Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What Keeps Me Awake at Night

I may have time to get to the Girl Scout store to get the new troupe numbers and Girl Scout USA insignia.

I wonder if those jeans are worth patching.

Is this middle aged spread or have I been eating too many nuts?

Nuts are good, right?

229 days till summer. Still time to work toward that bikini

My feet don’t hurt that much.

You know, my shoulder feels exactly like it did during the racquetball days.

Damn mosquitoes.

I don’t need any more new clothes.

I should make some soup this week.

I loved Yvonne’s white t.shirt and long flowered jacket. She is so beautiful and neurotic.

I felt pretty at the party but no one mentioned it. Prettier than I’d felt in a long time. Are they just used to my prettiness or am I not pretty at all?

Do I have any underwear that he hasn’t seen?

We should be getting that call from the basketball coaches soon. I hope practice isn’t on girl scouts night.

Get to the bookstore.

If I don’t invite more than two people over at a time we can all drink wine out of wine glasses.

I hope they take those boots back.

Mosquitoes. Will they retreat as it gets colder?

What if I run out of money?

Chocolate bacon, who would have thunk it?

I can feel my hips.

My breasts are like puddles. Exactly like my mothers.

I think I said goodnight to him.

One day my father will die.

Should we drive or fly?

Hawaii sounds nice. People take trips they can't afford all the time. They use their credit cards.

The house really is tilting. Maybe that’s why I wake up dizzy every morning.

200 X 180 =

What else can I offer my students? Will they hate me if I give myself a raise?

Get bread.

Don’t forget lunch for Friday.
Call Jan. Call Tom.

I’m too nice.
But not to him. I’m not nice enough to him. I should have said goodnight.

Laundry soap.

I wonder when my haircut is.
I hope he says yes to ice skating with the girl scouts. What was I thinking?
I should get outside more.
My feet don’t hurt that bad.

Maybe the school girl skirt for Halloween.

R. will meet P. She knows about him now. I’ll give her the heads up that he's coming over.

Should I tell P. she knows? No. Some things are better left unsaid.

NANO month.

I could get up early and write.

Damn mosquitoes.
I wonder if he really will get a job.
His feet feel nice.
This room is tilting.
Could I really teach in Cabo?
I hope they take those boots back.
I think I can handle two days of racquetball a week.
Maybe my shoulder hurts from lifting.
I wonder if Janie is mad at me?
I hope that check comes soon.
I’ll stop when that bottle is empty.
The cat will get the mouse.
I’ll call her tomorrow. She’ll understand. I know it’s been a week but she never calls me on mine either.

Sometimes it’s a curse to have such good ideas. I could write that whole penis book in a NANO month. My mom says I could sell that puppy for a million dollars.

Maybe I’m not that smart.
I’m nice, but not that smart.
I am tired though.
I wonder if I’ll write another book.
Do I have to?
His feet feel nice.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Do's and Don'ts

She called breathless and excited, certain that you and she, your lover’s wife, should write the book on open marriage. It would be fun, she said over the phone, and marketable too, with sidebars of do’s and don’ts, tips and etiquette, that sort of thing.

You’d thought about it of course, both of you were writers and in a position to actually share something. Nearly three years into this and still on your feet, still married and thriving. You might actually have something to offer people.

But a part of you worried that if you did start waving a flag the whole thing would come crashing down on you. You’d lose your marriage or lose your lover and then all your sadness and disappointment with life, your real fears would surface and you would have to accept a truer truth, which is that open marriage is great if you’re getting what you want, if somebody wants to be your baby. But without that, say your husband is having the time of his life with his girlfriend, but the guy you’re with disappears, well, so much for those helpful tips and those all those clever little do’s and don’ts.

At least she wasn’t calling because you’d done something wrong, because her husband had come home last night in a bad way. No, you’d left him in good shape and he was completely capable of making breakfast for the boys and taking them to school. Sure you’d made an impression on him, but you hadn’t left a mark. And as she spoke, all chatty and excited about the book idea, it appeared that she still hadn’t gotten wind of the other little tryst that had happened the night before with your husband’s lover and her husband, a former love of yours and who is closely associated with and the sometimes lover of your lover's wife.

And while it's true that you didn’t break any rules, you don’t mean to hurt people and you don’t want to lie. And so you hoped that you could simply have a whole conversation with her about the bestselling book the two of you would write about open marriage; all those sage words of advice; how to make it work and how not to fuck it up. You hoped to have just this conversation, wondering as you listened to her go on about the book, whether your friendship, if the book project could weather the complexity of this whole thing; everything said and left unsaid; all the tiny lies and the way we protect ourselves and each other.

You wondered whether her husband, a man of 60, would be here in ten years or whether his heart would give way the way his own father’s did at 65. You wonder if that happens whether you’ll have such good news to spread about your open marriage. Maybe you’ll know more about loss then. Maybe you’ll become at expert on that.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I can’t write about the way I stuffed my face last night, my early dinner of potatoes, potatoes, potatoes, how I kept coming downstairs for more and the shame of getting into bed knowing that there was no way I could let my husband touch me, even though it was probably a good night, even though we’d been talking about it, even though it had been weeks, even though I can’t actually remember the feeling of him inside of me.

The relief of the movie in bed, our feet touching, then soon after, the relief of his snores, that another night had passed and I had escaped the intimacy, the awkwardness of touch and the movement toward each other.

I can’t write about how I’ve been wondering if the open marriage isn’t just terribly convenient, that the philosophy may be poppycock, that business about how the four square walls of marriage are limiting, too tight. That business about how other people allow you to express the untapped, that one person can’t be it all for you.

Lately I wonder if having a lover isn’t just a terribly convenient way to drift from each other, both of us a little high, a little drugged in the anticipation of the tryst, the way my step became just a little lighter when P. said he could make the Wednesday night date, how I found myself taking the first full breath of the day.

I don’t know if I can write about how difficult it is to move toward my husband, not for any good reason except that I am comfortable in my defense, tucked as I am behind my great wall. How right, how disappointed.

If they sliced me open they would find road blocks and ditches, and old refrigerators and ovens that people had ditched along the banks and which now blocked the flow of fresh water.

When my lover called to say Wednesday I think I giggled. I sounded like a child. I realized I could make it through today and tomorrow and the next day.

What I can’t write about are those dead refrigerators getting rusty and rained on and clogging up the river. I find myself unwilling to look or uncover. I find myself drifting and blaming and eating potatoes.

What I am unwilling to write about, what I find impossible to write about is the feeling each night of getting into bed with a man I care about but do not know how to move toward. The other night I wanted him to touch me. I wanted to ask but I felt guilty. It was only the pleasure I sought, not the connection. It could have been anyone’s hands, and this is a very hard thing to write about.