Thursday, December 30, 2004

"Suppositories are the way to go."

My younger brother puts this sentence into the universe with the sort of confidence you'd expect to hear from a presidential hopeful. He is firm. He is unyielding. You look at the man as he speaks and know in your heart, "This is not this man's last experience with suppositories."

The whole conversation came up on our drive from Kentucky to New York. That makes 12 hours in the same car, 12 hours breathing each others space, 12 hours trying to keep the driver awake; this is how a person can run so far out of conversation that suppository stories are somehow plugged in (pardon the pun).

He is telling his best friend about the time I brought my good friend Caroline home last year, not knowing he was deathly ill. As a 21 year old man, this is not the way you wanna meet a beautiful young woman. He had, unbeknownst to me, just "doctored" himself. See, he was a desperate man. His intestines were completely backed up; so ill, so clogged, that he couldn't even keep a drop of water down without vomitting. This was a sick young man, indeed. So, he tells me that at this point of dehydration, he goes to the doctor and is given a choice: keep dry heaving everything (including medication) or sneak the medicine in the back door. And although he likes to think of that area as "Exit Only", he was left with little option.

This is the point in the story where he swears by the medication. Says that only 10 minutes later, he is in la-la-land and is finally able to sleep. After his nap, he could eat like a king and was feeling worlds better. He tells my mother that "suppositories are the way to go."

I'm not so confident in his little slogan. Now, at the risk of jinxing myself, I've never had to use a suppository; but even if there ever arose an instance where one of these horse pills was prescribed, it's still not the kind of motto I'd put on a button and campaign with. Call me crazy, Matt, but you're on your own here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"Dad, can we go feed the cows?"

As my boyfriend and I drive the hour and a half to his hometown, twisting the curves of I75 and racing against the winter storm behind us, he tells me some of his story. We pass a road that looks like it leads nowhere. He smiles, points, says, "This reminds me of my dad."

Tells me of how when he was little, his dad would drive him down this narrow little road to some kind of store. I think of it as maybe a small building where working men can go to get away from nagging wives and screaming children; that kind of hole in the wall place where working men can chew tobacca and smoke and play cards and stand around in Carhart coats and talk about the weather. I see a kerosene stove and lots of calloused hands, creased and dirty. Around the thick legs of all these working men, I see my boyfriend, blonde head tilted back, looking up at their beards and pot-bellies, and wondering who to ask for the salt.

My boyfriend tells me that it is in this place that his dad orders them soup beans. They say their 'see ya later's and 'take care's, climb back into the truck, and head off to the pasture. There, they drop their salt block offering, and as the cattle mosey up, father lifts son onto the hood of the truck and leans on an elbow next to him. In silence, they watch the cattle fight for lick after lick while they spoon steaming mouthfuls of brown beans and cornbread, making a memory that doesn't seem important to either of them at the moment, but will stick to Jerrod's ribs for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Been Home One Day

the pain is still here,
deep in my chest,
it reminds me of it's presence every time i pull a deep breath of kentucky air,
but the pain has dulled.

i have medicine here.
stealing kisses all day as we christmas shop,
waiting for me outside of dressing rooms,
dropping me off at the door while he parks in the bitter cold,
his arms so tight around me as we sleep that i think he may not ever let go.

the pain is still here,

medicine numbs, not destroys,
and my soul still aches for something more -
a life worth sharing with someone so deserving.

i am searching.
he is waiting.
we are both hurting.
the pain is still here.
between us.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

anoche a selena's

sweat. and tacos. hair gel. short. short. skirts.
music reminiscent of amusement park carousel rides blaring. boop boop boop boop. it is hard not to laugh the first time.
steps. people actually dancing to steps. space.between.bodies. dancing to dance. not to push bodies together - seal them with sweat.
two dollars. what latinas charge the men lining up to cumbria. reggatone. merengue.
brown. the color of everyone else's skin. of long hair skimming the tops of men's fingers as they lead their women through the bachatta and salsa. the deepness of ojos morenos like dark chocolate.
modelo. on the table. chitterones. we girls laugh. sip vodka. bacardi. corona. the men all drink tequila.
salud. to la gringa.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

And They All Fall Down!

Yesterday, a woman was climbing the steps to the second floor at Sardi's. Now, I am carrying a huge tray of food, so when she dives forward in one of the most ungraceful falls the world may ever know, I cannot reach down to help her up.

This is one of those moments where - ya know - I just really wanted to laugh. I mean, falling down is funny. It's as simple as that. Lands in the same category as seeing someone smacked in the back of the head or walking into a wall or having wrenches thrown at you in rapid fire succession as you prepare for a huge dodgeball tournament.

But I couldn't laugh. Because a) she might have hurt herself and b) I was wearing a bowtie and red tuxedo jacket.

So I ask if she's alright (through pursed lips) and turn to deliver my food with a little smile on my face.

The best part is that later on in the night, another woman got drunk and fell at the same spot, but the guy behind her wasn't paying attention and just fell into her like dominos. The domino effect would have been the only thing that would have made the Destiny's Child blooper on 106&Park even funnier.

Blog Contagion!


It seems that this on-line journal is infectious... seems that once you figure it out, you kinda have to get one. (This fact has been sarcastically noted on under the post "Coolness".)

But seriously, my friend Claire (UT) had a blog. I checked it out and then checked out my friend Erica's (NY) blog. I then got one too. My boyfriend wants desperately to be a paper doll cut-out of me, so he got one immediately after I did and even copies a little of my material... or is "inspired" by it. Then, he told my friend Marci (KY) about my blog and his blog and she now has a blog. Upon checking her blog today, it seems she has told others at the place I used to work about blogging and now two other women from Chop House (KY) have blogs.

Will the chain end? I think not. It's spreading like small pox, except its a good thing... and it doesn't itch.

Claire -
Erica -
Jerrod -
Marci -
Annie -

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Happy Places

I realize that I've been writing only about the bad times - the loneliest days - the most vulnerable emotions. I'm not letting you all the way inside. I'm only allowing you to enter the darkest rooms of my heart; but there are tricks I employ to get through this transition - ways I've found to lift my own spirits when no one else is here to do it for me. Here's a peek inside. Welcome to my Happy Places.

No. 1: Whenever I walk into a room and Jerrod is waiting for me, I'll swing open the door only to find him, feet planted, arms spread wide, big cheesy smile stretching his face, "Here I am, Alecia!"... whether I've been in New York for a month or I've just stepped outside to check the mail.
(That's the image I go to most when I'm coming home from work here or walking down the streets.)

No. 2: When my dad tells a joke, or makes a corny crack, he laughs so hard that he begins to shake. He eventually has to bend over at the waist and slap his hand against his thigh with one hand while he holds his stomach with the other. Eventually, tears will form at the sides of his eyes and it's all made even funnier when you look from my dad to my mom, who is only grinning a little and looking away in "embarrassment", trying to roll her eyes, but unable to hide a smile because of the spectacle he's making.

No. 3: Looking at old family pictures, it seems that my sister wore the same outfit every day between the ages of 6 and 8. My mom allowed us to dress ourselves at whatever age we expressed interest and Bobbie Jo didn't really like to veer from the old standby, which consisted of a matching two piece lime green and dark purple ensemble. The top was purple with lime green polka dots while the shorts were purple with lime green stripes. Quite the fashionista.

(My mother worries that when people look through our albums, they'll think she was a bad mother and only bought new clothes for Matt and me.)

No. 4: For Halloween this year, my friend Ellen talked me into going to a party with her. We didn't have costumes, so we donned 80s apparel and talked in thick country accents: side ponytails bobbing, fluorescent headbands tight, bracelet-sized hoop earrings dangling, super tight jeans super tight rolled, ankle socks and tennis shoes, tucked in t-shirts with braided belts. I could not look at her without laughing and our fellow subway riders couldn't help but stare. Somehow we managed a fashion faux pa (which I thought was impossible in New York City).

No. 5: At a get-together at Jerrod's house, we took a break from board games to get drinks and snacks. My friend (anonymous) was sitting on the floor in a skirt (it SUCKS to have to sit on the floor in a skirt) and as she took a drink from her cup, she poured an entire shot worth into her lap, which pooled up in the crotch. She was smiling at me the whole time and I felt like it was all slow-motion as I tried to warn her, pointing, saying her name, unfolding myself from the couch to try to get to her! She didn't realize what was happening until the puddle eventually seeped through the thick fabric of her skirt.

(You can imagine the screams and the flailing at that point.)

No. 6: My friend Whitley does not sing... unless, (as I found out one night), it is a classic Meatloaf tune. I was having a conversation with his father in the front seat, when from behind us, out of the blue, we heard Whitley belt out, "And I would do - an-y - thing- for - love!" Please don't imagine the verse sung, so much as punched, placing particular emphasis on "do", "an", "thing". Please refrain from choosing a key also. And try not to envision the car radio being ON, as it wasn't. The only music in that car was obviously in Whitley's head.

No. 7: My friend here in New York was at a Bible Study and another woman there was pouring out her heart. He said it was pretty intense at the moment and there was a guy sitting across from him with his legs crossed. Well, there was a break in her testimony, so old dude used it as an opportunity to shift in his chair and recross his legs. During this transition, he passed gas. . . audibly! Jon looked over at him in surprise, then looked around the group, and the girl was still talking about her life before God without skipping a beat! Jon's looking around like, "Hell-o! Aren't we going to address what just happened?!" But no. All these good Christians spared the man the embarrassment owed him by ignoring the sound, and also, the smell. He said he felt bad, but he couldn't really concentrate after the debacle.

No. 8: I know a man who has little quirks: kinda has an eye phobia, washes his hands all the time, etc. Well, his oddest eccentricity is an alias. He feels that "we all have an alter-ego", but this guy actually uses his alias! He is NOT a celebrity. He does NOT have paparazzi stalking him. He is NOT in the witness protection program. But he DOES exercise an alias. Says things like, "There are times when you just need an alias." What?! When does the average American need an alias?! I'm actually quite baffled by the Clark Kent side of this friend of mine. . . and occasionally slip him the business cards of local therapists.

No. 9: My friend Whitney got a red convertible when she turned 16. It was awesome! I was there the day that she was given it and I had known about the surprise and it killed me not to tell her; but oh, that secret was so worth it when I saw her walk out the gate to the gift. We immediately took it for a spin, headed toward the Square (where all the cool kids cruised in Cynthiana). Well, on the way, I was fooling with the automatic windows (I was so taken with automatic windows - thought that was the mark of a really nice car), when suddenly, I felt a jerk. We had slammed into the car in front of us. Whitney freaked out. Remember, she'd only had the car for about an hour. Although it wasn't funny AT ALL at the time, I laugh now because we both managed to convince ourselves that her dad was right: the car in front of us must have been drinking and had accidentally put their car into reverse. Ahhh, I love the way he thinks.

No. 10: For Christmas, my boyfriend got every season of The Sopranos on DVD. From the week of December 26 til the last week of January, he popped a disc in the player and held me down until I would sing along with the theme song. I fought it with all my might, (much like the rebel in me that used to fight my parents about eating canned corn); but Jerrod is much stronger and until he heard me hum a little of "Woke up this morning, got myself a gun," he would not let me go. He is a sick individual.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bombarded by Home

I guess today is the day for crying. I receive a video from my family. I cry. I am homesick.

I check my boyfriend's blog. He has written two entries since last I checked. He is not a bad writer. He excused his macho Pride and allowed Vulnerability to type. He loves me. I can't describe that uniqueness - what it's like, not to just love, but to be loved. I ball. I heave. I sit in front of the computer and turn out the light, somehow feeling better about crying in the dark. I spend about 15 seconds sobbing and asking God aloud, "What am I doing here?! What do you have for me?!"

The doorbell just rang so I ran down the steps, mid-blogging, to answer the postman's call. It is a letter from my mom with our church directory family pictures. Can you guess? Yeah, I cry. I also received a box from my boyfriend. I haven't opened it. The tears of the day are still drying salty on my cheeks. I blow my nose and decide to give my heart a break. I'll open the box - but later.

Check out the man who loves me. See why I cry. Take a peek into my heart and when you see the small hole, eaten away by longing, then you'll know where he lives. In that little niche. Always with me.

Bittersweet Regards

I watch the video with tears dripping in my lap. I am smiling. Eyes that look like mine are shining from the sweet face of my younger sister. She has trimmed the tree with her new love.

They send a video holiday greeting to me via email. She cannot let go of his hand long enough for Dad to zoom in on the tree. She is in love.
I watch the video again, this time listening for the voices of my mother and father. My dad, the most technologically impaired individual I have ever met, is once again in charge of the camera - my mom coaching him along. The tree is in the same spot. There is an ornament with my name and the date of my birth just over the right shoulder of my sister. I know that she hung it in the front on purpose. I know that she misses my brother the same way and that a similar ornament of his is there in the front, too. I know that I miss home so badly sometimes that I cannot write or call because it makes things that much harder. Out of sight, out of mind.

I see the way she giggles as he asks her to step from the tree. She doesn't hear him at first, although he is speaking clearly. It's not that he's mumbling - it's that she can't hear him over the roar of her own young heart. She is in love.

I found myself looking at the new couple, envious of their hand holding. "I wish I had a boyfriend," I heard myself whisper, "with me."

I know love now like hurting. I know love like 800 miles makes his strong hugs a memory. I know love like more than touch - more than talk - more than his scent. I know love now like hurting. Not heartbreak. Heartbreak will be reserved for loss; but love like longing. I wonder sometimes how long I will take this pain -- how long I will walk New York avenues while my heart throbs -- how long until I feel love like numbness. And I wonder sometimes about his pain threshold. Wonder if he can handle this pain any better than the time he let me pluck his eyebrows... of course, that had something to do with pride as well.

I watch the video one more time. They look so fresh with their new happiness. I look forward to Christmas, when I can go home and meet this new boy, listen to my dad make corny jokes for his benefit, hold the hand of my own love and reciprocate the fresh love of the youngsters with him. I don't want anything this year but a way to be together; but I've found that Santa can't work miracles, so I'll ask for a winter coat instead... imagine that as I slip my arms into it's thick sleeves that he is holding me, zipping his arms around me - my imagination the only thing keeping me going.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Startled to Find Him Here

As I rolled over on my side to fall asleep after another long day at work, I pulled the soft comforter up over my shoulders and around my neck, just tucked under my chin... and I was startled. I found him there - his scent - sewed into the seams of my blanket. I gasped, pulled back, threw the cover down, looked into the shadows making sure I was alone. I was.

It felt just like a bad dream. Or like someone had come up behind me and "boo!" so I jumped out of my own comfortable skin. Like the night I opened the closet door, so sure that someone was hiding there that I screamed when a loosely placed sweater fell from the top shelf. That was the feeling when I inhaled and found him wrapped around me.

I turned away from the dark room again and pulled the covers back up. I inhaled. He was gone. Maybe it was all my imagination. Maybe my heart was playing tricks on me.