Someday

The last time Rita saw Theo, he was at a red light about to make a right turn onto a busy speedway that led straight into the city.
If it hadn’t been for that damn zigzagging biker, she wouldn’t have honked her horn.
He wouldn’t have turned towards her.
Their eyes wouldn’t have met one last time.
He shrugged and blushed.
She threw her hair back and laughed, shaking her head at him with a twinkle in her eye.
He waved, made the turn, and that was that.
Of course, there’s always that instinct…
That human survival skill that kicks in around your mid-thirties that makes you want to seize whatever opportunity you have left in life because it may not come around a second time.
She fought the urge to follow him.
Besides, she was in the wrong lane.
She drove forward towards her grandparents’ beach ranch.
One intersection.
No U-turn.
Two intersections.
No U-turn.
Three intersections.
She was going for it.
‘It’s now or never,’ she thought.
Never mind the milk in her trunk that would probably spoil.
Never mind her niece she was supposed to pick up from school. She knew the way home. She was old enough to walk.
She would make a U-turn at the next intersection, just past the railroad tracks.
Then she heard the train coming.
She slipped her heel off her right foot and jammed down on the accelerator.
She passed the tracks nice and clear before the rail started to come down.
She made the U-turn and then- No.
It was too late.
The silver late-model railcars reflected the intense summer sun one by one.
Beyond the glare she imagined happy couples falling in love at first sight and dining together for the first time.
By the time they got to their destinations, they would have exchanged addresses and they’d send each other post cards until they were ready to move in together.
50 years from now they’d be celebrating the anniversary of the date they met on this very train.
Rita clenched her teeth and lay her head on the steering wheel.
What was this, the 300th car? 400th? She’d lost count after seven.
Finally, the rail started going up and she didn’t know whether to try to find Theo’s car, who by now was probably a good five minutes ahead of her, or to turn back around and go to the ranch.
“Ah, what the hell,” she said to herself. “What do I have to lose?”
But the rail came back down again.
She rolled her eyes in despair.
Was the train going to go in reverse?
Yes, the train was going to go in reverse and switch tracks.
Ludicrous engineers.
How dare they.
But it was a momentary false alarm, and the train went forward again on its way.
Rita wouldn’t have known that, having made another U-turn and taken a back alley over to the speedway.
She thought Theo would be at his brother’s house and took that exit.
She wove between faster cars down the boulevard, looking for his car, which he would have to have parked out on the street.
She went around the neighborhood three times, unable to recognize the house.
“Perhaps they painted it? Added a second story?”
She hadn’t been there in five years.
Finally, she gave up and pulled over at a gas station.
She thought she saw Theo’s car, but there was a young woman driving it.
Up until then it had never occurred to her that Theo might have moved on.
The notion had been there- the fear– but not the belief.
After all, why should he move on, if here she was daydreaming about him after all these years?
Her imagination had been enough to fuel her affection, so why shouldn’t he feel the same way?
Suddenly, it all made sense.
Why he’d stopped texting her all of a sudden.
Why he’d been so curt every time they happened to run into each other.
Of course.
He’d moved on long ago.
How could she be so dumb?
It was there before her eyes all along.
She didn’t finish filling her tank and went home.
The truth is, it wasn’t Theo’s car at the gas station that day.
Theo had been headed into the city, but after he got on the speedway, he got off at the first exit and came back around toward where he’d seen Rita.
In fact, he would have seen her were it not for a passenger train blocking his view.
When the rail finally lifted, what with the sun in his eyes and the eagerness to pull out of there, he didn’t see Rita turning her car around and Rita sure as hell didn’t see him.
He went to her grandparents’ ranch, didn’t see her car there and waited half an hour for her to show up.
A little girl passed by the gate.
“Is Rita around?”
“Aunt Rita?” said the girl. “She was supposed to pick me up. Something real important musta come up.”
“Will you tell her…”
“Huh?”
Theo saw he was making the young girl nervous.
“Never mind. Thanks.”
He drove off back into the city, where he made a decent living and lots of friends over the next couple of decades, letting time roll down his back.
Rita found the strength to move on too.
She married a real nice man whom she gets a real nice alimony check from every month, which kind of sort of makes up a little for his real nice new wife that’s taken her place.
But no one’s taken Theo’s place.
If they’re not so knuckleheaded, perhaps they’ll find that out someday.

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Equals Mortified 

Idk why i feel like i need to explain this right right now of all times.
I sometimes remember- i should explain this!
And then i forget.

Many many years ago, when the internet was AOL, i used the = sign invariably to represent eyes, the way people today use the : sign.
Some of you may remember that once famous show “equals 3” as in “=3”.
WELL i always thought it was a cat, you know, with the eyes and the chubby cheeks…?
I used to sign my emails that way.
Then one day, not sure why, my husband saw it and said, Why are you typing penis?
Me: What do you mean?
Him: That emoticon. It’s a penis.
Me: No it’s not. It’s a cat. You know, like the YouTube show. Equals Cat.
Him: *tilts head* Yeah i guess in a really innocent person’s mind that could be a cat but on the show, it’s a penis.

Thus i came to find out i had been signing my emails “Have a great day! Penis, Ave.”

The Girl Who Could Not Conform

Nonconformity Girl wasn’t born with superpowers.

Back in the day, next door, she was just a pipsqueak in pigtails and braces doin’ quite a lot of conformityin’.

Her 22 brothers and half-brothers and stepbrothers would order her around like she’d been a Godsend to slave for ’em.

Sure, they bought her dolls and dresses, tea sets imported straight from China. There was plenty of that.

None but one ever looked out for her. His name was Robin. And just like a robin, he was meant for the skies. Became a pilot at the age of 16. You may remember him. Dropped outta school, joined the Air Force, back in ’05.

Mira- that’s Nonconformity Girl’s real name, mind you- Mira really felt his goneness.

Grades dropped. Got pregnant at 15. Neighbor said, “No daughter of mine is gonna make me no grandmother, nah-uh, not while you’s still in high school, not this year, not in this lifetime!”

And next thing you know, Mira’s a runned away from home.

Ain’t nobody knows what she’s done next.

But I can tell you; Robin and my boy- they was bestest friends. My boy kept tabs on that family even after Robin went MIA.

Mira gone and have that kid in Las Vegas. Hear that? Las Vegas.

She ain’t have one kid either. After 22 brothers, that’d be too easy.

She went and had twins? Nah-uh. Not Mira. She gone and have triplets.

All girls.

That’s where the nonconformity started.

She worked that Fremont street in that little white feather dress- you know the one I’m talkin’ about- like she’d been doin’ it since she was one. She worked it right up until the seventh month. Then the girls was a born.

Her boyfriend from back home went a lookin’ for her. Word on the street was she wasn’t livin’ the straight life. He wanted to help her out.

She bought him  a one-way ticket back home. Ain’t never filed for child support either. Those kids are as hers as the tits on her chest.

I seen him at the bar some months back. He still cryin’. I says, “Boy, you gotta get over it. She’s a superhero now. Just look at the T.V.” There was our Mira, in a hot pink skin-tight leopard print leotard, flyin’ with her rocket pack in and out of a burnin’ 16-story hotel. “You can’t hold a woman like that down.”

“I just don’t see myself with any other woman.”

“OK, you keep dreamin’ then.”

Poor kid. Became a doctor. Never even practiced. Waste of gray matter, if you ask me.

Mira, on the other hand- you give that girl a match, she’ll build you the most spectacular fireworks show you seen from Dubai to Shanghai.

After the girls was born, you’d think any girl at her age would’a just given ’em up for adoption. Well she got ’em an agent. Made models out of ’em. You may remember them from those Spearmint and Twix commercials. That was them. I also seen ’em up on Baby Gap posters. I know it was them. They have her face. I’d know that face anywhere.

Lots of people wanted her business. You know, a place like that, she could stay busy if she wanted. She did a men’s magazine shoot once herself but threatened to sue if they published after they paid her 20% of what they’d originally offered. Said they’d get back to her with the rest. ‘Course, they didn’t care. Lots o’ women threaten things like that then back off when they start gettin’ hate messages from strangers. Legend has it she hacked their cloud storage, for she’d been goin’ to adult school. She deleted her pictures- over 500.

But she didn’t stop there. Nah-uh. That wasn’t good enough for her. She deleted all the shoots that were pendin’ publishing so the magazine would have to pay the girls to shoot again. But that wasn’t good enough for her.

She’d topple down the sex trade empire if she could and if anyone could, I supposed it’d be her. But ain’t no one can do that, you and I both know that. Why, without that, I s’pose heaven would fill up too full and there’d be too much idleness in hell.

So she’d gone and done the next best thing. She photoshopped the original untouched images with superhero costumes and replaced all the images on the magazine’s website. That’s when she got the brilliant idea to become a superhero herself.

Now a girl who grows up the way she did- a girl like that knows how to defend herself. She knows when to strike and when to run. You can’t teach someone things like that. They gotta pick it up in their prime. It’s like a second languages.

So she bought herself a police radio and started rescuin’ folks she knew the cops ain’t ever gonna come there. Or in some cases, the cops is already there. Yeah they pulled guns on her. But her daughters helped her video the whole ordeals and then they’d sell them to the media, you know, like that Peter Parker character, only this was in real life. And it wasn’t no sissy town. This was Vegas.

Then Robin went MIA and that’s the last and only time I seen her come ’round here. My boy invited her out to drink. Of course, nobody knew Mira was Nonconformity Girl. Except we did. We’d know that face anywhere.

And Mira tells my boy she’s gonna disappear from all the thunder for a while. Gotta find her brother. That was 6 months ago. She swore he wasn’t dead. My boy told her to be careful. Kinda redundant to a girl like that.

“Yeah. I’m careful,” she said. “But every now and then I gotta be a little reckless.”

She left the girls with their agent, a fine respectable woman if ever an agent was one. I woulda showed you their Snapchat ‘cept I promised my son not to disclose their birth names.

Fremont Street by Ave Valencia
© Ave Valencia 2017

World Introvert Day

World Introvert Day may be one of a handful of holidays i celebrate:

Jan. 2nd – World Introvert Day (as of today, when i realized it existed)

Second Sunday in March – When the clocks all get distorted and the day has 25 hours

March 20th/ Spring Equinox – When i sacrifice a virgin to the sun

April 1st – April Fool’s Day (and the following day when i meet bail)

April 7th – National Beer Day (US)

May 25th – National Wine Day (US)

June 2nd – National Doughnut Day (US)

July 7th – World Chocolate Day

Sept. 10th – World Suicide Day (or is it suicide prevention? i think i’ve been doing it wrong)

Oct. 29th – National Cat Day (US)

And probably my wedding anniversary ought to be up ^ there somewhere.

So to celebrate World Introvert Day, i will give you a sneak peek into the interior of my amazing mind, because let’s face it- i am awesome.

(1) Everything, absolutely everything, has a song or can have a song. My mind is the stage of a never-ending musical.

(2) I always picture worse-case scenarios. Chances are, if we’ve ever spoken, i was simultaneously picturing at least one form in which you might have horrifyingly died in a sudden freak accident while listening to you. And usually the more i care about you, the more horrific deaths i picture. With a choir singing in the background. But if you’re a boring conversationalist or if you’re explaining something important, then i just picture a chimp with an accordion on a unicycle, or those flying elephants from Fantasia.

(3) I eat all day. If an hour passes without me putting something into my mouth, i will get fidgety. If five hours pass without me consuming anything, i will get a terrible tension headache and all hell will break loose. This is why i always carry a whip with me. (Well- the other thing too).

(4) I tend to accidentally speed read and then when i realize it, if i actually want to go back and conscientiously read an entire long paragraph- it can take me between 15-30 minutes because i will continuously get distracted. I attribute this to an excess of awful bad modern authors and i do not believe i would get distracted in the least bit if only they would

(5) On the other hand, when i remember something i read, i remember all the numbers involved and the font that was used.

(6) I have very vivid dreams which are mostly about how much people love me, but it’s always people whose faces i don’t recognize or can’t see. I think they are my subscribers 😉 and i also dream lots of meowing cats. I often try to wake up only to find myself in another dream and will go on like this for usually five or six dreams. It is very scary as i think one day i will give up waking up and just stay on the wrong dream level. Maybe this is the wrong dream level. Maybe i’m in a coma right now. Maybe it’s you who’s in a coma. I bet it’s you. I just want you to know- hang in there- i hope no one pulls the plug on you, and i still own the copyright to these posts.

Thank you for journeying into the Interior of My Magnificent Mind (that’s  what i’m calling the ride now). (The ride is the blog post). NO REFUNDS; the time you waste here is wasted forever.

Year: 7076

Year: 7076

Earth folk have decided it might be safe to crawl back to the surface after living underground for 250 years.

Auto-imposed exile was a result of the last war, which left radiation residues in over 90% of land surface.

The dwindled population’s government intends to send its top scientists to go explore the surface and then provide a report as to whether or not it is inhabitable.

These scientists, in turn, have outsourced their jobs to newly graduated scientists who don’t matter diddly squat in case something were to suddenly deprive them of oxygen on the planet’s sore surface.

This is where my team and I come in.

Dr. Jocelyn is the lead scientist. She graduated top of her class and has been working in biochemistry since she was eight. She was brought up by the government in a laboratory and has no known genetic family. She has dark olive skin, blue eyes and straight silver tresses. My brother dated her in college before his motorcycle accident. Otherwise I have never seen her show much affinity toward anyone.

Fil is an extraterrestrial from an uncharted planet whose family dropped him off on the surface when he was a baby, with nothing but a note and 6 bags of powder baby food which contained minerals no one has been able to trace. He would have died on the surface except one of the professors taking samples from the sky hole’s edge heard him crying 32 years ago. The professor raised him as his own son and was able to duplicate the minerals for his survival. There are no traces of radiation on Phil’s body, so he might be immune. He is 7’2″ and walks erect like a homo sapiens, but has ghost-like white skin, no hair and a tail he coils around his waist. His face looks otherwise human, sometimes more human than others I have seen. His intelligence spans that of several top scientists’, but he is quiet and mostly goes underappreciated. I wonder if he has a penis.

Xavier is an enthusiastic handsome lad who just graduated on a full scholarship. He comes from a large immigrant family who has worked for the underground farming industry these 250 years. If it were up to him, he’d be leading the team. (He likes to point out he has a penis).

I am just a senator’s niece who happens to have a minor in culinary arts. I graduated last year but have really just traveled the underground tunnel system since, popping my head up through an air hole every few hundred kilometers to graph air samples and then sell them to government and news agencies.

My team and a I aim to spend 60 days on the earth’s surface, photographing and taking minute samples of any plants known to be edible, as well as oxygen and radiation levels at different altitudes.

From the sky holes, I have seen blue skies and white and orange clouds, hills that to me look like mountains… but I have been denied this one privilege: I have never set my eyes on the night stars.

There are records and many computer images of beautiful star systems millions of light years away, but the stars have not been visible since the explosions that exterminated most of the land life. Some say God is punishing humanity. I think, that if God exists, he’s afraid we’ll destroy those too.

Our mission begins tomorrow at 5 AM.

______________

Log

Day 1:

Captain Jocelyn led us down a black valley between two active volcanoes. Fil offered to try my cooking before everyone else to assure them that it is palatable. I did not know Fil could eat earth food. Apparently, neither did he. Xavier insisted on pitching my tent and it feels like he didn’t entirely clear the spot of rocks. I wonder if this was on purpose or if he is just a dimwit.

Day 2:

We have found samples of Coffea plant! It turned out to be edible. That is, drinkable. There were Aloe plants nearby. We saw bird specimens of the Psittacoidea family. The earth here is an entomologist’s paradise. This was on the west side of the south volcano. No water in sight yet. I pitched my own tent tonight.

Day 3:

We found a southwest stream with a waterfall! The bugs are getting noticeably larger as we move forward- some as large as my palm. I haven’t seen any crickets, otherwise I would very much like to fry those and see if they taste like the underground crickets at fine restaurants. Fil has taken two of my food packs from off my shoulder while I made my way down the side of the waterfall. We each took turns bathing at the bottom. Xavier picked up my other backpack on the way out, without my consent. Captain Jocelyn then gave me two inflatable containers equivalent to twelve liters to carry water out. She is quite practical. Surface hot coffee tastes and smells like heaven! Still no stars.

Day 4:

Tonight we have reached a wall to a mesa and there are lots of potentially edible plants to sample. We will stay here a couple of days. There is a spring about 300 meters away. Xavier built a bonfire and I tried climbing up the mesa wall. I got stuck on a ledge and Fil, who has better balance, has climbed up to fetch me. Then he has carried me all the way to the top of the mesa on his shoulders. We had to climb through a low cloud at about 1500 meters in altitude. Oxygen levels were still good. We reached the top and there were stars everywhere. If you lie down on the grass and move your arms it feels as if you’re swimming in them. I asked Fil if there were stars on his home planet and he said there are stars across the whole universe. I wonder if he has always known this or if he just now realized it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mope, the One-Eyed Mutt

Mope wasn’t always named “Mope.”
Long ago, he was an “André,” fearless puppy of the night, keeper of justice for the barefoot children that played soccer in the alley.
Brought up on chicken and tortilla scraps, with all his shots current, he had a bright future ahead of him.
He would follow Alexis to school everyday, wait for him by the gate, walk him back home, watch him do his homework, and then he would responsibly destroy said homework.
Around eight they would have dinner together, and he would listen in from the corner on how everyone’s day had gone.
Papa Edmund had a new secretary at the bank.
He would take the kids to the beach that summer if they got good grades.
André had never been to the beach.
He’d seen it on T.V. and other dogs had talked to him about it.
He looked forward to romping in the waves and running through freshly built sand castles.
Mama Mayra said the meat had gone up at the butcher’s and fruit never seemed to be in season anymore.
Sister Sylvia said she was trying out for the volleyball team.
Alexis fed André bacon under the table.
Then, religiously every night, they would go play soccer with the neighborhood kids.
The months went by and the weather got warmer and warmer.
The beach vacation became more and more prevalent in the family dinner discussions.
Everyone talked about what they would pack.
Papa Edmund would take a cooler and a barbecue pit.
Mama Mayra would take a picnic basket and wine bottles, sunscreen, and her crochet needles.
Sister Sylvia would take her volleyball, a couple of mystery novels and her new bikini, which her dad had been unaware of until then.
Alexis would take André, a soccer ball, his snorkeling gear and a boogie board.
André would take his favorite bone and cushion.
The last day of school was excruciatingly hot and Alexis brought water for André, who was faithfully waiting outside by the gate in the sun.
When the bell rung, Alexis, Sylvia and André ran home from school and packed their bags while their mother yelled “Don’t forget this! Don’t forget that!” from the living room downstairs.
The a/c had broken the day before and everyone was sweating or panting.
Papa Edmund came home from work and the family gathered around him, welcoming him home with a big bear hug.
“Mayra, we need to talk.”
The couple entered the bedroom and André ran under their bed before they closed the door.
“What’s wrong?” asked Mama Mayra.
Edmund sat down on the bed.
“You look upset. Did something happen?”
Edmund didn’t look straight at her, but mostly looked past her toward an open window. He got up to shut it.
“Edmund, it’s 100 degrees up here! Leave the window open.”
“Stop telling me what to do! There you go again, giving me orders.”
Mayra bit her lips and shook her head.
It had all seemed too good to be true.
She started pacing around the room packing more things into her beach bag.
“We’re not going to beach, god damn it, Mayra! Stop packing!”
“Well I’m not going to stay here. You promised the kids. At least one of us has to keep their word.”
“I lost my job.”
Mayra stopped packing.
She tried to hug her husband, but he just stood up and pushed her away.
“What happened?”
Edmund’s cell phone rang. Mayra looked at the caller ID. It was his secretary. Mayra crossed her arms and her face and looked intently at Edmund.
He took the call in the bathroom.
A few hours later, Mayra had packed the station wagon full of as many things as a family relocating could possibly pack in a situation in which they are fully incapable of packing the most important thing of all.
The kids were crying in the back seat and André, confused, put his paw on little Sylvia’s face, alternating licking each child’s cheeks.
They had driven about two miles when Mayra pulled over and said, “You know what? We have nowhere to put that dog.”
The children screamed in resistance.
Engulfed by jealousy, she was willing to get rid of anything that reminded her of any decision her husband had ever taken without consulting her, including bringing home this mutt.
“What are we going to feed him? I don’t even have a job! We have nowhere to live!”
The kids protested in indistinguishable whimpers.
She opened the back door, picked up André, and left him on the side of the road.
She turned red as she realized, walking back to the driver’s seat, the unrighteousness of her vengeful act.
André barked and ran after them for a good three miles, while Alexis stuck his head out the window, shouting that he loved him and he would return for him.
Eventually, André lost sight of the station wagon and he had nowhere else to go but back home.
When he got there, he was thirsty as hell and ready to collapse on his cushion.
Papa Edmund had been hitting the bottle and now he seized the opportunity to take out his rage on someone.
“So you’re the only one who came back? Stupid beast. Where are the rest of them? Are they gone because they can’t stand to see me like this? Because they’ve always known I’m a liar?”
André looked down and rested his head on his paws.
Then, Mr. Edmund did something that André cannot believe to this very day.
He took the bottle and broke it straight into André’s right eye.
The next morning, still hungover, Edmund took André to the pound and said he was a stray he’d found near his house.
André is no longer a puppy.
No one has adopted him because they say all he does is mope in his cage, so the staff there baptized him “Mope.”
He awaits Alexis’s return to this very day.

Why I’ll Start Writing Again

Whoa, I just read what I wrote almost a year ago– That’s some dark stuff there.

I didn’t remember having written that, but looking back I understand what was going on.

That’s the power of blogging.

Well the old me is back, the real me, the one who uses a pseudo-pseudonym and wants to write 24/7, even when I’m dreaming.

The truth is I never really stopped writing; it was just very dark and lonely and unsuitable for this blog’s audience.

So it was on Tumblr.

Naturally.

I don’t want to go into details about the past, but my marriage is as good as it’ll ever be.

I am less interdependent so if that relationship goes down I think I might skip a beat but probably not 2 and definitely not 3.

Now I no longer commute for work. My boss got me an office a few blocks from my home, so I could concentrate on sales, and I no longer have to wait for coworkers to leave the room before I can write.

I’m all alone here, just me and the Internetz.

And the phone. That rings every now and then but I’m not sure how it works. I think it’s trying to tell me something.

Oh! My faithful subscribers. How I’ve missed thee. If only you could know the anguish our separation has wretched me with. I shalt never leave thee again!

Unless I die. In which case, leaving thee is entirely involuntary and should not be held against me.

Unless it’s suicide.

If I kill myself you can be mad at me. But not if it’s accidental, like an overdose. Stuff loses its strength over time. They don’t make it like they used to.

Anyway, let me tell you what my office is like.

It is on the second story behind an art gallery which sells weird ethnic art, like the African pieces my boss had at his office. I imagine that subconsciously it largely influenced his decision to choose this location.

There is a winery next next door and the mother of the owners is a new friend of mine from my church. My friend also owns the vineyard so in a way it makes me feel special somehow even though it has little to do with me.

In my office, there is a tiny window out of which one can view happy little people- “kids” i think they are called- playing in a park-like setting, around a beautiful fountain surrounded by red and yellow sycamore trees.

The window has bars over it in the old Spanish style and is a small reminder that whilst i am at work, i am to think of myself as a prisoner and partake in none of those joys which i may observe below.

My one point of social interaction is when i walk to the post office every day, or when i get lucky, the FedEx drop off.

The clerks at the post office know me now and they are like 100 times nicer than the ones in DOWNTOWN SANTA BARBARA- yes, I HOPE YOU ARE READING THIS you mean clerk who made shipping packages from there a living hell.

(Just that one clerk though- all the other ones were nice, especially Daniel and Michael. I think they are vets). (War vets not animal vets otherwise their career counselors should have told them).

Everyday the bell at the post office tower chimes out a song. Lately it’s been a lot of Christmas music, which some of us find tastefully offensive. But mostly it’s old American classics, the same kind that used to play in my 65 Mustang’s AM radio.

My office kind of has more space than i need and no walls. My boss let me have his old glass desk so i need to rearrange the computer stuff onto that but i’ve been meaning to do it for 6 weeks now and i just can’t seem to bring myself to do it.

I have what they call lazyphoria.

The office is very cold but it has a brand new climate system which no one knows how to program for heating, only for cooling.

Sometimes i bring my guitar but i can’t play very loud because i’m afraid the other tenants will hear me and ask me to perform for them. Then my boss might find out i’m using the office for concertos and then he’d want to get me a bigger office. But i like this one just fine.

There is a skylight on the ceiling.

Well duh, it’s not like there would be a skylight on the floor… *clears throat*

I guess that counts as a window too. I can see some form of rusty pipe and sometimes clouds, but today the sky is blue- like a tepid sky-blue.

Once, down the hall, the hatch to the roof was open and I climbed the ladder because no one was around and the hatch was open, beckoning for someone to climb up through it. There were only more pipes and roof gravel.

Downer down the hall there are a couple of architects who mostly just look stuck up but are actually quite decent, i imagine, and a married couple who are masseuses, (am i saying that right?) and they are just about the nicest people one could ever meet.

Downstairs there is the shared girls’ room, which ought to have but does not have a mirror, because i assume the other tenants are too ugly an no one wants to remind them of that.

Someone is building a tapas bar so i have that to look forward to.

Perhaps then i shall make a friend or two.

But knowing me, i’ll probably just observe them and then write about them.

So now you have something to look forward to too!

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Stopped Writing

I was once a great writer.
Similes and metaphors rolled off my fingertips like…
Marbles on silk?
But why revisit the past?
That was then.
Today, i don’t write.
I sulk.
In bed.
While driving.
At work.
At lunch and then dinner.
I sulk 24/7.
I am a master sulker.
I am the Sulking Works.
You ever excited about something and you wanna tone it down a bit, just come to me, i’ll show you how it’s done.
Sulk-o-rama.
Empress Sulkith.
You get the idea.
What happened to that bright-eyed curly-haired woman passionate about bubble wrap?
She’s dead.
I’ve been in an emotional coma ever since November.
I am not quite ready to write about that yet, but i will have to eventually.
I am extremely careful about which fights to pick with my husband.
Most of the time it’s best to just sleep.
I love him and he loves me.
Or some distorted quiet version of me…
Fatigued, i’ve avoided my creative projects that for years kept me ticking.
There’s no one on the other side of them.
What, of any plausible interest, could i ever produce?
I am not particularly good at anything at all.
For instance, tonight i managed to somehow close my car door from the outside while my head was still inside.
Who does that?
I got distracted cause i was looking at the stars.
The stars look amazing on a clear night, and most every night is clear.
Absolutely mesmerizing.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m extremely grateful to God for all i have.
I was starting to dance, like when i was a kid.
Then something happened.
I said something.
I must have.
I don’t remember.
It was in November.
Haven’t been able to do anything creative since.
What’s the point?
I haven’t an audience.
Everything i do is wrong or boring.
Especially my job.
Then my boss and his wife sold their other practice.
Now i’m surrounded by people every day.
Before it was just Mondays and Wednesdays.
I was happy.
Had at least half the week to my introverted self.
Now it’s going on 6 weeks that people are always around me.
I can’t stand it.
There’s no time to heal from their previous presence.
Bleh.
Draining.
Even with this new book review project my friend and i are working on, nothing stirs my creative juices.
I need a break.
Hopefully i’ll get the hour-reduction i asked for.
That’s created additional stress on my marriage.
He doesn’t say it’s a bad idea; but he has pointed out every possible drawback.
I just want to go to Legoland and forget about everything.
Whoops, my typing woke him…
I used to be a great writer.

Visiting Popsicles

I had mentioned several months ago that my church’s Spanish congregation had been dissolved in this particular town i am in.

Today we formally began to meet here, although for now it is only to visit those who were previously interested.

We are sent off in pairs but when there is an odd number of us, i get assigned to my husband and his pair.
I’m a third wheel of sorts.
Or the other brother is.
Depends on how you look at it.

I wait in the car while my husband and the third wheel visit a man who invites them to sit and chat.

Earlier, this elderly brother accompanying us complained that we’re just visiting popsicles, since most in this area are apathetic toward biblical topics.
He himself reasoned that we must still preach.
“So where are we going?” he asked.
My husband directed him toward said Popsicles.

This is the third home we visit.
I see my husband greet the man of the house like an old friend, though they’ve never met.
He takes personal interest in every word the man says.
After a couple minutes, the edges of the Popsicle-Man have melted and they are invited to sit.


I had gotten out of the car while writing the above introduction because of the heat.
My husband saw me leave and texted me to come join them.

They were speaking with a Catholic counselor (not sure what his formal title is).
The man was seemingly polite but he got agitated when i read him a text from his Bible.
He said i was showing-off and i had failed his psychological test.
I said i wasn’t sharing anything of my own but that it was out of his own Bible i had read the text.
He called me a show-off again and i perceived that he was not accustomed to a woman teaching him.
My husband told him we do not visit people to psycho-analyze them and God doesn’t test anyone, for it would be unkind of him to do so.
The man said, “One needs to be very humble to talk about these things.”
I assume he was saying that in regards to himself, since we all know i am as humble as they come.
I restrained from adding carbon to the fire and tried to shut up.
The man said he’s seen some from our church drinking a beer, and the elderly brother told him the Bible does not condemn drinking moderately.

That reminded me it was almost lunchtime, so on that note we left.


My husband said he was not satisfied with the way the conversation went.
I wonder if i made things worse when i joined them.
Probably.
But i tried not to dominate the conversation.
The man was criticizing us for preaching to the population at large, while saying he focuses on alcoholics and drug addicts- “those who really need it.”
I praised him for helping “those who really need it” before asking him for permission to use his Bible.
The text i read him lists nine sins that prevent people from inheriting God’s kingdom, not just one or two.
And i reiterated that some of our members had participated in those sins before becoming Christians, so it’s not like we’re not helping anyone.
He said he carries the Bible with him but doesn’t go around using it.
“That would be showing off.”

We meet different people everyday and i’ve been doing this for quite some time.
First time ever someone tells me i’m showing off.
I don’t think handling a Bible well is showing off, much like i don’t think people who are not familiar with the Bible are ignorant.

“I’m a nobody,” i had replied, “what could i possibly share as far as wisdom? All i can give comes from God’s knowledge, not mine.”

But when he told me again that i was showing off, i decided, again, to shut up.

It is not uncommon for our visits to leave a bitter taste in our mouths.
My husband’s demeanor throughout never seizes to impress me.
The way he discreetly but very effectively teaches about God leaves me in awe, like when he explained that God doesn’t test anyone.
This was, of course, in response to the man telling me i had failed his psychological test.

The same thing happens when i accompany my mother in the ministry.
Her calm demeanor when people are being flat out rude is just beyond me.
And her compassion tape runs three times longer than mine.

I am the opposite.
Sometimes i wonder if i do more harm than good.
I may not talk back but my personality can be somewhat transparent.
It’s easy for people to tell when they’ve exhausted my patience.
Especially if they follow me on Twitter.
As a minister, i am most effective with people who have low self-esteem.
Awesome people, like me.
Patience is not my thing.

The man asked me twice if i would go give a 3-hour sermon at his church and i replied that men head the congregation under Christ, not women, but that i minister by giving home Bible studies.

His wife had passed by twice without acknowledging our presence in any way.
It is not difficult to be Christian.
What God asks of us is straightforward and doable.
Yet, it is very difficult for me to be a minister’s wife.
It is very difficult to dominate my own wants and passions and subject them to the priorities of an imperfect human.
A Christian shepherd should always have serving God as his priority, and a large part of that is serving the congregation.
My husband does an amazing job at that but our own shortcomings can create frictions at home.

It is very difficult to not walk out and look for someone who makes me his priority instead of a large group of people.
It seemed unrealistic of me to maintain “platonic” friendships with guys who subtly or openly hit on me from time to time.
Almost half of the married friends i had ten years ago have ended up getting cheated on, having affairs or getting divorced.
I’m not so different.
I’m only human.
Close guy friends who never hit on me have come to ignore me all together.
So i cut off the ones that were left last November.
(I’m referring to local men i was friends with over several years, not people who live far away and i occasionally talk to online).

It is easy to get lost in my husband’s shadow.
For instance, a sister who has been in our congregation since January was surprised a couple weeks ago when i told her i worked.
“I thought only your husband worked,” she said.
Which would make perfect sense… if i was ill, had a baby or a zoo… or living off a rich uncle’s inheritance…
Anyway, what i’m trying to convey is that as a minister’s wife, much of my role in the congregation, which is also hard work, goes unnoticed and i just have to bite the bullet.
Or perhaps she thought i am so supportive, she just assumed i had all the time in the world.
?
My husband, who is a minister in two capacities, both in the preaching work and within the congregation, sometimes forgets to acknowledge my relevance.
Then i have to remind him that i exist and i need him around too.
He usually takes to it but sometimes he puts up a fight.
(That’s when i try to kick him.)

It is not easy being a minister’s wife.

I would recommend a life of self-sacrifice and social service to hardly anyone.
But when i look back at what i wanted from life when i was a teenager, i know this is it.
This is what i wanted.
This is what i got.
But there are people out there who make it worthwhile.
Now and then i’ll meet someone who reminds me of me, and they just melt my own popsicle heart away.

The Last Day of My Life at Bar Happiness

If at the end of your life, you were given the option to live one day out of your life over again, just one day, just for the next 24 hours, what day would you choose?

Who would you spend your last day with?

More importantly, how do i come up with these questions, and why do i try?

We were eating at California Pizza Kitchen, one of my favorite places (even though today they put bacon on my veggie pizza and brought me the Seasonal Sam Adams instead of the Draft) when my mind drifted to when we ate pizza in Florence.

Next my mind drifted to when we visited Lago di Garda in northern Italy.

And I then asked myself
How do I work this?
And I then asked myself
Where is that large automobile?
And I then told myself
This is not my beautiful house!
And I then told myself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Sorry, mind drifted again.

(Letting the days go by… Water flowing under-)

And I thought,

Same as it ever was.

j/k ok sorry, i thought, i would love to live that day over again.

The day we spent at Lake Garda.

Bar Happiness
Happiness Bar at Lago Di Garda where you can literally drink up happiness.

So naturally i asked my husband the question at the onset of this post: what day would you live over?

His answer didn’t shock me but it was a wake up call.

“I would choose the day my mom told us she was expecting my brother.”

Aww! How sweet, right? Wait. There’s more.

“Because everyone was there. My brother, in my mom’s womb, my sister, my dad and my mom.”

Everyone was there.

As in- everyone that matters?

Everyone you would want to spend more time with?

Everyone who isn’t your wife (aka- ME)?!?

Wait- there’s more.

“I was going to say our wedding day but my sister wasn’t there.”

I wish i was making this up.

But it’s practically verbatim.

Then of course i proceeded to get all teary-eyed, after which his usual reaction of having no idea what’s going on with me- the “did I say something” script.

I tried not to dwell on it and changed the topic to pizza.

Then he asked me the same question.

“What day would you choose?”

I was embarrassed of my initial choice.

I ransacked my memories for alternates.

I came up with a couple other memories i could do over.

Both with him in them.

“It’s not important,” i said, dipping my pizza crust in ketchup.

He insisted to the point that i figured he must be thinking i must be thinking of some other guy, all the while i was really thinking, ‘don’t let him know you love him more than he loves you, don’t let him know you love him more than he loves you.’

I had to come up with a better answer fast.

“You know, i haven’t really thought about it. Rather, i need to give the answer more thought.”

So now i’m thinking, whatever day i would want to live over- i probably haven’t lived it yet.

Cause if all my favorite memories are post-marriage, and yet my marriage-mate essentially does not see me as part of “everybody,” then perhaps i’ve overrated my life thus far.

Maybe, if God gave me the choice, i’d just say, “uh, thanks, just shut me in a cell with an ocean view instead. That way no one has to spend any more time with me.”

Italian Audi
Or maybe i’d just ask God to please let me drive around Lake Garda in an Italian sports car listening to The Talking Heads.

Because if i’m not “everybody,” then I must be some form of opposite of that.

Perhaps, “nobody.”

At least not anybody important.

The good thing now is, i’ve got two cats that really look up to me.

Sure, i’ve had more suicidal thoughts in the last couple weeks than i did in the last 6+ months, but it’s hard to leave or kill yourself when that would disturb your cats’ daily rituals.

Also, i’m not sure my alter-ego would be able to update this blog as well as i do.

TBH, she’s kind of neurotic.