four-letter words

so, i’ve been trying for years to write a book. a love story. the cheesy shit most chicks write because, well, that’s what most chicks read. and underneath all the sarcasm and crassness and occasional tomboyishness, i happen to be a sucker for that cheesy shit.

i am soft. i blame this on my father. my mother says i’m just like him. when i was younger and having trouble making friends, my father would often suggest to me that i emulate my mother. oh, how easy my world would be if that were possible. every time he said that, my heart would break a little because i could never be like her. always, always, i was told of how i should be … by my parents, my peers, my educators and employers. i am a four-letter word.

anyway, so the past few days, i’ve been tanking … badly. today i woke up, and all i wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep all day. it’s a good day for it, after all. rainy and gloomy. but i’ve bills to pay and whatnot …

and five hundred days of summer came out in wide release today. yay! i’ve been waiting for this movie for months. i might see it a dozen times. it’s just that good. probably the best movie to come out this year.

so i went to work to collect my check and get a cup of hot cocoa (because that always makes me feel better), and then i went to the banks to transfer money so that i could pay those bills, and then i went back to work to get a jug of water (because while hot chocolate makes me feel better mentally, physically it makes me hot — yes, i know — and jittery). and then i went to the movie.

there’s a scene in which joseph gordon-levitt’s character’s sister is telling him that maybe when he looks back on his relationship, he should look not only on what was good about it but also on what was bad about it.

do people really think this doesn’t happen?

one of the guys i’d dated suggested, basically, that i’d colored my memories with emotion and that made those memories different for me than for him.

okay. fine. i can see how one might think that. it makes sense.

i can remember that he emailed me on st. patrick’s day. that i hadn’t been looking. i’d gotten up at ten or so, played spades on the computer for a while and gone to work. that it was a glorious day, the first glorious day we’d had in some time. that work went well for a change, that a group of coworkers and i went to friday’s afterward and chatted and drank for an hour or so. that i took the long way home. that i’d checked my email accounts (all three of them, the last of which was one i’d not checked in several weeks), and there in the last, sent that day, was his letter.

and it was a damned fine letter. i’ve a thing for guys who can communicate well.

i remember telling him, later, of this coincidence. he told me that he’d considered writing me the week before but had decided against it. i’d asked him if he had written me on the tenth and i’d replied on the seventeenth, if he would’ve replied to my email. he’d said no.

after a fight with the clothes in my closet because i could no longer fit in most of them, i showed up at his apartment and he’d had a lone, long-stem rose waiting for me. because i’d been late, he’d said. that was the first time i’d ever gotten flowers from a guy who was not a relative, and it couldn’t have been a better occasion.

that the first time he kissed me was horrible, so much so that i worried over it for hours afterward. that the second time was awesome, so much so that i was wound up for hours afterward.

i remember him taking me to first friday at the blue star art complex in the king william’s district of san antonio. i’d never been. he lead me up a narrow flight of stairs, my hand in his. i asked where we were going. an elderly woman on her way down looked at me, smiled, pointed and said, up. indeed. i was going up. it was marvelous. i don’t think i’ve been that happy since.

bolting from his apartment because i didn’t want to, couldn’t let him see me cry. i made it to the phillips sixty-six gas station across the street, to the attendant, who sold me a carton of marlboro lights in a box and a bic lighter, to halfway between the door of the station and the door of my truck before i broke. right there, on the concrete, hunched next to the rocks that were the station’s shell, for all the world to see. i ended up cruising loop 1604 — twice — chain smoking and crying until i couldn’t anymore. i don’t think i’ve been that miserable since.

i remember the way he’d smile at me. the way he said my name when he was happy with me. the way he said it when he wasn’t. the way he smelled.

i remember everything. everything. and that is how it should be.

a friend of mine asked me the other day why i’d not finished my book. i’d told her that i can’t pretend everybody gets to have happy. that it makes me sad to try to write it. and then i saw this movie, and was reminded of how much i love fate and coincidence and how much i should believe in them. i remembered how much i used to do so and that i missed doing that.

i’d made myself focus more on the bad things about love. i’d let it become a four-letter word.

14 responses to “four-letter words”

  1. You said you dig guys who can communicate. I dig blogs that are personal and honest, like yours. Breakups are the worst, and no one knows how you feel except you. I realize this post is a year old, so I hope that by now some of the grief is in the past. I also believe in fate and serendipity. Seems like you're about do for some good stuff soon.

  2. I want to tell you a story without minimizing your feelings. And it might not be a relevant story but it feels like it could be.

    And I don't want you to feel like I'm making this post about me…but I have no other way to express what I want to say to you than through a story.


    I was married for 19 years the first time. I thought I married my best friend. For the first 8 years I did and then to make a long horrible story short he became crazy.

    And crazy people do really damaging things to themselves and the people they are supposed to love.

    And it scars you and it changes you and it makes you afraid to trust in any four letter words of possibility like love or hope.

    And every guy I dated after I left him always failed my tests. Because, believe me, I tested them. Tested them with moods and anger and emotion and tricks to see if, indeed, they could really and truly love me in spite of all the horrible flaws I thought I was cursed with. I'd heard all of the list for years from the person who was supposed to love me the most.

    And when I met my second husband, as friends first, I liked him as a friend so there was no testing necessary. But after several years when it felt like more I then had to start the pushing away. If I pushed long enough and hard enough I would prove to myself that all the horrible things I perceived about myself were really true. Because, look, didn't I just prove that because if he really, really loved me he would tolerate all my bullshit. (Yes, I said a swear word…deal with it!)

    And finally this good natured man said to me, "I can't do this with you. Every single time you push me and test me you call me a liar. And I am not a liar and I am not going to do this with you!" and he broke up with me.

    And after a few weeks of boohooing and doing the "yea, see, no-one can really love me, blah, bla, crap" I woke up and, though, geez. Give the guy a break.

    And I did.

    And I learned that people can and will love you in spite of, or because of, or accepting of your flaws and limitations. Love isn't always a movie set with two perfect, beautiful people…love can be something different…it can be two wounded souls finding comfort…

    And how can your wounded soul ever find comfort, truly, if you bite everyone that comes close.

    It's OK to be tender. It's OK to be real. It's OK to let your heart be unarmored for a teeny, tiny moment.

    Because we are strong women. And we can pick ourselves up…even though we don't want to.

    And we can try again and again until we get it right…for us…not for some movie…for us…so that we can let someone inside our hearts for long enough that they can see the things that make us special. And unique.

    And my hand hurts now. So my long lecture is over.

    You are still the girl with the cake. It is just easier to not let anyone know it.

  3. The only word that keeps running through my mind is "Wow!" This post is incredible on so many levels—from your writing style to the deeper moments throughout. I can't wait to read more of your posts.

    I'm so glad you were picked by #SITs, because otherwise I wouldn't have found you. My favorite kinds of sites are literary ones—thanks!

  4. Five Hundred Days of Summer….love that movie…and the sound track too. 🙂

    Without the pain, heartache and disappointment…..happiness, love and achievement just wouldn't be as great

  5. Happy SITS day!

    Your blog is so much more than a humor blog…it's got a lot of depth and soul and honesty and I LOVE it.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. It's tough when people want you to be one way – and all you can think of, "Can't me be awesome?" And it is awesome when you find that person who sees the real you and loves you just that way.

    I'm a hope person. That's why Ilove 19th century lit. Good prevails. You'll finish your book when you decide whether you to BELIEVE that goodness and happiness prevails or hopeless, counting on life always kicking you in the butt.

    If you are going to struggle, struggle to believe there is something good around the corner:)

    Now, go finish that book! (I loved your post – you left me hanging, hoping)

  7. Wow! That was really naked emotion. I can't think back on a painful break up now that I can't find a million reasons why the relationship wasn't a good thing. Of course right after it happens it just plain hurts. You're a very good writer! Happy SITS day!

  8. Nice job woman! I like how unvarnished you are in this post. I know what you mean about pushing people away. I used to do that, and then with my Hubby, he was my "rebound guy" so there was no need to push him away and we got incredibly close incredibly quick and have been happily married for 10 years and counting! Congrats on your well-deserved SITS day. 🙂

  9. I think it's healthy to color your memories with emotion. It helps us grow as people, and helps us learn for the future. Great post, I love your honesty!

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