When I was in college, back when the Internet was an primarily an IRC and not the place to find free porn by googling, “That ball with spikes on it,” intending to find a description for a Mace, not some guy wearing spikes on his ballbag, I had a group of people I chummed around with. These people, of course, didn’t include my roommate It Means Butterfly, because she spent her days hollering at me for not putting things away properly and sitting by the computer waiting for her boyfriend Dave (not The Daver) to pop up on chat.
One of my friends was a guy that I sorta kinda maybe had a crush on, James, who happened to allow me refuge in his room when It Means Butterfly and Dave made sweet, sweet, monkey love in the bunk above me. At the time, James was still pretty squarely in the closet, which means that my gaydar wasn’t nearly as well-honed as it is now.
My crush subsided, of course, as crushes are wont to do, and we became strictly friends. At least in my book.
One afternoon, It Means Butterfly happened to be out at class or something, so I had a rare moment to myself in my dorm room, which I probably spent pining for my ex-boyfriend because that’s what you do at 18. You pine for old boyfriends rather than actually enjoy your single-dom.
When the phone rang, I’d been hoping it was Pashmina down the hall who’d been trying to score some more rum so we could get properly wasted, but it wasn’t. It was my buddy, Derek.
“Hey Becky,” Derek said when I answered. “Where’s your roommate?”
“Eh,” I replied. “Not sure.”
It was quiet for several seconds, which made me want to blather on – it was an awkward kind of silence, not the sort that happens among two friends who know each other well, but something that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like a dog.
“So….” I continued, trying to figure why he’d called me to say nothing. “What’s up?”
“Uhhhhh,” he groaned. “Not much.”
The seconds ticked by.
“How’s, um, class?” I asked, trying to begin a conversation.
“It’s (pant, pant), okay,” he said, clearly not interested in this conversation, which, to be frank, neither was I. I liked discussing class as much as I liked discussing those crappy and eerily crude forward emails my dad sent me.
Again with the silence.
“Um, so what are you doing today?” I asked him, not wanting to believe that Derek was an Uncle Pervy. I mean, this is the guy who helped me dress to go to the bar so I appeared to be older than 14. In turn, I looked like a very delightful hooker, but I thought it was hysterical.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
This was getting weird.
I began babbling because that’s what I do best when I’m awkwardly uncomfortable, “So did you hear that my dad sent me this horrible forward about some old lady and her vagina? It was totally WEIRD – I mean, he’s my dad, and Oh Em Gee, did you SEE the way Matthias’s crappy roommate has been stalking me around campus because that’s just creepers, and really I’m so hungry, wanna get some Chinese food from that shitty place that delivers and tastes like it’s probably rat meat and shit, do you think it’s actually rat meat because their beef tastes a little off and shit I wonder if that’s why it tastes like that do you think it’s actually rat meat or cat meat because either way, I feel sick to my guts now and I may need to go hork in the bathroom and did you know that someone left a bloody tampon in there because that’s so fucking gross who would do that?”
I stopped blabbering on to see what he’d do next.
All I could hear was “pant, pant, pant, pant YESSSS.”
Fucking shit. Mouth breather. Shit.
I levitated toward the phone jack, giving some laughable excuse about waxing a cat somewhere, and hung up with him.
I stared at the phone for a second before wandering down the hall to Pashmina’s room. Without knocking, I walked in:
“Dude. You’ll NEVER guess what just happened.”
New post here about what NOT to do at warehouse clubs.
Shit I Found Saturdays is a weekly feature here at Mommy Wants Vodka, that’s more fun than a basket of kittens, except that the Internet is mostly closed on Saturdays.
Who likes RULES anyway?
So, let’s fuck that noise and get into cool shit we’ve found around the Internet and bring Saturday back.
It’s like bringing Sexy Back but awesomer.
Join in! We have donuts!
(that’s a lie)
Shit I Read This Week:
(Cake) Balls In Your Mouth: Drunk baking? Brunk Daking? Who knows. It’s just fucking hilarious.
Reused Books and a Love Note: Bring tissues. It’s a wonderful story from a great friend.
Cratering: I haven’t stopped laughing.
Shit I Wrote:
Songs To Break Up To – Why? Because every breakup needs a soundtrack.
Bedtime Battles Rage On: My kids hate sleep. Clearly, we’re not related.
Shit I That Made Me Shit Myself:
Stand back, ladies. He’s my new boyfriend. I’m not fucking around.
Shit That Made Me Realize I Need Photoshop:
And who could forget my favorite diabetic?
Which reminds me of….
(which my kids jam out to – substituting “Penis” for “diabeetus.” Because we’re related)
Shit That Just…Listen:
And if you’re feeling particularly suicidal, DO NOT listen to this one:
Shit That Scares Me:
Shit Around My Blog:
And The Twitters.
Now it’s YOUR turn, Pranksters?
What rad shit have you found this week?
I married Isis on the fifth day of May,
But I could not hold on to her very long
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong.
We drove through the night, relator chirping about in the frontseat while I sat in the back, staring out the window, watching the scenery, crystallized in the cold January ice, seeing things I’d seen before, only different. Dave sat in front, chattering about with the realtor as I blew into my hands, trying to blow the cold clear on out.
Carefully, we approached the last house on our list for the night, a hulking monstrosity built in the 1970′s, similar – but not identical to – the house I grew up in. Cold crunched the tires, making a somber squeak, as we pulled into the driveway, the lights blazing inside bode a warm welcome from the howling night. Dave and the relator zipped on ahead to greet the owner as I stood there a moment alone, under the tree, which, in the frigid January wind, tinkled mournfully like the world’s saddest windchimes. I looked up and noticed the streetlights as they caught the ice encasing the branches, and the whole world seemed to shimmer for a moment.
I stood there mesmerized, not feeling the cold seeping into my bones.
“Becky,” Dave called. “You ready to go in?”
As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold,
I was thinkin’ about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless.
“It’s so beautiful,” I said that spring as we drove through our neighborhood, the trees lush and green, their branches happily intertwined from either side of the street as though they were trying their hardest form a canopy above. I could spy bits of blue sky between the leaves, but driving ahead, it appeared as though we were driving through a secret cove to our home.
“It really is,” Dave agreed, “It really is.”
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her.
She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise,
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed.
“What’s this?” I asked, blinded by exhaustion and in dire need of a bed to rest my body as the early morning dawn rose, the sun wrangling it’s way upward, as if to remind us that if we had forgotten, once again, we’d been up most of the night at the hospital with our young son and infant daughter. The words ran together in an alarming manner as I tried to piece together the letter that had been unceremoniously shoved into the mailbox under the tree I had, what felt like a lifetime before, stood and listened to the music it had created.
I gasped as though I’d been sucker-punched.
“The tree,” I said. “It’s dying.”
“Which one?” Dave asked me, blearily trying to understand the words I was stringing together. I nodded at the Ash tree, which had once sung me a mournful song, as if to warn me that things would not always remain the same. Tears inexplicably filled my eyes, which I quickly swiped away, blaming them on exhaustion.
“That one,” I said simply. “That one.”
I came to a high place of darkness and light,
The dividing line ran through the center of town.
“They’re clearing the Ash trees from our side of town,” my mom told me one afternoon, the following summer. “They neighborhood looks so different.”
I fixed my gaze on the tree outside my window which had once sung a lone haunting melody, and, lost in thought, murmured my displeasure as my daughter crawled up my leg, trying to figure out what Mama was staring at.
“They haven’t started here, yet,” I said hopefully, still looking at my tree. “Maybe my tree will be okay.”
She simply stared at me, words unspoken.
The wind it was howlin’ and the snow was outrageous,
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn.
The earth woke up this spring, telling me tales of a mild winter, the ground cold, but not frozen as I planted flowers of purple and pink, the tree slowly waving its barren branches above me as if to warn me. You don’t mean it, I said to the tree as I worked in the yard, growing something beautiful where none had grown before. You can’t mean it.
The tulips I’d planted years before bowed and bobbed in the warm spring breeze, as if to say, “almost time, almost time.”
Silly flowers, I thought. What do you know about death and dying? All you know is rebirth, starting over.
The tree dropped a branch, long since dead, next to me as I worked the earth, as if to say, “believe me now?”
When he died, I was hopin’ that it wasn’t contagious,
But I made up my mind that I had to go on.
“Mama,” my daughter asked a couple of weeks ago. “Why’s there a purple and pink dot on the tree?”
My heart sunk.
“Because it’s dying,” I said simply. “It’s time.”
I broke into the tomb, but the casket was empty
There was no jewels, no nothin’ – I felt I’d been had.
“Did you see that there are no-parking signs outside?” Dave asked on Monday.
“The city must be taking down our tree,” he continued.
“Finally,” he said as if he’d been waiting his whole life for that sign.
I nodded again, turning my back so he couldn’t see the tears.
How she told me that one day we would meet up again,
And things would be different the next time we wed.
If I only could hang on and just be her friend
I still can’t remember all the best things she said.
Branches half dead now, entire sections of the tree destroyed, the tree still stands in front of my house, as if to thumb its finger at passers-by: yeah, I’m still here.
Not for long. Not for long.
Trying in one last attempt to save itself, the tree has grown saplings that jaunt merrily from the bottom, a sign of renewal in a time of death. I want to run out, screaming, give up and give in – let go, it’s over.
It’s time, I tell the tree each morning. It’s time. It’s over. Give up. I’m sorry I didn’t listen – you were right.
The branches sway lovingly at me, creaking a new tune – it’s final tune: we must move on, we must move on.
This time, I listen.
I still can remember the way that you smiled,
On the fifth day of May in the drizzlin’ rain