Sunday, May 25, 2014

Live Blog: Oprah's 20 Questions Every Woman Should Answer

I get Oprah. She knows her audience and she works her ass off to try to be a good person. I don't think that woman has slept since 1976. Journalist, writer, producer, philanthropist, actress, media mogul with a Midas touch (except for that whole Million Little Pieces thing). How does she have time to sleep and wear sweat pants like the rest of us mortals? So I'm not a fan or anything, I but I respect her efforts.

My mom subscribes to O: The Oprah Magazine, and occasionally I'll skim through them when I'm in the bathroom when I forget my phone and there aren't any gossip rags around (yes, I'm talking about pooping). A lot of the time there's catchy headline articles about "seemingly easy and deceptively expensive ways to organize your life", "how these random women escaped death from rapists", "interviews with powerful women who aren't relevant to your demographic", "books you'll never read but can say you did to impress people", "decorating on Oprah's budget", "modern conveniences that are giving you cancer", and "Yet again another Charity that I founded." With that said, she's funny, and once you get past the Oprahness of it all, it's a good "women's" magazine. Not as sad old woman as Redbook, and not as too rich and unattainable woman than Martha Stewart Living.

So, when I was cleaning up a few weeks ago and found this issue of O, I was intrigued. 

To be honest, I was first intrigued because I really like that outfit.
Even the chevron shoes. WHAT HAVE I BECOME.

I snatched it up and almost started reading. I mean, maybe these 20 questions will help me un-lock my inner Oprah. Maybe these 20 questions will help me raise my Ambition urges to that of my Procrastination urges. Maybe these 20 questions will answer everything that I haven't already figured out about my life. Maybe these 20 questions will explain why I let my laundry build up for months at a time. After all, Oprah approved these questions. I bet she's answered them. And she's changing lives. I can change lives. I can unlock my inner Oprah. I am Oprah.

I say almost started reading, because I thought wait--it'd be more fun to blog my answers to these questions. So, now I'm sitting down with the mag. And I'll be interviewed by Oprah. In one sitting. With no taking a few days to think about it. Honesty with Oprah. So here goes! It's Saturday night. I have a plate of Oreos, trash TV, and I'm "live blogging" the Oprah questions. LET'S GET IT STARTED IN HERE.


10:48 PM: oreo #1

10:49 PM: Question 1
1. Do I examine my life enough?
Yes. I'm in therapy once a week. I want to know why I make decisions the way I do, so I can avoid making them over and over again, like I have in my past. I want to be a better person. So yeah. Examining my life is a full time job. 

10:50 PM Question 2
2. Do I care too much about what people think?
Yes. That's why I don't wear shorts, bikinis, body con dresses, or high heels. That's why I censor myself.  It's why I constantly second guess myself.

10:51 PM Question 3
3. Am I with the right person?
Yes. Without a doubt. I'm with someone who makes me want to be a better person. Someone who makes me feel loved, unjudged, appreciated, and capable of achieving anything. Someone who thinks a day of watching sketchy reality TV and eating pizza and drinking wine while looking up funny pictures on the internet is a good day :)

10:52 PM
4. What's your deal breaker? (in matters of love)
Animal cruelty. Pedophilia.  

10:53 PM
5. What do I really want to do all day?
Exactly what I'm doing right now: at home, blogging, in my sweat pants. Writing essays, reviews, editorials has always been my dream. I just want to entertain and enrich. To have people read my work and say "yes, I know what that's like." And getting paid to do that would be choice.

10:56 PM
6. How do I want to be remembered?
[10: 57 oreo 2]
[10:57 I could really use some milk with these oreos]
[10:59 getting milk]
[11:00 damn. why are milk and oreos so good?]

11:01 PM
6. How do you want to be remembered?
As a writer. As a good person who owned her fuck ups. As someone who did good things for people.

11:04 PM
7. Do I say Yes enough?
Yes. I've said yes to 6 questions already. But yes, I say yes too much. I constantly take on too much in order to appease everyone, and it's gotten me in trouble more times than I can say. Learning to say "no" has been difficult, but I'm getting better and defining what I can and can't do. 

Conversely, I also say Yes to myself in way too many ways: Yes, you can order $150 worth of clothes off and return them later. Yes, you can keep those $150 worth of clothes from Yes, you can call out of work. Yes, you can go to bed without washing your face for the 3rd time this week. Saying yes to all my impulses and laziness also gets me into trouble. Saying no to the instant gratification I get from doing things that are bad for me is literally the hardest task for me.

So yes, Oprah, I do say Yes too much. Learning to say No is on the top of my Ways to get Better list.

I will however, say yes to another oreo dipped in milk. Goodness yes.

11:09 PM
oh wow, I didn't know Anna Paquin was in She's All That

why did I think oh wow

11:10 PM
8. Do I know how to say No?

11:11 PM
9. Am I helpless?
Yes and No. When it comes to math? yes, without a doubt. Cooking? no. Cleaning? no. Basic auto maintenance? Yes. Can I talk myself off a ledge? Yes. 
I'm good at figuring out how to get things done. Most of the time this involves Googling or taking stabs in the dark. But, I like to think that my ingenuity has gotten better and sharper as I've gotten older.

11:13 PM
I want to watch True Blood again. And I'm going to eat another oreo. 

11:14 PM
10. Am I helpful?
Yes. I volunteer to clean up, to help prepare things, lift things, reach for things, pick things up if I'm on the way somewhere. I listen to problems and occasionally I have good advice. I hold doors open. I volunteer for assignments at work. I mean, I definitely have my moments where I've been absolutely un-helpful on purpose, because I'm spoiled, but I like to think my helpful moments out-weigh my un-helpful moments. 

11:20 PM
my head hurts. These questions aren't as juicy as I thought they'd be. I wonder if Sister Wives is on Hulu

11:21 PM
Nope. I am shockingly disappointed.

11:22 PM
11. What am I afraid of?
Out of control credit card debt. Prison. Cancer. Family members and best friends dying. AIDS. Failure. What other people think. Cephroyds. Heights. Dolls. Winged insects. Attics and basements. Spiders. Losing my objectivity. That I'm letting life slip by. That I'm going to waste another decade. 

11:27 PM
12. Am I paying enough attention to the incredible things around me?
nope. I'm so anxious about the future, that 90% of the time, I let the every day slip by. I always worry that I'm not living life to the fullest, that I'm just wishing time to hurry up so I can get to a certain time or place. I wish I could be one of those people who lives in the moment, but I'm usually anticipating the future or over-examining what's already happened. BUT. In those rare moments when I do catch a sunset, or a spider eating a grasshopper, or my friends and I sitting together and laughing, or my 5 year old niece putting together wild but awesome outfits together out of stuff in my closet, or how really good a double cheese burger can be, I sit back and think "wow, little things are damn amazing." And it's a really good feeling.

11:32 PM
13. Have I accepted my body?
Oh boy. Yes and no.  More oreos.

11:33 PM
I need to change the channel.

11:34 PM
Wow, nothing is on. Princess Diaries, it is. 

11:35 PM
I didn't really date until I was 18, and the guys I dated were always complimentary/big fans of my shape. Except for that one time in 7th grade when Craig told Cassie he'd like me more if my boobs were bigger, I haven't been too scarred for life by what guys think of how I look. So I know that I dumbly fall into that category of women who get beaten down by super models and clothing models with tiny thighs, no hips, and round boobies, letting strangers and advertising dictate how I think about myself. That's fine, I accept that. And as such, I've been going back and forth on how I feel about my body since I was 12.  While I've never been overweight, I do have a dis-proportionate body shape. My chest has always been flat to small, my hips have always been as wide as my shoulders, and I've always had a roundness to belly, right around my belly button--even when I weighed less than 100 lbs. And, the older I get, the more weight I put on, the more disproportionate I feel, because I'm always more bottom heavy. 

Yeah, being too concerned with what everyone else thinks is 100% to blame for my "body issues." It's hard sometimes, because there aren't any body role models out there for people shaped like me. Take those Dove "True Beauty Ads." The women are either skinny with big breasts or kinda not-skinny with big breasts, or big belly and big thighs with big breasts. There's never one with small boobs and a big ass. All the "how to dress your shape"articles and books don't tell you how to address the taller than average pear shaped, small chested woman. It makes me feel like less of a woman, and to be honest, left out. 

But, I'm almost 30, but I'm finally digging' the way I look. I'm feeling more comfortable in tighter ftting skirts and pants, and I revel in the fact that I can buy shirts in the kid's sections and save money.  I like the way I look, I do. I do know how lucky I am. I wish I were more toned, and I wish my cheeks weren't so fat, but that requires working out. And I'm so, so lazy. So all the keys to making myself 100% satisfied with my body come from me putting effort into how I work. That's another thing I have to work on.

that and just STOP giving a fuck what other people think. haha

11:59 PM
waaah waaah waaaaah body issues. I need to get over it. My ass is bangin'. and there are much more important things to worry about. Like cancer. Or accidentally contracting AIDS.

12:01 AM
14. Am I strong enough?
Not in the ways that I want to be. I can't walk up a flight of stairs when I'm winded. I can't get the lug nuts off my tire. I can only do 10 squats before I die. I don't withdraw from the world when I'm in a dark place, but I can't compartmentalize that dark place quick enough, so I end up ruminating way longer than I'd like. I make goals and plans and lists, but I don't stick to them after I get discouraged. I have convictions, but often I feel like I back down because it's easier to be agreeable. I am strong. But it'd be nice to be stronger. In all aspects of my life. 

12:06 AM
15. Have I forgiven my parents?
My parents are fantastic. Did they mess up? Of course. All parents do. But, they did the best they could to raise me despite how they were raised. I don't really have a reason to need to forgive them. I'm just happy that with the older I get, the more I understand why they did what they did. 

12:10 AM
16. Do I want children?
Do I want to have children? Yes. That's a very new development. But I do want to have 1 or 2. It feels good to want to have kids. Now I just need to see if I can conceive. 

12:12 AM
17. Does what I wear reflect who I am?
Yes. Half-assed, clueless, boho-hipster who owns stock in black LC by Lauren Conrad leggings and who prefers 30 extra minutes of sleep over washing her hair and putting on make up. I hit the mark with my appearance about 4 times out of 10. I wish I could pull my outfits together more strategically, or even in a more polished manner, but I just don't. /lazy I don't know. I love fashion, but most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing.

12:17 AM
18. What am I missing out on?
Seemingly everything? haha. Laziness robs me of a lot of time to enjoy the good things in life. Good books. Good TV and movies. My nieces and nephews growing up. Good blog topics. Free lance gigs. Free events going on around town. Travel. Chasing my dreams.  Weeknight dinners with friends. 

12:21 AM
ugh, so tired. Have I really run out of oreos? what? noooooo

12:22 AM
19. Do I let myself fail enough?
Yes and no. I don't let myself fail enough, because I don't let myself try because I'm afraid I'll fail. I'm failing myself by not letting myself try. I don't let myself fail appropriately. I need to stop that.

12:29 AM
soooo tired.

12:23 AM
20. Why are we here?
Because we won the genetic lottery of perfect body temperature, hormones and welcoming uteri. It's all by chance. And we just have to make the best of it. Work hard to get what you want, or revel in what you have. 

12:26 AM
hmm... wow.

12:40 AM
Just woke up. There are oreo crumbs on my shirt. Ow.

The next day.

Overall, that wasn't a bad experience. What I learned from my time with Oprah is that I need to stop standing in my own way. If I could ratchet up my ambitions so they're at the same priority as my ambitions, I'd be unstoppable. I need to reign in my neurosis and insecurities so I can reach my full potential. I need to try. That's basically it. I need to try. And maybe that "trying" thing will help me put together better outfits and wash my hair every day and do my laundry once a week. Maybe I can try hard enough that I CHANGE LIVES.

But, I already knew all of that.

Have I gained "a little more wisdom and a lot more joy"as the tagline guaranteed? Yeah, sure. Mostly, I was really surprised at how easy it was to answer these questions. Not gonna lie. I thought the questions would be a little more ground breaking. And while I'm not bouncing off the walls with joy, I am sitting with a little smugness this morning.

So, ok, Oprah didn't change my life. But I did get a blog out of it. And maybe I even became a fan of Oprah. But then I read on and she says something like "I want to be in the space that stems from the Source of all things."And I think, never mind, that's why I'm not an Oprah fan.

Until next time, guys!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Something to Celebrate

Yesterday, Joel and I celebrated the day I lay sprawled out on Kristin's living room floor, drank an entire glass of rum and proceeded to spill my heart, drop all my cards, and admit that I liked him and only him and asked him to be my internet boyfriend. He laughed and said no, but he'd be my real life boyfriend. We were Skyping, but it felt, the way it feels each and every time I see him through that 12" inch screen, like he was in the room with me.

A lot of people didn't and don't understand why I'm in a longest-possible-distance-ever relationship. But then again, who cares? Every day I'm thankful to be with someone I revere, who I love like a best friend, and who I adore as a partner. Everyday I feel lucky. Every day I feel like everything I've been through has been worth it. 

Happy anniversary, love butt. Here's to many more years of late nights, inside jokes and weird, wonderful adventures. Now let's go eat pizza and judge people. :D

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fiction Thursday (the late edition): That's good. That's ok.

12, 13, 14, 15. 16. I have 16 left. That's one more than half. I have one more, and then I've only taken half since Wednesday. That's good. That's ok. I'll have this last one and then I'll save the rest. I don't need to take them all the time. They don't work as well when I take them so much. Remember when I stopped for 2 months and then took one? That day we cleared out the tree stumps from the backyard and I really needed one because I strained my back. Jen drove out to Mike's and picked up subs for everyone. We ate outside in the evening while the neighborhood kids played soccer. It felt spectacular. So happy. Like another world. Jen was so beautiful. She still is. I hope she's not mad at me anymore. I can't believe I fell asleep through her speech. I took too many that day. Just wanted to be lively to all those people. Just wanted to have a good time. To not worry so much about how my pants didn't fit right. They didn't fit because I bought the cheap ones. I don't like tailors. I don't like people touching me. Touching me and judging me because pants don't fit me right off the rack. Everything fits Jen right off the rack. She's spectacular. I don't know why she ever wanted me. I hope she's not mad at me anymore. I need to call her. Fuck, I keep forgetting to call her. Work is hard and these make me sleepy and I go to bed too early. It's always something. Something in the way. I'll call her tonight when I get home. Only two more stops, then home. Yes. I'll call her and then I'll fix my tea like always and I'll take this last one. I won't even snort it. I'll just swallow it. Or I could take it now and call her in a few hours when it's started to wear off. No that won't work. She always knows. I'll call her, and I'll take it after so it's like a reward. Why do I have to be rewarded to call my wife. That's sick. You're a sick asshole who needs his pants tailored. But I'm trying. I'm trying to be better. I'm saving half of these. I won't take this half unless I absolutely need them. Only when my neck is bothering me. That's good. That's ok. That fucking accident. I shouldn't have been driving. I knew that. I know that. I crashed and wrenched my neck and now this. Of course I'm not drinking as much now. I don't need to. I have these. Fuck. That's the whole problem. These. Just like everyone says. From one crutch to another. I don't even want them. But I have them. They're here. I like that I have them. I like that have half left. I can do this. I can prove it to Jen that I'm not an addict. I'm not an addict. That's good. That's ok. Addicts take more than I do. Addicts don't go to work everyday like I do. Ok, I've called out a few times. But my job isn't in danger. And Jen left. But wives leave their husbands everyday. I was a drunk. I deserved her leaving me for how much I drank. She didn't leave me over these. She left me because I drank. These are ok. I need these. I have a medical need for these. The doctor says I need these. I have one plus half of these left over. How many did I take on Tuesday? 3. Wednesday, 3. Monday? 5. Monday was a bad day. Everyone has bad days. It's ok. That's why I'm stopping. I already have half left. I'm good. I'm ok. Jen will see. I'll call her tonight and tell her. Tell her that I'm stopping. I miss her. She'll come back when she sees how good I am. I'll only take this one tonight. And then I'll have half left over. And that's good. That's ok.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

9 Years Later, or Life Finds a Way

I went on a re-set password quest this morning that led me down the black hole of the email account I used while I was in college. I haven't logged in to check email there for about 5 years, so I've mostly forgotten about any content it held.

Ugh, that was awkward.

And then, it went from awkward to, I don't know... more awkward? I had 3 drafts in the Draft folder, and one of them was this, written on 8/20/2004, eight days before I started my sophomore year of college/first year at George Mason University:

"anyway, i can't write much because i've gotta formally withdraw from my school in NY, take a shower, call out from work, return my sister's shoes, and get drunk. it's going to be a good day."

Ever have one of those moments where you were like "ohhhhhh, so there's where it all went wrong." That's what went through my head. Except mine was like, "ohhhhhh, so there's EXACTLY where it all went wrong."

I don't know what was going through my head that summer. But I can pin-point exactly where I was that day: sitting in my parent's den in that haunted 1800's farm house they rented, my mind going 500 miles an hour, but going exactly nowhere. After I sent that message, I emailed the registrar at Adelphi University and withdrew. I rejected my scholarship and my entrance to the Honor's College and my spot on the Newspaper and my close proximity to NYC and the opportunities that could have come with it so that I could date a guy from high school. I withdrew, called out of work, returned the shoes, got day drunk, saw Without a Paddle and ended up making out with Chris at Denny's as a waitress brought me my Super-T sandwich.

That day marks the beginning of 9 years where I just didn't know what the fuck I was doing. 9 years of making questionable decisions, of spending too much money, of going to work hungover, of skipping class and missing deadlines and wasting good opportunities. 9 years of livejournaling and myspacing and facebooking. 9 years of bitching and moaning instead of pursuing my dreams. 9 years of just hating myself into a corner until I didn't want to do anything but watch movies and shut down. 9 years of just letting things happen to me.

When I read that email, I thought, Oh my god. That's it. That's where it all went wrong. And I thought, as I always do, about what would have happened on the afternoon that I got my acceptance letter from GMU. If I'd taken Chris' luke warm reaction of "oh, cool." as the red flag that it was and just said No, I'm going back to New York. Where would I be now? What would I be doing? Who would I be?  

I always thought that my 20's would be the end all be all of my existence, and that I ruined everything by not staying near the city of my dreams. I spent a lot of time beating myself up about things I couldn't change. That doesn't happen anymore. I look back now and I see all those lost, wasted years were absolutely worth it--not a burden. It was 9 years of life-bonding with the people who'd become my nearest and dearest. 9 years of unexpected travel opportunities. 9 years of meeting some of the greatest people to walk this planet. 9 years of getting to shake hands or share hugs with some of my idols. 9 years of really getting to know my family and where all this comes from.

Bless you, hindsight. And Bless you, luck. Because right now, because of all those decisions, after that day in my parent's den, I'm damn-near exactly where I want to be. And I look forward, knowing that the best is yet to come.

So, thank you, woman-child of my 20's. You were such a Hot Mess, but you followed your nervous, sad brain instincts through the bad parts of town, and you got me to an exceptionally rad place.

go 'head 20 year old.

Also, Younger Self, stop calling yourself fat. 10 years and 12 inches later you'll wonder how you ever could have considered 31 inch hips to be "fat." Youth and metabolism are wasted on the young.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fiction Thursday: Pedals

credit: Joel Westworth

The heat waves roll before me as I make my way down the crowded sidewalk. I’m not usually out and about at this time of day. I reach around the back of my head and pull my long hair to one side, twisting it so it won’t blanket my neck and shoulders, acting like a rainforest on a day when I need ice floes. I smooth the slightly wet hair at the base of my neck. Sweat. I can feel it pooling above my lip, inside my bra, around my navel, between my chaffed thighs. I keep walking. I ignore the doubts in my head, and I keep walking.

I can feel the sun, directly overhead, beating down on me, burning me through the sunscreen I put on earlier. The air is so damp and thick, it’s like I’m swimming through it. The crowds of people waiting for buses look miserable. All I can smell is hot asphalt and car exhaust, and the occasional cloud of second hand smoke. The advancing crowd parts as I pass through. I feel like Moses. I feel too visible on this wide sidewalk, sandwiched between a large historical building that’s been converted to a shopping center and a long row of sheltered bus stops.

Quentin is waiting for me at the other end of this building. I’ve known him for months, I’ve been meeting him at this building for months, but I still feel nervous. Closed in. Fidgety. I switch my purse to my other shoulder and shake my hair out of the twist I put it in. I straighten my dress. I try to keep my head in one piece. I keep walking.

Looking through my dark sunglasses, I catch a guy in a white button shirt and linen shorts staring at me. It’s as if he knows that I’m not supposed to be here. I told Nick I was in a meeting all day. In reality, I called out of work. I put my phone on airplane mode so I wouldn’t receive calls. I know what I’m doing. I feel ok. I square my shoulders. I keep walking.

I’ve spent nearly ten years, half of them with Nick, striking a balance between what I wanted and what I could get. Within a month of meeting Quentin, I knew I could have more. I knew I could have it all. And it threw everything I knew into a spiral.

The platform at the end of the building is more crowded than the sidewalks. People gather at the corners, waiting to cross at the busy intersections. I scan the crowd. No one knows me on this side of town, but I see myself as a giant target.

This happens, I tell myself. My feelings aren’t my fault.

There’s a group of dancers in the middle of the platform. Three men in neon colored t-shirts doing rhythmic break dancing. I wedge myself amongst the people circled around the young men. They’re incredible. I pull out my phone to take a picture. As I hold it in front of me, I see Quentin. He’s on the opposite side of the circle as me, arms crossed, dark sunglasses taking up most of his face. I recognize his patterned shirt and the faint silver streak running through his mid length hair. My heart starts to race. He wore that shirt on the first day that I met him, almost a year ago. I try to fight it, but I feel the smile grow involuntarily on my face. I feel the bolts run through me. For the first time all day, I forget about Nick. I forget about the bright sun, the insane heat, that this is my fault. I take his picture.

He smiles and heads around the crowd, toward me. I stay right where I am, the smile on my face growing wider with every step he takes toward me. Finally, he’s in front of me. As he pulls his sunglasses up, I can smell his sweet sweat. I can smell the sun baking his shirt.

“Hey Que,” I manage to eek out.

“I’ve been waiting for you all day,” he says at the same time he hugs me hello. Nothing matters, now. That I spent the afternoon walking around and sweating. That people are bumping into us trying to get a better look at the dancers. That he asked me to leave Nick. That I still hadn’t answered. Right now, everything is ok.

Weeks earlier, we were on the bed, facing one another. “How much longer?” His eyes bored into me, letting me know there isn’t one part of him that’s joking. I rolled onto my back.

“Fuck…” I crushed the sheets between my fists, drawing the sheet up my chest. “I wish you hadn’t brought it up. I don’t want to use what time I do have with you talking about him.”

“What am I supposed to do?” I feel him, adjusting the sheets. Trying to get closer.  “This isn’t my bed. This isn’t our bed. I wish you’d make up your mind.”

I stared at the ceiling.

“We’ve been through this. I love you, but it’s not as easy as—“

“Oh, come on. It is that easy.”

“It’s that easy? We live together.”

“That’s just a lease. ”

“No, it’s more. It’s about time. Our families are entwined. Our friends. I have—I just… I feel like I can’t just up and leave him.”

“But you’re not happy here. You’ve told me. I’ve seen it.”

“I know I’m happier with you. But Nick hasn’t done anything wrong. Leaving isn’t something I can just do.”

“It was that easy to start sleeping with me. You could just do that.”

“Don’t. That’s not fair.”

“Is it?” We were drawing swords with our eyes, but I felt myself backing down.

“I… I don’t know. I love you. But I don’t know what to do.”

“You do know what to do. You know have to make a choice between him and me. And you just don’t want to. So what’s the point of me being here?”

I broke the stare and rolled away from him. Feeling like my rib cage was collapsing. Feeling like I was torn in a million different directions.

His hand reached over and touched mine. I wanted to turn to him. I wanted to face him. To take his face in my hands. Tell him that I wanted to choose him, but I couldn’t. As his hand wrapped around mine, I knew I couldn’t risk what I already had. What I had already invested in.

I turned to look at him.

“Beth… why do you allow yourself to be so unhappy?”

“Why do you stay if you know I won’t leave him?”

The questions we didn’t have the answers for.

“You should leave.” My breath came faster.

His hand gripped mine harder.

“I’m not leaving.”

He pulled me into him. Pulled us back into the mire. I buried myself in it. Not ready to admit that I didn’t know if I could bank on our future together.

I linger in his hug. I don’t want to notice the heat. The noises from the crowd. I want to block out everything, the way I could before, when it would just be the two of us. I feel his head on my shoulder, feel my hands in his hair. I try to focus on him. On us. But I can’t. We are just two people hugging in a crowd. I step back, out of the hug.

“This isn’t happening, is it?” he asks, full of unease.

“I’m so sorry, Que,” I don’t finish the sentence before I feel the tears. He lowers his head and crosses his arms. I try to say something more. I want to say something more. I move my lips, try to make more words happen. But all I can do was look at him. Look at him as he looks everywhere but at me.

“I’m sorry… that I couldn’t make this, or us, better, but I can’t —“ I reach out for him, and he steps away. I walk toward him, but every step forward matches his every step back. “Que, don’t,” I find myself pleading. I manage to grab him by the wrist, to pull him close to me. “Please, please don’t leave,” I can barely hold my voice together.

He takes my hand off his wrist, and finally meets my eye. His eyes are so clear, and so soft. But so broken. I feel my heart stop as he starts to speak.

“Good bye, Beth.”

He takes two steps back, looking at me. Before I know it, he turns into the crowd. I feel all of the heat on me, all at once. I feel it in waves, rolling down me. I can’t move as I watch him walk away, dissolving into the crowds and heat. 

I can feel the sun beating down on me. I can feel the people brushing by me. I can feel the sweat and the tears running down my face. I can feel my breath, coming in short bursts. But what I can feel most is the emptiness. The emptiness of a mistake I can’t take back. The emptiness of watching my happiness turn around, and walk away.

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