Thursday, July 11, 2013


i'm the reluctant wife of this house lately. the weather has kept me here and still. i'd have an affair with another location if i could. in lieu, this mom is currently cavorting with a tall glass of cranberry juice and a downpour. the rain is unstoppable this summer. it's always unstoppable, literally, but lately its persistence is human-like. she was harmless at first. then pushy. then overbearing. and now, all we see is the rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. the soggy, groggy, infinite rain. 

as i was typing my third or fourth "rain" up there ^, my words and poe's collided in my mind: the rain, rain rain ... the bells, bells, bells. well, hey there, mr. poe. has it been since some numberless english lit class in some nameless hall at wvu that we last met? hmm. not exactly. but it's been at least that long since we've spent hours together. 

i reread "the bells" last night. as poe progressed from curiosity to horror in the bells, i saw a similar progression in this summer's rain. or reign. reign of liquid terror. 

for weeks i've resisted the urge to discuss the misery of this weather. it wouldn't be positive of me, i thought. yet here i am. i didn't intend it. it just happened. at least i'm enjoying it this way, juxtaposing this colorless, pelting, endless rain against the sanguine echo of poe's crescendo. 

the sky has frowned upon clarksburg for the past month. on most days the sun will sneak out from behind the clouds for a bit. the light fills both the sky and me. i inhale it. i open my arms and invite it into my belly and my heart. so when it leaves again, i'll have a little left over. i wish i could say it keeps me full until the next rays break through; it doesn't. as the sunshine fades out of me, and the sky above and the air around become suffused with grayness and the static hum of stagnancy, i am momentarily limp. i carry myself with heavy limbs across this long house, one end to the other, as i go about the hours. waiting. waiting for my sun. 

the best me, she's up in the clouds, like the sun. waiting to come out again. i don't hate this town. i hate its lack. i hate it for what it can't be. i hate that this town, for me, is only a reflection of what it is not. it doesn't resemble life. there are no brunches at jessi's. no skipping rocks at mud island with ellen. no holiday parties with the newest addition to my short list of genuine friends, kristen. no patio dinner dates set ablaze by amanda's incendiary pitch. no laid back hangouts with ruth (it's strange to reminisce of a friendship now gone. i'm not sure what to make of it. except for a time she was dear). no happy, sloppy pit bulls hopping in shallow lakes at shelby farms dog park. no hippie drum circles at neighborhood festivals. no singer-songwriters belting out their hearts' desires in bars and coffee shops and on sidewalks. i miss sidewalks! who knew. here, there are no sidewalks on the edges of quaint shops for evening strolls. no sidewalks, period, in our neighborhood (if one street even qualifies as a neighborhood). there is no pretty riverfront with benches for sitting and looking out across the water and thinking absolutely nothing. anywhere that allows me to think about nothing, if only for a minute or two, is a tiny piece of magnificence. i didn't care much for the mississippi river when i could drive ten minutes to her shore. what's a river you can't jump into, i always said. now that she's gone, i know her worth. 

someone asked me if my son would have fit into my life in memphis. perfectly, yes. if only it were that simple. it's not, and—although my words would make it seem otherwise— i don't want for us to be there. i only look backward because the future is still foggy and the present is ... what it is. my son, he's flourishing. like a field carpeted in wildflowers. he's beautiful and bright. gloriously bright. i want to be bright again, too. i want us to build, with our hands and minds, a new life. it could have bits and pieces of the old. i want friends for my son to know. i want walks in grassy parks and joker to sleep on a pillow in the corner of the living room. i want us to skip rocks across a body of water. all we have here is the west fork river, and it sure doesn't make me want to sit on its shore and think of blissful nothing. 

i think a lot about what isn't. i shouldn't, i know. i used to be such a daydreamer. all my life. i remember doing it even as a kid in grade school. nowadays, my daydreams are damp and deteriorating. i know they'll come back one day. like me. like the sun. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

it's okay, said a stray.

snickers is tugging at my heartstrings. that's not his real name, nor is it what i'd want to call him if he were mine, but his coloring does the naming for me: chocolate and caramel and dirty-white nougat. his disproportionately large ears hang like flapping flags. i want to run them through my fingers, but he won't let me near. he'll come only close enough to snatch up my son's cheese puffs that i throw from the car window. the neighbor, whose hooded eyelids and trampled-grass-with-a-patch-of-wild-weeds hairdo remind me of 90s health guru susan power or perhaps a less severe version of my 7th grade english teacher, mrs. andrick, has been looking out for snickers. her husband says he can't stay. if neighbor lady is anything like her forceful doppelgangers, her wishes will prevail. i hope so. i'm already invested in snickers' fate.

i posted snickers' whereabouts on a few facebook pages, one devoted mostly to the buying and selling of pets. on that page, i later posted some information about the negative aspects of dog breeding. while writing, i noticed a post from a young guy selling his pair of unaltered bull dogs. i felt, literally, in my gut, an urge to reply. the heavens and my guts must've met in the middle, because this thought nudged its way into my consciousness: here's an opportunity to be more like you want to be. and so i was. i typed as if i were shooting a gun filled with flowers: determined, yet with a spirit of cooperation. my hope was to receive, at the least, an equally diplomatic reply, but my gut told me i'd get nothing of the sort. he replied with scorn and said that fixing "good breeding dogs" is animal cruelty in his eyes. score one for my gut. it's like when i was a waitress at a steakhouse: i knew who wanted pittsburgh rare or well done before they even ordered.

"so, what's your goal for being happy?" asked a girl i barely know. goals. i have them, although that beeline i'm supposed to take to get to them is confining. boring? prescribed. and a misnomer: bees don't fly in straight lines. they hover. they zigzag. i am more bee than beeline.

yesterday i read an article in science daily about a study that revealed depressed people tend to have non-specific goals. it said that people who set specific goals are more likely to be successful. science is apparently on the side of the non-bee-like beeline. i get it. if you know exactly what you want, you can map out a plan to make it happen. what bothers me is that this doesn't take into account experience for the sake of experience. take the bees, for instance. they know better than the beeline. they pollinate all over the place—and sometimes they visit crops whose yields might not be better off for having known them. listen up, science daily. there's more than one way to be. to bee. or not to bee.

by the way, i told the girl i barely know that my goal is to unleash my inner hippie. hippies are happy and peaceful. if you want to believe positive stereotypes are any more applicable than negative ones, that is. i'd dispute the notion that hippies are any happier than anyone else. for me, "hippie" is merely (though not insignificantly) symbolic of freedom. living—not mournful for the past nor anxious for the future—in the moment. shaking off self-oppression.

in the spirit of freedom, i'll freely say that i think the guy with the good breeding dogs is an idiot. i think it's selfish and destructive when single parents don't weigh their dating choices against their children's best interests. i'm annoyed when vegetarians chastise meat-eaters. annoyed when meat-eaters chastise vegetarians. i'm irked when liberals attack conservative beliefs (ahem, lib-er-al. non-bee-like beeline, anyone?). i roll my eyes when conservatives say liberals are ruining america. cat people kinda weird me out. my nostrils flare when people feed their kids junk. racist remarks make me want to scream and tell people they're horrible and ignorant. if you post sacrilegious depictions of jesus, i'll think you're creepy. if you drink tea instead of coffee, i'll wonder about you.

i have to thank snickers for the opportunity to bring out my inner hippie. had it not been for him, i wouldn't have come across the dog-breeding idiot and refrained from calling him an idiot. and then i wouldn't have heard my inner hippie tell me that even hippies feel negative emotions and that i shouldn't be so hard on myself. my inner hippie says i don't have to be perfect but that i should be objective. she says it's great to know when it's productive to speak up and, better still, how. 

next time i see snickers, he's getting more than cheese puffs. he deserves a steak. i bet he's a pittsburgh rare kinda guy.

peace and kibble, y'all.