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BY suzy

03/01 Direct Link
She drops off yet another prescription at the pharmacy, then sits in a chair, waiting while the pharmacist decants the latest pills into the latest little bottle. She wonders if the pharmacist thinks, “What a mess that girl is! Anti-depressants for over a year – expensive ones, big dose, too – that ongoing ativan prescription, and now heart medication. She’s just falling apart!” She’s less embarrassed buying condoms or tampons than revealing these secrets. The pharmacist happily fills the bottle, takes the money, and wishes the patient a good day, all while trying to decide what to have for lunch.
03/02 Direct Link
Busy with work, errands, phone calls, I’ve hardly seen her all day. She must have been annoyed by this; she walks right up to the couch I have finally collapsed on and puts her head in my lap, looking up at me as if to say, “Where have you been all day? You’re too busy for me, but not too busy for everything else!” It’s hard to resist those soulful brown eyes, and impossible not to read the reproach in them. I am the most important thing in the world to her. Man’s best friend is also woman’s, after all.
03/03 Direct Link
Charles is not wealthy. Not at all. He thinks of himself as being poor as the proverbial church mouse; he also thinks of his wealthy younger brother as a fat cat. Despite their cat and mouse status, they have a good relationship and visit each other often. Lately, the Fat Cat has been renovating his unremarkable house at the behest of his wife and with the advice of an interior decorator. Charles finds it odd to have a house reveal the designer’s taste rather than the inhabitants’, but he keeps that thought to himself, just like the “Fat Cat” moniker.
03/04 Direct Link
After Charles’ most recent visit to his brother’s showroom, he calls me and says, “When I went over there today, there was a beautiful bowl of roses on the table. Creamy pink, every blossom flawless. I went over to smell them – even though I didn’t think they’d have any smell – and was amazed to find out that they were fake.” “Fake roses seem kind of tacky for a professionally decorated house,” I say. “Well, these cost $700,” he replies. I am all kinds of amazed. Maybe if you pay enough for faux flora, they aren’t considered tacky anymore.
03/05 Direct Link
When I renovated my 85 year old apartment in San Francisco, I chose everything myself. I didn’t want or need a designer’s help; I wanted the place to look the way it did in my dreams, the way I knew it could with just a little improvement here and there. The bathroom became a blissful oasis with a deep, century-old tub for soaking in. The floors were sanded, brightening everything. The kitchen was a joy to cook in and look at. It broke my heart when I finally left to start a new life, and again when it was sold.
03/06 Direct Link
One of my oldest friends invited me to Amsterdam for Queen’s Day this year. On this one day, anyone can sell anything to anyone all over the city. My friend and her husband just bought the lower two levels of their old house (the foundations date back to the 1600s), so I could stay there instead of at a hotel. Their part of the house isn’t a good one for guests, being open plan. It would be great, except business demands that I be in California then for a series of meetings. Duty always wins out over pleasure, it seems.
03/07 Direct Link
The guy who delivers the Chinese food asks me where my dog is. Usually, she comes running to the door whenever anyone knocks on it or comes through it, but she’s asleep when dinner arrives. The deliveryman calls out, “Doggie! Where are you?” I go and get her and he pets her, saying how lovely she is. She enjoys the attention, as she always does, and I realize that I’m so used to how beautiful and sweet she is that I don’t notice anymore, or at least, not all the time. This must happen to men who marry supermodels, too.
03/08 Direct Link
More trips coming: to Detroit and California. More meetings. I usually try and fit in some fun when I have to travel on business - it feels less like a waste of time that way. But in California I’ll be seeing what’s left of my family (and doesn’t everyone find that stressful?) and in Detroit, I won’t be seeing my good friend K. She’s spending the weekend with her sister in Washington, DC. What on earth will I do in Detroit without her? I hope she’ll be there the next time I go – and there will be a next time.
03/09 Direct Link
He’s only gone for one night, and she can hardly bear it. She had thought she’d enjoy watching a chick flick, indulging in pizza, giggling on the phone, and sipping martinis, but instead, all she can think about is how much she misses him. She wanders aimlessly around the apartment, which seems so silent and lonely without his presence. She looks at his empty chair, his slippers beside it, the coat tossed carelessly on the couch, the cup with his unfinished tea, and thinks, “What would I do if he was really gone?” She knows the answer to that question.
03/10 Direct Link
He can never escape the ringing in his ear. The irony is that he is completely deaf in that ear, other than the ringing, which is the result of a near-fatal bout of meningitis in his youth. Both the deafness and the ringing isolate him; people get annoyed when they have to repeat their remarks, including the most inane, and no-one who isn’t suffering the ringing can have any idea of how difficult it is to survive under daily torture. He has endured it for two decades, and the specialist tells him cheerfully, “Many people commit suicide!” That doesn’t help.
03/11 Direct Link
Sunny Sunday. Maybe it’s the start of Daylight Savings Time, foisted upon us even earlier than usual, but today I feel hopeful, as if spring is coming not only outside, but inside as well. It’s a wonderfully luxurious feeling to lie on the couch under the skylights, sun streaming in, with spring training baseball on TV and my dog nearby (as the poet says, “the heartbeat at my feet.”) Books are piled up on the coffee table for later, and I can enjoy the anticipation of a quiet evening to come, a good dinner and movie, a glass of wine.
03/12 Direct Link
He feels exhaustion tugging at him under his eyes. The mirror ruthlessly informs him that he has both dark circles and trunk-sized bags under his eyes. He longs to sleep, but when he does, the dark dreamscape is scattered with memories and terrors that shock him awake. Sleeplessness is taking its toll, as are the nightmares. In contrast, the rest of his face is oddly youthful – he looks a good decade younger than the number on his birth certificate. It’s as if all the aging is concentrated on those weary eyes, eyes that have seen too much for too long.
03/13 Direct Link
Sometimes, the old pipes sound like there are voices inside. When the heat comes on in the old industrial building where I live, the pipes clang vigorously, a dissonant urban symphony. Under the clashing, I can hear the hot water coursing through the pipes – a long journey in a maze-like building spanning nearly an entire city block. Besides these familiar sounds, there are some unfamiliar ones, like distant voices, maybe of those who worked here long ago. Are they trying to tell me something? A warning? A reflection on their lives? Or simply, “carpe diem” before it’s too late?
03/14 Direct Link
He awakens her with his screaming, but he doesn’t awaken himself. She is used to this by now, though at first it used to scare her. Later, she thought that his being with her, not being alone, should somehow ward off the nightmares and memories that haunted his dark sleep, but she realized that they were a force out of her control as well as his. She wakes him, holding him close, kissing him, whispering words of comfort. He gets up, leaving her and the dreams behind. Too painful to talk about it, too afraid to sleep, perchance to dream.
03/15 Direct Link
As my father’s birthday approaches, I realize how long he’s been gone: six years. I do this minor math problem with the same sense of slight shock and dismay as when I calculate my own age when asked (otherwise, I refuse to think about it and just feel like the permanent teenager I really am). I look back over the years that have passed away since he passed away, and am amazed we have all been able to weather the storm. At first, I thought I couldn’t survive the pain and loss. Now I think, Really? It’s been that long?
03/16 Direct Link
I know there’s something wrong. I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t stay in the house another minute. I wish there was somewhere to run to, instead of somewhere to run from. I am on auto-pilot as I walk up and down the hilly streets, oblivious. I look up and realize that my instincts have brought me to the Bay, a place which always calms me. I sit on the stone steps overlooking the cold, sandy beach and watch the waves roll in, roll out, taking my worries with them. But they always come back.
03/17 Direct Link
I wake up to the raucous clamor of birds in the tree outside my window, black against the white, still morning sky. They don’t do this every day, and my first thought on this, my late father’s birthday, is that they are singing for him. Dad loved birds, and kept track of all he saw from the age of five until he died, aged seventy. I slide my feet into my slippers and go to the kitchen to make coffee, wishing I had the luxury of calling him and saying “Happy birthday” to him, instead of just in my heart.
03/18 Direct Link
Last night’s dinner was one of Dad’s favorites, and one we had often on a cool spring evening like this. Grilled sole, dressed simply with fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil (Dad always said the better the fish, the less you should do to it); new asparagus (a sign of spring); and new potatoes with butter and fresh mint (an English classic). It was delicious, and eating it was tinged with nostalgia, with missing him, and wishing he were here to enjoy it with me. Happy birthday, dear father and friend. I will always love you, never forget you.
03/19 Direct Link
What else to do on the last morning of this winter but wait for the cable guy? Hopefully, he'll be a little more efficient and a little less scary than the Jim Carrey version.

I'm already bored, and it's not quite 10 am. I hate being bored. I wish I could tell my boss I'd be in sometime between 8 and 12 (or, even better, 10 and 2), and not have to call if I'm late or don't bother to show up, as is often the perfidious way of cable guys. They have time to waste, and it's all yours.

03/20 Direct Link
A soft, grey morning, threatening rain. The damp air and scent of spring remind me of England, and I feel a gentle nostalgia for the times I spent there with my father, both as a child, visiting his parents, and as an adult, visiting him after he retired and returned to his native land. I have so many happy memories. A friend just came back from a week in London, and she is bubbling over with its many joys and pleasures: the theaters, art galleries, pubs, shops. She shines with her own happy memories, and reflects mine back to me.
03/21 Direct Link
They are as acquisitive as magpies, as the saying goes. They drive to the store, intending to buy one or two definite, certain things: a DVD player, some blank CDs. But they always end up buying more than they intended, dazzled and beguiled by the merchandise on display, as if they were children spending their allowance in the candy store. Though the children usually have to decide on only a few candies due to their limited weekly budget, whereas the adults can just charge it, as if it’s not money at all, the financial equivalent of a note from Mom.
03/22 Direct Link
Maps are her enemy. She can never figure out how to read them or fold them back up again. She stares at the unwieldy flap of paper. Somewhere among all those lines and letters is the town she wants to get to, and somewhere else is where she is, an unmarked dot. She looks around the parking lot, as if the answers are there. A car parks beside hers and a voice asks her if she’s lost. She is, in fact, the poster child for lost. But someone has found her. Someone with the bluest eyes she has ever seen.
03/23 Direct Link
The cable guy did not deign to make an appearance yesterday, so I called the cable company. They informed me that my appointment was for “Tuesday, March 22nd”. I pointed out that Tuesday was the 20th, not the 22nd, and that I would never have made an appointment for Thursday, since I’m leaving for Detroit that day. Logic, as usual, made no difference, and of course by then there were no earlier appointments available, so I’m going to have to wait until the guy shows up (if he does) before leaving town. As my friend put it, “Nothing works anymore.”
03/24 Direct Link
Getting ready for a series of meetings in another city, another state: the tyranny of nylons, the understated make-up, the clothes that are supposed to say “professional” and “responsible adult”, the pretty, yet uncomfortable shoes. As I put on my serious jewelry for the serious day ahead, I imagine all the people I’m going to meet with that day, in various hotels across the city, all getting ready too, in the same way, preparing for the same situation, all at once, without any knowledge of the others. We’ll separately speed toward the same place, then separate and scatter again, relieved.
03/25 Direct Link
It’s probably just as well that I’m always slightly sleep-deprived at these marathon meetings. I have yet to acquire my boss’ twin strengths of traveling without fatigue and sleeping on planes (there may be a connection here). But lack of sleep allows the meetings to blur by, faster than they would if I were alert. The words wash over me; I am on auto-pilot, asking the right questions, laughing in the right places, being serious when needed. I am dazzled by the men’s perfect manicures, their monogrammed cuffs, their stylish cufflinks. My thoughts run in the background, going somewhere else.
03/26 Direct Link
The last box has been carried to the waiting truck, the last chair. He walks slowly through the sunny rooms of the apartment they shared together for more than a decade, the home they bought together in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. His footsteps echo on the century-old wood floors; his thoughts are not in the place he is in now, but in the past, when everything seemed possible except this. He finally shuts the door behind him for the last time, the way she did. He didn’t know it was the last time. Yet.
03/27 Direct Link
She’s a genius at not being home. No possible excuse goes unused. She works longer hours, starting earlier and ending later, to her boss’ delight and her husband’s displeasure. After work, she walks to the gym. Exercise has become her salvation and her religion. She believes in it absolutely. It’s a stress remover that works every time, even when her narcissistic, judgmental mother is visiting. By the time she gets home, has a shower (the thought of public showers makes her shudder), and eats a late dinner, it’s time to sleep, with no time to talk. She has succeeded again.
03/28 Direct Link
I’m reading another of those fluffy novels where the heroine is dating/engaged to a rich man she thinks she loves, though she always has certain misgivings about him (he travels too much/is too handsome/isn’t quite trustworthy/has a past). Of course, she has, at this point in the book, met an unsuitable yet charming guy. You know that even though the book starts with her about to marry the rich guy, she’ll eventually go for the poor one, probably with much drama. Why can’t the girl ever marry the rich guy and live happily ever after, enjoying the wealth and privilege?
03/29 Direct Link
My neighbor, who has the gift of knowing everything about everyone in the neighborhood without being a snoop, tells me that the night before I returned from my business trip, a documentary was being filmed in the courtyard. So if I had been here, instead of in my impersonal hotel room in another city, I would have been kept up all night by the thrumming of the generator used to power the bright lights, the yells of the actors and the director, the set up and take down. Taking that extra night worked out just fine, at least for me.
03/30 Direct Link
My sister’s neighbor has killed two people. She was driving under the influence of everything you can imagine, and plowed her truck into an oncoming car. A teenage girl and a 25 year old woman were killed. The neighbor was unharmed. She is now in the county jail, charged with malicious homicide, demanding her hair dryer, all natural deodorant, and special meals. Since the drugs and alcohol must have worn off in the month she’s been in jail, I have to wonder if this woman understands the meaning of the word “remorse”, or what she has done. It haunts me.
03/31 Direct Link
It’s the binge before the purge. Sort of. On Monday, I’m starting a strict diet to lose all the fluff I gained while on the anti-depressants. Really, has any drug been less fun for more money? The diet, of course, forbids anything delicious or enjoyable, including alcohol, so I decided to treat myself to a few martinis. I had a few martinis too many, and today I have such a hangover that food, no matter how delicious, has no appeal, though I planned to eat about-to-be forbidden food all weekend. The diet might not be as hard as I thought.