Re-post: For the taking-Part II

I had a spot where I went to think, to write, to just be. I shared it with others. Sometimes we would drive a friend's dirt bike around the area; other times we would climb down to the creek, skip stones, cross at all the low points, sit along the "shore". We shared the day's events, the plans for the weekend, our fears, our dreams, silly jokes, laughs.

I shared this place with Kevin. It was the place we hung out after school, when we both wanted to hide from home, from parents, from aching stresses. It somehow became "our" place.

I went there after the paramedics arrived.

I parked, slid down the dirt to the shore of the creek, grabbed some stones to throw. I couldn't quiet my insides. I didn't know what to do with myself.


I heard through mutual friends that he was okay. He was now forced to take notice of his blood sugar, and be responsible with his diabetes. He hadn't eaten, and he didn't have anyone who noticed. If I hadn't of stopped by....well.

We somehow started talking on the phone. Someone told him I had found him. He thanked me. I cried.


I graduated high school without ever seeing him again. I started college, discovered college boys, fell hard for a guy in my Tuesday/Thursday History class.

A park was built around our place, a running path shadowing the curve of the creek. Houses went up in the field. I ran 3 miles a day on that path. At the 3rd curve, I would stop, stare down at the creek, and ache. Wonder where he was, how he was, if he was still playing the guitar, skateboarding in the dark, wishing for his "perfect drug". I was so dramatic.


To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how we found one another. All I know is I got ahold of an address, I wrote a letter, and received a response. He was in California. Had moved there with his younger brother and mom, who was recently remarried. He was clean & sober. He was eating.

He called me. We began talking all the time. I had to buy phone cards. I would lie on the driveway under the pear tree, stare at the stars, and listen to his voice. My life revolved around those phone calls. I would write lyrics & send them to him. He would write music to them, and play the melody over the phone for me.

We made plans. I applied to a college near his home. He got a job. He started looking for apartments. We wrote one another non-stop; I would receive at least one letter a day. There was an old house several blocks from the beach with our names on it; he'd called me as soon as he'd seen it. I can still close my eyes and imagine my sitting on the front steps with a journal on my knees, while he skateboarded on the sidewalk.

We made plans. I was his for the taking.

He was lonely there. His brother was growing up, and had his own friends. His mother was a newlywed. He was sober. I convinced him to apply for jobs, make new friends. We were counting down the days until I would be there.

He got a job, made a few friends. He sounded happy. He would call me late at night, and tell me how peaceful it was to sit along the rocky part of the shore at dawn, just before he surfed. He promised to take me there; it would be our new "place".

The phone calls became a bit sporadic, the letters almost non-existent. I would call and his mother would answer, telling me he wasn't home from work. I worried. That bitch with no self-esteem took over-I was afraid maybe he didn't want me after all? Maybe he didn't want me to move out there? Maybe...?

When we did talk, he was vague, saying he was working extra hours to save up for our house together.

One day I met the mailman at the edge of my driveway, pulling in from class. He handed me two letters: One was an acceptance letter from the college near his home. The other had a California postmark, but I didn't recognize the handwriting. I sat down on the driveway hard, when I read it.

It was from some chick, telling me to leave him the fuck alone, that he had moved on to better things, and suggesting that I do the same. It ended with something about how he was great in bed. My mind twisted those words around and around until I felt like vomiting. I don't even know.

If she was hoping to upset me, she succeeded. I called his house, and got his mother. She was pretty upset, saying she hadn't seen him in three days.

I called back a few days later. She still hadn't seen him. She had a bad feeling, and so did I.

He didn't stay sober. He never called me back. He never wrote me again.

I didn't move to California. I didn't transfer to the school there. And I didn't hear from him for 12 years.


Re-post: For the taking-Part 1

Originally posted 1/26/10. Reposting so I can finally finish his story. 
When I wrote this post, I didn't know what I know now. I was in an oblivious stupor, something I wish I could take back.

As I said in that post, I haven't written about him other than the brief entry here. But I am going to do it now. I have to.

Here is what I previously wrote about him:

"I met him when I was almost 17. It was a hard, dark, lonely time in my stupid teenaged life. He was younger than me, by 2 years. I remember standing at my locker, and feeling someone's eyes on me. When I turned around, he was across the hall, staring. When I caught him staring, he blushed, but did not turn away. He maintained eye contact, and amazingly, smiled. There was weeks of this before I finally broke a mutual friend, begging for him to introduce us. I shouldn't have been nervous or worried.

We met in the hall. We were both late to class; the bell had already rang. I was so down that day; I was staring into my locker, when he said my name. I turned around and there he was, same smile, same shine in the eyes.

I fell hard for him. My friends made fun of me, since he was 2 years younger than me. It was I who picked him up when we would get together; he didn't have his license. He was quiet but not with me. He was silly, goofy, kooky with me. He was so brilliantly talented with music. He was one of the first in well over a year that I allowed to read my poetry. I opened my journals and my heart to him. He wasn't like any of the others. He didn't dress like them, he didn't act like them (other than the quiet part). He acted as though I was fragile when we were together, but helped me break myself when I needed it. He taught me to skateboard (I sucked). We talked on the phone for hours. We laid on my driveway & stared at stars while telling one another our deepest thoughts, our strongest fears.

I took his virginity. He broke my heart. Twice. He deserted me when I needed him so badly, the first time. The second time he deserted me, he fell deep into drugs. I couldn't forgive him, for years. I spent YEARS hurting because of him, because of us. I still get angry & disgusted when I think about how we ended. I still ache when I think of his eyes, his voice, his devotion, his dreams."

His name was Kevin.

He was the middle child. His older brother was the same age as me, in the same grade, but never around. He had a younger brother that he was really protective of. His father wasn't around, and his mother worked hard to provide for her boys. I vaguely remember a boyfriend of his mom's, and Kevin telling me that he didn't really like the guy, that the guy scared the shit out of him and his younger brother.

When we met, he smoked weed with other friends in my group. But when he heard from a mutual friend that shit bothered me, he stopped. At least for awhile.

When we were all hanging out, there were times we would drink. And he was a lush. It still makes me smile, thinking of him stumbling all over the place in our friend's house one night. He had two left feet when he was drunk, and he was a gigglebox.

I remember our first kiss, full of beer & Skittles, lust & fear. He was leaned against the living room wall of the now-abandoned home of one of our friends. Why do I remember the look in his eye, but not the taste of his lips?

He was full of music and life. He encouraged me to write. I argued with him about his diabetes. He played the bass guitar while I wrote lyrics to songs still unsung. We fell asleep on the phone many times- I would wake in the morning to the dial tone at the other end of the phone. Or, sometimes, the soft purr of his snore.

He said sweet things that he meant, that crushed my heart.

He was non-judgemental, and careless with his blood sugar.

I took his virginity. I cried.

He wanted more; I wanted more.

Somehow, we wanted different things.

I remember arguing in the kitchen of my father's house. I remember seeing an anger I had never seen before, directed towards me. I let him walk out the door.


Months went by; the rest of the summer burned off, and school started again. I would hear his laugh in the halls sometimes, and my stomach would drop.

I really missed him.

I had heard from others that he was doing drugs, skipping school, working to help his mother pay the bills. I heard he was still ignoring his blood sugar.

I am not made of magic, but I drove by his house anyway, skipping class.

I stood outside the door, nervous and close to tears. He didn't answer. I walked around back, hoping no one saw me. I knew how to sneak in the back door.

I slid up the stairs to the room he shared with his younger brother, melodies luring me behind his closed door. I knocked, whispered his name.

I opened the door and found him sprawled on his bed. He looked peaceful.

He wouldn't wake up.

I'll spare you the details, but I can say that I have never pushed a needle in someone's skin before, or since. I heard my blood rush in my ears. I couldn't breathe. I called 911. I shook him awake, barely. Blood sugar. I ran down the stairs, let the paramedics in, and bailed.

That was the last time I ever saw him.


My girl

Tonight I tickled my girl until she lost her breath.
Tonight she said to me: "Will you put me in your pocket so I can be with you all the time?"
Tonight we kissed each other all over, in silly spots, like our earlobs and between our fingers.
Tonight she gave me raspberries on my belly.
Tonight she brushed my hair out of my face and told me I was beautiful.
Tonight she told me she wants to be near me forever, even when I'm old and crabby.
Tonight she held my hand as we laid in bed together, telling me she was happy.

I am still holding my breath.

RemembeRED writing prompt-Worst memory

We all have them.
Memories that we wish we could forget…things that we wish we could banish from our minds.
Imagine that writing down your worst memory will free you of it.
What is it?
Why does it haunt you?
What could you have done differently?
Write it down and let it go.

We pulled into the parking lot of the 8 story office building. My father and I were in the front seat of his Explorer, my 7 year old brother in the back, Nike hat pulled down dangerously low. I didn't need to see those eyes to know what he was thinking. We had both seen her car in the parking lot.
We walked in, so close that our arms were lightly grazing one another, yet not talking, not touching, no eye contact. Stepping off the elevator, our father took the lead, walking down the long hallway with purpose. I went next, reaching out behind me with my hand, searching for his. He grumbled, touching my fingers with his.
The waiting area was empty; she was already in the office.
This was the first family session.
We walked into the room in the same single-file line, except he dropped his hands to his sides when he saw her.
I don't remember the words, just the emotions, like sparks passing between each one of us. Dark eyes, full of rage. Anger. Betrayal. Hurt. Shame. Resignation. Myself, the people pleaser. My brother, full of rage. My father, the antagonist. My mother? Well, I still don't know what verbs or adjectives to use there.
At some point, my brother and I were asked to go out into the waiting area while the therapist spoke with our parents.
I had to drag him out. Screaming, crying, cursing, kicking, smacking, punching, scratching.
In the waiting area, I had to wrestle him into my lap, in this pseudo leg lock move, with half his body being squeezed by my thighs. I fought his hands, swift and forceful. He pulled my hair, scratched at my face, punched me over and over and over and over.

I will never forget the sound of his cry, full of pain and rage and denial and lost dreams.
It broke my heart. I talked through our tears, purring comfort...to no avail. I realized I wasn't going to win this fight, so I stopped protecting myself from the blows. I let him beat on me until he was worn out, exhausting us both. And then: heaving and shaking, there was a quiet moan deep in his throat. He stared at my knee.

On the drive home, I sat in the backseat with him, his head in my lap, both of us crying quietly. My father kept trying to talk to him, to me, but I asked him to JUST STOP. My brother looked up at me, communication between us loud and clear. I ran my fingers through his hair, wiped his tears, rocked him to the rhythm of his moaning.

This memory haunts me still, 17 years later. It swirls within me, makes me ache, reminds me how much I despise divorce and broken dreams and shattered hopes. If I could have taken all of his hurt, his rage, I would have. If I could have replaced all of it with wonder and hope, I would have. If I could have healed, helped.

I walk on eggshells, hoping my daughter doesn't have this experience, that she will never ache like my brother did, like I did, like I do.

I could do without this memory. 



I have lost my mojo, my need to write, my voice, my desire to exercise, my oomph to better myself, my sass to flirt and open myself up to something wonderful with a man. I don't want to read, or write, or watch TV, or hang out with friends, or grab a coffee or beer and people watch. I love these things. Yet all I want to do is sleep.

I have lost me.

I know the signs. I know what to do, and I did it today. I know it will help, but I can't get past all the negativity floating around in my life right now. I can't get away from my negative bank account, or my past due bills, or the things I need to buy for my girl (who starts 1st grade next week, oh.my.wow.), or the sadness that old friends have fallen off the radar, or the bullshit with the ex, or my loneliness. I can't hide from my anger or my bitterness, that spills over at the most uncomfortable times.

Oh, but I try. I push down the anger and bitterness, and send it back to the deep recesses of my gut. When my melancholy and 'What could have been' get out of control, I turn my back on it.

My loneliness? It never leaves. It strangles and hangs on my body, like an extra limb I didn't know I had, and will probably never grow comfortable with.

All day I work at being positive and hopeful and joyful. And it works. For everyone else. And I will say that a bit of that hope is alive within me; it won't ever leave. As long as I have my girl, I will have hope.

But this act? This gig? It is exhausting.

So I sleep: Instead of walking the dog and exercising, I curl up in a ball and cuddle with my girl, breathing in the scent of her gorgeous hair, until she drifts off. Then I match her breathing, and drift off on my own, where I'm at the mercy of my dreams.

And my dreams? They are cruel and merciless and breathtaking and satisfying and telling. My mind and heart are battling, yet I can't figure out if they are battling one another or battling something else as a team.

I don't wake feeling rested. I wake up out of breath, with heartache the size of so many broken things.

So I pray.

Yet, I have lost my ability to pray. I am down to two simple, yet powerful words:

Please, God.

I am waiting for them to work.