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Morning scene from “The Fault”

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Photo by Wang Ward

Morning came too quickly for both of them. He had to meet with his boss to discuss the agenda for the all-company meeting taking place that afternoon, and she didn’t say what was causing her to hurry. Her lunch was already sitting out on the counter with the brown paper curled forward like a grade-schooler’s lunch.

All it needs is her name written on it with permanent marker.

When she wasn’t looking, he scrawled it across the side opposite the fold, and then he busied himself with pouring cereal. He hoped she would notice the decoration when she picked it up and headed out the door, but she forgot the bag altogether. He ran down the stairs after her to give it to her.

“Have fun at school, dear!” he said, handing her the bag with her name facing her.

She blushed her thanks.

“You are the biggest nerd. I’ve got to go!”

Before opening her car door, she surprised him with a light kiss on the mouth. Then, she threw her stuff and herself into the vehicle and drove away. He watched until she turned from their driveway, and then he walked in to get his things because he was going to be late.

He was shocked, but he told himself that the kiss meant nothing. It was just routine, a goodbye given upon departure perfunctorily, not passionately.  Continue reading “Morning scene from “The Fault””

Our music was both elegy and anthem

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“I want to know what this means,” he said.

We sat in the driveway with the car in park, and he turned up the radio.

“Who is this?”

“It’s R.E.M.”

My dad told me he liked the band and that he’d heard the song so many times before and liked the music. Now he wanted to know more about the words.

In the passenger seat, I squirmed. Even though I could have shared the answer I’d read in online articles and music magazines, I told him I didn’t know.

Before turning off the ignition and going into the house, he told me he’d started listening to music a little closer.

I’d noticed. Within the past couple of years, he had obsessed over music he experienced for the first time. Anyone in his path could be held for at least 20 minutes listening to Pink Floyd on laser disk or whatever Christian goth metal copycat was on the radio at the time. If he turned up the volume just loud enough, he might be able to surround you with his feelings so that you might understand and share the experience. On a trip to Nashville, Dad beat the steering wheel and dashboard so emphatically to a song that he scared my boyfriend, who was used to playing and listening to music very loudly.

Dad was either 61 or 62 when he started asking questions that may have come 15 years too late.

Continue reading “Our music was both elegy and anthem”

Me, and the baby riding shotgun

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A tiny gray-and-orange onesie and leggings paired with a little fox hat hangs in my closet in front of my husband’s dress shirts. The tag tells me it’s for babies anywhere from zero to three months, and it’s the only baby outfit I have, which makes sense. My child isn’t here yet. Every time I pass the outfit, I touch it. Sometimes I smile at it, and sometimes I pick it up and spread it on the floor to talk about names with my husband. I hang it in that spot in the closet because I need a reminder that not everything about becoming a mom has to be overwhelming. On an especially bad day of morning sickness recently, I took some bibs with me to put in my car for my commute to work. I patted them and held the soft fuzzy part between my fingers. After only a couple of months into the pregnancy, I find that I needed to keep symbols of my unborn child to remind me to pray, and it’s helped when I’ve been unable to subdue my fears.

People have encouraged me to journal about pregnancy so that one day I may share with my child all my precious hopes and cute stories from the months preceding birth.

I’ve never been good at cute.

Telling your kid that you mulled over aborting it isn’t exactly what all those pregnancy books and good friends probably had in mind.

At times, I think about how I could still get an abortion. This could be over, if I really wanted it to be.

I feel terrible for that, but I’ve decided not to worry much about having homicidal thoughts toward that blueberry-sized cluster of cells that has been turning me into a sluggish, exhausted, moody, and uncomfortable person.

Continue reading “Me, and the baby riding shotgun”

Not my own

Not my own

Illustration courtesy of Seth T. Hahne. Check out Seth’s graphic novel and comic review site, Good Ok Bad.

I wrote an essay for Christ and Pop Culture about how a lifelong struggle with body image and worth would never get better unless I could begin to grasp that I’m not my own.

This is out there because I thought someone might need it, and because no matter what I do, some part of this story will make it into most of my personal writings, whether or not it’s explicit.

Here is an excerpt:

“An abandoned aluminum foil container next to my sandbox provided me with my first razor when I was 4 years old. The box had been left outside after a cookout. At first, I was intrigued by its teeth. Then, after I pricked my finger, I couldn’t believe it. I was bleeding, and it didn’t hurt badly. Running my fingers across the sharp row again, I discovered I could cause and contain my own hurt. I didn’t need to cry, and no one saw me.

That incident taught me a lie that has haunted me ever since: My sadness is singular, and my body worthless.”

 

 

Celebrate with an Artist of the Beautiful

People write about love in its beginning and ending stages. There’s passion, lust, flirtation, heartache, and longing. Yet there is an incredible dearth of songs written for people who actually work through relationships long enough to truly celebrate.

Continue reading “Celebrate with an Artist of the Beautiful”

Listening to Dark Pop Radio

Photo by Volkan Olmez

Pop songs are written, and then written again. In the past couple months, I’ve become convinced Brian Wilson wrote Tove Lo’s “Habits” when he wrote “Help Me, Rhonda” in 1965.

Continue reading “Listening to Dark Pop Radio”

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