"I have work. Then a dinner thing, and then I am busy trying to become who I am." - Hannah, Girls

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Light Dilemma

I'm not sure what the best way is to tell a person to leave the morning after you hook-up. But I do know that "would you like to get out of here?" isn't right.

The boy deserves a nickname by now. He will be dubbed Breakfast Boy. He's oddly passionate about Special K, we compared our milk to cereal ratios once in the dining hall, we both attended a Friendsgiving brunch, and I have woken up next to him at breakfast time on three occasions now.

Last night, I went to a "Bad Bitches Only" party, fully inspired by Susan B. Anthony. I met up with him after. I was drunk, and he was sober. I confessed to him that I thought he was too nice and explained why that was a turn off initially. He told me that I'm super unresponsive to his advances. Which he probably said because I talked for a full hour before I even kissed him. SUCH a classic slagzy thing to do. I mean we both know why we're there at 2am on a Saturday. But hey, I'll just keep talking like an idiot about that box of oatmeal over there! and look at my cool socks! and I played Mario Cart drunk!

I don't talk because I'm nervous. I talk because I don't understand how you get from Point A of being in full winter wardrobe to Point B of being naked with the lights off. I've told him two separate nights that I think the distance from the bed to the light switch is so far. I just don't get what comes first: the lights or the clothes?

I feel like there should be a universal rule about when you TURN OFF or DIM the lights. I'm too focused on the GOD DAMN LIGHTS all the time. Not because I don't want him to see me naked in the orange florescent light. But because the lights are this small, weird THING that has to be decided before the end of the night. It's like when you are picking between grocery stores. It doesn't matter which one you go to because they sell the same exact stuff, but someone has to JUST DECIDE at SOME POINT because WE ALL KNOW its going to happen before dinnertime.

God. Anyways.

This morning, Breakfast Boy asked if I got much sleep. We were both squished in his dumb twin XL bed,  and I was pushed up against a brick wall. The answer was obviously no, I didn't get much sleep. And then he asked, "Would you like to get out of here?"

He was really suggesting that I leave so we could both get some sleep. But the way he phrased it wasn't nice, it was strange. Then he said he was going to get breakfast, study, etc. I guess he just wanted to get on with his day? But why couldn't we go get breakfast together?

My feelings were hurt, even though I know he didn't mean to hurt them. Like I've said before: this boy is so nice (TOO nice), and there is no way he meant to be rude. I feel dumb. I feel dumb because I shouldn't be sad. I feel dumb because I worry about the lights. I feel dumb because I still don't know what to do once the lights are off. I also feel dumb because his ex-girlfriend of two and a half years goes to Harvard. Awesome!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We Think Nancy Met Him at Mass

I’m standing on my front porch, wearing my dead grandfather’s blackwatch flannel pajama pants. My ears are red, the snow is white, and my dogs are peeing yellow. They wander around, trying to find the right place to go, but the frost is confusing them. Each of their paws leaves an indention in the the ice, and they turn around to sniff the tracks they leave behind them. I hide my nose from the cold air inside the collar of my father’s sweatshirt. It reads “Jesuit High School” in faded baby blue letters. I'm hunched over the porch railing like the curve of a candy cane and look at my cuffs. Both are ripped along the seam, and the right one has elastic threads escaping from the fabric. My dogs are almost two, and today, my father is sixty.
Every year for my father’s birthday, my grandmother sends him a fruitcake, a jar of fig preserves, and an ill-fitting sweater. And every year, I watch my father devour the fruitcake and slather preserves on english muffins. And as is tradition, my dad prances around the kitchen in his new sweater. The collar squeezes his thick neck. The argyle over his stomach stretches diamonds into squares, and we all laugh and eat cake.
Cars hum, driving across the bridge over the river. I can’t read without my contacts, but know the pink neon blur in the distance is the sign for Jake’s Diner. Drunk couples wander out of bars and towards the parking lot behind our house. Most people who walk by pet the dogs through the fence. No one ever seems to notice me on the porch.
We live downtown, and our house is squeezed between another town home and a bakery. The house on the corner belongs to Sandy, a divorced woman with eight dogs and a dozen plastic surgeries. Her town house has double-decker wrap-around porches, and most people assume our house is a part of hers. But we’re here, with our own front door and address and everything, I swear. Living next to a bakery means that we can smell the daily special before we get out of bed. The wall that separates us from their ovens has been soaked with butter and caked in flour over the years. We know when the bakery is making biscuits or banana bread. Mom always has focaccia on hand, but if she didn’t, we could fix that problem in less than two minutes.  
Our front yard, isn’t really a yard at all. It’s a generous patch of grass. The thin layer of snow on the ground reflects the moonlight, and the atmosphere is a hazy violet. The hope of seeing violet is the only reason I volunteer to get off the couch and let my dogs out to pee.
The violet of the sky is the same shade as the walls in my grandmother’s home. Her carpet is white, but has stains and marks like the ones my beagles are leaving before me. But I think her stains are from spilled coffee and food, or at least I hope so. Up until last week, I had not seen my grandmother for a decade. Last time I saw her, I was ten, and it was my sister’s funeral. Now, I am twenty, and last week was my grandfather’s funeral.
Before getting on a plane to Texas, I knew little about my grandmother. I knew that she had bad taste in sweaters and no idea what size my dad wears. I knew that she had a fig tree at every house she’s ever lived in. And I knew that growing up, she gave my dad foot rubs whenever he asked. I did not know the color of her walls until I saw the fresh coat of magenta paint the day before Granddaddy’s funeral.
It was a winter day in Dallas, and my grandmother answered the door in a Mickey Mouse bomber jacket and light wash jeans.
“Oh my gosh!” she yelled.
“Hey, Mom,” my dad said as he hugged her five-foot frame.
“Hey, Nancy!” we all said in unison.
According to Dad, she made everyone call her by her first name except her children. It made her feel young.
“Well come on in. I have some ham and cheese and bread for little sandwiches. The rolls are soft and fresh,” she explained.
She waved us towards the kitchen. The front hall had picture frames of recent yearbook photos of all the grandchildren. These were alongside baby photos. I saw a picture of my cousin Drew and me. I was wearing a pink smock dress that was hiked up to reveal my diaper. I was holding a cookie in one hand and a fistful of Drew’s hair in the other. Seeing pictures of yourself that you have never seen makes me feel like I am aging backwards. It’s like I’m adding time to my life, meeting a part of myself I have never known. This self is sloppy and angry, but only to entertain the person behind the camera.
In the kitchen, the island was set up with slices of lunchmeat and pepper jack cheese. Nancy started to open the a package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Nancy’s house smelled like paint, but I hardly noticed. I was too busy looking at her decorations. On the wall that followed the curve of the stairs there were crosses. No fewer than fifty of them. And that doesn't include the small crosses that were painted on a larger cross. My dad had warned us about the crosses before walking in. Nancy used to work at a gift shop, and got a discount that she had obviously used. On the wall above the fireplace were dream catchers. Dangling from their strands were colorful beads and feathers, and there were enough to ensure that anyone within a mile of the house never had a bad dream.
“Y'all just make yourself at home. Watch anything you like, and I have some and peanut butter cookies in the dining room,” Nancy said.
Her phone started to ring with the name Peter.
“One second. Y’all make yourselves at home,” she yelled. She bounced past her green chair and into her bedroom. When she came back out, she picked up her crocheting and walked into the kitchen with it. She let the yarn ball drag behind her, collecting crumbs and dust. Her metallic nail polish reflected the light as she moved her needles and thread. She was making a brown and blue blanket.
“Mom, where's dad’s chair?” My dad asked.
“Oh that old thing?” she asked back.
“Yes, that old thing that he always used to sit in. You just ditched it?” he said.
“Oh it was old. And no one would use it now anyways.” she explained.
My dad scratched his new beard and nodded. The last time he had a beard was when my sister, Ruby, was sick, and I'm sensing a pattern.
“And what the hell have you done to the walls?” he asked.
“Oh isn't it cute? They’re finally pink,” she cheered.
Finally. Like she had been waiting until Granddaddy couldn't tell her no anymore.
“Dear Lord, Mom,” my Dad breathed. He walked to the fridge and took out one of the twenty jars of preserves. He placed it on the counter and opened the silverware drawer. Twisting the lid off made a pop! and he dipped the spoon in and ate a mouthful of gooey figs. The rest of us made sandwiches with our fresh, packaged sweet rolls.
I walked around the house, exploring a place I did not remember. I recognized the grand piano from the picture of me and Ruby sitting on its bench. I saw random pots and and jars stacked around the house. I opened lids and discovered what was inside. One in the living room had wasabi peas. One on the breakfast table had Caramel chews. Another by the pantry had glitter. The armoire had stacks and stacks of plates and bowls that I assumed had not been used in years. There were way too many plates for a family of six, let alone an old woman without kids at home. By the windowsill there was a napkin with two large avocado seeds. I didn't think planting an avocado tree would go well in Texas, but maybe I was wrong.
People started to arrive. There were some relatives that I knew, like Uncle Mike and Steve. Mike was an exact copy of my father, except he had blonde hair and blue eyes instead of brown hair and brown eyes. Steve looked nothing like either of them and frequented a tanning bed, fighting the winter season and the pale skin tone that even he had inherited.
Most people who rang the doorbell I had never met before. There were people like my dad’s cousin George, an ex-Catholic priest, and and his cousin Jennifer who may or may not be an alcoholic. She preferred talking to anyone who wasn’t an adult.
“Let me tell you. I had a good time in college,” Jennifer told me. “One time I went to a rave in the woods. And when we got there, Salt and Peppa and Run DMC were playing,” she said.
“That’s insane!” I laugh.
“Well the really crazy thing was that they were serving pork loin between two pieces of white bread. The bone was still in it, and there wasn't beer, just water.”
“Huh,” I said, confused.
“I'm going to go outside to smoke. You want some? It’s grape,” she offered.
“I’m fine, thanks,” I said as I shook my head no.
Jennifer made her way towards the sliding glass door. She pulled her tight shirt back down over her belly button, but let her low-rise jeans slip further down her waist. I decided to sit on a kitchen stool and munch on the hors-devours that my grandmother set out. There was shrimp dip and cream cheese with pepper jelly. My grandmother poured herself a glass of Welch’s grape juice, and then mixed it with a splash of cheap tequila. She took a sip, and then added some prosecco. I assumed, this was her drink of choice. She had been sipping the same honey blossom colored concoction since we arrived. It could easily be mistaken for juice, unless you saw her quickly prepare it in the kitchen or noticed that half a handle of tequila had disappeared by the end of the day.
My brother was on the couch, looking at my grandparents’ old high school yearbook. Granddaddy was a receiver for the football team. Nancy won “Most Popular Girl.” Together, they won “First to the Altar.”
“And then they got married a week after graduation,” Uncle Steve said. He had one hand on his hip and slurped a Diet Coke in the other. After he gulped, he fiddled with the top buttons of his paisley button-down. It seemed he couldn’t decide just how much chest-hair he wanted to show.
“Where are those?” I asked as I pointed to the can.
“The fridge in the garage, baby,” he said twirling his hand around, smiling as wide as his botox would allow.
I walked to the back of the house and knew that my mother was right. Steve was gay. And he married Lisa to hide it. And because she cleans houses for a living, and she’ll do his for free.
As soon as I stepped into the mudroom the washer dinged. I thought I would prove myself to be a helpful granddaughter. I opened the washer to move the wet clothes to the dryer. I pulled out a clump of clothes and a pair of khakis fell to the floor. I shoved the wet ball into the dryer and then picked up the khakis. I tossed them in, and then pulled them back out. The waist size was a 33, much too small for my grandfather who had always been severely overweight. And well, he’s not even alive to even wear khakis. I searched through the clothes and found a man’s flannel.
I snap back to horns honking and my dogs are scratching at our front door, begging to get back inside our warm townhome. I open it and they run in, but I decide to stand outside a little longer. I can see my breath against the navy sky. I imitate Jennifer smoking her grape flavored weed and make a huge cloud. The sky glows a more saturated lavender shade as the clouds dissipate. I shiver because I'm cold, but more so at the thought of Nancy making out with some gross old man.
After a few minutes, I go back inside, and my father is ready to unwrap his gifts. The first, is from mom, and it's just an envelope. My dad opens it and finds a photo of a grill.
“The patio store didn’t have it in stock, but I ordered it for you,” she explained.
“Thank you love,” he said and kissed her cheek.
“It’s from all of us,” she said as she gestured to me and my siblings.
“Alright does anyone want anymore cake?” Dad asked.
“Wait I have another gift,” I said.
I ran up to my room and grabbed the gift I had wrapped and hidden earlier in the evening.
“Here. From all of us,” I said. I handed my father a large square wrapped in paper with reindeer all over it. Dad’s birthday is December 27th, so he’s gotten used to Christmas wrap. Dad pulled back the paper and revealed a picture frame. It was a drawing of a forest. There was a burly man with a knit cap and a cigar hanging out of his mouth. He was swinging an axe, determined to chop down a tree to keep his fireplace burning.
“Why do you have this?” Dad asked.
“What is it?” my brother asked.
“It’s one of Grandaddy's pen and inks. Why do you have this?” he asked, rushed and angry.
“I found it in in Nancy’s garage,” I said, “I figured she would probably throw it away.” I prepared for a lecture, but then Dad smiled.
“Good work,” he laughed, “I know exactly where we’ll put it.”

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Well

Fun fact: I lost my virginity to a boy whose first name is my last name.

ha ha

This is a boy I took to a party weeks ago. My friend Aly set us up. A week later he asked me to get drinks at Friday Happy hour. I didn't pay him much attention all night. Then asked me to a Friendsgiving that Sunday. I went and, again, paid his friends more attention. (Wow I'm mean). BUT I was very sure I wasn't into him. 

So then he asked me to coffee exactly a week ago. I have NO idea why he asked me out again because I had been pretty unresponsive. So I ignored his text for 48 hours (again why am I so mean to such a nice boy). I responded on Wednesday inviting him to my Semi instead. I'm not sure why I asked. If I really didn't like him, I should have shut it down and not led him on. But I guess I didn't know how to respond to the whole coffee thing. And its not like I had another boy to ask.

And so Friday we hooked up. And then again on Saturday after I went to a date party with a guy friend. 

And here I am on a Sunday morning. The boy left, and I need to shower. I am so confused by the past 48 hours. I'm still not sure if I like this boy as more than a friend. He's so nice (too nice), which is why I was so turned off by him.

He brought Bailey's to brunch because he knew I liked that more than mimosas. He remembered my drink order from the first time he met me. He opens doors. He remembers all of these little details that I don't recall even telling him. He's so considerate and nice and smart. And why is that a turn off??? 

I wanted him to be mean for some reason. But then I thought, why would I want a boy who paid me no attention? I've dealt with that before, and nothing good ever happens.

***THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF NICE GUYS FINISHING LAST***

All my life I have thought that was a stupid saying. I thought if a nice boy came along and liked me, I would recognize it. BUT THERE I WAS! TURNING DOWN A NICE GUY! 

So I decided I liked him on Friday because he's a nice, smart, and cute boy. He likes me, and that's cool. I don't know if it will go anywhere. I don't know if I care too much about what happens with us. Regardless, he was a good boy to be my first. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Still With Her, Still Making It Nasty

November 8, 2016: 
I wake up at 5:45am. I can't go back to bed because I am too excited to vote for the first time in my life. I am in my car by 6am. I am voting for Hillary Clinton by 6:30am. I am watching the news at Aly's at 7pm. We walk to a bar around 11pm. I hear cheers when Hillary gets Nevada. I go home at midnight. I sit and watch the news on my couch. I do not remember the moment that I realized we had lost. What I do remember, and what I will never forget, are the emotions I have felt in the past 20 hours.


November 9, 2016: 
I'm in bed at 2am, crying myself to sleep as I watch CNN on my phone. I wake up at 6am, unable to rest. I cry on my way to the gym at 6:30am. Cry on my way back from the gym around 7:30am. I cry to my mom on the phone at 8am. I cry at 10:40 am in class as I watch Hillary address young women and girls in her concession speech. I cry in my painting class around noon because I'm so overwhelmed. I cry at 3:30pm on my way to babysit talking on the phone with my mom again.

Now: I am not crying. But I am livid. I am confused. I am scared. And I am ashamed.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thursday Pep Talk!



Now go out there and conquer the day! Kick ass! Smile! Be funny and nice!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

poetry isn't my bag, baby (but it was my homework so here)

"Yes" by me, slagzy

Because we knew that mom couldn’t eat
A sandwich from your favorite lunch place,
We would go get turkey clubs and sweet tea
With our grandmother instead.

Your favorite food was tough
Lunch: sandwiches
Dinner: cheeseburgers
Dessert: ice cream and Moon Pies

At first, even the smell of mayonnaise
Made me sad, but my sadness has
ripened
Into the only way I know how to
preserve
memories that I do have
Of you

So I
Sneak out for waffle cones and
Drive with my windows down and
Stop for Sonic Happy Hour and
Always buy Cadbury Eggs at Easter time

I ate for ten years
With you
And am eating for ten
Years without you

Even when it’s
Colder than the hospital cafeteria
And I’m
Sick to my stomach of sweets
I always say
Yes

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I quit hostessing and am now a babysitter rolling in the dough

I met the most wonderful woman in the park a little over a week ago. I was about to turn back towards campus, but I decided to stop at the water fountain. A couple was in front of me, and when the woman turned around, she noticed my shirt. 

"You know I was in insert sorority here," she told me.

*I want to point out that this is one of the few instances where I ever wear a tank-top, it is still a very long tank-top

We went on to talk about how she had babysitters from my chapter before, and needed a new one. Long story short, I quit my job, and am now babysitting a 15 year-old girl and her 9 year-old brother. I'm not doing much sitting, just picking up and driving them places. But I like the kids, and I make about $20 an hour so. I firmly believe that meeting Mrs. F was fate. The opportunity fell into my lap. How could I not quit my job?