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01/01 Direct Link
Our grand total for New Year's Eve 2003: seven vodkas, four rum and cokes, and three whiskeys.. maybe.

Alicia had joked about getting me wasted (if only partially), but I think I enjoyed watching her deteriorating mental state more than experiencing my own. Ass slapping, boob grabbing, and Polaroids aplenty; 2004 only comes once, after all.

These are the moments that we can't find between here and there - the hurried experiences stripped from six years and crammed into six days.

And this is what we do best: love, lose, then soon rediscover.

August sisters bloom within any hour, every day.
01/02 Direct Link
Heavy rain in Pleasantville, but the sun made its way through, a rainbow not far behind the muddy clouds. I should've known – the concept of California without its glow is considered blasphemy around here.

By 1am, the ground was damp but golden beneath our feet, chasing beams of light across the charcoal road. She was beautiful, too, even with the bottle's neck woven between her gnawed fingers, her lungs inhaling enough of art's smoky grace for both of us.

Her face will appear again before mine, murky within chemical baths. She'll drown momentarily, awaiting my familiar outstretched hand.

Grasp. Breathe.
01/03 Direct Link
He once spoke of his tears upon your airport separations, of the blank space your shadow left behind. I could only smile knowingly down the phone line. My room is too clean and empty tonight, the fold-up chair left beside me as a lone tangible remnant of you.

My throat was taut during our goodbye, dry with self-restraint. You looked back to blow me a kiss and I froze, suddenly aware of all I'd forgotten to say before the expanding distance forced our silence.

I wanted so much for my voice to find your ear, te amo my only farewell.
01/04 Direct Link
Mama spent last night lulling me to sleep, talking in subliminal code while I searched for slumber.

Her confession: "I don't think you should go to school next year." I could sense the moist surface of her eyes without opening my own.

Aren't I supposed to be halfway out the door by now? My friends are itching for June, for monotony's end and independence's beginning. And I suppose I'm excited, but more annoyed by the necessary change - or expected change, as the case may be.

She hugs me like it's our last, but I refuse to mourn for the living.
01/05 Direct Link
I am in so far to know the measure of love isn't loss… Love will never ever be lost on me… or us…

Noel's reaction fell somewhere between speechlessness and "wow." But that's the way we always were - feeding each other love letters without the romance.

In my dream last night, traffic stopped. I noticed your small frame, perched high above the crowd in a convertible, mesmerized by the accident halting our travel. I walked toward you, like before, wondering if you could see me beyond your world's chaos.

You didn't, but I like to think it's still a possibility.
01/06 Direct Link
The headaches persist, leaving me periodically dizzy and continuously cranky.

There's probably a magic pill waiting for me, beyond examinations and death threats, inquisitive pokes and prods. Somewhere, my doctor sits with a smug smile across his lips, fingers tightly clutching my release.

I've hated doctors since first feeling the needle's stab and attempted dance within my vein. Later, the school nurse - both ominous and patronizing - would frequently torture me, implying my liaisons with comfort food.

They all see through me - see the danger within my skin, pushing up and outward, on the brink of explosion.

(I'm scared.)
01/07 Direct Link
Talk a little smack, that healthy dose of backchat. Immortalize, digitalize - allow the masses to fantasize! Imply the truth between the lies; at least I can smell bullshit when it flies.

They probably sliced their fingers long ago with a finely tuned wire, comparing wounds on some fucked up macho scale. You know those little boys with their big toys, though: tag, tumble, tear - right across the air.

He paraded through town, old scum now caught against new soles. But truth is such a loaded reality; put the gun to your lips and buckle from tongue to toe.
01/08 Direct Link
As a child, I tolerated McDonalds for its chicken nuggets, but I never craved soda or burgers or greasy pizza. Sure, I was a doughnut fan or Cadbury's lover from time to time, but I didn't live the life of a fast food addict. I never resembled some smug little greedy kid, hands always first in the candy treasure chest.

Yet apparently, that's the only road they assume I traveled.

Two times in one day, I am reminded of every single theory against which I am expected to provide counter evidence.

Am I really the victim of my own success?
01/09 Direct Link
For him, all admirable pictures are born black and white, a clutter of greys. Art is architecture, precisely planned lines at specific angle degrees; art requires no conversion or translation.

Our teacher showed a picture of a man's face, finger silencing his lips, captioned "Your comfort is my silence." Perhaps a representation of domestic violence – deemed invisible out of sight.

"How the hell can you assume that?" he exclaimed. Then, regarding our montage assignment: "What, the more convoluted our design, the more likely we'll receive a higher grade?"

How ironic that his eyes are open, yet he does not see.
01/10 Direct Link
Avoiding the phone for the umpteenth time this week.

When did solitude become my preferred lifestyle? Perhaps around the time my insides expanded, my face shrouded by whiskers; I've lost count of the years.

My thoughts have turned to Mark numerous times since my birthday. I doubt he remembers my face clearly, the memory of me reduced to a blur beside an unfamiliar baby. Subconsciously, I probably (still) miss our companionship, albeit brief – he saw a beauty in me that I've never rediscovered.

The quiet anonymity of the shadows has always enticed me. Maybe I was born to shine inwardly.
01/11 Direct Link
I arrived home to discover Dad stretched out in the recliner chair, a moan accompanying his every intake of breath. Shopping with Ma had reached a premature end, Dad burdened by his intense stomach pain; naturally, worry consumed Ma all afternoon, both of them unsure of the culprit – his new medication, lack of regular meals, or all of the above.

Anyone would think I'm learning to cope with his impending death sentence or something. "Tell him we want him around" – Jesus Christ, did I read that right? – then they wonder why I'm such a wreck.

Stop composing his fucking headstone.
01/12 Direct Link
She possesses an overwhelming confidence but remains void, her mouth hollow – even when overflowing with words. And she's too petite to pass for intimidating, yet speaks in the tone of one of those psycho babbling power feminists I despise. Figures.

Today, I notice Mike, head resting against his arm upon the desk. His eyes are closed, his face too relaxed to be feigning sleep. Intrigued to discover her resolution, I watch as she slinks closer, still talking at us. Three fingers brush against his desk during her travel, her only indication of acknowledgment, innocent as the firing of a gun.
01/13 Direct Link
A note from a stranger:

Continue to daydream. I'm more of a nightmares person myself!

His handwriting was a mess of tightly curved letters, a barely decipherable script fit for a man of great prestige, not a man who writes haunting messages of gratitude to complete strangers. What kind of person composes a letter like that, anyway? Or, even worse, slips it into an envelope and mails it off with a money order to the aforementioned stranger, business as usual?

His words left me consumed by thought, and several hours passed before I realized I had misread "nightscapes" as "nightmares."
01/14 Direct Link
My name has eight letters, two repeated, then a recurring three (two side-by-side). I know them by heart, accustomed to their rolling off my tongue in explanation, halting quizzical looks in their tracks.

I stopped giving my name at restaurants a long time ago. I'd repeat it numerous time for a pronunciation tutorial, then spell it out, only to hear it butchered again by a different waiter calling me to my table.

I compare misspelling someone's name to ignoring an offered handshake; it's impolite, ignorant, and inconsiderate – and how to make me feel two inches tall in eight short letters.
01/15 Direct Link
Genaro introduced himself to me last autumn, eager to learn my name, and I instantly knew why he's so popular amongst the students.

He came to excuse me from class today, a message awaiting my presence in the office.

"Hopefully good news," I commented.

"Yeah. Are you new around here?"

"No.."

"Really? Where've you been hiding all year?"

"Around. We've talked before."

"When?"

I refrained from mentioning our initial meeting. "Just the other day. I said hi in the hallway."

"No way. What did I say?"

"You said hi back."

"Oh." Silence.

Good to know that my anonymity still rules.
01/16 Direct Link
Another phone call, inquiring of my whereabouts. I heard reports of concerned tones, of apologies and regret intermingled with shock and surprise – support, just five days belated.

Dad's sick, his body barren, his hands bruised. Ma and I juggled time between us this week, tiptoeing around his recuperating body, belly to the heavens.

My father is one of few real heroes, his heart never resting within the confines of his chest. Yet no one knows of his fall, of my own heart's plummet; they fail to listen beyond their voice's familiarity.

Only that is the true disease of our society.
01/17 Direct Link
It's been so long, my joints
silenced by this frozen
winter mind. I lost time
between my brain's pulse;
I fear writer's amnesia.

A daily dose of 100 words
became my solace, more
welcoming than night's silence,
a stronger crutch than receptive
breath across the line. (Here, my

pregnant pause is shadowed.) Do
you recall the sound of my voice,
animate and red? Now rebounding
from the horizon, sticky residue
of our memory, choking upon

impact - the diagnosis of my
mute cavity. I'll float beneath
you, a sonnet tucked within your
back pocket, face down but
barren when left behind.
01/18 Direct Link
I'm slowly preparing for my trip home, mind preoccupied by tasks still incomplete. Yet, despite my distraction, one finger remains hovering above the pause button, a precaution for the potential lack of flight. Dad, pancreatitis and gallstones aside, is determined to escape for three weeks, but a fragment of uncertainty lingers near.

After Bruce died, I was convinced of his watch. I'd talk to his framed photo, confident of his presence surrounding me, my guardian security blanket. Nevertheless, I fear praying for Dad's recovery, secretly terrified of a misalignment of stars and a reason to believe Bruce has truly gone.
01/19 Direct Link
Beneath an echoing sky, I rediscover the space neighboring your side - where beams of light join iris to oval, little me your luminous reflection. Exhale and our remembrance of bare hours will ensue.

I can already taste my love-laden sin between your lips, limbs writhing around a scorched tongue. But you always adored me as Mona Lisa, mute and interpretable, before she required a map to her smile.

. . .

I'm craving a change of scenery, (running?) away from the daily grind.

I hold few regrets, yet I'm sorry for the push and pull - but mostly for my nonchalance either way.
01/20 Direct Link
"Hey you, when you get a chance, give me a holler… I just wanted to see how you're doing. And I'm sorry I missed your birthday - a belated happy birthday… December 15th – at least I remembered what day it was afterward!"

On the day after my sixteenth birthday, I sat nestled within San Jose airport, watching two silhouettes wait in line for check-in. I silently noted the beginning of a bigger journey – of more airports, more goodbyes.. security beyond my father's watchful eye.

His message in my voicemail box confirms my premonition; don't let me forget his warm familiarity.
01/21 Direct Link
Talked with Alex online tonight for the first time in months. Lord knows what's happened in her life recently; we're frequently strangers, periodically drawn back toward one another by the twin-like similarities discovered years ago.

She told me she wants to take the train and visit me while I'm home (either one long trip or two shorter ones), anywhere, anytime. I'm not as giddy as she – yet – but I sense the importance of our meeting, a necessity now more than ever.

I wonder if we'll laugh similarly, whether our expectations will be too high after six years of faceless friendship.
01/22 Direct Link
Laura's had a lovely birthday didn't hear anything from her father so no change there.

I'm still unwilling to believe. Gordon, the man I admired: honorable policeman, master of culinary art, never without a joke on his tongue.

He's shacked up somewhere now, in denial with a woman from the force. Heard he plead mental instability in court – no surprises there. That's what stealing money from your daughter will do to a man.

One child for love, two more sprung from hope, and now a mother with changed locks. These are the affairs I'm supposed to read about in magazines.
01/23 Direct Link
love. tomorrow. silence. nightlight. rain. curtains. swivel. curl. cozy. recliner. heater. angel. lava. bubbles. melody. matchbox. extra. cigarette. coffee. california. road. polaroid. smile. burn. ache. money. summer. mirror. pale. eyeliner. starfish. ginger. bottles. rum. fluff. dizzy. foolish. deep. hopscotch. care. yellow. stars. distance. squeal. shoe. streamer. explosion. hills. phone. lost. puzzle. upbeat. apple. cocktail. cock. tail. jesus. saxophone. middle. jump. fright. auburn. tickle. time. tick. tock. alarm. buzzing. fallen. crumple. glisten. sing. lips. between. thanksgiving. shore. pebbles. scavenge. revenge. mystified. e-mail. biscuit. stripper. scarf. lovelorn. sight. mess. trash. puddle. van. home. think. breathe. words. stolen. down. never. you. me. believe.
01/24 Direct Link
As both an introvert and homebody, I naturally despise group projects – too many awkward negotiations and petty schedule compromises involved.

My English class was split into thirds for the Shakespeare unit. Our assignment: organize four days of teaching to prepare our peers for an in-class essay about Hamlet.

We met at Lisa's for three hours, at Albert's on our Monday off, then at the library today (and again tomorrow). For once, our discussions have avoided entrance into the "let's just do whatever to get a passing grade" zone; surprisingly, I'm teamed with seven people as studious and nerdy as myself.
01/25 Direct Link
Another dream. My anger fluctuates, but my subconscious sure as hell kicks in while I sleep. Every time, images of running, discovery, near misses, turbulent thoughts – your face always perfectly clear. I remember you.

Last night, I was standing on stage, surrounded by a variety show performance. Some Beatles song, a sing-along in vain, and you climbed to my side, behind the podium and prepared for participation.

A whispered plea for help, and you assured me of our success – palm to palm. And, as your sound reverberated across the room, I learned that for you, I am unafraid to cry.
01/26 Direct Link
In Civics, my teacher compares the Declaration of Independence to a break-up letter. Class, what kind of messages does one write in such a note?

- It's not you, it's me.
- It's better this way.
- I hope we can still be friends.
- I want you to be happy.
- We're different people now.
- I met someone new.
- This isn't working out.
- You deserve better.

The list goes on, blow after blow – a brainstorm of love gone wrong spread across the whiteboard. I wonder if even a small fraction of my peers have truly experienced love beyond lust; this formula doesn't add up.
01/27 Direct Link
Winter is a foreign concept in California; even an English transplant is left unable to comprehend the seasonal change. School is situated on a beautiful campus, newly dotted with lush patches of green and sprouting trees, but without shelter beyond numerous overhangs. My scarf shields my face from the wind as adequately as my flimsy Converse sneakers protect my feet from soggy turf.

Five friends found warmth today within the cramped quarters of a petite Volkswagen Golf. Forty minutes passed them by amidst a constant slideshow of cars, departing and arriving while they sat, giggling throughout their picnic to nowhere.
01/28 Direct Link
The week of student teaching concluded with a two-hour screening of Hamlet – at 7pm. Nerdy doesn't even come close to describing the experience.

Close ties with the almighty subject of B.S. saved me again. Still unsure if I should accept my scholastic deterioration as destiny or make a conscientious effort to improve: C+ in Calculus this semester, my first grade lower than an A- since junior high; 90.2% in Physics thanks to the fortuitously curved test scores; three theory papers written for AP English, two based upon novels I never finished reading.

Truth be known, I don't even feel ashamed.
01/29 Direct Link
care: a burdened state of mind, as that arising from heavy responsibilities.

free: not affected or restricted by a given condition or circumstance.

less: not as great in amount or quantity.

carefree: free of worries and responsibilities.

careless: taking insufficient care; negligent; marked by or resulting from lack of forethought or thoroughness; unconcerned or indifferent.

. . .

Did less ever equate to free? By definition, my diminished troubles left me with fewer cares and less to fret over, anxiety seldom worth its price. I never became carefree, though, only careless and of depleted value.

Who the hell ever said less was more?
01/30 Direct Link
Almost a completed month of 3,100 words, soon to be renamed as my solitary reminder of January.

When I was younger, I attempted (on numerous occasions) to jot down my thoughts in a journal. I soon tired of trivial daily ramblings – now the epitome of my 100 word entries – but yearned for even a little tangible evidence of my teen years. Now, at eighteen, my childhood can be easily located on the second ledge of my bookshelf, tucked within an array of blank journals.

A keyboard made my hands lazy, my pen an unfamiliar confidant, yet I'm 3,100 words lighter.
01/31 Direct Link
Driving down 280, I realized just how much I'm going to miss California.

I've composed a list of everything I've secretly yearned for: fish, chips and sausages; service station dinners; dominoes at the Red Lion; Kegworth; Sam (I and II); Nottingham; the Prospect; Piccadilly Circus; the Thames; Philly's Bridge; my cousins; Laura; cycling at the park; ringing Gran's flat; Sussex Stationers; standing on the bridge above the railway; walking from Gran's to the beach; those damn stones by the shore.

I can't wait to greet London from the air, but the sunset is never quite the same beyond California's sky.