Thursday, October 11, 2007

I don't think she meant to fall in love with him. They had very little in common and beside that, the "world" would never allow it. So their interactions were few and their smiles were without motive.

Which is exactly why they did, in fact, fall fatally in love.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

having a baby

somewhere in my side, low, like appendex, is a weird clenching. stress. maybe. or those random days where i think i'm pregnant, even though i'm definitely not. it's the gemini in me, maybe, that creates inner drama where there's none.

still, there's a catch in my breath that i feel above my right breast. is my lung there? or is that just where i'm keeping the "when am i having a baby?" question... and therefore, the stress.

elizabeth gilbert, eat, pray, love writes: "Having a baby is like getting a tatoo on your forehead - you better be 100% sure."

do i really want a tatoo?
on my forehead?

my friend cindy just had a baby, heather is pregnant, brandi is pregnant, megan is pregnant, and you never know when my sister-in-law darla is gonna pop another out.
i could just babysit.

i'm definitely not having a baby.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Worst Nail Salon that Ever Existed

In a city where manicures are 6 bucks and pedicures are 13, salons out here in Queens have to stay competitive. But they should still maintain a level of upstanding professionalism.

The stupid nail salon on 31Ave b/w 37 & 38 streets makes me want to get fake nails put on so that I can use them to poke my eyeballs out. That's the experience their clientele will give you... at a low, low price.

The woman that runs the joint is with whom I have the most problem. She is pushy, pushy, pushy... "Want manicure? Want massage?"

Okay, why not? I originally only wanted a polish change, but it'd only cost a dollar more for the full manicure. Fine. And, conveniently, when I woke up this morning, I complained about a kink in my neck on my right side. 10 dollar massage oughta work that right out.

So, I go for it.

During the manicure, the pushy salon owner / mother of the high schooler doing my nails keeps coming over to interrupt us... talking jibberish behind the mask she's wearing and neither of us can understand her. The braces laden young girl is annoyed and I haven't seen so much eye-rolling since Marci Graham won Prom Queen. (She was a shoo-in.)

Then, I'm passed along to a quiet latina girl who will do my massage. I tell her of my neck/head focus area and settle myself into the chair. As soon as I feel her hands on my back, I feel my shoulders release stress.

"Ahhh, this was a good idea."


A lady getting a manicure comes over directly in front of me (I could have touched her) to dry her nails. This is no problem, but her husband has come by to meet her and boy does he have a lot to catch her up on about his day. That low Barry White meets Johnny Cochran voice and style is just the soothing background muzak I need.

But wait! Is that humming I hear? Why yes it is! The girl doing my massage decides to hum along to Cheryl Lynn's popular hit, "To Be Real", that has just come blaring onto the salon sound system. Humming. Humming.

But, she's doing a great job with her hands so I try to take my mind elsewhere. The left side of my neck and head is really feeling great. I can't wait til she gets to the other side... the one that's actually hurting.

And then - the timer goes off.

I sit up and ask her, "Um, are you going to do the other side of my neck like you did this side?"

She doesn't understand so I ask her in Spanish.

She replies, "I used my thumb on the left side and my fingers to hold onto the right side." She's dodging questions like the You Decide 2008 debatees.

I ask, "Would you please move to the other side of this massage chair to apply the same pressure to this painful side of my neck with your other thumb."

She agrees. Okay. Customer's always right.

Wrong again.

I settle back into the chair and take a deep breath... only to open my eyes to see the psycho owner bending over, head cocked under my massage chair, looking at me and shouting from behind her mask, "You want pay for extra 10 minutes?!"

I sit straight up. "I'm not paying for another 10 minutes. She only did one side of my body."

"Well, it's only 10 minutes. You need longer to do both sides."

"What?! So, the 10 dollars I paid only covers one side of my body and AFTER that side is relaxed, you typically ask for more money to equal out your client's bodies?"

"It's only 10 minutes."

"Every other 10 minute massage I've gotten tries to give their clients relaxtion and equilibrium. They've been able to get to both sides of my neck without a problem. It's only, what, 6 inches wide? They manage."

"You need other 10 minutes."

I get up angrily and grab my coat and purse.

"You can sit here to dry your nails," says the money-grubbing idiot woman.

"I don't wanna sit down. I don't wanna be in here. Thanks for everything though. The left side of my neck feels really great." (I know, sarcasm.)

But really. You offer a massage, reel the client in, do half of their body, and then ask them if they'd like to pay for another massage to do the other side? Seriously?! Seriously. I've half a mind to call the Better Business Bureau.

Don't get your nails done at the stupid place on 31st Ave between the laundromat and the new construction site. They'll make you hate life.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dirty Dancing - 20th Anniversary Release

I feel fourth grade again. Tonight was the 20th Anniversary re-release of Dirty Dancing. The theatre in Queens was packed. There was more woo-ing and screaming and whistling than at an Usher concert and we know how sexy that man's hips are. Every girl in that theatre was giddy and excited and purely happy. Really. I feel fourth grade again.

Erin Parrigin's slumber party and Kelly Works is glued to the TV downstairs. She's watching DIRTY DANCING... I'm not allowed to watch DIRTY DANCING... but I think Kelly Works is the most grown-up, beautiful, perfect human being on the planet, so I cross-leg myself right down on the carpet beside her.

This is a story about Baby. She's growing up and she wants to make her parents proud, always do the right thing, and see more in people than other people see. Am I Baby?

I curl my knees up under my nightgown and hug them tight against my chest and can't think of any other place I'd rather be. Erin brings popcorn and starts talking to Jessie about the watermelon scene. "Can you believe she just said, 'I carried a watermelon?'" "I know."

I would like to ask them, at this time, what would be a better way to segue into the sweaty, sexy, outrageous club scene that she has stumbled upon, but don't. I imagine myslef in Baby's keds. "I carried a watermelon." Okay. So? Is this embarrassing cause she should have carried two?
Erin's mom calls down to see if we're okay and I think she's the coolest parent I've ever met. We can watch PG-13s, she doesn't consider "piss" a curse word, and let's us have the whole basement to ourselves!

Okay. Penny is pregnant. My mouth drops open wide and none of us can believe it cause a) she's not married and b) we're still not perfectly clear on how that even happens. She has some sort of botched surgery and Baby gets in trouble with her dad. Parents never seem to understand. I totally relate with Baby.

Now though - BABY GETS TO DANCE! I think that Patrick Swayze is the sexiest man I have ever seen and this movie, two years later, is what prompts me to secretly practice dancing in my full-length mirror at home before every school dance in middle school. I don't know what I'll do though if anyone ever tries that fingers down the inside of my arm thing. I just know I'll DIE of tickle tingles.

Pretty soon, Baby and Johnny are a couple and I am informed that the reason they are in his bed together is because they just had sex. Whoa. This is where Erin takes the remote control and keeps rewinding the scene where Johnny gets out of bed. I SWEAR WE CAN ALMOST SEE HIS BUTT! This is the wildest slumber party ever. She has him getting out of bed, backing into bed, up and down, the sheets tossing as we see AT LEAST an inch of the top part of his right buttocks. It's incredible.
At the same time, I am gonna be so nervous if anyone ever tries to kiss me like he kissed her. I feel tingles. My body feels hot. Even Kelly is sitting up straight in her bean bag chair. I really hope this movie leads to one of those boy talks later where I sit back and nod my head as the other girls gossip, (Erin's big sister has told her EVERYTHING about boys) while at the same time soaking up everything they say to ask my mom about later. Of course if she asks where I heard that stuff, I'll tell her from TV or from this girl in class who is super mean to me and that I really hate.

Baby is slowly becoming my hero. She is sexy, but look! You can still be playful if you want without being a nerd! Baby and Johnny are dancing and goofing off, crawling toward each other, and hiding behind a screne. All of us girls pair off and start to call "Come 'ere lover boy" and "if he STILL doesn't answer" and I, especially, feel like I have this part of flirting down pat. (Of course, I take out my retainer first because a) it doesn't make me feel sexy and b)... Erin took hers out.)

Someone mentions that they've already seen this movie and want to do Ouija board instead. I am terrified. Not of the spirits (okay a little), but more of peeling my eyes from this love story. One that I am absolutely under no circumstances allowed to see and one that everyone will be talking about in the cafeteria!

Luckily, Erin announces that we're all staying up all night long and if we go to sleep, she'll put shaving cream on our faces, so "what's the hurry?".

(Thank God.)

It's the end-of-season party and Baby's lame sister does a horrible talent show presentation that makes us all hope we never grow up to be like her. We hate that Baby is stuck with her parents while Johnny is just a beautiful memory for her diary pages.

When, wait! Dressed in black leather from head to toe, Johnny crashes the party and cowboy boots his way over to her table where he announces that "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

We scream.

There is absolutely no other reaction that we could've chosen. Our knight has ripped us away from the stifling clutches of our parents and knows that we are each beautiful stars that should be shining onstage in a down and dirty version of the mambo! Yes!

The only thing better than seeing ourselves twirl in Baby's beautiful dress and saucily swing our hips around with her as she kicks and points in those fabulous silver shoes is...

the lift.

Baby soars into the air and we are giddy! Arms outstretched, we fly with her! 8 year old girls, accustomed to passing notes in class, writing boys' names on folders, and perfecting our bangs every day into magnificent statuesque towers are now seeing the glory of teenagedom!

Ends up that after Ouija board, we try seances and Erin passes out. I get freaked out by all the conjouring the dead and the devil stuff, so I call my mom to come pick me up in the middle of the night.

She holds my hand on the way home, which I hate but allow when not in public. I just hope she can't tell how much I've grown-up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm okay.

One budlight and 2 hours of conversation. I met her boyfriend. He's nice. I want to do some girl talk, but his English is good enough to understand. I want to tell her that he seems like a good fit, that they seem happy, that their giddiness is so refreshing, to savor it.

So we part ways. Besos and "let's do this again soon" and I walk north. At the other end of the same corner, I decide to call her. She wanted me to meet her new man. I want to tell her that I approve and am so happy for her.

It's windy.

My cell rings but I haven't put on my sweater and the wind is kissing my shoulders too roughly. Whipping me. There is a pay phone ahead so I slide into a stall like a colt in the Derby... anxious to hear her voice and to gush before they reach the train.

That's when I feel another body next to me. Much taller. Much stronger. He picks up the pay phone, but drops in no quarters. He begins talking into the receiver with "hey baby, you look sweet - fine - your booty is juicy. turn around and look at me - is your face as sweet as your ass?"

I feel a few more men behind me and am cornered. Don't panic. Decide. Decide.

There are five others and the one staring down at me is still mouthing off "into the phone". A quick glance in the opposite direction reveals that three are laughing and encouraging him, while two are embarrassed and hanging off from the group. They are uncomfortable. So am I.

I close my cell phone and dart from the booth. Toward the two that are letting this happen, that want it to stop.

He punches me. The man next to me has punched the booty he was drooling over and I am amazed. I whip around with my finger up to his face. He is amazed.

"Hey, hey, hey shorty! It was an accident. I didn't mean to. Shorty calm down, it was an accident."

"It wasn't an accident."

His hands are up to his shoulders in defense. My butt hurts and I feel dirty. The other boys are laughing... and nervous.

"Come on, shorty. Don't hurt me. Let's make nice."

"Walk in front of me. All of you. Go."

"I didn't mean no-"

"JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!"

This is the fighter that was stunned a moment ago and has had enough. I run. Zig-zag across 8th Avenue and amazingly, nobody honks. I hear them laughing, but don't look back. I just run across the street, walk fast down the next block, and the next...

Shaken up. Breath short. Tears threatening, but back.

I'm okay.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


sometimes, i watch movies,
and am the bad guy.
i blow up ships and do that jump actors do
when they're running away from an awfully close explosion.

i read books, and am scared
of myself.
the vixen with the long hair,
green eyes hiding her fear,
passion turning each page.

i can see myself stretched across a canvas,
bright red orange yellow

but when i look in the mirror,
i only see what i really am.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Hosting Job in Latin America

So... I wanna be on the Travel Channel. This was my oh-so-subtle "I really want this gig" email to the producer. Yikes! Desperate much?
I'll beg. That's so pathetic, but my desire for this opportunity is surprisingly deep.

Surprising in that, since I checked my email this morning, I've thought about this opportunity all day. At the doctor's office, I saw so many little kids - running around, sniffing their noses, playing with blocks - all from unique backgrounds and yet getting along as if siblings. Walking back to my apartment in Queens, I thought about how different this city is to my native Kentucky. I thought about how my move to New York has changed me, altered my world perspective, and taught me how deeply "home" is sewn into the threads of my heart.

I love culture. I love how, even in America, we are so different. How when I talk about my Mamaw & Papaw, I have to explain that they are my grandparents. How when I say it's cold enough to wear a toboggan, I have to explain that it is a sock-cap and not a sled. How when I want chicken, I want it fried... when I want milk, I want it whole... when I want hugs, I want them tight, back-slappin', and even from strangers. That --- is my Southern culture.

I love culture. I love how, even in America, we are so different. How when I went for drinks with the folks at work, we had to "Salud" before the first sip. (oops - thirsty me!) How when I get my nails done, the ladies let me practice my Spanish with them... and all the other clients stare at the white girl. How the Latinos I know just dance and dance and dance... at work on break, dancing around the breakroom... on the train with a loud ipod... at New Year's parties, birthday parties, cookout parties - they dance! With their families! Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton! Esa --- es su cultura latina.

I love culture. My dad traveling to Kenya, Africa while I was in the third grade, bringing back elephant teeth, wood carvings, jewelry for Momma, and so many coins. I got an authentic African princess dress and went to Miss Henson's class saying Jambo to all of my friends - Hello-ing them with so much pride. My daddy was finally back from Africa and he'd bought me presents! He came to school with me and showed pictures, told stories, and gave out coins to EVERY SINGLE classmate. At my high school reunion, friends I hadn't seen in forever approached me saying, "I still have that coin your Dad gave me in 3rd grade."

I really think that so many people would appreciate the beauty of culture if they weren't scared of it... didn't misunderstand it. I want to teach them.

I've been begging my husband to take me abroad. He's coming around from the days of "plan a girls' trip with your friends". I think my travels as a Latin American journalist would teach him to open his eyes and his heart to the world beyond our borders. I was looking at grants recently, trying to find a way to travel and write and learn and learn and learn. And then, this opportunity...

I am a sponge. I long to soak up every pore with musica, y comida, y las risas de la gente alli. And I am so inquisitive - want to understand not only the machine, but how it works. I would make a super Travel Journalist. I just know it.

I am a writer. I am a hard, hard worker. Growing up in a small, farm town of 6,000 in Kentucky, I learned to feed the cows, set tobacco, build fence, roof a shed; and I learned to get all A's in school, learned to love the God of my parents, and learned to gaze out beyond the barbed wire borders of our 40 acres...

To appreciate boundaries and to test them, too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Secret Stealing

A secret is something that lives inside. Rents out a corner in your heart. Stocks up on food and water and supplies, then bars itself up for the wait. A secret waits. It's something you're not proud of, or you are; but no matter what, no one else would understand - appreciate - its worth. A secret is a treasure. Some kind of diamond that you have come across and if you tell, then you're trading it in and where's the sentiment in that? A secret is sometimes the only thing that you have that's really yours.

A secret is a keepsake. It's not meant to be passed on.

I don't like when my friends repeatedly pump me for information. I want to live my life, collect my experiences, and CHOOSE which to share and which to keep. There can be something so special in a keepsake, like my grandmother's Bible, and no matter who I show it to, no one will grasp it's true worth. I keep it to myself. I keep it special.

I also don't like to lie. A secret can be safe - especially when the secret is nothing wrong - but I want to guard it behind a smile, not behind lies. So when you pump me for information every time we meet, you force me to put up a new lie, a new plank to the fence-post around it. And soon, the wood is hardening my heart and the secret that was so beautiful is becoming an eye-sore.

I like my friends to hold me accountable; but if you ask me once - something personal really, that's not really appropriate anyway, that I should come to you with when I'm ready, not the other way around - and then you ask me again - and then again...

Either you don't believe me or you don't want to believe me.

But it's MY secret to keep. My lie to tell.

Let me have my secret!

I have promised someone that I would not tell this one thing. That it was safe, crouched low underneath my soul. When you constantly ask me these personal questions, you cause 3 reactions:
1. Cause me to lie to you - a friend - someone I don't want to lie to.
2. Cause me to break his confidence - a love - someone I don't want to betray.
3. Cause me to question your motives - a friend - that won't give me peace.

Secrets carry a societal negative stigma, but I think that's wrong. If you want something to yourself, people jump to conclusions... get scared... doubt you.

Then do those people really love you? Or want to own you?

A secret is a small, small piece of the soul. When I love or trust someone, I let them see inside my soul... let them see what I feel is healthy for me to share. Secret stealers think they know more about my emotional health. I do not understand that.

When I have company over, I show them around the house. The den, the dining room, the bedrooms, the bath. I fail to take them to the attic.... and they never seem to mind. I'm thinking of moving my secret upstairs.

A good friend has good intentions. Wants to help. Wants to "listen". Feels that sharing my secret brings us closer. It doesn't. The prodding and distrust only pushes me away.

And the crazy thing is... I probably would've told you about it eventually, but on my own time.

You don't need to know everything. I think that you may carry the same secret, but I have never asked you about it... while you question me every time we meet. In the car, at a restaurant, on your bed.

You finally break me down... mainly, because I know I'm a bad liar and because I am tired. Tired of this game.

I trust you. I know you will keep my secret safe... I just wish I could have had one truly special thing all of my own. Something I didn't feel bad about til I saw the disappointment in your eyes. Which ruined the purity of my secret.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

iGod - Part I

for The Journey Christian Church
I am... bright blonde hair sticking out of a too-big head, static cling pullin' at it, wool Christmas sweater not helping. Am child. Am princess, am center of the party, am digging under the tree like a bee to honey, wrapping paper tossed here and there, thick rug carpet somewhere underneath it all. Am curious like crawling into cardboard boxes, mischievous like hiding in Mamaw's closet, cute as a kitten like squeakin' out "Jesus loves me this I know" in front of the whole family. Am 4 years old. Am a doll.

i am.

I am... voice high and off key, big braces flashing the congregation like, "Bam! I got a solo in the youth choir!" Am energy. Am adolescent. Am middle school piano lessons, intramural basketball, am all kinds of passing notes in class - old enough to know what name-brand jeans are, poor enough not to own any, but hip enough to tight roll the ones I got. Am in love for the first time... every - single - day of sixth grade. Am a puppet.

i am.

I am... crackin' a joke at my locker as the seniors strut down the hall. My friends laugh at me and I am a hair tossing, twirling, crimping, big bangs sporting junior - boy crazy like I need something to change - my - life. I am youth group on Wednesdays, french-kissing on Friday nights, and Sunday School on Sunday mornings like it was God saving my soul and not Brian Whitson. Am myself and my shadow. Am a mannequin.

i am.

I am... moving the tassle from the left to the right and the only one of my friends not getting married. Am college graduate like Mom and Dad are so proud and college graduate like wanting to rip up every photo they're snapping - like I don't know what to do with my life. Am a blonde haired, perfect smile, life of the party, college graduate with a degree and no office to hang it in. Don't want to work for Dad, can't teach like Mom, and 22 years of "I'm sinning and I know it" to even ask God what He thinks. Am a blank stare, fake smile, and broken heart. Am a shell.

i am.

not alone... but feelin' that way.