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Archive for the ‘growth’ Category

“What are you smiling about?!”

What am I smiling about, Dom? No matter what’s happened, no matter the outbursts you’ve subjected me to in court, I’m fine. I’m achieving my goal in the next few minutes in this aerie that’s my lawyer’s office: Liberation.

You’ve said a lot of shit about me to the media. Why anyone was willing to believe such a classic case of projection, I don’t know, but never mind. I’ve gotten a clean bill of health and soon, I’ll never have to see you again.  Ever.

What a shame you convinced yourself – and me – that you were the marrying kind or that libel would get rid of your guilt about cheating (and cheating and cheating and cheating). Tatum’s said I’ve been too merciful, that I should sue. No,  the world sees you for what you are, and that’s enough. An inadvertent public service, really. Oh, here comes Tatum with the papers! I’m giddy! I’ve got my own pen, thank you!

I’m with someone else – not in the business, bless. Hardly anyone has friends out here, but Marc’s my friend. He’s read a book or two. He’s been by my side the entire time. He treats me with real loving care. He’s an actual adult. I’ve heard he’s been compared to “a young David Gilmore” too, which I didn’t notice before, but, woohoo!

And look at you, Dom. An immature, creepy sex addict. ‘Get my revenge’? When you already have to live with yourself? Completely unnecessary.

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Despite the odds, we’ve made it. It wasn’t exactly a shotgun wedding, but we decided for the sake of the baby, we’d get married. I know my friends thought I was stupid, but I was already 21, Evie was 18 and Max was almost a year old, and, it just wasn’t right to me and Evie that we weren’t a family. So we became one. Our parents were relieved. They couldn’t hide that.

Then a year later we had Jess, so we were in it to win it. For a while we struggled, sure. Though the only time I ever seriously considered cheating was when I lost my job 10 years ago; the kids were almost out the door and my ego wanted massaging. One of the managers at the old office wanted to massage it, but I passed before things got to the point of no return. I also wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

Max? He’s 27, a carpenter. Jess is 25 and a stand-up. She’s pretty good, once I got over hearing her swear. You never want to think of your little girl swearing. Our friends have little kids and teens, and you can feel the envy when they’re at the house, except for Trina; Trina met a friend of Max’s at our house and they’re together now. Trina’s 42. Will’s 30. They really hit it off.

I look strange? Yeah, well… Evie told me yesterday we’re pregnant. Jesus. Pregnant. I’m 47. Evie’s 44. I’ll be 65 with an 18 year old kid. 65!

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There are no two more different people on earth than my sister Lenya and myself, according to people who assume they know us well.

She is stunning. I am plain; such is the basis of all other assumptions about us.

And also of strangers. One day as we were walking, I stopped to tie my shoe on a busy city street and told her I would catch up. As it was, she loped ahead and I didn’t meet her until shortly after this:

The hot dog seller, the construction workers at lunch on the kerb, the university students; they all stared at her in awe of her litheness, her long, shiny chestnut hair, her perfectly proportioned oval face. One man’s jaw dropped. None spoke.  As I strode to catch up, I was greeted with vile cat calls from the construction workers.

“Yo, baby, shake that fat ass!”
“Hey, smile! Smile!
“Ungh! Ungh!”

I wanted to burst into tears, but dared not. I didn’t want to embarrass my sister or myself. When I finally did catch up to her, the innocent look she’d been wearing for those men dropped as she smirked at me.

“I’ll bet it really sucks to have to deal with that.”

Why do people think that just because someone is beautiful that they are all other good things? That biological indicators of symmetry, fitness and health equals honesty, intelligence or compassion?

I am a good person!

I must stop allowing the bitterness to take over.

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The numbers titling the previous posts were an experiment. I bet myself that I wouldn’t make it to 100 “real” entries, because I know me. I start a new endeavor with a parade down Main Street, with fanfare and cheering, put ads in all the papers, make grand announcements that break up that night time soap opera people love so damn much, that sort of thing, and then it all collapses like a kid’s balloon 6 days after the birthday party.

Well, I won. Today I’m getting an vanilla ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

With numbers, I psychologically shielded myself from the world. My “#56” would be way below a slew of other webpages with “#56” in them. But can’t be a coward all my life, can I?

So I’ve actually done it. I’ve begun something and have seen it through to at least 100 posts.

In order to make this blog more of what it can be, I will use actual titles in the headings now as I continue to refine and share my small craft here; stories, dialogues and monologues with the occasional observational essay thrown in, matched with a photo I’ve taken. I’ve come to that point in life where I’m putting my real self out there and just have to say, “Fuck it. This is it, this is me, this is what’s fomenting and fermenting in my imaginings, OK?” Granted, I don’t know about you. I wouldn’t presume to judge.

Thank you all for being here with me.

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“Bon! What are you doing here?”

“I… No one’s seen you for months, so…”

“Come in.”

“Where’ve you been?”

“Around. You know.”

Really?”

“Yeah, I… No.  Lost my job. Unemployment’s a joke. My savings are… I’m being rude. You didn’t come here to hear this. I’ve got tea.”

“No, I’m good. Why haven’t you told anyone what’s happened?”

“I’m not looking to bother people. If I’m in a jam, I’ll get out of it myself. Told my parents.”

“They haven’t offered any help?”

“Sort of, but I said I’d be fine. They’re not rich. Mind, Cookie’s right under you.”

“A kitten!”

“A stray I took in.”

“Oh. Hi, Cookie.”

“Look, at some point I’ll get something. I’ve called every temp agency in town.”

“You need a real job, not temp work. I wish you’d said before now.”

“I’m not going to be that person who brings everybody down. Friends don’t do that.”

“’Good-time party buddies’ don’t do that, maybe. Friends help each other. If I lost my job and came to you, would you turn me away?”

“Of course not.”

“Well, then. I thought something might have upset you, so I decided to come see you and find out. I’ve missed you, Celia.”

“Bon. What a time to tell me this. I don’t know what to say.”

“Let’s just sit here a minute and not say anything. That OK?”

“All right.”

“I’m only sorry I didn’t show up sooner than this.”

“You’re here now, though. Thank you.”

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“The magic hour.”

That’s what they call it, right? Two times a day when the sun is at just the right angle, and even trash piled in a pothole-filled street can look like treasures. Do our lives have magic hours? Can I look at the moments and, even if those moments were times when I’ve been frightened or sad or anxious or guilty, can I look at those moments and see them as being magic? As being miracles of consciousness? Because they are, whether I recognize them or not.

So much of the time, I’ve gone through life in a daze, partially from beating myself up over things that aren’t even going to matter ten minutes hence, much less six months or twenty years from now, and rob myself of the joy of existing in this moment. When I’m not careful, I allow my thoughts to fill my heart with regrets over what I’ve said or done (and some of those things should definitely have been said and done) instead of realizing that they’re all just lessons. To rub those memories like a worry stone doesn’t allow me to learn anything, and then I make the mistake again. It’s all of a piece, if I forget the truth of things.

This moment is, as are all our moments, awesome. As in “to be filled with awe and wonder” and not restricted to when you’ll look your hottest in photos taken outside. Even the mistakes are awesome. Maybe especially the mistakes.

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“The book says he thought he’d made it to China.”

“You’re gonna take the word of one book.”

“Why are you such a cynic?”

“Not a cynic. Skeptic. Cynics believed something off the bat and got burnt. I never believe anything straightaway. Anyway, Columbus knew he wasn’t in China. For one thing, no one onshore was wearing any silk. Think about what makes sense. Find the original sources. Don’t just swallow stuff.”

“And when you’re wrong about something?”

“Then I’m wrong. I totally accept that.”

“Mom says you ask too many questions.”

“Mom says a lot of things. She’s human, though. She’s wrong sometimes.”

“I won’t tell her you said that. What?

“You’re 17.”

“So?”

“You’ve never disagreed with what anyone in authority has told you ever, have you? Mom, police officers, books… Ask questions or the world’s gonna run over you.”

“Right. Mom says your big mouth’s gonna get you in trouble. You’re gonna say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time and they’re gonna fuck you up.”

“Really. Mom said, ‘fuck you up’?”

“OK, no.”

“Oh, stop looking so hurt. I just don’t always take what people say at face value. That’s all.”

“Now I see what she meant. Don’t throw things in people’s faces.”

“Don’t lie then get mad when people don’t believe you. I see a few things, myself.”

 

Cherie looked at little brother Alan and her stomach sank. She hoped she wouldn’t have to become a cynic in the end.

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