Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pain lives...

Pain lives in my knees. Knocks at my hips. Shakes up my spine and does cirlces around my heart. Pounds under my skull so that my thoughts jumble up and that's when pain so obviously takes up its place at the corners of my mouth when I stretch it wide and laugh extra loud. Pain hides down under my skin, right below the surface, so that sometimes it bumps up and I cover it with jackets and band-aids and smiles. Pain lives in each hug and kiss and hello and especially good-bye. Sometimes it aches and sometimes it sleeps, but the pain is always there.

Real First Kiss

My first real kiss, (the kind where we locked lips because we had tingles down to our toes and not because of Truth or Dare), was slobbery. I had my tongue back deep against my throat, like playing goalie in front of my tonsils, as his searched like a snake light around the cavity of my mouth. His tongue, a thick swab, brushed the insides of my cheeks and licked across my teeth. My eyes stayed wide open the whole time. I wanted to relax, fall loose in his arms like Scarlett O'Hara; but my best friend was watching through the kitchen window and his best friend was spot-lighting us with his truck headlights. So I stood firm, planted, rigid, and afraid. My first kiss was miserable, and so romantic.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Facts of Life

"You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have the facts of life. . . the facts of life. . ."

Stone-washed jeans, side ponytails, trapper keepers, and retainers. All of these items went along with me through The Facts of Life. In my young years, I would race home after school to my grandparents house until my mom came to pick us up. We always got a good 2 hours or so of television a day if we got our "lessons" done and didn't fight. This was easy. Mamaw and Papaw had three TV's, so each of us got one to ourselves.

I had a line-up, of course. Over the years it varied a little, as some shows cancelled and some created, but here was the basic set-up:
3:30 - He-Man
4:00 - She-Ra
4:30 - 6:00 - Saved by the Bell, The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life

So you can imagine how excited I was Sunday night at Sardi's when my maitre'd asked me to go downstairs and bring up a small pelegrino for "a lady from The Facts of Life." You've never seen me scale stairs so fast. Racing down to the bar for her water, I'm humming the theme song and wondering, "Is it Tuti? Natalie? Jo? Blair?" I mean, who didn't want to live in that boarding house?! Those girls had a great time! I mean, Blair had fabulous hair and Tuti got to wear roller skates ALL OF THE TIME!

I come back upstairs, scanning the party room, when I see the smallest lady in the room smiling big and wide up at me. It was Charlotte Ray, the woman who played the part of Mrs. Garrett. She is so small, her hair bright white and full and curly around her head. I hand her the water and she is so sweet. I say to her, "You made my after school days so much fun. I know that you've done a lot more work that The Facts of Life, but that show meant a lot to me." Well, her eyes well up with tears and she dabs at the corners while saying her thank you. This makes me emotional, and as I'm squatting down to chat with her, she gives me a big hug and then kisses me on the cheek.

I floated back down to the kitchen filled with joy. After all of these years, I actually felt like one of Mrs. Garrett's girls.

Of course, I was still wearing a tuxedo, but hey, them's The Facts of Life.