Tuesday, November 4, 2014

believe

She found it baffling that some people didn’t believe in her. Not offensive, just hard to understand. She was so sure that she would do great things, produce good work and move about the world with intention, surrounded by fulfilled and enriched people and things, that she was always stumped by those who told her, “You can’t.” She knew that she was flawed. She knew that she was riddled with imperfections, overcome with impatience and one thousand other brazen, unapologetic idiosyncrasies. But she was forceful and quick, smart and unique enough to counter the predictable and premature assumptions she knew you would make. She was a fighter, no doubt about it, and she would fight her way to the end, furious with those who said that she couldn’t, trusting in those who said that she could.

I got a note from her yesterday. “Do you still believe in me?” That’s all it said.

I have spent much of today wondering how to tell her that I don’t know. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

little girl

Dear little girl,

You look really darling with your flowers and your sneakers. The bouquet is maybe too big for your little hands to hold onto, but that’s okay, it’s probably good practice for the rest of your life, where you will struggle to hold onto some big, heavy things. I can tell by your restless eyes that you are up to something – that your brain is always on, infinitely curious, constantly searching. As you get older, people might ask you what you are looking for. You don’t have to tell them. And you don’t have to know.

I can see that you will be beautiful. You are charming me already, and we only just met. I wonder about all of the men you will hurt as you dazzle your way through this world. And I wonder about all of the people you will offend, just by being you. I wish I could be there when you learn that sometimes your best is not good enough. I hated that lesson.

Little girl, you are smart and precocious. In ten years you will read Gone with the Wind and you might want to be a little bit like Scarlett O’Hara or Jo March from Little Women, but you won’t have any idea how. In twenty years, you’ll learn that you can actually be the leading lady of your own story – but you will have to write out all of the chapters. This is not always easy.

One last thing, little one. Be kind to those who love you. Be gracious for what you have, and decide if what you do not have is truly worth seeking.

You might find that all you really need are some flowers and a good pair of sneakers.

xx

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

inside

Here we are again. The universal quiet of an empty house. I feel a cool hint of fall through the window as summer begrudgingly stands down. In the midst of the drumming chaos, I sometimes forget how much I like the sound of rustling leaves outside, the hum of the insects, and yet the stillness, the softness, the stability. No creaky stairs tonight. No running water. Just white sheets and dim light, and a whining train somewhere nearby. I don't play any music. I think about the predictability of change and all of its relentless irony, which I am reminded of by the circle of rust that surrounds the shiny drain in the shower, or by the changing leaves of golden yellows – catching the sun-kissed city by surprise though the leaves are changing like they always do. We’re back, the yellows say. Knock knock, purr the deep reds. They weren’t here just a week or two before, so things are different – things have changed by definition – yet what about this seasonal pattern of predictability makes fall less of an exciting transformation and more the underwhelming product of short-lived routine?

Here we are again.

And I am locked inside the quiet. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

things

1. the orange sun through the curtains in the morning
2. fletchy's smile
3. songs like cherry wine
4. dad's laugh
5. pancakes
6. the kind man at the toll booth who I don't see anymore
7. christmastime
8. you + all that
9. the people around me in the beginning of august
10. this city, its heartbeat
11. nice soap

Thursday, August 14, 2014

you're not

There is nothing wrong with being somebody you're not. 

Who are you if you're not someone's pleasantly drawn up sketch, a perceived notion, an inevitable victim of the world's misimpression? 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

anytime


It’s early in the morning. We are driving somewhere. Father-daughter bliss, the way it was always supposed to be.
Ain’t no sunshine when she goes.
You know I love this song, you say. You look happy but feel sad when you say it.
I wonder about the time so many years ago when you were late picking me up from school. You are never late. I held hands with the principal and cried while I watched the boys throw rocks into the creek. I didn’t even know we had a creek, until then. When did we get a creek? I asked. Just a few more minutes, she said. He’ll be here soon.
You pulled up and my heart exploded in my chest. She was worried, she said with an embarrassed smile, like I was her kid.
“That’s my dad,” I said, looking her square in the eyes. "That's my dad." 
She smiled again, and so did you. Yours was different.
You held my hand as we walked to the car. I’ll never be late again, you said. I’ll never let you down again.
And you haven’t.
I wonder though, so many years later on this early morning when we are driving somewhere:
Have I?

And this house just ain’t no home, anytime she goes away.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

look

 I stopped thinking about specifically who and what I wanted for my life and just started thinking about what I hoped it would look like. There was this woman holding a glass of white wine at a networking thing. The space was neat and industrial – exposed brick, polished concrete floors, slick steel finishes, exposed beams. Anyway the five-o-clock sun came through and hit her glass at an angle so that the white wine looked more like a bunch of diamonds had melted into a big, liquidy puddle in her glass, and I thought that I needed to be drinking a glass of what looks like melted diamonds right before the sun sets in some thoughtful, inspiring place, maybe Europe, soon. I thought about the tiles on the wall in my future kitchen. What would the tiles look like? Maybe a backsplash made up of small black and white octagonal tiles would be really nice. Maybe I would have a big window right above the sink where I could watch someone I love reading a book I wrote in the backyard. After that I would go pick up some flowers or get coffee or do something that always looks really artsy on all of the blogs I follow but actually just makes me feel lonely, like read in bed or put on an expensive sweater, but maybe then, after my time in Europe and my black and white kitchen and my somebody reading a book I wrote, all of the things that make me feel lonely won’t, anymore.

Rather than think, I hope to find adventure and happiness and love, I think: I hope to find white wine, and a big window, and someone who likes me and my silly expensive sweaters.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

pieces

There was some kind of pulsing addiction to this new place I called home. I think I loved the pieces of it. I loved the unpredictable degrees of strangeness that the city wholeheartedly embraced. There was so much variety in just one pocket, there were vintage shops and there was bold pink hair and these big beautiful trees that cast shapes of shade in the park that had no children. There were old brick buildings and hues of the sky that I had never seen before, there was live music and there were colors and feelings that I knew were the living veins to the heart of it all. It was no surprise that I also loved the pieces of my life that were specifically mine to own, mine to adore, mine to carry. I loved my clean bedroom and I loved my cluttered choices, and I loved that in the lost chaos there were people I had found. I loved that when I drove to work, I could see the mountains. I loved that here, in this city, I wanted to understand the art exhibition with all of the confusing paintings, because I loved that the learning curve was so steep, that the snow was so cold, that the air was so thin. There was a moment recently where I smiled at a baby girl sitting on her father’s shoulders. I remember that she smiled back at me and I was surprised that she did because I thought she was too young to understand or return my gesture, but she understood and returned it, and in that moment I thought that perhaps I loved this new place so much because this new place had loved me back. More than anything, though, I loved that when the frozen river finally melted and it was too hot to ride your bike, I felt alone and invincible. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the house

I was thinking hard as we walked up the creaky stairs. The oak floors and the white trim combined with the startling vacancy of the house made me feel like I was walking into the scene of a movie, like this empty house was my stage, like the windows and the walls and the rooms without any furniture were waiting for me to do something, anything, to make it movie-worthy.

At the top of the stairs, we parted ways. He in the first room, me in the second. He was handsome, which was my favorite thing about him, because it’s nice to have a handsome man who you aren’t actually attracted to around. Handsome men offer things that less handsome men simply don’t have; they have lying eyes and magenta lips and five-o-clock shadows to die for, all of which you find yourself entirely indifferent to, all of which make you feel, in some odd, twisted, accidental kind of way, more powerful. There is something to be said about resisting the aesthetic charms they know they have in their arsenal. I felt like if the house could talk, it would agree with me. It was an agreeable kind of house.

I walked into the third empty room with the big windows. There was peacefulness in this room. I wondered if it was the very visual and overwhelming unsettledness, the blatant, intangible amount of emptiness that demands this centered sense of self from within when you least expect it. No bed, no table, no books, no clothes, no life.

Just you. 

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

wednesday

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
friends
here? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

nadia

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

Intro

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

words

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.