Sunday, May 31, 2009


Strangled by the kitchen's chaos, I take a plate of three eggs over medium to a customer who ordered two eggs over hard. Then someone else takes the two eggs over hard to a customer who ordered three eggs over medium and that customer returns it for being too well done and for missing an egg.

When explained to the cook, he refuses to remake the three eggs over medium. 
"It's not my fault." He says. "Just make it Paulo. Make it!" I yell over his refusals to cooperate. "JUST MAKE THE FUCKING EGGS!"
If I were a rational person, I would apologize again for my mistake and ask Paulo calmly to remake the plate, but in the heat of the kitchen I can only scream egg obscenities.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We are moving to the country so soon I can already see the mud on my boots and the dogs by my side. We spend our spare minutes on the computer scrolling through pictures of adoptable dogs and help wanted ads. Excited that we will never again live beside an above ground train track with a 24-hour schedule or below college students who move their furniture nearly every night or down the street from a fire station anxious to drive their truck to every smoke signal in the city.

We can live beside a farm, a barn, and three old women.

Our new apartment is an old renovated barn with air conditioning, skylights and a porcelain sink in the kitchen. Before people, it housed onions and carrots.

Scott laughs at me when I ask if there might be ghosts. 
"Vegetable ghosts?" He asks. 

I hope we adapt to our new habitat quickly. I hope we do not yell obscenities at the crickets fighting on our front stoop or call the police if a cow drunkenly wanders into our driveway or complain that the old women are gardening too loudly.
We might play music too loud and dance too hard on the wooden floors, but eventually we'll quiet down like sleeping sheep in a protected meadow.

Friday, May 22, 2009


A fight blew in from the swinging kitchen door, while we sat eating dinner. I had seen it slowly creep in above our heads all afternoon, but I did not tape the windows nor did I stock the basement with cans of corn and/or boxes of dry milk. Instead I took a nap.

He argues likes an infamous prosecution lawyer. I sit defenselessly speechless, unable to think rationally, logically or about the big picture before crying nonsensical sentences and leaving the room announcing, "I don't care!" He is frustratingly good. I am frustratingly emotional.
 Sometimes I avoid fights by hiding in bathrooms or under bed covers. Other times I chase them with a kite and a key.
This time, however, I sit inside the rain and mumble apologies.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hiding from Happiness

I have been playing Hide and Seek with happiness for three years now.

I sleep under my bed, wrapped
in the arms of an extended family of dust bunnies, waiting for her to lift up my bed skirt and surprise me, but she never does.

I don't think she knows that I've been hiding this whole time. Playing this whole time.

So I'm going to come out now. It's my turn to seek.
I hope she still wants to play.


The villain from last night's movie chased me into my dreams, even though I was hiding under the covers.

Monday, May 11, 2009


She had been sober for fifteen months. She was open about her life. Told us how she missed her kids. How she hadn't seen them since before her six months of drug rehabilitation. She feared they would forget her.

One day, her ex-husband called and handed the phone to her son. Then he handed the phone to her daughter.

A few months later, she told her ex-husband that she wanted to home school the kids. He laughed her idea away. They, she and her ex, got along well, she said, despite everything. This confused the kids and even confused her. They always wanted Mommy to sleep over. She never slept over, anymore, but she thought about it. She once told me that she was thinking of seducing her ex-husband. She knew how, she said. She was missing her family life. She carried this small desire to be a mother with her everywhere she went. Some days it came in thick like grass in the Irish countryside, but other days this feeling grew in patchy and yellow like our backyard in Brookline.

She never seduced him. He annoyed her about something and it reminded her why she had cheated on him in the first place.

She was a forty-year-old recovering drug and alcohol addict with an undiagnosed obsession with self. Thoughts about herself consumed her brain like cancer, growing secretly and silently into a thick tangled tumor.

Her mind was mangled, but her tight tanning bed body and wide mouth laugh distracted us all. She's so strong, we thought.

She was strong until she met a man who made her weak. She was living and working in a rehabilitation house in Boston. In exchange of free housing, she helped supervise those chosen to live in the house of recovering addicts. This man she met was another live-in assistant and another recovering addict. She spoke of the connection they had. They were like magnets when they saw one another, she said, and they had started secretly meeting in hotel rooms.

After they started meeting in hotel rooms, she started acting strangely and one day, she showed up to work looking weak and sleepy. She couldn't keep her eyes open. Then I heard her say, "I feel like I'm dying."

She had fallen off of her wagon to pebbly cement and now we were watching as her body rejected all she had injected into it's veins. For most of an hour, she walked around the restaurant with her eyes mostly closed. She was called down to the manager's office. When she came back upstairs, her face was red and wet from crying. I watched from the corners of whatever I was pretending to do. She stumbled for her bag. I struggled to swallow the lump in my throat. 

She came back a month or so later. She was not on the schedule but she could pick up shifts for people who needed coverage. She needed the money. She almost looked better, but she wasn't.

Soon after her return, she was lost again and soon after she started picking up shifts, she disappeared again. 

I've been told she was arrested up north with that boyfriend. They "chewed and screwed" as they called it (ate in a restaurant and ran out before paying). A waitress. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Most of the Time

My old friendships do not fade away into past planners, outdated calendars, and handwritten notes to return missed phone calls. I push them away because too many friends often means too many plans and I like to be alone most of the time.

Friday, May 1, 2009


A few weeks ago, Scott's digestive system formed an official attack on the front linings of his stomach. A revolution? A game of Battleship? We don't know. It could be a food allergy.

Tuesday morning he calls me from the doctor's office while I am folding laundry. "They told me they were sending me to get a stool sample...but I don't think I have to go."

Later, he meets me at the Laundromat. He holds a paper bag and inside the paper bag there is a take home test and three days' worth of stool sampling instruments as well as:

7 test tubes,
3 plastic bags,
1 poop catcher,
3 rubber gloves,
1 piece of paper, black and white instructions (with pictures)

I thought my job of handling leftover food was repulsive, but there are people who open these test tubes and handle the REAL leftovers.