"Being two people is harder than just being one person. Being with someone is harder than being alone."

I regret the words. We were in the car in a tunnel, and I was still twitching with the anxiety of my first freelance job, which had been over for approximately fifteen minutes.

It's not true. Being alone is hard and there's no one to put the extra sheets on the high shelf or listen to my bougie problems (like, seriously, who puts coffee in styrofoam cups that are squishy and spill-y) or pay the bills when I quit my job. He's so much to me; I don't want to not keep up my end of this bargain.

I've never been much of a team player. Selfish has always been my way of life. But I'm working on it. I am working on being an us.



is nothing sacred anymore?

I had the best idea. Me and the boy could get civil unioned and then we could share insurance without having to get married for boring, practical reasons. Getting courthouse married would also mean either keeping it a secret from our parents or making them really angry at us for ruining the fun party part of it. And we could still get married later and get presents. And it just makes sense as I’m pretty sure we are civil unioned in practice.

As a special bonus, civil unions in New York are a bargain-- only $35.

I am brilliant. Brilliant.


The boy’s work doesn’t count civil unions unless they are between same-sex couples. So one of us would have to have a sex change to make it work and that probably costs more than insurance and I wonder if his insurance covers that because then it would have to be him and I’m not really sexually attracted to women (it’s this catch-22 situation I can elaborate upon later) and I don’t think he’d agree to it anyway. . . .

So at any rate, we can’t share insurance because we are straight.

(I mean, please don’t think I’m some awful person. I realize we have the right to get married which is cool, and I think we all deserve that. But right now I’m just pretty sure that we all deserve the rights that come from marriages or civil unions because that would mean that my plan had not been totally thwarted.)




Quitting my job means quitting my insurance.

My boy’s boss has a wife. The wife is from Portugal. They got court-house married because that one piece of paper saved them from so, so many more.

It’s easy to get married. In New York, it costs $40. Forty dollars is such a deal on insurance for forever.

I can’t believe we are having this conversation. But it makes sense, and we wouldn’t even have to tell anyone. It seems like a good idea for about ninety seconds until we realize that it is just too practical.



let's go for a swim

I became a freelancer.


I have a cousin, Lillian, who is my opposite, not just because she has fair, straight hair and brown eyes and freckles, but because of. . . everything. She perms her bangs. She was practically born wearing sensible shoes. When she was 14, her dream car was a minivan. While the boy cousins and I spent our summer nights catching milk jugs full of tree frogs and playing sardines in the dark, she was probably watching The Sound of Music again. She played with dolls until. . . . Actually I’m not sure she ever stopped.

Lillian is a teacher for 4-year-olds. She’s slightly overweight and is married to a very overweight man and they have two obscenely overweight dogs and they all sit around and watch NASCAR. She eats fast food and posts inappropriately personal things on Facebook. She lives in the same small town she always has, in her husband’s house where she moved from her parent’s house when she got married.

I loved to dive when I was little: stretched out full and eyes wide open, even off the high diving board at swimming lessons. Lillian, though, with her goggles on tight and her nose held and her little toothpick jumps, still got nosebleeds in the pool about once a week.

And once, when she thought I was still under water, I heard her say, “I wish we could all be as brave as Beatrix.”


I became a freelancer, which is to say that I quit my job.

It was a brave thing to do, I think, but it’s a fine line. What if we take a dive off the highest cliff, not because we aren’t afraid of the water below, but because we are terrified of what might be up there with us?