Monthly Archives: August 2012

Plenty of Time

I could hear the echo of my father’s voice inside my head, “Boys don’t ever hit girls.”

He ignored my protests and told me he didn’t care what my sister had done. It didn’t matter if she hit me first or what she used. I was a boy. We weren’t allowed to fight back that way.

I told him again it wasn’t fair and he shrugged his shoulders at me. “We are bigger and stronger. Use your words to settle things. They will.”

He was right and so was I. Thirty-seven years ago they didn’t fight fair and they still don’t now.

I suppose the big difference between then and now is that it was much easier as a young boy to look at them as “annoying people” whose sole purpose was to bother boys.

Puberty changed all that. Those “annoying people” cast a magic spell on me and suddenly I went from not noticing any of them to having trouble focusing in school.

Hormonal overdrive and young love kept me from recognizing the kind of trouble that lack of focus could get you into.

But I found out.

Her name was Tammy. She was a tall blonde with bright green eyes and an electric smile. At 14 she was two or three inches taller than I was and quick to lord it over me.

She spent our freshman year of high school doing her best to tease and torment me. I tried to give it back to her and almost got my head taken off.

I don’t remember exactly what I said but I remember she was angry. When I told her she was acting like my sister she lost it. She stopped talking to me. When we passed each other in the halls she just looked through me, it was like I didn’t exist.

You would think that I would have appreciated the respite from the teasing and the incessant comments about my height, but I didn’t.

We didn’t speak again until November of the following year and to this day I can’t tell you if she even noticed, but I did.

Her refusal to speak made me so angry that I walked over to her. “You aren’t as special as you think you are!”

She just laughed, “look who finally grew.”

Until she mentioned it I hadn’t noticed that I was finally taller than she was.

I wanted to yell at her again but that laughter and the smile that accompanied it took the fight right out of me.

We went on our first date two weeks later and three months after that we lost our virginity in her aunt’s pool house.

It was young love and a healthy dose of young lust.

Her father almost put the fear of god into us. He came home early one day and surprised us.

We heard him and I tried to jump out of bed, but Tammy was fearless. She told me to relax and said there was plenty of time.

That became our line and our little joke. Life was filled with plenty of time and much laughter.

When it came time to go to college we ended up attending different universities. Neither one of us was worried about our relationship. We thought it was strong enough to survive anything, but we were wrong.

I don’t know when she slept with him or how many times she did but I know it happened. I wasn’t blameless either.

The girl I hooked up with was just as tall as Tammy and had those long legs that I loved, except she was a brunette with dark eyes. The moment I kissed her I knew that things had to go farther and that something else was dying, but hormones don’t care about relationships.

Within six months or so we had both acknowledged that it was time to go our separate ways.

It was painful but also somewhat exhilarating. Tammy and I had done almost everything a couple could do together and I was excited to be with other women.

That 18 year-old boy felt like a kid in a candy shop and for a while I really enjoyed it, but I noticed very quickly that these girls didn’t respond like Tammy did.

She would do anything and they wouldn’t. Hindsight makes it easy to recognize that love was the difference but that kid didn’t know it.

By that time Tammy and I rarely spoke and if we did we usually found ourselves fighting but it wasn’t like those days in high school.

Eventually we just stopped talking.

Five years passed and then I ran into her at a New Year’s Eve party. At midnight we kissed and it was like no time had passed.

Thirty-five minutes later we walked into my apartment and stayed there for three days.

Two days later she left for a two year Peace Corps assignment in Africa. When she kissed me goodbye she said she loved me, laughed and told me not to worry because there was plenty of time.

She never wrote me.

Twenty-five years passed and the silence continued. We were just a memory.

Last week there was a knock at the door and I saw a beautiful blonde standing on my porch. It was like being transported in time, there was my Tammy, except it wasn’t.

She said her name was Heather and asked to come inside.

“My mom said if something happened to her I should find you. Her name was Tammy and I think you might be my dad.”

“What do you mean her name was Tammy?”

Her eyes filled with tears and so did mine. I guess we never did have plenty of time.


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Women Don’t Want Weak Men

This is a follow up to that other post. It was also written in late 2009.

Women say that they want men who able to share their emotions. They like the idea of a man who can cry, but that has limits. They want men who emotionally open, but at the same time they don’t want weak men. Lord help you if they think you are weak, it is the kiss of death.

Or so some people would perceive. Perception may not be the truth, but sometimes it is reality.

Relationships are such a funny thing. They can come at you from a million different angles. The great ones are the most unexpected. They come from out of nowhere. The man or woman that turns your life upside down isn’t always the one that you expect it to be.

In my experience they usually are the last person you expect them to be. I know, that sounds trite and it is. It is a cliche for any number of reasons but it is because it is real. Maybe some of the power is derived from it having been so unexpected, I don’t really know.

I am at a crossroads now, a transitional period of time that is inadvertently wreaking havoc upon me. If life were a movie the music would start to change now setting up the coming scenes. It would be subtle designed so that the audience didn’t notice that they were starting to sit up a bit straighter in their seats.

In my overactive imagination you might even really see me standing in front of a forest, peering into the looming darkness. Darkness doesn’t always have to signify danger, but it does wonders for building anticipation.

A million years ago you told me that you wanted to me to love you the way that I loved a few others. If I had a top five break up list  you would have wanted to be number one. But who could blame you, because I would say the same thing. I’d tell you that I wanted you to be happy, but in my heart I’d want you to pine away for me forever. It might not be my greatest trait, but it is honest.

Mr. Brightside  – The Killers

Pieces of that song have always made me think of you. I suppose that one could look at it as being bitter, but I like to see it from an optimistic light. That whole destiny is calling me thing is what grabs me. Call it youthful optimism.

When things changed I mulled over whether it was really goodbye or just a necessary break. You know that I hate saying goodbye, always have. But then again so do you. It is one of the many things that we have in common. It makes me chuckle, saying that.

I smile because as the queen of low expectations I know how you approach all of this. You call a general retreat and hide behind the castle walls. I call out and ask you to reconsider. I push, pull, hammer and holler. It is not necessarily the smartest or most effective way, but it is how I do things.

That gut instinct that I follow hasn’t failed me with you, not completely. You make up lists of reasons why it can’t work and stay busy. I make up lists of things that I miss about you  and stare at pictures of us. Sometimes the pain is significant, but it helps.

It is like jumping into an icy pool. At first it takes your breath away and then you become accustomed to it. And that is what I have striven to do, become accustomed to not having you around.

But here is the thing, I know how life works. I know that sometimes things seem impossible or far too difficult to work out and it is easier to let go. And I suppose that I could do that, I could let go and in time it would be just one more memory. But I am that dreamer, the big sap who wants to see the happy ending  to the crazy and at times chaotic story.

From where I stand this attempt to make that happen is the sign of strength, whereas letting go would be the sign of the weaker man. If it really is true that women don’t want weaker men then this will serve me well.

No matter the outcome the ultimate question will be answered by me and me alone. And that question is can I go to sleep at night comfortably. Can I shut my eyes and feel like I did my best, mistakes and all. If I can do that, then there isn’t much more to say…….

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All I Want Is You

I wrote the following around the end of 2009.  I figured it was worth including here.

Twenty years ago you never would have seen a note like this. I never would have allowed you inside my head or my heart. Twenty years ago you would have screamed at me in frustration and asked why I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking, wondered why I wouldn’t share my thoughts with you. And then you would have looked at me expecting an answer and received a smile and silence.

It would have tested your patience. For a while you would have hung around believing that if you gave me enough time I would learn to trust you enough to let you in. Chances are there would have been a few moments where hints of that which I held back came out. Little glimmers of hope would have made you think that it would happen.

But it wouldn’t have. Not for lack of effort or desire but because I didn’t know how to say those things you wanted to hear. They lay inside locked up in places I had trouble accessing. And truthfully I didn’t want to find the keys to those doors. It was fine to keep that untouched.

Eventually you would have given up and left. I would miss you but never say a word. It was easier that way.

Time would pass and we’d connect. We’d find each other and learn that timing really is everything. Unexpected and unsought for love would sweep us away. Under the craziest of conditions we’d fall harder and faster than ever before.

Alone at the keyboard I type and retype that last paragraph trying hard to avoid trite expressions. Unhappy with the thought that someone would read it and think of cliches and bad sitcoms. Because it was none of those things. It was real. It was the most real thing we ever experienced in a relationship.

*****************
I remember a day not so long ago. All I Want is You was playing and you were telling me about your day. We were talking about the future and you said that until I got my head out of my ass there wouldn’t be one. I laughed and told you to relax.
I didn’t have to see your face to know that you didn’t like it. But I knew that if I pulled you into my arms and kissed your lips you’d give in to the feeling. I told you that you couldn’t stay angry with me and you smiled. Dark, dark eyes looked up at me and gave me a smile that no one else gets.
*****************
That was then. A lifetime has passed since those crazy days. A million years and a million experiences spent both together and apart. I didn’t have to speak with you to know what you were doing or how you occupied yourself. Didn’t need the telephone, email or a psychic to know that you kept busy with family matters. Supermom had always been there, but you put extra work into wearing that cape and playing that role.
I know how you think and that you figured that every day without contact it would become easier. In time you might have even convinced yourself that it wasn’t real, that what happened was something other than it was. Then it was my turn to tell you that if you pulled your head out of your ass it would be all too evident that you were fooling yourself.
*****************
Maybe. That is a funny word, maybe. If you are a glass half full kind of person it is a word that offers potential and hope. If you are the half empty type it is more symbolic of something that isn’t real. A word that you can use to say no without actually saying no.
I told you a thousand years ago that storms follow me, that I radiate intensity. I said that I would scare you with it. You laughed and told me that it could never happen, but it did, sort of. You didn’t fear me because you worried about harm. You feared being close because that fire that burns inside me could so easily light the one that still simmers in you.
Were you standing here reading this, I’d pretend to be Fabio on the cover of some trashy romance novel. I’d strike a pose and make you laugh. It is not bragging if you can do it, how many times did I say that.
Well, it is not. Popeye was right, I yam what I yam. Just a boy telling a girl “All I want is you.”
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Road Rage

Most people don’t know that the largest traffic jam in the history of Los Angeles was caused because I dumped a plate of eggs on someone.

Something tells me thousands of people wouldn’t care why I did it or that I look back on this experience as being among the scariest and best times of my life.

Nah, they wouldn’t want to hear me tell them about how a flannel clad bald man stuck his leg out at the diner and tripped me. They probably wouldn’t want to hear about how he laughed and offered to send me on another trip.

If he hadn’t laughed so damn hard I might have thought it was a mistake but there was something about the gleeful look on his face that set me off.

When I glared at him he told me to “fuck off.”

I smiled and asked him if he was enjoying his meal.

“Yeah, it is pretty damn good. Now fuck off.”

I smiled again and stuck my hand down the front of my pants and made a point to wiggle my fingers around.

When I pulled my hand out I wiped it across his face and asked him if he liked another serving of “Sweaty balls.”

And then I hit him in the head with his plate and watched the eggs run down the front of his shirt.

“You ought to take a trip you fat fuck. Get the fuck out now and I won’t carve my name into the side of your head.”

If this were a movie he would have meekly nodded his head and run out the door, but it wasn’t and he didn’t.

This is precisely the time that I should have heard warning bells inside my head and gotten out of there. Except I didn’t hear any bells and my ego made me stroll away.

And by stroll I mean strut or maybe sashay, I am not really sure how to describe it as being anything other than the walk of arrogance.

Moments later I would put on my seat belt and pull out onto the street heading towards the freeway.

Somewhere during those moments he left the diner, got into his semi and came after me.

I heard him long before I saw him.

He didn’t bother with signals, stop signs or lane changes. He just drove though the cars towards me.

This was a piece of fiction written for Write on Edge. If you enjoy this you are welcome to look around here or to come visit my other blog.

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If I Ever become Famous

If I ever become famous someone will read this and ask me questions about whether this is fact or fiction. I probably will give some sort of answer like “what do you think?” Or maybe I’ll simply smile.

What I know is this post is one that helped me realize that I could do more with words than I had realized. I wouldn’t call it my best work but it resonates with many and it is something I sometimes use as part of the framework for other stories.

Right now I have an idea in which this might work so I am putting it up so that I have it handy. Got a big smile on my face SAW for no other reason than because.

Someone once told me that the heart wants what the heart wants. I don’t know if that is a line from a book or a movie, it could be. Then again it might be one of those pithy statements that people come up with. I’d ask the person who told me but I can quite remember who said it. Hell, it might have even been
me.

The heart wants what the heart wants. You know what that means? It is a statement made by people who can’t explain why they are in love with person xyz. It is what you say when there is no logical explanation for your actions. It is a catchphrase, a tagline, a slogan and a motto.

The heart wants what the heart wants. It reminds me of Shakespeare, “Life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Somewhere my high school English teacher Mrs. McDonnell is smiling. Little Jimmy actually remembered a line from Macbeth. See ma’am, I told you that I could hear just as well in sunglasses as without..

The heart wants what the heart wants. It is the kind of thing you hear people say when they are trying to explain why they are hung up on someone from their past. Or maybe it is what you say when you stop denying the love that is in front of you.

If love were rational, if it were based upon logic life would be easier. When I think about some of the things I have done because of love I want to scream. When I consider the self-inflicted misery I have endured I want to cry because it seems so very foolish. How could I waste so much energy on such a silly thing as a woman, a single woman. The world is filled with millions of women. It should be easy to replace her. It should be as simple as changing shoes, but it is not. It is not, it is not.

The heart wants what the heart wants. It does and mine has chosen someone that is far more special to me than all of the others. My lips remember hers. I can still feel her touch. The pillowcase has never been washed because I have this fantasy that I can still pull it close and smell her.

Sometimes I think that reincarnation must be real and that in a past life I must have stolen fire from the gods or committed some other heinous crime. Because there is no logical reason why I would be punished in this manner. I found the woman that completes me. I found the person that makes me whole and I let her go.

She would have stayed. She would have held my hand. She would have helped save my soul but I couldn’t say the words. I couldn’t make myself do it. Even though I knew it to be a simple thing. A brief plea for help and she wouldn’t have left me. I wouldn’t have been left to live in shadow and night. I could have been whole. Her love was enough to let me believe that I could have been something more.

But like I said, in that past life I did something. I earned the wrath of those who sit in judgment. Or maybe it is nothing like that. Maybe there is no reason why. Maybe this is all there is and happiness is based upon some sort of random something or other.

The heart wants what it wants and mine has betrayed me. In a different life it lay in a green garden beneath bright blue skies and now it is filled with weeds and fields of shattered stone and black night skies.

Once I might have hoped for salvation. Once I believed that I deserved better than this but now I understand that not to be so. Hades has issued his decree. I stand next to Sisyphus. Tantalus is my brother. Happiness is something that I can see but can’t reach.

The heart wants what the heart wants.

 

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I See You Standing There

I see you standing there. You have intentionally taken a position off in the distance where you think the shadows will shield you from my eyes.

You think that from a distance you can watch and observe what happens in my life and that it will be enough to keep you connected but not in a way that will make you miss me in that “painful” way. You won’t let go but it isn’t because you haven’t tried.

That is because you have.

You have tried to walk away and you have tried to run.

You have pushed, pulled, begged and screamed but none of them worked.

Neither did making a list of pros and cons. It didn’t and doesn’t matter if the ‘cons’ logically outweighed the pros because you can’t apply reason and rational thought to affairs of the heart.

The simple truth is that you never stopped loving me. When I fought for your hand and asked you not to go it was easy to find ways to be angry with me and that anger is what you used to pry us apart.

But time has a ways of making the bad things fade and highlighting the good. Time smooths over the wrinkles and shines a light on places that might not have looked so sweet and inviting.

And now you find yourself hiding in the darkness wondering if my words are nothing more than macho talk. Now you wonder what is really going but you won’t take those steps into the light without something more. You won’t step forward unless I wrap an arm around you and gently carry you forward.

So I’ll help you a little bit. I’ll tease you some and taunt you with comments about how I tamed you and can do it again. It is part of my own hiding.

That is because I don’t need to see you with my eyes. I see you as we have always seen each other with that third eye that hides inside our chest and behind our hearts. I feel you there and I know you aren’t going anywhere because you wonder if maybe I am right.

All it took to light that fire was that one kiss and that one kiss would set off a series of sparks that would burn more brightly than before.

You hope and you burn as I do. You ache and you wonder if one day I will come for you and you will see me standing there with my hand outstretched again.

Close your eyes and you find mine staring back at you. Close your eyes and you can feel me standing there and maybe one day you’ll open them and really see me.

And when that day comes it will be as if no time had passed and all that we once knew about each other will be there as it ever was except with more depth and intensity than ever before.

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We Used To Be Them

We weren’t married and we didn’t have any responsibilities to anyone other than each other.

It was long before the days of 9-11 when you could show up a few minutes before a flight and be assured that you could make it through security in plenty of time.

Back then the flight attendants didn’t pay attention to whether one person at a time was entering or exiting the bathroom. They didn’t care what happened underneath the blanket either.

The back of the plane was where we liked to be. Empty rows and easy access to those bathrooms helped make the time go by.

You were more daring than I was; much more willing to take a chance getting caught doing something others wouldn’t want to see. I’d tell you to stop because they were approaching with the drink cart but that would only make you try harder to make me squirm.

But that was then and this is now.

Now I sit here waiting for them start the boarding process, watching and waiting.

There must be several hundred people here with me but I am alone. I am lost in the moments and memories of people and places.

Stuck with images that always come back to me here.

This is where we said goodbye that day. You put your head on my shoulder and cried. I kissed your tears away and said I love you.

You just nodded.

I promised to come back.

You just nodded.

I hugged you again and buried my face in your neck. I inhaled, closed my eyes and did my best to make your scent a part of my forever memory.

When I opened my eyes you weren’t crying any longer. I thought you were ok. I figured that you had calmed down and that you knew I was coming back.

But you weren’t calm because I was coming back, you were calm because you were already gone.

Sometimes when I sit here I remember the last time we had sex. It wasn’t love making, it was just two people going at it. I should have known it was just part of your goodbye.

I should have known you were doing your duty. You were going through the motions so that I could get on the plane and we wouldn’t fight.

There is a couple standing at the window. They are holding hands and smiling. I can hear them talking and feel the smile in their voices.

When I stand up I can see my reflection in the window. It appears just behind their reflections.

I don’t know what to make of that if anything. We used to be them.

This is part of The Terminal, a prompt for Write on Edge.

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FYI

If you like what you read here you might consider visiting TheJackB. It is where I spend most of my time.

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Building a Future

The 198,383th time I heard that pride goeth before a fall I made a face and pretended to hang myself. Blame it upon the arrogance of youth.

I hadn’t yet learned that life has a way of humbling us and that it was the sort of education that wasn’t very pleasant.

You see I fell in love with a girl and I loved her fiercely. I loved her madly. I loved her passionately. I loved her in every way that the poets wrote of, spoke of and dreamed of.

I loved her with all of my heart and all of my soul. I loved her desperately and somewhere in that madness I lost her.

We were much younger then and no one could have predicted that things would go as they did. I wasn’t her type and she wasn’t mine. Not unlike so many other couples on paper we had everything in common and nothing in common.

I can’t tell you if there are soul mates or things are meant to be but I can say that if there is a master chemist they created the perfect mix of magic. It wasn’t just because there was a ridiculous amount of lust but because we liked each other.

++++++

It is just before dawn and we are lying in bed. My flight leaves in five hours. In a few minutes you’ll wake up and we’ll engage in some early morning exercise.

Midway through my shower you’ll join me and try to convince me not to leave. I’ll look down and we’ll make eye contact and I’ll think I am crazy to leave, but I’ll force myself to be strong.

“I love you baby, but I can’t pass this up. I have to give it a shot and I can’t ask you to wait for me.”

Tears well in her eyes and she tells me that it is a mistake. She says that I should wait a bit longer and she’ll be able to come with me.

I smile and hug her.

“I want to get things started. It is for our future.”

She nods her head but I miss the look in her eyes. This isn’t her being understanding. She has already decided that if I insist on going she will too. She is ready to build a life and wants to start now.

Years later I see clearly what I missed then. The future I wanted to build disintegrated that day.

I made a mistake.

This is part of Yeah Write #70

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Married To Someone Else

I remember when you screamed at me and said that I didn’t know how to apologize. I remember when you told me you read my letter and cried because it was beautiful but that it was too little too late. I remember when you said you would be devastated if you woke up and found out that I was dead or that I was married to someone else.
Those memories are locked away in the vault that never forgets what was, what happened and what could be. It is a strange place that sits in between the past, the present and the future. Don’t ask me to explain how or why it is timeless. It is like asking me to tell you how I never noticed if you have aged or changed. I am not lying about those things, I just don’t.

It is not because I am an airhead or oblivious because I see when it happens to others. I notice when it happens to me. I can tell you whether my pants are snug or loose and if my hair is as thick as it used to be or not.

You are different because you are different to me.

Under most circumstances I wouldn’t spend any time thinking about you or wondering what you were doing. I would take your actions and see them as a clear indication that you have moved on and have no interest in me. I would look at them as being proof that it no longer matters what I do or who I am with and that would be ok.

But the thing is there is this connection that never disappeared. God didn’t sever the line that extends between you and I so while I can’t hear your words I feel your thoughts.

I know when you are thinking about me and sense when you wonder what I am doing. Before you roll your eyes take a moment and think about how many times we just knew what was going on with each other. Think about how close we were and how words weren’t always necessary.

That wasn’t because we talked constantly or wrote letters. It wasn’t because of anything other than…because. It just was and it just is.

The only real difference now is we have done our best to ignore and tune it out. It makes it easier to not be hyper aware of it. It makes it easier to be apart but it doesn’t solve the problem, it only masks it.

Every time I truly ignore you and shut that connection down you come to me. Every time I try to cut that thread you show up and it is not because I told you. It is because you sense it, you feel it.

We may have free will but that doesn’t mean that we can or should ignore it. Sometimes you get pushed back together because there is something more there and it cannot be ignored.

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