My Own Worst Enemy

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You keep it together like this: you wake up, you get groceries, you pick up cat food for Ned from the vet. You do this all successfully without crying! You celebrate these little victories since the breakup, these small signs that you’re getting better. You get online on the dating apps (major shout out to the dudes trying to look serious and smoldering in their profile pictures, who come off looking crazy and murder-y). You look at the New York guys to see who might be available to date once you move out there, but instead you’re interrupted by a vivid mental image of every single one of them taking turns on your ex who lives there, all of them lining up for a chance at him, the line extending around the block, extending across the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan, all the men eager with hungry, mean eyes and bodies far more muscular than yours, and at the head of the line your former love’s door, occasionally opening, letting one out, letting another in, him closing the door gently like he used to with only you, and now a revolving door of sex with anyone but you. You shake your head of this image, grab your keys, head to your first therapy appointment. You have no clue what you talk to therapists about, it’s probably a bad fit because he’s not even gay and what the fuck would he know about your life. You go up to his office, greet each other, look at his walls lined with books. Maybe one of the books has the right sequence of words to make you better again, the magic incantation to make you as good as you were with David. The therapist says: “What would you like to talk about?”

You burst the fuck into tears. Continue reading My Own Worst Enemy

My Brother’s Keeper, My Brother’s Killer, Part 5: The End of Everything

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Part 5 of 5. To read previous parts, click here for Part 1.

It’s the holiday season in 1991, and I’m a freshman in college. I’m coming back home to Albuquerque from spending time in Los Alamos, New Mexico, with my first boyfriend Max. I met Max’s family there, saw Star Trek 6 with him in an empty movie theater while I whispered the complicated galactic politics to him. We secretly made out whenever possible: to this day, I have a soft, nostalgic spot for the Drakkar Noir cologne he wore. We get back to our dorms on the UNM campus, and I get the call from my sister: something is wrong, come to the house right away.

I open the front door to my parents’ house, and my life is never the same after that. I see my sister’s tear-stained face, she’s in the living room with her husband Bob. My Dad is stoic but barely keeping it together while my grandmother shuffles around in her slippers, not understanding exactly what happened. My mom is wandering from room to room in the old Victorian house, incoherent, apoplectic, wailing with grief. I know then that my big brother John is dead. This is what it looks like when a family explodes from the inside out. Continue reading My Brother’s Keeper, My Brother’s Killer, Part 5: The End of Everything

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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I was honored to be interviewed for Matt Baume’s Sewers Of Paris podcast series. *Thrill* as I recount stories of my childhood sci-fi crushes! (I didn’t give Quantum Leap-era Scott Bakula’s legs due credit in the podcast; apologies Scott) *Wonder* as I recall formative music of my youth like Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814! *Cringe* as I audibly start crying when I talk about my ex! My gift to you is the feeling of being profoundly uncomfortable, so please click here to listen to the podcast.

Back In The Saddle

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Tears of happiness stream down your face as you think: thank you God. You are sitting across from him on his bed in his apartment in Bed-Stuy, you flew here a week after he called you and said he was sorry, that he’s had a rough time without you in his life, that he’s missed you since the breakup. You didn’t tell your friends about the call, you secretly flew out on a redeye after work one day. You went to his apartment, and after hasty greetings to his roommates (who scrammed the fuck out of there quickly), the two of you went to his bedroom and talked about everything: the expectations, the communication that was absent until it seemed too late, the pressure that social media puts on a public relationship. You find a common ground, you make commitments to mend what was missing, you hold hands, you cry together. The two of you call your families, your close friends, agree to keep it off of social media for the time being, maybe forever. Later, you hold him in your arms, you smell the familiar smell of his neck, of his hair and his sweat, and you get a full night’s sleep for the first time in almost two months. Continue reading Back In The Saddle

Life, the Universe, and Everything

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Do this, exactly: Wake up on your forty-first birthday in 2014 on Thanksgiving, and finally feel happy, feel ready for what’s next. Realize that although there’s a lot you have in common, break up with a very sweet man who you’ve been seeing for a few months. Hunker down and make some fun art, take some silly pictures, spend Christmas in a snowless Portland winter. Spend time with friends, miss your family who you can’t see very often around the holidays because of your day job. Continue reading Life, the Universe, and Everything

How It Ends.

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The text appears mid-afternoon, when you’re at work: “Hey, can we talk?” You go home in a daze, set your things down, lift the phone to your ear when it rings. He says words, you say words back, hang up. Just like that, it’s done: you woke up this morning in love with a man you’d loved for almost a year, whose family you had met, a man you thought you would have a long future with, and tonight you will go to bed no longer in love with him, you will go to bed alone. This is how things end. Continue reading How It Ends.

This ends badly.