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i heart millions
last night i was at adrienne's house for dinner. i don't know her all that well, so conversation is still a bit uncomfortable. and as small-talk turned into real-talk, conversing got even harder. i think she sees me very differently from how i see myself. when we talk, it seems she is either attacking me, or feeling attacked by me. i found it challenging just to keep the conversation a conversation, and not allow it to become an argument or discussion. i had to clarify, back-peddle, and gently ease her out of defensiveness all night. it was exhausting.
today i talked to steve on a whim. the guy lives right next door to me, and is always nice as can be, but i hardly ever talk to him.
so today i see him scratching my dog, benny, in the parking lot and i call out from the balcony, "benny, are you being an attention hound again?"
steve looks up from the parking lot below and says, "what?"
i repeat myself, prefacing it with a "oh i just was asking benny if..." and the conversation continues.
soon we are talking about his father's near-death experience, then his own. it turns out steve has been dead for eighteen minutes. he checked into the hospital from a friend's passenger seat, with a stopped heart. twenty minutes later, after scarring his chest with the defibrilators, the doctors found his pulse. by all accounts he should have been dead, or brain dead at least. but here he is now: giving me dishes and furniture, sponsoring recovering alcoholics, wearing cowboy boots, and telling me his story.
it makes my eyes water again and again. especially the part when he tells me how stubborn he had been not to go to the hospital when the chest pains and general weirdness had begun. or when he says, "but i had to be here. i still had important work to do. and here i am: doing it." he's serious. he really believes, knows even, that he is doing the right thing for his life.
"i died too," i say, "this summer."
"what?" he says, now coming up the stairs to get closer, "you died too?"
"yes," i say, smiling, glad that he believes me, "i drowned in nicaragua."
writing 100 words in a single session kind of sucks. i'm sure this has been discussed before, but really... 100 words, no more no less? it's so confining. and ultimately i imagine it would make my writing contrived, unnatural, and disjointed.
i only just heard about this from my friend yesterday. so yesterday i began, having already taken my one allowable ditch-day. i wrote a big entry with the expectation of editing it later. now that it's submitted, however, it will just sit there in a big ugly lump, no emily to come whittle it down and make it pretty.
mike called me up and said, "miss moon! what are you up to this fine sunday afternoon?"
"writing grant letters," i said.
"oh." pause. "well, you should be down here at the park for the kite fest!"
"the kite fest! it's enough to make a grown man giggle!"
i biked along the river to the park and there they were: hundreds and hundreds of kites. the whole sky was filled with them. kites of every size and shape and color. all flying high. and there beneath the kites were the grown men, thousands of them, giggling and giggling.
he goes to shut the door, almost about to slam it, then walks back quickly and kisses me on the cheek. he walks away again. "goodbye," he says with a really good fake smile. i say nothing. he forces a laugh. i lean against the hallway, arms folded, looking at him blankly. he shuts the door and tromps down the stairs.
for a moment i expect him to come back through the door. he doesn't. soon i hear his truck driving away and i stand there wondering what could be better than loving and cuddling the best woman on earth.
i met paul yesterday. i am already foreseeing a problem. what started as a nice-to-meet-you conversation turned into an hour of getting-to-know-you talk. fine. it happens. but i do have things to do, so i said goodbye and went upstairs. twice he came to my door to bring me things: a book, a cd and dvd i have to see. i politely took the things and said i'll give them a look, thank you, how nice of you, goodbye. an hour later the flowers came: stargazers and tulips— he’d paid attention. a big bouquet and a love note. uh oh.
brian laughed. “flowers? a love note! oooh emily’s got a boyfriend!”
“ha ha. very funny. at least you can see the humor in it.”
i grab the note from his hand and look it over again. “ugh.” i drop it on my desk and turn to brian, smiling but annoyed. he smiles up at me from the futon, “ha ha! you’ve got a new boyfriend!” i shake my head, smiling. he reaches out and pulls me to the floor, wrestling and kissing and laughing on and on. “the old men are after you! they want to be your sugar daddies!”
russell turns out to be delightful. a large man with a dan-akroydish face and a strong voice. he sits down with me at one of the tables and looks over my recipe.
“pretty straightforward, right?” i say.
“yep. very. i’m going to try one.” he opens the saran wrap and takes out a cookie. i’m nervous. i don’t know why, but i am. he takes a bite and i watch his face. his eyebrows lift and he bites again. “very good.”
he eats the whole thing. i’m surprised. i’m all cookied out.
“less baking powder,” he suggests, “and more salt.”
I had to tell Paul not to get weird on me. He's beyond smitten. He's completely infatuated. He emails four to five times a day, he calls me the moment I enter the house, he hovers around my car, and he leaves me gifts. I wish he didn't live three doors down from me. He can keep such close tabs on me and I can't consider it stalking. I told him that if he got too lovey dovey I'd have to kick him to the curb. That spurred a whole new string of apologetic emails and oops-I'm-sorry ecards. ugh. gross.
as i rode my bike by the river, i saw a gathering of people by the bridge. boom. the bats. i remembered again. so i stopped under the bridge and looked up, wondering if they were really going to do it this time.
immediately—i mean immediately—bats started streaming from a slender crevice in the concrete above me. streaming doesn’t sound dramatic enough—how about erupting, cascading, billowing—pick a word that makes you imagine hundreds of thousands of miniature jet-fighters shooting out of one five-foot crack and forming a giant, flapping river of blackness. and there it was.
you do for me? you love me so bad."
"no i don't."
"yeah you do. i can tell."
"you kiss me and you cuddle me. you roll up my car windows when it's about to rain. you write me love songs. you buy me breakfast tacos. and once you told me you love me. it was the best 'i love you' i've ever heard."
"why you gotta do that? why you gotta go and say things like that and make me all shy?"
"'cause you love me. i know it."
"no i don't! i'm gonna kill you!"
he sat next to me on the couch and listened to his voicemail on speakerphone. message after message from dudes with small jobs, music gigs, friends saying hello, then his dad’s voice came on: “hi brian… it’s dad… i’m calling to see how you are… how are you?” the message lingered on while normal noises continued in the background: muffled talking, the ding of a toaster, the barely-audible tv, clicks and clacks and footsteps and shuffling…. i laughed. it wasn’t funny. there was nothing funny about it. “that’s how he is these days,” brian said and then he pressed 7.
it wasn't a good idea. but when i called him to suggest it again, i was into it: "really, if bernadette turns out to be smokin' hot and you will fulfill some sexual fantasy by doing her, you should. but the rule is: you have to come back and share all the gory details." i was stoned enough to really believe that i was being sincere. we all have sexual fantasies, after all. but when he didn't come back after an hour, i was sorry i’d said it. i wasn’t ready for that yet. and all night i felt terrible.
“look at how stubbly they are,” she says with a smile, thrusting her leg in my face.
“whatevs, kelley. that’s like four days. i don’t even count that.”
“of course you don’t,” she says, running a hand up my shin, “your legs are covered in peach fuzz. mine are like alcatraz.”
“alcatraz?” I laugh. “who even talks that way? i’m telling you girl: you were born to be a poet.”
delighted, she does a clumsy curtsy and spin, soaking up the attention like a little kid. she turns to nate, all smiles.
“alcatraz,” he says shaking his head. “really, kelley.”
“oh my god, I can’t believe how dumb we are.”
“we should’ve bought a longer drill bit. what are we supposed to do? drill from opposite sides and hope to meet in the middle?”
“oh yeah… well… that’s what we’ll have to do, I guess.”
“okay, how’s this? up? down?”
“down a bit. okay, you’re good.”
“hmmm… I’m not seeing daylight yet.”
“oh no! my lashless friend! did I just blow sawdust in your eye? jesus! we’re like the two stooges!”
“ouch. where’s a hose. i hope she’s not watching us right now.”
i texted back: "i don't want to watch tv. when you're done let me know."
this went on, without any of it's typical cuteness, until it felt like a text fight. finally i texted: "i don't want to play foolish games. come to kelley's if you want to play."
"i'm on my way. and ooooooooh!" he texted, but i didn't get that one before he came rushing in kelley’s door and grabbed me from behind, holding me tightly for a long, long time and breathing hard into the back of my neck, as if he had run the whole way.
"money is not a concern. my biggest stress is pleasing my mother.”
“but last week i had an epiphany: just tell her what she wants to hear; stretch the truth enough to make me sound responsible!"
"hahaha! that's maaaaarvelous!" bronwen bellows as she stuffs another fry in her mouth.
"i told her that in order to start my own interior design company some day, i have taken on overflow jobs from a contractor i met last week. you know: learning from the bottom up!”
“but really, brian and I are just doing odd jobs for his friend…”
“…but his friend
"good! research for the future conglomerate!"
"yes! that’s it! i told my mom it’s like getting paid to get an education!"
"she was delighted!!"
"of course she was! i love it!"
"and she thinks this is the bottom wrung of a tall corporate ladder i aspire to climb... little does she know this is it!"
"you've reached the top!"
"hahaha! yes! here i am! what a glorious life! it is like a constant vacation with no schedule and no boss and just the right amount of work to keep me satisfied."
"goodbye girls," he said to us as we lied in bed giggling, "will you be here when i get back?"
"probably not, darling," bronwen said.
"well, have a good day then," he said, and walked to the front door.
"oh darling," i called out after him, "one more thing: do try to be more adoring next time!"
the door shut quietly. i looked at bronwen and smiled. "how was that?" i asked.
"perfect, darling. i loved it! now then, two tokes for motivation?"
"of course. then it is off to the tanning salon!"
"oh how i do love to luxuriate!"
here’s my craigslist ad:
HANDYGAL EXTRAORDINAIRE specializing in PAINT & INTERIOR DESIGN
indeed, i do basic plumbing, electrical, carpentry and landscaping, but i am a wonder with a paint brush and roller. my work is the best you'll find. i also have an excellent eye for color and design. if you need help deciding what to do with your place, let me have a look! we can solve your interior design problems together! i am full of good ideas and i do top-notch work. you'll be glad you found me!
flat rate: $20 an hour
talk to you soon!
i ask him why he and she aren’t friends anymore. he talks about it. he emotes about it… a long time. i am moved. it feels important.
“i love you,” i say.
“i love you,” he says.
“i know,” i say.
and his eyes well up with tears.
“what just made you sad?”
“why are you sad?”
“why are you crying?”
“i don’t know.”
“is it ‘cause you looooooooove me?”
“you’re supposed to say ‘yes! i’m crying ‘cause i love you so bad!’’” and i push him to the bed and smother him with kisses.
so bad it makes
cry,” i say, lying on my side and caressing his face. he looks at me intently. then a wave of love chokes me and tears leak and i’m surprised to feel so strongly.
“look at you,” i say, wiping my eyes, “making me all sappy.”
he’s kind of embarrassed but totally not.
“well, i do,” i say, “i love you so bad.”
and we kiss, a lot, and then we ride bikes around the neighborhood and watch the tiny kids playing t-ball in the park.
my new boss is a jedi warrior! all day i wondered why he chose me. but i didn’t ask. i didn’t want to jinx it.
it took me five hours to sand and stain the doors. too long. i was nervous he would be disappointed. he said, “looks great.”
later, he told me: “i read all the ads on craigslist. yours had the most positive tone. so i put it at the top of my list. and when i called you, you were cheerful. and that was what i wanted.”
wow. i have never been hired by a jedi before.
jedi… scientologist — what’s the difference? they both deal with spaceships and the force.
he’s giving a talk on dianetics this tuesday. crazy, but i just might go. before i get disappointed that what i thought was universal wisdom turned out to be scientology, i ought to hear him out, right?
i called my dad and reported that my new boss is a scientologist. he loved it. “go to his talk! become a scientologist for a couple years and learn that stuff inside and out!”
join a sci-fi cult as a social experiment? not a bad idea. scientology: here i come.
bronwen left today. it was wonderful having her here. a bit weird for me and brian, since he had an uncontrollable crazy crush on her, but that’s alright. i understand. hell, i have a crush on her. but brian’s crush was all-too-male.
one morning he came over and was disappointed to not find me and bronwen in bed together. he lied down and sighed, “i thought we were all going to have a cuddle puddle.”
“bronwen,” i called, “come in here. brian wants you.” she moaned and came in, flopping down beside us. brian was sure it was orgy-time. sucker.
i don’t believe we’ve met before, at least not face to face. i’ve seen what you do to california hills, and how you transform the city of madrid, but i’ve never seen a show like the one you’re putting on in austin this year. who knew greens got this bright? or that birds sang this many songs? or that all weeds had flowers to offer? you come around and suddenly everything wants to party! it’s amazing. i hope you’ll stick around a while. your joy is contagious. and i’m so glad we finally got to meet.
i worked until 6:45, then drove across town to get to the church of scientology. i already felt crazy. who rushes through traffic to go to a cult meeting? it started at 7:00. at 6:58 i passed the building. i couldn’t find parking so i pulled into the neighborhood and searched the curbs. at 7:03 my car died. just died. i put on my hazards and called AAA. oh well. it was such a beautiful evening. i didn’t want to spend it inside anyhow. i patted my car. “good girl, joone,” i said, “you might have just saved my soul.”
Cripes I'm stumped. I never thought it would come to this. Calendars made out of fountains. The benefit, the reward, the pox, is that I won't remember this and neither will she. Benny just got a hair cut and he looks like a mangy mutt. He was out in the lake today after ducks; mallards and drakes I think. I'm not from here. 'The fuck so I care. Off we go. Cuz I wanna be an airborne ranger. Though I'll forgo the life of sex and danger. You can have it. I'll leave it with you. Don't bring it back. It's yours now.
nate wrote that last one. he did it in less than five minutes and i had to go to the dictionary to look up pox an hour later. it kind of makes me mad. i also love and admire it. ever seen amadeus? sometimes i feel like salieri: asking god, why give me the desire to write and then make me mute? there is no such thing as a human god, by the way. a ridiculous idea. tell me, i once asked jenna, does your male god have a penis? and sperm? god sperm? what ever for?
impregnating virgins. duh.
look up andouille on wikipedia and you'll see a nasty photo
i bought some andouille soup from whole foods and it's changing my life.
so i thought i'd research it.
but it was so boring i couldn't finish the first sentence.
and now i have this picture of a sliced sausage peeking out from behind my gmail window.
it looks like an amputee's freshly cut stump.
it makes me want to chuck the remaining soup
you never whisper sweetly to me anymore
andouille sausage isn't sweet enough for you?
titillate me or hang it up
how do you titillate an ocelot?
you oscillate its tits a lot!
there's your kids book
you'd make a mint
that one might be too dirty
but i do think you might be on to something
a mint, eh?
you really think so?
a franklin mint
if i were a kid and there was a dirty joke book available to me
i'd be all over it
that'd be tits
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