The Seven Year Itch: Prologue

Trixie stood in front of the full-length mirror, tweezers in hand; ready to attack any stray eyebrow hair marring a perfect arch. The movements are methodical point, pluck, smooth, point again. No attention paid to the woman in the mirror, the music in the background, or the man standing in the doorway.

Wake up Wake up, Gotta get this paper, Get this cake up. Gotta do my hair, Gotta put on make up…

Suddenly Trixie stops, moves from a crouched position in front of the mirror, leans her face away from the glass and actually looks at herself. It’s been a year since she’s done this, just stood there in her bra and panties to examine her body.

A year ago circumstances were vastly different. Her belly rounded, full of life. Little  Tadgh was on the way. A flatter belly remains, only the stretch marks zigzagging across her skin betraying her previously pregnant state. Her eyes hone in on the widest stretch mark, mouth pursed in a frown. Eyes wander upward. Dark brown curls frame her face and cascade past her shoulders, the light glinting off sun-bleached highlights. Freckles fan across her nose and cheeks. Biting her lips, a pink hue tints her puckered mouth. Eyes travel south to full breasts outlined in Calvin Klein’s latest orange lace bra. She lifts her hands to cup them, feels the weight that never left from the milk that used to be housed within. Lower still, quickly past her stomach and the memories. Matching orange bikini panties enveloped her hips. Turning sideways, she sees her butt which thankfully is still perky. Moles dot her “runner’s legs” as her mom used to call them; strong thighs, full calves, dainty ankles. Glancing downward still she notices pink toes, fresh from the pedicurist. A noise alerts her to the man standing in the doorway, watching as she pores over her body.

For a second their eyes meet and she sees the long abandoned lust etched in the depths of his hazel eyes. Trixie gives a cheeky smile to his reflection in the mirror, and starts to undo her bra. He straightens, looks away, his gaze landing to the dresser where their family photo stands. Her smile falls; a blank disinterested mask replaces her once seductive grin.

Alex clears his throat as Trixie turns around.

“I’m leaving for San Diego again today. I didn’t want you to wait up for me. Sorry I forgot to tell you”. With that he walks away, not looking at her.

Please somebody tell me what’s going on. My baby’s gotta suitcase. He’s telling me it’s too late. Don’t nobody, please don’t ask me why…

The song change timed perfectly with Alex’s departure. You’d never guess that Alex was her husband. That he vowed to love and cherish her. That a year ago he was behind her as she stood in front of the mirror, his hands on her full belly, his nose buried in her neck. Her pulse fluttered, and little Tadgh kicked at the same time. Alex lifted his head, a wide grin on his face, his future football star making his presence known.

In the distance the front door shuts. And the old images flint away.

I can’t stop my heart from leaving through the door. I can’t unpack my heart because he won’t look at me anymore…

Home Again #Writing 101, Day 2, A Room with a View

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m ever gonna make it home again. It’s so far and out of sight. I really need someone to talk to and nobody else knows how to comfort me tonight. Snow is cold, rain is wet. Chills my soul right to the marrow. I won’t be happy until I see you alone again. Till I’m home again and feeling right.” Carole King

When I was a little girl, my Grandma Lorraine on my father’s side used to send care packages full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and beef jerky. No matter when she sent the cookies or how long they sat at the post office before we could pick them up, when you opened the Ziploc bag the cookies were be round, golden, fresh-from-the-oven soft, buttery perfection. And the beef jerky, which she slow cooked for days in her dehydrator, would never be stale or tough but chewy, flavorful, and smoked to a thick maroon hue.

Growing up on a boat, you don’t have a lot of hiding places. So my parents always hid the goody box from Grandma in the galley “closet”. And I use the term closet loosely here, but when you think of a closet now, you probably imagine a space deep enough to store lots of items hidden by the clothes hanging across a parallel rod. Well, this closet was so narrow it barely held a shirt and a jacket on the copper pipe that probably connected to the propane tank on the other side of the galley door. It was so small that you probably only reached mid forearm before you touched the back of the closet, and the height was maybe about 4 feet.

But that was my favorite place in the entire boat. I would climb in there on top of the industrial cases that held my father’s mobile phones—you know the kind that only came in black, about the side of basketball player’s tennis shoe (in height and width), with the uber long antenna that you had to screw into the phone before it worked? I’d sit in the corner of the closet (which really spanned the entire closet) and sniff the sea salt from my father’s work jacket[; smelling the layered smoke from his Marlboro Reds.

I’d sit in that closet, eating Grandma’s cookies and jerky, relishing the pungent tang of the dried meat and the sweet escape of her chocolate filled cookies. When I was tired I’d pull the Carhartt jacket from its hanger, wrap the fleece lined warmth around me and snooze, rocked in the lulling motion of the ocean hitting the hull, the comforting smell of diesel fuel filling the air as barges passed through the estuary.

Eventually someone would find me, the evidence of my transgressions clear as day, from my chocolate smudged face to my oil stained hands. And yet they never picked a new spot for the loot.

If I could go any place, I’d go back to that boat, back to that closet, and back to that carefree girl. 

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Ain’t it fun #writing101, Day 1

“If it don’t hurt now then just wait, just wait a while. You’re not big fish in the pond no more, you are what they’re feeding on. So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you. Ain’t it fun, living in the real world? Ain’t it good, being all alone? … Don’t go crying to your momma, cause you’re on your own in the real world.“ Paramore

People always say that it gets better with time. Well those people – the mass loads of bullshit slingers that create the space for clichés and euphemisms – they’re wrong: like the Earth is flat wrong.

It doesn’t get easier because every day I wake up and my brother is still dead and we still don’t talk about it. Or how my too-old parents are raising my 16y.o. nephew because his mother was killed by her drugged-up boyfriend in front of him at 2-3 years old, and his father died in 2012 on his way to the bathroom. And his stepmom—the only mother he’s known in his life—is now pregnant by some 20 year old loser thug wannabe.

When that’s your reality ain’t shit easy.

And not surprisingly there’s no motivation to be found in a world where everyone is looking for the newest, biggest, greatest thing; so your need to dwell on a topic that happened two years and 6months ago is taboo. Frankly dear, it’s time to move on.

Move on to what?

I wasn’t living the dream before he died and I sure as hell ain’t floating on a rainbow now.

And this whole idea of how it’s great to be an adult?

Fuck that.

All I do hourly is give away my intellectual property for a paycheck that Uncle Sam slices in to shreds where the scraps are used to pay bills for shit I rationalize that I need in order to survive/get chose/fill the gaping hole inside of myself with something other than food. And the more I live this life, the more I hate every bit of myself.

Because contrary to my current situation, I had dreams that far exceeded my present station. I wanted to travel, and live out of hotels, fuck random men, and drink endless amounts of wine all the while earning my living through some danger filled adventurous occupation.

Instead I sit in a cube farm 9-12 hours a day, wander lusting after shit I can’t afford, pinning amazing projects on virtual boards for whenever I find the time to be spontaneous and “productive”.

And then while I vortex in to this adverse dimension of myself I imagine coming home to flowers and neck kisses and surprise treats from Trader Joes, like that strawberry licorice that makes you want to rub your body on things in delight—purr meow purr.

I just want a little more jolly in this ranch corral life. I mean can’t even make friends who like—want to hangout on the weekend, who don’t mind movie marathons and who don’t expect me to supply all of the necessary provisions. It’s all “do for me” “buy for me” “take from me”. And it’s tiring.

Life is tiring. And it’s hard. And I see why so many people want to stay in bed all day with the curtains drawn, popping anti-depression meds that typically make you suicidal. Because no one prepared you for this shit storm. And no one wants to hear you complain.

Always chasing rainbows

“I’m always chasing rainbows, Watching clouds drifting by, My schemes are just like all my dreams, Ending in the sky. Some fellows look and find the sunshine; I always look and find the rain. Some fellows make a winning sometime, I never even make a gain, believe me, I’m always chasing rainbows, I’m watching for a little bluebird in vain.” Judy Garland

I keep thinking that one day it will all make sense. There has to be an equation, right? Some divine code, decipherable through the gathering of life experiences. One day I’ll be able to add up all the numbers, multiple all the sunrises, subtract all the sorrows, divide by all the joys and come up with either a positive or negative number. A blimp on graph. A baseline that makes complete sense.

No. I’m still at 0. Is that even a number? It’s more an inert integer where no matter how you manipulate it, the value remains untouched.

I wanna touch zero. I wanna add days to it, to prolong it’s life. I wanna rip it up into shreds and stomp all over the confetti of zeros at my feet. I wanna shove all the zeros down my throat until I choke on numerical madness and then feed the regurgitated remains to the pigeons. I wanna spread around zeros like an infectious disease until the epidemic puts people into a panic, demanding billions of dollars to develop a cure. The antivirus for keno-zero-phobia stocked on every pharmacy shelf.

I wanna hate zero. Blame the causality for every horrible, despicable, heart wrenching thing that ever happened on its inability to mean anything. I’d like to cast zero back into its dark abyss. Etch words on the box I opened warning others to beware of the curse that comes from playing with zero.

Oh what I’d give to be wrapped in the arms of 1. Cocooned in the embrace of 2. Play hide and go seek, laughter echoing through the trees, with 3. Swim laps in a pool of 4s. Skate down the street as rays of sun bounce off 5. But I can’t.

I can’t seem to escape zero. No matter where I bunker down, I look over and there zero is looking at me. Shadowing my footsteps, splashing in puddles, as we walk through the rain.

You start to wonder if zero is following you. Or are you chasing zero?

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