Snowflakes

I think it’s been about five years, and people still ask about you.

I think it’s been five years because I don’t count.  I’ve never counted.  I try not think about it at all.

When I do try to talk about you, I never know where to begin. The first time I saw you and we locked eyes across a common hall packed full of students too young to drink?  Or… your mouth pressed to mine on the balcony in that little town in Spain, high above the world or… that time you got down on one knee and pulled out your grandmother’s ring.

Everyone wants the story, and for once in my life, I don’t know what to say.

I knew you better, and I loved you harder, than anything before or since.  I’m still trying to write about you, where do I ever begin.

***

When we were living in New England, we raced to the top of the hill in the snow, only to have three busses pass us by and leave us shouting, cursing in the slush.  In the nine months I’ve lived here I have grown to hate blizzards, public transit, and the ever growing hole in my left boot that I still can’t afford to replace.

We stood there, growing later for work by the minute, shivering in the dull February morning.  I looked up into the grey sky, all doey eyed California girl, and remark to him on how the snow looks like little jagged chunks.  It only snowed once every other year or so when I was a child, I said. I’ve never really had the chance to see it closely.

He grins, feigning disbelief.  “My American baby,” he says, laughing.  I tell him to shut up as he hooks his arm around my back and draws me to him.

“Here.”

He scrapes my collar with his credit card, and holds it up for me.  I am twenty six years old.  I have never seen a snowflake.  I stare at it, all tiny and perfect as he holds me to him with his other arm – and I can feel him – warm in 10 degrees below zero, warm in the slush up our calves, warm through the two overcoats, three sweaters, and four shirts between us.

I am beaming.  I am full of love.

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Fall

I’ve been doing everything I possibly can not to write about you.

I shut down my computer.  I make more plans.  I thwart my own desire to write.

I don’t tell friends your name, I won’t introduce you.  I put your flowers on the coffee table and stuffed the hand written note into the top left drawer of my dresser. Then suddenly, in a moment of recklessness, yanked it out and put it in my purse.

Unbeknownst to you, for the last two weeks I’ve been carrying your words, your crooked k’s and i’s dotted far to the left, everywhere I go. I know I’m falling for you. I’m fighting it every step of the god damned way.

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Young Love

I should preface this by saying I’m too old for this now, and I need to stop staying up way past my bedtime, but I can’t help it.  Maybe it’s something about wandering around, barefoot on linoleum in men’s pajama pants that gets my creative juices flowing.  This is the time of night where I’ll eat six things that don’t go together and really enjoy myself; a bowl of cereal, fritos with salsa, some leftover sweet potatoes.

It sounded good at the time

I don’t know how my mind wanders to these places when I’m sleepy, but I got to thinking about a conversation I had earlier about the crushes I had when I was a kid.  At the tender age of ten, I fell madly in love with an angelic and symmetrically featured Denzel Washington during a screening of The Preacher’s Wife.  At eight, reruns of Back to the Future kept me glued to our television throughout the commercial breaks, ever anxious that I’d miss a glimpse of Michael J. Fox in a cool orange vest.  At six, I adoringly admired Harrison Ford while trying to stay up late on the couch beside my father, who was dutifully indoctrinating me with a love of Indiana Jones, although perhaps not quite the kind of love he’d hoped for.

One could say I was a bit of a precocious child when it came to love, but one would be wrong.

Case in point, when I was four, I was absolutely, positively certain that I was going to marry one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Don’t ask me how.  While not assured about the legality or formality of such a union, at four I figured, “It’ll work itself out.”.  I’m not sure how I got this idea into my four year old head in the first place, but my guess is that it may have had something to do with the fact that you’ve got better odds with four to choose from.  After all, in the end, only one of them could pin down the ever elusive April O’Neil, leaving three for me to choose from.  Well, two if she doesn’t choose Donatello.  Because come on, who freaking likes Donatello?

I think I had a hard time choosing between Raphael and Michelangelo.  Looking back, this makes a lot of sense because even at that point, they represented pretty major facets of my personality.  Raphael of course is cool but crude.  Awesomely sarcastic and slightly agro but only masking a fierce loyalty to the brothers green.  Michaelangelo is a party dude, and who can resist the allure of that?  Leonardo was all right, but he was kind of like the Red Power Ranger.  He just…. leads… for some reason we have yet to understand.  Still, better than Donatello.  Donatello is the Peter Chris of the Ninja Turtles.

I can’t say exactly how this obsession faded.  I never liked barbies or baby dolls and just sifted my way through Hot Wheels, Play-Doh, and unrealistic love interests over time.  What I can say is that since then I’ve moved on to bigger and better things.  Next up, Zach Morris.

Turtle Power!   I mean….