Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Little Match Girl

I leave to buy wine and wooden matches because he has fallen asleep again and friends are coming over for dinner.

I leave so that he
will call and irrationally yell at me for disappearing.

These are my thoughts.
These are my actual thoughts.

Scott does not call because Scott is not an emotionally abusive husband. He is an incredibly reasonable young man and an incredibly exhausted young teacher on a Friday afternoon.

Do I wish for an abusive marriage
like I once naively wished for an abusive childhood?


I used to daydream about being an orphan. Not because I didn't like my family. I loved my family, but I also loved the idea of a childhood drenched with tears, hunger pains, and adventures.

My favorite book was called The Little Match Girl. It was the story of a young girl who runs away from home in freezing winter weather with only a box of matches to keep her warm. She dies alone on the street.

Secretly, I was jealous of the little match girl's fascinatingly sad story.

Years later, there is still little struggle in my life. I struggle occasionally with depression, loneliness and a simple satisfaction for life, but I do not need matches to survive.

I only need matches for ambiance.

When I return home an hour and a half later, Scott had just woken up from his nap. He isn't yelling. He's smiling. And so am I, r
elieved that tragedy has only struck my imagination and not my reality.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Coffee stains my fat yellow mug with dried dark brown drip stains. I drink it anyway.

I should start my day, but I sit here stalling like a nine-year old who's too tired to admit that it's time to go to bed.

Stubborn little shit.
Brush your teeth.
Don't forget your back teeth.
And wash behind your ears with soap and a washcloth.

You smell.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I am surrounded by swearing, cell phone flipping, children.

There is a girl in front of me saying to the tearfully, embarrassed girl behind me. 
"You're going to become best friends with her. We were in a fight once too and now we're like best friends."

"Yeah right."

Then the girl who has started this scuff stands and walks toward us, her suburban white posse crowding behind her.

"What are you guys doing over here? Leave me alone!"

"The soccer team isn't going to miss you, ya know."

"Shut up."
The group walks away toward the bake sale in the lobby.

"Hey ah what'd you forget your balls or something at home?" An insignificant freshmen boy sitting in front of me says. No one pays him any attention, but me. I almost kick his seat and say,"cut the shit, kid,but I don't.

This is all during intermission for the dance competition Scott has been invited to judge at school.

During the dance show, there are dance acts of all kinds.

One girl in a baseball cap, baggy jeans and big colorful high top sneakers, dances hip hop alone, "Doin' the only thing she's good at." 

I watch her do the only thing she thinks she's good at and imagine her practicing alone in her bedroom, dreaming of winning the competition.

Then there are the girls who have been dancing since they were two, probably in studios with surrounding mirrors, spandex and wishings to become the next Brittney Spears. And I watch these fifteen-year-old girls dance for Scott and think, where's your poll, ya' little ho? And while the audience roars with pleasure, I wonder how many sophomore boners are in the audience. Terrible really. The best dancer wins. She has the best hair, the shortest shorts, the sparkliest tank tops and the best thrusting moves. 

In the car, I say, "Oh come on, you didn't feel at all uncomfortable that these girls were dancing in front of you like that? Young high school girls?"
Scott is appalled. "No! I watched them like I would have watched a scene or a song. I watched to see the art they were doing and I judged them on how well they did their art and the girl who won was good and she clearly was enjoying dancing."

"Of course she was, the whole school was cheering her on!"

We fight a little bit; laugh a lot and then we go out for ice cream in Northampton.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Breaking Point

"I have been waiting for my break." I tell him.

I really thought something would happen when I graduated from college. That I would be discovered in New York City. That an agent would look past my terror and inability to dress myself. That a director would look past my sudden amnesia for the lines I had memorized for his audition and think: "I'll bet she's a great actress. I am going to hire her."

But that, of course, did not happen.

After one year, I did not become the next Katherine Hepburn. I became timidly negative.

We moved from New York City and like a stubborn friend, I have not been back to visit.

I tell this to Scott, even though he knows it. "Now, I hope the same for my writing" but my past failures keep flicking at my ears until they are red.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hello Penny

I drive to the Springfield animal shelter alone. I have heard that it is a kill shelter and so with that menacingly in mind, I walk around staring at every dog, knowing I could take any of them home.

I ask the red faced woman behind the front desk if I can see one of them. She walks up to the glass I am pointing to and says, 
"Oh yeah, her, she has a strange medical history. I'm her foster mom. She doesn't like babies, dogs and most people."

"Ok..." This woman does not want to part with her dog. I think, while she walks back to the front desk.

Then I see another pup. "Has Nicole been adopted?" I ask.

"A guy applied for her yesterday, but he had to talk to his girlfriend about it." The guy behind the desk explains.

"The WOMAN?" The red faced lady asks in an awkward attempt to be funny.

"Huh? Yeah... He was supposed to call me back today, but he hasn't yet. Do you want to see her?"

"Sure! Thanks."

I am escorted to a small room with three chairs, while Nicole is fetched for me. Led in on a florescent pink leash, Nicole walks to me and sweetly smells my outstretched hands. When I bend down close to her, she sniffs my ear and licks my cheek.

Yep, I want her.

A few minutes later, I walk her to the front desk and fill out an adoption application to be next in line. 

"I'll be back later." I tell them.

And I sit in the car waiting for Scott to arrive. I read my book in the twenty five minutes of waiting, but turn my head to watch people walking into the shelter more than I turn the pages of my book.

Scott meets Nicole and loves her as quickly as I knew he would.

We take her home the following day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Ring Story, Part II

Photo by: Patrick Cummings

Yesterday, while the weather acted like a temperamental toddler, I walked into our local Volvo dealership office. An older gentleman stood there and smiled for me to explain what I needed.
"How much would it cost for you to take out my passenger-side seat?"


"-Ok, I'll tell you why. I got married last Saturday and ON.OUR.WAY. to our honeymoon, my husband was playing with his ring and it fell off of his finger. We're pretty sure it fell down the hole where the seat is bolted in, but we can't reach far enough to get it."
The old man behind the counter chuckled with me.
"I told him to stop playing with it!"

"It'll cost a half an hour's labor. So about $40."

I handed over my bundle of keys and waited in the waiting room reading about racist babies in Newsweek. When the seat was out of the car, I was retrieved and escorted to the garage. The old mechanic shined a light into the hole, while another old man mechanic pulled up the center console, while I stood there hoping for shiny news. After a few minutes of digging his fingers under the car's carpet, I heard,
"A-ha! I see it!"

He handed me the ring and I shoved it onto my thumb. Then I jumped up and down with my arms flaring like an idiot.
"yay! yay!!!"
I just kept saying "yay."

The other mechanics in the garage saw me in my delight and smiled.
One guy hollered from the back room.
"That'll cost you $300!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Back in real life, bills need to be paid, the heat needs to be fixed  and our employers expect our return and this sudden separation invites loneliness to creep in like a hungry, homeless puppy on our back porch.