Thursday, December 31, 2009

As One Dies, Another Is Born

Happy New Year

Tomorrow a new day, month, year, and decade begins. As the 2000s wind down to their final night, and as 2009 stands in its last hours, I find myself amazed and a bit sad that this time is coming to an end. Everything in my life, everything of significance, everything of excitement and joy and tragedy, everything that has made me into who I am, happened in this decade.

It was when I left Dirty Town, when I went through high school, when I turned eighteen, when I got my license, when I had my first kiss, when I started college, when I entered adolescence and discovered myself. I was a teenager of the 2000s.

In a way, the passage of the decade has a sorrowful taste; it is final confirmation that the time of my generation's youth has passed. The era of our childhood is gone, leaving us with a new time in which we must go forward as adults. That sadness does not predominate, however, for while much has passed much is to come, and the greatest passages of my saga at least lie not in the wilting decade that will breathe its last tonight, but in the nascent one that will wail a newborn's cry with the morning's dawn, and in the years beyond it.

It has been my tradition on these New Year's Eves to reflect on the past, but that is inappropriate now. 2009 has been a year of liberation for me, the first year in which I made good on my promise to live differently. It is enough to say that, and then look forward to the action I will take, must take, in 2010.

If the ups and downs I've experienced since 2000 have taught me anything, it's that the moment you live in is precious, and that it can be lost. If a person squanders his present, it will one day become his past regret, as much of the 2000s became for me. I don't dwell on those mistakes, though, for dwelling is an error in itself, and diverts attention away from the current day.

I have overhauled my life, and my greatest goal as this new year and new decade start will be to continue in that vein, to persist in doing things that are new, things that I never thought I could try or accomplish, and to not let fear, that most crippling and limiting of all emotions, cow my efforts.

My specific resolutions for the New Year are four:

1. Taking greater care of my body, seeing to my health through improved diet and exercise, and improving my physical person even when that is difficult.

2. Making more of the tremendous gift that is my writing ability, and devoting the regular time to my projects that they require for completion.

3. Ensuring my future success and prosperity through excellent grades, participation in internships, and other actions that will help me secure a fulfilling career after college.

4. Pursuing with full devotion my passion for music and love for singing; for too long I've dreamt of but not labored toward achievement in this area, an area in which my vocal talent and ear-catching songs would enable me to do well. A year from now, as 2011 is rung in, I want to have made significant strides in music.

I can do it if I believe and work, as I can do many other things. I'm confined to nothing. An important era is ending, but I don't mourn it. A more important one begins.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Oh, Brother

I loved you immemorial
And loved you since you were
And not even the deepest fall
Could that full love deter

From cradle side when you became
To separate beds we shared
In moments wild, moments tame
I loved you and I cared

In synching laugh and joining cry
You were my heart, my helping hand
Through wounds we kissed and cheeks we dried
You were my earth, my grounding sand

Because you are a part of me
And in our arms flows sacred blood
When you're subsumed in anarchy
You cannot be the only one

Did I not whisper words of warmth
To mend your fears when we were small?
And did not you with child hands
Bring comfort and my woes dissolve?

Half of my self, my sight, my soul
I will not get another
Slips into thunder's crashing roll
Come back to me, oh, Brother

Christmas Day

I'm having a very merry Christmas, and I wish a merry Christmas to all of my friends in the blogosphere.

Thomas, Powell, Pie, and I were awake this morning around eight-thirty with our parents to open presents. The gifts for Powell and I were scant (though I did receive a globe set in metal casing and magnetically positioned to mirror the actual tilt of the Earth, with the one flaw being that the polarity is in reverse, causing the South Pole to constantly face upward no matter what I do), but Pie naturally made out like a bandit.

She benefited from the profusion of supernatural creatures apparently lining up to give her presents; not only did she receive packages from my parents and Santa Claus, but the Chocolate Monster who lives in our kitchen pantry left her a book of “monsterology,” so she can "learn more about all the wonderful monsters who live in my world" in exchange for some Ghirardelli chocolate we left out last night.

Now my mother is preparing dinner as my grandfather Hick Family, Aunt Eighties Hair, Slow Uncle, and Hick State Cousin (Beautiful Cousin's family) chat in the kitchen. Uncle Car Salesman, Aunt Ostentatious, Blonde Cousin, and Pretty Hair were due to be here from Native State around one o'clock, and we're expecting them at four or five. Pretty Hair and Uncle Car Salesman will leave tonight for Humid State, where they lived for two years before moving back north this year, but Aunt Ostentatious and Blonde Cousin will stay with us, for which I'm excited.

I'm working later on today, but it's not until after our dinner this evening and I'll only be in for a few hours.

While my presents were few, they were interesting and enjoyable.

Thomas and I, due to our shared fourteen-year-old boy’s stature, have made a habit of wearing one another’s clothes, and in some cases these exchanges have become so frequent and so long-lasting that ownership of certain items has transferred in everything but name.

Thomas decided to formalize this arrangement today by presenting me with two different Christmas gifts.

The first was a winter coat that he promised would be elaborately wrapped.

When he handed it to me this morning, however, I saw no ornamentation whatsoever save for a single tag stuck onto the chest addressing the garment to me and listing the provider as “Thomas,” scratched out and replaced with “Santa.”

“Nice, Thomas,” I said.

“Thanks,” he laughed.

The second thing was square shaped and wrapped in candy-cane paper. When I tore off the plastic sheath, I saw to my great surprise a shoe box.

“Thomas!” I exclaimed. “I can’t believe you bought me shoes!”

He just stared at me, a wide grin on his face.

My eyes alight with joy, I opened the container, took in what was inside, and turned a serious look at my brother.

“Where’d you get the box?” I asked.

“My room,” he answered.

“I figured,” I nodded.

For in the alluring structure, behind the misleading wrapping paper and bright colors, all so suggestive of purchase in an actual store, were a pair of my brother’s shoes that had been sitting in our garage for months.

“I thought you actually went out and, you know, bought me something,” I noted dryly.

“Oh, of course not,” he replied.

Our house is full now, and so is my stomach, but I’m sure before long more room will develop there. A merry Christmas to you all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Day

The snow wasn't supposed to start falling until midnight, but when I emerged from the movie theater I was in with my family at around 9:30p.m. streams of white had already begun coursing down from the sky.

"You guys," I whispered when I returned from the bathroom. "It's snowing!"

"Right now?" Pie asked, her eyes wide in the glow of the feature.

I nodded as my mother shushed her.

About half an inch had already accumulated by the time our movie was over, and driving home proved more hazardous than we'd thought it would. The whole point of going out Friday night had been to do one last thing while the roads were passable and before we were snowed in for several days, but conditions were already dangerous as we made our way home.

Snowing in the Yard

After we were safely back in our house, leaving quickly-falling snow and freezing roads behind us, I headed over to see my neighbor, Black Boy.

There are two young men around mine and Powell's age who live on either side of us, and they could not be more different from one another.

Ghetto Boy, a nineteen-year-old former classmate of Powell's, has been in trouble most of his life, and he brought that trouble to Mountain Town when he came here from Native State to escape a violent past that included gang membership.

At sixten, he had an opportunity that many young people in his situation could only dream of: removed from a destructive environment and settled in a small town where his history was whatever he chose to tell, he got the chance to start over.

Instead he got involved with drug dealing, was caught, and then found himself expelled from Mountain Town High School after only several weeks' attendance. Ghetto Boy is smart as well; he's perfectly capable of doing well. His bad example and indulgent manner proved to be a negative influence on Powell, nurturing my brother's already curious nature regarding alcohol and marijuana. It was this aspect of Ghetto Boy's behavior that finally ended our friendship; I considered him a close companion for a long time and could handle his illicit activity because I wasn't susceptible to it, but his conducting himself in such a way around my young brother was something I could not abide.

Now, Ghetto Boy spends most days sitting at home or looking for another party to go to, the only things left to someone who has no job and is not enrolled in school.

Black Boy, on the other hand, is an eighteen-year-old college Freshman whom I met as an overweight fourteen-year-old 9th grader. Over his four years of high school he joined the track team, lost a significant amount of weight, and worked hard toward making it into college.

It was to his house that I went after my family returned from the movies. I hadn't seen him in months, and the two of us talked for over an hour about his university experience (he's transferring because the all-black school he attended this semester is "too ghetto") and my brother Powell, whose actions the last few months have troubled and distressed me.

He helped me gain some insight, and I told him I hoped he'd keep me informed of what twenty-year-old Powell does, keeping Powell of course in the dark about our collusion.

By the time I trooped home at around three o'clock in the morning, my feet sank through the snow all the way to the ankles.

The next morning, my front yard was a sea of white, undisturbed save for the occasional wind that blew the crystals around in a fine, cold mist.

Our Front Yard

For the entire morning, our only interaction with the snow was through our windows; we much preferred to stay inside eating warm food than go out into the intensifying storm, much to my sister's agitation.

"Alright," she said the moment she was done with her breakfast. "Time to go out."

"No, Pie," my mother answered.

"Okay," she said once breakfast was cleaned up. "Time to go out."

"No, Pie," my mother repeated.

When my parents were attempting to pick a movie to watch and couldn't agree on a selection, Pie shot in, "Well, I guess we'll just have to go outside."


It was around one o'clock that we actually left the house. All four of the children, with the rare inclusion of Powell, piled into my father's huge company truck and headed out into a town that had been abandoned to the snowdrifts by its residents.

As we approached an intersection near downtown Mountain Town, we saw a truck broken down in the snow. We stopped to ask its driver if he needed help, but he told us he was calling friends who would come for him, so we made a right onto Main Street.

Main Street

Ploughs had made no dent, and even if they'd tried, the snowfall was only getting stronger. We'd spotted one of our neighbors shoveling his drive Saturday morning, only to have it submerged again within hours. The roads were more spaces between the buildings than they were actual streets.

We drove around looking for an empty parking lot in which to repeat an activity we once engaged in thirteen years ago. During the Blizzard of 1996, when I was eight years old, my father tied an inner tube to the back of his truck and hauled us around in the field behind the local middle school, giving us a winter thrill ride as we clung to the sides of the plastic bowl with bumps in the road sending us airborne and the wind and flying snow searing our faces.

After a half hour or so of looking, we located a desolate space adjoining a book-binding factory behind a dead apple orchard.

Desolate Parking Lot

We had a great time taking turns braving the biting wind and threat of capsizing on our small plastic toboggan before a curmedgeonly security guard emerged from the almost-empty factory to tell my father we were on private property and had to leave immediately.

Going home didn't end the fun, though.

My father, Powell, Thomas, Pie, and I grabbed sleds and headed off in search of hills to slide down.

The Abominable Snowman

Thomas Gets Ready to Sled

Pie Playing in the Snow

Powell wound up turning back, but that still left four of us to trudge through the two-foot snow down to what used to be a lake and is now an empty sodden bowl. Filled with snow, though, it made for a compelling sledding opportunity. It was challenging at first, as the deep powder collapsed under us when we tried to sail across it, but after we'd tunneled a path down the incline and flattened it out with repeated use, we found ourselves flying atop the snow with ease.

Even my father got in on the action.

Behind The Houses

Going home, it became evident that the storm was far from over, in fact hadn't even peaked.

The neighborhood was drenched in rapidly-rising snow, and as we walked down the street to our house the precipitation was coming so fast and so thick that the forms of my father and sister were obscured in white-gray haze.

Pie and Dad Walking Home

By this time it was three or four o'clock in the afternoon, and with sunset coming before five we resolved to stay inside.

Sort of.

While no one actually went out in the sense of going anywhere, Thomas and I had vowed as soon as we heard of the snow to get in the hot tub, located conveniently in our backyard, before the storm ended. The fact that two and a half feet of snow was on the ground by Saturday evening in no way nullified that commitment.

I layered myself in three pairs of pants, a tee-shirt, two sweaters, and a jacket before pulling on some boots and going out to clear, unclip, and take off the hot tub cover.

The plan was for us to do this in full winter attire, come in, strip to our underwear, and run like the dickens back out to the tub.

I hopped atop the cover and swept thirty inches of snow off with my arm, then got down and unfastened the side farthest from the house. I walked around to do the same with the opposite end, and that is when the snow-covered fire escape from my basement room collapsed beneath me and I fell five feet to the bottom, the plastic door and two feet of snow coming down on top of me.

Oh, no, I thought. For a moment I couldn't move.

"Help!" I yelled.

No one heard.

Then I took a breath, got my wits about me, and lifted myself out of the snow with some effort. That experience, however, was nothing compared to running in boxers through thigh-high snow with temperatures below twenty degrees.

"Oh, oh, it hurts so good!" Thomas cried as our bodies sank into the 104-degree water. Every inch of me burned as if it were on fire. In that hot tub, that small square of heat surrounded by deadly cold, the world was a warm and comfortable place. Inches outside of it, though, wicked winter reigned.

Thomas and I took turns reaching out and gathering huge handfulls of snow that we dumped into the water, watching them melt within seconds as our hands singed with the sudden transition from frigid to boiling.

It wasn't the smartest thing that either of us has ever done.

When the day was over, though, we had no regrets. The only thing we mourned about the snow was that there wasn't more of it, and that this weekend's storm was likely to be the biggest of the season.

Hair Update

Only a little late this month.

Here is what my hair looked like in November:

My Hair



Here is what it looks like now:

My Hair

My Ponytail

My Ponytail

It's now well past my shoulders, and people have started asking me how long I'm going to let it get. I'm not really sure. Someone told me the other day I ought to let it continue down to my waist, and while I'm not so sure about that I'll definitely let it get longer than it was before I cut it three years ago, back when it looked like this:

Enormous Ponytail

It's almost there already.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It Begins

It Begins

As the Storm Approaches

I'm sitting at my kitchen table, eating a second bowl of my mother's famous chicken noodle soup, a huge batch of which she made in advance of the serious winter snow storm headed this way.

Our entire metropolitan area is under a winter storm warning, this rural town in the mountains bracing for a snow total expected to exceed twenty inches. As of this afternoon, the Mountain Town region was slated for one to two feet of snow.

My mother rushed to the grocery store today to stock up on food and other essentials, and tonight she's herding the family out to the movies while the roads are still clear, before we're hit around midnight.

"We're going to be stuck in this house for two or three days," she said when I objected to accompanying them. "We should get out and do something while we can."

All throughout Saturday, we're expected to accumulate one to two inches per hour, and possibly more.

Once the deluge begins, our family will be well supplied with soup, meat, snacks, toilet paper, soap, DVDs, and anything else we need to remain self-sufficient during what is sure to be a blowout.

I'm quite excited.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eight Inconsequential Things About Me

Gaston Studio, a blogger who's had a long and fascinating journey in life, recently tagged me in a meme asking me to list eight unimportant things about myself. Here it goes:

1. This entry will be very brief because I'm just starting to study for my exams tonight despite the fact that they start tomorrow and I've had since Thursday to review.

2. I've never done a meme before, not counting Twenty Things About Me on Facebook.

3. I am 5'10".

4. I am cultivating a love for Lady Gaga that I never expected to develop when I first heard of her.

5. I feel that the government of the European Union as presented in the class I am taking on it is perhaps the single most boring subject in existence.

6. Everyone thinks I am a huge pot-head. All the time. This Halloween I dressed up as a surfer and everyone assumed I was a stoner. People tell me it's my hair.

7. I discovered honey mustard this semester and am now addicted to it.

8. For lunch I have eaten a turkey sandwich on rye bread almost every day for at least the last two weeks, and the sandwich makers in the dining hall know me well enough by now to pile on the extra turkey without my even asking.

That's it for right now. Important things are going on, but I won't have time to write about them until the end of the week. Thursday is my last day of exams, and my only objection is that they couldn't be over sooner.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Step

I've loved to sing for some time, as my bathroom walls and family will attest. The feeling that I get when I sing is incomparable, and the satisfaction of caressing and maneuvering a note in just such a way as to convey the emotion of a piece is without peer. Along with writing, I consider singing to be my greatest passion.

Until November 30th, however, I had never actually performed for an audience.

Around the beginning of November, Blonde Journalist Friend started work organizing a holiday charity concert that would be performed at our school. She'd heard me sing before so enlisted me as a vocalist (I am musically useless at anything else), a request I agreed to despite my nervousness. I've had perpetual stage fright when it comes to my voice, but my urge to actually perform finally overcame my reservation, and I realized turning down an opportunity that had landed so blatantly in my lap would be something I'd intensely regret later.

"A few songs" turned into four solos, and a week before the event she took me to her apartment to figure out which arrangements would be best. She asked me to warm up using some of my favorite arists, and I did, belting out hits from Avril Lavigne and others.

"Wow, you have a range," she said. "Maybe we should try O, Holy Night?"

I was a bit more apprehensive than she; the song was by far the most challenging in her repertoire, but she wanted to attempt it.

"Can you hit this note?" she asked, plucking a string on her harp. "It's the highest in the piece."

I opened my mouth, thought about it, asked her to play it again, and then produced the matching pitch.

She smiled.


The concert was under-attended to say the least--there were probably fifteen or twenty people listening to us, but I was happy for the small crowd; it allowed me to go on in front of a real audience for the first time without being too terrified to make a peep.

In spite of my worst fears, I got through the entire thing without messing up, and the high notes produced no problems. In fact, my only vocal failing of the night was on the low notes, several of which I noticeably struggled with. My lower register has never been great, and as my upper chest voice has improved with greater vocal use the deeper part of my range has actually gotten worse, if that can be imagined.

We were videotaping this event and I had every intention of posting a revised, pseudonymity-conscious version here. I figure if I can put myself out there in real life, I can be myself out there in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, the camera died halfway through the night and I wasn't recorded.

En lieu of that, I have posted a two-part cover I did of Kelly Clarkson's new song, "Don't Let Me Stop You."

I am so proud of myself for doing something I've dreamt of doing for a long time, and of managing to put my fear aside.

When I finished my numbers, a young man who'd been watching commented, "You have a powerful voice. I wish I could sing like that."

Given that I'd just been hoping I wouldn't ruin the event, this compliment made my night.

It's true that I was shaky and heavily blushing when I first stood up to sing--but several moments later that feeling went away, and I didn't want to stop. After the initial barrier had been pushed down, I found myself high on the energy and the exuberance, a high I'd like to continue pursuing. I want more of this.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The First Blogger Meetup

United States Capitol

I'd been wanting to do one of these forever. I've made many blogging friends in other regions of the country, and every member of my circle seems, with the lone exception of myself, to live in a geographic community of bloggers with whom they are in contact.

Every time I'd read about two bloggers coming together, a jolt of excitement and envy would go through me. The blogging world and the real world are two separate spheres, one orbiting the boringness but intimacy of everyday life, the other entailing all the mystery, crafted images, and speculation of a fable tale.

Many times I wondered at what a fellow blogger actually looked like, or how their voice would actually sound, or if in person they could possibly live up to the aura we all create for ourselves online. Some days I found myself wishing for conversations with Jo(e), or Secret Agent Woman, or Calling People Names (who somewhat alleviated my suspense by recently posting several vlogs), pondering how those meetings might go.

When the opportunity arose to actually come face to face with a writer I'd grown acquainted with through their entries, I was determined to make a good impression. I picked out a nice outfit, exchanged e-mails, and planned on getting a good night's rest the day before.

Not so was my fate.

An extra-large caramel frapuccino consumed at ten o'clock on Thursday evening was enough to keep me bright as a flourescent light bulb all night, and after laying in bed for hours and failing to fall asleep I at last allowed myself to get up for the day at six-thirty.

When I first rose, I looked awful, ashen-faced, red-eyed, haggard-lipped, like Death with a ponytail.

"He's going to think I'm a complete loon," I mused to myself as I bustled around my dorm at a time when some other students were likely just turning in.

After I'd gotten some food into my system and walked around a bit in the refreshinghly cold morning air (I haven't been up so early since high school), my face started to release some of the taught hardness of the recently deceased and assume its more customary condition.

"You should have seen me this morning," I told my blogging buddy when we finally located each other in Washington, D.C. "I was so cracked out. I looked like a common street hooker."

He laughed.

In person, Woozie was surprisingly demure.

If you haven't checked him out, his well-written, informative, funny, and compelling blog is more than worth a peek. In a community where, for better or worse, there are no standards for publication, his site sets a rare bar.


When his words are conveyed through the medium of writing, this nineteen-year-old is witty, observant, and sharp, with a keen grasp for and understanding of current events that exceeds that of most of this country's adult population. Given his deadpan delivery on his blog, and the effortless way with which he tears conservative arguments to pieces, I excpected him to have an outsized personality.

Instead, he was friendly but quiet, suggesting for our lunch a small but very crowded sub shop where we bought sandwiches, chips, and rootbeer. We talked and ate our food on a set of church steps for want of any place to sit inside the restaurant.

"You look like I thought you would," he said.

"Really?" I asked. "It's usually the other way around, that people never look how you'd think they would."

"You act different, though," he told me. "From your writing, I expected you to be really serious and reserved. But you're actually talking like a normal person."

"Thanks," I laughed.

Though we'd never actually met before, we found ourselves in the unusual position of knowing a great deal about one another.

One of us would start in on a story, and then halfway through the other would exclaim, "Oh, I remember that!" even though he hadn't been present when the event occurred.

We'd both forgotten enough, though, or just paid slack enough attention to one another's blogs, that the conversation remained interesting and revealing.

Attempts to discuss mutual favorite bloggers stalled when we discovered that we didn't read many of the same people.

"What about Mo.Stoneskin?" I asked.

"Nope," Woozie answered.

"Oh, he's this really funny British guy," I replied. "How about Ally at Calling People Names?"

He looked perplexed.

"A Woman In Search Of?"

No trace of recognition.

"All of those crazy sex stories?"

"Sorry," he said.

"How about Jo(e)?" I put.


"How do you not know Jo(e)?"

"I just don't."

"Well, you should. Secret Agent Woman? 'Blogging Incognito?'"


"She used to go by Name I Won't Repeat to Protect Her Identity."

"Oh, I know her!"

We shared sexual horror stories (blog post coming soon--and for the record, I did not lose my virginity), discussed issues concerning parents and siblings, talked about our respective friends and schools, and generally tried to keep warm while walking around the chilly capital city.

In Marble City

Woozie at one point had the ingenious idea of standing atop some large vents in the ground near the National Mall, which we did. The metal grates were probably blowing asbestos into our faces, but it was worth losing our lungs to feel the temperature from our feet to our heads suddenly rise by about ten or twenty degrees. It was almost like being indoors, viewing in comfort the shivering citizens of Washington, D.C. who walked the streets around our massive heater.

It was a fun day for the both of us.

At my insistence, Woozie tried sushi for the first time (his reaction was mixed; he liked the taste and disliked the texture, but the restaurant we went to was lower-end), while we bantered back and forth with details of our personal lives and all the normal things that new acquaintances talk about.

He's now one of two bloggers who knows my actual name.

We got along surprisingly well (for which he was relieved, as a previous in-person blogger meetup had not been to his liking), and when the time came for me to return to school to fulfill an obligation at the student paper, I didn't want to go.

"This is going to sound really weird," I said. "But I'm having so much fun that I wish I didn't have to leave. Today should keep going. I kind of want to have a sleepover and stay up late watching movies and eating popcorn and telling scandalous stories."

"Me, too," he smiled. "You know, I'm here until January 3rd..."

I Swear I'm Not Really That Much Shorter Than Him

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Night at Christmastime

Picture 237

I hope that days like today will be the backbone of what Pie recalls as a warm and happy childhood, hope that in her memories I'll be a beloved figure who was a source of kindness and magic.

She's asleep on the couch right now, dozing in the dim light of our Christmas decorations after a long and active day.

My parents were on a trip today with Grand Pa Hick Family and his girlfriend to Largest City, leaving Beautiful Cousin and I to tend for Pie. She had a soccer practice this morning at eleven-thirty that my cousin took her to (I wasn't even close to being out of bed), and then later in the afternoon she, Thomas, and I headed to the Western City Mall to see New Moon in the theater they have there.

She enjoyed the movie and later took great delight in imitating Bella's gasping dialogue while Beautiful Cousin and I laughed at the accuracy of her mimicking.

After the movie, I took my brother and sister to McDonald's, where Pie whispered that she wanted "a boy Happy Meal."

She's a tough little girl.

We arrived back at our house after four hours out and Thomas headed next door to attend the neighbors' party, leaving my sister and I to occupy ourselves on a Saturday night while Beautiful Cousin studied downstairs.

Pie picked up a balloon that's been sitting around the house for the last few days and decided that we should play at keeping the sphere from touching the ground, otherwise "the vampires will eat us."

Before long the latex thing was careening off of walls, bouncing from lamps and doorknobs while the two of us slid across the house attempting to bat it into the air from the most improbable of angles.

Pie had the inspired idea that we should kick the ball every time it came to us, and, like the uninhibited genius I am, I agreed to abide by this rule while running across the hardwood kitchen floor in my socks.

Only minutes into this game Pie took a spectacular fall, something I pointed and laughed at before helping her up.

Just moments later I repeated the move with much more panache. I aimed a kick at the balloon that sent my right foot hurling into the air, my left foot flying out from under me, and my writhing body catapulting for the floor, where I landed squarely on my rear end with a terrific thump.

"Ow!" I cried out. "My butt!"

I jumped up and down, clutching my injured rear end while Pie fell over herself laughing.

"Oh, and it's only one side!" I complained.

I quickly got entirely too into this, indulging at least as much as my first-grade sister.

Whenever a lamp wobbled, or a picture teetered dangerously from its rung on the wall after a collision with the balloon, my sister and I would cover our mouths, stare at each other with wide eyes, and laugh in mischievous collusion.

After one paticularly loud bang that Beautiful Cousin no doubt attributed to the small child in the house and not the twenty-one-year-old who shouldn't have been conducting himself like such an idiot, the college freshman called up the stairs, "KNOCK IT OFF!"

We stopped and shared a conspiratorial glance before I reluctantly surrendered to responsibility and said, "Okay, Pie, let's go play something else."

We headed for the sitting room and lay down beneath the artificial Christmas tree, staring up into the plastic and metal interior through which the multicolored lights with which it was strung shone muted.

"I spy something green," Pie challenged.

I thought about it a minute.

"The Christmas tree?" I asked.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, perhaps amazed at my powers of detection.

She seemed to sense after a few minutes that the possibilities for I Spy were of a limited nature when played from under our tree, so we emerged and spent the next half hour picking out the most obscure Christmas ornaments we could think of for each other to find.

This diversion concluded, we returned to the tent of manmade pine needles for a game of Would You Rather.

"Would you rather eat dog poop or dog pee?" my sister asked.

"Dog poop," I answered. "Would you rather eat brussell sprouts or broccoli?"

"Ew, broccoli," she returned. "Would you rather eat poop or blood?"

"Definitely poop."

"Okay. Would you rather live in spikes, or poop?"

"What is it with you and poop?"

We attempted a board game that thoroughly tired her out, and now she's gone to the world.

As I sat stroking her soft cheek, brushing the hair from her smooth forehead, a sudden and profound sadness came over me. I am home now, in the bosom of my adolescence, living in effect the same life in the same house that I've been living since I was seventeen. I am Pie's older brother, Thomas's companion, Powell's friend, David and Marie's son.

Sitting there, embracing my sister, I couldn't help but wonder how many quiet nights like this we'd have before this was no longer our mutual home. How long would it be until I left this place, until I became an entity of my own, until my position was not that of subordinate to my parents and equal to my brothers and sister, but independent unit? How many more cold evenings of contentment will pass until I'm of this family but no longer in it?

I'm not ready. I just want to go up to whoever is operating the control panel of my life, shake him by the shoulders, and scream that in his face.

"I'm not ready!" I'd cry, manhandling him until he was afraid. "Do you understand? It's too soon! I don't want to leave! I'm happy here!"

I feel as if I'm plunging towards a world that I don't want, can't understand, and am unprepared for, a world in which I'll be torn from her arms and from everything I love.

Even when locked securely within the warmth and safety of my cushioned home, I fear the winter winds that blow outside.

Picture 251

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I arrived home from school on Tuesday evening after skipping three of my four classes and leaving another early so I could start back before dark. The sun soon retreated behind the clouds and left the sky above my route a black shroud. Driving over mountains laced with thick fog and down roads lined with ghoulish trees was a bit like traversing a gothic landscape.

After spending so many weeks in the hectic atmosphere of Major University, coming home to my warm house was a relief. Pie was happy to see me, and within moments of my walking through the door had enlisted me to help her and my mother in baking cookies.

Powell was off at a friend's house, my father was working, Beautiful Cousin was visiting her mother, and Thomas was sleeping upstairs, so the three of us sat in the kitchen together kneading dough, cutting it into holiday shapes, and drowning it in sprinkles before throwing it into the oven.

Decorating the Cookies

"You take the red, and I'll take the green," Pie said when it came time to decorate the cookies.

"Okay, Pie," I replied.

She tried to imitate the way in which I gently shook a whole load of sprinkles onto the patterns, but she couldn't do it and so instead just rattled the bottle with her entire body.

Apply the Sprinkles Just Right

Food and family have defined my time here.

Today, I woke around noon to find a turkey in the oven, the kitchen cleared of all chairs, the dining room stacked to capacity with furniture, and my youngest siblings assembled in the living room watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

We've hosted all the major holidays for some time now, and this Thanksgiving we were expecting only Aunt Ostentatious, Uncle Car Salesman, Blonde Cousin, and Pretty Hair. Beautiful Cousin, who lives with us and goes to school near here, returned to Hick State to spend time with her family.

Around three o'clock, my mother looked up from the stove top to glance at the time.

Mom and Dad Check the Turkey

"Blonde Cousin was supposed to be here at one," she noted.

With anyone else this would be cause for concern, but Blonde Cousin has a well-known tendency for taking forever to perform the most elementary of tasks and, no matter how many times she's driven to our house, getting lost along the way.

"Well, she'll probably get here around four," I said.

I'd been half joking, but it was almost exactly four o'clock when Aunt Ostentatious came through our front door, followed by her husband and two daughters.

This is a family that's been through a lot in the last few years.

My aunt and uncle moved to Humid State in 2006, when Blonde Cousin was fifteen. Dirty Town, from which my family and I escaped in 2001, had grown intolerable enough to prompt their relocation, and they decided that if they were to leave they'd make their dream home somewhere warm. This idealism, combined with the fact that easy money had been available for a long time, led to some unwise financial decisions.

They bought their luxurious new house before securing employment in Humid State, and purchased a number of custom features that were unnecessary but enhanced the beauty of the residence. Before they departed from Native State, Blonde Cousin had an unfortunate accident falling down the stairs, an incident that left her with a broken ankle and the need for several surgeries, all without medical insurance given that neither of her parents had jobs.

This soon plunged them into nearly $100,000.00 of medical debt, a situation compounded when neither could find worthwhile occupations in Humid State. My uncle was the manager of a used car sales dealership in Native State, and for years made six figures. However, as my father discovered during our time in Deep South State, the sales market in the South is more lackluster than that in the North, and before long my Aunt Ostentatious was forced to take a position earning minimum wage.

At their most desperate point, Uncle Car Salesman returned to Native State to seek higher wages, leaving a depressed Aunt Ostentatious alone with Pretty Hair in Humid State while Blonde Cousin, who'd effectively dropped out of high school at sixteen, flew back and forth between the two.

They've come a long way since then, and now they're back in Native State in a rental home, slowly rebuilding their savings and shattered credit. Their situation is hard and their finances tight, but their family isn't on the verge of collapse the way it was before.

Beautiful Cousin called before we sat down to the meal.

She was back in Hick State, and in the background I could hear Aunt Eighties-Hair and her husband arguing. Eighteen-year-old Beautiful Cousin has lived with us since August, and in that time I feel she's adopted our family, to an extent, as her own.

"I hate it here," she told me. "Slow Uncle and my mom have been fighting the entire time I've been here. He's ruining Thanksgiving."

"I'm sorry, Beautiful," I consoled her. "We'll probably have some turkey left when you get back."

"Yeah," she said. "I'm ready to come home."

Neither of us acknowledged the significance that what she called "home" was not the place she'd grown up.

As for me, my Thanksgiving was a happy and warm one.

Thomas and I, always guttons for food, lingered about the kitchen as the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy were readied, he peeking into the oven every few seconds to see if the bird was any closer to edibility.

"Thomas, there's plenty of time," I told him. "It's two o'clock in the afternoon; we'll be okay."

Thomas Monitors the Turkey's Progress

Pie, meanwhile, had set our places, assigning seats with plastic red cups on which our names were scrawled, placing blue candy-canes on the plates of those she said had been "good," and using for a centerpiece a crayon-colored paper turkey taped to a disposable cup.

The Centerpiece

The Picture That Pie Took

She took the above picture herself, by the way.

As has been our custom this Fall, we spent the time while the food cooked playing outside, mostly throwing the football back and forth in the backyard. I'm famously inept at physical sports (with the unusual exception of badminton, probably the least masculine game in all of athletics outside of competitive ballet), and as usual my long passes to my fourteen-year-old brother failed to match the strength, power, or accuracy of his to me. There was one golden day several weeks ago when, under conditions I have tried and failed to recreate, my throws were miraculously robust, swirling through the air in perfect arcs from one end of the yard to the other.

I don't know what I did, but I need to get some of that magic back. As if my fashion impairment wasn't already holding me back from being properly gay, now I'm trying to increase my football prowess.

Today was somewhat different from my other visits, though, as Powell, usually off with friends, was here for the entire afternoon. He can satisfy Thomas's older-brother needs much better than I can on the field, so I let him take over football-lobbing duties.

Throwing The Ball

After football, Thomas took me on a homicidal drive around the neighborhood in our go-cart that had me screaming like a small girl when no one was around to hear and a very frightened young man whenever we were within earshot of anyone.

"Just so you know, this thing doesn't have brakes!" he confided as we approached a stop sign.

"What!?!" I yelled.

"Sorry!" he replied, then soared through the intersection and made a sharp left turn, our only defense against a front-end crash the sincere hope of two terrified boys.

When dinner was finally ready, I came in and piled my plate high with mashed potatoes, stuffing, white and dark meat, and my favorite Thanksgiving treat of turkey skin, in my opinion the best part of the meal.

The Thanksgiving Plate

I felt lucky as I sat there eating, surrounded by family. I knew that out in the world, people were suffering, some of them people I from my own life: Beautiful Cousin was unhappy and out of place; while Anne, moving into my late grandmother's home, which she recently purchased, spent the holiday cleaning out a filthy garage and dealing with the recalcitrant brother who's taken up residence on the property and is refusing to leave. Those things were unfortunate.

Yet my kitchen was warm, my food was too, and my family was safe and gathered in one place. For everything else that's going on and my own worries, I still have much to be thankful for.

A Kiss

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hair Update

It's a bit late this month, but I was rather preoccupied with other things, such as midterms and the rush before departing for Thanksgiving Break.

This is what my hair looked like last month:

My Hair

My Ponytail

A Very Long Ponytail

This is what my hair looks like now:

My Hair



Per usual, my ponytail really doesn't look much longer but my bound ponytail appears to be surging for the floor. I've had to add a fifth hair tie to keep it straight and smooth, and reaching far enough to do that has actually become difficult. I've resorted to just throwing the thing over my chest and putting the last tie in that way.

A real post will be coming tomorrow or the day after, as these last few weeks of silence, in an unhappy coincidence for the blogging community, have been quite possibly the most eventful of the entire school year thus far. A lot has gone on, and, as my more longtime readers will know, I don't use that expression mildly. When I say much has happened, I mean that at least one major, and, in this case, probably several major blog posts will be needed to detail it all. There have been quite significant developments on multiple fronts. I look forward to sharing the stories.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Generally speaking, I like people on principle. Maybe it's because I spent so many years being tormented and made fun of, but it's always made sense to me to just treat others well as a matter of courtesy, and I get along with the vast majority of those I meet.

To make me angry you have to be a real winner, and to get me to the point where I'm deliberately unkind to you likely implies some sort of social disability on your part.

Alas, this story falls into the unfolding narative that I am beginning with deep regret to discover is a part of the gay story, the fact that gay men behave abominably to each other.

Red-Haired Friend called me yesterday afternoon and invited me to go clubbing with her. I was tired and not feeling very well, but my plans to go out Friday night had fallen through and the weekend would feel wasted if I did nothing, so I agreed.

I arrived at Red-Haired Friend's dormitory to meet two of her roommates and a gay friend from Growing State whom we'll call Douche-Bag.

The trouble with Douche-Bag apparently started while we were getting ready to leave, but I would later learn Red-Haired Friend had shown him my picture on Facebook and that this person I'd never met was making comments about me before I even got there.

As we were preparing in front of the mirror, Douche-Bag asked casually, "So, what kind of guys are you into?"

I looked over at him.

Douche-Bag was very well-dressed and neatly groomed, but he was also significantly overweight.

"I generally just go for my own body type," I said, stating it in what I thought was the most tactful way possible.

"Oh!" he said, a caustic laugh already on his lips. "Well, then, do I have the perfect guy for you!"

He took me by the shoulders and turned me around so that I was facing myself.

"Okay," I said, already irritated. "I didn't mean I wanted someone who looked exactly like me, I just meant someone with roughly my same build."

"Oh, okay," he said with a leer in his eyes.

"I mean, I wouldn't want someone really tall and broad," I clarified. "And I wouldn't want someone really short and rail thin either."

"Honey," he said, approaching me. "You probably wear what, a 29 waist?"

"28," I answered.

"Yeah, you are rail thin," he said. "So you're basically saying you don't want someone short?"

In addition to being quite round, he was also about three inches shorter than me.

"No," I said. "No. I just like my same type. If I were a bigger guy I'd be into bigger guys."

"You're just digging yourself a deeper hole," he smiled.

"Douche-Bag, stop," one of Red-Haired Friend's roommates said.

"What, I'm just--"

"No, you're making drama. Stop."

Out in the hallway, as we pulled on our coats, I tried to smooth things over.

"This is going to be so much fun!" I enthused. "I love clubbing!"

"Why, because everyone's going to be on you?" Douche-Bag asked.

"Uh..." I began, taken aback. "No..."

"We can't all be thin and beautiful," he added, smirking.

Why would anyone say something so awkward?

During the entire train ride into Marble City he said things to me that had the express intent of making me uncomfortable, insults and insinuations couched in the cloak of friendly banter.

"I hope there are guys there who are your type," he repeated several times throughout.

Once we actually reached the club, I wasn't talking to him anymore.

"He's mad at me," I could hear him whispering from behind.

I just ignored him, and meant to leave it at that. He was, after all, Red-Haired Friend's friend, and out of consideration for her and the fact that she invited me I had no desire to make the situation stressful.

Once we were in the club, though, he kept at it.

I was lingering with our group, too intimidated to approach the mostly taken guys on the half-empty dance floor of the declining establishment.

"Why aren't you up on someone?" he asked snidely over the music. "Don't stay here with us, go!"

As I said earlier, I was determined not to respond to this childish teasing, but after two drinks the rationale for doing nothing seemed far less solid, and my wish to get even at the insufferable prig for seeking to make an outsider feel unwanted became far more sensible.

I went off, grabbed two cute black men, and, dancing with both at the same time, edged over to where my friends were standing.

I waited until Douche-Bag was facing me, then left my partners behind and approached him.

I moved in, rubbing against his leg, pressing my stomach to his body, and bringing my face just close enough to his that he thought I was going to kiss him.

In the moment his eyes lit up and he leaned forward, I pulled away.

"No," I whispered, smiling.

He gravitated towards me, and, with a sweet laugh, I shook my head withdrew further into the crowd.

As we were leaving some time later, I apologized to Douche-Bag for what I'd nearly allowed to happen.

"I just want you to know, Douche-Bag, that your integrity is paramount to me," I said. "And I would never do anything to tarnish your honor. We were dancing back there, but no matter how drunk I got, I would never, ever, EVER, take advantage of you like that. EVER."

I smiled.

"It would have been unfair of me. You were in an altered state of mind."

"I was?" he asked. "You were drunk."

"Yes, I was," I answered. "But you were taken in by the sophisticated atmosphere. And don't worry. Like I said, no matter how drunk I was, nothing would happen. I have that kind of restraint. Even if every ounce of alcohol in the world were poured upon my head, I would never touch you. EVER. I care that much."

He looked like he wanted to punch me.

"BB," Red-Haired Friend said, looking surprised and concerned, as if she were seeing something in me for the first time. "Stop."

"What?" I asked, and my laughter sounded cruel even to my ears. "I'm just trying to preserve his honor."

Douche-Bag didn't say a single word to me as we rode the Metro back to Major University, but Red-Haired Friend did.

"BB," she said. "I know you're not trying to be rude, and I know you're meaning to do something nice, but when you talk about 'preserving people's honor' it doesn't come off the right way."

I laughed, amazed at how much credit she was giving me.

"Red-Haired Friend, I did it intentionally," I said, my eyes alight with mirth. "He was an ass to me the entire night."

"Well, okay, that's fine, but just don't bother with him anymore," she said.

"I won't," I assured her. "But you know me, and you know I'm not a bad person. In the entire time we've been friends, have I ever once said a rude thing to you?"

"No," she admitted.

"I try to be right to people," I explained. "But he started in on me for no reason."

This morning, I was torn between guilt at one of most vindictive things I have ever done to anyone and savage satisfaction at inflicting pain on an individual who was determined to embarrass and discomfit a newcomer for the sole purpose of boosting his own self-esteem. I have no tolerance for people like that, and, in a hard corner of my heart, far away from the one that wants to be better in the future, I hoped I made him cry.

The whole incident was saddening, because it's symptomatic of the wider viciousness that exists in gay culture, something that I lamented to Black Dress Girl on the phone this afternoon when I just needed someone to talk to.

"I didn't realize before I came out that it was like this," I told her. "I had no idea that within the gay community people were so destructive. You know, we face so many obstacles in the outside world: a large part of society doesn't accept us, we're a minority, we don't have the same rights. You'd think that we wouldn't put up barriers ourselves, but we do, and it really hurts my heart to see it."

There are good ones out there, some of them my friends.

That doesn't stop the bad from being hard.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Excess Tempered by Restraint

The Happy Scarecrow Welcomes Fall

I am well rested, well fed, warm, and happy, sitting at my kitchen table on a cold Friday night. Beautiful Cousin is seated to my left, pouring over a Chemistry textbook, and my father is across from me typing something on his lap-top computer. My mother is sitting in the living room, watching television and talking on the phone, while somewhere in the house Thomas and Pie are playing and our two Dachshunds are running around.

Above the rhythmic whir of the dishwasher I can hear faint banging from the second floor, which could realistically be either my youngest siblings or the canines. Millie and Minnie, our six-year and four-month-old dogs, make a habit of toddling around the house after each other on their tiny leg, giving hilarious chase as their tubular bodies wobble from room to room.

I love nights like tonight.

My mother and Pie went out earlier for a movie night sponsored by the school, so my father, Beautiful Cousin, and I ordered Chinese food. Now we’re happily full, sitting here in our sweatshirts under a warm light just inches from the cold air beyond our windows.

I’m glad for the quiet of this weekend; next weekend will be very busy, as was last.

The weekend of Halloween started shamefully for me.

I was invited to Flamer’s apartment, and, despite having sworn him off, I made an appearance so as not to be rude to the mutual friends who were over. Before returning to my dorm for the night I consumed two shots of vodka, a small amount of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, and two tall glasses of jungle juice. By the time Flamer and his friend carried me to my room I was wildly drunk, and when we got to my door I pushed them off and ran for the bathroom, where I spent the next several hours attached to the toilet.

I was in a disgraceful state.

I hurled up pink liquid until there was nothing left to vomit, at which point my roommates forced me to drink water so I wouldn’t throw up my stomach lining.

“BB, you need to drink this or you’re going to have to go to the hospital,” Smart Roommate’s girlfriend said as she brought glass after glass of water to my lips.

I cried as I drank it and then regurgitated the liquid the moment it was in my throat.

“I think we’re going to have to take him to the hospital,” Smart Roommate said in the background.

“No,” I moaned.

It wasn’t that I feared having to see a doctor; it was that the idea of leaving the bathroom made me nauseated throughout.

Meanwhile, Non-Frat Roommate had gotten ahold of my phone and dialed the last-called number, which connected him to Flamer.

“You mother fucker!” Non-Frat Roommate yelled. “You fucking dick! How could you take advantage of him like that!?! If you know he can’t handle it, why would you give him that much!?! You know he can’t drink, so why did you give him that much!?! You never leave someone when they’re like that! What if something really bad had happened to him? If I have to call you again, I’m going to have a cop on the line!”

I was touched by their outrage, and by the tenderness with which they reassured me, tied back my hair, and helped me into bed. I was also determined, however, not to ever put them in that position again.

I woke up the day of Halloween hungry, weak, and about three pounds lighter. To my apologies my roommates simply replied, “We’ve all been there” and further disparaged Flamer.

I felt their reaction to him was a bit overblown; he didn’t tie me down and force me to get drunk, but then again he didn’t hang around when he should have.

Halloween itself was a bit redeeming for me. The very notion of consuming alcohol was repulsive, so I went to Jolly Girl’s Halloween party completely sober and remained so the entire night, not that anyone would have known. For, though not an ounce of alcohol touched my lips, I made on the evening of October 31st a crucial discovery: I am just as crazy, just as wild, just as clumsy and weird and prone to embarrassing gaffes sober as when I’ve been plied with several gallons of rum.

BB the Hippy

I was supposed to be dressed up as a surfer, but everyone just thought I was a hippy. Two people actually asked me if my hair was a wig.

I had a great time, was cognizant all the while, and suffered no hangover the following day.

By the way, I’m still a bit shocked at how fun it all was. I was lively, I was talkative, I joked, and people responded. I find myself, after years of isolation, in love with socializing. I adore the sensation I get when I’m surrounded by laughing, happy people, the warmth I feel between human beings. It’s so precious and wonderful, and can be enjoyed in so many ways. For every friend I have, every night I hit the town, every dinner I share with a classmate, and every I evening I spend engaged in intimate one-on-one conversations, I am so thankful.

It’s funny that I reflect on this as often as I do, this simple thing that means nothing to most people. It’s those things, though, so basic we don’t even think about, that are most critical to a happy life. The deficit of this quality in my existence for so long has enriched every normal moment of my days, allowing me to draw a deep appreciation from that which others regard as mundane.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Secret

Leaves Carpet the Earth

The secret of Fall
Is the secret of Man
That both seek to conquer
Though neither one can

Their hues are most brilliant
Like rose in the sky
Their beauty is greatest
As they wait to die

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am not sure how I feel about the way I behaved this weekend.

A part of me knew, knew before my dazed and drowsy head touched the pillow Saturday morning, that the way I had conducted myself was wrong, but that alone was not cause for great moral trepidation.

People make poor choices all the time, and then, deriving fresh reason from their sullied courses of action, resolve to do better. They don't dwell on misdeeds already done.

What caused me such disquiet was the pleasure I took in committing my offenses and the startling realization that, though I was aware what I had done was immoral, I had every intention of repeating it at the next possible opportunity.

I still do.

In fact, I'm eager to go further.

This streak, emerging seemingly out of nowhere, has left me disturbed and a little afraid, but has simultaneously tickled a dark sensuousness to which I long to surrender. These mere thoughts unsettle my conscience and make me wonder if something of my essence is in peril.

When I was younger I always prided myself on being a good person, but wonder if that was ever true. As a boy I stood in resolute denial of my sexuality, and between being unattracted to girls and denying myself attraction to boys, I had no options.

Now, I suddenly find myself in a situation wherein I am considered quite desirable, and with the wide availability of partners such a status affords all of the past's moral objections have fallen away like a gauze curtain torn from a window.

Were those remonstrances always a function of practicality, or was there ever more to them?

I'm doing things I never would have considered before, with a brazenness that borders on reckless.

Friday night in the club, I approached a cute man I'd been eyeing for some time, stood before his tall form, and looked up into his face dolefully.

He appeared to be between twenty-three and twenty-five, and he laughed at me in the dismissive way that older men sometimes do.

I narrowed my eyes and opened my hands in challenge.

"Do you really not want me?" I asked.

The smile dropped from his face and his eyes widened. He approached me to dance.

I loved the look of fright on his visage, loved how gazes shifted my way from across the dance floor, loved seeing the display of delicious flesh arrayed before me and knowing I could have my pick from its stock, that I could have as many samples as I wished, for prettiness comes in many forms and to taste only one is to abdicate from life. I deplored and adored this at once.

I've not actually had sex yet, but find myself fantasizing about how I might plunge into its depths for the first time. Beside this pounding urge is an inner spirit that decries my depravity, but even as I absorb that criticism I am overcome with pleasure at the notion of being depraved.

This doesn't feel right, but I enjoy it so much.

I don't think I'm a bad person. I don't know what to do.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Drunken Post

It’s about four o’clock in the morning right now.

I just got back to my dorm from going to a gay club, and I plan to go to another gay club next weekend, for Halloween. Woo, so much fun.

The first time I went to a gay club was earlier this month, and on that occasion I found myself dancing with a really cute guy from the metro whom I envied, for he shared himself with two young men and both wanted him.

Tonight, I became that boy.

First, I started making out with a Hispanic guy who had a ponytail, and then I dragged a black guy into it. After tonguing the Hispanic for a bit, I turned, not wanting to be selfish, to the black one, and alternated back and forth. They didn’t mind taking turns.

Then I saw a cute white boy, a college student whom I’d picked out early on but been too shy to approach. I beckoned him to me, but he seemed unsure, so I did it again. When he finally came, I abandoned the other two without a thought and started kissing him. I asked him several questions and was too intoxicated to understand the answers, but I certainly enjoyed the kissing.

I can pick who I want and do what I want.

I love the power in that.

When I was younger I despised people who gained things through their looks, but that was before I realized such standards would ever apply to me, and now I undertake to verify them with something bordering on vengeance.

I seized the white boy’s chin and made him kiss me. He complied.

I told him to wait while I used the bathroom, and he did.

Then, though, I got kicked out for being too drunk (I only had four, but there I am, 127lbs, and what’s to be done?), and spent the rest of the night bored and wasted and horny and hoping the white guy didn’t think I blew him off.

I can’t wait for next weekend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hair Update

It's been a little while, but it's time for one of these again. They seemed to come so quickly, one right after the other, in the summertime, but since school's commencement the space between each month feels like it's grown.

This is what my hair looked like last month:

My Hair

Boy With a Long Blonde Ponytail

Longer Than I Thought

Here is what it looks like now:

My Hair

My Ponytail

A Very Long Ponytail

My hair has never lain down normally. Back in high school, I used to be so envious of the boys with stick-straight locks that stayed flat on their faces, hair so sleek and free of curls that hair ties would slide right off of it.

I have never been able to achieve that, and, chemical aids notwithstanding, I never will. My hair is bushy, so thick as to be unnatural, and very wavy.

"Getting layers really wouldn't help you," a hairdresser once told me, looking down at my blonde head in pity. "Your hair wouldn't lay flat anyway because of the curls, and when the layers started to grow in they'd push up on the longer sections. It would actually probably make it worse."

The two times I grew it out, I just suffered through the ungainly volume until it was long enough to put into a ponytail, but length can only weigh it down so much.

I can and literally have hidden things in my hair before.

One of the most annoying aspects of its unusual size is that it does not show its length; it's been growing for over three years now and still bunches up just below my shoulders. The only way you can really see the change from month to month is to look at the pictures of my ponytail in multiple hair-ties.

That being said, I like it.

It's been getting caught in everything lately: under my backpack straps, beneath my shoulders when I sleep, and behind my back when I lean against anything. The latter case sometimes results in my trying to move my head forward and having it jerked back, which, usually in a public place, causes me to slam the back of my skull into a wall.

It's okay, though. I enjoy having it this long.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

One Day

One day I will be free of the people who have tormented me, the people who have done me wrong, the people whose crimes still haunt my dreams.

One day the memories of those acts will not inspire the rage of the unavenged, but will fill me with happiness at what I broke away from, at what I left behind. One day their image will stand before the portrait of my life and will be nothing more than a shabby rubbing put next to a masterpiece.

One day I will look into the sunset and it will be mine, seen through windows that are mine, curtains that are mine, while I lean against a table that is mine and prepare warm food that is mine for loved ones who are mine, and to whom I belong.

One day I will control my own life and answer to no master, and in the lives I can influence I will spread joy and kindness, and even in anger I will never be what they were.

One day I will show someone an example of restraint and nobility, and forgiveness.

One day I will escape, and I will never have to scream, in anger or sorrow or fear, ever again.

One day they will be a faint recollection, and the iron fingers that clasped around my throat won't be even a whisp in a dim nightmare.

One day I will bask in thankfulness and joy at how lucky I am.

One day I will have a child, who I will love and discipline and provide for.

One day I will do what I wish, and will be questioned by no one.

One day, no person will impinge my honor or soil my reserve.

I will build this.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

At Home

A Fall Sunset

Today was a day to sit around and do nothing.

Major University is closed Monday in honor of Columbus Day, and I have no classes on Fridays, so Thursday night I left campus and came home. The air has been crisp and cold lately, the sky that gorgeous shade of dark blue it only assumes as Fall transforms the landscape and chills the soaring ceiling of the Earth.

The blustery weather was enough to change my mother's mind on an issue she'd previously said was already decided.

"You're lucky," she said as she got out of my father's truck this morning, walking across the driveway under steel clouds as a shiver-inducing wind blew her hair. "I'm making soup."


For those of you who aren't aware, my mother is famous for her home-made chicken noodle soup, which her mother taught her how to cook and which she in turn has fed to us since we were small children. It's among the things I most enjoy eating, but is very definitely a seasonal food; this dish can only fully be appreciated in cold weather, which means that the last batch usually comes in February or so. Though in this state spring is far from begun in February (it snowed this year in April), winter is waning then, and the soup somehow doesn't feel right under those circumstances.

The making of the inaugural bowl each Fall is one of the surest indicators in our family that autumn has actually begun, and we usually mark the tradition in October or late September (though last year, emergency circumstances moved the first soup up to August).

My parents unloaded the groceries they'd purchased, assembled the ingredients on the kitchen table, and got to work.

Mom and Dad Preparing the Food

The soup takes several hours to cook, so in the meantime my mother made muffins to tide everyone (including my father) over.

As we sat at the kitchen table gobbling the baked goodies, she cut up carrots, celery, and onions, let them boil on the stove with chicken broth and diced tomatoes, and then put the chicken in the pot closed the lid.

Pots at the Ready

Waiting As It Steams

Thomas, Pie, and I passed the waiting time playing out back in the chilly air, which made us anticipate the soup's completion all the more. Fall's simple drop in temperature spreads hunger on the very wind. I've never been able to explain it.

Pie is now on a community soccer team and wants to be outside kicking the ball around at all hours of the day. The truth is, she's quite good at it, better in fact than we could ever actually tell her; she easily outmaneuvers the other children in her league (let alone on her team), and it's completely normal for her to outscore anyone on either side during any given game.

Pie Goes After the Ball

She knows that she enjoys the sport and would like to think she has a knack for it, but because she's six she doesn't realize how much better she is than everyone else on the field.

Witholding this information from her, while still providing strong encouragement, is a wise thing to do; Pie, for all her sweetness, has a hypercompetitive streak. No matter how much we tell her that the game is about having fun, she has to win. It's actually something I admire about her.

Thomas and Pie

After she went in, Thomas and I stayed outside, tossing the football back and forth. Once we'd done this for a while (and marveled at the surprising accuracy and strength of my throws), Thomas decided to start punting in random directions, with the not-so-veiled goal of hitting either the house or one of the lights along the path to our pool.

We continued happily on this course until a stray kick sent the football crashing against the kitchen window, which brought my father outside to ask what we were doing.

Around two o'clock in the afternoon, the soup was done.

The finished result was delicious, a mix of soft noodles, tender chicken, and succulent vegetables soaked in a hearty broth.

This soup is a hallowed favorite from childhood, and I'm known to eat a lot of it. Beautiful Cousin claimed I had four bowls, though I only counted three, but regardless of the number it was thoroughly enjoyed.

We took turns ladling the delicious stew from its pot, then retreated with our bowls into the living room, where the ceramic and broth warmed our laps through blankets and sweat pants as we settled in for a long movie.

Delicious Soup

The Finished Product

Our entire Saturday was occupied with watching DVDs, bantering about the weather, and consuming ridiculous amounts of Fudge Cicles.

Every now and again, a person needs to spend a day refraining from doing anything of consequence, needs to regard leaving the house as arduous and changing out of one's pajamas an undue burden.

"I took off my pajamas, showered, and then put another pair of pajamas on," Thomas laughed tonight.

Days like this are poisonous in any amount, but as a rare indulgence they renew and replenish the spirit.

Tomorrow, I'll work on my book and go out with friends. Today, I had soup.

Golden Leaves and Golden Skies