Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Insult to Injury

Friday night, Pubescent One attended a party at a friend's house. Since he had to be up early for baseball the next day, he wasn't able to sleep over as most of the other male attendees were doing. I went to pick him up around 10:30 or so.

I was in knee length cotton yoga pants, a loose fitting top and flip flops. I wore no bra and no makeup.

I NEVER leave the house like that, but I wasn't even planning to get out of the car. I called Pubescent One to let him know I was on the way, and told him to be waiting on the porch so I wouldn't have to go to the door.

I remarked to husband as I left, "When you leave the house looking like this, you're just asking to get in an accident or something."

So you realize where this is going, right?

The driveway of this home has a funky angle and a steep grade. As I was backing up, I was going very slowly because I didn't want to go off the embankment or take out the mailbox. In other words, I was being extra cautious. But despite my caution, I was horrified to hear a sickening crunch and the screech of grinding metal. I had hit something.

That something turned out to be a small black sedan parked directly adjacent to the driveway. Because the nose of my van was lower than the tail as I was backing up, it was completely invisible to me. Even on the level surface of the road, it was very, very difficult to see because of the low profile and the dark color.

I said a few choice words and got out to assess the damage as two teenagers came running out of the house across the street.

"Oh my god! Somebody hit Becca again!!" exclaimed the girl.


"Man, she is going to be so pissed!!" asserted the boy.

"Becca" was down the street visiting another friend. The boy went to get her, and seemed altogether too gleeful about his errand. He told me she had just recently gotten her car back from the body shop, freshly repaired and painted. I think he was secretly relishing the incipient freak out.

There was no damage to my van, but her car was sporting a sizeable dent in both the driver and passenger doors. I had hit her squarely between the two.

By that time, the Mom of Pubescent One's friend had come out to see what was going on. She apologized to me profusely.

"Oh my God, I am SO sorry!! I have asked those kids a million times not to park there because you just can't see them when you're coming out of my driveway!"

She turned to the three youths, Becca having been summoned to the scene.

"I have asked you kids and asked you kids not to park there. I've talked to your parents too. It's a dangerous place to park!"

The boy became indignant.

"This isn't BECCA's fault!"

"Yeah, this isnt' MY fault!" echoed Becca.

The Mom and I looked at each other in perfect understanding. She sighed and gave me an almost imperceptible eye roll.

"So, do you think we should call the police?" I asked her.

That made the kids nervous.

"Police? Why do we need the police? We didn't do anything!"

"Relax, guys. It's just standard procedure in an accident. We just want to make sure we follow the right steps."

The Mom told me that subdivisions are considered private property, so police won't issue any kind of citation or make any determination of guilt or innocence. She didn't think it was worth the time or trouble. Clearly, she said, it was just an unfortunate accident, with no negligence involved. She punctuated that sentence with another subtle eye roll. I agreed.

The girl and I exchanged information. She was sullen and pouty and spoke to me tersely. It was very clear that she considered the entire thing my fault and was not pleased with me in the least.

I refrained from giving her my opinion. It took everything I had, but I really didn't want to make a scene in my unbrassiered state. Had the girls been properly holstered, I probably would have given her a piece of my mind.

"So like, what am I supposed to do now? Am I supposed to pay for this or what, cause I don't think that would be fair. All I have is liability insurance, whatever that means."

I explained the process to her while she glowered. I held out a piece of paper with my information on it, which she snatched from my of my hand and flounced off towards the house. If flouncing were an Olympic sport, she would get the gold for sure.

"Ummm, Becca?" I called. "Could you please move your car so I don't hit it again?"

She sighed heavily and stomped back to her car. She jerked the door open and got behind the wheel. She moved the car maybe three inches. I won't tell you what evil, evil thoughts flashed through my mind, but suddenly, the voice of Kathy Bates came to me.

"Face it girls, I'm older, and I have more insurance."

Begone evil siren! Do not tempt me for I am weak. Ohhhhh, so weak.

Pubescent One looked at me and raised his eyebrows so high they disappeared into his carefully coiffed bangs.

"Man, whatta bitch." he said.

"You took the words right outta my mouth." I replied. "Don't you ever let me catch you behaving that way to another adult."

"I won't. But I guess she was just kinda upset."

"Well I'm not exactly overjoyed either, but was I rude to her?"

"No. You didn't have to be."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"She knew what you were thinking Mom."

"Oh is that so? And what was I thinking?"

"How stupid it was to park there. We always know when you're thinking that we're stupid, you know. Even if you don't say it."

"Well I think that was her guilty conscience working. She knew it was her own fault for parking there."

"Maybe." he said, doubtfully.

"Well, whatever. What's done is done. Now let's go home."

"Okay. Mom? Are you alright?"

He didn't mean, was I hurt. He meant, was I handling the stress okay, considering that just 24 hours prior, our entire world had collapsed around us. He hadn't missed the fact that my hands were shaking as I fumbled to put the keys in the ignition.

"Yeah Dude, I'm alright. Nobody hurt, that's the important thing."

He gave a little snort of laughter and said, "I don't think Becca would agree."

"Well Becca can eat me."

He guffawed loudly, as he always does when I have such a lapse.

These little moments in which he sees me as human are both disconcerting and oddly freeing. It can be so tiresome to be the paragon of virtue, integrity, morality and decorum. Don't you sometimes feel that the weight of that is crushing the you inside the mantel of motherhood?

Occasionally, in moments such as those, my kids see through mother me, to the real me beneath. Is that so bad? I think not. I think allowing my kids to see my flaws and frailties once in a while is a good thing. I think it makes me more approachable. I think that it helps them to believe me when I say "I understand" or "I've been in your shoes."

Suddenly I wished I had told Becca she was being a total farking beyotch.

Bra or no bra.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Killing Me Softly

Kids will break your heart.

Sometimes, they pummel it into a pile of barely beating crimson mush; soft and pulpy with the exquisite pain of loving another human being beyond all logic. It's fear and disappointment and regret and guilt and longing and dear God I can't be doing this right!

But sometimes....ohhhhh, sometimes, they break it wide open with the pure radiance of their loving you back, exposing the faithfully thumping core to drench the world with their tender, fledgling strength. Sometimes, they stun you with their capacity to love without condition and their understanding of things beyond their scope of experience.

My husband lost his job today.

We are not alone of course. Job loss is epidemic in America right now. Many are in the same boat. Many are in a much more quickly sinking one.

But we are a one income family, and now, that one income is gone. We have a mountain of responsibility and expectation on our shoulders. Atlas himself never carried such a load.

Those of you who have children know what I'm talking about.

It's beyond terrifying.

Shocked and reeling, Husband could not say the words to our boys. He could scarcely say them to me. I said I would do it and I did, but I didn't expect it to be so hard. I didn't expect the rush of panic that filled me as they looked at me silent and blinking. They were like baby seals stunned by a hunter's club; wide eyed and bewildered. They had no idea what to say or what to do.

Pubescent One spoke first.

"I can work Mom. Chick-Fil-A hires 14 year olds." he said earnestly.

"You and Dad can have all my birthday money." Diminutive One added.

Jesus that hurt. That hurt way down in a place that is rarely breached. But a sweeter pain I've never known, with the possible exception of the day each of them was dragged from my body naked and squalling; terrifying and wondrous in their fragile, perfect beauty.

Did I think I had to be strong for them? Well, sure, that's what Moms do. But I find that I am being bathed in their strength. Bolstered by their courage and selflessness.

Kids. They'll break your heart. Wide open.

We may lose our home, the cars, the posessions that brand us as respectable middle class people. But those are just things. Trappings.

I have my boys and I have my husband and we're going to be okay.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

He Said / He Said

One of my guilty pleasures is reading celebrity gossip. I know, I've slipped a notch in your esteem with that confession. But everybody needs something mindless in which to indulge now and then, and I always thought of it as a harmless, albeit superbly shallow diversion.

Until now.

I've been considering boycotting one particular source of celebrity gossip; rather, THE source of celebrity gossip for some time now. At first, it was because the ads were becoming way too numerous and pervasive and, with the new addition of pop-ups, completely unavoidable.

We all know how I feel about ads now don't we?

But more importantly, the writer of this blog has become increasingly mean-spirited and unnecessarily insulting. One does not have to be defamatory to be entertaining. For a long time I simply ignored the bodily fluid drippings with which he sophomorically defaced some photos and turned a deaf ear to the vicious pot shots he took at his most reviled celebs. I ingorned the rumors and innudendos and even the more blatantly libelous proclomations.

No skin off my nose, right?

Except that it is.

Why? Well, because, I think we all, as human beings, have a responsibility to treat one another with grace and dignity. And I think we have a responsibility to put a stop to the bullying, the belittling, the deprecation and the humiliation of other human beings. To do this, we not only have to practice grace ourselves, but we also have to stand up to say "this is wrong" when someone else is not.

Now this person is painting himself as the hapless victim of a vicious assault at the hands of another high profile individual. He is outraged, insensed and self-righteous because of the violence that he suffered. He asserts that it is never okay to resort to violence.

But you know, violence can be a spiritual thing as well as physical. As I've said many times in the plethora of posts about bullies, words can often wound far more deeply than fists. This man perpetrates spiritual violence upon people every day; people who have never harmed him, people he doesn't even know.

Even more upsetting is the fact that in this latest instance, he used hate speech to characterize the person with whom he was arguing. He called the man a "faggot". Coming from anyone this word is offensive, coming from a gay man, it's inexcusable. And I don't buy this "I am one so I can say it" bullshit. Hate speech is hate speech and if we're going to erase hate, we have to abolish the vernacular as well. For everyone.

I wasn't there. I don't know what happened. I've read the many and varied accounts of course, including his own. But it all really comes down to is one person's word against another's, and by the time it's all straightened out, some other dust-up will be grabbing headlines. I think what happened is that a mean, insecure, black hearted little man said something hateful and got punched in the mouth for it.

Quelle suprise, eh?

Anyway...I've decided I'm done with Perez Hilton. I can't stop him from making his little pee dribbles or his insulting remarks. I can't stop him from making wild accusations or starting vicious rumors. I can't diminish his scope of influences in the media.

But I can stop being a party to it. I can stop being a silent witness. I can stop putting money in his pocket with my page views. I'm just one person, so I don't expect this to have any kind of substantial impact. He has millions of readers, legions of fans. My lack of readership will go completely unnnoticed. But I'll feel better, knowing that I have done something to engender the grace and dignity that I advocate.

Even if it is a very small thing. Because I tell myself that it's the many small things that make a difference to every day people in every day life.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Son The Junkie

Diminutive One and I fight many and varied battles every day. But one of the biggest battles I face with him, particularly in the summer, is food. Diminutive One likes to eat. Often. And he isn't asking for broccoli or brussel sprouts, I assure you.

No sir. I have a bona fide junk food junkie on my hands. I have to watch every bite that goes into his mouth. I have to watch even when I'm not watching, because things disappear mysteriously the moment my back is turned. Every shower, every nap, every personal grooming session, is, for Diminutive One, an opportunity to indulge his penchant.

I can't tell you how many times I have discovered an empty box, bag or package sitting deceptively upon my pantry shelf, looking for all the world as if it has never been disturbed, when in truth, it has thoroughly plundered and relieved of its contents.

I am pestered at least a hundred times a day for candy, cookies, ice cream...whatever. I don't keep those things in the house much, because that's just courting conflict. Diminutive One simply cannot stand to see treats languishing uneaten. The moment something even slightly sinful enters the house, Diminutive One calculates how many servings there are and how many each person should receive. He expects to be given that number of servings and then hounds me incessantly, until said food is either consumed or disposed of.

I don't think I'm exaggerating by saying that food is an obsession for him. In truth, I think he uses food to medicate himself against the anxiety he experiences just trying to get through every day. It worries me greatly.

So far, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. He's chunky, there's no denying that. But we keep him as active as we can, and I try to make sure a fair amount of organic matter makes it into him on a regular basis. I could do better with the fast food. We're so busy and it's so difficult to keep everyone fed with conflicting schedules....SIGH. But given his love of food, it could be much, much worse. I see lots of kids who are way, way, way heavier than he is.

But I don't judge. It's a battle that is incredibly wearying because it is never ending. Sometimes, I just don't have the energy to say no. Sometimes, after we've battled over clothing and hygeine and homework and chores and computer time and.....I can't muster up enough willpower to battle over a cookie.

Diminutive One is smart. And he's not one to let an opportunity slip past him, especially when it comes to food. One thing he loves about baseball season is the numerouse opportunities and his ability to capitalize upon them. There's concession food. Late night runs to Waffle House because Pubescent One is starving after playing a double header. A trip to Brewsters to celebrate a victory. Oh yes, he rides those coattails with no compunction whatsoever.

The other night, Pubescent One's team had a terriffic victory that put them in the Championship game. Pubescent One had pitched the entire 7 innings and done an amazing job. He has developed endurance and control far beyond what most kids his age are capable of. He only gave up one run and had 9 strike outs. The entire team was high on victory, but Pubescent One was particularly intoxicated by the accolades he was receiving.

It was very late when the game ended, and we had a 90 minute drive ahead of us, so no group celebration was taking place that night. We piled into the car, hot and weary, but happy. Pubescent One, predictably, said, "Mom, I'm STARVING."

Diminutive One, quick to pick up on the potential for exploitation in that simple statement, piped up and said,

"We should stop and get some ice cream. You know, Pubescent One TOTALLY deserves it!"

There was dead silence for a moment, and then we all began to laugh. We laughed because he thought he was being so clever and sly. We laughed because he wasn't about to let that opportunity go by. We laughed because ice cream is his manna. We laughed....just because he is Diminutive One.

He sat in the back seat with his cheeks flaming, grinning, knowing he has played his hand too eagerly.

And did we get ice cream? Yeah. We did.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keeping Cranky At Bay

Isn't it sad that children are in such a hurry to grow up? Don't you wish you could tell them that those days are halcyon and hallowed; perfectly imperfect and deliciously bittersweet? Don't you wish you could impress upon them how those years should be savored like hard candy that melts slowly on your tongue, instead of gobbled up until they are irrevocably gone?

I wouldn't repeat my adolescence for anything, but childhood? Oh yes.

Adulthood is hard. Parenthood is hard. And sometimes, I just don't want to be the grownup. I would like to think I'm not alone in that. Don't you sometimes just want someone else to fix things for a change?

Summer is especially difficult for me. I like order and routine. I like quiet. I like my time alone to write and reflect and ruminate. When my kids are home and in my hair every minute of every day, I feel frazzled and frustrated and completely discombobulated. The order I prize becomes chaos. The quiet I cherish gives way to a particular kind of cacophony that comes with having male offspring.

All that is to say that I have been a little cranky and a little resentful that all my time is being monopolized by their activities and their never ending neediness.

But one thing I've learned as a parent is that you have to take joy in things that seem mundane, but are really moments of sweet, satisfying wonderfulness amid the disorder, stress and messiness of everyday life.

After a hard won victory at the ballpark, in which Pubescent One pitched seven amazing innings and gave up only one run, we headed home. Everyone was in high spirits.

We sped down the country highway; the boys feeling very cool and superior riding in the sleek black sports car. They grinned at every car we passed, certain that they were being envied. We rolled the windows down and let the wind whip our hair about our sweaty faces. The summer air was tinged with rain smell, and off in the distance, lightning lit the clouds from within, making them look towering and otherwordly in the darkness; a darker darkness than can be found in the city. The boys put their arms out and let them ride the waves of air that sluiced past; rising and falling on the solid feeling streams. A nostalgiac song came on the radio, and Husband and I sang loudly. The boys did not know the words, but crooned the doo-doo-doos of the chorus.


It was good. Really good. And I like to think that some day, when the weight of the world weighs heavy on their own shoulders, maybe they will remember that moment. Remember us happy. Remember us singing. Remember feeling safe and happy in the backseat of a black sports car, with home on the horizon and no cares to mar the last little bit of childhood ahead of them.

Yeah. That keeps the cranky at bay for a little while.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Power Struggle

My son and I stood glaring at one another, arms crossed, frowning; angry.

"You can't make me do something against my will." he stated with grave certainty.

This is fourteen. It's a battle for autonomy, and I understand that. But unfortunately, the need for independance and the maturity with which to deal with it, have not developed at the same rate.

"I can take care of myself." he says.

"I can make my own decisions." he asserts.

And then he does something of such inordinate foolishness as to makes one's jaw drop.

Usually, I take these kinds of pronouncements in stride. I try to give him small freedoms when I can. Because I remember the impotence and the indignance of being babied, when clearly, I was all but grown up. I remember my determination to forge my own path and how I fought tooth and nail whenever I thought that right was being usurped. I've come to realize from my own adolescence as well as that of my children, that most times, trying to strongarm a teenager accomplishes nothing other than to make them dig in their heels all the more firmly.

But this? This was not a bid for independance. This was nothing more than a battle of wills. Neither of us bothered to pretend that it was anything otherwise.

"Oh really." I said calmly.

Physically, I really can't make him do anything against his will. And that's a disconcerting reality. At 5' 11" and 150 pounds of pure sinew, bone and muscle, he towers over me. I can no longer grab him firmly by his upper arm and march him in which ever direction I please. I can no longer wrap my arm around his tummy and heave him off his feet. I can't spank him. I can't physically dominate him in any way, shape or form. And he knows it.

He is testing those waters now, to see how much leverage his size and stature will give him.

My dead calm unnerved him a bit, but he wasn't about to show it.

"Yes, really." he said, confidently.

That did it. I was good and mad. I really try to keep my cool when dealing with him, because shouting doesn't help matters. And I try to look at things from his perspective, because being a teenager is hard and confusing and not much fun sometimes. I wouldn't go back to those days for all the tea in China.

But sometimes...sometimes he makes me so angry...that when Diplomacy Mom is debating about the best way to handle her wayward manchild, Hard Ass Mom steps in and takes over.

"Alright then, hand over your cell phone."


"Your iPod and your xBox controllers too. And say goodbye to your internet."


"Listen dude, the law says I have to provide you with food, clothing, shelter, education and basic medical care. The law does not say I have to provide you with a cell phone, a computer, an ipod, and an xBox live account. Those are privileges. Privileges have to be earned. How? With good behavior and respect for Dad and me and some gratitude for all that we give you. Since you don't feel you have to give that respect or that gratitude, I don't feel I have to provide you with those luxuries."

"MOM! That's not FAAAAIIIRR!".

"Fair? You want to talk to me about fair? Do you really want to have that conversation with me?"

"No Ma'am."

"Oh, so suddenly it's "Ma'am" is it?"

"Yes Ma'am."

"So, do I have to drag you into the car, or what?"

"No Ma'am."

That was the end. He got in the car with no further protests and didn't even pout once we arrived at our destination.

So the battle is won, but not the war. Not by a long shot. It's going to a long, fierce campaign. Luckily, the victory is both of ours. I get the peace of mind that comes with knowing I turned my son loose on the world equipped to be a responsible, productive part of society. He...gets to be a responsible, productive part of society.

And for those of you thinking to yoursevles...

"My child will never speak to me what way..."

Forewarned is forearmed. Your child most certainly will. Just accept that now. Adolescence changes all the rules and turns your children into recalcitrant strangers. They do things you never thought they'd do, they say things you never thought they'd say. That doesn't make them just makes them teenagers. We all went through it. Lord but I said some awful things to my Mother.

That baby and toddler stuff? Pffft. Cakewalk.

Gee...have I said that before?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Something Different

Another reason I have been neglecting my blog, is that I have been trying to focus on some "real" writing.

I recently joined a small private writer's group, which has been enormously constructive for me. But I got a little jolt of reality when the group leader, who owns his own publishing business and is an extremely competent editor, commented on the fact that I seemed "afraid" to string too many sentences together into an actual paragraph.

Yep. Blog writing will do that to you. As you know, we bloggers tend to parse our thoughts into small, easily digestible bites for our readers. That along with some of the other work I've been doing, has really affected the mechanics of my writing.

So feels good to be using my crafting skills and my imagination again. I've neglected them. And I've forgotten what a thrill it is to build a story, weave the pieces together and develop characters who become so real to me. It's been challenging and really, really fun.

Recently, I received some very complimentary feedback from a published author on a piece I had submitted for one of the group exercises, which, of course, had me walking on air. Then he challenged me to write a piece with an entirely different style and voice, as a test of my versatility.

The topic? "Why I was a Gangster's Moll."

I don't think I've ever posted any fiction work here on Blogs Are Stupid. It's not really what this blog is for. But I have to say, I was tickled pink by this exercise and pleased with the results. And since I have nothing else of consequence to say at the moment, I'm going to take a leap of faith and post it for you today. You can skip it if you like, I promise my feelings won't be hurt.


Why I Was A Gangster's Moll
Alternative Title: Sully's Special Girl

Ain’t it funny how some people get all the breaks? Well I never got none. What’s the opposite of gettin the breaks? Gettin the shaft? Well that’s what I got then. I got shafted real good. I was born poor as dirt and a dame to boot. If you ain’t got no money and you ain’t got no prick, you ain’t got no options. So everythin I done, I done to survive. And I ain’t ashamed. A girl’s gotta eat and girl’s gotta have a roof over her head. I guess a trip to Europe now and then don’t hurt none either.

The first time I saw Sully DeSilva, I was thirteen years old and didn’t know nothin bout nothin. I sure was dazzled when he stepped outta that big black car. He was wearin a suit the color of butter that fit like a dream and black spats so shiny they seemed like they was made of glass. His hair hung thick over his forehead; black as pitch and almost as shiny as them shoes. He tipped his hat at me and winked. I guess my mouth musta been hangin open or somethin cause I sure never seen no guy like that before. I thought he musta been a movie star.

He bought a paper from Blind Benny’s news stand and turned to go back to his car, which was idlin at the curb. He stopped to gimme the once over even though I didn’t have nothin to make no guy stop and look. I didn’t have no titties to speak of and no plump little caboose. I was all knees and elbows back then. But he looked at me like I was somethina eat. I mighta been young and dumb, but I knew what that look meant alright. It made me feel hot and fluttery, like I had a fever. I tried to act like men look at me all the time but I know I my cheeks was red as a beet.

“Well now….” he said, “Could my day get any better? A hot breakfast, a crisp new paper, and a vision of loveliness before me.” If my face was red before, I probly went pure scarlet right then. He laughed and chucked me under the chin. “I’ll be seein’ ya duck.”

I sure hoped so. I hoped so a damn lot. In the meantime, I daydreamed bout him plenty. I was always wearin a beautiful shimmerin gown that floated behind me like butterfly wings and strappy shoes that never hurt my feet. I had a golden cigarette holder that I held between gloved fingers, real elegant like. He always wore that butter colored suit and those black spats. I just couldn’t pitcher him in anythin else. Sometimes we danced or went to parties with well to do folks. But sometimes just talked. Cause he liked to hear what I hadda say. Course, at the end there was always some smoochin, but sometimes I got yanked back to my stinkin life before I got that far.

“Quit daydreamin and do them dishes ye lazy brat!” or “I’ll beatcha black and blue if that floor ain’t spotless, ye useless tramp!” “Worthless Slut.” “Stupid floozy.” “Whore.” Shoot, I mighta forgot my own name if it weren’t for roll call at school. But in my daydreams, he said it over and over, like it was poetry. “Essssstelllllaaaaaa”. I just loved it; loved it to bits. But I didn’t mind if he called me “Doll” or “Duck” instead. He coulda called me just about anythin and I woulda loved him for it. I just knew he wouldn’t never call me no bad names.

Four years later, I did see him again. I finally had some titties and a real sweet little caboose that I liked to show off in my tight skirts. But I still wasn’t nothin to look at just then, on accounna my face bein all swolled up. My Pap had beat me somethin awful cause I wouldn’t let him put his filthy paws on me. So I lit out for good. I was stayin with my Aunt Rita, who took me in when I showed up at her door and swore to have a piece a his hide if he tried to take me back home. She called him a whoreson and a pervert and a dirty rotten peckerhead. She wasn’t no bigger than me, but she looked so fierce that I didn’t doubt for a second she would beat his brains out with her big iron fry pan if she got the chance. I felt safe enough with her.

Anyway, I knew my Aunt Rita wasn’t no proper lady. She went with a rough crowd and did things only coarse women do. Other women stopped to watch and whispered when she walked by. She always had gentlemen callers too. I didn’t pay em no mind. They went into the bedroom and shut the door and what happened then was none a my concern. She took good care a me and that’s all that mattered.

One afternoon there was a knock on the door. It was her latest “beau” come to call. Rita was gettin dolled up, as usual, so I answered the door. When I opened it, there was my daydream man standin in the dim hallway. My heart likeda drop right into my drawers just then. He smiled, but didn’t recognize me a course. I was a grown up woman now and my face was bashed besides. He introduced himself as Sullivan DeSilva and kissed my hand, which was tremblin somethin terrible. I told him my name and then held my breath while he repeated it. It sounded just like I always imagined. “Essstelllllaaaa.” Ooooh, but my toes curled when he said that.

He disappeared into the bedroom with Aunt Rita and I tried not to think of what they was doin in there. I picked up his coat and hat and smelt his smell on ‘em. It was good. There was a spicy aftershave, tobacco smoke, and somethin else that I somehow knew was his own man smell. I buried my face in the soft cloth (it was cashmere, but I didn’t know that) thinkin I ain’t never felt nothin that fine. I breathed in that smell. That’s when the bedroom door opened and Sully stepped out. He was in his undershirt with his suspenders hangin down. His black hair was all mussed and I could see lipstick on his mouth. I was pure humiliated a course, but there wasn’t no sense pretendin I hadn’t been sniffin his things. He seen me the second he opened the door.

He came over to me and I could see right off he wasn’t mad. He put his hand up and touched my bruised cheek real gentle like.

“Who did that to your pretty face, duck?” he asked.

“My Pap.” I replied. “That’s why I’m livin here with Rita.”

His eyes got kinda squinty and mean. They were blue. I didn’t have time to notice that the last time we met. All them daydreams, never knowin the color of his eyes. I never thought about it but suddenly I felt sad for all them daydreams without blue eyes in ‘em. Ain’t that funny?

“Bastard. What kind of man beats a helpless girl? No kind of goddamn man at all!”

I sorta liked that he was upset about my face. I smiled at him, even though it hurt.

“It’s alright. He ain’t gonna bother me no more. I just gotta get on my feet and find some work and I’ll be just fine. I ain’t helpless.”

“No, you’re not. I can see that. But everyone needs someone, don’t they? Especially a gal like you.”

I didn’t know exactly what he meant by that.

“A gal like me?”

“Oh yes. A woman like you needs to be cherished. You ever had a beau, duck?”

“You mean like Aunt Rita has beaus? No. I ain’t never done that. Not that it’s bad. Aunt Rita ain’t bad. It just ain’t for me.”

“What about if you had just one special beau?”

“Well that would be fine, I guess.”

I was a little confused. I think it musta showed on my face cause he laughed then. He took me by the shoulders and kissed the top of my head like I was a little girl.

“How can a gal look the way you do and still be so innocent?”

“I ain’t innocent! I know what you and Rita does in there. I know you ain’t really her beau neither. But it don’t matter. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. We ain’t got nobody to depend on.”

“That’s just what I mean, duck. Wouldn’t you like to have someone to depend on?”


“What if I said you could depend on me? What if I said I would take care of you? That we would take care of each other? Do you think you would like that?”

I did. I did think I would like that. A lot. But I was no dummy.

“What do I gotta do? Do I gotta do stuff like what Aunt Rita does with you?”

He was quiet for a moment. Then he smiled.

“Well duck, there’s give and take in any relationship. It’s just that these kinds of relationships are more clearly defined. Do you know what that means?”

I shook my head. He was a smart fella; real intellectual like. Some of what he said didn’t make no sense at all.

“It means that we lay things out from the get go. You say what you need to be happy and comfortable; I say what I expect in return. We call those the “terms”. We might, at some point, renegotiate those terms if needed. As time goes by, we’ll learn more about each other and our expectations might change. But most importantly, you need to know that you can end the agreement at any time. You’re the boss, duck.”

That all sounded pretty good. I knew it would mean bein his special girl and not havin any other beaus, which wasn’t no problem for me. He was the only man I ever wanted to be with anyway. And I knew it meant lettin him do things to me. It had made me sick to think of doin them things with my Pap, but when I thought of doin em with Sully, I didn’t feel sick at all. In fact, I felt pretty happy about it; excited too.

“Can I talk to Rita about it before I say yes?”

“Sure you can. Rita’s a sensible gal. I know she’ll advise you well.”

And she did.

“A deal like that don’t come around every day. You take it. You let him treat you like a Queen for as long as he’s willin and you treat him like a King. But listen doll…men ain’t like us. They get tired of lookin at the same old puss day in and day out. So you got to be smart. Whatever cash he gives you, you put away some place safe. Don’t touch it for no reason. That’s your pension plan, doll. And always keep some things on hand that you can hock quick if you need to.”

I promised that I would. It was good advice. Sully didn’t get tired of my puss, but he did have to go away for a very long time. We had a lotta good years before then, though. I found out pretty quick what Sully was, but it didn’t matter. He was good to me. I think he even loved me some. I lived in high style, cause Sully didn’t do low class. I had the best of everythin and all I had to do was look pretty and smell sweet and spread my legs when he asked me to. That wasn’t no hardship. I did everythin he asked me to do and some things he didn’t and I enjoyed every minute of it.

So yous wanted to know why. That’s why. Like I said before; no prick, no options. No good ones anyway. I know Rita didn’t mind helpin me out, but I ain’t no moocher. So I could start turnin my own tricks, go back home and let my Pap have his way with me or work my fingers to the bone cleanin up after rich folks. Or…I could be Sully’s special girl. Since I loved him as soon as I laid eyes on him, it wasn’t no tough choice. And I never thought of myself as no whore neither.

Sully’s gonna be back one day. And I’ll be here waitin. I ain’t gotten no better offers and wouldn’t take em if I did. That’s why I ain’t no whore. Whores don’t got no loyalty, see? I do. I’ll always be Sully’s special girl. Always.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Too Many Goodbyes

Oh my readers, how I have neglected you.

It's true that my children are out of school, and of course, that makes finding quiet time to write and reflect somewhat challenging. I wish that was the reason for my absence.

But sadly, we have had two deaths in the family in as many weeks. Both were expected, both were really welcomed, as beloved people have been fighting a long time and suffering in both body and spirit.

But it has cut deeply nonetheless.

The first was Husband's grandmother. He did not have a close relationship with her, nor did his family. She made some choices in life that alienated people close to her and caused a rift that narrowed somewhat over the years, but never really closed.

But she was mother to many and losing a mother is always hard. Mothers are touchstones, archivists, keepers of memories and kissers of childhood tears. When they are gone, part of us is gone too.

The other was a beloved Uncle to Husband. Because Husband's mother had nine siblings, his mother being one of the oldest, he was close in age to his younger aunts and uncles. With this one uncle in particular, that resulted in a relationship that was really more like brotherhood.

I didn't meet this Uncle until we had our first child. He was a outdoorsman and was described to me as the "Southern Grizzly Adams". He lived in a small, humble cabin at the foothills to the Appalachain Mountains. He hunted, fished and trapped for a living, and when the weather was nice, he would sometimes disappear for months on end.

He was a vital, vibrant man, which was one reason his illness was such a shock to everyone. Cancer does not seem to recognize that certain people were not meant to be surrounded by four walls, confined to a bed, caged within a body ravaged by disease.

When he and I did finally have occasion to meet, I'm afraid he failed to make a favorable impression on me, owing to the fact that he gave my 7 month old child a turkey drumstick with the imprecation that "That boy needs a bone to gnaw on."

Being a first time Mom, I was, of course, protective. I also tended to do things by the book, and the book most assuredly did not advocate giving seven month old babies turkey drumsticks. I didn't say a word, however, I just hovered nearby as he held my son, ready to deliver the heimlich should morsel of meat or a sliver of gristle get lodged in his throat.

My son did not read the chapter about how new foods should be introduced slowly and with caution at the appropriate age. He showed himself to be true to his carniverous heritage (Grandfather is a butcher by proffession) by laying into that thing with a zeal that was almost feral. At one point, when most of the flesh had been stripped away, Husband placed the heel of his palm against Pubescent One's forehead in an attempt to dislodge him from the meaty no avail.

Despite that first impression, I came to like him very much. He always treated our children with special kindness. It was clear that he loved all the children and had a way with them that made it difficult for me to hang onto my ire over that first little blunder.

He took in a dog that really should have had a bullet through the brain. The dog belonged to a friend of ours, who lived next door to us in a Townhome community when Pubescent One was an infant. He had been terribly abused and was vicious as all get out - except with her. She loved him, but she was deathly afraid he would get out and savage some innocent person.

Since Uncle lived out in the middle of nowhere, it was a good place for the dog to go. The dog had a particularly strong aversion to men, and he bit Uncle on more than one occasion. Uncle made sure that dog couldn't hurt anybody else, and if it had ever happened that he needed to hurt or kill the dog to save a person, he wouldn't have hesitated. But he couldn't just put him down.

"It ain't his fault. Somebody done made him mean." he would say.

He's gone now. He's the first of nine brother and sisters to go, and it has been a terrible thing for those left behind.

We'll be mourning him in the next couple of days and like other funerals before, I'm sure it will be an experience to remember.

Maybe I'll write about this one too.