We write to taste life twice

in the moment and in retrospection

It might not be obvious, but I'm all alone.
"You're wanted. Tonight, it's alright, you're wanted." Lyrics that I find solace in because I wish they applied to me, and I hope for that feeling even just for a short while.

What's tonight's tragedy? Nothing huge, although it feels like it's imminently growing. I'm lonely...Now, normally, it feels like a phase where I just have a night where I wish I was out doing something, but instead I'm left by myself and to my own devices against my will. I can't help but to feel this is going to start happening more often then not. At least I've had school to keep myself occupied and not feel like a complete self-isolated hermit, but semester's coming to an end and I can't help but think I'm in for a loooong christmas break.

It's not that I don't have friends, because I've got a group of really great and loving and perfect people that I surround myself with, but I could probably count them all on my two hands. And these great friends of mine...well, they've all got boyfriends and jobs and applications and lives of their own essentially, and I'm starting to worry a little how I'll really fit in to them.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to let people in and make new friends, but its something I almost feel incapable of. At this point, I don't even know how to go about making new friends. I love the ones I have, and I wouldn't trade or leave behind any of them, but I'm not sure closing myself off to everyone else is such a good idea either...it's probably what led to what I now dub 'emo thursdays'.

God, I'm so lonely and I'm so scared of getting left behind by everyone and not knowing my place in the world anymore. And all I know deep down that my friends are there for me when I need them, but I can't even bring myself to tell them I need them. I've put up these walls, telling myself that no one wants to hear this, and I don't want to bait people into asking me what's wrong, so when something big happens I keep it to myself and write it out here and hope to God that someone is curious enough to come and read me from here. I don't know how to ask for the support I need.

Pandora understands...."I'm the ghost of the girl that I want to be most, I'm the shell of a girl that I used to know well," It's like I'm living half a life these days, just doing what it takes to get by, but not really living when I have free time...there's no one to spend it with. You're all busy, and I understand that, which is why I won't come out and directly tell this to anyone. I'm afraid that I really am fading away, though. Like maybe you all think that I have big plans...well I've got no plans and that's getting more obvious and seeming more pathetic to me.

I'm really only independent and self reliant because I'm forced to. There's no other option when you've been alone as long as I have. I wouldn't trade it, I like that I'm independent, it gives me a certain strength that I need. It doesn't mean I want to do everything on my own all the time. I'd always rather have someone go to the store with me or run errands. I like that I can be independent, but all I really want is someone that I can always depend on.

And isn't that what it always comes down to? relationships, boys, and how I'm still no where near as versed in either as I'd thought I'd be. But it's this terrible unending cycle...a chicken and egg conundrum because everyone who would help me get out and meet my guy is off living their life while I'm here alone. I need to find my person soon, please. Or I need them to find me, because I can't be that sad, pathetic person who is always by themself. I'm so close to that right now, but I'm still fighting back here, telling myself that my time is coming and biding until then. It's getting a little hard though watching everyone living the kind of life I want to be living. "Is there a chance, a fragment of light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to fight?" I hope so.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, and not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and surpremeely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Yeah, I know. My Title's a rip off, but pardon me if I'm having the creativity drained out of me here. And humor as well. This cosmic joke that seems to be being pulled on me? Not so funny anymore.

Do you know that show Joan of Arcadia? Amber Tamblyn is some nerdy chick who has God appear to her in different forms. I wouldn't be so freaked if that happened about now. I feel like I could use an explanation for the things that have happened in the past 3 weeks. I'm not one who thinks there's a reason for every little thing, but the big things? why not? normally, we learn or gain something through our struggles. Except, recently I'm not getting the message.

There's the line from Speeding Cars (and ohmygod how ironic that title is) "I know you thinks it's more than just bad luck"...well, yep, I do. Because, hell, hydroplaning across three lanes of highway and slamming sideways into a concrete median, then having both passengers walk out of the car without a scratch or major injuries? That's more good luck than bad if you ask me.

Here, let me vaguely list the rest: Watching someone you care about suffer a mental breakdown that you are in no way equipped to help them through. And then having to separate yourself from that person because, yes, while it is selfish, you can't let yourself go down that rabbit hole. It really was too much for me. I'm not one to easily compartmentalize the stresses of my life from what I need to get done in the everyday. I've also worked too hard to get myself to a place where I am happy and confident, to let that get polluted by someone who won't help themself. Going through that night was not easy for me, and it was one of the scariest things I've dealt with in my life.

Only to have the next scariest thing in my life happen a week later, and walk out of it with a bruise on my elbow and no other lasting consequences? (For me at least, since it wasn't my car). And I can't help but ask, what the hell was the point then?! Not that I'm not grateful to be okay, I just don't understand why I had to suffer through the 10 seconds of raw fear in the first place? This was no life altering moment for me, it was a bad day, and like I said, one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me, and what? The next day everything's back to normal? It just doesn't sit right with me.

And then to have one of my best friends calling my sobbing less than a week after that to hear about the utter humiliation she's suffered through at the hands of someone she loves. Again, in my head I find myself voicing the words 'I don't know what to do'. And maybe in that instance I was just meant to be there and listen, but I can't help but ask again what's the point of her suffering, if I can't do anything to help her. I don't know the right thing to do or say to make it better. For someone who is used to offering at least some piece of advice, I was at a complete loss.

That leads us to tonight where, though it's not a traumatic event, it is surely unfortunate. As I'm about to leave to get my pre-ordered dinner, my car sits there and just doesn't start. Not even a whirr of effort. Nope. completely dead. It felt like such an ironic turn of events, that after my car was spared the pain and cost of that accident, now it sits there doing nothing as if it resents me. Here is where I want to just throw my hands up to the skys and scream 'HAVEN'T I BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH?' and I know that none of this culminates to the end of the world or makes me ungrateful for the good things I currently have in my life, its all kind of trivial in the end because I'm healthy, happy, and going places in life, but I can't help feel like there is something behind this series of unfortunate events that is just out of my grasp.

I'm missing something.

And as much as I'd like to get corny and say that it's a 'missing connection', that I need someone in my life to rely on through these hard times, that I need to expand beyond the small network of people I have here in Austin, I can't let myself go down that road. No, if that were the case then why wouldn't it just happen? it's not like I can go hunt down the relationship that's missing. Besides, I'm supposed to be independent and yes I'm dealing with these events as they come on my own in some aspects, but that's not a lesson I needed to learn. I'm aware of how to live my life independently and that I can....if anything all these events make me feel like I just don't want to be independent. but I never really have. Can and will: words I know and live by. So no, that's not the lesson.

Then what the hell is?! If anyone can give me a hint, I'd be grateful. It's been a hell of a roller coaster for me these past 3 weeks, and I'm not much worse for wear having suffered through this series of unfortunate events, but I'm not feeling significant strength gained from them either.

So, what's it all mean then? Because if this is my scene from Saved! where I stand in front of the church yelling out curse words and waiting for God to smite me? I'd like to say you're going to have to work a lot harder to convince me he doesn't exist. Nope, a test of my faith, this is not. I am unwaivering in my personal beliefs, and if anything my belief is just making me question this more because I still don't get it. I don't understand the message or moral here.

Yep, talk about an existential crisis, huh?

Driven to Distraction
I'm distracted,
hanging on by a thread.
Lines keep running through my head.
Isn't there something I can say to change your mind? 

I'm broken-hearted,
and can only focus on the fracture.
If it was really such a huge mistake,
how can you think there is just an easy fix? 

I'm holding myself together,
but just barely.
I'd come there now if I could, on a white horse,
because I don't take this little life for granted.

I'm angrier thank you think,
seething below the sadness.
You don't have the right to take a life in your hands,
if you think it can be so easily passed around.

I'm disappointed,
unsure of what this shift means,
because even if you get your whole life back,
I still have to live with your decision.

I really don't want to.
I think I might hate you,
and it's driving me to distraction.

Diary of a Mom Abroad

Business Class is a very, very good way to travel.

Day 1 in London:

Went to Naseby Close (the old homestead). Saw Jim and Hilde Charles (former neighbors). Pretty gardens, lots of flowers. Jim took us in his house so the girls could see layout of house. KT saw what her tiny room was like and the back garden.

Met Julian Dickel—our eccentric Englishman. Had dinner at Luigi’s

 I’m sure I will die crossing the streets in London.


Day 2

Westminster Abbey unexpectedly closed in the A.M. caused some chaos—wandered a bit. Did Abbey in P.M. Alysha liked looking for dead people. Some shopping Regent and Oxford St. Selfridges and the bright yellow bags. Went by 17 Hanover Sq. (B’s former office bldg) property now managed by Jones, Lang and LaSalle (Company Alysha is interning with in Austin). Dinner and T shirt shopping at Hard Rock Café. Walked poor little Karysa’s feet off.


Day 3

Started at King’s Cross Station—Platform 9&3/4 was closed, Boo Who!!

Took pics of rather showy St. Pancras Station across the street, then on to the British Library—nice exhibit not too big. Then on to the British Museum—way too big— hit the highlights. Checked out Alfies Antiques in the middle of a Middle Eastern street market. 

Tomatoes for lunch bad….and Karysa hates tea and bumblebees at Alfies.

Back to the hood, girls take a break while Mom and Dad go hang out at the Pub. 

Day 4

Trip to Bath to see the Roman Baths. Blustery day. Roman Baths pretty cool until MPD (minor panic disorder) set in due to crowds. AT and Mom made their escape—KT and Dad enjoyed to the Max. Fashion Museum was good fun. Dad the “Wanderer” wandered off. Dinner at Crystal Palace Pub—best ice cream ever—fish with skin, not so great. 

Day 5

St. Pauls Cathedral- Impressive exterior (like really big) All pomp and no circumstance inside. Mom forgot Tower ticket email MPD—but it was okay.

Millennium Bridge does exist.

Tower of London- good fun. Ravens interesting, but sad and photogenic.

Covent Garden for Tea and Treats

Yummy Italian dinner in West End.  

Day 6

National History Museum—Cool place, lots and lots to see. Dad and KT wanted to see it all. AT and Mom finally bailed on them and went to Victoria and Albert Museum across the street. V&A big, cool and not too crowded.  Lots and lots to see and lots of bling.

Went to Burlington Arcade—waste of time and energy for us Paupers.

Dinner at Curtains Up Pub, back in the neighborhood (does it really take ½ an hour to make a cosmo??) Food was quite good.

Day 7—Movin On

Eurostar to Paris—great train ride—barely noticed the tunnel. Separate taxis to the Apt.—survived that. Got drinks and snacks at “English speaking” La Terrasse (our former corner café). Walked down to Rue St. Dominique (the old homestead) took a few pics then walked up Rue Cler to buy a few groceries. Bryce the “shoplifter” allegedly.

 Walked near Eiffel Tower and then by Sud Ouest and made our dinner reservation for Samedi. Dinner Chaos ensued (traveling with an entourage can be difficult) Got Chinois takeaway—it was pretty good. 

Day 8

Alysha gave us a pass on “Noisy”. Took the train to Versailles. Took our time walked the gardens first then made easy entry (no long line) to the Chateau around 1p.m.

Overview: Versailles was windy, dirty, dusty and I’m never going there again. Besides the fountains used to be bigger. Going back to train station AT took pic of “Tex Mex” Restaurant. Girls got a little time online at internet café and we had delicious crepes.

A pretty good day. Dinner at La Terrasse was quite good. We spoke to “our waiter” of 25 years ago. After dinner took bus up to Champs Elysee. Walked up and back a few blocks—bus back just in time to see Eiffel Tower go all sparkly. 

Day 9

Notre Dame-good timing, got in ahead of a long line. Massive cathedral; fun to stroll around. BT and KT then went to the Crypt (something about Roman times in Paris). AT and I sat in the Sq. to wait and watched dudes filming time lapse video. “Don’t talk to me little gypsy girl!”

Then on to Cluny Museum—that was good, not too big—Lady and Unicorn Tapestries.

(Although-too many tiny French school children—European kids get far too many field trips).   Walked down to BIA (Breakfast in America) for lunch-good food. Then back to the Latin Quarter—wandered a bit—then bus to Au Bon Marche (where I used to shop) nobody liked that much but me. Dinner in tonite; Poulet Roti, Crudite and Fruit. A chance to relax. 

Day 10

Started out going to the Arc de Triomphe; that was fun, then walked across Bridge leading to Invalides.  Saw two brides taking pictures with Eiffel Tower in background. Then walked on to the Marie of the 7th Arrondisment  (city hall)- oh yeah, that’s where B and M got married 25 years ago. We stopped for pics outside the gate and chatted up the nice policeman out front and got inside to crash two weddings. Took some pics in the garden then actually got into the marriage room to take a couple of quick (vite, vite!) pictures during a break between two weddings. It was tres cool. Bus back to Rue Cler and lunch (what?!?Chicken club sandwich and fries on Rue Cler, the times they are a’changin.) Profiteroles were wonderful. Kids wanted to go “home” and veg a while so B and I decided to go to an Antiques and Brocante Expo at Place de Bastille—but—we never got there—got split up in crowded Metro and apparently great minds don’t always think alike and neither do we. On the flip side, I did rather enjoy the “alone time” on my ride home on the 87 bus (scenic route).

Sat. nite our Anniversary Dinner at Sud Ouest. A good time was had by all—tho the restaurant has somewhat lost it’s charm—was much cozier in the 80’s. Walked to the Eiffel Tower afterwards—good night views, a good evening. 

Day 11 (Sun.)

B and I got up early and went to Flea Mkt. at Porte de Vanves—that was fun. Came back got the girls and went to lunch at La Terrasse—it was all good. Then headed up to Sacre Couer—had a bit of bother finding our way—should never walk past an elevator when other people are walking toward it—had to walk up 10,000 steps to get out of the Metro Station. Then suddenly nobody can read a map and it’s hot and sunny—but we got there and it was cool to see. Walked down to shady Sq. at Abbesse Metro and Alysha got to do some window shopping and Karysa got online at internet café and everyone felt better.

Alysha wanted McDonalds for dinner, Bryce definitely did not. Pizza was a compromise.

I found a pizza rest. In the yellow pages—made our way there thru the backstreets- finally found it. Had very good dinner—great bruschetta with fresh mozzarella and great pizza with fresh mozzarella. Then as we walked back up the main street to get the bus back, we began to see people walking by with large McDonald’s bags from the McDonalds up on the corner. AT believes B saw it and then took us down the back streets so we would not see it (umm, we’ll never know). 

Day 12

Shopping day at the Grande Magasins. Went to Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. Had lunch at rooftop café at Printemps—great views. Then walked down to Hard Rock Café for t shirt. B took K back to apt. for a break; then he hung out at corner café. AT and I carried on and made it to Rue de Rivoli and she scored a new outfit from H&M. It was fun. We took bus 69 right thru the Louvre courtyard back to Rue Cler.  

Dinner debate (that entourage thing again) ended up at corner of Ave. Bosquet and Rue St. Dominique. Good meal (Smoked salmon was soooooooo good). Also view was good, could see balcony of our old apt. on Rue St. Dominique. A good place to end our journey. 

Summation:   London Good, Paris Better.

You and Me.
We are alike in so many ways. I cried with you because I understood your fear and your panic. I know how big a part of you doesn't want that day to come, and how much of you does want it to come, so that you can just be...better.

I haven't been with you this past month, but I have been with you. Knowing how tortured you were at not being able to be yourself. Knowing how frustrated you were that you couldn't just figure out what was wrong or just have it all go away.

Like you, I don't know why it had to be something so serious, and even though I have not experienced anything like what you are going through right now, I have had my share of recent setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations. I'm not trying to compare mine to yours because it's already been established that you've trumped my sprained ankle. I just understand that you've been going through a really hard time, and you just keep getting hit with a new curve ball, dont you? I'm sure you're asking yourself 'Why Me?' and none of us have an answer for that, because you in no way deserve this kind of stress on your life.

So since we are you and me, I want to tell you what I'm sure you would be telling me if our situation we reversed. Everything will be fine. I know it's scary, but something good will come of this (the obvious being that you will finally be back to normal). Who knows maybe even some unexpectedly good will come of this, even though its kind of hard to see now. What I do know, is that you need this to be able to be you again, so it'll be okay.

Meanwhile, I really will miss you. I hope you understand how such a big event in your life is such a big event in mine. First of all, I feel bad I can't be there for you right after. Secondly, and I know this sounds selfish, but I'm sad that you won't be there for me. You really are such a huge part of my life, that I'm scared of facing my life without you. You push me to be more outgoing and to be myself around other people. You allow me to enjoy my life and stay in the present because you stick out the unknown with me, right by my side, attached at my hip, to the point where people even think we're together. You know me well enough to know that I worry less when I'm with you. You get me to let go of the anxiety, and I want you to know how much that means to me. It's everything to me sometimes.

So you and me. We both face challenges ahead. But we've been through shit before, and we will do it again. Separately, but together we will get through the next few months and years. Hell, I'm sure we will go through more shit along the way, but we will always come out on the other side, and probably learn and grow so much because of it.

Hang on, help is on the way
Stray strong, I'm doing everything

Hold your own,
Know your name,
And go your own way,
And everything,
Everything will be fine.

I'm so glad we became You and Me.

Je N'oublerai Jamais.


Believe me when I say it means something different to me than it does to you. To you, Paris is a fairy tale. You've seen it as a lover's destination in the movies, walked past those black and white photos of the eiffel tower in stores, and you've learned or read pieces of their native tongue which itself is known as a romance language. In the end, that's what Paris is to you: a romantic notion. A foreign, far away land that you idolize because everyone must go to Paris.

To me, Paris is home. I have a history with this place. I am drawn to the language and classic images of gay Paris because deep down I feel that they make me who I am today. However shallow, I have roots there. There is a little house in the suburbs of the city that I once slept in, lived in, had my firsts firsts in. There is a courthouse somewhere in the city, where two people I love very dearly, stood before two friends, a translator, and a judge to declare their commitment to one another. There is a flat, somewhere among la patisserie and la marchet, where my mother arrived after deciding her phone bills were too high. That's what Paris is to me: it's my story, laid out in brick and mortar.

So excuse me if I don't care to hear you talk of what I should see or where I should go when I finally go to Paris as everyone must do once. I don't think this rule applies to me; I was meant to return to Paris and finally see for myself the places I have only been able to recall through pictures. As soon as I left France as a tiny 8 month old about 20 years and some months ago, I was always destined to go back and return to the city that was my first home.

And again, excuse me if I don't take much stock in your feelings about Paris, because as far as I'm concerned, your Paris and my Paris are two completely different places.

Only 8,000 words? Only 82,000 to go.
         There I stood, in the middle of the street, arms crossed over my chest, staring angrily back at Brian. I was wearing one of my dad’s old flannel shirts and leggings. I’d been jogging through my neighborhood, and as I approached my house, Brian was walking down the sidewalk. I slowed and came to a stop, and got in my fighting stance. Hips swung out to the left, arms crossed, and a look that said ‘do not fuck with me.’
         “Well,” he started, “aren’t you going to say anything?” Oblivious, as always, as to what he’d done wrong. 
         “What is there to say?” I asked, putting ice into my tone.
           “Oh, I don’t know. How about, ‘Hey Brian, sorry I haven’t spoken to you all week’?” A car turned on to the street and I was forced to take a few steps toward Brian to get out of the way. Now there was only a foot between us. One foot of seething tension.
I didn’t respond to him; instead, I stared again narrowing my eyes before I could ask the question that was burning on my tongue. “Are you having sex with Kelly?”
           A smile, of all things, broke out across his face. He laughed this oh-how-embarrassing chuckle before saying, “Yes.” 
          That sent me over the edge. I took both my arms and put as much force behind them as I could in order to shove Brian to the ground. He tumbled backwards, nearly hitting his head on tree behind him and looked at me as if I was a lunatic. “YOU GODDAMN LIAR!” I yelled before stomping my way into the house and locking the door behind me.
         It was only about three seconds before he started pounding his fists against the door and yelling. At this point, I was glad my dad was out and not here to witness this severe argument. “WHAT THE FUCK AUDREY?! LET ME IN!” 
         This might appear like I was overreacting, but trust me, I wasn’t. Brian and I were in our second semester junior year when we had this fight. We had been best friends for over two years, we knew everything about each other, and we told each other everything about our lives.
         Except when we started having sex, apparently. Instead, I had to hear about Brian’s current leisure activities from the class gossip, Carey Helmer. She wasn’t even sharing the information directly with me. I sat two seats away from Carey in History class, and she wasn’t aware that I could hear every word she said to her Barbie clone cronies, Alyssa and Sherry. On Tuesday, a day like any other day, I sat down in history while Carey was in the middle of one her daily updates. “She went around telling everyone that Jacob raped her, when all he did was carry her into some bedroom after she nearly passed out drunk. She’s so stupid. And Ohmygod! Kelly was telling Tori about how she calls Brian the ‘Sex God’ now. I knew he had it in him!”
         I mean what a crock! I was probably close to the last person in school to find out that Brian and Kelly were having intercourse if Carey already knew. I didn’t doubt what she said at all. It would, in a way, be just like Brian to keep something that personal from me, but I thought that after what we’d been through, what we now knew about each other, he could have admitted to me that he was having sex. 
          Back in my house, I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and headed up to my room. His belligerent pounding had died out, so I assumed he left and drove home. When I opened my bedroom door I spewed water all over myself and practically leapt backwards into the door first banging my shoulder blades then the back of my head against it. “FUCK OW!” I exclaimed, “damnit, Brian!”
           “Your window was open,” he said as he stood directly in front of me as if expecting me to say ‘sorry’ I guess. 
           “Yeah, well I don’t see a welcome mat beneath it,” I spat at him, moving over to my bed to take off my running shoes. 
            I glared at him from beneath my lashes, daring him to make the first move here. “Well, is there a reason you’re wasting the empty space in my bedroom Brian? You got all macho and climbed on the roof and broke into my house. Now do you actually have anything to say, or will do me the great pleasure of jumping out of the window?” 
           “It’s not breaking in when you left the window wide open, you idiot. What the hell is wrong with you anyways? You think I’m lying to you about Kelly and me having sex? It’s the truth, we’re having sex, and if you’re upset about that, then too bad because just because you think it’s wrong or whatever, doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do,” then he crossed his arms and looked at me, signaling that it was my turn to speak. I took a big chug of my water bottle, stood up from my bed, and this time spewed it on purpose all over his smug little face.
           He wiped his face with an angry grin, and I could tell he was seething. To be honest, I was so pissed at him, it amused me to see him get pissed right back. “You are ridiculous,” was all he could manage.
           I chuckled, “I know you are, but what am I?” stuck out my tongue at him, and left the room to take a shower. Back then, Brian wasn’t brave enough to walk in on me in the shower. Plus I think my human water hose stunt eased the tension a little bit, at least it had for me. 
          When I came back into my bedroom, hair still wet, wearing clean clothes, Brian was laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. I climbed over and laid down next to him, wondering what he’d spend the past half hour thinking about. Instead of asking, I decided to broker peace with him, “I’m not mad that you’re having sex, although don’t get me started on how you are total walking at-risk-of-teen-pregnancy cliché. I’m mad because I found out you were having sex from a girl who I hate.”
           He turned his head to the right, now looking at me, but I kept my face to the ceiling, not sure I wanted to see his reaction. “Well, first of all, I won’t get pregnant, I’m on the pill. And second of all, who told you we were having sex?” 
          “Carey Helmer,” I couldn’t help but make a face as I said her name, “but she didn’t so much tell me as she did tell her skank legion during my history class. I can’t help that God gifted me with such excellent hearing abilities. It’s a gift and a curse.”
          “Well, that sucks. You’re right you shouldn’t have heard it from anyone but me. Honestly, though, I didn’t realize this would be school-wide news. I mean, I actually haven’t told anyone until you this afternoon, and it kind of pisses me off that other people know my business, but that’s an issue I’ll have to take up with Kelly.”
          “Might want to do that after the sex in case she gets mad,” I finally turn my head to look back at him. 
           “Nah, that’s okay, the angry sex is the best.” And I turn my head back to the ceiling as I roll my eyes.
           We both sat in silence for a minute until I asked him what I’ve been dying to ask him, “Soooo, how is it?” I looked at him again, and raise one eyebrow.
           “Honestly,” he says, “I don’t have much to compare it to,” and I know that’s the best answer I’m going to get from Brian because, believe it or not, the Sex God is a gentleman and wouldn’t harm his girlfriend by discussing their sex-life in too much detail. Even if I am his best friend.
            We both faced the ceiling again and let the silence fill the room and fall over us like a warm blanket. With Brian, there was no such thing as an awkward silence. It was comfortable, but slightly tainted tonight. Normally, I would have rolled on my side, put my head on his chest, and listen to his breath come in and out. Not tonight, though. No, tonight I wasn’t sure if that was my place anymore. He now had someone else to cuddle up against him, someone who was supposed to give him warmth and affection. I knew it wasn’t the same sort of affection I had for Brian, but there was still something holding me back from touching him now. I wondered if this would be the way it would be from now on, holding myself back from any move or action that could be misconstrued as ‘romantic’. I hoped not because one of the things I liked most about my friendship with Brian was that I never had to think around him. Was it okay if I said this? Will it be weird if I do that? Yes and no, because Brian allowed me to just be me. Yet, something changes between boys and girls when you bring sex into the picture, even if they aren’t having it with each other. And as I lay on my bed next to Brian, knowing someone else had touched him where I don’t touch him, someone else had been closer to him than I would ever be, I realized that friendship comes second to love.

Why, Mr. Fox, you've sure got some high standards to live up to!
I know somewhere, out there, there is the perfect guy for me. Hopefully a few to last me over the next few years until things come together the way I hope they do. But boy oh boy, have I got expectations. So many expectations.

Now, I really hope I don't pass up any opportunities due to this long list of expectations that have just sort of accumulated themselves in my mind. But there's always what if...what if I'm too picky about who I date?

I mean, I have had a lot (A LOT) of time obversing other couples and imagining what I would or wouldn't do differently. I can't stand clingy. I can't stand too much gushy. I don't want to abandon my friendships to spend time with you. I need someone who wants to walk me home in the dark. Someone who doesn't mind coming over to help fix a broken cable box. Someone who doesn't fear upside down cockroaches. You've gotta know I like to fight. You've got to fight me. You've got to just let me win sometimes. You've gotta have nice teeth. You can't be a douche bag. I would like it if you were mature about drinking. You've got to not complain about my driving, but drive me when I don't know where I'm going. You've got to pump my gas...on occasion...or all the time. And if you think that's tough? That's only the beginning.

Oh, and then there are the others I compare to you. I mean, the guys I'm around now, are my best friends. And boy, are they good. I rely on them to be my guys. They make me laugh, they make me angry, they make me want someone like them, but better. Yep, you've got to be my best friend, but better. Think you can live up to that, Mr. Fox?

But How long will it take me to find you? You. The one who fits ALL of this criteria. Like I said, I'm pretty sure this is the overworkings of my brain having too much time to think these things over, but I don't know, I might just be that picky. In which case, I MIGHT just be living in a dream world where Mr. Fantastic Fox is a mere and utter Fantasy. I keep telling myself and others, that I am open. I have been preparing myself for 5 years (FIVE YEARS)-- and trust me, this is mostly your fault, not mine-- to start a relationship, a down-to-earth, honest to god, right for each other for now, relationship. Forget standards, can you breathe?! Yet. When it really comes down to it, I'm afraid I'll just start pushing them away and waiting for Mr. Fantasy Fox.

Okay okay, if I'm thinking too highly of who you should be, I can can broaden the terms down to the most important thing: You have to follow me when I leave the room.

And pump my gas...on occasion...or all the time.

Now, I know that sounds like some weird etiquette lesson, but that's not what I'm talking about. In all my life, whenever I was angry, or upset, not once, not ever did anyone follow me as I walked out of the room. For you to truly be someone that I can be with, you have to follow me out of the room. It's how I know you care.

So, Mr. Fox, where ever you may be, I'm sorry if seems like you'll be jumping through hoops for me, but really, if it's that much of chore, you might think about changing your name.

And Then Again, I keep telling myself I'll be open, so where are you Mr...?

I want to cry, just a little.

It's a strange thing to have 10 days spent with your best friends in the entire world, then to have them there when you wake up one day, and gone when you fall asleep that night, not knowing the next time you are all meant to be brought together again.

We can hope it won't be a day when we're required to wear somber skirts and blouses as we mourn the loss of a family member we knew but didn't quite get to know.

But four lives begin to take off in different directions as soon as the plane lands, and we are forced to realize the hours we spent locked up in some lair, or dungeon, or tv show are only memories.

It's hard being fatefully forced away from friends because of the different lives you lead, but God willing when you come back together, retrace the paths the memories have laid out for you and revive the friendships as if it was nothing but a day you were apart.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally, not being from West Virginia, and knowing that we would still be the best of friends were we not thrown together through relations.

just a little something i'm working on...for Ever.
I flipped the switch off and groped the air, following the sound of rushing water until I felt the plastic curtain at my fingertips. On stepping in, goose bumps ran up and down both my arms as I adjusted to the surrounding air, waiting for the steam of the shower to fill the room.

The only thing I knew at this point was the water. The searing streams soaked into every pore of my skin, turning me a bright shade of pink. I felt raw, worn down to pure nakedness, vulnerable to every feeling of doubt, despair, pain, and helplessness. The emotions that panged my slowly pulsing heart would have made me cry if I hadn’t already wasted all of my tears.

Remembering my swollen red eyes, I stepped forward, closing them and allowing the hot water to rush over my face and completely consume me. I took my trembling hands and wiped my face, stretching my skin taught, pulling the frustration away from the expression I’d been wearing for the last few hours. I prayed for this shower to wash away my sadness until I could become clean and new.

And so I showered in the dark.

Everything around me was pitch-black as if the walls only existed when the lights revealed them to me. Yet, the feeling surrounding me was the opposite of emptiness; I was completely encompassed by living, breathing darkness; moving even the slightest bit would cause me to bump into the shadows and send them scattering into the corners of the earth where they would remain undisturbed. In those first few minutes, the only connection to reality was the water pouring down on me. Nothing else took shape; nothing else mattered as the drops slid down my body into nothingness.

Soon, however, my eyes adjusted, and instead of remaining as one black mass, the darkness grew gray. I began to make out my surroundings: the chipped tiled wall in need of new grout, the creases of the plastic curtain, the clean white porcelain beneath my feet, and the tensed fingers I wrapped around my arms to keep myself from disappearing completely. I no longer worried about bumping the shadows because I could see my boundaries clearly. Then I realized the one thing that became indistinguishable: the water. Among all of the things now in my view, the water that poured down drenching me was invisible. The only way I knew it existed was the tingling sensation of hot bullets upon my skin, my personal weapon against my current pain, as the pressure forced all the negative thoughts from my body and mind.
And so I had needed this shower in the dark.

Finally, I began to breathe evenly without the hindrance of trembling lungs or ragged, gasping breaths. As I took in my second easy lungful of steam, I paused, hands mid-stroke through my slick dark hair. I could have sworn I heard a man made sound coming from the direction of my bedroom.

Fully aware that my house was empty except for me, I turned my head and listened again. All of a sudden, I heard a distinct PHWAP and recognized the sound of my window being shut.
Every muscle in my body tensed as I grasped that there was someone in my room. The next second, I quickly reached for the faucet and turned the water off, hoping the sound had not already given away my presence. I could not escape the intruder by running, seeing as the only door leading out of the bathroom led into my bedroom. I couldn’t consider the window because as far as I knew, no one had ever opened it in the thirty odd some years my father owned this house; not to mention, the two story drop would mean a sickening collision of bone and concrete. Instead, I became very still in hopes that the unwelcome guest would assume the house empty and be on his way.

My hopes fell, though, as I heard the hard, slow footsteps headed in my direction. The doorknob turned and squeaked as the trespasser stepped into the room where I stood still behind a plastic curtain. Instinctually, I held my breath and pushed my dripping flesh against the tile at my back. My hands pressed tightly against the wet surface and I ground my teeth together. From the darkness beyond the shelter of my shower, a voice broke through, “Audrey,” he chided, “Aud, I know you’re in here.”

I felt a chill from the rush of air that followed Brian in, but even so, I was flushed with heat, which now resonated from underneath my skin instead of the water. This was not a flush of embarrassment but of loathing. It sickened me that Brian thought he could enter my home as if this were any other night. As if he had not, just hours before, humiliated me in front of a crowd of people, and discarded our friendship over some girl—a horrible, pitiful excuse for a girl. At this moment, I hated him even more than I hated her.

Therefore, Brian should not have been the least bit surprised when I slipped a hard, icy tone into my voice and simply told him to “Get out.” Instead of taking note of my subtle threat, he questioned me, obviously in disbelief over the suggestion that I could be upset over something so ‘petty’ as the earlier outburst.

He used that exact word, petty. It means insignificant. It meant that he thought yelling at me in front of friends and strangers, accusing me of lying, jealousy, and prejudice, and reducing me to the level of dirt, was insignificant.

I found it eye opening.

I reached around the curtain, and swiftly grabbed my towel without allowing him the chance to see my wounded expression. Without drying myself, I stepped out of the tub, pushing past him in order to get to my bedroom. I went straight for my closet, closing the door with force once I entered and slid down against the door, trying to regain my composure. As soon as I heard his voice, the whole evening had replayed in my head. The entire earth-shattering event I’d tried to block out of my mind, came rushing back instantaneously.


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