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I think the first fascination set in when I saw the movie picture of him taken in the ‘40s. He had that devil-may-care look on his face, the ultimate bad-ass. And he was handsome. He was Mark Anthony and Vito Corleone. He gave us, "I coulda had class, I coulda been a contender, I could been somebody! He gave us, "STELLAAAAAAA!!!" in my favorite role of his. He was part of a cinematic world that's so unlike ours, where it was all about the acting and the story and not about the effects, and that's fading away into legend, too.
Mom and Dad drove up to whisk Bernadette away today. We had such a funny week. I've come to the awful realization that I will never live alone. No matter how late I stay out, I still come home to an empty apartment. Some nights I get spooked; others are just plain lonesome. From now until/ if I get married, I would rather have my sisters living with me, friends of my own choice, or even a strange roommate and her quirks that I found in the classifieds.
But she has to like cats.
Maybe I'll just get a goldfish.
The complete silence woke me this morning, until I realized I had no power. For one crazy second, I thought I hadn't paid my rent (I had), and management shut off my power (they didn't). I stumbled around the room, tested outlets and discovered the only functioning one was in the bathroom. Several anxious phone calls later, I come to find that some construction messed up an electrical main, which triggered a power outage in three blocks. I lounged in the apartments' pool in the hot sunshine until I heard the motors whirring, and someone cheered in the next building.
Dear Twenty-Something Year Old with Very White Teeth,
It was not the most appropriate thing for you and your friend to lean out the windows of your dirty car and yell "Hey, Baaaaaaaaby!" to me while I was tripping along the sidewalk in my new heels. You could see I was on my way to church; have you no shame? Although I cannot deny, it was bad timing for the wind and my skirt. I'll pray for you.
Dear Mr. Cement Truck Driver with Greasy Gray Ponytail,
No. Do not make eyes at me. Not a turn on.
You cyclists scare the bejesus out of me. You are filled with the daring to dart in spaces that sane and sensible people would not dream of squeezing into. You tread violently on sidewalks, nearly running me over, paying no heed to the fact that you have designated bike lanes.
You pedestrians are too witless to realize how much space you take up walking four abreast and sending the overflow to MY lane. You also have the audacity to take your sweet time making room, glancing nonchalantly behind as if to say, "Pedestrians have the right of way. Bite me."
Five pairs of questioning eyes turned to me in pursuit of a solution. I surprised them (and myself) by automatically providing an answer. Our little study group slowly became a question and answer session, which left me feeling highly self-possessed and so confident that I
this material. Studying pays off.
And then we relished the balmy evening downtown, sipping our coffees from Starbucks in a stereotypical fashion worthy of college students and talked of "shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings" until the guitarist on the steps of the Hippodrome Theatre packed his guitar and walked home.
A single dimmed bulb shone on the table. Armed with Jose Cuervo and poker faces that would put an undertaker to shame, Aditi broke the tension with rapid-fire slamming of cards on the table as she dealt. Ryan only allowed a shadow of emotion cross his face when looking at his cards.
Kelly dropped twenty.
The table exploded. "What?!" "Fuckin' A!" "Damn, can't we just be normal and start with ‘check'?" "Jesus, I'm out."
I dropped fifty. When the last card was shown and the last bet taken, I smugly took my little mountain of silver to their astonishment.
Highlights from my 100 Things:
1. I have been separated from my group/lost in three different continents.
27. I don't believe in love at first sight. The best relationships spring from good friendships, and good friendships take time.
30. I want a real camera to take real pictures that would shamelessly pretend to be art.
31. I take myself far too seriously.
46. I was president of the Drama Club and suffered from stage fright.
71. I'm becoming my parents. I tried to hard to delay the inevitable, but I can't.
72. I hated my nickname when I was younger.
The air was hot and throbbing with techno, while beautiful people milled around, packed tightly in the small space.
"Wanna dance?" Kim's cousin asked.
"What?" The music made it difficult to hear anyone speak, and I was distracted by both the colored lights flashing above us and Kim's energetic lack of propriety.
"Wanna dance?" He motioned to the relatively empty dance floor. The night was still very young.
I gave a sideways glance at the girls to make sure I knew exactly where they were. "Sure."
Beware the Asian mob on any dance floor. You'll never know what hit you.
More 100 Things:
33. I always feel better about a situation after I write myself out. I'm usually obsessive on writing things out.
47. I've only been to one real concert in my entire life—the Flogging Molly tour. Seeing Britney Spears perform at Disney World doesn't count.
63. I've been to two weddings and five funerals (I altar served at two of those).
67. When I have my own house, all I specifically want is a writing desk and a grandfather clock.
74. I like my handwriting. Someone called me the Human Font Machine once. It made me proud.
I miss you so much. Some moments are more difficult than others, like waking up with the fan clicking above, without your head resting on my stomach; dressing up for a night on the town and knowing that your face would've lit up if you saw me; hearing something funny on campus and wanting to share it with you; or watching the way you could ingratiate yourself so easily with my friends. I'm surviving without you (if surviving is the word to use), but the thought that will get me through this week is that I'll see you on Saturday.
Yes, yes, I understand; you have to be somewhere. Go! No, it's ok; I'll just talk to you tomorrow. ‘Bye, g'night, love you. Click. And I feel absolutely devastated. All I had with him today was three minutes and forty-two seconds, the longest break he could spare to call me before he moved on to the next big thing happening tonight. I don't know what's going on, and I don't even know how I fit into his life anymore. He just shouldn't have called and spared me the feeling of being misplaced. I guess I need to be somewhere myself.
One of my favorite bloggers is shutting down her site. Seeing as how I've never met the girl, I've no reason to be upset, but I am. Since my younger and more impressionable days, I've kept up with her writing, and again and again have been rooting for her and been offended by her at the same time, which is a sincere form of flattery- that someone would prod your mind enough so that what they say actually elicits emotion and makes you care. I understand why she's doing it. Sometimes you need to close that door firmly behind you.
I am so tired of chemistry. Ten hours of my week are appropriated into some of sort of chemistry class, be it lab or lecture. Three-fourths of my non-existent social life revolves around chemistry study groups. I have met most of my friends here through these classes. I see my chemistry TA more than I see my boyfriend. I read chemistry over breakfast, lunch, dinner, Will & Grace, and shaving my legs. In my spare time, I eat chemistry, breathe chemistry, and serve chemistry. But in the end I saw that chemistry was life. Chemistry had won. I loved Chemistry.
The joking and the bantering stopped all of a sudden. The three of us sat there in the little booth in the restaurant, musing over our respective situations. All of us had not seen our boyfriends for awhile. My friend at my left sat complacently, aware hers was coming to her and that there were no surprises about their future together. My friend at my right didn't bother to hide her expression of pain. Hers was studying for his boards; he was always studying, and didn't have time to see her. Hers was no certain future.
(I thought about us.)
The comprehension of what we were doing and what I was giving up rushed to my head so quickly and all at once so that the first wrenching sob startled me. And I couldn't stop them; they just kept coming, the all-encompassing, shuddering gasps. I couldn't breathe because I love you, but I can't have you, and oh God, it hurts so much. How can a person feel so much and not fall apart into a million pieces? And I needed you to stay tonight because I couldn't let you go just yet. I needed a good-bye. I needed you.
For the moment, the tension faded. He looked down at me with an inscrutable gaze that I couldn't elude. In perfect position to kiss me, he only let his eyes roam over my face and lingered at my lips. And even though I
we shouldn't kiss, that we avoided it all evening, that it would change things, I silently willed it with everything inside me, as much as I desired to resolve our future, together or apart. He looked at me until that heart-stopping moment when he touched his lips to mine.
That kiss is still on my mind.
The first phone call made me smile. Another dinner invite. She has that undeniable intuition to know exactly when I need a friend.
The second phone call made me chuckle. Old roomies and old jokes will send unattractive sprays of soda through my nose.
The third phone call left me with mixed feelings. Still miss us.
The fourth phone call made me cry. Mothers are the best things in the world.
I didn't take the fifth phone call. It rang and rang, but I didn't touch it. I didn't pick it up because I still don't know what to say.
On crisp white linen, he lied facing the wall, the sheets falling unnaturally to the bed where his legs once were. His dark good looks had faded away from anger, despair, and finally, resignation. He would not speak. Life wasn't worth living anymore. The cruelest of ironies was that the woman who would be my mother was his nurse. She entered the room and fiddled with some of the equipment. She paused at the foot of his bed.
She softly said his name.
"Please try to understand," she entreated to him. "You can live without me."
He could not. He didn't.
It was their little bachelor pad. Beer and liquor bottles of every shape and size lined the window sills, posters paying tribute to Scarface and Goodfellas adorned the walls, and preparing for the worst, I dubiously used the bathroom. Three boys sat intently and without a word in front of the TV screen with only their eyes and thumbs moving, oblivious to the insults being fired their way. Will, fussy when it came to cooking and food, was puttering about the kitchen, while Ahmed told his tale of girl-related woe, and I amusedly nursed the last of my ice cream.
I wonder if irreparable damage has been done. I wonder if the almost two years of tiptoeing and closing our eyes have finally taken their toll. I wonder if, now improving on our communication, that we'll be happy. It was too much to manage at one time, and there's still more to muddle through. I want to feel like he and everything are not inaccessible, but sometimes it's barely brushing my fingertips. At those times, it hurts feeling like it's already gone. And I wonder what he's thinking.
((I hate that interlude before sleep when you lie awake and THINK.))
I should keep my mouth shut about all of my car "incidents." The grand total comes to six now. How can one person be so gosh-darned unlucky with motor vehicles? There was that night when my roommate hydroplaned and was rear-ended in the Wal-Mart parking lot promptly after I related the Traffic Light Incident. The spectacular event today was my best friend backing into a Civic while I sat in the passenger seat. There's nothing like the melody of screeching metal to brighten up your day. Still, nothing could beat the look on that girl's face when Jenny drove away.
I miss my friends from home and wish I could see them more often because those post-midnight phone calls can hardly replace those nights where we will inevitably talk about our entire lives, dreams, and loves until five o'clock in the morning. She will be the only girl who you cannot hate when both of you falls hard for the same guy, and the only girl who will forgive you afterwards when you both agree he was hardly worth it. These interludes of separation go on for much too long, so I propose a weekend reunion sometime in the fall.
Honey, you are my shining star…" The music came undoubtedly from outside. A floor below me stood a boy in the middle of the street next to the rolled down windows of his car. He didn't seem to notice the growing intensity of the rain drops, but remained grinning at some window above my apartment.
"Honey, I'm never gonna leave you lonely…" He saw her face and waved her down. I heard the door to the building slam. She dashed out to embrace him in the rain, and they sped away.
"Give my love to you only, to you only…"
He dug the toe of his shoe into the floor of the elevator and looked up at me with real worry in his big brown eyes. "Did you miss them a lot?"
"I did. But look, I met one of my best friends the first week at my new school."
He brightened momentarily at the suggestion of visiting and spending the night at his friends' houses, but it's never easy at that age to leave all the places and people that surrounded you since you were born. One day he will be ready to move away. All in good time.
I'm feeling jittery, which could be a side effect of the influx of coffee in my caffeine- free system. In twenty-four hours, I have the equivalent of a midterm for which I have yet to prepare. I have a final on Thursday but stopped reading the material two weeks ago, so I'm not very certain what we're doing. I think Aditi might be miffed at me, which is going to be a problem in asking to stay with her for a little while. And I have to drive home for the first time, all by myself, and I'm absolutely petrified.
My lucky siblings should be extremely GRATEFUL. When I was their age and even now, things were tougher for me because I was the first child—as well as the first girl—who had to break the parents in for everything and was the first to deal with the embarrassing and the complicated subjects. The first bra, formal dance, date, car accident, graduation, and the first to leave for college: these are the events that Mom, Dad (well, he didn't handle the bra ordeal), and I have down pat. I'll provide my brothers and sisters the wisdom of the ages.
For some people, twenty years is too short. For others, twenty years is nothing short of incredible. In my eyes, my parents fall into the second category. It's a miracle. Five children, four houses/apartments, two minivans, and one Boyken spaniel later, the miracles have yet to cease. I don't understand them, and I don't think they understand each other too well either, but it suits. I remember so many times where it would have been simpler just to admit defeat, but out of sheer obstinacy, we're still a family, and for that I am grateful. Happy anniversary, Mom and Daddy.
should also note that happiness is the memory that remains when we must wait patiently for the looks, the touches and the kisses with the hopes being reunited with those soon. Happiness is the chain of good moments blurring together. There will be tangles in the string, for without them, we'd never appreciate its absolute loveliness. Sometimes the chain is broken so we must find the strength to repair it ourselves or be blessed to find someone else worthy to mend it. But come what may, knots and all, the chain will go on and on forever.
You can't have everything, but that doesn't stop me from wishing. I wish that this summer could go on forever, that Aditi wasn't going back tomorrow, that I wasn't so far from everyone, that I could put off going home, that time would fast forward to skip that, that I'll have a hundred more nights like tonight, that I'll learn how to mingle better with drunk people, that those new black heels came in a size six, that Michael Moore would stop gloating, and that I could be Johnny Depp's pants.
Oh, I forgot. I wish for world peace, too.
Feeling dismayed that
I'll be doing this again next summer,
I am all set to surrender the role of the wandering nomad; give me my vegetable garden and white picket fence, gosh darn it. Once again, my possessions— my life— are packed in cardboard boxes ready for moving while I'm between homes. On the bright side, I'm staying with a friend for a few days, and so far, my new "roommates" have been extremely accommodating. I give my mom credit for not allowing the hesitation to show on her face, but seriously, what does she expect? I
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