Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Waitress Again

I spend seven days crawling through a claustrophobic Vicodin cave, while mingling menacing mites reproduce in my muddied pockets, slowly weighing me down.

The eighth day, I stand and turn my pockets inside out. 
The ninth day, I run five miles with an ecstatic dog. The sixteenth day, I receive my workwoman's compensation check.

While I fill out my deposit slip, I realize that this may be the closest I ever come to a paid vacation. A vacation where I do not drink a pina colada and sit on poolside wicker, swallowing up sunshine and bathing my body in SPF 80. But 18 sick days where I drink tap water and sit on the toilet seat, swallowing my Vitamin D capsules and bathing my 3rd degree burn in hydro peroxide.

The nineteenth day, I am a waitress again. I wear three overlapping band aids and my uniform. In the mid afternoon, I clock out and carefully shove my tips deep inside the empty pockets of my jeans. I do not go to the bank. I go home for a slice of banana bread and a nap.

Monday, February 23, 2009


As if on a roller coaster with defective seat belts, anger holds onto every inhale and exhale with white sweaty knuckles before ordering my goose bumps to solute every strand of hair on my arms and legs.

After a few breathless moments, I clumsily stand, grab the sheet and pillow and walk barefoot into the living room. In the fetal position, I lay on the couch listening to fire trucks. When the quiet returns, I hear three blind mice tap dancing on cement and cocaine behind the couch. I stomp the floor, slap the wall and wait for the toenails of rodents to scratch and scurry away. He walks in. "What are you doing?" He asks.  "I heard mice. I think." I say, noticing then, the old creaky pipe beside me. He walks away, unsure what to think of me, his girlfriend. I follow behind him with my pillow so that I can apologize and we can go to sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Dress Shop

I call the chit chatting man from the dress shop, Little Italy. And Little Italy calls me the Bandaged Hand Bride, the "I don't want my wedding to be a bother" Bride and the Beat Red Blushing Bride.

Mom and I stand gazing, dazed and confused, at a rack of wedding gowns while Little Italy zips up and down gathering fabric. Then he calls us into the dressing room where, draped down and wrapped up, are eight gowns. Mom and I begin our first dance around the dressing room. I need help dressing and undressing in and out of all eight. "Oh relax, Rachel! My eyes are closed." Mom whispers, squinting her eyes half open as she holds the next dress toward my bare chest. But there's no need for modesty with Mom and so I strip to speed the process. Though, even with our eyes open, we still trip on the trains.
And when I try to look natural in eighty pounds of white satin lace, we can only giggle and giggle until the fabric falls off, until we unzip another garment bag, and until we unbutton and untie another dress.
I decide on the first one and Little Italy pulls the bodice ribbon tight and ties my breath up in a knot.

Later on, my mother and I walk down the narrow carpeted steps of the dress shop, giddy, and I do not stop talking all day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


photo by: Scott Braidman

I stand in the mud of the salty river, waiting for something sad to sink in. When it does, I flop forward and float until the water runs dry and I am beached beneath bed blankets, sulking wet.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ring Ring Ring

It is the nocturnal mouse exploring my kitchen pantry. It is the fruit fly crash landing on my face. It is the cherry pie pimple delivered to my pore nostril neighborhood.

When his telephone rings, that particular moment and I are expected to wait and we do, we wait in an impatient silent brood while the fat lady sings This is the Song that Never Ends.

Then the moment goes missing and I do not know where to find it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I stand with my right hand under the rushing water of the restaurant's kitchen sink, crying into a white dish towel. "That is going to kill you." My manager says. "I'm such an idiot." I tell myself over and over again. "Take that bucket." My manager says next. "And fill it with ice, you're gonna need it." My Columbian friend, Marco, who has had numerous kitchen accidents, says, "Just spray it honey. I hate to see you cry, I never seen you cry. You don't need any more ice." My friend, Dina, a tiny waitress exclaims, "Oh fuck, oh fuck huney oh fuck." Everyone shouts for me to "KEEP IT UNDER THE WATER!" Above the clamorous cries for cold water, my manager says, "Rachel, where's Scott? He didn't answer his phone." Sniffling, I say, "I don't know. He might be at the movies." In the front of the restaurant, my friend, Jesse leaves Scott a voicemail. "Hey Scott it's Jesse, ahh Rachel burned her hand pretty bad and the ah skin's coming off, so if you could call back the restaurant cause she needs to go to the emergency room."

An hour later in the doctor's office, I sit beside a bucket of water and ice while the doctor takes a pair of sterile scissors and cuts away the dead skin from my hand. I close my eyes, listening, cringing, crying. The white coat says, "This is going to get much worse before it gets better. You have a choice of pain medication." "How long will this take to heal?" I ask. "Probably between 7 and 10 days." In the corner, a med student stands observing, "You probably hate coffee now, huh?" He says. "Oh, it isn't the coffee that I hate."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mine and His

There is a small yellow house for sale and I want it. It is empty and I want to fill it. Fill it with my overly laundered laundry, stained by lazy separating skills, wrinkled from a lack of folding focus. Fill it with the pretty novels I have bought in judgmentally high expectations. Fill it with my collection of heart heaving memoirs and vegan cookbooks (a vegan for one year and a cookbook for every day of that year). Maybe I'll sell them instead of packing them, instead of explaining them. I want to fill that little house with my diaries, pages of seriously frantic cursive scribblings. Fill it with our sheets, pillows, and comforters, comforts we have carried from Amherst to New York City to Boston. Computers, cameras, found furniture, things, my things, his things, our things.

Our things to fill space.

Like an excited boy scout flipping through crunchy pages of a Playboy magazine, I camp out on the website's lawn, scrolling through posted pictures of a small dining room, a sky lighted living room, and a fenced in backyard. This little house grabs me by my hope and pulls. I daydream of lawnmowers, blenders, washing machines, puppies, slippers, space. My space, his space, our space.

Our space full of our things.

My dreams are as tangible as tangerines in the tropics. I just need to stop packing, stop breathing down Future's neck, and stop throwing firecrackers at the horse pulling my carriage.

I need to look out the window and enjoy. Take a picture and remember this slow, unpredictably bumpy ride.