. he's too tired to go to the next place with you. i promise i'll take good care of him. i'll go so far as to keep my hands to myself. i just want to talk.

please. please. please.

and i said, 'i can go inside if you guys need to hash this out. really, i'll just...'

and he laughed. and she probably didn't. i only looked at him when i said it.

and instead of having my prayers answered, a fifty-fifty fail (remind me not to play the lottery), he said, 'come out with us.'

and i said, again, i really can't. the car and all. i need to go home. aubree is probably highly pissed i've been gone this long.

and in closing, he proudly displayed the ipad when she commanded, 'baby, show her the dogs.'

i'd never call him baby. i'd love to hear him call me darlin. without the g in a slight southern drawl.

and i faked interest in seeing piles of virtual pictures of dogs, sad for the temporary loss of my own. all the dogs in a sunflower field and in a green and grassy yard. together. like a big happy family. the stepdogs playing together, testing their combined personalities.

i couldn't say that ever got the dog in the divorce. i just said i have one, and named her. and that they were all very cute.

all of this while thao was playing in the backround. she got the bartender to play avett brothers for her. and then i handed him my ipod and said he wouldn't be sorry if he just indulged me by playing thao's new album.

and he was more than willing to oblige. and so thao sang all her songs about bodies in beds and unrequieted crushes and summer flings and sad sex to be had. despite never hearing it before, he was humming chorus in one of the songs, i wish i could remember which. my luck, it was probably 'burn you up'.

we settled and paid when we shut down the bar. it was a weeknight, it was only midnight. and the bartender agreed to meet them out after he closed up shop. we were the last three in the place, and our glasses were drained.

but i did not agree to meet them out.

and i didn't get that awkwardly long hug. i shook her hand and said that it was lovely to meet her. and hugged him after. just a slightly longer one. i didn't want to let him go. and she was standing right there watching. most likely with daggers in her eyes for me.

and he said he'd call me and let me know where they'd be this weekend. he wanted to meet kit and introduce me to some other friends.

and that he'd try to make it to the nina-tea party the night before we leave, especially that we should hold our scrabble party there. that he'd try to show up. but that he would definitely call this weekend.

and that is when i hatched my new plan.

the plan that won't die. the plan that won't send me packing, back to where i live but no longer call home, frustrated and unsatisfied. and with a hundred things settling into my chest.

the new dialogue goes something like this:

ring, ring.

'oh, hi, dudermints'.

'hey, we're going to be at this place at this time.'

'oh, fantastic. we'll see you there.'

and then i get there a bit early. and aubree and kit watch from the sidelines while i say the following:

'can i borrow you for five minutes? i just had something to ask you the other night. or something to say, and i didn't get to say it.'

'oh, sure, tea. nothing would make me happier.'

and i walk on eggshells, in another perfect outfit.

'i have something to get off of my chest.'

like pavlov's dogs, i catch him checking out my chest, but only for a second.

'i was telling you that i came home for a lot of condensed closure. and there's something i wanted to ask you but didn't get to.'

before he has a second to back out or run screaming, the tension is thick enough to be cut with a knife and i rush on. verbal vom in three seconds flat.

'you know, i feel like i never got the timing right with you. and then my life became what it was for the last seven years. and a funny thing happens when your marriage dies. you evaluate all past relationships. you wonder why some didn't work out. why you broke up with an ex. why you were broken up with. and why some never happened at all.'

i imagine him nodding as my face goes ghastly white with anxiety.

'i can't figure out why you never kissed me. why didn't you kiss me, dudermints?'

and i don't offer him an out or an excuse. being gay is no longer a possible answer.

and he says what he says. and somehow i don't cry right then and there.

and then i hug him and thank him for letting me bend his ear. and tell him that i hope i didn't make him uncomfortable, or any less of a friend by asking, and then i rejoin kit and aubree as gf walks up.

and then kit and aubree and i walk to the bar, line up shots, and toast to closure.

the fantasies of dark sky park and scrabble night out are a thing of the past before they even went anywhere.

this is my new daydream.

i'm going to practice, starting right now.

stella's got my back.

nina won't bash my head in with a brick. though she did say she was going to punch me in the tit just to prolong the torture of my past twenty four hours.

it made me laugh and cry and laugh again.

kit won't have to hear another word about it, not like it was before, when i was all reserved hope and fate thoughts, masked my a false sense of logic and reason, saying what i didn't really believe or feel in an effort to protect my fragile heart.

i am heartbroken. i can be honest about it.

it feels like a break up.

only he wasn't even mine to lose.

it's the death of a dream. another one to add to the growing pile.

and all i can really figure now, while everyone talks shit about him and how he handled me, not delicately, is that he really just thinks of me as his friend.

really really. just a friend. who would probably be happier living back home. who he could help in so many ways, if she just took a small gamble. low risk.

a friend who he has missed. he told her so.

not yesterday. but six months ago.

and because this is what i do to myself, i sit here tonight, as i have said to mom and aubree and kit earlier.

i sit here and think, i had a chance in december. and i blew it. i kept my mouth shut and i didn't ask this question. i didn't take a married gamble. and i won't forgive myself for it.

and i didn't say it. so he didn't know.

and then i left. and then i went back home to a husband i wanted to leave.

and then, four months later, from what we can tell, he met a girl, and became unsingle. and the rest is current history.

of the things that i remember to document, like i'm building a case against him, calling him out on shenanigans and putting him on trial publicly, albeit anonymously, this is one.

she said 'meet' and corrected herself to say 'see' his parents this weekend.

and later, he clarified that they were going to his home town a few hours south of here. so that she can meet his parents.

she's moving in and they don't even know who she is? really?

and before she got there, in what felt like a heart to heart moment, he said that he was afraid of combining their households. because he has a dog and she has two.

and he said that he's nervous about it.

and that he can't handle a dog fight. and that it's he last thing anyone would want. but that he doesn't know what he would do if their dogs don't live well together.

dear gods i don't believe in... please let there be a dogfight.

please let pilot win.

i'll never ask for anything ever again.

posted at 411.

edited over the swill of a beer sometime after that.

clam jam. june 29th.

for those who don't know, a clam jam is the female version of a cock block.

that is how my evening can best be summed up.

to get into the story of tonight is what i'm most determined to do, despite the ten hours it will take.

because those are the details that are already slipping from me. and they are the ones that i don't want to forget.

i am shockingly numb right now.

i'm sad, but it's not real. i'm not crying. i wanted to cry. several times tonight so far. and i got choked up talking to him once, and once i walked out for a smoke because i was fighting tears whlie he was on the phone.

but mostly, i am numb.

and a few times tonight i have had laughing fits. the sun roof. the key in the ignition. talking to aubree.

from the moment i tried to sleep last night, and the moment this morning when i woke up and knew that there was no way in hell i was going back to sleep, i was nervous.

i did not eat anything today. retraction: i ate one tootsie roll.

i couldn't even have a second cup of coffee. it was all too much.

twice today, i really honestly almost threw up. i gagged twice.

all that anticipation.

and just as i knew it would, the second i saw him, it was gone.

i felt immediately at ease.

he was sitting at the bar when i walked in. there were only two other people, so he wasn't exactly hard to spot.

he was having a beer, only a few sips were missing.

and he stood up and smiled and said hi, and there was a hug.

he looked too cute for my own good.

unlike in december, when i could tell that there was some effort put into his ensemble, this was the opposite. it was easy and comfortable. he was wearing a fatastic grey american apparel tee, fitted. and jeans.

he looked so skinny to me. i noticed his arms. where the sleeve fell on his arms, and how perfect they looked to me. it was effortless. he looked great. and a hat that i could have lived without, because i love his messy hair. he kept lifting and wiping his forehead throughout the night. those little peeks were sufficient.

i wanted to tousle it.

so. there was a hello. he was showing off his ipad, sitting on the bar, because he was working before i showed up.

i was aware of how incredibly dehydrated i was. how badly i needed water. i drank a glass of water. asked him what he was having. and had what he was having.

a pilsner. the correct decision. i wasn't up for the double. i had to pace myself, and keep my wits about me.

so we talked with the bartender for a while. and then he moved us to the scrabble table on the opposite side of the room.

the deluxe edition. lazy susan. black tiles.

it was intimidating. the table was high, if i slouched, my entire bustier fit neatly under the table. if i sat up straight, it served as a rack for my rack.

i was shaking. nervous. but hid it very well.

the thing about depriving myself of things i love for two weeks isn't that i feel like i'm hot. but it's that i feel my best.

and there was something about knowing that tonight, i looked the best i've ever looked, that came into play much later.

in any case, i was desperately hoping for food at this bar. there was none.

so we started the game. and it was a bit awkward, because we should have been talking. but i felt like he was concentrating on this game, and i was also. and so it was, that we played in silence for a little while, during that first game.

and then it happened. something that would get to me if there was a future with him. and what's funny is that, right now, i remember that it's just like post-birthday world.

he's the beer guy. and this guy walks up to him, in the beginning of the middle of our game. and he starts talking all about his fucking bar and all the drink specials. all the nights of the week. all the specials they run. the guy's wife is standing there, too. and he wouldn't fucking shut up. and he wouldn't walk away. and coffee made no effort whatsoever to end the conversation.

because it's his job not to.

despite the fact that he wasn't at work. i guess his hat indicated that he was repping.

that, and our pilsner glasses.

eventually, literally maybe fifteen minutes later, he finally left us to our game.

and i asked him to tell me a story that i don't know. i was desperate to have conversation. and aside for shit kicking and trash talking, we'd had none.

i asked him about his day, and he talked about picking up over a hundred old trophies from someone about forty five minutes away. how he had to fold down his seats to make room for them all.

that he'd just gotten his brand new car. yesterday.

it was probably at that point that he dropped the initial bomb.

' girlfriend...'

i don't even remember what he said now. it was probably about her getting off of work. or something. but it involved his incessant texting at the table.

i hated it. i hate it when anyone does it. it is a pet peeve. i have written it before, and i won't write it again.

but it was rude. and i didn't approve.

i was there. i'd come further than he'd ever know to be sitting there. and he was only halfway paying attention to me.

then that didn't matter, because he was telling me a story and looking me dead in the eye. i stared him down, and neither of us broke the gaze. it was the phone that eventually broke the gaze.

exhibit a:

a mutual friend, let's call him oliver. coffee had tried to invite him out, despite me telling him that i'd handled it, in an effort to not crash our non-date.

so he was laughing, and said he'd just read the texts.

oliver said to call him in a bit, because he was on his way home from work. so coffee did. and he got a text back that said, check back in, and that he was going for a run. and then finally, that, who was he kidding? he wasn't going to make it. and to 'be sure to give tea a long hug, an awkwardly long hug, for him and tell him i say hi'.

to which he looked to me, and giggled. and i laughed back. thinking, 'i'm holding you to that'. but not saying a peep.

fucking OLIVER knows. and gets it. so why doesn't coffee?


alright. back to scrabs. so then we're playing. and i get my first bingo. he never recovered. i beat him. three-something to two-something.

it felt good to knock him around and take him down a notch right off the bat.

and he asked me what was new in my life, and i said that there aren't enough hours, but that i did have a story for him.

and i told him about dark sky park. he didn't know what a star party was, had never heard of a dark sky park before. that it sounded incredible.

and that he had to show me something. it's called star walk. it's an app for ipad.

it blew my mind. i literally was speechless at the brilliance of it.

it's a gps app. you can adjust the brightness or darkness of outside lights, and it will show you all the stars that are there, down to only the ones you can see in the center of a metropolis. and as you tilt it up or down, and turn your body left to right, while holding it, the view changes. and it tells you everything you're looking at. showing orbits, and patterns across the sky. and you can touch a speck on the screen, and it will tell you what it is.

just. too. much.

so we went back to scrabble and chitter chatter.

and then the next beer person came over.

how these retards can see two people playing a game competitively and not leave them alone is beyond me. entirely.

so next two guys are talking for another twenty minutes. no one is talking to me. but i'm smiling politely until i can't hold it any more. and i was trapped because i didn't want to seem rude to leave to smoke.

though it was probably around then that i had a pee break and a smoke. right after those two left. and the texting started.

and the phone calls.

my girlfriend is getting off of work.

my girlfriend's phone is dead. how she's so irresponsible with her phone. i asked if it was like the gas tank. he said he never runs his gas down, and that he's never run out.

I FUCKING GET IT. i don't need the play by play. and goddamnit can you please stop talking to everyone but me?

i don't know. i should be grateful. the conversation between and the smiles and jokes were great. i should have been happy. but i felt like i got jipped. quiet and fun was not at all what it was to me. it was his new favorite spot, where he goes probably every day. and so it also is that everyone knows him, as always.

fucking cancers, i tell you.

bomb two. in

he was supposed to clear a room for her today in the house, but got the trophies instead. and she was supposed to be packing things and starting to move in. tonight. and here he was, playing with me instead. and dealing with her via phone.

he called her darling more than once, but would leave to talk, so i didn't catch any of the conversation. where are kit's bionic ears when i need them?

i know that my face fell.

i was trying so hard to smile. and i couldn't force it enough, so i didn't try. i focused on my tiles, and hiding my cleavage under the table.

i said, 'i'm really happy for you. that's great. my life is heading in precisely the opposite direction.'

he asked what i meant, and i said that i had been in my apartment for five months.

he asked if i was getting a divorce, to which i said yes. and i somehow forgot to look in his eyes when i said it to gauge a reaction. i was already dull. i was already forgetting the rules.

he went on this tangent about marriage, divorce, and relationships in general. that everyone should do what makes them happy.

i said that i was completely uprooted and that i didn't know what i wanted to do with my life at all right now. that it's both exciting and terrifying, because i have every opportunity, and no tethers. but that i am on the fence about how to proceed.

he said something about just going for it. that people shouldn't let pride get in the way of 'coming home'. he said he wasn't insinuating that it was my case. but that you've lost nothing if you try it and if it doesn't work. because you can always go back.

i guess it was about that point in the conversation when he dropped this little nugget on me:

'i think you should come home. move home. come back.'

and then she called again. and he walked out for maybe fifteen minutes. it was the worst way to leave me hanging.

i went out for a cigarette. i didn't see where he had gone, but just went outside. i felt for about thirty seconds like i was going to cry.

how can he do that to me? how can he say that? for so long now, i thought that he would be the only thing to make me ever come back. and he's repeating to me that i should do it. that he thinks i should do it. that he wants me to do it.

and when he was back at the table, and my cigarette had been smoked, he didn't pick up where he left off. and i said, 'what were you saying right before you walked away.' and i refreshed his memory. he said he'd throw a party for me if i moved back.

that this place needs a coffee shop that isn't a starbucks because everything else is gone now. and that if my mom said she'd invest to make it happen, i'd be silly not to.

i told him that i'm burnt on coffee and that i don't even know if i want that anymore.

anyways, so i'm smoking and processing that conversation. and i'm looking into the store at the antiques through the windows. really studying them. seeing as much as i can see.

and when i first looked in, i could see a shadow in the store, but it looked like a girl with a pigtail, so i wrote it off as being another employee. i walked around the front of the building. i was looking at the back of his capped head, on the phone, pacing the store talking.

i was embarrassed for no reason. i left quickly and went back in.

i suddenly felt like i'd really missed the target with my non-date outfit.

it was embarrassing.

so he came back and played a word. and then initial beer dude came back again. talking all about his upcoming events.

it made me hate people. people who are shameless self-promoters. and who can't take a fucking clue.

i don't know. i had already started with the bathroom updates to kit and nina at this point.

i was bombshelled out. i went to the bathroom probably seven times during the night, and the first couple times were texting updates.

and it was the third trip when i'd had about a beer and a half on an empty stomach.

i stared myself down in the mirror. i went through what i wanted to say and gave myself a silent pep talk. go back out there. i don't care how you do it, but you have to do it. just SAY it already.

so i brought up thinking about coming home. and said that this trip was about closure for me. i told him in about three sentences that i'd had lunch with brownies, and that we'd cleared the air and he asked how she was about it, and i said great. that she'd introduced me to my husband, but hated who i became when i was with him, because i wasn't happy and that she couldn't watch it happen. and that it cost me our friendship.

and i'm not even kidding. i was talking about being home and closure and the other two lunches i'd had.

and a girl walks toward our table and sits down.

i was face to face with that asshole from his pictures. the one who looks like his girlfriend, but that look in his eyes that doesn't communicate a girlfriend, the expression on his face that looks more frightened than anything.

this was the girlfriend.

and without any warning, she was THERE.

i was suddenly trying to keep my shrug closed and tits under the table.

it was so awkward and horrible. she wasn't nice. she wasn't smiling. she wasn't warm or welcoming.

i mean, i didn't blame her. but at least she knew i was there. i didn't have that warning. he didn't tell me. if my boyfriend had been out with some girl wearing what i was wearing, i would've been all over him to make a point, and dragged his ass out of the bar at that moment.

but she stayed. and that was somehow worse.

i panicked, but only inside. i lost the game quickly after she arrived. my concentration was cerainly broken. but more than that, i wanted out. i ended the game with 'run'. for three points. he beat me by thirty points.

i wanted to go home. i needed to get in the pool. i needed beer at home. i needed to get OUT.

and i was stuck in the end of a game with all vowels. it was painful.

i should write about the soundtrack. kit will shit her pants when she hears that bartender boy had it on phantagram radio. which made a torturous mix of mirah, phoenix, lily allen, feist, miike snow, and many others. he sang only the shins. i sang the rest. it was like he'd plugged in one of kit's road trip mixes. it was ridiculous.

i wanted to die. it was breaking my heart to hear all those songs. because it wasn't supposed to be like that. it was supposed to be playing while he tells me that he can't stop thinking about me. not five minute updates about his girlfriend.

exhibit b:

the surprise birthday party. a scrabble tournament party on his birthday that he continually invites me to and then realizes i leave that day and won't be there for.

he said something about gf thinking he was such an asshole because another friend told him about the surprise party. and that she was really mad that he found out. he said she thought he was an asshole more than once.

exhibit c:

mowing the lawn. some random story about the lawn service guy not doing a good job. that he fired him because he got into trouble with the homeowners association over it.

that gf is bringing a lawn mower and that she's happy to mow the yard for him.

it is 415 am.

i will post this as is. i will have to fix it later. it's better than nothing.

i promise that it is more painful writing all this out than it is to read it in all its scatteredness.

the exhibits are important.

the text from oliver was important because when gf showed up, she said, 'where's oliver?'

and i watched him squirm. he said the thing about him working and running and that he ended up saying he wouldn't make it. left out the part about the awkward hug and added some other part that wasn't in the text.

it made me feel like i'd gotten him into trouble. that he'd made less of his night with me to make her okay with it.

it was awful to be in the middle of.

she got up and got a glass of champagne. which she kept calling bubbles.

then another guy came up to talk beer business while the three of us were there.

if ever there was a disaster, this was it.

maybe tomorrow i can write about how she asked me to have a cigarette with her, without him. how awesome that was. (dripping with sarcasm)

and then the three of us talking until the bar closed early.

how they invited me to the club with them.

and how i didn't go.

how he handed her two keys to his place while she sat between us at the bar.

how one of the keys he'd made for her was a ladybug printed key.

(personally, that one KILLS ME. deader than dead inside. ask me to see my keys. kit was there when i had my ladybug key made a week ago)

how i was two blocks from lake highland the entire evening.

how i left at midnight on the dot and tried to go to the lake. but had to pee too bad.

how i tried to drive home and went the wrong way. how i passed the place where i'd had my first date with the sun. and then the place where ever and i were married. before stopping at a 7-11 to pee.

how i headed all the way back to the lake.

and how i wrote a few lines though flying ants were landing on me and biting me.

and how i left and made it home in record time.

how the dark sky mix suddenly sounds different to me. even more fitting that the perfection that it's been these past few days.

how aubree waited up and listened.

how we swam.

how confused she was.

and how it is that i can be so confused right now. how i didn't get to ask my question, because his girlfriend crashed my conversation as i forced it to progress to the point where i could say that i never had the timing right with him, and why didn't he kiss me.

how heima and my camera sat untouched in the car during the whole night. with my contact lens case and saline. just in case.

how my heart is just starting to break right now, because njosnavelin takes care of what used to be numb.

tomorrow i'll write about the good parts. so my confusion is understood.

for now, the five am naked swim has lulled me to sleep yet again...

big day. technically june29th.

attempt at sleep was too unsuccessful.

the mosquito bites i'll get out here will probably not be worth the cigarettes i'm smoking.

i re-read heima. i re-read future tense.

in it, i mentioned eleven.

i couldn't re-read saturn.

because that happened. and i'm ready for the next thing.

i had so much to say two minutes ago and it's all gone now.

it's still here in my head. but i just feel myself slipping.

i guess what happened was this.

kit sent me a link. to for the 26th.

it explains EVERYTHING.

it explains the discomfort for things as they are. it explains the panic when you realize all the drastic changes you want to make. it's called the great cross. the full moon lunar eclipse complicated by all the planets in the path of it.

saturn represents reality, which i never knew before.

it explains thinking about new career paths and big life queastions. the desire to change everything all at once.

full moons signify endings. perhaps the end of my marrige? i filed on the 25th.

expanding minds, improving internal dialog and external conversations.

everything is relative.

harsh, sudden changes.

impatient energy and conflict. awarenes of personal environment and immediate surroundings,

rebirth, compulsions, obsessions. transformations, regeneration. assessments. what we decide we need. what sacrifices we have to make to acquire what we need.

what defines our security. current life. present self, present drives.

how we think and process.

it's all in there.

even saturn.

'So although Neptune is attuned to what our dreams may be, Saturn is working extra hard laying out the harsh truth of whatever our situation(s) entail. This combination can be give a sobering effect; and if we can get past the depressing state of our affairs, we can focus our attention on what we can do to improve our situation. With Jupiter and Uranus still collaborating, we may remain eager and optimistic or we may catch a break or, at the very least, find solace/support in the least likely places or sources.'

this trip was timed perfectly.

everything in my life right now is.

even later today, whatever that means.

this explains dark sky park. it explains the ladybug.

when i randomly run into astrology, it always applies. and i'm grateful that kit keeps an eye on it for me, and tells me when there's something i need to see. she's only done it one other time since i've known her.

kit said that bags under my eyes are not attractive and that i should sleep. yet it's around four, and as per the usual these past few weeks, i'm wide awake.

cursing my manic nature. cursing my excitement.

i wish i was in the pool. that someone else in the house was awake so i could get in the pool.

i've been dying to slip naked into the cool water.

right now the clouds are blocking the light of the nearly full moon. it is the perfect opportunity.

i think i'm jumping in.


i'm totally jumping in.

* * *

and wouldn't you know that i slipped in during the end of 'looks' on my dark sky mix. the very next song?

'when we swam'

swimming laps never felt so good. and so pretty.

i am FREE.

that was totally worth it...

dudermints. june 28th.

so coffee has a new nickname.

as given by aubree and katie.

it's hilarious. they keep saying his name, and i keep referring to him as 'boy who shall remain unnamed'.

i don't know how i'm going to sleep tonight.

i'm as ready as i am going to be.

i went shopping today with mom and aubree. we went to the outlet malls, and i got some sweet ass new clothing to wear. a pair of awesome beach shorts that are plaid patchwork. two pairs of jean shorts, because when i'm not at work, that's what i want to wear and i only had this pair that was ripped and worn and eight sizes too big.

i got this incredible party dress. which i will not be wearing it tomorrow, because it would be a little much. maybe that last night out in town with nina, which i have unofficially invited coffee to. so it could serve as a double play.

something about the guess outlet was drawing me in. i tend to think of things there as being kinda slutty. but i guess if you want to have someone's undivided attention, perhaps this is the route.

i tried on three tops and one mini dress. the dress and one top were strapless and i hated them. the halter was completely see-through in the middle. which would have been cool back in the nineties. it had this marilyn monroe appeal to it. had it not been sheer, i would probably have gone with that.

but then...the pretty black bustier.

not too much. flat panel front, fits me perfectly.

and it has these understated little ruffles at the bottom on the sides.

it is hot.

and when i took it to the register and she told me i had to pay full price, i stared it down. i didn't want to drop $40 for a non-date top.

and mom tried to swipe her card but i fought her. i told her she can't buy hooker clothes for me, that she can stick to the wholesome clothes.

and i stared it down. and thought about all the times something fit me and cost more than i was willing to pay. and thought about all the times that i thought of it afterward, when i didn't have access to it.

so i bought it. aubree told me on the way out that if i'd not bought it, that she was willing to pay half for me to take it home.

so then i knew the outfit.

and now the rest is just waiting.

in any case, we left one set of outlets to go to the other in search of the bra that will put things where they belong in the non-date top i have selected.

and had the lady at victoria's secret fit me for a bra.

because of losing the weight, i'm one of those unlucky souls who loses her boobs right after her ass.

she took me back to freshman year when she told me that i'm a 32a.

i wanted to die.

there's no fucking way.

and i put on a few bras. and for the most part, they confirmed my belief that the lady was full of shit.

but they all had padding. the one that didn't fit perfectly.

are you kidding me?

no wonder my bathing suit isn't fitting right. fml.

so i left without anything, because i needed a strapless bra.

it's the only thing for tomorrow that is left unfinished.

i know how it feels to wear sexy underthings. it's not about wheher he sees it or not. it's how it makes you feel to walk around in it.

i'm so ready.

i mean, i'm scared shitless.

but physically, i'm ready.

my tolerance is up.

i've been playing bananagrams with my mom and aubree for days. scrabble online with everyone as per the usual, but also with coffee.

who i've been beating. who started a game with me today as soon as the other one ended.

and i asked him tonight if i need to bring my travel scrabs or if we're playing on his sexy black board.

i don't know.

it's all i could think about all day, of course.

even last night, swimming with mom and dad and aubree. and then in the hot tub with the three of them.

i just keep thinking of how sweet it would be to sneak him into my back yard.

or to watch heima.

or to kidnap him and drive to the beach at night.

as long as it includes talking to him, i don't really care where we are.

i just can't believe that it's here. it's finally here. and i'm so nervous. but i'm ready to do it.

and for so long, i thought of it as getting it over with.

and now my mindset is so different. it's about going. and just being with him. because he wants to be there with me, for whatever reason.

even if it's just to flirt and steal my attention until he's had his fill. even if, when he watches me walk away, he doesn't think of me again until the next time he's sitting across from me.

i don't know what it will be. but all i know is that i want it back. i want to fall asleep next to him. i can't help it. i want to have pillowtalk. even if it's not followed by a kiss. i don't care. i would love to share music with him, like before.

i just don't want to hold onto the past.

and, like every day, i hear thao saying over and over,

'i remember the most. don't you want a new memory?'

well, i think i could burn him up. and i did wait the winter long.

and yes, i want him to come home with me. only not specifically the way she means it. really, i'd love to go home with him. but i cannot fathom that being a possibility.

i'd like to take this opportunity to say that, whatever happens, i would like to apologize for the five part post that will follow. the one where i try to capture every detail. memorize and regurgitate his words. and my words. my questions. his responses.

so many people are waiting for details. just like i am.

and i will try to wait patiently. i will try to remember not to feed him possibilities. to ask and listen.

i just want something more than what he has ever given me. i want him to make it worth it. to go back for more. because i haven't had enough already. it's insane. the definition, actually. doing the same thing you've always done, yet expecting a different result.

and i'm glad i've been saying this whole time, since i landed, that i will consider the possibility of moving home. because i don't want tomorrow to have any bearing on it. but i know for certain that i will.

because it will be easier to go back to where i live if he shoots me down, yet again. not even shooting me down. but having a reason why, i guess. and it will be more pressing to come back if he expresses some kind of interest in seeing me again.

i don't know. this is what i do. i think. i brood. i pine. i daydream.

what will be, will be.

part of me is really glad kit will be here within hours of me leaving him. and part of me is already sorry that she's going to be there to witness the aftermath.

i'm afraid to take my phone. i'm afraid of the eight million texts from everyone who knows that tomorrow is my non-date.

i'm afraid of the bathroom stall updates.

the coaching. i feel like i'm going to have to call kit from the bathroom. give her the play by play and ask her what to say next, like that movie 'the ugly truth'. yet again. only this time, not in pre-planning mode. but in real time, live action.

i have to get some sleep.

i feel far from that.

but, just like christmas eve, i need to sleep so that when i wake up, it will be nearly here.

brownies. june 27th.

today was fantastic.

today reminded me that when friends are your friends for life, and real friends, the true ones, despite fallouts and 'breakups', will be there when you find yourself back in front of them again, no matter how much time has passed.

and they'll pick up where they left off.

i'm not going to lie. i was nervous.

i knew that it was part one of closure fest. i hoped that she would be as happy to see me and talk as i was to see her and talk.

but i knew that i wanted to apologize and say things that i'd been wanting to say for years.

and just listen and talk.

my only regret is that i didn't let her talk more. she kept asking me questions, so i kept talking and telling her stories.

but she came to see my family first, and said hi before we left together.

and it felt like any other weekend from back in the days of our endless times together. she picked me up and took me to lunch, and we laughed.

we laughed until we cried. wiping happy tears from eyes.

it was so great.

after my first martini (blueberry - it was AMAZING), we were about an hour in. over the next three hours, we had two more drinks.

there's also something pretty awesome about having lunch out and drinks.

i came home from that, said goodbye. i told her that i love her and that i'm sorry for everything, and that i want to see her again before i go back.

i hate that i let ever come between us. i just didn't want to see her in a bad relationship, and she apologized for not being more patient with me, but that it was too hard for her to watch me cry everytime ever was having a bad day, and that i pushed her further and further away from me.

i admit it. i know it. and i am sorry for it.

i'm glad that she has enough love in her heart to forgive me, and that i'm not too proud to tell her that i was wrong.

i came home so happy. closure task one wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. it wasn't awkward at all. everything was natural. and it was fun.

and it was one more instance where i felt like i was doing the right thing. that i'm on the right path with my life. that i'm happy and healthy.

and that i'm lucky to have awesome friends.

and that, i have TWO WEEKS OF THIS. it's unbelievable.

and i am succeeding at not wishing away the days until scrabble night. because what is happening before that i don't want to miss.

but i'd also be lying if i said i wasn't thinking about trying to think of a way to get coffee into my pool at three am on what will be wednesday morning. 'wanna go swimming? no one will be awake. i promise you'll be glad you did.'

and the way i imagine it, we'd float on our backs, staring at the stars and the nearly full moon, holding hands. just floating and being.

there are so many happy endings i can imagine. i will take anything i can get.

it's such a psych out that everything so far has been so perfect, it seems that if things with him get off track, it would be the most unnatural thing.

beekie and katie. june 26th.

so i got in late on friday.

and slept in late on saturday. i had to be up because beekie and i had a lunch date.

aubree and i got our eyebrows done just before. i went to lunch and a pitcher of margaritas, we talked for three whole hours.

it was incredible. i knew from talking to her before that our married lives were similar, hers was complicated by children. but otherwise, our husbands both became very depressed and passive and lazy, leaving us to do everything.

it was great to trade stories and relate to one another.

it's so strange to me that we all grew up in the same place, the same schools, sharing a lot of the same friends. and that now, as adults, we're all ending up the same way.

it's like it was in the water or something. like we were all destined to end up in the same boat.

i came home from lunch, after grabbing some delicious cupcakes after dinner.

hung around with aubree and katie. we took mom and mimi to target, just before midnight.

they were playing some crazy rap music, soldier boy. they'd taught mom the dance the day before. when the song came on, mom said, 'oh! this is the song that i hurt my hip dancing to.'

it was hilarious. they were all doing the arm motions in the car. it was awesome.

we were running around the store. they asked what i needed, and i said, 'lip stain, saline, and a box of tampons'. mom heard, 'lip stain, saline, and a box of condoms'. also hilarious.

and then we left, and i wanted to buy beer and cigarettes. dragging mom and mimi on the beer run was equally funny.

we got home, and aubree passed out. katie and i went out by the pool.

from midnight until four, we had a few beers, too many cigarettes, and hours of conversation. staring at the sky, talking astronomy and religion and divorce and relationships. youth and college, life goals and aspirations. around three, the urge to swim at night was too much to ignore. i debated skinny dipping, but the full moon dissuaded me. i can't remember when i did that last, probably at nina's in college.

so i got into my suit, and swam as quietly as i could. the pool and our seats were right outside mom and dad's bedroom window.

i swam laps. i floated on my back and stared at the stars. i held my breath and went underwater, breathing bubbles and deafened.

sat on the sunshelf and smoked and drank and talked. it felt so natural, so wonderful.

since i've been here, the feeling i cannot shake is that everything feels so right.


i feel like i'm home.

and last night, i felt like i never wanted to leave.

i didn't want to get out of the pool. i forced myself to get out and go to bed at four. i didn't want to see the sun come up. and i had a lunch date with brownies, so i had to go to bed.

but i didn't want to. i was wide awake and so content to be in the pool at four in the morning.


home. june 25th.

my mind is racing again.

i had the craziest day today.

i woke up at 630, realizing that i was flying home, and couldn't go back to sleep out of excitement.

i went to work early, rearranging my day slightly.

it was fantastic.

work was easy, and i took care of the remaining loose ends to leave scot free. my friend ben helped me scan in the marriage certificate, and printed out some stuff for work.

so the lawyer has everything he needs. he'll send me the draft next week. then file the order.

it's crazy. after ever's shenanigans last night, it was just what i needed to do before leaving.

i finished up at work sometime after one, and came home, grabbing kit to help me survive the afternoon before my nighttime flight.

it was tough. i was excited but nervous, and we walked to her place. she put on zach galifianakis standup to kill that last grueling hour and a half until just before it was time to leave.

it was perfect. i laughed and settled into the pre-flight rituals.

we left, making a couple runs for errands on the way.

and i got there, checked in, and had a half a smoke.

through security, grabbed a snack and a drink. looked for people i knew from working there all those years. but i didn't see anyone i knew.

so there are numbers. and i have always had a thing with numbers. i was relieved when i got this ticket, because i landed at 1111. and 11 was my number for a while. when i worked with cher and nate, my number was 17. my seat was 17f. my gate was b11.

and despite being on a plane with some seriously retarded people, we landed at exactly 1111. maybe i shouldn't say what i iwished for. but if you're reading, you can probably guess what it involves.

in any case, i got on the plane almost last. i didn't want to be stuck on there with all the screaming kids and hot air and feel panic again, because i was panicking at several points in my day today.

so i finally got on, and situated. and we took off and it was rough. takeoffs used to be my favorite part of flying. the rush and the adrenaline. the speed.

but it's that immediate banking turn when it feels like the airplane dips down and simultaneously turns onto its side. the g force is too much and makes me sick now. the noises make me panic, no matter what. nothing feels right.

but we got up in the air, and i had the biggest orange full moon in my window. and when we turned and headed south, i had venus shining brightly in my window. and i could see the planets all in a row. i assume i was seeing mars and saturn, and we headed due south,

i alternated between reading dreamwhip, which is my new favorite thing i've found. and also writing in paper journal. quite a bit.

and i had a wine, and when i opened it, the brand was turning leaf.

i kept the empty bottle. it's tiny. perfect for a little flower when i'm back to the apartment.

i'm struggling now with the word home. i want to say when i 'get back home', but already, after a short few hours of being here, this is my home.

ever made me feel like there was home, and this was where our families were. he made me feel ashamed of all things high school and college until now, and now that i'm here, i'm sad that i let him take that from me.

because this is my home.

i guess the other thing that i'm still a little weepy about, and not entirely over yet, is the fact that we started our descent. i turned off the reading light and i just listened to my dark sky mix. and as we dropped too quickly toward teh ground, which made me feel sick again, i started crying. when we circled over downtown, i was crying hard enough to be shaking. the tiny little lake in the center of the city, where i spent an evening with lindsey in december.

and i could not stop crying. we were landing, and i let it go, because everything got so loud on the plane, i didn't have to stifle it. and then we came to a stop. and i was crying. and then i was getting my bags, shaking because i was on the ground. i had arrived so quickly. and i was texting everyone to let them know that i was home, and i was crying more.

i darted off the plane. i walked too quickly through the terminal to the little train that takes you to baggage and away from the tarmac, and then i started to kinda giggle to myself. giddy that my family was on their way to me.

i had a cigarette, and i was dancing to the music i had on. i just couldn't wait. mom hugged me with tears in her eyes. dad hugged me while trying to take my bags and put them in the car. i jumped up and down hugging katie and aubree.

we laughed all the way from the airport, even when mentioning that ever is getting served while i'm here.

and i just reveled in it. i was so glad to be with them.

so they were in the end of a movie when they left to get me.

so they finished the movie and i read some more and set up the ashtray on the porch. old habits. rituals. this is what i do when i get into town.

mom came out to see if i was okay, and to ask what i wanted to eat.

i had a salad and a roll. i was starving, but so hungry that i felt like i couldn't eat.

but i made myself. and i'm glad that i did. the bread was incredible.

out of curiosity, i weighed myself.

just to see.

and holy SHIT if i'm not skinnier that when aubree had her brain thing. which was the skinniest i've been since i got married.

it's unreal to me. i haven't seen this number since like 2002. it's ridiculous.

so i have some room to eat delicious things that i've been missing.

i love saint atkins.

when in doubt, stick to meat and salads. it's a miracle diet.

so. then everyone started passing out. granted, it's now after 2 am. i'm wide awake, realizing how quickly now i've acquired a new nighttime routine and that i actually kinda miss it.

so i took my headphones and had one last smoke.

and the porch was a bit stuffy.

the moon is so full, it almost hurts to take it in.

i guess that because of the city lights of my new home town, so much definition is lost, even with the moon.

and the stars here aren't all that spectacular. but they're non-existent

and i laid down on a lounge chair by the pool after walking through a spiderweb. i had actually walked with my arms in front of my face, because i didn't want to walk through one in the dark. and sure enough, arms are draped in web, and i'm brushing things off of me.

so i lay down. and there's the summer triangle. right over my head. and the square of pegasus. and i couldn't make out the teapot because of the brightest moon. but i felt so calm laying there, smoking, and being parallel with the ground, and staring up at the sky.

and i can't deny that part of me instantly wanted to move home.

not to my parents, home, but to this city, home.

nights in the pool under the stars is just too cool. it's like i'm seeing with new eyes or something.

i don't know. i can't move back here. i'd be so miserable in this weather. but for a first few hours' worth of a night home, i am really happy to be here. and i'm sure i'll have mixed feelings when i go back at the end of this vacation. but for right now, i have this feeling that everything is wonderful and exciting. and i'm so full of hope and i'm ready for all the closure.

i'm ready for the self care, the hair and the brows. the shopping and new clothes that make me feel outwardly how i feel inside.

and i can't wait to swim and treat myself to all the joys of life and living here. and letting my parents take care of me.

i didn't realize how much i have been needing this reprieve. i realized it about five thousand feet above the city here. and i lost it. i was completely overcome with emotion.

and part of what kept me crying was how i was crying when i left here. how i didn't want to go back to ever in december. how i cried when i took off and couldn't stop. and when we landed, and when i got off the plane and waiting for him in the terminal to pick me up.

and it was the polar opposite of this.

that was pure dread. this was pure joy and happiness.

it was relief.

i am here. i have arrived. i am home. and i cannot wait to have these next two weeks play out the way the chips fall.

and it wouldn't be a post lately without a mention of what is happening in the scrabble game.

he started talking trash again. said 'those are big words, little tea.'

because i'd said that he was invited to group scrabble night if he wasn't too depressed after i kicked his ass on tuesday.

and i said that i'm fighting fire with fire.

he said i am holding a candlestick and he's bringing the blow torch.

it's all very light and playful. i love it.

so i said that he has a few days to prepare himself.

and i think the next line needs to involve the stakes of the game.

a best of three games? i don't know. that's something like a five or six hour committment. i'm sure we'll be too drunk to make words by that point. but i think i should bet him the bar tab.

best of three. loser pays the tab.

i think it will show that i'm not fucking around.

what i want the stakes to be, i would never in a million years say. i don't even want to list them here.

but let's just leave it at this:

i'm going to win.

and i'm going to get what i want. i'm not leaving until i do.

how am i going to make it through the next few days? i have to squash this down. quiet my brain. focus on the friends and family that are with me.

stay busy.

just like how i made it through this week of waiting for this trip.

it's 230. i'm beat. i'm hungry. i want another drink. like the kind you find in a bar.

it's friday. it feels like sunday.


i'm so happy right now.

i have crazy dreams when i sleep in my parent's house. this will be interesting...