Friday, December 30, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 6: bad strategy

Bad Strategy

As a teenager, I heard that people who best survived a car crash were those who were completely relaxed.  I took this to heart.  Scrunched down in my seat (un-seatbelted, of course), unable to see what was happening,  I went completely limp.  You could say that it worked: I survived adolescence.  But then, I was never in a crash.

Unfortunately, my Raggedy Ann strategy leaked into my life.  I didn't crumple, but neither did I look to see what was coming.  Or steer.  What good is it merely to survive?  Buffeted by outside forces, driven by self-interested others, I land here and open one eye.  Is the ride over?

Friday, December 16, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 5: sleep


In high school, when I was babysitting, I just wanted to lie down next to the kiddies after story time.  I would make it to 9:00, 11:00 I was drifting off and promising myself that I would leap up when the door rattled and somehow convince the parents I had been on high alert the whole time.

The worst part of having a roommate in college was the sleep need discrepancy.  And all-nighters?    I tried.  But at some point I would start seeing double and then I would fall asleep on top of my books.  

When I was a counselor at Girls' State, I drank endless glasses of Diet Coke trying to keep on top of the schedule.  Then, one night after the girls were asleep, I sat down at the edge of my bed and woke up the next morning, feet still flat on the floor, staring up at the glowing fluorescents.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 4: best friend

Best Friends

I've had two, of a certain kind.

The first one arrived in the traditional form, 12-year-old girl, in my class.  She knew everything about me.  At 14 I told her my final, biggest secret, and I said that I felt like my soul was naked.  Then Carolyn moved away, thousands of miles. In the beginning, we exchanged fevered letters, endlessly proclaiming out status as each others' best friend, ever, but eventually the letters thinned.  Now I can't find her.

The second one surprised me.  I was an adult, married, and used to living without a best friend, without that kind of best friend anyway.  Then I met a man older than my parents to whom I could tell all my secrets.

[yes, this is horrible.  But I'm doing something...anything]

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 3: not-red


The other stripe on the candy cane.  Green light; yellow light.  Not heart, but soul.  Not vein, but artery.

Or diluted into pink princess frippery, whipped into tutus of frothy girly liqueur.  Oh, how I craved it all once!  Drunk on the feminine, delirious with my own petal-softness and perceived magic powers.  I wanted a wand, shoes that clicked when I walked, skirts that flared when I spun.  A prince figured in somehow, but mainly I foresaw confident glittering.

But fuck the candy canes and tutus.  Fuck the glitter.  All I want now is the confidence of a princess-to-be. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 2: motherhood


Owen woke me, saying:  I'm not going to bother you; I just need to know something.

He would never wake Keith and that's not because Keith is an ogre.  Neither am I a pushover.  I think it's because the boys and I still retain a degree of indivisibility.  He's not waking me, he's solving 'our' problem of him needing to know something.

I remember when we separated.  After months of them being inside me, of BEING me, they were suddenly over there.  Not me, not me containing them, but me and him and him.

Moving away continues, but so does circling back.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

100 days of 100 words, day 1: red


Red as in autumn.  Red as in redhead, which is to say:  orange.  Red like baby gums, like mother's nipple, like a bead of blood.

Red as in grapes, which is to say purple, which is to say sweet and also broken, probably soured, fermented, ridden with flies.

The numbers on the clock across the room.  Hot water.

I said I liked the red coat and you said I should have it then and bought it for me, guilt on every side, and I walked through snow, ridiculous, red, proclaimed all winter that I had deserved something at last.