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Monday, May 27, 2013

Moving On

Sitting across from him, she struggled with the words she'd rehearsed in those restless hours of the night. Telling him was going to be decidedly harder than breaking it to the bathroom mirror. She'd considered doing it in a letter, but after eight years and recent circumstances, that seemed ... callous.

It's not you, she'd planned to say. It was true. He'd been wonderful to her. But marriage and a baby in quick succession had changed things, changed her, in ways she hadn't anticipated.

"I can't stay," she blurted.

His eyes searched hers for several seconds. Her cheeks burned, but--desperate to appear resolute--she returned his stare.

"You're leaving us?"

She nodded slowly. "I have to."

"I ... I don't wanna lose you," he said rather dispassionately. "But I can't say I'm surprised."

His nonchalance stung. You're not going to fight for me? Beg me not to go? 

And then it sunk in. He melted into his chair, his face contorted.

"What am I gonna do without you?"

Did his voice crack? She resisted the urge to squeeze his hand.

She'd seen him cry before--a month ago, after his mother died. On his first day back following bereavement leave, they'd gone to lunch. He broke down over steak and bleu cheese salad. They sat in the car while he tried to pull himself together. Her heart ached for him. He was good-enough looking, yet she wasn't attracted to him, not even when she was single. But that day, in a confusion of grief and sympathy, they kissed.

Working one-on-one was torturously awkward now. She felt exposed in department meetings, as if anyone could just look at them and know. At home she rarely mentioned work, fearful her husband would somehow sense her guilt. She'd been thinking about staying home with her daughter for a while. The kiss sealed the deal.

"Well," he conceded. "Would you please write up a formal letter of resignation for your file?"

"Yes, sir," she smiled somberly.

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trifecta weekly challenge: The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "appear" (defined as to have an outward aspect: seem). Mine is 333 words.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Love Defined

Okay, I'm not in love with him, but I do love him in a who-else-is-gonna-pay-my-rent-take-me-to-dinner-and-buy-me-shiny-things kind of way.

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trifecta weekend challenge: Write a 33-word confession. (Don't worry, Hubs; mine is purely fictional.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Agenda

“See? I told you,” Caroline announced as we propped open the heavy double doors. “No amount of sparkly streamers can make up for the fact that our 25-year class reunion is in the elementary school gymnateria.”

She was right. We’d dressed it up, but the room reeked of sweat, stale nachos and frozen brownies. When you decide two months until summer to hold a reunion, you take what you can get. I’d traded on my PTA president status to get this “venue,” in which we would be feasting on a giant sub, chips and generic sodas.

I had an agenda. Between the last reunion and this glorified picnic, I’d gotten divorced. So had my high school crush. I didn’t care if I had to throw him down on a juice-stained table in the same place my kids practice free throws; I was making my move. Yes, reunion hook-ups are pedantic, but they’re great for satisfying decades-old lust.

Rick had RSVP’d with Adam, so he wasn’t bringing a date. Those two have been best friends since middle school. They were both on our football team, enlisted jointly in the Marines and worked at the same tire plant. Adam was Rick’s best man and his son’s godfather. They were always together. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re bromance contributed to the breakup of Rick’s marriage.

The dress code was casual. I was wearing a tight sundress with a plunging neckline. It screamed “middle-aged and desperate,” and I was OK with that. I’d roped a reluctant Caroline into helping with the reunion and being my wingwoman. She was fully prepared to distract Adam with boobies and contraband booze.

We waited by the ball rack, which offered the best view of the entrance. Adam walked in first, and then Rick. I held my breath. Rick looked amazing. Although his hair was thinning, he was tall, tan and fit. He took Adam’s hand; their fingers intertwined.

Caroline and I looked at each other.

"Ah," we said in unison.

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I wrote this short story for the trifecta writing challenge. It's my first time entering--just discovered this weekly competition yesterday. The entry must be 33-333 words and include the word "pedantic" (defined as unimaginative or pedestrian). Mine is 333 words exactly. BOO-YAH!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Conversation with 17-Year-Old Me

Hey, you. It's me ... you. Future you. What?! No, I'm not 60, you perky-boobed little bitch.

I know you're getting ready for school. Since you wake up two hours early to do your hair, I think you can spare a few minutes. Put down the Aqua Net and listen up. Believe me, your hair's tall enough.

Look, the homecoming dance is in a few weeks. I know, I know. Just grab some single friends and go stag. You should be used to it by now. You hardly ever have a date, but you always have fun at the dances anyway, right? I don't think you'll be surprised to learn you'll be in the same boat come prom time. Mutual friends will hook you up with a sophomore you've barely spoken to prior to him asking you to your own prom. And you'll have a decent time. Your night won't end as romantically as Molly Ringwald's in Pretty in Pink, but you won't have a bucket of pigs' blood poured on you, either. So, there's that.
Hey there, lonely girl

Lately it seems your entertainment options are to tag along on your friends' dates or sit at home in your gnarly neon green miniskirt watching  Spenser: For Hire. It's not like you haven't had your moments with the opposite sex. There was that flirtation with the bad boy who later dropped out of school ... but not before letting you down easy by misquoting the band Chicago. "I really like you. You're the kind of girl you wanna be serious with. I'm just not ready for that yet. It's like the song says, 'Love me tomorrow, not today.'" Translation: "I'm an idiot, and this other girl puts out."
You're not gonna like this, but it doesn't get much better after high school. When you're 18, you'll have your first true love experience. True love will last about five months. And then there's college. Lots of people meet their future spouse during their undergrad years. You'll meet a basketball player/wannabe date rapist and a fellow newspaper staff writer who wears more foundation than you do. Not exactly marriage material.

Don't have a cow. Your romantic life will start heating up. You'll fall for a Marine whose home on leave. Yep, you'll have a bona fide boyfriend. Unfortunately, he'll be busy with Operation Desert Storm, so that means more sitting at home for you. It will take you years of off-and-on, long-distance dating to realize he's a dead end (which you'll figure out after he vacations with you while he's living with another woman--unbeknownst to her and you).

You're not the only one whose dates turn out to be duds. A lot of girls settle for those bogus guys, though. That's a big price to pay for roses and some chocolates on Valentine's Day. Trust me: you'd rather be alone than with someone who mistreats you.

And alone you shall be. Sure, there will be offers, but you've decided not to go out with men who aren't worth your time. For three years, your only date will be Mom. People will call you stuck-up, too picky ... even question your sexuality. Come on, don't cry; your royal blue mascara will run. Hey, it could be worse. You know those girls who ALWAYS have boyfriends right now? Many of them will be getting divorced around this time.

Don't get fitted for that nun's habit just yet. Your lean years will come to an end when you  (reluctantly) agree to a blind date with a coworker's cousin. Get this: He's a Catholic farm boy. You couldn't have less in common. But you guys really hit it off and get engaged in less than four months. No, you're not knocked up. Geez! Aren't you a little young to be so cynical?

I wish you could see your life in 2013. You have a totally rad guy. He's a tall, dark-haired, handsome, hardworking man who believes in God and frequent Disney trips. (Oh, that's right. You haven't been to Disney World yet, have you? Trust me, you will LOVE it!)

Your man is committed, loving and supportive. He adores you. As a matter of fact, you recently celebrated your 14th wedding anniversary. All those single years were a major downer, but you held out for the right one, and he definitely is. It's actually kind of sickening how happy you are.

Oh, and you two have gorgeous kids--a boy and a girl. They're not only good looking; they're smart and talented. Your son is sweet, artistic and loves Star Wars movies like his dad. Yeah, can you believe Star Wars is still a huge deal? And they just keep making sequels. But, I digress. Your daughter is a feisty little thing with wicked rap skills and a quick wit. Hmmm ... I wonder where she gets that.

Boy, I revealed way more than I had intended. I think the Aqua Net fumes are getting to me. Anyway, I need to get back and put that load in the dryer. Yes, you do laundry now. Sorry, but your plan to have a robot housekeeper and automatic makeover closet like Jane Jetson hasn't exactly worked out.

Take care of us, OK? And do me a favor: When Daddy takes you to school this morning, give him an extra long hug. You'll be glad you did. As much as you'd like him to be, he won't be around forever.


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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother's Day Repost (A.K.A. I'm Too Busy Catching Up on The Walking Dead to Write Something New)


I wrote this before Mother's Day last year. I'm reposting it because the three people who read it thought it was hilarious. Plus, it's still relevant since I still don't want this shit.

Happy Mother's Day. Here's Your Spray Cheese!