Laying there, one fleshy pale leg resting on top of yours. Layers of blankets hugging us to the bed, I pretzel and twist – one of my arms over my head, one of yours, over yours. I find your fingers with my left hand and you squeeze them, even though you are mostly asleep. I try to touch as much of my skin to yours as I can, curved like a bean next to you. I lay my head in the sweet spot that your body has made for it. Was made for it, long before I met you. When you were born, maybe. I put my right arm across your chest. I know you love this – a woman resting on your chest. “There is something so…satisfying…beautiful, about it,” you once said. Or something like it. And even years later there is an impression there, and an image in my head. It’s faded like a washed-out photograph. You know the one. And it doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s there. Maybe it always will be. I decide it doesn’t matter and I start a poem in my head. God, it’s almost 4 a.m. and I am composing words as I feel you breathe. None of the words are good enough. Some of them don’t even make sense. I will never be good enough, my brain says. But you already are, I counter. Your thigh is twice the circumference as his. And it feels good for that not to be something I hate. It’s a non-issue. I take that back. It’s a celebration. Continue reading
Went on a late night drive with Will. He was restless and happy when he came home from rehearsal. Hair mussed up from his moon roof, chilled-neck hug and then a pat on my backside. “Let’s go on a drive,” he said. “I want to take you out somewhere. I don’t know if anything is open, but the night is amazing and I want to take you out. Maybe we can just drive and find a little place. Soft-serve maybe. Maybe pie.”
I said I didn’t think we’d find any soft-serve, but maybe we could find a diner and some pie. “Yes, let’s go. I’d love to take a ride with you.”
Cool and humid night air. Windows down. Talking about stuff we did when we were kids and why we’re always trying to capture that wonder you feel when you discovered something new. The roads were empty and nothing was open. Missed the I-Hop by ten minutes. We’d pass clumps of trees filled with singing insects, then buildings covered in windows, lights on, but no life inside. End of the world, but not. Empty parking lots. Parts of Route 1 smooth as butter all black and shiny, other parts pocked and shaking the car. We were holding hands and saying I love you, too many times (if there is a such thing, when you mean it, and we did).
Hardly anybody was driving like a jerk and mostly we had the road. It reminded me of being on the road with my family – military, back and forth – California then Virginia, then California, then Virginia, then Texas and Virginia again. Many hours on the road, watching the streetlights go by. There was no portable DVD player, just the games my mom and dad made up. Dad would say, “Hey, there’s a rub-broka,” and we were supposed to figure out what it meant. Mom would toss out “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral” questions and my sister and I would play “Paddidle.” When games grew old it turned to sisters annoying each other.
“Mom, she’s touching me!”
“Stop touching your sister!”
“Mom she’s not on her side!”
“Stay on your side!”
Stopping at I-Hops and Shoney’s and Denny’s on whatever route my dad decided for this trip. There’s something exciting about eating in a nearly empty diner after midnight. That’s still true for me. A middle-of-night visit to Silver Diner excites some part of me that’s still wild and still seven. You’re not supposed to eat in the middle of the night. You’re not supposed to especially eat in the middle of the night at a restaurant. Always – silver dollar pancakes and “dippy eggs” – usually with milk, or hot chocolate (with whipped cream) if I could convince my parents. There is something decadent about a spherical scoop of whipped butter that spreads neatly over the hotcakes. Mom would eye my syrup portion – I always overdid it, even for a runty beanpole of a kid, she didn’t like my sugar addiction. Grape Nehi, grape-jelly donuts (powdered please), grape Now & Laters, grape Pixie Sticks, grape Tootsie Pops. I might have had a thing about grape. I ate a lot and burned it hard and fast, running, climbing, skating, swinging, flipping, jumping – nonstop.
Will and I talked about camping and fishing and he kept laughing and telling me how cute I am, and I held it. He told me his family went on a lot of camping trips and I tried to count mine. Not a lot, but enough, I thought. And for some reason paddle-boats were amazing to me.
He’d rub my thigh with his palm. We’d talk about the empty buildings. The lights.
“Does that one look open?”
“I think it closes at midnight.”
“Phone says there’s a Tastee Diner nearby that’s 24 hours.”
“That one’s dinky and really a greasy spoon, you sure you wanna try it?” He knows more about these things than I do. He knows these roads. He knows what everything used to be.
“Maybe not. I’m fine just driving. Sorry we can’t find any pie for ya.” He loves pie.
“It’s ok, I’m fine, too.”
We listened to a podcast we recorded together that had just been posted. We got home before it was over and we sat in the car, windows down, leaning into each other, listening to us telling the story of how we met.
Now we’re both back in the house, distracted by pixels and electronic machines. But I’m going to end this now and go climb into bed with the love of my life.
I have to giggle like a third grader at the title of this post.
Anyway, I’ve been out of town finishing some fashion and accessories work and shooting photos. That’s something I do when I’m not writing. Which I want to constantly be doing, but it’s not practical.
I went down to Virginia Beach for Mother’s Day week and visited my daughter who modeled my creations. She had a friend come over, too, and she did some modeling as well. It was nice to have a visit. I’m happy to be back at my writing desk, but adventures are good. Don’t you think? In any event, it’s put me behind here at home – but only a little. I’m catching up today and I have to say, it’s going a-okay.
I’ve had so many ideas flowing through me for additional books in the Red August series that I just can’t wait to get down to it. I have to clear some of this boutique stuff off of my plate first though. But I do want to say that I try to enjoy everything while I’m doing it. I don’t always want to be looking to the next thing as what is going to be the best and most happy thing. I am happy making jewelry and shooting photos. I am extremely happy writing. I hope that the joy that I get from doing these things are imbued on the objects I send out into the world and the projects I sell to support myself. I want them to be as wonderful to receive as they are to create.
“Red August” continues to be on schedule for the August launch date.
Thanks to everybody who supports my work!
Here is a sample from the photo shoot. You can find my designs at GypsySiren.com.