Friday, June 10, 2011

the lesson in sticker collections.

last night, sleep came and went in short bursts, the way clouds spill rain in summer. at least for the first few hours. i eventually fell into deeper sleep, because I remember dreaming was vivid the second my eyes popped open this morning but now it has slipped away. during one of my wide-awake bursts in the wee hours, i remember looking up at the ceiling and wishing it were covered in glow-in-the-dark stickers that were popular when i was in junior high...stars and moons...were there constellations, too? i can't recall. i never had them on my ceiling. i'm sure i would've had i asked, but i never did. i don't think i asked for much as a kid. i remember specifically pining for a few things...a huffy bike, which i barely rode...a barbie doll house, which i never got...a hot pink nash skateboard, which i only rode sitting down...a brass vanity with glass shelves, which i grew to hate bc it constantly collected fingerprints and dust...a horse, but i settled for frequent rides at my aunt's house and a set of plastic horses from the movie the black stallion...and a puppy, of course. a beagle my brother named cujo. we got him when i was in 4th grade from the older couple up the street who had tons of dogs in their backyard. cujo was smart and obedient and lived from the time i had my first fake boyfriend at 10 until i had my first real boyfriend at 24, the same year he had congestive heart failure. one day, mom called to say cujo had to be put to sleep. i remember taking the news well; i didn't cry at all, which now i think is weird, especially bc my boyfriend and i were broken up at the time. you'd think i would've been emotional. but back then i was still doing that terrible thing where i kept my parents at a distance. i don't know why i did it for so long, but i did.

mom said the day they put cujo to sleep, dad was crushed and swore he'd never have another dog. then i brought home chloe from wal-mart later that year. he looked exasperated when i came in the house with a big smile on my face and an armful of silky fur. chloe is 10 now and dad calls her cody girl and gives her special food and glucosamine and all sorts of herbs at my brother's direction. dad also hated cats for i don't know how long, but he for sure stopped the year he and mom moved to the house on the edge of the woods and their cat collection grew from zero to four — dixie, dusty, lacy, and josie. i named josie after josie wales.

my dad was a tough guy back in the day but time has softened him, which is exactly the reverse of what it does to his favorite italian gets harder and crustier with every day, and he likes it best that way. i bet mom likes dad best now that he's like the bread on the first day it's baked...warm and just slightly smooshy. nowadays, dad doesn't even try to hide it when he talks to the cats in that tone of voice men only use when they really love something, usually a child or a pet. or maybe a woman, depending on the guy...and the woman. me, i'm not into baby talk. or whatever you call it. but i do like to be called baby...or babe or darlin, or sugar, even. maybe i might be okay with a man using that soft, cutesy tone with me on specific, brief occasions...i can't think of any off the top of my head, but i imagine they could exist. i also don't like when men get that sexy tone of voice, the one that makes me think they've watched too many sex scenes or gotten some misguided advice along the way about what women like. a few years back, i went on a couple dates with a guy like that. he tricked me, though. at first he seemed really cool, with the exception of the way he wore his peacoat with the collar turned up...but mostly he seemed like an eclectic southern boy who liked to shoot guns and listen to good music and make good art. he had that way of making me feel like i was out with a real man...i can't explain that feeling exactly but it has something to do with me knowing that i'm in charge but letting the guy think he is. i like that kind of thing, though the re-occurrence of it seems on a par with me getting anywhere on time. i wasn't terribly attracted to southern boy, but i liked our dynamic at least. then one night he kissed me and i don't know if he'd had too many drinks or what, but out of the blue his voice lowered and his eyes narrowed and he clearly thought he was working his magic on me, and i couldn't get away from him fast enough. he sent two text messages after we parted that night, and i could just imagine him feeling sexy as he was typing them. i never went out with him again. similar things have happened on dates with other guys, all of whom i've never went out with again. i don't mind a man wanting to win me over if i've decided i like him...a decision which is usually as dangerous as driving blindfolded on an old mountain road full of hairpin turns and no side rails ...but anyway, overt sexy talk is decidedly un-sexy, and kinda hilarious. so while it never results in more dates, it does give me a good laugh.

early this morning i'd already started writing about glow-in-the-dark stickers in my head. i almost got out of bed to start typing bc i was afraid i'd forget the string of associations i was making from staring at imaginary moons and stars on my ceiling, but then i fell back asleep. today all i remembered to write about was the stickers. so i started with them and did what i don't do well in real life...i let go. and i ended with a good laugh.

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