Two weeks ago on the 4th of July, my sister lost a man she loved very deeply in a tragic motorcycle accident… As I watched her lie there, grief stricken and sobbing, I wracked my brain for ways to make it better. Ways to relate. Initially, I found nothing other than prayer. So pray I did… But still, the sense of helplessness was overwhelming. What do I say? What can I do? What does she need? Water, maybe? Ok, I’ll bring her water… Water. Water was the best I could do? Really? (Come on, Samantha!) So I prayed some more. “Lord, bring her peace. Bring us understanding… Peace… Strength… Understanding…”
My mind (and heart) was then hurled into the past when I had a similar experience many years ago. Nine years, to be exact. Working at the Women’s cash wrap at Sears…
"Oh my gosh, did you hear? Remember that maintenance guy who worked for us last year? He’s a cop now, right? He was in a car accident! Two people died! Yeah… Crazy, right?? Remember him, Sam?"
Did I REMEMBER him?? I had kissed him! I had spent nights in his arms! I had been woken up at 3 and 4am to his phone calls for the last year because he was “bored” at work. In fact, at that moment, I was mad at him for not returning my phone calls and texts for two weeks! So, no. I did not simply “remember” him. I KNEW him… I loved him. And now, wait. What? He might be dead??
Immediately, panic set in. I asked to be excused from work early and sped home, leaving a very emotional message on his voicemail. He could NOT be dead. No… I tore through old newspapers in the garbage (yes, I dug through my garbage), pouring over the pages… Surely if a police officer had been killed, it would be in the paper! But I found nothing. And then… lo and behold, as I was washing what seemed to be jelly and bits of bologna off of my hands, my phone rang. "The Cop" was displayed on the screen of my Motorolla. Praise God. Of course I answered instantly. “Hello??,” I said… And, for a moment, I was frightened that the voice on the other end would not be his. “Hey,” said a dopey, smart-ass voice… and I burst into tears. It was him. He was alive. He was safe.
I wanted to tell him how much he meant to me. How, even when I was annoyed that his 5am text messages woke me up, they still gave me butterflies… But I didn’t. I told him how happy I was that he was ok, blah blah blah, and when he was feeling better, I wanted to see him, blah blah blah. But never, “Hey. FYI- I love you.” I don’t know… It just seemed so selfish in the moment. I didn’t want to make it about me and my feelings.
Last year, again I had a similar instance when new man I loved disappeared one weekend. When my phone rang that Sunday morning and he was on the other line, alive (broken, but alive), I was determined not to miss another chance to tell someone I loved that I loved them. And with a deep breath… I failed. Again. I just sat there in a big sobbing mess. Don’t make it about you, my brain said. It’s not the time. But… when IS the right time? Isn’t love supposed to be a blessing? Then why did it feel like such a burden?
My sister never took the chance to tell her man that she loved him. It haunts her every day… And while my experiences could never compare to the utter devastation that she feels over this loss, all the same… is it wise for me to continue to have this “laissez faire” attitude? OR- do I just throw caution to the wind, because, let’s face it, tomorrow is never promised to us? I try to step out and see the bigger picture. If God had wanted him to know that she loved him, then he would have known, right? I don’t know… I’m torn.
I’ve started drafting a letter to my old love (who I lovingly refer to as “That One Guy I Used to Talk To”- or TOGIUTTT, if you will) in my head. Telling him how I loved him from the first moment I laid eyes on him. How standing in line, all dressed up, outside of a movie premiere in Hollywood, with a song from that stupid Twilight movie playing from a souvenir shop across the street, was LITERALLY a dream of mine manifested into reality. I want to tell him that his mere presence in my life for those brief months, even surrounding the unfortunate circumstances, was absolutely magical… for me.
Me, me, it’s all about me!…(sigh)… How could I send that? Would I be compromising our (now seemingly non-existant) friendship? With everything else going on in his life, would he want to deal with a six paragraph e-mail from a girl who practically compares him to a magical, mythical unicorn who craps out rainbows? Or… do I just write it here? In hopes that he will read it some day…? Maybe I’ll send him a link to this… and, ok, links to several other posts that precede it… but probably not.
The point is moot… I think. Right, TOGIUTTT? Ok.
But… just in case…
[cue Christina Perri’s “Thousand Years”]
I honestly don’t remember what my New Year’s Resolutions were for 2012. A year ago, I rang in 2012 in my pi’s, sobbing into a couch cushion, because three days prior, the “love of my life” picked me up at the airport and promptly told me that he had been lying to me for “a long time”- and that he did NOT, in fact, love me. Maybe ever. Awesome.
It’s amazing how much can happen in a year…
Yes, it was dark and scary in the beginning, and- ok, maybe in the middle too- but the end of the “road,” the end of the heartache, the end of the loneliness and sadness… it has been so much more beautiful than I ever imagined it to be. I’ve loved and I’ve lived more in the past 12 months than perhaps I ever have in the past 10 years. And it’s all because I was free. [cue any and all Christian country music]
If I were ever to run into the aforementioned feminine hygiene product, I would simply say… “Thank you.” (And then finish removing the bits of his eyeball from under my fingernails.) But seriously, I couldn’t be any more grateful… Life is beautiful.
Here’s to another new year filled with way more laughter and way less tears- unless, of course, those tears are from laughing. To that, I say BRING IT ON!!
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Six and a half years ago, I fell in love at first sight. Secretly. Six and a half months ago, in what can only be described as the most bizarre twist of fate in history, he was holding me in his arms and, just for an instant, he was mine… Secretly.
The other day, I could have sworn that I saw him waiting in line outside of a movie theatre, in the rain, with another girl. (How very Zach Braff indie film of him.) And although I spent the next two hours of my life picking up the pieces of my shattered dreams [insert heart in butt], I knew deep down that I’d do it all over again if I had the chance. You see, he held my hand and led me through the crowds outside of a Bruce Springsteen concert once. (*swoon*) And when I kissed him, I had to stand on my tip-toes. And once, while delirious with fever, he told me that he loved me and said, “Just be my girl.” It took every ounce of strength I had not to run to the rooftop and scream “YES!!” loud enough for him to hear 3 miles away.
Truth be told, what we had… or almost had, barely existed in time. Some would say that nothing really even happened. And maybe they’re right. I mean, compared to the great loves of our time, it really WAS nothing… Tristan and Isolde, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Edith and Archie Bunker… And, ok- maybe I never told him how much our “nothing” meant to me. And maybe it was because I dreaded seeing the how-do-I-tell-her-I-don’t-feel-the-same-way-without-hurting-her-feelings look on his beautiful face… But every now and then, I whisper into the cosmos, “… our little nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings”… and hope that, wherever he is, he’s never seen You’ve Got Mail.
Dating in Los Angeles can be tricky… You never really know whatyou’re going to get. In Chicago, you can pretty much assume that your date: a.) is either a Bears or Packers (*vomit*) fan, b.) likes beer, c.) pronounces the number 100- “a’ hunerd,” and/or d.) wears a backwards baseball cap after work and on the weekends. You can also assume that he likes to eat. Like EAT eat. Hot dogs, burgers, fries, Italian subs, taco salad… If you come from a “big pants” family, like I do, you know exactly the type of food I’m talking about. I have grown accustomed to this way of life. I’m a 5’6”, 120lb, size 0 that can put away a plate of hot wings like the offensive tackle you shared a dorm room with in undergrad. It’s normal for me. So imagine my surprise when I move to California and the people (men included) eat, on a daily basis, food such as “steamed quinoa with fresh fruit and goji berries,” or “creamy hemp seed pesto pasta with kelp noodles.” (<—uh…?) Where is the pizza? Where is the Portillo’s roast beef??… Upon further inspection, I found that California just simply does not produce this kind of calorie-laden food. Yes, we have fast food. But it’s not in Beverly Hills! Nay nay! You want McDonald’s? You’re going to have to drive to Koreatown, porky. Thus- I adapted. (And live in Koreatown…) I can now eat certain types of raw sea food without an upchuck reflex, and freshly steamed broccoli makes my mouth water almost as much as the $40 steak it’s sitting next to. (Baked potato with butter and sour cream? What’s that?)
There are just some things I can’t let go of…
Our story begins with the new rash of foreign men I have been dating. Raised in a different country, their tastes are often slightly different than my own. For instance, Israeli homeboy, who I am currently allowing to entertain me, hates cinnamon. Thinks it’s “dees-gustink.” How does a person come to hate cinnamon?! This is bizarre to me… But, then again, I hate olives. To each his own, right? You would think… mais, non!
There we were sitting in a delicious Brazilian BBQ restaurant, my card immediately on green, waiting and ready to go!… The server comes by and offers us slices of this amazing, juicy, still-hot-from-the-grill polish sausage (yum)- when homeboy drops the bomb on me. “I don’t eat pork.” Wwwwwhhooooaaa… Pump. The. Brakes. Um, what? He doesn’t eat pork?? Suddenly, I am watching visions of hot dogs at little league games, and breakfasts in a sunny kitchen nook (the smell of bacon still in the air) slowly die… Silent for a moment, taking it in, I remember- he was born and raised in Israel! Der! “Oh yes! I’m sorry,” I say. “Jewish people aren’t supposed to eat pork, right?” Right! How silly of me… It’s religious thing. It’s fine. I get it. Crisis averted… And as I am considering whether or not to accept this delicious hunk of meak in front of my Jewish friend, he says, “Oh no. I’ve only been to the synagogue like twice in my whole life. I don’t even think I believe in God. My parents eat pork all the time. I just don’t like pork.” Riiiiiiight. “One slice for me, please,” I say to the server, and quietly eat my sausage. That’s one.
A week later, homeboy and I are having a lovely brunch at the Venetian in Las Vegas. I order scrambled eggs. With sausage. AND bacon. (ie- Hangover food. He can get over it.) He orders fruit. Lame. At this point, I’m starting to think this guy IS a fruit (in that he’s nuts (heh), not that he’s gay… although…). The server, acting purely on instinct, places the fruit plate in front of me (“For the lady…”), and the “meat plate” in front of him. My date nearly recoiled in horror at the plate of seared *gasp* pig flesh![Dun dun DUUUNNN!!!] At this point, I was so hungry and annoyed (at my date, not the waiter), I growled, “If you give him my bacon, I will destroy you.” Clearly shaken at my brazen response, the server quickly switched plates, mumbled an apology, and practically ran from our table. (Probably to go spit in our orange juice.) But, what can I say? Fabian the Fruit Boy over here practically gagged at the sight of my savory, delicious bacon. This offends me… Blerg. Whatever. Strike 2.
The following night, we were enjoying a very fancy dinner at an Italian restuarant in the Palazzo. The server brought us garlic bread to nosh on before our meal. Being the effing sweetheart that I am, I offered homeboy the first slice. “Oh, no!” He said, curling his lip. ”I don’t eat garlic.” …Guys. I swear. I tried (I really did) not to sound too judgemental and bitchy when I looked at him incredulously and
shouted replied, “WHY THE FUCK NOT?!!” He shook his head and said, ”I just… it makes your breath smell. I don’t know. I don’t like it. Yuck.” Yuck, indeed. So, I ate the entire g*ddamn loaf.
Strike 3. Please proceed to the dug-out.
Listen, I’m a pretty easy-going, live-and-let-live kinda chick. I can’t tell you the number of times in Chicago that I overlooked a guy’s penchant for Toby Keith music (*facepalm*), or my California boyfriend’s collection of DC footwear. But food… Guys- if you want a future with me, you HAVE love food. If you don’t love to cook it, at least pretend to love to eat it. And for God’s sake, if I say I’m making bacon wrapped jalapeno popper chicken for dinner, it would be in your best interest to eat every frickin bite. (Preferably, with a smile on your face.) XO