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Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

“What’s the point of work? Or marriage and kids? We ‘re born, we grow up,  go to school, work, get married, have kids and die.”

“It’s whatever point you want it to be. You’re in charge.”

“You get up, go to work,  come home,  go to sleep, get up,  go to work, maybe relieve a bit of tedium in a bar or someplace…”

“So do something else!”

“I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

“Of course I understand. Just about every single person who’s alive thinks the same thing at least once in their life.”

“Marriage. Tying yourself down and merging yourself legally, financially, all that to someone else, and for what? So ten years down the road, you divorce? And if you have kids, they grow up to hate you? And you buy a house with a mortgage and you’re stuck with that for 40 years…”

“What’s brought all this on? Existential crisis?”

“Mmm-hmm. Well,  at the party yesterday, I was talking to somebody about life…”

“The tall woman with the long hair?”

“She’s very smart.”

“Oh.”

“Julianne can’t help that she’s beautiful,  I mean, smart! ”

”’Julianne?’ Kevin, you want that woman.”

“I… Yeah.”

“Wait, you’re dumping me? Here?”

“I’m sorry, Sheila.”

“All this agita was fake?”

“I’ll get my stuff out tomorrow.”

“To think we would actually have a real conversation…”

“But I agree with you; it’s all a choice.”

“No wonder we’re at Starbucks. You bastard.”

“Yeah, well. Good luck with life. Really. I mean that.”

Reader, I punched him.

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“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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“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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“Could I see a little more gravitas? Your father is dead and you think something’s going on, but you’re too afraid to find out, yes? Again. Please.”

“’K. Ahem! Oh, that this tootoo solid FLESH wouldmeltthaw and resolveITSELF in to a DOO! Or that th’Everlasting had not fixed hiscanon against self-slaughter! O God! GOD!”

“Stop.”

Rebecca Nelson warily regarded Colleen Lucas.  Rebecca hadn’t cast this all-woman Hamlet; she came on to direct only today, when Sheila Rodriguez called begging for help. Millicent Taylor had fallen ill. “Walking pneumonia”. No matter; the problem now was Colleen Lucas was terrible and Rebecca suspected Colleen had gotten extremely cozy with Millicent to get the part. There was no denying that she was lovely to look at, but seemingly that’s all she was. Was it too late to reframe the show? Rebecca knew several actors who would be splendid, including one who looked like a younger Kevin Kline.

Try to work with what you’ve got, Becs.

“You have read Hamlet?”

“Yes, ma’am. It was sad.”

“What do you think Hamlet’s problem was?”

“Hamlet’s the real king, and his uncle stole the crown.”

“Are you sure that’s the issue?”

“Yeah!”

“’Mad’ here means ‘crazy’, not ‘angry’.”

“Oh… OK. I’m so silly.”

Colleen batted her eyes.

Poor thing. I’m not gay.

“Why do you want to do this play?”

“’Cause it’s famous!”

Oh, Millie. You must bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, because this child must go.

“Come sit by me, Colleen. Let’s chat.”

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Dammit, here she comes. I hate these family weddings.

“Hello, hello!”

“Hello, Paula.”

“Look at you! Good to see you’re eating well. Very well. Incredibly well. Me, I can never keep down a bite.”

Pleasedon’taskaboutMatt.Pleasedon’taskabout…

“And Ryan’s over there.  He hates anything he has to wear a suit for, but he loves me, bless him. Where’s your fellow? ‘Malcolm’, is it? ‘Maurice’?”

“Matthew.”

“Yes, Matthew. The postman. Charming. So?”

“We’ve, uh, divorced.”

DIVORCED?! No! But how terrible! What happened?”

“I don’t think I want to…”

“Well, I’m sure he’ll find a lovely girl sooner or later.”

“I’m going to have to excuse myself…”

“Wait, Tricia, I must tell you. Must. We’re moving away from Manhattan!”

“Congratulations. I’m just going to…”

Fisher Island. It just feels right.”

“Great. Look, I see my mother…”

“Tricia, I get the distinct feeling that you’re ditching me.”

I should let her have it, right now. But Pegs would never forgive me. OK, Trish, reacting to all this would be our insecurity showing. But I hate her. No, it’s envy, isn’t it? But I want to smash her face in with a ball-peen hammer if it would for one moment make her shut the hell up about herself! Dammit.

“Paula?”

“Yes?”

“I’m glad you’re thin, rich and with a wonderful man. I wish I were just like you. There. Satisfied?”

“You’re a scream! Honestly! Lighten up. No wonder Matthew left you.”

Oh, so she walks away! How do I fall for this every! Single! Time!? How?

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