There is one more person in my circle now.
I’m excited for nights when we come home from formal events
I go into the bathroom and wipe the makeup from my eyes while you loosen your tie from around your neck and put your jacket on its hanger. I walk into our bedroom and shrink five inches as I pry the heels from my aching feet in front of the mirrored closet doors I absolutely insisted upon. In the reflection, you have your shirt untucked and I watch you pad across the room to me in sock-clad feet. You slip your arms around my waist and I raise a hand to my neck and rub the spots where my hair meets my scalp, slowly pulling out bobby pins as curls begin to cascade down. The low cut of the dress allows your hands to skim the exposed skin and find the zipper, nestled at the small of my back, slowly pulling it down past snippets of black lace. Your fingers trace my shoulderblades as you slide the fabric down over my arms, and as soon as it pools to the floor, I turn my attention to the buttons that still fasten your collar tightly around your throat. One by one, I reveal the cotton fabric beneath, pull your tie over your head and let the silk instead rest lightly against my own chest. I slide my hands between layers of fabric, tossing the dress shirt lightly onto a chair back while you loosen your belt and cause the pants to drape across the seat in short order. I find where the hem of your shirt falls and pull it over your head, and you do the same with the tie I stole, hanging it on the bedpost. I kiss you and run to the bed, jumping into the white down comforter and turning to grin at you while you step out of your socks. In three steps, you close the distance between yourself and me, hooking your arm around my shoulders amid giggles as you lie down and I snuggle into your embrace. Our knees and hips align perfectly, your head on a pillow and my hair coiled into a messy braid. We fall asleep, exhausted but content, my mind already buzzing with breakfast plans of borrowing that linen dress shirt to make french toast and eggs in.
The wedding, and weddings in general
This weekend, he invited me to go to a wedding with himself, his mother, and his sister. I had never met the bride, but I knew her father, mother, and both brothers. I had a fantastic time, I danced a lot and drank a little (a very little) and had some really delicious chicken. The ceremony was short and the venue beautiful on the edge of a lake in a converted and expanded barn, the bride wore a dress that looked as though it had been woven onto her. While sitting at the table for supper, his mother began asking him questions about what ideas he had for his own day: did he want it indoors or out, dry or alcoholic, and I tried so hard to hide my smile and bite my tongue because we’ve talked about this before. Outdoor ceremony, indoor reception, in the town his mother calls home. As I said to him later in the evening, I have very mixed feelings about that fact, that we’ve talked about/sketchily planned this. We don’t plan on getting married anytime soon. Both of us want to be finished with school before we embark on that journey. And we’re both okay with that. But I feel like, because that point IS so unknown, and IS so far in the future, that I/we are completely delusionally ridiculous for even thinking about this now, even thinking this will last that long.
On that topic, I broached a theory to my dear friend earlier this eve, because I saw yet another engagement post on my Facebook news feed tonight. It’s not a fully fledged theory yet, but here it is: we as human beings are, for the most part, inherently sexual creatures. It’s biological, it’s how we further our species and reproduce. Christians (and perhaps others, but I was raised Catholic and that’s what I know) are forbidden by the Bible to engage in sex before marriage. And, in my experience, at least, I have found that “good Christian girls and boys” tend to get engaged and married fairly early… I know of three right off the top of my head. So my theory is this: in order to satisfy both their carnal and spiritual selves, they rush into marriage (and often before they’re ready) and end up miserable because, as “good Christian boys and girls” they aren’t allowed to get divorced. I see all these posts, of rings, of weddings, between folks my age, and I think, “Guys, what, what, WHAT are you doing? We’re way too young for all that! I can hardly handle myself most days, what the hell are you thinking trying to do this?” Underneath that is a twinge of jealousy, because I do want that, but I know that now is not the right time for it.
Anyway, back to the wedding. As the dance floor was opened up, I of course wandered in that direction, because I love to dance. A gentleman in a big ol’ cowboy hat asked me if I wanted to dance, and I told him I would love to. We chatted for a moment as we danced, and he asked what brought me here. I told him “My boyfriend (pause for emphasis) his mother, and his sister.” He said “Well that’s a shame, cause you are stunning.” I chuckled and thanked him, then when the dance was over, I wandered over and hugged my lovely wonderful gentleman and made sure to drag him out on the dance floor with me next time. And there were many next times. He complained the next day of sore calves. There was a young lady there who decided toward the end to give out lapdances in the very short skirt she wore. One was to the bride, and her husband decided to videorecord it. All in all, it was a very fun time, that quickly got very strange.
I didn’t know who I was when I was with him. I still don’t know, but I’m a hell of a lot closer to figuring out.
I am lying in my bed in red lipstick, a dress, and heels, and thinking dangerous things.
"Has anyone ever written anything for/about you?" And my thought immediately jumps to ex boyfriend who was in a band in high school but has long outgrown that phase, and how I wished for ages that he would write a song for me. If he does now, I don’t even want to know.
When will that period be far enough away that referencing it will feel like looking through frosted glass? I want it gone already. I was young and stupid and scared and naive, and I want to erase him.
Of course I can’t. That was two years. And so much happened that I wouldn’t want gone. I know I wouldn’t be me without him. But I want to be me past him. I want the memories to fade faster than they are. I want all the unnecessary traces erased. All the unappreciated gestures, all the times I just wanted to avoid the argument, every time it was more about him than me because it was never about me, only the usefulness I had.
I want to keep the beautiful things. I want to keep meeting my Duckling, all the late night Latin study sessions. I want to keep that tailgate at the Hall and my little foray upstairs with a gentleman I found attractive from the day I met him. I want to keep the party where I stole the presidents shirt because by that point I was free enough to do so. Bid day in the garden. The day I found out who my Big was. That day we went for coffee beforehand and she kept having to backtrack because she knew and I didn’t. I want to keep dancing. Those nights when I went to the Friday Night parties and didn’t know anyone but felt more at home than I had in ages. I want to keep Thursday nights on the couch talking to people. The night we all made wands in the common room and played that “real life Risk” game, whatever it was. Learning salsa with our Dean, who didn’t really feel like that at all, and dancing with the gentleman who became my regular partner. The time I stayed up all night to watch the sun rise from those antique windows. The weekend I spent with my sisters by the lake, laying out on the dock, toasting marshmallows, painting on the porch, and playing Never Have I Ever, finally achieving the contents of the teenage parties I was never cool or brave enough to be a part of. Every single time my Big kidnapped me for shopping or lunch or sleepovers or “hey I just wanted to get out of the house for a while, let’s go do something.” And my twenty first birthday, God bless her for keeping me from doing anything too stupid. I want to keep the crazy few weeks of creating gifts for my Little, the night of the Oscar Selfie downtown. The time I actually went for coffee with the classiest girl I know, and we were close to friends for an hour or so. The Christmas party where I wore that red dress and she wore the gold one I still dream about. The night I tried my first Long Island Iced Tea. The night I reminded that gentleman he owed me another one and we ended up running around downtown and then curled up on a couch at two am. That beautiful week I spent with a friend I now don’t know if I’ll ever hear from again. The frat party where we met, at which I was later told I was the “hot commodity” of the evening. All of the people I met who were wonderful to me. My sisters. My fellow Society members. My Residential neighbors. My friends.
Everyone else. Everyone else who makes that time worth keeping.
I GOT A GRANDLITTLE!
So, I don’t know how much I’ve mentioned about my sorority. I love it, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and one of the first big decisions I’ve made on my own. Yeah, I consulted my dad, and yeah I told people about it, but this was the first real big thing I did for myself. Ex didn’t like it. I said fuck you, it’s my life and you’re a judgmental asshole. And I joined. We may not be large, and we may not be what you think of when you hear the word “sorority,” we don’t all look like those picture perfect cookie cutter blondes they use in the movies, but I know each and every one of my sisters personally, and I have never felt like I belonged somewhere quite so strongly. And being a military kid, that’s a big deal. During my pledge semester, I received a Big, a “big sister” of sorts to keep me on track to join the sisterhood. From what I understand, this is standard Greek practice, and my Big is one of my closest friends now. I talk to her more than just about anyone else in the world and she calls me at least once a week to update me on her life. When we lived near each other, she would frequently ask me if I was doing anything, and if I said no, she would come whisk me away to someplace or another, a little coffee shop, a fantastic lunch place, the mall, a funky little bookshop on the north end of town, her house for a sleepover. She orchestrated my twenty first birthday. I also have a Little. I’m a bit sad that my relationship with my Little is not the same kind of relationship I have with my Big, but everyone functions differently, and she’s a bit shyer than either myself or her Grandbig. And she texted me this evening, along with my Big, to let me know that she was going to be given a Little! And we had a conversation of several hours about what might be done for this new little family member based on her own likes and preferences. And I’m so excited for this new girl to join us, and I hope she’ll be a fabulous addition to our little family. Eep! I’m gonna be a GrandBig!
I think it’s time I stopped being scared.
So much has happened since last I came here. I am six months in to the new-old relationship I’ve mentioned to you before, two months from completing my English degree from my beloved university, two and a half months from my twenty second birthday. Where to start…
I have neglected you, dear readers, this journal of sorts I’ve kept up for what will now be four years. And I hate that I’ve done it, but I know I have. Since we last spoke… The rest of my school year was a blur of lasts, of senior sendoffs and final meetings and quite a few trips home. (I hate that there was a time when I didn’t do that. I know I needed it. But I hate that I felt forced into it.) There was a ball, which I took my lovely gentleman to, and he spruces up rather nicely. As the school year ended, I took several tests to make sure the classes I needed to pass would be passed and accounted for. And I signed up for four summer courses, online, in the hopes that I could finish up my degree. (No such luck, one was Latin. I have since decided Latin is not for me, and switched to Spanish.)
The summer was a series of long evenings spent curled on the couch and days in the sun, of walking beaches and baseball games, movie dates and sitting shotgun in his truck. One evening, it was Friday the Thirteenth and the fullest moon we’d seen in ages, we arranged a beautiful day of movies (How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2) and dinner and a moonlit stroll along the water’s edge, and it’s a night I’ll not soon forget. How to Train Your Dragon was our first ever date, and before we were even back together, the moment I found out there would be a sequel, I happened to be with him and some friends, and I turned to him and said “We’re going to go see that.” And he smiled and nodded in agreement. It just so happened that we were together on the advent of both film releases. I took up a summer job of watching two young boys, one a perfect angel, a younger brother who was quite the opposite. (The younger one is now seeing someone for behavioral issues.) They loved to play Minecraft, and every day, as long as weather permitted, they were out in the pool for several hours in the afternoon. My gentleman won tickets to a mega-concert, four well known country stars (some more well known than others) all gathered together in one stadium (which warranted a new outfit of course, and I found the most perfect pair of cowboy boots in a secondhand store.) and we had the most splendid time. My Big came to town for a weekend with her family, she got to meet my gent (and most of my sister’s work friends) and we all went to a ball game together and I spent a night at her condo on the water and oh, the view was breathtaking. My family (with a slightly gleeful amount of help from my gent and his family) have roped me into the television show Big Brother, and I am, in a way, glad they did. Now it gives me an opportunity to visit my “inlaws” even though he is away at school. Every Thursday evening, we have an early dinner so his sister can get to class on time, and then around nine, we settle in to see who goes home this week. It’s a fun and convenient excuse to see them (at one point, I was rather afraid his mother didn’t much care for me, but it seems she does now, so it’s hardly a worry any longer.) and perhaps “Thursday night dinners” will continue long after the finale of the season. I love his family. I love his dogs. I love him.
As terrifyingly scary and sickeningly soon and shockingly cliche it is to say, or, lets be honest, to do, I’ve started rough-planning a wedding. Big details, like the where, the when, the dress. His grandparents house, spring, trumpet-silhouette with lots of lace, potentially my aunts and revamped. This is the sort of thing I was doing last time too, except in much broader detail, not the wedding, but the marriage; the things like coming home from work to dinner and curling up to watch the kids play on the floor. A curly haired little boy and a tow-headed little girl on a backyard swingset. I don’t have many of those visions anymore, these are more immediate. I could potentially be engaged within the next five years. That would put me at twenty six. That works for me.
I stopped writing because I didn’t want to be found. And I hate that I was scared away from doing something I so love because of what happened. But in these last few months, I’ve found a quote that really resonates with me, right down to my soul.
"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." ~Anne Lamott
I own everything that has happened to me. And I’m going to tell my stories.
I am a fucking idiot.
I have managed to back myself into a corner once again, due to damn Latin and my own laziness/inability to make myself apply effort to things I do not want to do. And I’m going to fail my class. It’s almost inevitable.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Well, here’s my thoughts. It’s almost too late, essentially IS too late, to feasibly sign up for and take classes for fall semester. I’ll take the semester off, get a job in town, maybe even go work for Disney. Take out a loan, come Spring, and go take that one class, have a job in my college town, finish up as a Spring 2015.
I want a time machine. I went through this summer, KNEW WHAT I HAD TO DO, AND FUCKING FAILED AT EVERYTHING, after ALL THE WORK I PUT IN TO PUT MYSELF IN THE OPTIMAL POSITION, I FUCKED MYSELF OVER IN THE MOST EXPENSIVE WAY I COULD POSSIBLY THINK OF.
There were so many times when I thought, Oh, I ought to go work on Latin. And then thought, nah, I’ve got plenty of time. KNOWING THAT I’M TERRIBLE AT IT. KNOWING that I would need more time than the average bear. I should just go live… I dunno. On the streets or something. That’ll teach me. That’ll teach me to go and FUCK UP EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN THING I DO.
School. Friends. Life.
Goddamn, I’m a fucking terrible human being.
This week has been and will continue to be my spring break. This past weekend, he decided to come home (because I’d be there) Saturday morning, he came over for breakfast, french toast and the works, and My Cousin Vinny, curled up in an oversized armchair. Sunday, the ninth, he came over for breakfast again, pancakes this time, and we spent the day together. Watched a movie again after breakfast, “We’re the Millers” and played Minecraft with my little brother for a while. Then I got dressed, polka dotted skirt and a nice polo with my cork sandals, and we went grocery shopping with his parents and picked up the ingredients to make Chinese food, sesame chicken, lo mein, some chicken egg rolls and egg drop soup. Also picked up some fortune cookies. We both, along with his mum, busied ourselves around the kitchen island combining ingredients for this that or the other recipe, and when it was all done we sat around the living room while Catching Fire played. He had his hand around my hips and I leaned on his shoulder. On the way home, he hands me a fortune cookie. The fortune inside: “Would you like to be my girlfriend?” He had painstakingly removed the original fortune, stuffed the new one inside, and RESEALED the package. Of course, I told him yes, I would love to be. He’s taken to kissing the back of the hand he holds while driving. When we arrived at my place, before too long my back was against his truck and my legs around his waist and I told him I loved him (nothing new.). After a while it occurred to me he still had a long drive, so I gently and reluctantly disattached him from me, and smiled the rest of the night.
In less than twelve hours, I will be home again, and in the same town as that boy I’ve grown ever-increasingly fond of over the past two months. We’re making plans, short and long term, we talk every night, I wake up to his face on Skype every morning unless there is some internet hiccup and we get disconnected. He’ll be there for the weekends bookending my break, and one of them will maybe be spent camping together, somewhere, depending on how things go. He gets the biggest grin on his face when he recalls just how soon it will be until I’m in his arms again. I love his grin, so much. He really has such a great smile. On the one hand, I’m giddy as anything about that. On the other hand, I recall that this is what happened the first time, that at first there was this exuberance, this almost puppy-dogging, and then it faded. But things are so very different now, we have a much more open dialogue between us, and I hope this works out. I hope this works out.