Wednesday, April 23, 2014

for today

You are very confident, he said. I wasn’t so sure about that. Why did I hate the sound of small children and why did I work at a Peruvian restaurant and when did my hands get so big and my heart get so small? I thought about the phrase “losing sight of yourself.” I thought about people all around the world literally losing sight of themselves, looking into the mirror and seeing nothing but fog, wondering if maybe it’s just the steam from the shower but not thinking much else of it and going on about their morning, looking at pictures of themselves standing with friends or family and not knowing who the tall man with the brim hat and sideways smile is, not recognizing the beautiful girl in the red polka dot dress, completely unable to identify the blonde woman holding a child in each arm next to her husband whose eyes are closed. Then I remembered there’s a disease for that, that people do literally lose sight of themselves, and I remembered then how utterly unfair the world is, and how confused I am by it, how badly I wanted to let it be known that nobody told me about this, nobody told me that I would get older and not know anything about anything. I felt cheated by the system, misguided, lied to. I felt that maybe if everybody knew that I had no warning, that I was given every reason to believe that life was easy as pie just like English classes in school or rescuing a lizard or making friends had been, then maybe they would be a little bit more understanding, stop holding their breath, stop waiting for me to do something, stop telling me that I’m confident, and after that I thought that perhaps nobody was waiting or telling or holding, that maybe they’d like to let it be known that they’re all out there trying not to lose sight of themselves in a bathroom mirror or in a photograph, and I thought again about lizards and Peruvian restaurants, the voices of small children and the illusion of confidence, and finally thought maybe that is enough for today, that is enough for today, that is enough for today. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


But we’re all friends here, I thought. Are we not all friends here?
There is timelessness in our capacity as human beings to give love but there is also timelessness in our capacity as human beings to inflict hurt. 
It’s Wednesday and the rust inside the left corner of the white sink won’t come out but I’m scrubbing the orange brown stubbornness because that’s all that’s left and the dog is crying, it’s too hot in here, I’m tired and my eyes are thinking and my body is small.
I thought we were all friends here.
If only I had known we’d go on to ravage one another in the savage, unpredictable way that only human beings can.
It won’t go away; I keep scrubbing.
But we’re all friends here, I thought.
Are we not all

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

had to mean

She struck me as the kind of person who took lots of weekend trips to San Francisco or Los Angeles and had friends named Kat and Ainsley and Logan. She was an open, easy book with no need to hide, with nobody to hide from, and in the few minutes that I sat with her she seemed to experience joy, sadness, and empathy all at once. She was small and seemed nice and lighthearted, in no way did she seem disingenuous, but something about her purposeful charm made me feel like she knew I wasn’t convinced, like she knew I needed some convincing. I’ll admit that I had a hard time believing there was anything too introspective or intuitive going on internally because she seemed wholly unconcerned with anything other than having a grand old time and trying to get at the very pulsing center of it. She liked the spotlight, she was theatrical, which had to mean she was not a thinker, not an observer – she couldn’t be; she was not like me. I hang back, I blend in, I'm quiet and I listen and read and connect with others in a telepathic way almost completely opposite from the way that she was connecting with me now. I stopped looking at her face. I didn't like her brown eyes or her name with three syllables. “You don’t like me, do you,” she asked with a teasing smile after the waiter brought our check. I hated her for that. “I do like you,” I said. “I’m sorry. I just don’t believe that you’re a writer.” 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


It was 7:20 a.m. I thought about the difference between twenty years and twenty minutes. 

So much can change in twenty years. You might get divorced in twenty years or have a baby, you could be dead in twenty years or maybe in twenty years you’ll live in Australia.

But. You could find your husband whispering on the phone in twenty minutes, you could deliver a tiny, crying brown-eyed thing of wonder in twenty minutes, your once-functioning brain could lose oxygen beyond the point of return in twenty minutes, or in twenty minutes you could buy a one-way airplane ticket on the Internet.

I decided that there was no difference between twenty years and twenty minutes, and then I got dressed and went to work.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


What are the happiest words that have ever been said? he asked me once.
We were so young then.
That's easy, I said. The happiest words are, "I love you." 
He thought about this for a moment while he adjusted the band on his watch. 
Ok, he answered. Then what are the saddest words that have ever been said? 
I answered more quietly this time, because I didn't want him to hear the fear in my voice.
The saddest words are 
"Don't leave me." 

Monday, January 27, 2014

from now

I thought about what I would think ten or twenty years from now. I would probably think that my young life had been lovely. I would probably remember the giant wine glasses and the white roses, the blonde wood floors and the high crown molding and the Victorian windows without any curtains. I would remember the leaky shower and the coupons for Thai food and the writing, the reading, and the drinking. I would remember the dog and the washing machine. Why did it take so long for our clothes to wash? I would remember that. I would remember the organized clutter, all of the lost socks and old cook books and mismatched pairs of gloves, and the heavy spells of uncertainty. Surely I would remember the uncertainty. I would remember the solitude on nights when the snow would fall and the lights were low, when the blue night and the white everything were married in perfect unison together underneath the bright moon’s ever-approving eye. I would remember the quiet.

I would remember how I came to love the quiet. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


She was impenetrable, like she had a shell of warm, golden goodness around her at all times. She felt it enveloping her, felt like she saw negativity in the form of missiles come straight towards her while she was at the bank or walking somewhere, and she would duck or run away because while she was good she wasn't fearless and the evils would always find her, yet for some extraordinary reason each time they came close to striking her they were thrown back by this kind of unexplainable force or vortex that surrounded her like a shield; she watched it happen time and time again, just as awed by this baffling phenomenon as the next person, and so she inevitably wondered if in the same way that sad people had more sad cells than happy cells or in the same way that bad people had more bad cells than good cells, if there was such a thing as happy people having too many happy cells?

Was it possible to be tragically optimistic?