Posts tagged ‘Life’

Light and Truth: Exhibit C

Tom and Daisy

March 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Safe Mode”

Like a tulip shoved under a giant heat lamp, my upper body wilts beneath yet another wave of depression and grief. More than five years have passed since Lisa’s death, but I’ve become increasingly unable to withstand her absence.

I spend the next six hours coding, hoping this attempt to shed the blues (so blue it’s black) may result in productivity. I find myself humming a tune the oldies station hasn’t played in years:

Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside, where I hide with my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay

In a world without love

February 12, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Excerpt from “Who Wants to Marry a Savant?”

Having endured over 30 years of alternating waves of adversity and prosperity, I thought I had figured out at least a few things–particularly my sexuality.

While I appreciated the dynamic nature of sexuality, I also felt my sexual orientation had essentially congealed by that point. In other words, I thought I pretty much knew where I stood along the sexuality spectrum.

But the more I got to know Rachael, the more aware I became of the most painful irony: as my biological clock began to chime, I grew exponentially more attracted to women.

August 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Excerpt from “Who Wants to Marry a Savant?”

Nicole Mitchell was her name. All of the girls at our high school called her “Nicole Bitchell” because, as I often overheard, she was a “heinous bitch on wheels.” I didn’t know Nicole well enough to confirm the accuracy of all the rumors that surrounded her, and I didn’t care. All I know is that she had an exceptional voice.

I was a freshman. She was a senior. We had dress rehearsal the night before the opening of the spring pop show, and all the choirs were practicing together for the first time. The freshman show choir had just finished our final song, and we sat on the risers instead of leaving the stage. We cleared a path in the middle for Nicole, who planned to begin her performance of “River Deep, Mountain High” right after our number ended. Our choir director told us to pretend we were at a concert with Nicole as the main attraction.

Nicole entered the stage at the top center of the risers as the fog machine began to gently huff. She wore a white, strapless dress that was so tight you could practically see the outline of her ovaries and so short you could . . . Her curves spilled out of both sides of the dress, and her tangerine stilettos added nearly half a foot to her petite stature. The background music began to play as Nicole slowly strutted down the risers. I gazed upward at her, as instructed by our director, as she drew the microphone to her plump lips.

When I was a little girl
I had a rag doll
The only doll I ever owned
Now I love you just the way
I loved that rag doll
But only now my love has grown  

Nicole paused on the last step. She tilted her neck back.

And it gets STRONGER in every way
And it gets DEEPER let me say
And it gets HIGHER day by day

Nicole arrived at the front center of the stage just before she began singing the chorus. Her chestnut hair cascaded down her back, ending at the top of her ample backside.

And do I love you, my oh my?
River deep, mountain high, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH
If I lost you, would I cry?
Oh how I love you, baby, BABY, BABY, BABY!

When she began the next verse, I felt a sensation—foreign yet familiar. I don’t remember the rest of the performance. I just remember feeling giddily nauseated by her white-hot aura.

March 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm 1 comment

Excerpt from “Who Wants to Marry a Savant?”

I was performing what I liked to call “accident reconstruction.” “Can you believe he said that?! I haven’t been this offended in…”

“It’s so immature and inconsiderate, but I hate to say it’s not surprising.” Gina Q. put her arm around my shoulder as we sat on her bed (the most comfortable bed I’ve ever been in to date). “Wasn’t there a similar episode a few months ago? And by similar, I mean similar in level of offensiveness—not with respect to the underlying details or the offender.”

“Yeah. Pretty much. Same old fucking song even if the lyrics and performer change. But I’m just so damn sick and so damn tired of the games and the gaffes and the lies and the bullshit! And don’t tell me it’s a life experience and that everything is a lesson and all that The Secret stuff. It doesn’t make be feel better.”

The tears came with almost no warning. I rocked back and forth in Gina’s arms and sobbed like I did when I was 7 and the babysitter’s son beat me up in his tree fort. It had been months since I had cried that completely and unabashedly. I needed to do it. It felt cathartic. (And I even felt a little thinner to boot!)

The emotional force evaporated as quickly as it had emerged. My body and body language reflected this, and Gina noticed. She waited until the last thread of tension faded from me before saying anything. “Well…if nothing else, it sure does make for a good story! Change names and immaterial details, and people would wanna read that, especially the way I’d imagine you’d write about it and just about anything else that inspires you. Hold on a sec…I want us to talk about this more, but let me get you something to drink first.” Gina skipped over to her kitchen to get a locally brewed beer for her and a Diet Pepsi (“not because you should be on a diet or anything like that, but because it’s your favorite so I try to keep some for you,” she’d always say) for me.

I felt like I had vertigo or whiplash or something. Having traveled  the spectrum of emotions over the course of the night, I felt intoxicated, dizzy, disheveled, hot (bothered?). A serene, empowered smile overtook my puffy face as I realized Gina quite possibly had said the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me. And many really nice things had been said to me before.

In that moment I felt that—notwithstanding the bullshit and pain and suffering and frustration and unfairness of it all—most of the time life (stranger than fiction, isn’t it?) was usually mostly all good.

June 7, 2011 at 1:29 am 2 comments

Excerpt from “Who Wants to Marry a Savant?”

“I mean, I want a two-story house with a white picket fence, 1.78 children, and a friendly dog.”

“So do I,” replied Gina Q.

“But one of those things you and I can’t have.”

“Says who?”

“Says biology.”

“We could adopt or try other options.”

“But it’s not the same.”

“Social Darwinist.”

“Highbrow snob.”

“Closed-minded philistine.”

“Feminazi bitch!”

Apparently, I had gone too far (as if calling me a philistine wasn’t crossing the line). Gina grabbed her keys and slammed the door in my face.

May 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

Death Perception

I’m back in Texas to visit my family and friends, and today would have been Alex’s 25th birthday. They say losing someone gets easier with time, but I am not convinced. Sure, the pain is no longer acute (most of the time), but it seems to have seeped into every fiber of my being. I can feel it within my marrow, in the roots of my teeth, and on the soles of my feet.

When I first learned about death, I remember staying up at night and crying. The thing I struggled to process was the fact that I would probably live to bury my parents. I wanted to die before they did so that I wouldn’t have to endure that kind of loss. I never really thought about losing my brother. 

Almost two years ago, I moved for the first time since Alex passed away. On one hand, it was nice to get out of Portland because it was there that I received the horrible news. On the other hand, he was still alive when I moved there in October 2008. What I am painfully realizing is that every literal and figurative move I make from this point forward will occur without his earthly presence. That’s unsettling to really think about.

My last few visits to Texas didn’t feel as depressing as I had anticipated. It almost seemed like Alex was in summer school or on some fun trip. It felt like he simply never came back from college. Sometimes I caught myself eagerly awaiting his return, but I would inevitably remember that he’s not coming back.

Since the last time I came home, my mom moved from the house we grew up in. Now it’s clear he’s not coming back. I don’t even get my hopes up anymore.

I often feel sorry for myself. Then I feel bad about feeling sorry for myself, and then I feel justified. But sometimes I embrace my sadness. It is here to stay, and it’s an important part of me. At a certain point, the grief becomes so profound that it seems to transform into an empowering, enthusiastic force that propels me upward and forward. Maybe that’s what happens when we die: the agony and injustice and bullshit of this life launch us into a euphoric, boundless ascent.

May 11, 2011 at 4:17 am Leave a comment

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