I hope one day I’ll find someone. We’ll go on dates and intertwine our fingers. He’ll make me laugh until I snort and I’ll put the twinkle in his eye every time he looks at me. I hope one day he’ll text me “ily” and I’ll respond with a giddy smile. I hope one day he wakes up without me, and wishes that I’d been there, so he could brush my tangled nest of hair off my cheek and bring me up with soft sweet kisses. I hope one day he’ll talk about me to people that I’ve yet to meet, he’ll say “she’s beautiful, smart, funny and sweet.” I hope one day he’ll surprise me with something, a date, a trip, a plan or a gift. He’ll sweep me off my feet in one lift, and seal my toothy smile with one kiss. I hope one day he’ll grab my waist, and caress the soft cotton that drapes around me. He pull me close so I feel his breath on my collar, and sway me under sparkling night skies. I hope one day we’ll spend Friday nights sitting across from each other in city bars, ordering drinks, and paying for cars to take us home where we’ll whisper pillow-top secrets and share kisses. I hope one day we’ll meet by chance, at a cafe or party of a mutual acquaintance.
He’ll start a conversation with me about a movie he’s just seen and I’ll give him my number. One day we’ll be driving around our city with the windows down and I’ll be singing along to my favorite song on the radio drumming my hangs on the wheel. He’ll look over and me smiling and realize in that moment he always wants me there, forever. One day he will call me over and I’ll kiss his cheek and feel his unusually sweaty palms. Drops of champagne will saturate the linen table cloth as he nervously pours our drinks. On this one perfect night he’ll get down on one knee and take my hand and ask to keep me forever and he’ll put something shiny and gold on my finger. I bet I’ll love it, but I won’t know just then, my sight will be clouded by tears of joy. I hope one day I will fall in love.
Most importantly I hope one day I can love someone who loves me for every ounce of my being, who can love the way I see the world, the way I dot my i’s and cross my t’s, and who can love the way I straighten his ties. Until then I’ll travel and write, sing, dance and laugh, experience the world and learn what it is to be myself without him, because before he can ever love me I’ll have to fall in love with myself.
“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”
See magnificent caverns and snow swept Alps.
See the white pueblo Grecian coastline, let the rolling
grasslands of New Zealand take your breath away.
Marvel at ancient wonders
let the elegant reverence of the world’s most beautiful
cathedrals, mosques, and temples still you to silence.
Stare into crystal blue waters tickle white sandy shores.
Sit in unknown Paris cafes sipping chilled espresso.
Leave beads of sweat sparkling behind as you ascend nature’s skyscrapers.
Linger among the mossy green silence of the northern
forests and steam in the colorful chaos of the southern continents.
Run to catch moving trains.
Pay in euros, shillings, pounds, zen and dollars.
Steal a story from every bar and leave a story behind.
Carve your letters into trees and leave your lipstick
behind on gentlemen’s cheeks.
Carry your clothes in a duffle bag and accessorize with
Touch ancient stone smoothed by rushing waters and
wind and human curiosity.
Trade books, trade smiles, trade glances, trade love.
Learn a language, learn to appreciate silence.
Tell someone you love him. Let him break your heart.
Piece it back together in Prague, Venice, Lima, in
another, whose hands are rough but whose eyes are
spread your laughter around the world.
Sing in unmarked valleys and whimsical palaces.
To lovers fight, to leaves crunch, to birds sing, to guitars
and synthesizers and heartbeats and bass.
Keep a diet of wine and bread, feed your soul with each
hour of everyday.
Bath in sunsets, and wake to sunrises, live in nature’s most delicate hues.
Run away from things, run to them, run with them.
Take your time, be in a rush.
Be a part of the world.
Don’t have a home, make life your home.
Get lost in airports, get lost in cities, get lost in
conversation, and get lost in love.
"It just feels weird when you’re not here. The place changes. The air, it almost feels stiff… colder."
"I can’t help but think that you’re doing this on purpose, leading me here."
"How could you say that?"
"Well, somehow the radiator keeps breaking and since I’m the only repair man within fifty miles I find it an interesting coincidence."
"Come off it"
"I’m not sure I ever will."
"Well not with that attitude."
"It’s just based on what you’ve told me I don’t even have a choice. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s so no matter how hard I try, I don’t think I’ll ever remember that I’m your husband. I am so sorry."
"You always give up so easily Charles. First our marriage, now this! Unbelievable!"
"What do you think?!"
"For someone who just barged onto my set, yelling and demanding things from me, frightening my actors, and ruining my entire production you sure have a LOT of nerve!”
"I’m sorry if I come off as rude it’s just the last thing I expected to find was you people shooting a porn in my living room while I was off vacationing in Costa Rica!"
"Well maybe think about that next time you think it wise to come home early."
Chapter One: Special Announcement
The bus rounded the corner of East Spring Street muffled by a heavy morning fog. I kicked my worn red Converse at a small perennial that’d broken through the sidewalk’s concrete squares and listened for the soft mechanical whine of the bus as it stopped in front of me. The doors of the bus creaked open and I looked up to the familiar face of Ms. Patridge.
“Morning there, Charlie-Boy.” She said with kind eyes before taking a sip of coffee from her Green Bay Packers travel mug, a dangerous choice considering her route was through a small suburb just outside Chicago, Illinois. She made a slight frown as the bitter taste rinsed through her mouth. I rummaged in the right pocket of my khaki cargo shorts until I produced a sugar packet. I had packed it after she mentioned struggling with a “black coffee kick” for the past two weeks.
“Ms. P you really need to stop trying to cut back on the sugar, sometimes it’s just necessary.”
She sat shocked as I placed the packet on her dashboard, not picking it up until I turned to make my way down the aisle of the bus.
“I like your shirt.”
“How’s it going Charlie?”
The friendly greetings erupted as I walked between the rows of benches on the Capersfield Elementary school bus.
I’m Charlie Fortes, president of the fourth grade. I’m not sure exactly how I got the title; there were no formal campaigns or anything. Most kids would agree it happened sometime around first grade when I accidentally drank a glass of sour milk and threw up on the pile of surprise assessments Mrs. Finkle had planned on testing us with later that day. Anyway the accident built me up a lot of school cred and for the next two years I learned the ins and outs of my grade; who hung out with who, what they liked, and what they all wanted. I used my knowledge to keep Capersfield Elementary a relatively safe and happy place.
“Can we listen to Lana?” Talina asked.
“To that the answer is always yes. I told you she’d get to you,”
“Yeah, yeah.” Talina scrolled through my iPod and National Anthem faded into the back speakers with Lana Del Rey’s low seductive voice vibrating through the cold air. At the chorus we joined in “Tell me I’m your national anthem! Red, white, blue is in the sky. Summers in the ai—
Suddenly the music cut out.
Her doe eyes widen even more and she looked around for my phone.
I didn’t do anything she said glancing at the screen. I looked at the radio, which was obscured by Starbucks cups.
“Muvate, pinche blanca” I jeered at her in Spanish, which I only ever used to sound ridiculous, in this case it meant “Move the cups, fucking white girl.”
He’s sucking my bottom lip, his name is David. He’s studying finance in South Carolina. He’s taller then me, but not by much and certainly not now while his rolling his tongue around my face, because I’m in heels. He’s nice enough, a few crooked front teeth, short brown hair, and the decency to confine his hands to the area above my ass, though they frequently slip under my crop top. But here using my mouth as his tongue’s punching bag, I’ve lost interest.
He began simple enough, the sea of people around us began counting down, “10, 9, 8…” I began looking around the room for my two roommates, who’d I’d decided long ago I’d rather be spending this moment with. “3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!” I didn’t even acknowledge 2014 with a smile, instead I began to pull away from David, still consumed by my search, until I felt his fingers brushing the hair out of my face. “I hate when your hair covers your eyes.”
Deciding to acknowledge he was there I turned my head back towards him. “Oh yeah my mom hates that too.”
In and around my mouth. Great, so very romantic that the thought never occurred to him to maybe open with a simple and sweet New Years kiss and then take it from there. No, he’s just gonna have a bite of the whole cake, and I’m just gonna stand here for the next 4 seconds while he licks off my deep dark red MAC lipstick.
But I then caught myself and thought well, you’re not being fair. He pulled away, and I stopped looking over his shoulder at the crowd. I’ve never kissed anyone before and well, with no one I knew in sight, and this not so horrible David in front of me I might as well try to learn something. I smiled at him and thought to myself maybe actually give a little effort. I closed my eyes and leaned in, we were at it again, open, close, open, close. My mind couldn’t stop thinking how much this…
I pulled away quicker and looked slightly down at him again. Okay, you get one more chance, go in slow, maybe he’ll get the suggestion. I went in for it, lips shut tight, intending for a soft kiss or two, that would open into a gentle make-out, maybe I’d run my fingers through his hair or grasp his face. Maybe he’d run a hand down my spine and pull me in closer ,his hot breath on my neck, maybe we’d bob our heads swapping side to side as they do so often in the movies. Or just maybe I’d get butterflies in my stomach and feel light in the head as our lips danced us into a world of erotic affection.
None of these things happened. Instead as I leaned in for our third affair my sealed kiss was met by his opened mouth and he proceeded to violate my attempt at romance and opted for slurping at my bottom lip like a straw. My eyes opened and eyebrows furrowed in annoyance of what I was experience, or more accurately the lack of what I wasn’t experiencing. What am I doing wrong, I really tried, I took a breath I closed my eyes, it’ just so… boring.
Then, it suddenly hit me.
David was interested in finance, he wanted to work for a big company, someday up on Wall Street, he wanted a 401k and a pension and to wake up in his pristine matte grey loft and tote his jet black briefcase out the front door. We didn’t share any exciting conversations, revelations, or stories. He never laughed at any of my jokes, and he never made any jokes for me to laugh at. TIme never stole us away from the world disguised in intriguing conversation or passionate confessions. Our feet were firmly on the ground at all times and he had no desire to poke his head into the clouds. Earlier when we’d been dancing he lead me on the floor only to pull me in close and sway slowly, pressed tightly together to upbeat techno music. His stiff dancing and rhythmic jaw movements from our later spit swapping session matched his lack of passion for life and excitement and the now and the future. Then only thing he was less passionate about besides me, was probably himself, and that all together was the major turn off but mostly just really sad.
So I look back on David now, a whopping four days later, and figure out what I learned about myself that night gets me even more excited about the year and what it has to offer. I got over my initial panic that maybe I was asexual and I’d grow old alone missing out on what may be the only magical thing about life and figured out David was just a boring guy that taught me how not to make out with people and to avoid those who have lost any glimpse of excitement for themselves, because how could they ever be excited about you?
2014 you’re promising.
It’s not there, the gap between her thighs. Her bra holds in two petite lumps all while carving others into her sides and back. She feels the weight of gravity around her neck as she looks down ever so slightly. She’s not hungry, she’s bored. Her mother points out the skin on her calves as it’s stretched tightly to accommodate excess gain in her sedentary lifestyle.
She holds back bitter tears in the dressing rooms.
Her mother says she’ll never attract anyone that way. Her mother offers her another serving.
She lets the saltwater slide down her round cheeks in the bathroom.
Her mother says this new tea will clean out her system. Her mother offers her a pill, her mother offers her a syringe.
She rolls her eyes and pushes her mother away. She chops through a crisp lettuce head. Her mother just made cookies, her mother offers her one. It takes every fiber of her being too resist. She’s not hungry anyway, she never is. She goes to the gym and runs in sync to her favorite love songs. Her back stops aching. She walks to class and resists the temptation to snack. Her face thins out. She does pushups and crunches before climbing into bed every night. Her shirts fall looser and pants fasten smoother. Her mother sees a difference.
Her mother is proud.
Her mother wants to celebrate, where should we eat? Her mother wants to know. She doesn’t care. Her mother says the Olive Garden. She feels sick inside. She reaches for her third breadstick.
Haven’t you had enough? Her mother stirs water around a glass
She grows hot in ferocity. She eats it in retaliation. Have you not noticed?! Have you missed what I’ve accomplished? I did it without taking advice from you. I took my own actions.
Meanwhile her mother is congratulating herself I prayed for you I did, and as soon as I did you started looking better, I helped you, I did this for you. I did this to you. Her mother says she’s fallen off track, Her mother says,
I need to go to the gym more, I haven’t been in ages. I don’t have time.
She says, Well how about now?
I’m too tired
Oh well, I’m going, see yo—
You’re not going, it’s too late
She puts her sweats back on. She goes through her entire DVR. Her face blemishes and sugar coats her teeth. Her thighs ripple and her breath grows heavy. Her heart begins to race and she adjusts her spot on the couch. She feels ugly, she says so. Her mother disagrees, her mother thinks she’s beautiful. Her mother says she has all the right features. Her mother said if she were just to loose ten pounds…
Her mother says she has so much potential.
It’s a pair of sneakers, a worn pant cuff, stained from that hiking trip we took last fall. Two knobby knees that always manage to get in the way of him and everyone else around. It’s a small waist that houses a fragile back pocket with his father’s old leather wallet and car keys. The t-shirt that graces over the top of his pants is soft and intoxicating, on account he uses too much fabric softener, despite all the warnings from his mother that it’ll damage his clothing. His arms, long and lanky, dangle down until they’re cupped at his hands by twin front pockets. His face is hidden behind dark expressive eyes that watch me with calm amusement as he sits across the table from my renditions of the day’s events. He laughs at the stupidest puns, but he laughs at everything, because he understands life’s fleeting and to dwell on dumb little things would be a waste of all the precious moments. It’s the unfamiliar bed I don’t curl up in, with a warm and heavy arm wrapped around my side. It’s the lack of sweatshirts I promise I’ll return but keep unwashed and hung by the door. It’s not having his number in my phone under the name “Sweetheart” and texting him to come over and watch reruns of Saturday Night Live on VH1. Mostly it’s that sad realization that in the past twenty years of my life he’s never existed, and apart from innocent kindergarten kisses to wake me from spell induced slumbers, my love life has remained in quarantine. A condition which may very well last forever.
waiting for the other shoe to drop
- (idiomatic) To defer action or decision until another matter is finished or resolved.
- (idiomatic) To await a seemingly inevitable event, especially one that is not desirable.