Baby fever…..for real?!?!?

I got to meet Jane this weekend!

She’s precious.

Perfect and small and soft.

She snuggled right up and melted my heart.

She also seems to have turned up the volume on the ticking of my biological clock. I mean, it’s there, ticking away all the time, but now, it’s deafening. I suppose this is a given when one is 35 and (oh so) single. But damn!

Jane’s mom tells of how this is the hardest job she’s ever had. She talks of no sleep. She talks of absolute fear of this 9 lb person. But she does all this with a almost undetectable smile that makes me pretty sure it’s all worth it. I ask about nursing and labor pains and all that stuff, and no matter what she says, I think it sounds lovely.

My mind has been going through it’s contact list in hopes there is some sort of forgotten male who would be perfect to stop this clicking clock. All it finds is Mr. Complicated, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Bad Gene Pool, Mr. Gay. Mr. Ewwww and Mr. Not In A Million Years.

Then my mind takes me to the dark side. Do I want to have a baby so I don’t feel left out? Do I want to have a baby or do I want to have what I’d like to think comes with a baby, a husband (or husband type person) a cute little house with a backyard and silly disagreements about nothing? Do I want a baby just so I am not alone?

Currently all I am sure of is this; the time I spent this past weekend holding that precious little girl was the happiest time I’ve spent in a very long time.

Nightmare @ Furry Friend Farm

This time next week I will be packing my bags to fly out to Cali. and drive back to Nashville with my mom and her evil cat Lucy. I am so excited that my mom decided to retire to Nashville that I still can’t really believe it’s happening. I see only good things coming from her being geographically close to me now. However, there seems to be one bad thing that is happening in my subconscious.

For the last few weeks I’ve been having nightmares about my mom moving here. That’s not accurate, I’m having nightmares that my mom is moving here and bringing my former stepfather with her. A man that neither of us have seen for around 18 years now. I have these nightmares where she doesn’t mind that he doesn’t work, that he drinks himself to oblivion and then hits her. That she thinks I need to just get over it and make nice. While these thoughts have no basis in reality, they are messing me up.

Everyone has gone through shit in their lives. Mine was my stepfather. When my mom called me at my dad’s house to tell me that she had gotten engaged while on a trip to NYC….I cried. I mean, sobbed, terrified of what would happen.  I knew this guy was a jerk. He had his moments, but he drank a lot and wasn’t nice to my mom a lot of the time. I didn’t even know that the scar above her eyebrow wasn’t from a sailing accident, but from him pushing her down the stairs!

I tried to make the best of the situation. I tried to not be devastated that instead of going to middle school with my friends I’d had since Kindergarten I was moving to California to be closer to my stepbrother….the stepbrother who threw darts at my Duran Duran posters and hung my stuffed animals from the ceiling when I was out of town.

We moved to California and there were the basic trauma involved with something like that. My stepfather was a lawyer and had to pass the California Bar Exam. He seemed to wait forever to even take it and then when he finally did, he didn’t pass. He didn’t have a job or seemingly any intention of getting a job. At our first place in Hermosa Beach I didn’t have a bedroom….I slept in the dining room.  California dreaming my ass. After a particularly horrible stretch where my stepfather was drinking a lot and berating me and my mother for being lazy, etc….my mom decided we should make a break for it. She didn’t tell me what was going on, but called me to let her in the security gate of the building. I came down to open the gate and she was with a friend and they told me to just get in the car, we were leaving. My 6th grade mind raced through all the things that I didn’t have with me…but didn’t care. We were going to be free.

Except we weren’t. We were gone for a few days, they apparently “worked things out” and we went back. I am pretty sure that it was right then that I was completely over this man and hated him being in my life.

Everything was pretty much status quo until my Junior year of high school (status quo meaning he was a drunk bastard, didn’t have a job and was horrible to my mother at every opportunity!).  The summer before my Junior year  I had made a birthday dinner for my mother. I had to run to the store to get something and asked my stepfather to watch the food in the oven to make sure it didn’t burn. I came back. It was black. I was furious! As any 17 year old would do when furious, I cried. I screamed at my stepfather asking him why he couldn’t do one little thing. He proceeded to throw the burnt food at me and slap me across the face. Happy Birthday Mom!

That was it, I left the house and started walking to my friend’s house. I couldn’t even think straight enough to drive. I walked and cried and walked and cried. I called my mom later and told her I couldn’t come home until something was done about him. She asked that I give her a few days and she would work something out. The next few months were a disaster. As to not dwell on these more then I need to, here is a bulleted list that is not necessarily in chronological order:

  • Restraining orders were filed and then rescinded
  • One holiday weekend my mother and I were basically held hostage because one of the therapists my stepfather had been seeing had called the police because he was homicidal
  • Another of the therapists he was seeing had called the police because they thought he was suicidal…that sounded like a great thing to me!
  • The SWAT team was called out and stationed on the roof of the houses next door
  • The Redondo Beach police knew our names and address by heart, which actually got me out of a speeding ticket (sometimes pity is good)
  • My father came up from San Diego and placed my mom in a hotel, took me back with him and told my stepfather he should leave or my dad would make sure he left.
  • During my stay in San Diego, the police escorted my stepfather from our home and served him with yet another restraining order….but not before he stole all of our stuff. My mom called me to tell me that from a phone she had to go buy because he even took that.
  • After yet another retraining order was rescinded, I came home to find my stepfather passed out on the kitchen floor. (My mom and I lived upstairs, he lived downstairs, we shared the kitchen) I walked over to the counter, stepping over his drunken loser body and grabbed a kitchen knife. I was thisclose to ending this nightmare for once and all. But I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t let this man ruin my life even more. So I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room.
  • I don’t remember specifics, but somehow my mom got him to leave. He gave back some of the stuff he had stolen, took his cat and his truck and left.
  • We moved across town. Occasionally got random letters from him filled with hateful things.
  • We moved again and I don’t think he ever got that address.

This monster made it impossible for me to go away to college. He ruined my mother in ways I can’t even comprehend. What makes me most angry is that he has obviously made me question my mother’s judgement, even now, nearly 20 years later. I want to be past this….but I don’t know that I will ever be.

Lone Star state of mind

Texas, you big beautiful state you!

Texas has been a part of my life since before I was born. It’s part of family lore that my paternal grandparents missed my birth because my grandpa was afraid they would hit freezing rain in Missouri on their way to their winter home in South Padre Island Texas. I would bet that they day she died, my grandmother was still pissed about that. I would also guarantee that if he had it to do over again, my grandfather would not have risked freezing rain in Missouri.

Shortly after I was born my grandparents moved to Padre permanently. Sure, I never knew what it was like to have grandparents live in the same town as me, but they lived on a freakin’ island!! How cool is that.  Back in the day there wasn’t much to do at Padre, but I never noticed.  They lived less then a block from the beach and when I was there…which was often…the vast majority of my time was spent on the beach, in the gulf or in the swimming pools at the small condo buildings that lined the beach. Seriously, it was an idyllic experience.

Around the age of 6 I started spending long summers in Padre. Sometimes I flew, by myself–such a big girl, but more often then not I was driven down. My dad and I would hop in whatever vehicle he had at the time and set out for a two day trip that only went through two states. Usually we would stop in Dallas and see a family friend who lived there. I’d swim in the pool or we’d go to another friend’s house for brisket or some other such Texas fare. Then early the next day we would take the long drive to the Island.

I love all the small towns in Texas. They are all so different but are all so similar and are all so….Texas. There was a Dairy Queen we would stop at in some tiny town.  There I would just sit and people watch, even at six, and wonder what it was like to live in such a small town. Sure, Edmond Oklahoma is hardly a booming metropolis, but our streets were streets, not farm roads.  We would drive through King Ranch….which takes forever….and then soon we were in the Rio Grande Valley. So many little random business and so much agriculture. I’ve been a lot of places in this country and none are anything like the RGV. Once I started seeing seashell shops, I knew we were close. We would take that drive along the super tall causeway and I was once again home, or at least in my home away from home. My grandparents and parents would talk shit about Texans and how they acted like Texas was the be all end all, but secretly I think they sort of agreed.  My grandma had a decorative plate that had two angels on it and one of them had a speech bubble over it’s head that said, “And if we are very good, we will go to Texas!”  I have all of her plates…but that one is missing. I so wish I had that plate.

Once I moved to California in 1985, trips to Texas became fewer and further between. Plus I was a teenager and let’s face it, teenagers suck and don’t appreciate anything at the time.  When my grandparents moved to Florida around 1994, my trips to Texas ended. I didn’t even knew I missed them until…

September 2005.  While the gulf coast was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and anticipating Hurricane Rita, I was on my way to the Austin City Limits festival. When I stepped off the plane in Austin, my love for Texas came flooding back. The smell of breakfast tacos, the live music, sharing a plane with Ray Benson and wishing him luck on getting to the festival on time for his slot. It all was perfect. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, grabbed a cab to Zilker park and I was off. The natural beauty in Texas isn’t easy for some to appreciate. I, however, am truly enchanted by it.  The scrubby mesquite just standing there against the heat and wind. The long stretches of land untouched by “civilization.” All of it resonates inside of me like few other places I’ve ever been. Austin has the lovely Town Lake, the refreshing Barton Springs and so many trails and byways that it’s easy to forget you are in a city. I spent the next three days sweating and breathing dirt and loving my life more then I knew I could. I didn’t eat, I drank water. I took long showers in the evening to remove the mass quantities of soil that seemed embedded in my flesh. I loved it all. It probably didn’t hurt that the first night we were there my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, was playing at Threadgill’s across the street from my hotel.  I’m not usually one to go solo to a show, but I couldn’t miss it and my traveling companion thought slee sounded like a better option. Then I remembered, you’re never alone at a Reckless Kelly show because RK fans are all friends you just haven’t met yet. Sure, the members of the band aren’t FROM Texas, but the heart of the band is from Texas and that all worked out well in my mind.  The next night I had, what I consider, the ultimate Texas evening. Drove down to New Braunfels in the darkest of nights, ate dinner overlooking the Guadalupe river and saw Reckless Kelly at Gruene Hall. Sweet Jesus, I’ve never been a churchgoer, but if church made me feel like that night did, I would be up bright and early every Sunday morning. Of course, Reckless Kelly doesn’t see many early Sunday mornings, so I think I can keep sleeping in.

My next trio to Texas was for SXSW. Lifechanging trip. Ate the best BBQ of my life at Kreuz’s. Had more fun then should be allowed by law. It was confirmed on this trip that Texas had played and continued to play a huge role in my life.

I’ve only been back once since SXSW in 2006 and that was for a Reckless Kelly live cd recording, obsessed? me? surely you jest!  I was there for 16 hours, but what I 16 hours it was. I made friends that night that I still keep in touch with. We were all part of something super special that night…and I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but Texas.

Lately I’ve been NEEDING to go back. Sure, my best friend since first grade had a baby 8 months ago that I haven’t seen in Chicago. Sure, I never visit my family in Florida. But dammit all to hell I need to go to Texas.  I need to breathe that thick air. I need to shop for random things, and cowboy boots!, in Austin.  I need to drink crappy beer and good liquor with some of the most fun people on the planet.  I need to sit in Zilker park and just think. I need to sit on Town Lake  and drink coffee at Mozarts. I need to roam the stacks in Waterloo. I need some Lone Star time.

I guess I’m kind of a lone star myself. But I hope that, much like Texas, with it’s quiet strength, that there is a nobility with me being a lone star. Texas isn’t about the jerks who act like when you cross out of the state line you lose any reason for living.  Texas is about knowing that when you cross into Texas, you are crossing into a special, stark, beautiful, lush and dry land that has endless opportunities and room for endless heartache.

Don’t mess with Texas! 🙂

Abandonment Issues

I’m sure that this here blog is thinking I don’t love it anymore. That it’s no longer the cute, fluffy blog it was when I first got it and the new has worn off.

However, I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  I have written dozens of little notes of ideas about what to write. Things that make me happy. Things that stress me out. Random thoughts. Dozens I tell you. But I can’t seem to make it all come together.

Do I write about how I have self diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder? I mean, sure, I tend to turn down or flake out on more plans then average. Sure, I’m paranoid that no one likes me, but even more freaked out if it seems like they do like me. But really, who wants to get inside that messed up of a mind?

Do I write about my job? My job that I truly love and cherish, particularly in these trying times? Who wants to hear about a business that is well run, that has a contingency plan, that is turning down business that isn’t “worth it’s time?” That kind of talk gets no attention these days. It’s almost a fairytale.

Do I write about my new car? I love it. It’s a 2007 Nissan Versa  hatchback. I’ve named it Earl. (it’s grey, get it, Earl Grey?!?!)  It reminds me of a baby elephant. It has all sorts of fun bells and whistles, including a sunroof. Sunroofs are cool.

How about boys? Let’s see what I have to say about them these days. Love them. The fuzzier the better. Silly? Sign me up. Possibility of stunted maturity…WOO HOO! Completely uninterested in me….YES! So, basically same ‘ol same ‘ol in the world of boys.

Politics? Always a good subject. Obama’s in. Life is good. I’m proud of our president and have to punch myself every once in awhile when I hear “President Obama.”

Fear? My fears are random and somewhat debilitating. I fear I will never find true love. I fear that I am too OK with being alone. I fear that my parents will die suddenly and I won’t know how to go on. I fear that my hair never looks good. I fear being depressed, again. I fear that my outfits are too “matchy-matchy.” I fear I will never be a parent. I fear that if I were to become a parent, I wouldn’t be a good one. I fear that my cats feel neglected. I fear that I love my dog WAY too much.

My dog…that’s a good one. I love him. Possibly too much (see above) but he is a companion to me in ways I have never known. He got to go to California with me at Christmas and was a camp on the plane. We took him to the beach and that little furry face smelling all the wondrous smells of the ocean was one of the most joyous things I have ever witnessed.

Wii fit? Love it. Haven’t been on it for a week (thanks virus!) but it makes me actually enjoy exercising. I can actually tell that I’m becoming more flexible, etc…..Bravo Nintendo!

I could probably go on and on. Typing lots, saying little. Basically I just want my blog to know that I still love it. Hopefully, one day soon, I can sit down and write a thorough, possibly interesting and informative post.  But not today dear blog, mommy’s got a headache.

Thanks for clearing that up!

I just told someone I work with that I am voting for Obama.

Their response, “That’s because you don’t own anything!”

OOOOOO, so that’s it?  It has nothing to do with wanting a president who will tax those who own too much?  It has nothing to do with the fact that I want a president who is concerned with education not just veterans and a war that’s going nowhere? It has nothing to do with the fact that the idea of Sarah Palin being even remotely able to be the leader of the US keeps me up at night?

It’s just because I don’t own anything.

Well, here’s some news. I DO own something. I own my body and should be able to do whatever I want with it. I own my mind and should be able to think what I want, when I want, where I want.  I own my pride in my country, that doesn’t make me blind to the fact that there are issues with it. 

I own my freedom and would like to know how the Iraqi war really is defending it?  I want to know what we win? How do we determine we have won the war?  When all of the Iraqis are dead? How many more of our military men and women have to die before we’ve won? It seemed to me that the objective was to get Sadaam Hussein out of there…he’s been gone awhile and yet $10 billion a month goes there while our financial system crumbles.

I would like to own my future, but I don’t know that I do. I do know this, I own my vote and it is going to Barack Obama. Not because I’m voting AGAINST someone, not because I’m a bleeding heart liberal, not because I don’t “own” anything. I’m voting for him because he exemplifies what this country could be, a place of hope, a place of change, a place of honor and he will be a leader I can be proud of.

So there.

I think I’m missing something

At lunch today, a coworker, I dare to say a “friend” made the statement, “I don’t know how a white person can vote for Obama.”

Go ahead, let that sink in for awhile…..I’m still trying to make sense of it.

I know she’s a Republican and super conservative and blames her racist tendencies on being raised in the country, but really? You don’t know how a white person can vote for Obama?  Well, wait, I don’t know how ANY person can vote for McCain, so maybe I am no better then she is. Then again, my issues with McCain have nothing to do with his race. His ignorance, advanced age and freakishly short arms don’t help him in my mind, but his color has no bearing on my decision to not vote for him.

When confronted with statements like the one I heard today, I tend to sit in silence. That kind of blatant hatred and ignorance terrifies me. In my mind I am screaming “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU SAYING?” Then I wonder where this comes from. Sure, my parents raised me to think that we are all equal, etc…and that helped, but I’m a grown up and can make decisions on my own.  The person who made this statement is a good 15 years older then me. Surely she can make decisions on her own. Let’s say she came to these racist ideals on her own…WHY? Why does it matter what color someone is?  I don’t get it. I simply don’t understand.

Similar thoughts of inability to understand come up when discussing the rights of homosexuals. The only people who’s sex lives make any difference in my world are those that I chose to have sex with…..an ever dwindling number these days. What bearing does loving a person of the same gender have on your ability to raise a child?  Why is love between two men or two women less important and special and rare then it is in a “traditional” couple? Is a commitment less than because both people have the same parts? Seriously, I want explanations.

I feel naive lately. I feel like some stupid Pollyanna who just wants everyone to be happy and loved. Then again, I also feel like a militant person who doesn’t give a fuck what anyone does as long as it doesn’t effect her…and thinks that others should feel the same. Be self-centered folks….worry about yourself and that is all. I don’t know.  It’s hard times these days. The world is in a crazy place and it seems like no one really knows what to do. As a result, the worst starts to come out of people. My only hope for the future is the fact that I have many friends with young children or children on the way and these amazing people will fight the good fight to leave a good world for their kids…..hopefully no one will find THAT a controversial statement.

First Day of Fall Brain Cleansing

Lots of things are rolling around in this noggin of mine. Sounds like a bulleted list is in order.

  • I have a little under a half a tank of gas, but refuse to go “top off” and be a part of the insanity that has made gas almost impossible to come by in Nashville.
  • The people who talk about driving around for two to three hours looking for gas make me crazy–if you have enough gas to drive around that long, you didn’t need gas!
  • Noodle and I participated in the Mutt Strutt this Saturday and then went to the Dog Day Festival. It was a GLORIOUS time. The highlight had to be Noodle “cheering” for his girlfriend Macy in the Fetching Contest. He loves him some Macy!
  • Terrified isn’t even a strong enough word for my feelings about the upcoming election. The idea of John McCain (or worse, Sarah Palin)  having any power over the United States makes my blood run cold.
  • I wish people would understand that there is no one who is “Pro-abortion”, well, there may be some that are, but the fringe sick-o’s don’t count. The word “choice” is the important word in the phrase “Pro-choice.” It has become abortion specific, but it need not be. It’s about being able to do whatever one wants with their body without fear of legislative interference. “Pro-life” ticks me off too, most people walking around are pro-life, meaning that they are all for being alive. Again, there are the fringe sick-o’s who think death is the way, but that has nothing to to with abortion.
  • I recently learned how to do ghetto silk screening and have perhaps become obsessed. Prepare yourselves for silkscreened items for gifts 🙂
  • The love of cooking has been rearing it’s head lately. The hatred of cleaning up, however, dominates the love for cooking in almost all cases.
  • I am so ready for Fall I can’t stand it. I’ve been keeping my place cooler then need be so I can bundle up. Sweater weather is the best!
  • I’m growing my hair out for Locks of Love and it’s about the make me crazy. I asked a friend of mine if he thought it was ten inches from my shoulder and he said “Way more then ten inches” but then I remembered that men can’t be trusted on judging the length of anything.
  • My work load has slowed to a crawl, but I’m not complaining. I think it is the calm before the storm.
  • I love my Dyson vaccuum cleaner too much.
  • I just openend up my iTunes to sharing at work…and am scared at the judgement that may result from my random music choices.
  • If Reckless Kelly don’t come to Nashville soon….someone is going to get hurt.

I want to cry

I want to sit in the middle of the floor and cry and scream like a little kid.

I want to tear things up, throw things around, wring someones neck, shoot a gun, drink a fifth of whiskey. Something, anything to change the path of things the last few weeks, or at least become numb.

My biggest client at work has been running us all ragged. The creative team came up with all these weird promotions for an event at the zoo and even though I said that some of these would be next to impossible to achieve, I was told to make it happen. I have driven nearly 300 miles hunting down and delivering 600 boxes of animal crackers (that I spent 4 hours Friday night stickering–who would think having no social life would come in so handy!). I have bought 4 different things to try to put a logo on a yoga ball. None of which have worked. I have ordered and paid for 25 yoga balls, 10 of which were what I actually ordered. These are for elephants to play with. I went to college so I can figure out a way to create balls for elephants to play with that are branded with a sub-prime car insurance brand logo!

I have been so physically and emotionally spent that when I get home I just sit on the couch and watch tv or sit at the computer and read people’s MySpace and Facebook pages to try and remember what it was like to have a life.

I want to cry so much that it physically hurts me. But I think the pharmacueticals prevent that these days. Although I am able to cry with joy, as I did when I found out that a dear friend heard the heartbeat of her baby that she has waited so long for.

I want to chop all my hair off and dye it purple. I want to skip paying my rent and buy a bunch of clothes. I want to buy a car I don’t need and can’t afford. I want to do something, anything to shake things up. This brickwall I keep running into is getting tired of the abuse.

I really, just want to cry.

THIS single girl’s guide to gay boys

First off, I call all males boys, regardless of age, sexual orientation, etc.

It has been said that gay boys have an affinity for me. I seem to draw them to me. Perhaps I look safe, a port in the storm, if you will. Maybe they can just tell that I think they are fabulous and funny and great in general. Are there invisible words on my forehead that tell them that I don’t judge? Do I give off a serious ‘Straight, not narrow” vibe?  Whatever it is, I like it.

I’ve been watching “Queer as Folk” on DVD lately and it makes me love the gay boys even more. I admire their ability to live complex lives in a society that doesn’t understand, much less accept them in so many ways. I love watching the characters interact with one another in a way that heterosexuals, regardless of gender, simply don’t do.  For example, on an episode I watched last night, one of the guys (guy 1) said to another one( guy 2, whom guy 1 happens to have a horrible crush on) that they were bonded to each other because neither one believes they deserve to be loved. Those words are still resonating in my ears. Straight girls would never admit that to each other. At least, I would never admit that to another straight girl. That’s the thing with gay boys, so much of their lives is considered “wrong” by society that they don’t feel the need to cover things up between themselves…..sometimes.

Watching these DVDs has made me realize a couple of things about the gay boys in (or formally in as the case may be) in my life.  A couple of weeks ago, one of my best work friends moved to Dallas. I am still somewhat in denial about this, but have almost come to the conclusion that he is really gone and that he is not coming back. I gave into this reality when I noticed how quiet my days have become. How I have no one to talk about celebrity gossip with anymore. How Project Runway isn’t as exciting without the re-cap conversation the next morning. How, in general, my days are not nearly as good as they were when he was here.

But, he is a gay boy, and as I have learned the hard way, they get over things like that much faster then I do. Which brings me to the relationship failure that has perhaps affected me most in life. See, I have a gay ex-husband. I never called him my gay husband when we were friends, but with the nastiness that came along with our “break-up” it seems only fitting. I now feel as though I know what it feels like to be a divorcee who never had kids with their ex. You go from seeing each other every day and knowing what it going on in the minutia of each other’s lives, to nothing. Apparently no residue of emotion is supposed to exist. You are just to move on and almost act like the other person doesn’t exist.

Our break-up was complicated, as most break-ups are. I was wrong in many ways and he couldn’t deal with me anymore. This is not to say I don’t feel wronged by him, because believe me, I do. But I am fine with the knowledge that it was my actions who started the decline of our friendship. I was no longer a silly girl who would go anywhere and do anything. I was a terribly depressed person who spent more time crying then anything else. I had gone through some physical issues and work related things that made me a wreck. I understand this. I wasn’t fun to be around. I hated to be around myself, but hated being alone more. I was a mess. Apparently I was too much of a mess for some people to deal with. I understand that.

I guess what I don’t understand is how, nearly 2 years later, I am still hurting over this and he doesn’t seem to care. When we run into each other it’s as though we are faint acquaintences. I will occassionaly send an email commenting on something that we were both in to and get no response. (Admittedly it’s been months since I’ve done this. I can’t deal with that much rejection.) I still find myself almost calling him to share something that only he would appreciate, but then I remember I can’t. I remember that I have lost this person. Except for occassional sightings or updates from mutual friend, or of course, his blog (ahhhhh technology!) he is dead to me.

Perhaps gay boys don’t really like me any more then straight boys? Perhaps our times of laughter and silliness and endless chatter are simply the gay boy/straight girl version of cheap and random sex between straight girls and boys?

I don’t really know. The more I think about things the more I realize that I don’t know much. Maybe that’s fine. Perhaps the knowledge that you don’t know anything is liberating. But right now, it just feels pretty lonely.

Whitewashed Memories

The human mind is a funny thing. It files things away in a seemingly random way and brings memories up out of nowhere. It also seems to have a great editing feature as it will often change the memories to only show the good (or sometimes bad) in a person or situation.

This past weekend, the “good” edits have been in full force for my subconscious and particularly in my dreams. For four nights in a row I have had the strangest dreams about a former “flame.” The dreams have been more memories then the fantasy situations that normally entertain my sleeping mind. However, these memories have been edited, some quite drastically, to only recall the good. They have been so well edited that I have been anxious to go to sleep in hopes the dreams would be there waiting. I’ve been fighting waking up because I knew, once I did, the dreams, like the person they were about, would be gone.

We first met in the spring of 2007. At a Marine base. The day after he got out of the brig. Dubious timing is a forte of mine. A friend had been dating a Marine for awhile and she thought it would be great if we all dated Marines. I reluctantly agreed to go with her, and one of our other friends, to Camp Pendleton for the evening. I didn’t dress up. I didn’t “do” my hair. I just went because I had nothing better to do.

If you’ve never been on a military base, as was the case with me at the time (for the record, I had dated military before, but they were on ships) it is a foreign place. I used to joke that there was a different climate at Camp Pendleton because of all the testosterone, but seriously, it’s different there. It is strange because all of the places are familiar (buildings, fast food places, etc) but when all combined and placed on this area that is dominated by males, it makes for an odd mix. Once we cleared the gates, I was sure there was nothing there for me.

It is a well known fact that I am bad at noticing people flirting with me and that I tend to “try” to flirt with people who have no interest in me. This used to bug me. I’ve learned to deal with it. My first (and only) night at the ‘E Club’ (enlisted men’s club) was no different. I don’t remember any details about the boy who had my attention that night, but I do recall that I didn’t have his attention. I’m pretty sure, in my mind, that confirmed my suspicions that there was no one there I would have anything in common with. I had been ignoring the boy, all dark eyed and charming, who was buying me drinks and asking me questions all evening. It wasn’t until we went back to my friend’s boyfriend’s barracks and this fella joined us that I even acknowledged his existence. My other friend had met someone and had disappeared, promising to pick us up in the morning (as she was our ride) so it was just the four of us, hanging out, being silly, doing nothing.

It soon went from a foursome to two duos as he and I were no longer aware of anyone else in the small, sparse room. He asked if I wanted to go for a drive. I did. We drove and drove and talked and talked. We went back to his room and talked some more. He’d lived an interesting life. He explained why he had gone to the brig. He talked about what he wanted to do in the future. We finally had talked so much that we couldn’t talk anymore and well, we made out. I remember details about that night like they were yesterday. 

He asked for my number, promised to call. I gave it to him and didn’t have any expectations of him calling. He called later that day. He explained that he was on this ridiculous 24 hours on 24 hours off schedule. He wanted to see me as soon as possible, but didn’t know when he would be able to make the 82 mile trip North to take me out. I told him I’d figure something out. I did.

So it began, 6 months of requesting work schedules around his days off.  Driving up and down the 405 countless times. Late night calls from him to help him make it through those last few hours of his 24 hour shift. Getting up at 5 am to get to base by 7 am when he would be getting off work. Waking up in his room at 6 am so he could get back to work and so that I could get out of there before the Commanding Officer caught me. (He did catch me once, we had a nice talk. He like Michael a lot and thought he just wasn’t made for the Marines. He said I wasn’t like the normal “barracks bunny” and said he’d turn a blind eye to my presence, as long as I kept a low profile) It was, in many ways, an exciting time. 

These are the memories that are popping up in my dreams. The look on his face when I would walk up the long sidewalk to the barracks. The serenade he coordinated for me one day, with 10 Marines singing “Pretty Woman” to me from the catwalk. The picnics we would take on the beach. Picking strawberries. The way his skin tasted like cantaloupe. The way his big dark eyes could see right into my heart. The way that his touch sent shivers through every cell of my body. The physical attraction that we had that almost scared me, it was so strong. Talking about our dreams and our future and feeling that those dreams and futures would be achievable as long as we were in each other’s lives. We talked about me going home with him to Louisiana once his discharge was final. He talked about me to his mom. He met my mom. He would switch days so he could have 2 days off in a row and come up and see me. We played house at my Dad’s place when he was out of town. He cooked me gumbo.

What doesn’t seem to pop up in my dreams is his random tantrums. Never would these be directed at me, but his fiery temper was terrifying to witness. He once found out that a friend of his had hung out with me alone in his room and beat the crap out of the guy, in front of me. He found out that his discharge was going to take a lot longer then he had been told and he punched a hole in the wall. He would disappear for a few days here and there and no one really knew where he went. Since he didn’t have much interaction with others in his job, the only thing that anyone could ever confirm was that he had gone to work, which meant he was alive, but no one knew where he was other then that. His roommate would call me asking where he was. I would call his roommate asking where he was. No one knew. He wouldn’t talk about where he had been, but he was always slightly different when he re-appeared. As time progressed he went from accusing me of smothering him to accusing me of not caring enough about him. His drinking increased. The good times became fewer and farther between, but when times were good, they were SO good. These, apparently, are the memories that I am really holding on to. In a lot of ways, I find no reason to remember the bad. I remember the things I learned from those bad times, but I think it would be fine to forget the details.

Michael and I saw each other from time to time after I moved to Nashville. He was on the road a lot and when he came through town we would see each other. We rarely spoke of the past. We never talked of a future. It was all about the present when we were together because we, or at least me, understood that the present was the only guarantee there was for the two of us.

A couple of years ago he showed up at my place unannounced, as he normally would. He was going to be in town for a month or so for some training. We saw each other pretty regularly. We never went out. I never introduced him to my friends. I never even told them he was here. An opportunity for him to move to Nashville had arisen. The discussion about that was not a pleasant one. The actions that followed that talk made me fully aware that I no longer wanted him in my life, for any reason, for any time.

So here I am, two years since I have laid eyes on him. I have moved and he doesn’t know where I live now. I got rid of my land line so he has no way to call me. Yet, I have these dreams. These wondrous dreams. Dreams filled with good times, and sweet gestures and a certainty about the world. I guess I’ll keep the dreams and these whitewashed memories. There’s enough negative things in the world that I don’t need to hold on to more that has no effect on my current life. So, Michael Andrew Gonzales, wherever you may be, we’re cool. I don’t want to ever see you in my awake life, but if the visits to my sleeping life stay the way they have been, you’re welcome any time.