Intermission

…Please stand by.

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Seven

Is there another world you know?
I’m keeping a rigour on the snow. 

To wait and see

See it quiver from below

Below the leaves.

On loving that heavenly face…

Time is the only thing I know
The middle of your mixed up six words
Nothing more.

My love is proud, my love is small

My love is a Friday pouring
And a black wave cresting and
Crashing down the living room shore.

You say it in a foreign tongue.

…But you don’t know a thing, about the things I’ve done.

Jump

Everyone can be obsessive, and we all have our own weird little ticks and idiosyncrasies. My tick is the repetitive stating of a singular word when I’m thinking. Well… primarily when I’m brainstorming. Like a loop, the word never leaves my thought process and it’s almost always a word. Yet this week, it was a name.

From the moment I got out of bed, to second I started walking around, the syllables became a secondary beat to my step, and when I was working, it stuck to every page I turned. At night when I’d climb into bed, I’d lie there looking up at the ceiling and there it was, hovering above my mind like a firefly stuck in a mason jar.

Their name was the last thing I thought about right before I closed my eyes…

 

 

Chelci Anna Hone…‘Where are you tonight’?

 

 

 

Writers block is a nuisance, yet it’s expected, and I usually know when it will hit because I’ll slowly start to become void of any feeling. When that happens it’s almost always the end result of deeply navigating and deciphering my emotions.

Really, I think it’s a way for my brain to recharge from over-analyzing, thinking and over-observing, because as a writer, it’s all you ever do. Your brain can only absorb so much before it becomes clouded and that’s what writers block is – it’s a mental fog.

The last time I had a really bad block was when my daughter died and I could barley write my own address, let alone a full narrative. The other time before that was when I was in love…my deep consuming love. Both took a few months to recover from and when I came out of it, my focus was stronger.

Every writer has their own way of alleviating the problem and there are literally hundreds of ways for one to get through a bad block; we all have our own methods.

For me, I typically have sex, which is easy to get, however, I’m sort of taking a temporary vow of celibacy and masturbation doesn’t always have the same effect.

So for weeks I tried, other, more productive approaches, like running, hiking or sketching but when I sat down to mold my words, the only thing that ever came out were really shitty haikus and jumbled free writing.

Since I hated feeling this flaccid, I called my ex-boyfriend. Again, not for sex…he does not, in any way, induce any sort of eroticism for me anymore but I needed him for his brain.

He’s a really deep, analytical thinker and he’s great at knowing how to ask the right questions to get a conversation going, and sometimes a good deep talk can move my thoughts into the right direction.

After taking a few shots of Wild Turkey, ordering take-out and hearing about his Tinder nightmares, he started in with his questions, which were mostly about my love life – or lack thereof.

Since I was having a hard time feeing anything, all of my answers were one-worded responses. Then again it could be that the topic of having little romance in my life only depresses me more, and maybe that’s why I couldn’t yield better feedback.

It wasn’t long after we ate that I found myself sitting in his love sac, scratching my belly button and binge watching four-hours of Silicon Valley, while he did his taxes. Basically it was just another Friday night and when I walked out his door to leave, he kissed my forehead and verbally willed my brain to work – It didn’t, my block was still there.

More friends tried to get me to be social but that failed too, because during a bad bout of writer’s block, I’m quiet, and those skills are muted.

This doesn’t make me a lot of fun to be around, and everyone can tell because you can feel it when I text, hear it when I talk and notice it in in my lack of focus. It’s almost like something’s ‘missing’.

As for timing, it couldn’t have been worse. It fell on the week of my birthday, and that day already makes me feel a little sad and numb. Adding writers block to the mix, only leaves an irritated writer.

My only birthday wish, ‘please get me through this block’.

 

 

 

Thirty-seven, is a pretty uneventful number in the big scheme of things. Thirty-six was definitely more exciting, because in that year I did learn a few things, for example, always roll your 401K into your Roth IRA, when you leave a job. Don’t forget that – it’s really important.

Also, never blindly trust anyone, but you can let them think you do. When you give to another, observe how they give back, not to take tally but to see if they’re going to take advantage.

People will lie to you, a lot… and words are always empty until you see action. Don’t be disappointed when someone lets you down, especially when you could see it from the start.

When you love someone… tell them. You’re far too old to play games with another person’s emotions and direct acknowledgement of affection, leaves no room for second guessing your intent.

Never get love advice from straight male friends, because those friends only want to fuck you and they’ll lead you in the wrong direction. It’s just like men going to their female friends for advice, if she likes you, don’t trust her guidance and we all know when someone likes us, even if they’re just a ‘friend’.

Lastly, validate the ones you care about. If they’re mad, give them the green light to be mad. Always ask if they want to talk about it and be genuine when they do. Basically, be authentic because life is too short to be anything but.

 

 

Something else I learned…well always knew, but sometimes forget.

Write. What. You. Know.

 

 

This year, my best friend threw me a ‘surprise’, birthday party that I knew about because I had to find a sitter. The plan was to meet at her house, smoke a little pot, leave to dinner and finish the night barhopping through the city.

By the time I got to her house I was running late, sort of in a rush and on the phone with another friend, all the while hearing her in the background saying how we needed to hurry, because everyone else was at the restaurant waiting.

I hate being late.

Before I knew it, we were out the door and in the vehicle of a Lyft driver named Jon who drove a truck that was almost too high for me to climb into and who kept making references about bikes that I was too high to understand. Once he dropped us off behind the restaurant, the three of us walked down an ally and that’s when it hit. Instinct.

When people give me advice, I listen to a few, however the one thing that has never failed me is my instinct. It’s saved me from being raped in the apartment of co-worker, and from being murdered after a guy decided to follow me home from the subway.

My instinct has woken me up in the middle of the night when someone I love has died, it’s told me when I would get into a car accident, before I left my garage, and it keeps me at bay when I know someone wants me to back off.

It’s great to have when I first meet someone and it’s always a good gauge on the kind of night I’ll end up having.

The ally wasn’t the problem, it was wide and well lit but as we walked closer towards the end, I felt weird. At first I thought it was the culmination my birthday and my writer’s block but once we got to the opening of the second street, it was worse and then I realized that it was an alarm, or internal warning. My body was telling me that something was going to happen and that it wouldn’t be good. When my gut wrenched, I tried to ignore it – something you should never do.

 

 

———-

 

 

 

Shock is a stroke of all five senses. You can hear but you’re not listening. You can see but you don’t notice the color, you can smell but there’s no aroma, you can taste but there’s no flavor and you can feel but there’s no sensation. If you’ve ever had a near death experience, then you know that slow calming feeling you get, right before you die – that’s shock. You see the end before it hits.

This isn’t new feeling for me, just a buried one. My eyes have been a witness to some pretty grotesque things. When I covered crime I saw stabbings, gunshots, near decapitation, beaten dead bodies of infants and lastly, suicide.

These things make me a little morbid because they have a way of never leaving your mind and the images are so seared into your cortex, they tend to create a visual association when you look at other things unrelated.

So when my birthday, turned crime scene, familiarity set in and all I wanted to do, was something that has been drilled into my brain by past editors: Find out the facts, leave out emotion and don’t release any name until you have confirmation that the family has been notified. Yet this time I couldn’t, because I’m not a journalist anymore, now I’m just a bystander.

 

 

 

Then it happened. My block was gone.

 

 

 

 

Parking garages are scary and at night they’re terrifying, especially if you’re a woman because there’s a constant fear that you’ll be attacked at any minute.

That evening I think she was already feeling pretty careless, because the darkened garage didn’t seem to faze her. She came from the west side of town and I can only wonder how well she knew the area, because although she was from Utah, she grew up in Florida.

It was almost 9:30 pm on March 11th and I imagined her dark wavy hair, hitting the middle of her back, swaying back and fourth with each step, her mind focused looking for the elevator to take her to the sixth level – the top.

My mind could see it; she stood above us, six stories high, straddling the side of the cement barrier. Her view from above showed the lights throughout the city, and if she wanted, she could trace them to reach out into the sprawl, like incandescent veins laid out in a grid.

The air felt more like summer, than it did early spring, and that day it was unseasonably warm. The high was sixty-five degrees and the little breezes were just as balmy.

The crowd yelled at her to stop and another woman pulled out her phone and started calling 911.  By this time, her legs were completely over the side, dangling against the wall and her eyes, red with tears looking down.

 

 

 

When the breeze stopped… she jumped.

 

 

 

Her body floating lifelessly, with arms outstretched, her dark hair in the wind swirling around her face, she looked serene and still. Her body hit quick, landing partially on a pedestrian walking towards the shops.

His body, which softened the blow, still didn’t stop her from dying. When she hit the sidewalk, the sound was like that of a bowling ball being smashed into the pavement.

She lay there; limp, with eyes open, landing fifty feet from my group and two feet away from an electric car parking spot.

 

 

Chelci Anna Hone, ‘Where are you going tonight’?

 

 

When I turned around, the look of shock and panic were on everyone’s face. The woman, who called 911, was now sitting at the end of the bar, white and pale, eyes wide with a small glass of whisky in her hand.  My best friend looked over at me and said, “well…happy birthday”.

This is the second jumping I’ve been around.  The first was when I was living in Philadelphia and the scream of my neighbor woke me up when another woman jumped off a building across the street. That woman landed on a parked Daewoo and I went back to bed before the ambulance came.

 

This was different though. Chelci Anna Hone was different.

 

The woman in Philadelphia was seventy-three, riddled with cancer, lived alone and didn’t want to burden her adult children with her medical expenses. So she decided to die because of a broken medical system and for that, I don’t blame her.

Chelci was twenty-six, worked at Starbucks, wasn’t married and didn’t have kids. She loved puzzles, science and painting. In high school she joined the ROTC and she loved to fly.

Her fall into death put a few things into perspective. One, my birthday isn’t that bad. Two, I’m not that old. This girl, taking the high-dive into pavement was – and three: The younger you are the less you understand the gravity of your choices.

We’ve all made mistakes, my biggest fuck-up also happens to be my biggest secret, which why only two of my best friends and family know. Still, even as awful as mine is, I’m not about to jump off a building, even when I wanted to. It’s been years since my major regret and in no way does it define me at this point in my life, at least not to those who love me.

Then again if you’re depressed, I understand that too. The majority of my twenties I was depressed because I lacked the coping skills to manage it.

As I’ve gotten older, I still get a little seasonal depression but I know what things can make it worse and so I avoid them. Plus, I have a good memory to remind me not to repeat bad choices and even better self-control. If I start to dwell, I put it out of mind, work out and then revisit it when the blow has softened. As for relationships, I do give second chances, however, I have an incredible ability to detach and become cold when I know someone isn’t deserving of my affection.

Yet, these skills took me almost a decade to hone and they’re a by-product of shitty lessons.

As our group was deciding on where to go next, I couldn’t help but think about what had just happened. Hundreds of people just witnessed a woman take a leap to her death and here we were, trying to find a bar that would have the cheapest beer.

The rest of the night, what we saw would sneak it’s way back into the conversation, but after twelve birthday drinks, Chelci Anna Hone was a blur.

When I woke up the next day, I managed to drag myself to the gym and when I started running, she was all I thought about. When I got home, I needed to recover from my hangover, so I climbed into bed and there she was again.

 

Her eyes, wide open.

 

Suicide was the first narrative piece I ever wrote about. My family has a long history of putting themselves out of their misery; all of them have been men. My grandfather drank wine laced with iodine, my cousin shot himself in the head at a gun range. Another two cousins: Overdoses.

They way I view suicide is maybe a little unorthodox. We don’t choose to be born, so why can’t we choose when to die? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate for killing yourself and I really don’t encourage a suicide where you take out other people in the process.

When someone decides to die, I think it the truest form of succumbing to ones impulses and most of the people I know who’ve tried have regretted it seconds after, and none of them had a ‘plan’. Another thing: you can’t stop someone when his or her mind is made up.

We all know that death affects those that are left behind more than it does the person dying, and when you choose your death, it seems to really piss people off because your suicide offends everyone you’ve ever cared about.

Aunts and cousins you hated will call you ‘selfish’, or condemn you to ‘hell’, and none of that will matter to you, but it’s a great way to drive the pain in deeper for those that do.

As for being selfish – the biggest accusation of suicide.  Well, if you don’t have kids or anyone you’re responsible for, then okay, fine, do what you need to do. People will be mad, they’ll mourn you, your parents will be inconsolable, and the one asshole you hated at work will go to your funeral and tell everyone how close you two were, and you can’t do shit about it, because you’re dead.

When they clean out your room, they’ll find all your embarrassing poetry from eighth grade and the love letters you wrote to boys, that you never had the balls to deliver. They’ll open your computer and see all the porn you had hidden in files labeled under, ‘recipes’ and that old broken vibrator, the one you forgot to toss – they’ll find that too, under a pile of dirty clothes in your closet.

 

In death you’ll be exposed.

 

 

Aside from everyone finding out what a fraud you are, you’ll also be forgotten sooner than you thought. Parents and family members will remember you, but everyone else won’t. Your best friend will move on and so will every single person you’ve ever fucked. You’ll be the ‘ex that died’ and they’ll meet someone new, have kids and get married. They’ll live the life you were too scared to go through.

 

And that’s really what suicide is. It’s Fear.

 

It’s fear about finances; it’s a fear about being alone after love has left. It’s fear of living a full life, because a full life takes a lot of fucking work and it’s not easy. There’s daily bullshit with jobs, kids and managing your time to provide you some minor enjoyment with what’s left of a busy day.

As for the freedom we think we have, well that’s a lie; we’re given an idea of what we should want out of our pathetic lives – a spouse, kids, a house with an overpriced mortgage and a big bank account. Oh, and that we should be naturally good looking and thin.

When those ideals are too hard to meet, people become scared. They minimize their worth over a lack of having a college degree, or being a little fat from having kids. They’re lonely because they fear that they won’t be able to fit into the mold that we force ourselves into.

We’re rats in a maze and we let some assholes behind a closed curtain tell us what we need to do, or who we need to be, all so we can avoid being the one thing we should be – ourselves. In my opinion, individuality is a beautiful thing and some flaws are absolutely sexy.

There are more devastating downsides to suicide, and in my opion they are far worse than people finding your sex toys. It’s the stuff people never talk about. The small pleasures in life.

Things like…missing out on really good kisses, or eating the most delicious clementine.

Or on summer nights, when camping where the air is perfectly warm for sex, with the potential of getting caught. Or running through the sprinklers in the middle of the night at a local park.

What about laughing so hard that you can’t make any sound, you just push the person next to you until you sit down and nearly pee your pants? Those are things worth living for.

And what about Love?  Or the rush of excitement you feel when you see your kid hit the ball for the first time at baseball pracitce. Or soflty stroking the the cheek of someone you care about, when you can see that they need a little reassurance, after a long day.

…Or waking up feeling protected by the big spoon. For me, I look forward to falling in love with someone who loves like I do, even if I do have hesitations that there is, in fact another person out there who can – I’m still willing to try and find them.

Life has been hard for me and I know it was devastating for Chelci or she wouldn’t have done what she did and in a way, she wound up giving me the only gift I asked for, to break through my writer’s block.

With my focus back, I’ve decided to change a few things. For one, stop taking on extra freelance work, it’s too much for a single mom with a full time job. Also, I need more alone time, so I’m not losing myself for other people. When I overwork, I over-feel and that will put me right back in front of an imputable wall.

When I got into my laptop to start editing my next piece a new word circled above my head and her name faded into the back, but when I climbed into bed, there she was again, her eyes wide open.

 

Chelci Anna Hone, ‘Where are you tonight’?

 

Five 

*Grabs phone, starts to text:

Who listens to Slayer???

*puts phone down and and walks away.

Ten minutes later I hear my phone ping and look down to read: iMessage from Jerami-AGHH!

*slide and unlock to see:

  
Who doesn’t?!!

Ark Song

734

After taking five pictures of my vagina I still wasn’t sure if he’d like it. Would I have sex with me? Probably not… Should I use a filter? Maybe. It isn’t that my vagina’s terrible – it’s not. In fact, I love my vagina and it’s been good to me, but I’m not a guy and even if I have screwed around with a woman, the female anatomy doesn’t hold my allure quite like a penis.

So when you find yourself in a conversation, via text-message, with someone hundreds of miles away, and things turn sexual, you get creative, and the best way to get creative when you’re at a loss for words – use visuals. Nudes here we come.

Sexting is a weird concept and it’s definitely built for men, women really don’t want to see your dick, or a video of you moving around an erect, yet fleshy sausage in your hands.

We might lie and ‘ooh and ahh’ over it, but really there’s not a lot of beauty in cock and balls. We usually just make a squinty face, and then delete.

Not that we don’t appreciate the gesture when we like you, just know that most women who aren’t looking to blackmail you, trash-it so they can avoid it when they’re scrolling back through the feed later on. (We all do it)

Also, it’s not entirely odd to say that I was thirty-five years old before I even sent my first ‘sext’. My generation was in the ‘beeper’ business, a lot urgent “911’s” if your parents were gone, or if someone had weed to share. The only kind of ‘blowing’ we talked about via technology was if your boyfriend was “blowing-up” your pager after an argument. In fact, it was the most asexual piece of equipment I had in my teenage arsenal of communication.

Even if smart phones had been available, I doubt I’d use it to take any photo of my naked sixteen year-old body. Back then I had curves that made me uncomfortable and breasts that were too large for my body, I had bushy brows and wore quilted vests…not the ideal sex-bomb. Really, my lack of confidence would have shown right through my high-waisted pants.

My very first sext was a photo of my breasts, wearing a sheer robe to cover them. It was classy and not overtly in-your-face. My goal was to appeal to his masculine needs and not look like a total whore in the process. After sending it, there was a lack of response for almost six-hours, which at first concerned me but when he finally opened it, he liked it – a lot. Note to self: Sexting workaholics can delay your arousal.

The person receiving my picture was my close friend, Jeramiah, we were five-years into a friendship and he lived and worked as a chef in San Francisco.  My marriage had dissolved two months before the mention of sex was involved and in the beginning it didn’t even start out as sexual, as much as a joke about sex, but not with each other.

He was perfect in way because we had a history, a connection and the only collateral damage would be the death of our friendship. Luckily my depression disregarded its potential loss by convincing myself that we’d be okay in the end. This turned out to be wrong. Very wrong.

 

Never trust your depressive state.

 

Here is what you should know about Jeramiah:  He’s complex and yet simple. He’s practical and dominant when he needs to be, stubborn, articulate, loyal, intelligent and kind. He’s observant and incredibly quick-witted.

He’s a traditional non-conformist and likes to be in control, which is something I think he lacked as a kid. When people grow up without control, they make sure to get it when they’re old enough to seize it. However, his is subtle control, not aggressive. He knows when to relax and he’s not big on change.

Plus, with his natural ambition and tenacious nature it isn’t hard for him to be good at taking over, I can only imagine that this makes him a capable manager without acting like too much of a Nazi.

 

 

Here’s what you should also know: …We’ve never met.

 

 

That’s right. After almost six years there’s never been a handshake, a hug, a coffee date or even a wave goodbye. I don’t know what he smells like, feels like or even if he has any obvious childhood scars.

Now I know what you’re thinking…Catfish. Luckily, for one: I think we’re both too lazy to make that kind of extensive effort and two: we’ve talked on the phone and we’ve chatted with one another via Face Time. He’s a real person. What makes it weird is how connected I feel to him and how I can consider this ‘stranger’ a close friend.

When we first ‘met’ it was via social media and he was in a long-term relationship and I was one month into a finalized divorce.  So, I can say that a mutual attraction wasn’t there – at least for me. In fact our first message to one another was about the cost of culinary schools. Debt isn’t exactly erotic.

Plus, I wasn’t physically attracted to him. Not that he’s unattractive, he’s very handsome but that’s my view after six years. Month one, he wasn’t my type; he was just some guy who shared a similar perspective.

As our conversations became more frequent, the more I realized that our brains, in way, mirror each other. One minute we can be talking about politics and then the next minute judging people that like to fart erotically into their partner’s mouth.

He’s also very warm and sweet with me, he seemed okay with expressing his more loving side and I felt like he let me into a part he keeps guarded with other people. Jeramiah showed me his heart and that created a solid foundation within our friendship. We don’t just have chemistry, what we have is synergy and that’s really, really rare to find.

Our first year of being friends he went through a bad break-up and this allowed me to see a different part of him. This Jeramiah was deeply emotional, poetic and crumbling. It’s as though during this phase that he had just enough people fuck him over, for him to finally give-up. He had no desire to make the effort for anyone but himself; when he’s heartbroken he’s tortured. He’s also confused and not entirely confident in navigating the complex emotions of rejection. Who is?

When it comes to love and Jeramiah, he gives his all. So when love leaves, a large part of him gets taken with it.

Yet even with a broken heart, he was still my friend and always happy to give me good advice. He never shut me out. Not once.

Here’s what you should know about Alicia: She’s a feeler and an individualist. She internalizes and observes everything around her. She has good instincts and will use those to drive her decisions. She’s a good friend who is loyal, empathetic and artistic. She’s passionate, intelligent, gentle and affectionate. She can be deeply emotional and overly sensitive at times.

She can also shut people out just as quickly as she lets them in. She reads people well and avoids confrontation. She likes to be domestic and her home is her sanctuary. She loathes negativity and tension. She’s a little indecisive and painfully blunt.

When I decide that I want you in my life as a permanent fixture, I do my best to maintain my end of the relationship. Jeramiah made it easy for me to do that.

 

 

The night we started sexting, the timing seemed perfect but any delusional divorcee thinks all bad choices are “perfect.”

During the year, I had gone through a roller coaster of emotions with work, health and family; it was severely affecting my self-worth. It was time for me to feel validated, sexy and a little loved because these were the things with my husband stopped giving me.

At best, I felt empty and I was nearly suffocating under the pressure of raising our son alone. My grip was loosening and I needed some semblance of stability and I found it in Jeramiah.

As he was walking the Las Vegas strip, while on vacation, we started texting, sending little voice memos back and fourth and then the jokes turned sexual – Then he bluntly asked, “Aren’t you married?” To which I immediately felt ashamed, because he was right.

Although separated, my husband and I were still living together. We hadn’t talked about my impending divorce but then again, only family knew. So I ended the conversation and went to bed upset that I had offended him.

The next few days I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Or him. Why was I thinking about Jeramiah so much? I wasn’t attracted to him. Or was I? Why was this upsetting me? And why did I have a fatalistic feeling about our friendship. The idea of not having him in my life made me nervous. Would he be pissed at me? Would it be awkward? So I did the only thing I knew how to do, I wrote an apology. After sending it, I realized that this douchebag means a lot to me – A hell of a lot more than I thought.

After a while he wrote back telling me that he was worried that he had offended me and that it wasn’t a big deal and that we would talk later.

After putting my kid to bed, we started texting and we both apologized again. Once we plateaued into forgiveness he revealed that he had thought about ‘it’ with me; he had sex with me a dozen times without me being there. That he never acted on anything because of timing and distance, the reality of it made it hard for him to make the effort. It was at that moment I asked him to tell me everything he ever wanted to do to me.

 

He didn’t hold back and because of that, he’s been the only person to of single-handedly curate his way into my libido using nothing but words.

 

He started with pushing me against the wall and that ended with me on the ground. His details read like erotica that you can’t find between the pages of any book but only in annals of a deeply imaginative lover.

My mouth dropped. What the fuck? Who is this person? Whoever replaced my punk rock listening, wardrobe update needing friend, with this explosive passionate wordsmith needs to be thanked.

It took me a minute to not only calm my arousal but to settle my surprise. Huh? Jeramiah is a wordy freak and he’s appealing my wordy sensitivities. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a gifted writer but I didn’t know he was THIS gifted? It was so good that I considered showing my old editor for possible publication rights.

Then I thought about putting it into my plagiarism search engine but decided against it,  because if it gave me back a ping, I’d lose my lady boner and screw that. My body was on a sexual high for a week after and when the intensity peaked, he offered to fly out – which I declined. My life situation was too messy for a layover fuck.

The conversation turned highly sexual for the first month and we were still keeping the silliness of our friendship intact, it was fun. Then into the second month he’d seen my ass, more boobs and I’d seen his hands, knee – his dick.

While this was going on, my feelings were like pebble caught in the tide, slowly sinking into a depth that creates a version of intimacy that I wasn’t really ready for. Worried about the fantasy versus the reality I started to re-think things.

We were talking more in depth about his life, his upbringing, his family and his work. Things we had only scratched the surface on through the years. He gave me a better picture of who he was and I sort of lost myself because as much as I knew him, I didn’t.

He really didn’t know a lot about me either and he wasn’t interested in asking anymore. In fact he stopped doing a lot of things. Those flimsy walls to his heart were getting more solid with me, he was slow to respond to my texts, he seemed distant and eliminated my attempts at general conversation with no response at all.  What made it worse was that I was determining my decisions on assumptions, which is stupid.

That’s when I realized we had peaked; it wasn’t going any further than this. The less he asked about my life and the more I had to take the initiative, the more used I felt. The one thing we always had in our friendship was equal footing. Now it felt like a seesaw, going back and fourth and I hated it and I started to get a little angry with him.

 

 

Here’s what you should know about Jeramiah: He’s a survivor. Survivors have the tendency to use people, sometimes without realizing it. He’s also a little vindictive and a little careless. He’s lazy about maintaining relationships with people unless it’s a benefit to him and he unwittingly lets his past dictate his future. He generalizes women and lacks genuine respect for them. He’s far too defensive to accept any love anyone tries to give him anyway. He’s still just as angry and the more he’s says he doesn’t give a fuck, the more fucks he actually gives, and I’m probably wasting my time.

By the third month I had seriously re-evaluated our friendship. My emotions felt more, and more like that of a rejected girlfriend than of a close friend you share intimate details about your colonoscopy with. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting?

This was after all, half my fault. So I wrote him telling him I needed to distance myself because I felt like our friendship was ruined. The reality was becoming more and more visible and the fantasy was fading.

That lasted about three-weeks. When we started texting again I was still feeling the same way, a little numb and a little annoyed with him. Well…Irritated with the situation. The distance, our long-standing connection that was now dying, and the change in our dynamic made me really sad. To be honest, he seemed just as irritated with me and I didn’t blame him; I was a needy mess.

I was expecting far too much too soon – at least that’s how I felt. Also, there are other sides of him that I saw that I hadn’t noticed as much as before and I’m not about to request that someone change to fit my needs.

So after a few more weeks, he did something that may or may not have been intentional, but my instinct told me otherwise.

There are few emotions that cause me to leave and one of them is Jealousy, (because it’s petty, I’m not an option.) The second emotion is much worse – Love. It scares me and it’s caused me to leave a good thing more than once.

These were major indicators that I needed to end five years of whatever it is that we had because my delusional divorcee brain gained clarity; that the timing was not so right after all. The only thing the timing was right for was for me to get my shit together and end it.

So one night, after downing a bottle of wine in the parking lot of a whole Foods, I un-liked, un-friended, removed or blocked him from my life online. Then later I went home and cried, a hard ugly cry. When my phone pinged the next day, I saw his name come across the screen. After I opened it, I scrolled through our history and deleted those too, only to turn over and cry a little more.

 

Jeramiah was now the stranger that he’s always been.

 

After seven months of pure rage associated with my divorce and well… life, I began gaining a lot of traction in the resentment department, I spent my time focusing on my kid and helping his dad with his sobriety, I didn’t have time to feel anything about him… So, mentally…I blocked him too.

Here’s what you should know about Alicia:  She’s a coward. She runs from her problems and is quick to blame the other person to protect herself. She can be selfish in expecting too much from others too quickly. She is quick to generalize the intentions of others when she’s mad. She can be cruel with her words and hates being wrong. She’s a survivor and sometimes survivors use people without realizing it and her ego at times is too fragile for criticism, or the harsh reality of life. She’s defensive and can be reactive when she feels hurt. She’s an ineffective communicator when she’s flustered and at her core she has a difficult time accepting love from others.

Soon Jeramiah became an afterthought that is until Christmas, almost one year to the day we had started sexting. My co-worker made a joke about two things that depressed him: Men in they’re late thirties who say “Squad Goals” and middle-aged men who ride around the city on their skateboard.

And there he was again…my virtual lover. Our memories of sex, friendship and love that I had filed deep within my brain were being uploaded into a new system. Quick flashing images and sensations of feeling his warm breath on my neck, hands running through hair, pressure between my thighs. My mind racing next to him, as I imagined him on his skateboard, rushing to catch the BART.

 

Focused, ambitious, tenacious Jeramiah – There you are… just a beautiful as the day I left.

 

This flood of emotions albeit some sexual, were different. The intensity was quelled to a mere spark and I was able to finally separate the reality from the fantasy and I realized something else…I missed him. A lot. Also, I’d been so angry at everything that maybe it was time just let things go and to give a little love. So I wrote him one last time: 

“I thought it would be easy making you the stranger that you were before we met. It has been, really. Then some asshole made a joke about middle-aged skateboarders two-weeks ago and then I thought of you; thinking about you. There’s a difference. 

The off-switch in becoming a non-friend and a lack of responding was my choice and my choice alone. It’s not my intention to explain myself because that wouldn’t be advantageous for either one of us. You’re a smart, logical guy and I’m sure you understand. Or my hope is that you would. If you want to know, you’re more than welcome to ask.

 Really, there’s no reason for me to even write this but I would be lying…a lot, in saying that I didn’t miss you. Funny how one bad joke about the actions of another can do that?

Well…I miss sending stupid memes to my friend. Or talking about idiot co-workers who use the word “hashtag” instead of “order number.” I miss my friend Jer. He was really smart, he thought like I thought. Maybe more practical than I was at times. He was just as sensitive and yet, painfully blunt. He was really, really silly. 

I never loved you when we first became friends, yet I loved you when we stopped being friends. Not a deep, consuming kind of love; a little spark of love. The kind you have for someone that challenges you to think a little differently and to laugh a little bit more loudly.

Know that I may not be around now but you never know where we’ll be later in life. Know that on nights when you feel lonely that there’s a girl who’s 700-miles away probably thinking good things about you. 

I loved you and a part of me always will. Happy New Year,

Alicia”

 

 

After hitting send, I was sure he’d put it in his pile of fucks not given but instead I was surprised to wake up the next day to see a message from him and it was perfect.

Here’s what you should know about Jeramiah and Alicia: They’re forgiving and soft, they can be sensitive and a little confused by emotions. They try their best to understand those they care about and they both have a depth that matches the other. They became friends because one can understand the other, sometimes before words are ever spoken. They’re aware of their flaws and know which ones need to change. They’re both a work in progress and they don’t hold grudges if they understand that the intent isn’t malicious. One needs the other just much and they don’t know why? What I do know is that right now he’s a part of my dialogue and that his words end where my heart begins.

This time he texted first and our conversation flowed like we never stopped. Honestly, I think my absence was good for him too. He seems a little different, maybe a little nicer?

Sometimes I feel like he’s trying to be more open in some ways and not as angry. I notice little changes that are big for him. He’s more responsive and less reactive. He’s just as busy and still in control but I know he loves me and he does it in the only way he knows how…by letting me be me in my entirety and that’s what a good friend does.

Maybe when you think you’ve lost everything you lose something that you didn’t expect to affect you. Because no matter how perfect the penis or arousing the vagina, (even with a filter) it’s who it’s attached to that makes all the difference and while you’re concerned about their response, remember that sometimes the best way to be naked, is to be fully clothed.

Two

Sunday Night 11 PM:

 

Walk into my room, put my cup of tea on the night stand, pull the blankets back and look at my bed and think – you look like you need me.

 

Climb in and turn on the TV.

 

Search for ‘Ghost Adventures’ in queue, press play. Relax.

Suddenly, I realize my auto pay is going to draft on Monday. Sit up, sigh and grab my tablet.

 

Log onto bank, transfer savings to checking.

 

*Unable to complete request*

Try again.

*Unable to complete request*

Try again

*Unable to complete request*

 

Zak Bagans voice in the background: “Was this ghost being a smart ass?

 

Get irritated.

 

Call bank. Bank closed, auto-tree gives no option to transfer.

Log back into bank, search for deposit options.

 

Read: ‘Take a picture using our app or deposit at any ATM – It’s that easy.’

 

Push blankets off me, get out of bed, and look for deposit slip. Not in file folder, not in safe, not in shoebox.

 

Make loud groan.

 

Dig into boxes in closet; look in nightstand drawer – found it! Relax.

 

Write out slip, log into app, and take a picture.

*Unable to complete request*

Try again.

*Unable to complete request*

Try again.

*Unable to complete request*

 

Make louder groan, toss phone onto bed. Go to drawer, find pants, put them on. Grab hoodie, pull it over my head – hood still on, put on snow boots, put on parka, grab keys, wallet and deposit slip.

 

Walk out the door.

Fuck. It’s snowing.

 

Get into truck, put keys into ignition, start it. Drive.

Pull into bank ATM drive-thru.

Fuck it’s too short.

 

Reverse. Throw car into park – get out.

 

Put in card, enter pin. Select deposit. Enter deposit slip. ATM spits it out.

*Unable to complete request*

Eyes get big, face getting red.

This time shout: FUCK!

 

Try again.

 

*Unable to complete request*

Shout fuck, slam hands at sides of ATM, kick ATM, shout FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!

 

“Ma’am?”

 

Turn around; it’s a police officer – huge sigh.

 

Start thinking: Oh my god…Great, he’s white and I look like I could check the ‘yes’ box on any affirmative action form.

Me breathing hard: “yeah?”

“Ma’am do you know why I stopped?” he asks, staring down at my stupid velour pants tucked into my stupid snow boots.

 

“…Because I didn’t see you first?”

 

He looks at me confused and winces back, “umm…no. I stopped because you’re kicking an ATM, I could arrest you for destruction of property.”

 

Looking at him like he’s a Grand Dragon, “Bullshit.”

 

“No, I absolutely can.”

 

He’s walking closer. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m going to jail over an ATM.

 

As he’s nearing he starts, “Look, I bank here and they have limited access on Sunday nights. What were you trying to do, maybe I can help?”

 

“I was trying to deposit money from my savings to my checking, it was down online and I half of my monthly bills on auto pay coming out tomorrow.”

 

He nods and leans in, “Lemme’ see your deposit slip.” I hand him my deposit slip he looks it over and darts his eyes back at me with a half smile.

 

“This is a savings deposit slip, Alicia – that’s your name, right?”

 

Stupidly, I respond, “Yeah, do you need to see my ID?”

 

“That’d be great, yeah and your debit card.”

 

I move my head back and give him a suspicious look.

“Look…Alicia…I have a body camera on me, there’s also a camera on the ATM. You look pretty guilty, so don’t think I’m trying to rob you.”

 

I walk a little closer and hand him my card and ID, he inserts the card into the ATM.

 

“What’s your PIN number?”

“4534”

He selects transfer, from savings to checking.

“Okay how much?”

 

“Twenty hundred?” I say under my breath. Him looking at me, “huh?”

I sigh…”twenty five.”

 

Confused, he confirms, “Twenty five hundred?”

 

Looking down, now a little embarrassed, “Um no … It was uh, it was twenty-five dollars.”

He transfers the money and finishes, hands me my card and my cash and looks at me sternly, “You almost went to jail over twenty-five bucks? How is that half of your monthly bills?”

 

Scratching my wrist, I look at down, “Well I have my Netflix and my HULU  subscript-”

 

“Ma’am, you need anger management classes!”

 

My eyes still on the ground, feeling chastised, “I know”.

 

I can see him shaking his head as he radios to his patrol. “Please don’t kick the ATM again and maybe do this earlier in the day next time.”

 

He sighs and turns around and walks to his car.

 

“Okay….thanks.” I stood there, forgetting what I needed to do.

 

Suddenly, I look up to the officer shouting at me though his window.

 

“…Go home Alicia!”

 

Get into car, shut the door – scream.
 

One

Park my car, get out, lock my doors. Walk in, take off my shoes. Take the stairs to the basement, take off my coat. Walk into the bathroom, turn on the light, take off my pants, my shirt, my bra. Brush my teeth, wash my face.

Grab a box of whitening strips, put the top strip on, let my hair down, turn my back to the mirror, look over my shoulder. The waves hit the small of my back now – you need a trim. Look in the mirror – Sigh.

Turn off the light.

Walk into the den – bean bag in the corner. Put on oversized t-shirt, grab my dead uncles blanket. Sit in the bean bag, put the record on the turn table, switch the flip to ‘repeat.’ Plug the headphones in, put them on your head.

Grab the pillow on the floor. Move the needle to the record. Lean back, cover your legs with the blanket. Put the pillow over your face – scream.

 

Winter Beat