One day at the dog park, I met this guy and we shot the shit. I asked him where he worked. he told me. My stomach turned and my heart beat harder. It was the store in the mall where Lauren took a part time job after she left. I said, “Do you know Lauren?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “I knew her in college.” He said, “Cool.”
A couple of weeks ago, I met a girl at a bar. We become Facebook friends. I scroll down her timeline to find a picture with her and Lauren in it. My stomach turned less and my heart beat some. Tonight I might be going over to this girl’s house. I try to daydream about mentioning the picture, “So hey, I saw on FB that you know so-and-so.” And she will say, “Yeah, I met her at such and such, she’s great.” And then I’ll say, “Yeah, she and I knew one another in college,” while shaking ever so slightly and not feeling my fingers. But I know I wont ask.
I will be very conscious though that I am in a room with someone that has been in a room with Lauren. Someone who doesnt know that Lauren used to have a first wife and it was me. Its almost psychotic the amount of energy contained in my memory of her, how I try to suss out her continued presence. When I drive down the highway that passes her school on any given Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:45 and 4:30, I think, “She is 100 yards away from me.” Or when I walk into a family friend restaurant Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 PM, I think, “She might be here.” Or when I walk into a bar on a Sunday night, I think, “She is definetely not here.” Don’t even ask me about my relationship to the mall over these past 2 1/2 years. This energy doesnt exist in the physical world, it’s inanimate, it is just the product of my mind. No one else sees it or feels it, certainly not someone who never met us.
And of the people who did know us, no one asks about it anymore. If they do, it’s always, “Do you ever see her?” Do you ever see her? Do you ever see her? It’s like when we got married and the only question anyone ever asked is, “Are you going to California?” Are you going to Massachusetts? Are you going to DC?” It’s like, If it hasnt happened to you, you can’t even really grasp it to know what to ask, regardless of whether you want to ask, because it’s a wedding, or you dont want to ask because it’s a divorce. But these days, with the way I walk around constantly feeling or not feeling her maybe-presence, it’s like the TV is talking to me and no one else knows. Like, I’m looking around saying, “Do you hear that? Do you feel that?” And everybody’s like, “What?” Did I mention in the beginning, how I would wake up to the sound of her voice? Literally, hallucinating.
So, yeah. Tonight. I might hang out with someone who knows Lauren. Let’s bring it down a notch. I wont feel psychotic. It’ll be more like a celebrity sighting. Like, Michael Jackson or Madonna. “Oh my god, I am in a room with someone who was in a room with Rachel Maddow.”
February 11, 2013
Today I saw Lauren for the second time in just a few days. The first time was almost as hard as I thought it would be, but not quite. The first time was at one of those postal stores, the kind that are positioning themselves to scarf up the task of stamps and packages upon the downfall of the USPS, the kind you didnt quite understand as they started to pop up, “Doesnt the US Postal Service do all this? And for less money, probably, right?”
The men staffing it, I decided that they owned it, and that they were gay. I also decided that they could read me and her. They could read the averted eyes, the shaking hands, the audible breath sounds and know we were married and estranged. At one point, she and I leaned up against a counter waiting for the guy to call the tag and title office because he didnt know what to do with the out of state title. She and I waited there for almost a minute, breathing and shaking next to one another and I began to imagine we were in meditation together. Her breathing was louder than I remember — anxiety disorder, asthma, she’s gained weight, she does that when she is happy – and I thought about how unattractive that kind of breathing is in a stranger, and how one might love it in a love, and wondered if I would love it in her now. I took a deeper breath and waited to hear if she would breathe with me. She said, “I’m going to go sit down,” and took out her phone. The guy got ahold of his friend at the tag and title office who said we didnt need a notary, that we could just come into the office.
When I got into the car, I could feel my insides, the girl ones. I was suddenly aware of my clit and my lips, and everything they lead to. Briefly, I marveled at how attached I must still be to her and or maybe just how attached I am to making a baby. Then I remembered that sometimes men get erections when they are scared, I realized that the fullness and readiness I was feeling was just the byproduct of my heart beating blood into all of my endings, that it wasnt about love or sex or babies.
Today, at the tag and title office, it was easier and briefer, but still unsuccessful. The loan company shouldve sent the South Carolina title to Raleigh so that Raleigh could send me a North Carolina title, but they didnt. The lady said that she would send it, I would get the right title in a week or two and then we should come back. No breathing, less shaking. Lauren said, resigned, encouraging, “Third time’s the charm.” I didnt look at her or respond to her small talk, but I realized that I couldve, so I will next time.
February 2, 2013
i am set to see her wednesday at 4. i paid off the car. she is going to sign it over to me. and then i will never see her again. im a little nauseous right now. but its a good nausea.
February 1, 2013
I just wrote a fantastically nasty email to Lauren and didnt send it. Jesus Christ, that there is a good feeling, yes it is. #almostover
January 13, 2013
I am in Flushing Queens trying to get pregnant. There have been a lot of ups and downs as it pertains to my visit. My natural inclination, and where my talents lay, really, is to create some sort of touching, bittersweet melange of disparate images and experiences which get tied up at the end in some sort of soft, sad bundle like a fattened pig. I would like to give you some happy, I dont know how to artfully, seemlessly mix the disparate experiences of sad and happy, just sad and alienating, or sad and strange, or sad and unjust. In order to give you sad and happy, in order to mix that kind of disparate, I have to resort to the most elementary of all art forms: the list.
1.) Me and the donor, who is also my high school sweetheart, have gotten along really well. He’s been calm when I’ve been testy, I’ve been patient when he’s gotten us lost, he hasnt gotten moody, I havent been annoyed. He has met some of my friends. We have had some heart to hearts. We have definitely laughed.
2.) The timing is pretty good. I have inseminated everyday since Thursday night, some days twice. I will probably have my last insemination very early tomorrow morning and expect to ovulate on Wednesday. Not perfect timing, but not terrible.
3.) I had amazing chicken larb at a Thai restaurant with two friends, one of whom took the bus up from DC to rendezvous with me. Then, I had an amazing slice of smoked coconut cheesecake and a 5 dollar cup of coffee at a dessert bar. Then, the three of us had a sleep – over in Brooklyn and we played on Facebook. The best game was to go through our mutual friend lists and see how many people all three of us have slept with. Turns out only one. Luckily there was lots of dish about him. And by “him”, I mean that he is a transman. I am, after all, a cisgendered female and woman-identified femme queer, and I want to make these things clear. I know, it’s a cheap clarity, requiring me to qualify his maleness, but I am not evolved yet. Luckily, according to the dish, neither is he.
4.) Right before I left Asheville, I closed on my house. I am now a homeowner.
1.) The friend that came up to visit is still friends with Lauren on Facebook. After two years of silently gnashing my teeth about it, I finally told her that it hurts me, but asked that she let me look at Lauren’s page before she defriended Lauren, which she agreed to do. I find out that Lauren and her new partner, the same one she left me for, because they did, afterall, fall in love, and love conquers everything, are fostering a child.
2.) I have been arguing with the girl I am sleeping with the entire time that I have been here. She feels I havent maintained close enough contact with her, either about when I am inseminating or where I am and what I am doing. I have decided to keep a log for one month, tallying the number of days during she either a.) makes me cry b.) yells or c.) tells me she is going to “leave me alone”, “abandon”, “defriend”, “move away”, “get a thicker skin” or “distance” herself from me. When she is unhappy with something I am doing she doesnt tell me, and when she does tell me, it is always paired with this veiled leaving language. And let’s not forget the one week she did leave me so she could, at her partner’s request, devote all of her “relationship energy” to her primary partner, and then left her primary partner and came back to me with the caveat that if her primary partner came back to her, she would welcome this partner into her life. Again. (Why am I doing this?)
2.) I got hopelessly lost on the subway today, missed Quaker Meeting, spent 20 bucks on a taxi, and then spent two hours sitting in front of my donor’s door waiting for him to let me in the house, most of the while, sobbing. (Finally, his mother let me in.) I havent heard from him in 15 hours. I have no idea where is, when he is coming back, or if I will be able to do another insemination before I leave. He is not responding to texts and my calls go straight to voicemail.
3.) He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last week.
July 22, 2012
I am sitting in my chair. I am wearing a pair of jeans and a cotton tube top. No bra. My knees ache. My eyes are burning. My dog is chewing her synthetic bone. I can hear crickets. I can hear my rommates, a sweet young couple in love, laughing. I have a strange taste in my mouth, equal parts tired and too much sugar. I have been browsing condos for sale on the internet. It was either that or sperm donors. Or vacation destinations.
Yesterday, I mailed in an application to become a notary public in this fine state. Tomorrow, I have an appointment to apply for a passport which will allow me to leave the country. Then, I go to a staff meeting at my new part time job, before a 12 hour shift at my full-time job. Next month, I might know if the federal government is going to pay off all of my student loans. But then again, I might not know. Or I might know for sure that they arent. Or I might know for sure that they are. This month, I put more than a thousand dollars toward my consumer debt. And I bought a new pair of pants for work. And a book about the history of walking. But they havent come yet.
When you throw a bunch of stuff up in the air, like rice, maybe, you have to wait for all the pieces to land before you can even start to clean it up. Some people are thinking about the clean up as they are throwing the rice. (I do not have this particular kind of sadness.) Then, you get a broom and a dust pan and survey the pattern. You are trying to figure out the best way to sweep up the mess, but in the fewest sweeps possible. (This kind, I do.) And then, for the next few days, if you are diligent, or weeks, if you are not, you find more pieces and pick those up, too. There’s nothing we throw up in the air in the event of something bad. Except our hands, I guess. But there’s no getting rid of yourself, now is there?
December 18, 2011
And 28 days after the miscarriage started, my period arrives on the 14th day of the month, to grace me with my first 28 day cycle since my second wife walked out. How’s that for full circle, kids? Sometimes, I feel like my period is a ballerina. Plie, eleve, releve.
In other news, I went to Miami a little bit ago, as you may remember, and my trip coincided with a fair called Art Basel. The highlight was going to see the an exhibit titled “American Exuberance” at the Rubell Family Collection. I’ve always enjoyed looking at art and gone to look at art on purpose. As a kid, I had a good mother and grew up in the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan Area, which is just another word for the “Let’s go to the Smithsonian”. And, then, my second wife was really touched by modern art and had some tastes that she shared with me. When I went to the Rubell, I saw a few things she would’ve liked. I didnt text her, which was good. Not that I have a problem with texting her, but sometimes you just want to turn to the person who used to be your wife and say, “Look at that one with the pallet painted on the steak. Doesnt it remind you of the one you did with the boy hanging in the meat locker and the cover of the second mix CD you made me? “
But you can’t. You just keep walking. And come upon a naked blue girl sitting at a blue desk on top of a blue puzzle spinning in a blue room and squeaking, having splashed paint everywhere, during some time prior to your arrival, but now just spinning around and around, drying. And I thought that it was the perfect reflection of how I have felt this year. Naked, forlorn, stuck, puzzled, alone, going around and around the same three thoughts. Drying.
I like it that I don’t indulge in visual art very often. I will hound around for some poetry on the daily, but going to see art on a wall remains rarified and special. I texted a million names to myself to look up and love later. John Baldessari, Julian Hoeber, John Miller, Jason Rhodes, Richard Jackson, Juliao Sarmento, Nobuyoshi Araki, Rashid Johnson. Wow, that’s a lot of dudes. But you can be sure I am going to print their little things and run to Kinko’s, then Goodwill for the frames. (Sorry, “FedEx Office”.)
I left that building with my body humming. Positively resounding with meaning. Like my soul was a canyon and I dropped a 17,000 shouts into it.