My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘memories’ Category

Alright, so here’s the February page of last years calender:

February 1: Superbowl @ Patti’s Made Margarita Pie and Iced Brownies. Went to Hope Church

February 4: SNOW DAY! and Caribou

February 5: Crazy busy at work. First time to TimberRidge

February 6: Hawthornes w/ Natalie (Manicotti and Tiramisu) 🙂

February 8: Went to Dulins Grove. Movie with Rach and Steak N Shake

February 11: Dinner at Mom and Dad’s. Wine, Rain, and breakfast

February 13: Anzi’s. Saw Sonny, Angela, Lily. Last salaried day 😦

February 14: V-Day cake, presents for Nat. Visit Mom and Dad. Library and downtown Concord with Natalie

February 15: Grocery Store. Pizza and ice cream w/ Carol.

February 16: Did Jason’s Myspace. Watched My Name is Earl with Jason.

February 19: Book Club @ Sharon’s. The Godmother and pizza dip

February 20: Chinese and ice cream night

February 21: Dad’s store, Target $/Clearance, Maw Maw’s and Hawthornes

February 22: Watched The Wedding Date while Nat napped and Jason played Xbox. Started Self Challenge

February23: Made Jason a white cake with green sugar

February 25: Got laptop to work @ Crossroads!

February 27: Anzi Pizza and CVS candy

Februray 28: Concord library (Hannah Montana!). Part of Appaloosa

There was a lot of eating happening last February it seems…and…the whole Self Challenge ended pretty much when it began…

For a link to January’s and a little more about this little “project” of mine, go here

1. Put Your iTunes or music player on shuffle

2. For the first 5 songs that come up, list the title and artist and explain why you have that song on your music player

3. For the next 5, list the title and artist and any memory, person, or other association you make when you hear the song

4. For the next 5 songs, list the title and artist and describe your favorite part of the song

5. List the last 5 songs you added

6. Tag whoever you want, so they can also have an excuse to randomly listen to and talk about 20 songs (because, really, who doesn’t want to do that?)

(First 5 and why):

1. ATLiens by Outkast.

Because I went to Northeast Middle School, and we knew how to throw our hands in the air and wave ’em like we just don’t care. No, really. This is probably the first Outkast song I heard and instantly loved it. It’s colder than a polar bears toenails :p

2. ( If you’re wondering if I want you to) I want you to by Weezer.

Because this song makes me happy.

3. Travel is stressful by Harvard.

I bought the whole album sometime last year and even though this song is fairly short (and wordless), and I maybe wouldn’t have bought it if I were only buying specific songs, I really like it and obviously like the band as a whole, or I wouldn’t have bought the album). It transitions throughout (so it keeps you interested) and is good to write to.

4.The Mixed Tape by Jack’s Mannequin.

I don’t know, I looked up Jack’s Mannequin, listened to some songs and this one stood out. It does make me think of One Tree Hill for some reason, but I swear that’s not why I like it. Probably.

5. Fullfill the Dream by Minus the Bear.

It just grabbed me, and I took it. For some reason, I skip it a lot when it comes on, but when I sit and listen to it (like now) I remember how much I like it…

(Next 5 and memory/association)

6. O-O-H Child by The Five Stairsteps.

I love this song so much. It makes me think of my childhood, because my mom always had it on the oldie’s station in the car. It makes me happy. And kind of makes me want to sway and clap. And makes me feel like I’m in a movie, where they are playing a music montage while the main character overcomes all their obstacles in 3 minutes. ha.

7. Deliverance by Sick Puppies.

This instantly makes me think of Amos’ Southend and Coor’s Light. And Jason and Amanda and Brian and Adam and Kim and Sonny. And my eardrums vibrating.

8. More than This by Matt Nathanson.

Honestly this makes me think of Sam Schipman. I think because she and I both posted on fb one time about wanting to see Matt Nathanson when he was in town. Hi Sam! Did you ever get to see him? I have not.

9. Small Town Saturday Night by Hal Ketchum.

First, I need to say this is one of my favorite songs to sing along to. I will play it over and over again just so I can keep singing it. It makes me think of the farm, of gravel roads and old pickup trucks and fields and sunshine and moonlight. And I was probably “Lucy” growing up. “Lipstick on a little too bright… just a kid along for the ride…”

10. .44 Caliber Love Letter by Alexisonfire.

This band  makes me think of David Turner. I don’t know why. David, did you like this band in high school? Maybe wear the shirt? Otherwise, it makes me think of driving. It’s a good driving song.

(And the next next 5 and favorite part)

11. Sailed Away by Saving Abel.

One thing I like is how it’s a little different speed than some of their other stuff. These lines are my favorite part. “Push so hard, you’ve got to know that, you might just get what you wanted. I found out on my own, just what I was missing”

12. Sick and Tired by Nappy Roots and Anthony Hamilton.

It’s hard to pick a favorite part here, I love the harmonica in the background, the group effort, the combined voice chorus “I’m tired of running and ducking when I hadn’t done nothing -Do something then”. “First you learn to maintain, then you relay the change”

13. Let it Go by Escape the Fate.

So, the chorus is really catchy, but my very favorite part is “I’m on the verge of a crackdown, I’m freaking out, got a bottle of Jack down”. His voice definitely sounds like he’s having a crackdown, and probably has a bottle of Jack down. For real. I like the wailing guitar too…who doesn’t?

14. Gotta have you by The Weepies.

The chorus is my favorite part, no doubt, because it’s true, it’s a pretty, easy to listen to song, but it’s true, and that’s why I love it. “No amount of coffee, no amount of crying, no amount of whiskey, no amount of wine no, no, no, no, no- nothing else will do, I’ve gotta have you.”

15. White Mystery by Minus the Bear

“Her body’s over the covers and there’s nothing wrong with a single inch”. Don’t we all want someone to tell us that? There’s more I could say, about how the music fits the title, it feels, it sounds, like a White Mystery…but I don’t know how to further explain that…

(most recently added)

16. No Letting Go by Wayne Wonder

17. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

18. Emergency by Paramore

19. Hit or Miss by New Found Glory

20. Lost in love by I-15

Last year for Christmas, my sister gave me a calender from with tons of pictures on it. I knew I obviously wasn’t going to throw this away when the year ended, so I decided that I would write little memories/events throughout the year and keep it as a sort of shorthand journal.

Now that the year is done and I am looking back over this, I’m so glad I did it. I gave up truly journaling to document daily experiences a long time ago, not because I didn’t think it was worth it, but more because I would feel like I had to record EVERYTHING and didn’t always feel like I had the time. Not to mention, I ran out of journals at one point and started using notebooks, which turned out badly because I also used notebooks to make lists, draft poems, do preliminary paperwork for work, doodle, etc. As a result of this, I have tons of random, but I fear kind of important, notebooks that I can’t throw out, but take way too much energy and time to actually organize or utilize at this point in my life.

This is why blogging appeals to me, as well as why facebook statuses, and this calender project appeal to me. It by no means captures the whole picture, or all the nuances of a day, a month, or a life, but I daresay it’s better than nothing. And as the year went on, sometimes I really needed to look at the calender and see that life was still happening, life is still good, even when bad things happen. There’s a possibility that recording life, particularly good things or meaningful things improved my ability to live in the moment this year. I also made a “Year List” of things I wanted to do or accomplish during the year, which I think was useful as well. But that’s another “Project”.

So, with no more chit chat about it, here is January 2009, as recorded by me, on my calender.

Jan 1 2009: Hung out at home- Rach came over

Jan 3 2009: Natalie’s Pink Cake Party!

Jan 4 2009: Caribou! Patti’s home!

Jan 5 2009: Carol’s B-day. Read “The Boleyn Inheritance”

Jan 6 2009: They said Natalie’s ready for UNCC! 🙂

Jan 7 2009: TV Broke 😦

Jan 8 2009: Fell asleep reading creative loafing


Jan 10 2009: Monkey Joes w/Carol & Panthers play off party at Patti’s

Jan 11 2009: Playdough, groceries, riding tricyle

Jan 13 2009: TV’s Back!

Jan 15 2009: Osaka w/Meg, Kim, Nat, Melissa

Jan 16 2009: Mom and Dad’s- Chinese and Chocolate Cake

Jan 17 2009: Chris & Alicia-Dominoes-88 minutes

Jan 18 2009: Church, Baby shower, Maw Maw’s

Jan 20 2009: SNOW DAY & Obama’s Inaguaration

Jan 21 2009: Glow in the Dark Pajamas

Jan 22 2009: Book Club at Haley’s

Jan 24 2009: BK (Rach) Marble Slab & Harley puppy

Jan 26 2009: Totally Lost – Thanks Mapquest!

Jan 28 2009: Got “The Godmother” in the mail (book club)

Jan 30 2009: Taxes Done 🙂

Jan 31 2009: Circus Day! w/Lily and Sonny

To begin, I will begin at the beginning. The beginning of my very first diary, at least. It’s purple, with pink ballet slippers and red roses with green stems all over it. The inside covers are pink, the pages- lined and white, with a place for the date at the top. There’s a little silk ribbon to mark the page I’m on, and a brass lock. The brass key has been lost.

On the inside cover:

This (private) diary belongs to Rebecca Lane Brooks. Hands off!

The first entry: (unedited and displayed as accurately as possible)

Dec. 25, 1991

Today is Christmas! When I opened this present I was so happy! These are some more things I got. A watch, and a Cabbage Patch (a doll thats hair Crimps & Curles). My Grandmother died Christmas Eve morning I was very sad.

Morning 😦

later that day 🙂

I was eight, in the 2nd grade at this time. I’ve looked back at this entry many times, the first thing that always hits me is my drawings at the bottom. I do remember the sadness that echoed throughout my family with the loss of MawMaw Faye. The sudden tragedy of ovarian cancer found too late, of a loving but tumultuous woman and mother lost before all the words were said. I remember the joy of the holiday too, though. The inevitable excitement and happiness of lights and ornaments and gifts and treats and family.

I don’t remember if it was a “Santa” present or not, but I assume my mom picked out this diary for me. I’m not sure why a ballet slipper one. Maybe she liked the purple background (her favorite color), maybe she just thought it was pretty, maybe it was the only one (or the best one) there was and she was thinking more about me writing than what was on the cover…

It was a pivotal year in my family, the whole family, since we all lived on the farm together, went to church together, and us kids went to school together- all our lives strung together. Me, mom, dad and Rachel; MawMaw and PawPaw; Steve, Theresa, Clint, and Cody; Allen, Janet, Stephanie, Julie, and Katie.

Daddy was 33 when his mom died. Allen a few years older, Steve a few years younger. They found out she had cancer that summer of ’91. Towards the end, she was at home, now I know it was probably with hospice care. She had a hospital bed in the living room, where the scratchy yellow couch used to be. Paw Paw’s scratchy yellow arm chair was still there though. Daddy had us go up there, sit by the fire hearth and watch Wheel of Fortune with the nurse standing by and PawPaw in his chair, and then had us give MawMaw  kiss. I hesitated (at least in my mind) because she looked so very different. And because I didn’t really understand she was dying.

MawMaw was a big woman, not always, but when I knew her. Like, mu mu wearing big. She kept her hair rolled. It was short and blonde. Her skin was porcelain pale and loose. She always had sweets in the house. She loved us. She loved crafts. And birds. And butterflies. She made the very best mush. If you don’t know what mush is, I’m not sure I can tell you. It’s sort of like grits, but better. No one’s been able to make any since she died. Not they haven’t tried.

Their house was at the top of our road and we were up there a good bit. When we were waiting for the junior high bus to drop us off, we’d sit on the porch -Rachel, Julie, and I- with MawMaw and she would chant this chant “I’m stirring my brew, my witch’s pot, stirring, stirring, stirring…bring Stephanie’s bus!” And the bus would come! We would laugh and clap. It took me years to realize the bus came at the same time everyday!

Sometimes, she’d let us go in her beaded change purse that seemed to have more coins than anyone could ever need in it, and let us get enough each to walk to the store and get some penny candy. The store was at the very top of our road. It used to be a general store that my great grandfather ran. By then, it was the Handy Pantry with red and white eaves and a 2 gas pumps. We thought we were so grown running down that gravel all by ourselves to the store to pick out whatever we wanted. Our favorite candies were those little caramels that have the white cream in the center. We would peel the caramel off, eat it first, and then let the sweet center melt in our mouths as we walked back.

At MawMaw’s, our toys were on the back porch, in a tin trash can, beside the washer. I loved the pound puppies. I didn’t have those at home. We didn’t have a lot of rules that I much remember over there. Just don’t step on her buttercups. And don’t litter in her yard. And don’t make mud pies in her dishes (we learned that one the hard way). When we spent the night, we slept on pool floats in the living room floor and I couldn’t imagine anything more fun and novel at the time.

What I knew, what I know, of MawMaw is limited in personal experience- scattered with other’s interpretations, reflections,  experiences, and stories. I know though, that losing her changed everything. Changed Daddy and his brothers. Changed PawPaw. Changed Daddy and Mama. Changed my understanding of life and death.

After her funeral, we went to Allen’s house with the rest of the family and ate and people laughed and I didn’t know what to think. We had just cried and been so quiet and sad in church and now we hug and joke and laugh and eat? Later, I saw that it wasn’t over so quickly. It was just the way it goes, it was how we kept living.


and then


was just the preliminaries, it was just the beginning.

Feminism is…?

Rebecca West: I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.

[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.  ~Pat Robertson (Oh, Dear God!)

Michele Le Doeuff: A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes.  There’s just too much fraternizing with the enemy.  ~Henry Kissinger

The thing is, this isn’t a battle we’re fighting against each other, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Gloria Steinem: This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.

Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.  ~Betty Friedan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If the Mead quote is true, and I do believe it is, perhaps through me, my father liberated himself a bit, because my Daddy- southern boy, son of a farmer, corporate company executive and business owner- is a Feminist.

I keep trying to pinpoint the first feminist statement my father made to me, just for a starting point, but it’s hard to do so, because it was constant…Perhaps one of the first was when, at his encouragement, my sister and I were playing on a soccer team as 2 of 3 females on the team. I was in second grade. I complained about playing with the boys, I said they were too rough. Daddy told me to get out there and be rough too! Show them what  girl can do! For the record, I was just really bad at soccer, and the subsequent sport I tried on a co-ed team- basketball, so I’m not sure how much I “showed them”. But I didn’t quit and I didn’t cry when I was smacked into or kicked in the shins. I got dirty and I got up. That’s what the boys did and that’s what my Daddy said I could do to. So I did. And I’m so glad I did.

When, in 6th grade, I said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States, my Dad said “You go girl!” (it was the early 90’s, you can’t really blame him for using that phrase 🙂

When I finally found a sport I could play (believe me, he wasn’t letting up till I tried them all), he co-coached my softball teams and in doing so opened up a world to me of competitive, hard working, don’t care if we get bruised up, loud, powerful girls.

Daddy said God may be a woman.

Daddy said I could kiss all the boys I want.

Daddy said I could do whatever I want.

Of course, he rallied against things like short shorts (he usually lost) and driving late at night (lost again). I mean, feminist or not, he is my Dad, there are some things he has to oppose 😉

My advice to the women’s clubs of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.  ~James McNeill Whistler

Sometimes, (or often) I’d get hyped up and on a role about some injustice and Daddy would shout from his corner “Alright Feminazi!” Usually followed by “You go girl!” Feminazi was a nickname he made up for me, jokingly, when I was out of my head raging against whatever I was raging against and stomping my feet around.  I would say, part of effective feminism (or effective anything), is being able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously all the time.

He also would strut his 6’3 farm boy frame around the house and tell us to “Flaunt it if we got it” (he claims he was channeling his grandma Pearl) He wanted me to know how to be a woman, a full out woman. And he wanted me to know I could be pretty, smart, and strong all at the same time.

“Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object.  The difference is that is not all she wants to be.”  ~Betty Rollin

The other day my daughter,  Natalie, saw a policeman and claimed that that’s what she wanted to be. She then said, “but I have to be a man”. I laughed and said, nope baby, you can be a policewoman, and then introduced her to a policewoman. She probably won’t remember that, but for me, it’s just the beginning.

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

To quote my Daddy, the feminist “The only thing stopping you is your mind, don’t let your mind defeat you.” I will feed Natalie feminism, because feminism is simply the idea that woman are equals to men, deserving no special treatment nor discrimination. In this way, all children should be told this, this message is for everyone.

“We’ve got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.” Erma Bombeck

This quote reminds me that we owe our best efforts at equality not only for our present and future, but also to honor those who’ve gone before us. When I was engaged and planning my wedding, the older ladies in my church kept coming up to me, holding my hands, asking if I was still going to college- their eyes imploring me to say yes. I had never considered not going to college, but the mix of fear and hope in their eyes reminded me how big a deal it was, to not have homemaking and factory work as my only option. I think, sometimes, because we were born into this “semiequality” that we take for granted how recent the victories occurred, and how hard they were fought for. And I think, sometimes we forget that we’re not there yet. We’re further along, but we’re not there yet.

Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.  ~Marya Mannes

Marlo Thomas: One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.

As always, equality is not just about one gender, one race, one religion. It’s about all of us, we’re all in this together. And if we do it right, the advancing of others can advance us all, not take anything away from any of us, but instead, give something to humanity as a whole. Liberate us all.

I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.  ~Cissy Farenthold

And it’s not just this, but also that anyone making an effort to play a productive role in society, in any way, is respected in their role, with equal respect given to each role, as each role plays a crucial part in the functioning of our communities as a whole.

So, thanks Dad. Thanks for all the ways you allowed me no special treatment or discrimination. To do anything else would have been a disservice to me and anyone I have, or will, encounter along my life.

I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want.  If that makes me a bitch, okay.  ~Madonna Ciccone

Posted on: July 29, 2009

I wish the nights were longer. I have so much to say.

I hate never being able to go home…that home is gone. I just want to sit in the barn with that sweet hay smell, that old worn wood. I just want to walk to the creek, in the valley, through the trees…I just want to pick some blackberries and eat them right there, hot from the sun…I just want to feel the porch fan of my grandma’s porch, skip the sqeaky boards…I just want to walk to the store and get penny candy, little caramels…I just want to catch fireflies, make homemade icecream, lay in the hammock, walk up the gravel road, smell the honeysuckle, watch the sunset, watch the four wheelers kick up dust, watch the goats eat kudzu, even haul them water in that black bucket, scoop sweet feed for their trough…I just want to lay in the grass, lay in the dogwood tree…I want a bonfire at the sawmill, I want to go swimming at Julie’s, I want the rec room with all our carvings on the rafters, the curtainless windows of my room…I want a dusty car, an old tree swing, I want to walk through Maw Maw’s house again, touch the green wall. I want to meet Julie midway, I want stray dogs and baling hay and cornfields mixed with sunflowers. I want laying out on the back deck, top untied, no one to see…there’s no substitute for the the freedom we had, but there was a price, to keep it, to lose it, and it all cost too much.

Clay always apologized for the Monte Carlo. And for Saturday nights at the dirt bike track. I didn’t mind either one. But Clay played by the rules, and as a rule, I suppose teenage girls don’t want to ride in old beat up cars and go to dirt bike races. I don’t really know, I’ve never fully played by any rules like that. So it was fine with me.

I like the smell of racing fuel, because it makes me 15 again. I liked riding in his grandfather’s old Chevy truck, because it reminded my of my grandfather’s old Chevy truck. I liked stopping at that old do-it-yourself car wash in Mint Hill late at night to spray off the truck and the bike.

And you know, it’s not like all we did was ride around in old vehicles and go to dirt bike races. We used to hang out after school at his house, when it wasn’t football season, or track season. We used to drive out to Steak and Shake in Pineville; I loved going down highway 485 back then, it was all so open, the sky was always splattered with sunset colors on our way down, and it was usually  moonlit on our way back.

He used to make dinner sometimes, Chicken Parmesan. It was just him and his dad for a long time growing up, so he wasn’t opposed to doing domestic stuff…it was just the stuff of living.

After football games, he usually just hung out with me instead of the group, I don’t really know why, but that’s what we did. Well, there was one time we got about 9 people in his dad’s Grand Prix to go to Ci-Ci’s Pizza with everyone, and one of those people definitely counted for two.

We spent a lot of Saturday nights on my couch, watching MADtv with my sister Rachel. Once, we decided to get hot chocolate and donuts from Krispy Kreme. We seriously ate like 3 cream filled ones a piece and were sugar buzzed all night.

A few times, we parked the truck in a field near his house, laid a sleeping bag in the truck bed, looked at the stars (and stuff).

He had a tattoo of a dragon on his hip. Once, on April Fool’s day, he told me that he had it expanded to go across and fill up his back, and I completely believed him.

Our favorite place to go out was King Wah, for Chinese. The owner, Sonny, was so funny, asking if you wanted ocean view by the lobster tank. Or joking about ordering a Big Mac. It really is too bad that place burned down and became some kind of Latino store or something.

He knew I loved Italian though, and took me to little Italian places lots of times too. Once, he heard about a Thai place across town and took me there. Towards the end, I think he thought he was boring me, so we started going to Hockey games and concerts.

We went to the beach one year, with his family. This prompted an “I guess we’ll put you on birth control” comment from my father, which both infuriated me and embarrassed me beyond measure.

We went to each other’s churches and youth groups, we went to family birthdays and holidays. Both of us lived 2 minutes from our churches. Both of our churches were named for our families. Both of us were really close to our aunts, uncles, and cousins.

On our first date, he picked me up and took me to a movie at the Arboreutm, we saw Patch Adams. It was the week after Valentines day and he had a rose for me in the car. Afterward, we went to Caribou for coffee (it was white hot chocolates, actually). I’ve loved that place since that day. On the way home, it started snowing. Snow is so rare here, it seemed like some kind of sign.

The next day he asked me to a basketball game at UNCC. We got lost, but got there. I think, after that, it was a done deal.

The Christmas we were breaking up, he gave me a perfect ring. It was white gold, a slender band that split in the front to form a little heart, and in the middle was  a little diamond. It was exactly something I would pick out for myself. It was such a contrast to what he gave me the first year, this big gold chain…I still have that ring. I still wear that ring sometimes.

Clay and I were always doing things for each other, to be sweet…leaving notes, buying things, surprises, that kind of stuff. I wrote him a lot of letters, a lot of poems. I made him a box that had a bunch of quotes all over it that he could keep the letters in. A lot of the quotes had something to do with worrying. He worried a lot. I think there were some Bible verses too, and song lyrics. The only thing I remember that I put on there for sure though was the quote “Ain’t no use putting up your umbrella til it rains” (or something like that). Oh yea, and I remember a Mariah Carey lyric “Thank God I found you, I was lost without you, my every wish and every dream has now become reality.”

He did say that I helped him relax. He told me that he had learned that from me after we broke up. The way he said it though made me sad, like maybe he just stopped caring. But I was glad to think maybe he didn’t think only bad things of me now.

Clay was a good guy. A good boyfriend. A good person overall. I regret so deeply the way we fell apart right there at the end. I just didn’t know how to handle myself the right way. I loved him the best I could, but I knew it wasn’t enough. We talked about marriage and I knew I could marry him, but it wouldn’t have been fair to him. And I guess not to me either.

That’s the best I can come up with, I’ve thought about it over and over. I tried to call him, before he moved, just to say I’m sorry for the way I handled it, or more, didn’t handle it. And congratulations on his marriage. I couldn’t find his number. And I couldn’t get the numbers I had memorized from so long ago organized the right way.

We never fought. Even at the end, I don’t think you could ever really say we fought. We hurt, we disagreed, we misunderstood, but we didn’t fight.

I think he thought if he did all the right things the right way we would stay together. But he did. He really tried his very best, he always made an effort. And we had it good, we really did. I probably never fully appreciated all his time, all his effort, all his Pep Boys paychecks that went towards date nights.

Yea, he was late for dates on a regular basis. Yea, he still carried a condom around even though I told him I wanted to wait (can’t blame the boy for holding on to hope, right? And it’s not like we didn’t regularly run the rest of the bases…). Yea, sometimes he would interrupt my “deep” thoughts to comment on the motor on a lawnmower…Those things annoyed me, but I don’t know, I guess I probably over analyzed what those things meant. But I’m an analyzer, so that’s what I do.

He was pretty straightforward and set in his beliefs and standards, and they were probably a little more “good ol’ boy” than mine…and there was the hint of the bigger concern in the back of my mind…Clay fits. Everybody likes Clay and Clay has a specific place to fit. He is always working toward that place.

Clay is a good solid Oak. He is strong and steady, good for support and shelter. Everyone wants someone  like that around. He branches out, slowly but surely, till he is tall and full. He can do or be many things to or for many, but he is exactly what he is, exactly where he is, and that is exactly right, exactly as it should be for an Oak.

I am the leaves and the wind. I am the water and the sun and the chlorophyll and the CO2. I’m like Clay, part of the same big picture, but I wasn’t enough like Clay to promise the promise he deserved. I fit many places, and do many things, but I do not have one place to be, I do not have one way to be.

But I never said it that way to him. I never said it at all really. He had the final word. I nodded silently in agreement over the phone because I had been painstakingly considering saying the same words to him…”I just can’t do this anymore”.  And he tried afterward to imitate what a friendship may be for two people who’d been as close as us…but it was too soon. I couldn’t find the line, so I didn’t really try the friendship. I didn’t know how.

But now, now I wonder how much any of that matters to him anymore. He may have thought it didn’t matter, because of how things went, because of Jason. But it did. It all did. It, quite obviously, still does.

I don’t know why it sticks out in my mind the most, but the smell of old Chevrolets and racing fuel always mean the same thing. It means I’m 15. I’m in the middle. I’ve got the wind in my hair. I’m inches from the most love I’ve ever known, and I’ve yet to consider that our time’s bound to run out; we’re just steady into the the night, side by side.