how's it gonna be

“I feel better.” Even though it was just a sip of coffee.

“I have got to remember to feed you when you get crabby.”


I am hot and ironing his work clothes on Saturday afternoon and he farts and laughs.

I think, Is this how it’s going to be?

He says he loves my face and puts his arms around me from behind and I stop ironing because these pants are at least better than they were before.

Is this how it’s going to be?

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don't look back

We said we’d have a berry farm in the mountains.

We would have had kids who ran around with too-long hair and never any shoes. They’d be olive like him and good swimmers. We’d have nights on porches with all the stars we ever wanted and sunshine mornings with wildflowers and sweet potato pancakes.

He answered the phone, “Hee-ey there, pretty girl.” I learned that Eagle Scouts aren’t always prepared.

It was one month, and beautiful the way something can be when it is purely hypothetical-- like communism and vegan baked goods.

We both cried, sitting on the trunk of his Blazer with the rusty top. Nine days, I’d begged. Let’s just have these last nine days.

We graduated. We never said I love you. When my brother met a whole bunch of my exes at a single graduation party, he said he didn’t like Fred. He asked if I thought Hugo would help me move.

Fred’s an accountant now. He has tidy hair and shirts with buttons and proper shoes and no piercings.

“How long have you been waiting for me to do that?” There was that sweaty weekend and that night in that hotel. Even when Eagle Scouts grow up to be accountants, they aren’t always prepared.

He doesn’t answer his phone the same way anymore, which probably makes sense. I’d forgotten about the mole on his right cheek.

Fred’s a pile of what-if. What if we’d figured it out sooner. What if I hadn’t moved when I’d graduated. What if he’d gotten this job instead of that one.

What if he’d ever fought for it.


p.s. i hope you click the link and remember how this used to be a dating blog.

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being angry makes me tired OR word salad

I feel like a vegetable. I could be a carrot or a head of cabbage, if carrots and heads of cabbage were capable of a blood-boiling rage induced by subway performers.

I am broccoli. I have no face.

I want to move like acorn squash.

I could be jicama if a jicama pushed her smiling boyfriend away on Saturday morning (normally jicama’s favorite part of the week), rolled over, fell asleep for two more hours, then pretended to sleep for an hour more, all the while wishing he’d smile while he brought her some cereal.

I’m a potato.


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bumps in the road

“We are walking so leisurely.”
“I’m just. . . tired.”

Things had degenerated rapidly, and Sam looked like I felt: bedraggled, exhausted, confused, caught-in-headlights-then-hit-by-a-bus.

What if we just never went back to that job ever again?

“Too bad I’m not pregnant,” Sam said.

That would be some trick of science, and he’d have to buy all new clothes.

But when we sat down on a SoHo stoop, everyone who didn’t have a stroller had a convex bellybutton straining at their knitwear.

Does it say something about your job when cleaning up poop is starting to sound more pleasant?

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the synopsis:

One meal blended into the next and we ate until we couldn’t eat any more, then we had dessert.

I came from early-morning shopping with my mom to find my brother and Ted at a breakfast table covered with cereal boxes, laptops, and newspaper, laughing and watching ESPN. I decided we might be on to something.

My dad took us for a drive, we stopped at a sporting goods store, and while Ted and I looked at elliptical machines, my dad bought a shotgun. Seriously. A shotgun.

Welcome home.


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maybe because it's easier to imagine bad things than good ones

I gripped his wrist. I had a vision: wind ripping a wing off, the plane falling out of the sky in the tight spiral of a pinecone seed. We were hours late, and the ride was too bumpy for anyone to even bring us drinks.

I should have been terrified.

We were going to visit my family. Ted was going to meet my dad and my brother for the first time.

It might already be springtime there.

At Christmas my brother and I get out of bed while it is still dark and go climb in our parents’ bed to wake them up. We have three-hour breakfasts that sometimes include performances and end with clean-up dance parties. Clockwise, we sit: dad, sister, mom, brother. Unless we are in the car: dad, mom, brother, sister. We’ve spent decades just the four of us, and in this system of inside jokes and assigned seats, I’ve never been able to imagine how someone new will fit.

I should be terrified. I should be at least anxious.

“Remind me not to let you drink coffee at the airport,” he’d told me when I just could not stop talking.

But I was excited and I am excited and I’m pretty sure everything will be fine as long as this plane can land wheels first.


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it seemed like a plan

When I got what was presumably a work-related text that was hurtful and quietly accusatory and passive-aggressive and, worst of all, completely predictable, I was very upset and fat tears fell and I didn’t even have time to stop the words:

“Can I just quit my job and have babies??”

And I’m pretty sure he said that would be just fine.

I’m, like, 80% sure that’s what he said.


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sob story

The thing is. . . I don’t mind so much when he turns away from me in his sleep. It’s a new sensation-- not feeling neglect or anger or why-doesn’t-anyone-ever-love-me when I wake up to face a back. But this. . . this feels. . . good.

I used to think maybe I’d never be able to make something like this work. The more I liked a boy, the crazier I’d act, and the faster it would blow up in my face. I just wanted to find a boy who made me a person I liked.

It turns out crazy-girl is sort of my natural state of being, but maybe that’s not the worst way to be.

I’m not a pretty crier. My skin gets even paler and contrasts my black eyebrows and soggy eyelashes; the white parts of my eyes turn red which makes the irises look sickly light; and this night my nose was pink and my eyelids were swelling closed because this had been going on for hours.

I was having a tough day/week/life, you know? But I was also just being a brat.

“You’ll have to try harder than this,” he said, all matter-of-fact, “if you want me to run away.”


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general update

For those of you interested, I bought an entire bunch of asparagus this week. And also a copy of Martha Stewart Weddings, but that was for work-related research.


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so. . . sorry. esp. about that salad dressing

I’m sorry I

-Cried when I had to walk to work in the snow
-Took an hour and half to get dressed because I was angry at my wardrobe
-Insisted that I had a staph infection on my face even though it was obviously just a pimple
-Fed you a vinaigrette I made with expired mustard
-Told you the mustard was expired but didn’t tell you it was expired by more than a year and a half
-Wasn’t fun at that birthday party and am so old that the sounds in clubs give me headaches
-Apologize, even at inappropriate times.


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Sam says, “Aww.” when I mention it to him.

Logan and Laurie say whatever I do don’t do it.

Jules says people kept telling her that the first year would be the hardest, but that moving in with Ed was the easiest thing ever.

My brother says my parents might not mind as much as I think they will.

And Ted’s mom says that if it turns out having too little space and not enough walls is an issue, he can move back with her and his dad until we can get a place with doors.

We have a month to decide.


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it's hard to be a girl OR yes, i do always talk to myself in the second person

“I feel fat.”
“You aren’t fat.”
“But I feel fat. I wish I wasn’t wearing pants.”
“You can’t weigh 107 pounds and be fat.”
“Yes you can. Look.”
“Ok. You look a little fat.”
“I’m hungry.”
“You aren’t hungry.”
“No really. My stomach is growling.”
“It’s only 9:35.”
“But I’m hungry.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re too fat to eat.”
“What if I’m pregnant?”
“You aren’t pregnant.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know. And the pill works.”
“Not always.”
“It’s only Monday. And you usually start on Tuesday. Or Wednesday or Thursday.”
“So I could be pregnant.”
“So I can have a snack.”
“So if I’m pregnant. . . .”
“It would be born in November.”
“January would have been more convenient.”
“Well, none of this is convenient.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not pregnant.”
“What if I can’t get pregnant?!”
“Can’t you think about something else?”
“Like what?”
“How about weddings?”
“Was that it?”
“Well what are you going to think about now?”
“How about brownies?”
“Mmmm. Ok. Brownies.”
“Hey look. I’m not pregnant.”
“That’s good.”
“Well, I knew I wasn’t pregnant.”
“I feel like there was something else on the list.”
“Fruit? Vegetables?”
“Cheese was definitely not on the list.”
“Brie. It’s on the list now.”
“Your basket is embarrassing.”
“I’m going to have brie for an appetizer and brownies for dessert.”
“You can’t have brie for an appetizer and brownies for dessert.”
“Then I’m going to have brie for dinner and brownies for dessert.”
“I think you might regret this decision.”
“I feel fat.”

~beatrix (& beatrix)

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a big thing, but not with capital letters

My dad was slightly concerned that we were coming to visit because of a Big Thing.

But my mom assured him that the two of us had cooked up this plan and Ted didn’t even know anything about it yet.

We-- my mom and I-- decided it was time, and I told Ted to free up a weekend. He’s going to Georgia.

I realized later that I’d sprung it on him rather suddenly, but I’m too excited to care. And anyway, he deserves it.


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scheduling conflicts

I might have spent a good part of the day doing math, and finally asked, before he fell asleep.

“That crazy thing you said today in the car. . . . Did you mean by the time you are thirty? Or while you are thirty?”

“If I said while I’m thirty, would you feel better?”


When he said that thing in the car, my first thought was “Impossible”. “At least half joking,” he’d tempered it. He’ll have the birthday in three and a half years, almost to the day. He’s right. It’s not impossible.

“I’ve just always thought my parents were 30, and I turned out fine,” he told me in bed, “And, you know, your parents were younger, and you turned out fine. It just seems like 30 would be a good time to at least think about it.”

I am glad I was so sleepy. Sleepy enough to let go of the numbers, the adding and subtracting, enough to worry about it later, enough to fall asleep in that cozy spot between his bony shoulders and his rib cage, between excited and terrified.


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as far as i can tell, the good kind of what ifs

Maybe what I mean when we talk about the finances of it all and buying furniture and the groceries and if it will matter for seven months if there is no wall and how maybe a garage will be necessary because parking uptown is a nuisance. . . is that if I buy an immersion blender or a sofa I want it to be ours and not mine. . . and that I don’t really want to be your room mate, exactly. . . . Maybe I wouldn’t mind if our lives got jumbled up along with our things. . . . Maybe what I mean is that I might like to build my life with yours.


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the bad kind of what-ifs

Ted has a lifetime of acquaintances in this city, and I think he’s better at looking up when he walks than I am. And being with him makes the East Village feel like an actual neighborhood. We run into people.

Ted asked if he was going our way, and the answer told everything without a detail. ’Cause if he’s going uptown, he’s not going to the girl whose name, with his, has become such an easy pair.

His skin was transparent, his face bonier than I remembered. Jumpy, unfocused, he has the wide, empty eyes of a stray dog who distrusts human contact as much as he craves it.

He’s going uptown, and I forgot the M is even a train. Walking away, I wished I’d given him a more honest hug, and I wished I’d given him the trail mix out of my bag. I don’t know if he’s going home, but he’s going somewhere to sleep, and Queens is a long way from here.

My boy and I laughed at the intersection of 2nd and A where he always falls in that shallow hole.

But I’ve looked out hollow ghost-eyes, eyes that never want to close, but don’t want to see anything either. I’ve stopped eating, tried to start over from the inside out. I’ve developed a quiver in my hands, my jaw, my gut I was sure was visible from the outside. I’ve been not just not my self, but not anyone.

When he pulls his shirt off over his head, he blocks the overhead light from my face. If this were a metaphor, he would be the moon in this solar eclipse and he’d control my tides. That’s a little sweet, but mostly gross. And anyway, no matter how much the earth stretches for the moon, she’ll never touch him.

And I just can’t get close enough.

I lie my head in the crook of his arm, run my fingers up and down his chest. But what I really want to do is pound it:

Never do that to me. Never do that to me. Never, ever do that to me.


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prove it

I’m sure my kindergarten teacher wouldn’t be surprised. I would spend the entire morning copying our handwriting assignment until each letter was perfectly formed and there were near-holes from all the erasing. Most adults can’t draw the way I could when I was nine, but the only evidence comes in snippets, usually about four square inches, of still lifes that were much larger.

I’m an anxious person.

I’m getting better at buying produce. A bruise, a spot, and funny color-- I have to fight a strong inclination to put it back and keep looking (and looking and looking and looking). I’ve given up completely at buying greeting cards.

With so many options and so little time, how do you ever know you’ve chosen the best one?

And I’m staring at the ceiling. Wishing wishing wishing you’d just prove to me that I can stop looking.


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