For Michelle.

When I’m sitting on my porch, and it’s about to be dark, and I’m staring at my garden which should have little sprouting flowers in it instead of bottle caps, Bic pens, and cigarette wrappers, I feel like I could be really good at basketball.  I start thinking how the net’s not really all that high up, relatively, and no matter where the mysterious three-point shot area might be, it can’t be THAT far away, right?  I could play HORSE with the really tough neighborhood pre-pubescents and they’d think me a mentor, and a real friend. I start thinking I can run around the court for more than three minutes without wheezing, and that I might be graceful this time. 


When I’m taking a shower and singing that one Alana Davis song and surveying the bundle of bones and skin and fat I’m washing or shaving or rinsing that only I am required to look at every day, I feel like it’d be so easy to get in shape.  It’s no one’s fault but mine that my attractiveness has steadily declined and now it’s completed its frantic surge to the floor, where it’s bundled up around my ankles where my cankles will be once I let it get that far.  I’ve got the treadmill that I won in my parents’ divorce, and I’m the proud owner of a Netflix subscription complete with free streaming workout videos, and if I would only walk to my two jobs, because I’m not really that far away, I could do it.  I could tone myself and lose ten, even five pounds, and I’d notice.


When I’m running over to my nephew in attack mode, and he’s about to be crushed by whatever monster or burglar or creature I’m portraying at that moment, and then I catch him and scream and he grabs my face and giggles and emits a bunch of bullshit junk sounds that I decide must be my name, I feel like I could be a mother.  Or maybe not a mother, but a mom.  I have so faithfully documented my entire life in blogs and cell phone pictures and Facebook posts, and I did it all for my non-existent child.  Maybe my kid would be like I was with my mom, memorizing what Clinique compacts she kept in her bathroom drawer, watching her cook with the sinking feeling I would never quite figure it out, hating words like “youngster” for no other reason than that she hated them, feeling a hunger for proof that she was ever a kid, old yearbook photos, college roommates’ testimonials, anything.  There has to be someone in the world for everyone, someone who only responds to your touch, and will only answer to your voice, and will adopt your thoughts and opinions because if YOU said it or thought it, it must be true because no one else exists in the world.


When I’m bartending, and it’s a busy night, and I’m watching invisible walls construct themselves and implode between every interacting person, boys failing to notice endearing sweater removal or what drink she just finished, girls positioning themselves only under the red LEDs and checking their lipstick in the strategically placed mirrors (you’re welcome), and I see what guys’ girlfriends ACTUALLY say when their boyfriends send them an unwelcome text, and I hear what boys ACTUALLY think about the second the perfect girl walks away, I feel like I could be a pretty great wife.  I wouldn’t be snarky or jealous, and whoever I marry would be super proud to show me off because my hair would never be frizzy, I wouldn’t have ten extra pounds, I’ll be a great cook and a great mom, and I am very good at basketball.


When I realize I can no longer distinguish the difference between my lawn and the fourth step up to the porch, and the fifteen-foot trek to my car might again result in the discovery of five socks, a bag of Oreos, the headphones I lost last month, and a fifty dollar bill, and I finally find my car and I’m on the way to Harris Teeter for some more cookies, and I’m stopped at that one red light that forces me to look at the Carrboro Tent City and Community Garden, I feel like I could be a real good lawn-mower.  Even though the gas cap on my mower pops off every time I round a corner and one of the really important screws that holds the handle to the rest of the mower is completely rusted out so that I almost fall into the blades every time I have to mow around a tree, I feel like today will be the day I conquer this stupid machine and figure out how to groom my lawn with it much like men learn to grocery shop after losing a leg or the way women learn to look in the mirror again years after childbirth.


Truth is, I don’t even know how to PLAY basketball, and I’m about as graceful as Robert Smith with no lipstick.


Truth is, I eat like shit and I really like Havarti Cheese and croissants, and I’ll never be small again because I have absolutely zero self-discipline.


Truth is, what haunts me is that at my mom’s funeral, my eulogy will clock in at over four hours long, and everyone will be bored because they won’t understand.  And the truth is, it is a fact that no one will ever sit at a computer and write that sentence about me.


Truth is, no one I know believes in marriage anymore.


Truth is, I’m horrible at mowing the lawn, and I always will be.


But I really like mowing the lawn.  And I do it every single week, even though I know my neighbors laugh at me.  And I admire my handiwork even though there’s always little tufts of grass poking up where they shouldn’t be, and shit, I mowed over the pre-existing azalea again, and yes I know that was the hatchet I hit that caused the mower to shed three pieces of unidentified metal, and why do we even OWN a hatchet?? And it’s one of the most rewarding things I get to do.  And really, I’m pretty sure I’m getting better.



Filed under life, random, relationships

8 responses to “Truthfully.

  1. J

    The whiskey was not a gentleman’s drink. He’d chosen precisely so- there would be no mistaking his intent. This was not for flavor, this was antiseptic.
    The honest liquid crashed down his throat, burning a collision course with the vile bile rising to meet it. He winced, but only in the manliest of ways, he would assure you. Not that it mattered. Not that any of it did.

    It all came down to Gotye. Motherfucking Gotye, the pop poet of the now. That artistic little bastard with his abominable word truths and pipeline to what was happening. That song, with it’s words written with intent and, now, sung with whiskey breath, was truth and introspection and shades of gray. And it stung.

    She was pretty, you see, but not perfect. She reminded him a good bit of his car, actually- once out of his range, but now with enough miles under the hood that not only should she be attainable, but he wouldn’t look out of place with the keys. Still a goer, though, that one is. Perfect weight distribution and handling, decent efficiency and all the luxury appointments. Heck, no one can believe the model year, either, as she’s kind of timeless.

    Pardon the author. He just realized e.e. cummings is rolling over in his grave. He’ll find a less offensive metaphor now.

    She was smart and funny and open. Slightly dark, afraid to be still and with the right amount of baggage- enough to be interesting (and flawed! it’s like a door ding that drops the asking price!) but not so much that TLC couldn’t fix most, with the rest written off as giving her “character”. And, oh boy, a looker. If you saw her at a traffic light, you’d glance, trust me. The chassis has amazing lines, the headlights…

    Dammit, sorry. That damn metaphor will not stop, as much as the author wishes it would.

    Back in a moment. More whiskey.


    Back to Gotye. As many times as he has heard it, the author knows you have too.

    Now and then I think of when we were together
    Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
    Told myself that you were right for me
    But felt so lonely in your company
    But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

    You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
    Like resignation to the end, always the end

    Right. From. His. Brain. The last part, especially, as a summation of 10 years of overly abusive self analysis. You can and do get addicted to martyrdom. It’s a mental trap, assigning importance to what you do while removing any chance of succeeding at it. But that first part was dangerous, too.


    They’d had dinner and drinks and laughs. Mostly the latter two, two be truthful. They’d been spending time together lately, as he was free and she was available. The usual things had been said, the you-understand-me’s and the I-always-feel-better-with-you’s. The why-can’t-more-people-be-as-awesome-as-us’ and the you-make-me-feel-safe’s. Then he said it, vodka fueled and honest.

    “Would you like to date me?”

    “We’ll talk about that later… I need sleep.”


    So, the Gotye, and why this isn’t, truthfully, ALL his fault. She needed a ride, providing the perfect timing for talk. He jumped at the chance, looking forward to resolution. The radio was on, providing a cover noise while he built to the question. Then, Gotye.

    “I love this song- my friend just emailed it to me!”

    “Me,too” he says. “It’s been rattling in my brain for weeks now.”

    “Yeah- Michelle thought I’d really like it. It’s amazing how everyone thinks it’s about just a bad break up, but if you read the lyrics closely, it’s really about two people who tried to force something that wasn’t there. Like, they’d have been better off just leaving it alone…”

    He started to think of all the possible ways to argue the interpretation, when he realized the thing about art- it doesn’t always show you what the artist intended, but it always shows you what you are looking to see.

    And that was the death of the conversation, and another little bit of him.


    The whiskey burned, the less than subtle hint of kerosene reminding him of why he was here. He was here because, as smart as he can be, he knows no other way.

    The author wishes to apologize, as certain details here are manufactured. Primarily the fact that he is out of whiskey and drinking rum. Everything else fucking happened.

    Also because he is randomly posting this in comments. It just seemed nifty.

  2. Laurie

    I believe in marriage. Staunchly. But I’m also aware we didn’t grow up on the same planet….

  3. J again

    And that’s when he realized his hiccup – he kept them at bay because he feared knowing real love would kill his hope for true love.

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