[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
a thousand words for love
i read once that the ancient egyptians had fifty words for sand & the eskimos had a hundred words for snow. i wish i had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.
--- brian andreas
someone who is far away from me, but never really, did the nicest thing.
pink and purple and gerber daisies and lillies. and white tulips.
and i smiled.
and i remembered the scorching august heat in the last days before my sophomore year. sitting in the back seat of our wood-paneled volare station wagon as we pulled up to the stoplight at the center of my small hometown. as i looked out the window, i saw him in the go mart parking lot. he was with a group of friends, all of them on bikes.
we’d known each other since we were eight, despite the fact that we lived across town from one another and went to different schools. we shared a birthday, his one year earlier than mine.
i could see him laughing with his friends. i could hear the tick-clunk of the volare’s turn signal. and, then, just as we were about to turn right on red, he saw me.
as we rounded the corner, i turned to face the front of the station wagon. with my window halfway down, i could hear shouting outside. a car horn honking.
halfway down the block, we stopped, waiting our turn at the four-way stop. in the front seat, my parents were making plans to grill out.
suddenly, there he was. out of breath, he tossed his bike on the pavement and ran to the side of the station wagon.
his hand was on my half-down window.
“are you going to the high school?” he panted. “i mean, i wasn’t sure if you were…going to the high school…or maybe you were going to catholic.”
the car inched forward. he moved alongside, his hand still on my window.
“so, are you going to the high school?”
it was our turn at the four-way.
“okay, great! i’ll see you next week, then! woo! i mean, i’ll look for you!”
i nodded again.
as we pulled away, i looked back. he was jumping up and down, whooping joyously. he grabbed his bike off the ground, climbed on and started doing wheelies, still whooping so loud i could hear him through my half-open window.
i turned to face forward, smiling. my mother turned to me.
“looks like someone is a big fan of yours,” she said.
my father, still staring straight ahead, added, “looks like someone is trouble.”
i put my hand against the glass where i could still see his handprint. i lined the ends of our fingers up, wondering what it would be like to hold his hand. and i rode like that the rest of the way home.
it was a typical party. a group of friends on a hot, summer night, all of us anxious for the semester to begin. laughter. talking.
we took a bottle of wine, two glasses, and headed outside to watch the river glide by.
“feels good to get some fresh air,” he offered.
“it was so loud in there, i couldn’t hear myself think,” i said, as though i had just invented the saying.
we poured the wine and began to talk in the earnest tones of two liberal arts majors who still believed they were going to change the world.
we talked of israel and palestine.
we talked of maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
we talked of the pretentiousness of people who talked about maslow’s hierarchy of needs outside of class.
and then, as though summer itself was acknowledging the oppressiveness of the air that night, the sky lit up for a moment, and a deep rumble of thunder drowned out our laughter.
“heat lightning,” he muttered.
and, almost immediately, the rain began.
neither of us moved. we continued laughing and talking as though nothing had changed.
a few moments later, we came to one of those natural lulls in conversation. a mutual rest. and, in that pause, i became aware of a watershed. a sea change.
i watched as the last dry, light spot on my shirt disappeared. i felt the moment that my hair became soaked instead of just wet. i listened as the gentle sound of the rain hitting the river picked up speed, as the shower turned to a downpour.
and, still, we sat. watching. listening. change all around us.
“what would you say,” he said, still staring at the river, “if i told you i was falling in love with you?”
i didn’t hesitate for even a moment.
“i’d say you were playing catch up.”
as the sound of the storm grew louder, we sat side by side, not speaking. in the darkness, his hand found mine, and as i turned my face toward the sky, the night lit up again.
the bright, hard light of the winter morning pushed hard against my closed eyes.
as i reluctantly sat up, i realized he was sitting at the foot of the bed, staring at me.
his pale blue eyes looked anxious.
“what? what’s wrong?”
“nothing,” he said. but, his eyes unnerved me.
“how long have you been sitting there? what’s going on?”
he didn’t say anything.
i remember the pattern on the drapes. the interlocking squares in shades of brown. the sound of children walking past, their voices growing louder as they approached, and fading away again.
something was different.
as i pulled the bedspread around me, i looked down.
the ring glinted in the light.
i remember thinking, “how did this get here? what is that?”
he was on his knees now, beside the bed. i was still staring at the ring that had somehow been placed on my hand as i slept. he took my hand in his.
“will you marry me?”
the night had been perfect, although the two of them still seemed nervous with one another. but, that was to be expected. after all, it was only their second date.
they talked until her throat was sore. told each other stories. some of them true.
the night had turned to early morning, and she knew it was time to leave. but, as she got up to go, he stopped her.
“wait,” he said.
he turned the stereo on.
“i thought we might dance.”
and so they did. in the dark of his living room. in the early hours of the morning. his arm around her waist. her face buried in the side of his neck, breathing in the smell of him.
when he kissed her for the first time that night, she was amazed to find that she was dizzy. her knees were weak. as though she had never been kissed before.
and it was the same every time he kissed her for the next six years.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]