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BY suzy

06/01 Direct Link
"Cats!" she thought with contempt. "They don't do anything interesting. They just lie around the house all day and eat. They never get to go in the car with the Food Guy, though they do take up far more of his attention than they deserve. They even try and bribe him with gifts of headless mice and rabbits. I would never sink to such depths,' she reflected. "He takes me with him everywhere because I'm his best friend. I don't know why he went and got two little cats now that the big one finally died. They're so utterly unnecessary."
06/02 Direct Link
He still loved her, even though she had left him years before. He had put her on a pedestal, adoring her beauty, wit, cleverness, her ability to love. Her presence brightened his life and gave it meaning. It made him feel brave and special. The demons of his childhood were finally laid to rest. But when her life changed tragically, and she changed with it, he was appalled. The lovely girl he had married was gone forever, replaced by a sad ghost he could no longer touch. It made it easier to betray her, but not easier to lose her.
06/03 Direct Link
I've always been on the slothful side, but I used to be really efficient, too. I was either doing a million things at once, or nothing at all. Then I had a nervous breakdown, and was unable to do anything for days at a time. Sometimes I just stayed in bed and cried. I went to the doctor for help, and she put me on medication. It helped the depression, but I was still only able to do one thing a day. When she wanted to increase the dosage, I decided it was time to help myself for a change.
06/04 Direct Link
Today is my birthday, and it's been the happiest I've had in a long time. I used to love my birthday, but losing my father took most of the fun out if it (and the rest of the year, too). Last year's was bad, spending the morning in the hospital with my dying mother, then spending the afternoon/evening driving to Santa Rosa and waiting for the movers who were bringing my things to storage. This year, I've been nurturing my body (getting my nails done; brunch) and spirit (flowers and the New York Times and presents) and I feel hopeful.
06/05 Direct Link
I figure I'm under renovation. I'm at the stage where everything's a mess: the walls torn down to the studs, floors pulled up, dust and dirt everywhere, and you can't believe you can ever get that mess cleaned up, or the place looking half-way decent. Just when you think you can't take it anymore, something changes and the way things will look when the renovation is finally complete begins to emerge from the rubble and chaos. Better than you'd dreamed. You dare to feel hope, and even allow yourself some happiness. And when the project is finished, you've just begun.
06/06 Direct Link
I'm going to be alone for a few days, while my man is visiting a friend in a distant town. The friend has recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and hopefully the visit will cheer him up. It's good to have friends around at a time like this, especially if you're in the hospital. That's one thing I learned from my mother's long illness. I'm feeling nervous about being here on my own. Usually, I'm the one who goes away. But then, I notice our beautiful dog is curled patiently at my feet. I'm not going to be alone after all.
06/07 Direct Link
On my way home from the evening dog walk, I stop to chat with my neighbor, Patricia. She's working on her garden, which is in full, early-summer bloom. Roses, poppies, and peonies are luxuriating in the last rays of the sun. Patricia's dog is in the garden, too, and although he and my dog share a long-standing and mutual dislike for each other, they are peacefully co-existing. They seem to have a common interest, which turns out to be a very dead rat. As I react in horror, Patricia says she'll bury it."Every living thing deserves a consecration," she says.
06/08 Direct Link
I wish clothes did lie sometimes. In fact, I find the concept of complete honesty completely overrated. Imagine how great it would be if, while trying to stuff your ten pounds of glamour into the five pound bag of your formerly favorite jeans, they said, "You must have lost some weight overnight, you gorgeous girl, because I feel so baggy around your curvaceous butt and positively skinny little thighs!" Instead, they are like power-mad bouncers at an exclusive night club and refuse to let you in, all while insulting your entire lower body. But(t), a girl can dream, can't she?
06/09 Direct Link
Dandelion fluff floats in the air, a wave of soft stars I can actually touch. A school bus flashes by, empty, its traditional crayon- bright paint brilliant in the June sunlight. I remember when I had to go to school in the early summer, walking to the neighboring farm to await the school bus. Having to spend those first warm, sunny days inside seemed like a punishment (as did having to go to bed before the sun did). School as prison. I'd look longingly out the window, daydreaming about being outside as the clock ticked away, marking the minutes until freedom.
06/10 Direct Link
I wore a red dress to my grandfather's funeral. He was a beloved man, well-known and respected in the small town where he had lived the half-century of his married life. He survived his wife's death by just a few months, though it seemed to him to be a very long time. His spirit died with her. As I walked into the church, wearing that scandalous dress, there were gasps and horrified looks from the mourners in the crowded pews. What they didn't know was that I was the most appropriately dressed person there. I was wearing his favorite dress.
06/11 Direct Link
Sometimes Charlotte thought she must be a changeling. She was so very different from her sisters and brothers. She lived in a different country, had children and lived in a small town. The others were childless and either lived in the depths of the country or the heart of a big city. They seemed so frivolous, witty, and carefree, the grasshoppers to her ant. They wondered if Charlotte realized how different she was from them, and what she thought of it if she did. But they never asked her, in case she didn't know and the discovery hurt her feelings.
06/12 Direct Link
There was a knock at the door. Gladys had just moved in, and wondered who it was. She opened the door, but she couldn't see anyone on the step. She heard a small voice say, "Welcome to our town." Looking down, she saw a small boy clutching a bunch of marigolds, which he offered to her shyly. Gladys smiled and thanked the boy, asking him in for a cup of tea and a biscuit. By the end of the visit, the middle-aged woman and the young boy were fast friends. Their friendship would last the rest of Gladys' long life.
06/13 Direct Link
Many years later, Gladys took that long-ago little boy's daughter on a tour of London. As they ate their lunch in Trafalgar Square, flocks of pigeons wheeling in the sky, Gladys told the girl that she had never married. The girl, with wide-eyed romance starring her eyes, said, "You must have loved him very much." Gladys laughed. "Oh, my dear, " she said. "You don't understand. There were no men left." Gladys' love, like most of England's young men, had perished in the Great War, leaving no-one but old men and little boys. No-one to marry. All those lost loves.
06/14 Direct Link
As I took the pill out of my daily dose and returned it to the bottle, I felt liberated. The psychiatrist said that a year of medication was enough for "a first episode" (I sincerely hope it's the last episode, too) and suggested I start tapering off the medication. I left his office feeling like a prisoner finally released into the outside world, basking in the sun after a year of darkness. I know it's just the beginning and the battle isn't over, but its outcome is in my hands. The ones that put the pill back in the bottle.
06/15 Direct Link
After the divorce, Holly returned to the small town where she had grown up. She bought an old house to start her new life. It was a little jewelbox of a house, well over a century old, and Holly spent her first few months there renovating it. She put all her energy and every spare minute she had into making it a peaceful haven. It was the first home she had ever owned by herself. Finally, the renovations were complete. Holly looked around with satisfaction, but her feeling of accomplishment soon turned to loneliness. There was no-one to share it.
06/16 Direct Link
My grandfather came to live with us after my grandmother died. My mother was their only child, so she had no siblings to help to care for him, the way her own children would one day care for her at the end of her life. He had nightmares. One morning, he came downstairs in terror, believing he was AWOL and he was back in France during WWI. In those days, a soldier would be shot for that offense. My father, who was leaving for work, took some papers out of his briefcase and said they were his honorable discharge papers.
06/17 Direct Link
It's early on a summer morning. Saturday. The best day of the week. I open the front door to the heavy, sweet air, dense with the unmistakably summer scent of freshly cut grass, flowers, and pollen, with a slight hint of a possible thunderstorm later. For now, the air is thick with hazy sunlight as my dog and I head for the park. Smell really is the most evocative sense. In just a few breaths, I'm transported back to my childhood, when summer stretched before me with endless, pleasurable possibilities. Childhood may be gone forever, but summer always comes back.
06/18 Direct Link
Jane was perennially discontented. She thought her name was too plain and that she should have been named something far more glamorous. Or glamorous at all. The weather was always too hot, too cold, or rainy for her refined tastes. If she was travelling, she wanted to be home, and if she was home, she longed to be abroad. Jane was convinced there was something better out there and she didn't have it. Yet. She left her husband, and didn't want him back, but she wanted him to pine away for her forever, proof of how irreplaceable she really is.
06/19 Direct Link
He didn't know why it happened, or how. He did know when: he was an infant, sleeping peacefully in his bassinet. His mother set fire to the bassinet, sobbing uncontrollably. His father rescued him from the flames. His mother was sent to a mental hospital, and she spent the rest of her life there. None of the doctors tried to find out why she had done such a thing; they simply drugged her and let her live out her twilight existence. Visitors were not allowed. No-one would rescue her. He never saw her again, but he always missed his mother.
06/20 Direct Link
I saw my parents walking toward me, arm in arm. They were a block away, but I could see that Dad was wearing the raincoat he had when I was a kid, and we all tried to see who could spot him first at the airport when he returned home from business trips. Mom was wearing a yellow coat which also dated from my childhood. They looked young and happy. They didn't see me; they were absorbed in their conversation and laughing. I closed my eyes for a second in disbelief, and when I opened them again, they were gone.
06/21 Direct Link
On a beach in Maine, thirty years ago, a young father lies on a beach towel, basking in the sun. He's reading a copy of the "New York Times". He doesn't often indulge in beach-like behavior, and on the occasions he does go in the water, he makes sure to keep his head above water. His children affectionately call this, "the Dad-paddle". Out of the water comes one of his daughters, dripping with icy-cold Atlantic water. She cuddles onto his sun-warmed back and drapes her towel over her. She puts her head on his neck and falls asleep. He smiles.
06/22 Direct Link
It was an unusually retro morning for me: I made breakfast, saw my man off to work (Here's the paper! Don't forget your cell phone! Do you have cigarettes?), did the dishes, made the bed, shopped and prepped for dinner. Just like a 1950's housewife - other than the cell phone, of course. But then it was Me Time: walking and playing with the dog in the park; working out hard at the gym; catching up with emails to friends; and writing these one hundred words. I have so much more freedom than my mother or my grandmothers ever dreamed of.
06/23 Direct Link
Caroline looked around the empty apartment. It was, as always, spotlessly clean, and perfectly quiet, also as usual. Her husband was at work, where he spent most of his time, and the children were at school, where they spent most of their time, meeting all the right people and learning all the right things. Caroline felt they had left her behind as they went into their respective futures, that she had lost them, and had no idea what to do with herself now that they no longer needed her. She went to tell the maid what to make for dinner.
06/24 Direct Link
On the way to the park today:

A limo pulls into the parking lot of the slaughterhouse. I figure the driver must have made a mistake, but apparently not.

Two cops discussing the "bottoming out" party at the construction site across the street. They've had a long day, standing in the sun and directing traffic as trucks go in and out. One says to the other, ‘That beer sure looked good. Should've had us some." The other replies, shaking his head, "Too many eyes, my friend. Too many eyes."

A paintbrush lying on the steps of the custom paint store.

06/25 Direct Link
The leaves on the trees are at the peak of their summery green. They have changed from the delicate yellow-green of spring, but haven't yet acquired the dusty, tired patina of late summer. Fall seems as far away to the leaves as it does to a small child at the beginning of summer vacation. They can't imagine that they will change and get old, any more than a beautiful young girl can. Neither knows that their changed, older beauty, to some eyes, will be greater then than it is now. Neither can imagine that they will one day be gone.
06/26 Direct Link
It's a summer Sunday afternoon. I'm waiting for the light to change among a small crowd of people, all cheerful and happy in the sun. Ahead of me is a well-dressed, elderly couple. He's wearing what he clearly thinks is appropriate for the day: no tie, but a good jacket and pressed chinos. She's wearing a blue dress, carefully coordinated with high heels, handbag, and earrings. She smiles up at him, and he puts his arm around her, saying, "My blue princess." To them, there's no-one else there; just the two of them. And the light can take its time.
06/27 Direct Link
The cottage hasn't changed in the past 30 years. The door is still unlocked, the screen door still makes that distinctive slam and squeak. The same blue and white willow patterned dishes are on the shelves in the kitchen. Our heights at different ages are still pencilled on the wall. The air is still redolent of the plain pine boards that built this place. The outside is weathered silvery grey, but inside, the boards still look new. The old radio is on the desk in the living room; there's never been a TV. From the deck, the pond is serene.
06/28 Direct Link
Some of the splendor remains, but mostly it's ghosts. Crumbling mansions, some merely skeletons: a flight of steps going nowhere; an empty swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic; an abandoned gatekeeper's cottage where there is now no gate and no-one to let in or keep out. A former butler to one of the great families recalls the days when party favors were miniature silver buckets and spades, used to dig out precious stones hidden in white sand in a box on the dinner table. Rare Persian rugs were tossed carelessly on the lawn and then copied in flowers by the gardener.
06/29 Direct Link
She announces her arrival with a shower of breathless giggles. Her friend has to wait as she removes her rollerblades and digs in her bag for replacement stilettos. She chooses a table, flips her hair a couple of times in satisfaction, and then sits down and starts talking loudly about her favorite topic - herself. Her awesome European vacation. Her five pound weight loss. The friend's role is that of admiring audience. When the waiter approaches, she keeps him there for a good ten minutes without glancing at the menu, and then informs him she has to leave in 20 minutes.
06/30 Direct Link
Rushing around getting ready for my trip. Seems you spend as much time getting ready for a destination that's only a few hundred miles away as you do for one that's thousands of miles. I'm almost done, down to the minor details, but I'm sure it will be a flurry before I leave tomorrow. My computer's been acting up, there's dry cleaning to be picked up, but it will all have to wait until I get back. For me, this is calm. I'm even trying not to envy a friend, whose vacation destination is much more glamorous than mine: Rome.