Monday, December 28, 2009

Slaughter House Rules

"I stepped off the stage and took a piece of her heart

we knew from the start
that things fall apart, intentions shatter

she like that shit don't matter
when I get home get at her

through letter, phone, whatever

let's link, let's get together." -The Roots

There are people I should never be alone with. I should never sit across from them in a dimly lit bar sipping freshly made Greyhounds discovering that I can't catch my breath when they look at me. I should not find myself so close to him that I can feel the vibration of his voice run down my spine. Oh yes, there are most certainly men that I should never get caught on the dance floor with. Too strong. Too much heat, too much chemistry. The odd part about these simply delicious connections? The weight of their hand on my lower back electrocutes me and yet rarely do they end up turning into successful relationships. It's like we combust on contact. It isn't for lack of trying. Phone calls are hot right before they fizzle, laughter rumbles right before it turns to nervous giggles. I don't get it. Shouldn't fire like this be the secret? The deep, dark secret that keeps me coming back for more?

It's not really a secret that, if I could, I would trade in my freckles for a life that looked less like Laura Ingalls and more like Lauryn Hill. In a futile attempt to escape my Scandanavian roots and pale skin I have adopted what I consider a healthy obsession with hip hop, ridiculously large hoop earrings and beautiful black men.

He isn't just beautiful, though. He is smart. He can keep up with me and usually even outruns me. There is no one who flirts more than me. Except him. And when we are together there is only one place we are headed: a little town I like to call Trouble. We've seen our share of hip hop shows together, seen our share of partying into the morning hours. We've also seen our share of each other's deep, dark places we don't show anyone else.

Life swims forward and before I know it he is tied to another with a little one on the way. I think about him sometimes when my spine reminds me that I want to be with someone who makes me feel as darling as he did. I think about him when my lungs remind me that I have a breath to be taken away.

One night that found me particularly breathless was by accident. I was on a date and he was on a microphone. I took my date to meet up with my Portland crew to check it out. Before he took the stage, he sat at our table, his worn-in notebook placed tenderly in front of him. Styled out and looking good, he was eying my date in clear distaste. My date was wearing an argyle sweater vest.

Don't get me wrong. I like prepster, but this was not in the hip and happening kind of way. His Porsche had chatted with me and convinced me to go out with him. I knew we wouldn't get further then a polite kiss on the cheek. So there we were, me and Mr. 5'7" Argyle about to watch a hip hop show surrounded by devastatingly cute men. He took the stage and looked directly at me. I looked directly at the table cloth. Before I knew what was happening I heard my name. Then I heard about our sexual tension from a crackling speaker. I blinked hard, turning to shyly look back at the group. Mouths were open and most were eying the argyle sweater to see what his response would be. Luckily, he was as dumb as his outfit and didn't get it.

As much as the whole thing made me blush, it also made me feel like I was the most amazing girl that has ever stood in front of him. I don't get that a lot. I don't have a lot of men tell me how they feel about me. He always did though. It's probably why I ran away scared, my armor of sassiness placed solidly in front of my heart.

In the spirit of the holidays and feeling like the best present I can ever ask for is honesty, here are some of his words, from him to me to you:


I need a sample, a little hand full- of a tasty treat no candles, keep
it Campbells.
Keep ur soup spoons handy, for the taken and scrape'n of this bowl of mine
She's only had a small amount and only one time.
Give me mine I love presents as a gift-
I've only laid, been lead a stray and coveted with a kiss. A highly anticipated moment from the past.
My should of would of could of mentioned times wanting to last.
I wore my Jordans polished them, seen the light and hollared in,
wanting for the favor of a Neo- fosmopolitan.
I say it with a grin, it's seeping from my soul. The energy is still
lurking as my thoughts are outta control.
Buy this say that, wrap that with a cool bow- Santa has a helper with
a nice ass, I'm sure though!!!
Come on smile, will u smile, and won't u smile for me- and when I
think the seasons gone well I think of we-
Woo is me, who was he I can't remember- I wish I had a table to back u
down a sweet surender. Moments to December and some time for holiday
craze- I'm crush crazy mole hazy locked by sexist ways.
These Christ like rhymes save me now from time to time- I only hope
it's better when it's time for me to shine.
And we can get it cracken, keep it pop'n off for show. And only time
will tell but some telling times may show.
Missing time see the signs shopping time now a war- A seasonal
greetings from me to u and yours!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A holiday for one, please.

"It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. Oh I wish I had a river, I could skate away on" -Joni Mitchell
The holidays. Yes, here I am again, dutifully playing the role of Single Girl. I'll be making appearances at work parties, family dinners and anywhere else that will give some jackass the opportunity to comment on me and who I will end up under the mistletoe with. Go ahead, I'm used to it.
I can see the onslaught of Christmas crawling toward me, a storm picking up speed as the temperature drops. I can't even escape it at the grocery store. Cases of satsumas? Not made for single girls.
I am perched on the familiar blue stool in the corner of my mom's kitchen watching her cook. She's watching me stew. "Why don't you use this opportunity to write a really lonely, sad holiday story?" She says, shaking salt into the pan. Thanks, mom. Go ahead and bring that salt over here. Rub it directly into my wounds.
Not this year, mom. I can prove her, and everyone else, wrong. I don't need a man to have a merry freaking Christmas. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus, for God's sake. Last time I dove into religious studies (reading The DaVinci Code counts, right?), Jesus was single. Or at least singlish. So by hanging one stocking with care, I am simply honoring the memory of Him.
All the "hims" I have had, they just string me along. They never string my Christmas lights. I might need a hired hand, but I don't need a boyfriend to get through the twelve days of Christmas.
So now that I have decided what I don't need, what do I need? I guess I need a list. A "things to do to be merry and bright without a boyfriend" list.
1) Wine.
10am. On a Tuesday. Too early for wine. By Christmas Eve, I am sure I will have a different opinion.
2) Coffee.
Corey, Kelson and Nick. Who needs the three wise men of Bethlehem? I have three the smart-asses of Langley that start my latte before I even get to the counter. They are handsome and funny and I am already feeling more festive. This is going to be easier than I thought. I pry myself away from flirting to scan the tables in the bustling cafe. I am meeting Nathan and I spot him already waiting. He stands, buying my coffee and, knowing my sweet tooth, doesn't hesitate to add a cookie to the order when he sees me eyeing the pastry case. Christmas alone is a piece of cake. Or cookie. I settle into the warmth of the ruby-red banquette, starting my mental winter-wonderland prep list.
"Naaathannn?" Eyelashes.
"Hmm?" He answers skeptically through a full mouth of cookie, barely looking up.
"I need a favor." Smile. "Can I borrow your truck for like, an hour?"
"I need a tree." I take a deep breath. "I'm single and I need a Christmas tree. I just... I need a tree and I need you to help me get one. I can't do it alone." I know he won't be able to argue with this. He is an ex. And as an ex he is fully aware that part of his new ex-turned-friend job description includes being called to duty in my occasional moments of vulnerability.
"I'm hunting at 3... I guess if we go right now..."
I'm so relieved that I resist any urge to drag him into a dialogue about the oddities that come along with our dynamic; starting with the fact that he spends Sunday afternoons dressed in camouflage, knee-deep in a deer stand, where I spend Sunday afternoons in loungewear, nose-deep in a book. It's a Pacific Northwest kind of Yin and Yang that I have spent way too much energy battling. In the end he isn't really that different. Everybody else has Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer and so does Nathan. He just has him for dinner.
Walking through the tree farm I realize what a horrible mistake I made. I am single and brave for Christmas, but it doesn't make me invincible. I know what we must look like traipsing through the trees, him teasing me with Charlie Brown trees, me playfully pouting back. We look like we will choose the tree and head back to decorate it in front of the fire while we sip wine and talk about what we are going to get all our family members for the big day. We look cute. Like a cute couple. Yes, I am single and brave this year. I have done a lot of work. But I know the truth, and it's a truth that could bring me to my knees if I let it.
Nevertheless, I have a tree now. It's waiting patiently on the front porch for me to make the next move. I lean against the cedar shingles staring at my new accessory. He is a handsome, this Noble Fir. Strong and silent (not to mention horizontal), this is my kind of man. All he needs is some flair.
There is no light quite like Christmas light. I can never resist the glow, sparkling from the tree, in a house otherwise steeped in dark silence.
I've never done the outside light thing, or this Christmas tree thing. I feel slightly empowered, and equally overwhelmed as I figure it out and figure out to just leave some things for later. I decide to tackle the outdoor lights while the sun is still shining and while there is still a part of me that believes an elf will take care of the tree while I am not looking. Three hours and two frozen hands later, I have a perfectly crooked line of twinkling white lights leading from gutter to gutter and down around the railing. Holiday decorating without a moment of moping. I am well on my way to making this the most wonderful time of the year. Back inside to build a fire and warm up while I decorate the tree.
For a little jovial motivation, I must have holiday music. I've just moved in and my electronics department is lacking to say the least. After a half-hour of trying to figure out exactly how to stream Pandora, I remember my good friend, Mr.Lamb. His job is A/V. He will solve all my Christmas music needs with one phone call.
I'm not the only one who needs music. I am in charge of music, centerpeices and employee gifts for my boss' company celebration. I completely forgot that in addition to prepping me for the holidays I am also prepping him for his festivities. It also reminds me that I need to invoice him and my other boss, too. Nothing under my tree unless my two main men pay me.
I'm exhausted. My list looks good, though, and I would rather feel tired and accomplished than lonely and depressed. This year feels so much better than last year. I still see Christmas on the horizon, but now I am actually excited about it. There will be lots of laughter, lots of friends and family. There will be moments that make memories: some planned, some not. And some of my very favorite people will be touching down in Sea-Tac very soon and that makes me very happy. Who knows? Maybe on the other side of this, there will be mistletoeing and hearts glowing.
Wait. Shit. Looking over the last few days of holiday madness I realize I didn't need a man. I needed several. Shit. What's a girl to do? I guess all I can do is be a very good girl and ask Santa for a one-and-only next year.