Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Romance, Part 2

The next morning, I laid in his bed and stared at the thick dark branches silhouetted against the robins-egg-blue sky. His body stays warm and tight around mine. I like the way he wants me right next to him when we sleep...how he’ll pull me into the curve of him without my having to ask him to. It’s that pull, you know. The way someone pulls you from all the way over from across the other side of the bed towards them, so they can hold you while you sleep. I’ve stayed with men for perhaps longer than I should have simply because they did that once.

I don’t sleep well when I’m here. His bed is soft and warm - “Good sheets are important,” he told me with a smirk, the first night I stayed - and he is one of the first, here, that I’ve been able to stay with the whole night through. I know that means something. But it’s a forced attribute, kind of like trying to cure yourself of bed-wetting. Shallow sleep staves off nightmares. Either sleep lightly or risk a morning filled with a million questions about things I'm not yet ready to tell him. So I just try not to sleep much, or too heavy, when I’m here. It’s exhausting.

I hear him sigh as he wakes. “Mornin’,” he says lazily, rolling himself on top of me to kiss me on my forehead. I smile up at him when he bends his head down to kiss my lips. “Breakfast?” he asks. I nod.

***

We are not meant to be together. I already know this. I follow him into the little cafĂ© on the corner that he’s picked out for breakfast, and I smile at him when he holds the door open for me, but we are not meant to be together. When he smiles, it is this huge, toothy grin that is genuine and very endearing. He can be acerbic, and his remarks are often cutting without intent but also without apology. He has this distinctive, amazingly sexy voice, and we can sit in a bar and talk for hours on end without me tiring of hearing it. He arrogantly assumes that my weekends are free and clear for him, waiting for him to call on Thursday night to fill them up. He is honest in all things. I don’t trust him.

My mind gets lost as I stare out the window and sip my coffee. Setting my cup back down on the saucer, I warm my hands around the white porcelain and regard him from across the old wooden booth as he studies the menu. And we would not be unhappy, I think. Together, if things lasted and began to matter. We could be happy, I could make it so, he could let me. We have an old Victorian house made out of red brick, just a little further down the street from where he lives now. He has a book published with more to come, and I am focused on my career; the altruism of which he is fond of boasting about to colleagues at dinner parties and social gatherings. And we don’t really love each other all that much, but we have a healthy sex life and we go to new restaurants and he takes me out to breakfast and sometimes we drink with his friends. This would be our life. Things that make him happy and things that he might do to make me somewhat.

But we are not meant to be together. So, our breakfast will end. He will pay after he waits for me to slide out the booth, walking me up to the counter with his arm around my shoulders. Outside, on the sidewalk half-obscured by the snowy bank, I will smile and nod my head when he wraps his arms around my waist and tells me he'll call me later in the week. He’ll kiss me goodbye and I'll drive home, shrugging to myself because I don’t really know if he will call me, and more than that, I don’t really know if I care.




Part 3 --->

Monday, December 29, 2008

Romance, Part 1

Editor's Note: This story has been hanging out in Draft City for the past year or so. It will be published on the blog as an ongoing series.



“Romance.”

The conversation floated through my head as I walked down the sidewalk. It was late. The street was quiet.
“I am capable of romance, despite preconceived notions to the contrary.”
“Sure...if any living male is able to meet your blogs-worth of requirements.”
I hopped up the steps leading to the front entrance and hit the intercom button to let him know I was finally here. He couldn’t buzz me in - something in the connection was broken - so he had to come down a flight of stairs to let me into the building. It made me feel awkward, to be standing on the other side of that huge lobby window while he jogged down. I don’t try to meet his eyes until he actually opens the door and lets me inside, and sometimes not even then.
“My blogs-worth requirements are actually pretty simple - be kind, open-minded, and be comfortable with yourself. That’s really all I want.”
“That’s all anyone wants. It’s the number of things someone can do to fail one of those categories that makes it difficult.”
I had snapped the cell phone shut, then, and tossed it onto the bar, turning off this particular text conversation. “Fuck off,” I thought to myself as I lifted my beer up to my lips and turned back to my friends. I knew he was saying what I thought he was saying. We’d had this conversation before.
He held the door to his apartment open for me. I walked in and tossed my bag onto the floor as I glanced around. His place is light and airy: Neutral walls, wooden furniture, huge windows overlooking a leafy street. I love the way light flows in. It’s one of my favorite things about staying over...waking up in the morning and staring out at the thick dark branches silhouetted against a robins-egg-blue sky. As I swung my black pea coat onto the back of his dining room chair, I could feel him walk up behind me. He placed one small kiss on the back of my head, then backed away, waiting. I bent down to unzip my boots and, after taking them off and tossing them over to the door, I padded into his room, knowing without having to look that he was following me.
I half-laid on his bed - legs bent with feet still touching the floor - and watched as he criss-crossed the room, readying it for the night. We have been dating for six months now, but have gotten stuck in the First-3-Dates stage. We’ve never spent a whole day together. I doubt he knows for certain how many siblings I have, or what I really do for work. He travels a lot, often out of town, on business. Sometimes this bothers me. Sometimes it doesn’t.
He glanced over at me as he closed the door to his bedroom. After regarding me for a moment, he furrowed his brow. “Hey,” he said, his voice gentle. “What’s going on with you?”
I stared up at his ceiling. “Do you think I’m incapable of romance?” I asked, surprised by how small and meek my voice sounded.
“What?” He asked, caught off guard. I felt him sit down next to me on the bed and place his hand on my stomach. I loved when he did things like that: It felt like I was getting a preview, a glimpse of what a serious relationship with him might be like, what it might be like with anyone, again. The kind where you touch each other without thinking about it, when your touch is always welcome. Always wanted.
“Do you think I’m incapable of romance?”
“I think,” He began quietly, as his hand continued to travel across my stomach, fingers dipping under the hem of my shirt to touch bare skin, “That there are a lot of things about you that I don’t know.” Another pause. “A lot that you don’t volunteer easily.”
I continued to stare up, but nodded. I hear this all the time. It has to be true.
“What brought all of this on?”
“Conversation with a friend.”
“A friend of yours thinks that you’re incapable of romance?”
“I think he thinks I’m incapable of a lot of things.”
“And this bothers you? This is a guy, right?”
I took a deep breath in and sat up. “It’s not like that,” I stated, staring down at the floor. His bedroom floor had grey carpet, the kind that had long plush fibers that showed the indents of where feet had tread. I used to want this carpet in my house when I was little. I would go over to my friends’ house and dream about having the kind of house that had carpet like this, the kind that showed where your mom had just vacuumed because she was a mom like that: The kind that stayed home and vacuumed and made cookies for you and your friends when they came over after school. It’s funny, the things that you used to wish for so fervently that you’re now grateful you didn’t have. My mom was a feminist and a working mother and had goals and dreams outside of her family, so she didn’t have time to vacuum every day or make cookies for me and my stupid friends. And I’m glad about that now. “But, yes. It bothers me.”
“Why? Do you think you’re what he thinks you are?”
“I don’t know. No. Maybe.” I brushed my long hair back with my fingers, pushing it behind my ears. “I don’t think he knows me as well as he thinks he does.”
“I don’t think anyone really knows you as well as they think they do.”
I looked over at him. I’ve heard that before, too.
“I think that’s the problem.”




Part 2 -->

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, to you and to yours

Listening To: "C'mon! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!" by Sufjan Stevens

From the annals of the Carter Christmas Letter:

1991 -
"Amber's a seventh grader at Twin Bluff Middle School (6-8). She enjoyed having a role in the school play this fall and is now busy with speech team. Last April, Amber began a commitment to getting perfect teeth, she started the "braces" process. So far Mom and Dad are the only committed ones. Committed to payments and committed to ragging Amber to wear the appliance."

1992 -
"...Speaking of hair, Amber is no longer shaving her head anymore. I suppose, we should be proud that is trying to express her individuality. Right? By the way, no family picture this year. Actually, she only shaved one-half of her hair and it's growing back quite nicely."

1995 -
"We can now communicate with Kris via E-mail! Perhaps someday in the future this will be how we will all send our Christmas Greetings!"

2000 -
"The house got built! I think building a house is a lot like having a baby. You have to focus on the end product to get you through the development stage. Every time the budget was updated it was like morning sickness all over again. We even had a wardrobe just for building the house, clothes that we'll never wear again! Instead of "haven't you had that baby yet?" It's, "when will your house be finished?" But fortunately afterwards you develop the same type of amnesia that makes you forget how painful it all was; otherwise no one would go through building a second one. And like having a baby the man is ready to start on the next one long before the woman!"

Nobody likes a crier at Kohl's.

It was already not the greatest day. Standing in the middle of Kohl's on a Sunday morning trying to find a proper Christmas gift for my grandma, I called my mom to beg for help. After discussing brooches and cashmere socks, she asked what I was doing that day. "Hanging out with Katy," I answered, as I studied the large gems on a pin that might go with my grandmother's purple suit.
"What are Katy and you doing today?"
"I don't know. Hanging out, probably finish our Christmas shopping, maybe go to a movie."
"Well...do you guys wanna go to a Vikings game?"
"What? The Vikings game today? Are you guys in the cities right now?"
"No, your dad and Daniel are down there. Your dad has two free tickets and I thought, you know, that if you guys wanted to go, you could meet up with Dad and..."
"Wait. So Dad's in the cities, with Daniel, with 2 extra Vikings tickets, and this is the first I've heard of it? Two hours before the game?"
"Well I was going to go, but then I decided to stay home - "
"Right, but that still leaves one ticket. For a Vikings game in Minneapolis. Where your daughter lives."
"Oh, Amber, I'm sure he didn't even think about it-"
"Nope, I'm sure he didn't either."
"Soo...do you want to go?"
"Uh, no. Apparently no one wants me to be at the Vikings game today, so I think I'll just do everyone a favor and stay away."
"Amber-"
"No, forget about it. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to take it out on you. I should go, though. I still have to figure out what to get Grandma."
"Okay. Well...if you need any more help, give me a call."
"Yeah."
"Bye."
"Bye."
I clicked the phone shut and threw it into my purse. Quickly walking over to a tight section of gloves, hats, and socks, and scarves, I pivoted towards the wall and blinked hard. I could feel that awful sting in the back of my eyes, the one that comes when you know you're going to cry but you're trying really hard not to even though the deep ache in your gut - the kind that feels like you just got punched, hard - is growing bigger and louder and more insistent. It always reminds me of Ralphie from The Christmas Story, when he gets socked in the eye with a snowball by the two neighborhood bullies. And I wondered briefly if it would help if I punched and swore at something, too, but after a quick inventory I realized that using hot pink leggings and pastel silk scarves as my target would feel more Crazy Town than satisfying.

You know that saying, about how your relationship with your father will predict the future of your love life? "Well, if that's true, then my love life is fucked," I used to think. We just didn't get along. Ever. And I wanted to...I feel like, for the better part of my life, I have been six years old, standing behind a white lace curtain with my forehead pressed again the glass of the window...watching my dad play football with my older brother and wondering why he never wanted to play with me. It's funny, the things you remember. I remember that, and I remember, distinctly, one car ride home when I was 7, when my dad talked about taking me to McDonalds sometime, just me and him. But it never happened. He traveled a lot. I was a bookworm, alternately sullen and moody, loud and fantastical. The kind of kid that brings up the saying 'Children should be seen and not heard'...which my dad would remind of, a lot. I may not have wanted to take me anywhere, either, if I had known myself then.

So it's not really self-pity. Things just sometimes don't end up being the way you wish they were. I know that. And I changed...for the better, I think, hope...into someone that my dad or anyone else might like a little bit more. Some of it was forceful, intentional, and some of it was just growing up. But what is it, that reduces you back to being six years old and feeling left out again? I'm 29. I have a great life, great friends, parties to go to every weekend, a job that I love....but my dad plans a football outing with my brother, leaves me out of it, and suddenly everything about me feels so not good enough. Unfun. Unlovable. "Nobody wants you around," that horrid little voice, the same one that tortured you all through your gawky, awkward middle school years, taunts. "Nobody likes you enough to want to bring you along. Have fun shopping alone at Kohl's for the rest of your life."

Fucking Kohl's. I hate that place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quiet.


I'm dealing with that thing that comes every so often where I have a lot to say, but I know I shouldn't say anything or at least cannot say anything in a way that will be without repercussions or regret later. And it's bleeding into everything...I tried to write a post about winter, and it ended up being this passive-aggressive diatribe. Poor form, that. Katy yells at me whenever I admit to saying something completely PA, even if I disclaim that I did it without thinking and without total intent to wound. But I know why people do it, why passive-aggressive tendencies are so easy to fall into...you're tired of pleading to be heard, and so now the only way you know how to get the attention you feel you need is through caustic barbs and mumbled sarcasm. And it isn't right, and I know it, so I'm just going to keep my mouth shut.

Shut. Quiet. Closed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I learned about me today.

I am The Worst at masochistic-downloading. You know, this thing when you're feeling miserable about something and instead of being a normal person and downloading a song that makes you feel better, you download the one song that could only make you feel more miserable.

It's pretty great.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Miss Katykins -

When I have children and you find me going on and on about all the cute little outfits I want to dress them in or that really adorable thing they did yesterday or how unexplainable it is to have a child and have your whole entire life change within a moment....if you roll your eyes at me, I will immediately pull out a copy of this photo (which I will keep with me at all time explicitly for this purpose) and whip it IN YO' FACE -
(Cork-a-dork looks hilariously adorable, though, just for the record)

Fuck YEAH.


From Vintage Ads

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

As most people close to me know, I don't really wear a lot of jewelry. I'm kind of a simplicity girl when it comes to that kind of thing...I don't really like to wear any unless it's very simple or it has special meaning (for instance, the silver toe ring I acquired in India that hasn't been off my toe in the last 9 years). Besides, I'm pretty clueless when it comes to figuring out what accessories would "jam" up an outfit.

But these sweet little whimsical pieces kind of make my heart stop a little bit.

All of them can be found on TheArdentSparrow's Etsy page. (And, as luck would have it, on my Amazon WishList)

Thanks to Ang for bringing these pieces to my attention via her blog.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Happy Birthday Meredith!!!!!!


Happy Birthday, Meredith
You are the cutest
I like your short red hair
and your comebacks are the smoothest

You used to work at Starbucks
I thought that was cool
Now you don't work there anymore
And that's cool, too.

You are super prepared for any emergency
Just look in your purse
If anyone needs anything of urgency
You probably got it, in that there purse
You're like a Walgreens check-out station.
I never knew I needed or wanted a travel-sized sewing kit
Till you came along.
I've just been putting a couple of tampons in my bag and calling it good.
But because of you, Meredith, I've started to sing another song.

You're really good at landscaping
and your place is the best
The only thing that really rhymes with landscaping
is raping
so let's not put this poem to the test.

You are one of the most hilarious girls on the planet
You're sweet, coy, sassy and smart
When other people are stupid, you're like "CAN IT!"
You're a lot funnier about it than that, though.
That's what sets you apart.

So Happy Birthday Meredith
I hope you like being 23
When it comes to buying beers tomorrow, just you look to me.
And be all, like, "Hey hey!"
"Hey heeeeeeey!"
"Hey hey hey!"
"HEY!"

Weekend Video Treats: SNL Digital Short

Pony Express!

Weekend Video Treats: SNL Digital Short

"Jizz In My Pants" -

I love how "Seen on TV" product commercials make it seem like ordinary objects like blankets...

...are totally inconvenient and impossible to deal with.

Hence, The Snuggie!


I like pirates.

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