Thursday, August 31, 2006

Okay kids, this is the wrong time in blogland to be asking your forgiveness for a couple of days off, but I have a million zillion things to do until Labour Day (Monday), and telling this story decently with that schedule is just not happening!

I WILL NOT forget about any of this, and I promise, to the very depths of my bitty heart, to do you great justice upon my return. You all rock, by the way!
Needless to say, my mother was very happy that Sandy was back in my life. She had that twinkle in her eye and an, "I told you so" look.

Oli, to my shock but never amazement, bought me a low rise, lacy thong. "For your date," she said.

"Oli, what the hell are these?"

Smirk. "What do they look like?"

"Dude, there is no date. We're just friends."

"Uh huh."

"I'm serious!

"Uh huh."

"We haven't even seen each other yet."

"But you will."

"And what, jump into the sack right away?"

"Just wear it, okay? You'll feel hot. When you feel hot, you are hot, no matter who does or doesn't see them."

Girl had a point. Not that I'll ever admit it to her.

As for Georgia, she had her own opinion of the whole thing: "Oh my God! This is so cool! What if you get back together and then get married What if this is the one! I'm so excited!"


Giggle, shriek, squeal. "But this is totally wicked! I am like SO happy for you!"

As happy as I was to be talking to Sandy again, I was less than thrilled for the presence of my new fan club. I can honestly say I've never had so many people cheering me on to have sex.

Actually, no one has ever cheered me on to have sex. Moving along, then.

Oli's bridal shower was the Saturday after we started talking and even though he kept asking to see me, I figured it was better to wait til the end of the week after. Everything was free and clear, then. Georgia wanted to see him too, and so I put together some reservations at a Thai restaurant for the three of us and Georgia's husband. We could spend an evening catching up on old times.

"You're going to make me wait until next Friday?" he said a few times, and I answered back yes. But he and I could meet up a half hour before dinner and see each other first.

Not that it played out like that. Life has a funny way of changing things around, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We shot a few quick messages back and forth over the next few hours, and set a phone date: 6pm that evening.

I was tempted to make him wait a day or two, be all cool and suave, but there was one teensy little problem: I just couldn't. In retrospect, a couple more days after 14 years really isn't all that much, but the reality of the matter was that I wanted to talk to him. Now.

Isn't it amazing how a few hours can play tricks with your head? Isn't it more amazing that at 31 years of age, your heart can still pound through your chest as you're dialing a phone number? Even more incredible, that your knees get wobbly and your tongue twists up right when you hear him say, "Hello?"

That hello came from Sandy. On the other end of the line was Sandy. Call me nutty but at that moment, I couldn't have been happier.

After acknowledging the general craziness of the whole thing, his first question was, "What made you look for me?" I told him about the signs - minus the writing and frantic phone call to Georgia - and then he said, "You sound the same."

To which I replied, "So do you." You have no idea how much I missed your voice.

"What's up, are you married?"

"Nope. Single and fabulous."

"Really? I'm not married, either."

For some ridiculous reason, my heart skipped a beat. Stop it, right now. That's not why you're here.

"Do you remember the prom?"

Oh, man. "Yeah."

"I talk about that night often, how cool it was. In fact, I just told that story not long ago."

Oh man, man, man.

"I remember every little detail. All of it."

"Oh really?" So do I. How you looked, what you wore, down to the mink oil you shined your shoes with and how you held my hand. I don't know if I'll ever tell you that.

"That was an awesome time."

"It was for me, too." Because I was with you.

"I remember how great you looked."

"Thanks." You were the first one to ever tell me I was beautiful. Did you know?

"I remember lots of little details, actually."

"Such as?"

"Well there was this one time... wait, never mind."

Unbelievable. Sandy was notorious for abruptly stopping halfway through something even then. "Hey! Don't do that! You always did that! You know you can't just start something then cut off!"

He laughed. "It's too soon!"

Do you hear this? It's like nothing has changed. We're talking like nothing has changed. This is amazing.

"Too soon nothing! If you tell me this, then I'll tell you something."

Wait, what are you going to tell him?

"Upping the ante?"


"Yes! Cough it up!"

"Well, I remember this one time we were standing on your street... and you pecked me on the cheek then ran into your house. I was blushing like crazy."


"Does that sound familiar at all?"

"A little..." I remember like it was yesterday.

"Okay, your turn."


"Do you remember that time we were in front of the library, and you kissed me?"

No, don't go there...


Still time to get out of it...

"That was my first kiss."


"Was it really?"

I confessed that it was indeed and then, out came the ball from left field. "You know, I considered looking you up a few years ago. I really wanted to call you."

What? "Why didn't you?"

"I figured you were settled down, someone else had snapped you up, and the last thing you needed back in your life was me."

I never stopped thinking about you, either.

Our conversation last three hours.

The next day we sent each other dozens of text messages, then talked for another three hours. More messages the next day, and a call that lasted until 5am. Yet more messages, more calls, less sleep, more smiles. After all, this was Sandy.

Surely if not slowly, my heart opened up again.
His reply came at 9:19am the next morning:

Hey there!

Of course I remember you, and yes, you do have the right person. To be honest, your e-mail did surprise me (in a good way). I have to admit that I’ve wondered how things turned out for you as well. If you’d like to catch up on old times, feel free to give me a call on my cell. I can be reached there any time, but I’m usually off work at about 5:30 or so.

Bye for now,


Monday, August 28, 2006

What, pray tell, led to these events? What on earth compelled me to find and contact the boy, now a man, who almost unknowingly broke my heart all those years ago?

Now, looking back on it all, I'm sure he's asking the same question. I know I am.

While there were pieces to the puzzle that when put together, walked me down the path to aforementioned e-mail, I've now chalked up the whole experience as either a random act of ballsiness, or complete and utter insanity. Knowing me as well as I do, insanity is probably the more stable option.

Shall we go through the signs, then?

#1: The Men and the Boys. Call me crazy, but writing about Sandy for one week solid was probably the catalyst. I couldn't believe the clarity with which I'd remembered things, especially since I've spent even longer trying to force myself to forget. Do you have any idea what it's like to think you don't remember, only to realize those memories were buried under a super thin surface and just waiting to be rehashed?

It's totally fucking creepy. Creepier still comes the admission: since the moment we met outside that stupid takeout chicken place 15 years ago, I've thought about him almost every single day. Boyfriends have come and boyfriends have gone, but through my ups and downs, in length or in passing, Sandy was the one who was always with me. Cue Twilight Zone theme music here.

#2: My mother. That woman just won't quit. She has that mom radar and knows when to mention things exactly when I don't need to hear them, like, "Did you take out your trash today?" "Did you iron that HUGE pile of wrinkled blouses I saw in your room?" "How much money are you putting into your mortgage this year?" "Whatever happened to that boy you went to prom with?"

That last one was a doozy. We were in her car and parked at the lot of a discount home goods store, sharing a pack of crackers since we'd skipped lunch when she dropped that question on me. Right then I bit off more than I could chew so that she had to slap me on the back while I coughed and my eyes watered. "What?"

"That boy you went to the prom with, I think his name was Sandy?"

Keep in mind this was in the middle of my Sandy writing marathon, and hearing mumsy dearest mention him at that precise moment was pretty damn odd. "Lady, where the hell did that come from?"

She sighed. "I don't know, I think about him sometimes. I really liked that boy."

Good Lord.

#3: Georgia. We never went to the same school again after the tenth grade, but have always stayed strong. Although she’s not doing her nails in math class anymore, she does work at IBM, is happily married with a house in the burbs, minivan parked in the driveway, and is waiting to turn that floral-y guestroom into a nursery. And, apparently on the waiting list to be dancing in a Sean Paul video. Some things never change.

She and I get together every so often just to catch up, and were eating dinner all of one day after moms had mentioned him when Georgia just happened to mention, "What do you think Sandy is up to these days?"

I really have to appreciate how people strategically place these questions when I’m eating. This time it was a Japanese-inspired salad with wasabi dressing, and my new choking item of choice was a sugar snap pea.

More coughing, more spluttering, more watery eyes and then, again, "What?"

She gave me that knowing look. "Well, have to confess that I’ve thought about him here and there. Haven’t you?"

Bloody hell. If she only knew.

#4: My prom dress. I was around 20, 21 when the original owner asked if I wanted to have it. I was personally astounded she didn’t want to keep her prom dress, but ecstatic to finally own mine and so took it home with me. Two days after my mom mentioning Sandy, then one day after Georgia bringing him up, I was going through some of my high school boxes in the basement, when there she was. My beautiful, blast from the past prom dress that I hadn’t seen in years.

Seeing those flowers, feeling that silk and taffetta brought that night back like a jolt. If fate takes any place in our lives whatsoever, if there are such things as signs, let me assure you that I can take a hint.

I don’t have to like it, though. I stuffed the dress back into the box, yelled, "Fine, then!" at no one in particular, then threw something. I think it was a doggie toy. And then, I stormed off to my desk and pulled up Google.

Journalism school can be a fantastic thing. Thanks to Professor Bobby Bassinette and his 8am snoozer class, "Computer Assisted Research," finding anyone is a breeze. In 10 minutes I had Sandy’s address, home phone, place of business, work phone, e-mail, list of numerous urban planning projects he’d been a part of, and full accreditations. If journalism or writing don’t work out, I can always take up stalking.

Very quickly I deduced that I was too chicken to call, and chose the work e-mail. Whipped up that message and was about to send, when the full realization of my idiocy hit me like a blow. Here on my monitor was an e-mail to not just anyone, but Sandy. Sandy, of all people. Had I gone completely bonkers?

Trying to put aside the big YES! that was screaming in my head, I went through my options and decided to go with "second opinion."

Here are my voices of reason: Oli, Raj, Georgia. While Oli is usually always my first choice, her master’s in psychology degree reflects awfully well in such situations, and hearing, "But how does this make you really feel?" often freaks me out. No Oli.

Raj, bless his little gay heart, offers advice that walks a fine line between revolutionary and absurd. I could hear him now: "Kookoo, this is all in the past. Don’t be stupid, unless all you’re calling for is rebound sex, which is fine. Just fuck him then and be on with it." Nope, no Raj.

Georgia time. Besides being rational, focused and the only person of the three that knew both Sandy and I at the time, she still owes me for letting her copy my Science class homework. And so I dialed her number, gave her the scoop, and then let the seizures take over. "What the fuck am I doing, G?" I yelled into the phone, pacing my room and being sick.

Georgia, of course, was in the wrong mood. I needed her to be serious and threatening, not giddy and excited. "You’re about to contact Sandy! Hurry up already, I want to see how he’s doing."

"You do it then!"

"No way. You know he’d rather hear from you. You two had something amazing, you know that."

Sigh. "I know."

"And no matter what happened, he was never an asshole."

Bigger sigh. "I know."

"So just send it."

"I can’t! What if he forgot me?"

She laughed. "You know he didn’t."

Pout. Then, more hysteria. "Why am I doing this? Why have I not been able to forget this person? It’s been 14 freakin’ years! What the fuck is wrong with me?"

"Nothing is wrong with you. Did you ever think that maybe your story with him isn’t finished?"

Too many times. I didn’t say that out loud.

"Are you looking for a relationship out of this?"

"No! I’m not that stupid."

"So you’re going to be okay if he’s married? That’s a big possibility, you know."


"You’re sure?"

"Of course."

"So why are you doing this?"

Long pause. "I miss him."

"Even after all this time?"

Longer pause. "Yes. Even after all this time."

"Well, the choice is yours. But I have a good feeling about this, and I think you’re doing the right thing."

That summed up my conversation with Georgia, which did push me closer to the finish line, but did absolutely nothing for my clammy hands.

It amazes me that I can do some pretty serious things without batting an eyelash, yet have trouble with tiny little details. I thought a lot about that as I looked at that still unsent message. I moved to a foreign country without looking back, but I can’t send a stupid e-mail. I snowboarded down a mountain (okay, mostly on my face), but I can’t send a stupid e-mail. I walked through a minefield on a broken shoe, but I can’t send a stupid e-mail.

Then I remembered what I had to ask myself before moving to the foreign country, snowboarding down the mountain and going through that field; what I ask myself every single time I’m faced with a situation that unsettles me. I’m scared of doing this, but will I regret it forever if I don’t?

Sending Sandy a message vs. down a mountain on my face don’t exactly belong in the same category, but require gut checks all the same. Time for another one.

Okay chicky, here in front of you is a message to your first love. You’re a big girl now, you don’t expect anything, and you have nothing to lose. Are you scared of doing this?


Will you regret it forever if you don’t send it?


I hit the Enter key.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Inspired by Must Love Dogs, or at least by the fact that it always seems to be on The Movie Network whenever I flip through those channels, I made a visit to This is the site blatantly advertised throughout the film and, even though I have no intention of joining any type of dating service (within the limits of my current desperation, that is), their Similarity Test had me intrigued. I took it, and here's what PerfectMatch came up with:

Your Similarity Test Results: XAOV

(whatever that means)

Risk Averse, High Energy, Optimistic, Seeks Variety

(okay, you've got my attention)

You are averse to romantic impulsiveness, in part because you have high demands for the kind of person you will be with, and you don't want to make mistakes that complicate your life. You have a happy optimistic approach to life and you need a lot of stimulation. This means you might not make a firm attachment unless you have someone who can maintain the same curiosity about life and the same high energy. You find it harder than easier to find your counterpart. Looking for someone just like yourself will give you a better chance for a soul mate.

Wow. That's me all over. Who would've thought that something as hokey sounding as PerfectMatch, along with their in-house love specialist Dr. Pepper Schwartz, could get me right on the first shot?

Here's the less attractive part: apparently, PerfectMatch *has* my soul mate somewhere within the confines of their directory, and I can access him for the low low price of $99.90.

For some ridiculous, inane reason, I never pictured entering my Visa number in the space provided as the means to reaching my soul mate. Call me old fashioned, but I shouldn't have to worry about some punk hacker possibly stealing my credit card info while I'm on the prowl for true love.

How do I picture the situation? Easier. Spontaneous and unexpected. That whole, he-saw-me-across-a-crowded-room-and-knew-I-was-the-one crap, or, we-brushed-hands-reaching-for-the-same-mocha-latte hooha. Cliche, yes. Technologically friendly, no.

So in asking myself this, in going through my likes vs. dislikes and then looking at the events of the past few weeks, do I dare ask if sending an e-mail is an acceptable path to the heart?

Here's what my head says: intentionally, NO. It is not acceptable to send someone an e-mail and hope for true love. Extend arms out and slap each wrist: never, never not ever am I to send an e-mail to specifically *look* for love.

Accidentally though, that's okay. I'll take accidental. Or at least, unaccidental e-mail of pure intentions falling into the accidental category of what could possibly really be something. Really and truly, that is.

I see you need clarification. Rest assured that I even confused myself with that other sentence. Feed your soul with this:

Hi Sandy,

I'm hoping you're the right Sandy, though I'm pretty sure you are. There's no way to go about this without sounding completely awkward from the get go, but... this is you-know-who from way back when, our high school days to be exact.

I don't know if or how much you remember me; lately I've been wondering how and where you turned up, and google brought me here. Technology definitely has its moments.

So if this is the right Sandy, you do remember and I haven't totally shocked your week, please feel free to e-mail back.


You read right. I e-mailed my prom date.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Milosz: Okay, today vee vill drive on da highway. Merge vit kawshun, den akselarate. Dat's it.

Me: Well, that was easy.

Milosz: Very, very goot. Now, vun very important ting for you to remember is dat sverink, yellink, gettink all krazy and givink fingers etcetera, is really not vort it. You should alvays remember to keep your head, and...

Me: Move, bastard!

Milosz: No rage please, no rage. Is not vort it.

Me: But he's going way under the speed limit! What the hell is this!

Milosz: Vee do not tailgate udder drivers, please.

Me: Pfft.

Milosz: Smoodly, smoodly is da teeket.

Me: (under my breath) I'm still right.

Milosz: I heard dat. Enuff highway drive today. Please take next exit.

Car swerves maniacally on the off ramp. Mario Andretti would be proud.

Milosz: You very goot driver, but vill vun day ent up in deetch.

Me: Okay, okay. I'll slow down already.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Decorator's Handbook: Bedrooms & Breakups

My mattress has started to dip. The King Koil pillow top back saver chiropractic everything has a me-shaped slope on its left side.

Who would've thought? Certainly not me, I mean the thing is only four years old. Having a newfangled, contemporary bed without a box spring probably contributed to the problem, not to mention sleeping in a basement room where the entire floor dips to the left. I've put off the purchase for this long, but as of a couple of hours ago I am the proud new owner of a 610 coil dual pillow top non-fip Orthopedic Supreme, in white fabric. Needless to say, I'm very eager to take it for a test drive.

Secret time: even if my mattress was in perfect condition, I'd be getting a new one anyway.

I'm a firm believer in vibes. Stepping on a crack will not break your mother's back, but if you think happy thoughts, happy things will eventually happen to you. This mattress has to go, because it has Jess written all over it.

I got this mattress a year and something into living with him. We'd been on my crappy futon before then, and took it as a sign to buy better bedroom fixtures when I started parking a stool beside the nightstand to pull myself up every morning from back pain, and he developed a permanent kink in his neck.

It was kismet, that mattress and us, which we discovered while on a most romantic Valentine's Day getaway at a B&B. The bed, pillows, sheets, were the most luxurious anything we'd ever experienced, and while flipping through the room service menu, saw a price list for the bedroom mattress and linens in the back. New, custom made ones, of course. Made a call as soon as we got back, and were sleeping in blessed, pain-free peace a few days later.

Our relationship sucked, I won't deny it. Max suckage, in fact. But no matter how bad it got, our few moments of intimacy, closeness and sharing were mostly done here. How can I do or experience anything truly new, if he is always with me?

Thanks to moms, who knows where to get the best prices on just about anything and within a 50k radius of the house, I went to the Super Direct Mattress Company, a small, unassuming storefront with just a pile of mattresses stacked inside. Very Princess and the Pea, if you get my drift. I quickly narrowed down my choice to two, and spent the next quarter hour jumping from one to the other, testing out their comfort levels with a myriad of poses.

This is where my mother says, "Why are you bouncing up and down so much? All you're going to do on it is sleep."

Bless my mother her charming innocence or, at the very least, her subtle prying. Simultaneously, me and the shopkeeper raise our eyebrows and give her strange looks. He then turns to me and asks, "How old are you?"

Me: "Old enough!"

We all have a good laugh, I make my choice, and we're off. It's being delivered early tomorrow afternoon.

Tonight is my last sleep on this mattress. I've said goodbye and thanked it for many good nights, and put aside the bad. I know it wasn't the mattress' fault. And, part of me is truly sad to see it go. This was the very first mattress I ever bought myself, in my very first apartment in the city where I paid the rent myself. This is where we stayed in bed once for the entire weekend, giggling and running our hands all over each other. This is where he once snuck in at 2am while I was in a deep sleep for a fiery, impromptu love session while his friends watched tv in the living room.

This was also where Blue used to kiss me every morning, that tiny, three pound handful of puppy, so tuckered out from the exhausting journey on the mountains of duvet, that he would pass out on my neck. He still sleeps on the pillow beside me to this day.

Good memories are hard to forget, but so are shitty ones. This was also the place I came to after the shouting and rages began, convinced my world was coming to an end.

It has to go.

I'll admit that I'm less keen on dumping my sheets. Everything is highly fashionable, super high thread count and dammit, just looks really good. I've justified their staying through extra long, hot cleanings. If the Kitchenaid + Tide can get rid of coffee, lipstick and grass stains, then they can also wash that man right out of my cotton.

But even though I'm keeping most of the old ones, I did get a couple of new sets. Just because.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And on a lighter note...

When Oli broke up with her fiancee, I bought her a fridge magnet that said, "Better to have loved and lost, then live with the psycho the rest of your life."

Kudos, talented writers of fridge magnets everywhere, kudos. Now that my sister is engaged and will only be loving, I have stolen the the magnet for my very own.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Life is full of precious moments. Kodak tells us that all the time. Every now and then though, there comes along a moment that might as well have popped straight out of a film.

My moment did start with a film: Lady in the Water. I won't give any of the details away, but there's this one little memorable snippet: there is supposed to be one character in the movie who is so full of hope, that they are surrounded by butterflies. While you're sure that it's this one specific person, in the end it turns out to be someone else completely. It also happens to be the person that you least expect, because such terrible things have already happened to them.

Why be full of hope when all it seems your life is full of is bad luck? How do you get the courage to go on when you've experienced something immeasurably bad?

I guess it can just sneak up on you sometimes.

A little while ago I was making some lunch before taking Blue out to the back for some frisbee time, when I turned around and noticed mom staring at me. My mom isn't a starer, so when it happens it's always loaded.

"Everything okay, lady?" I call her lady a lot. Blame Mindy & Buttons from Animaniacs.

Moms took me completely by surprise when right then, she made her way over and engulfed me in a bear hug. "I'm so glad you broke up with Jess," she said. "You're happy again."

I'd barely had time to process any of that when she suddenly released me, then rushed out of the kitchen. As I watched my mother leave the room, I saw her wipe a tear away.

Was I happy again? I hadn't thought about it. When Jess and I went back to our long distance relationship, he to his home and me to mine, I felt awful. When we broke up a few months ago, I felt worse.

When I hung up on him a few weeks ago, I felt clear. I had my few days to mourn but stopped quickly after. We were oil and water, he and I. You can mix them up in a jar, but eventually, they always separate. It's because they're not meant to be together.

I'd been so busy being afraid of how things would affect me, I hadn't stopped to think that maybe it could all be better.

Where was I now, then, in this grand scheme of life? I looked around. The sky was clear, the grass was green, it was as perfect an early August day as you could ever hope for. I had a bowl of summer fruit in front of me, and my beloved dog was at my feet, begging for more strawberries. I smiled and flicked him a small one, which he gulped down without chewing.

Yes. I'm very, very happy. Everything now is as it should be.

Months ago, I wrote that one of my goals was to achieve romantic and emotional balance, if there is such a thing. I don't know if I've achieved it, but I feel that much closer to it. I feel at peace.

I took Blue outside for his play time. Within minutes, the air was thick with butterflies.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This post has been brought to you by the letter G.

Moreover, this is not a permanent post, it's just going to stay up for a couple of days or so. G stands for Guess, as in, who wants to guess why I haven't been around so much the past couple of weeks?

Unless you already know - and I know exactly those of you that do! - the winner of the G for Guess question gets a prize, and that is, you get one burning blog question answered. On anything!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

All $ave ditched me. Can you believe it? All I did was run three stop signs, ride the curb, and kill a hedgehog. And they *ditched* me.

Nah, that's not what happened. What did happen was, All $ave decided not to call me back. That, I can believe. I waited a week for one of their illustrious instructors to place a call, since that's what the receptionist told me would happen, and zip. I guess they were too busy buying coffee and treats for all those pimply teenagers.

Feeling that intense desire to get my life on track, and quickly, I made more calls. It's funny how booking driving lessons can be such a hassle. Some places are all filled up, others want you to sit in a class for a zillion hours (I already HAVE my license, people!), and some have given up their services, period. I guess I would too, I mean, some of these rejects actually do run stop signs, ride curbs and kill hedgehogs. Imagine sitting in a car and putting your life in the hands of a punk who wants to blare the stereo and impress his girlfriend.

Near the bottom of my list was a place called The Metropolitan Driving School. Fascinating name, no? Get in the car, and drive metropolitan-like around the metropolitan vicinity. Not just that, but Metropolitans are up there on my most excellent alcoholic drinks list. Could this be a sign?

I was about to take it as one, until I read the moniker at the bottom of the ad, and I have to say it weirded me out. It said, "We specialize in European style driving."

Okay. What exactly is European style driving? Learning how to manuever the smallest cars in the universe? Being extremely profane with fashionable flair? Steering expertly with your left hand, because you’re so busy talking with the right?

I needed more input. I asked moms what European style driving was, but she just managed a one word answer: "What?"

Moving along, then. I asked my dad. He gave a one-word answer too: "Standard."

Well, I can appreciate that. Most people in Europe drive stick. I didn’t think he was totally right though, so I asked Oli. Her word: "Aggressive!"

But of course. If you’ve ever stood across the Arc du Triomphe in Paris and even contemplated putting one toe in the street, never mind crossing it, you are a brave, brave soul indeed. My hat goes off to you. If you’ve never been to that little nook, just imagine a five point intersection - that’s right, five - with hundreds of completely irrational French drivers sitting on their Citroen horns and screaming en masse, "Merde!"

Immediate European style driving won out over waiting for the coffee and treats. I booked an appointment.

Two days later, Milosz and his black Honda Prelude awaited on my driveway. At first glance, I guessed that Milosz was in his early fifties. He spoke in a very calm, even tone, which I took as a good sign. Nothing like a screamer when you’re fucking up a merge. Milosz also had a pierced ear, and reeked of cologne. Not so good sign.

Barely a minute after I’d turned the key in the ignition, the European style driving question was answered. It wasn’t about agreessiveness or stick shift, but about understanding an instructor with a very thick European accent, in this case, Polish. Milosz told me to verry carefooly poot car in revers, bek out ov drivevay vile toorning veel all da vay to da right, which I did with ease, and then to sheeft to drive, toorn veel bek, step on guess ent go.

It wasn’t so bad, really. I think I was just stressing myself out over driving and hedgehog slaughter. Sure I was rickety at first from being out of practice, but in no time at all I was comfortable, relaxed, and speeding.

Not five minutes into my lesson, Milosz began to pepper me with questions, the first being, "Do you hef a husband or boyfriend?"

The second the "No, I just broke up with my boyfriend," came out, I wanted to kick myself in the head. This is what happens when I speak before I think.

Milosz replied back with, "I see. I em also deevorced."

You must be thrilled, however, all I wanted was driving lessons. So I replied back, thinking he’d take the hint, "That’s too bad. How am I doing so far?"

"Fine, fine. Vat made you break up vit your boyfriend?"

The hint had obviously been lost. Knowing very well that he had control of the car’s extra brake and I’d be forced to finish this conversation, I said, "Well, I guess he just wasn’t the nicest person to me. Should I make a left here?"

"Yes, take da left. Goot for you. You did da right ting ent never kvestion yor decision. Es for me, my vife ent I just fell out ov luv."

Why do people mistake me for someone who gives a shit? I so don’t! I just want to drive again and get a damn car! "I’m sorry to hear that. I’m going to get onto the main road now."

"Goot, goot. I em feefty-vun, how olt are you?"


Milosz laughed. "Vy, you are steel a baby!"

Yeah, a baby that will never wear tight jeans for you! "I have an old mind. So how am I doing so far?"

"You are doo-eenk very, very vell. Now tell me, vat do you tink ov my aksent?"

I checked my blind spots then said, "You sound a lot like my dad."

Sweet, dead silence. If it wasn’t for the engine, you could’ve heard a pin drop. Then after a minute, "Okay, you try parallel parkink over here betveen dees two cars. Take it nice ent slow."

I made sure he didn’t see my smirk. Driving lessons are going to be a snap.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Not 24 hours into my breakup misery with Jess, I got a call from the Stila counter at your friendly neighbourhood overpriced department store. Makeover time! I remember listening to the bubbly salesgirl recite her very rehearsed schpiel, thinking, why can't you people just fuck off and let me die in peace, when I caught something that made me retract. "Excuse me, but what was that last bit?"

"Oh!" she said, "we do one eye."

"Come again?"

Giggle. This was very exciting for her. "The makeup artist just does the one eye, and then shows you how to do the other eye yourself, so you can go home and be able to use the technique.

I booked an appointment.

Makeup and me have a sketchy past. Being a tomboy I didn't care for the stuff until later, by which time all my peers were mini Maybellines. Mom almost never wore makeup, in fact all she owned was one Estee Lauder lipstick. Oli and I weren't allowed to wear makeup at all unless our few modeling jobs required it, and even the tips I'd picked up there involved thunderbolt cheeks in various shades of peach.

Therefore, even though I have finally become female and do have a sizeable makeup bag, it's rare that I can do anything funky with it. That, and I'm lazy. I tend to stick to the holy trinity of cosmetology, by which one can never go wrong: Lips, Lashes, Lids. Gloss, mascara & eyeliner.

That was my main reason for making that appointment. Second, very big reason is that I'm single again. Now that it's super clear I'm back in the dating trenches, how can I hope for single *and* fabulous without even a hint of colour?

So last Thursday, I trudged my sorry, makeup-less ass to the mall, sat down on the bar stool, and listened to the anxiety in my head. Makeovers are usually nightmares. Remember that one time the Cargo girl made you look like a clown? Or when the MAC chick was a lesbian and all but molested you in the chair? You should have known better than to come here!

Just as I'd decided to make a run for the border, along came Sandra. Sassy Sandra, makeup lady who, right off, did something no other makeup artist has ever done. She looked me square in the eye and said, "So what do you like today?"

It took me a second to realize that not only was she talking to me, but that apparently, I had a choice in what was about to happen. Taking advantage of this golden opportunity, I decided to cut right to the chase.

"Look, I'm going to be totally honest with you. I'm out of the loop. I almost never wear makeup, I'm really rusty, and I have zero patience. I need funky, low maintenance tricks that can be done on the fly, and are also completely idiot proof. Because when it comes to makeup, I'm an idiot."

I think it took her a few seconds to process. At first I thought I'd been a little too blunt and freaked her out until, lo and behold, a big smile lit up her face. "Well, perfect! I can do that. But before we begin, why don't you tell me what you do know how to do."

Fuck. Embarassing time. I held up one of her many tools. "I know this is a brush."

Sandra looked at me like I'd fallen off the edge of Planet Loser. I didn't blame her. "We've got some cobwebs to get rid of, don't we?" I nodded, she handed me a mirror, made me pick out some colours and then said, "Pay attention!"

It was to work like this: I held a mirror in my right hand, while Sandra, bit by bit, made up my left eye. The palette I'd chosen had three colours in it, a light bronzy sheer, army camouflage green, and a brown the colour of my hair. "Take this brush," she said, and handed me a semi-big stick with a number 5 on the handle.

Sandra liberally ran her #5 through the sheer colour, then came at my left eyelid and dabbed like a woman on fire. She applied the shadow to my entire lid, while I paid close attention in the mirror so that I could do the same thing when it was my turn.

That came soon enough. Finished with my left eye, Sandra held out the palette while I ran my brush through the shadow. "Now smear!" she commanded, "smear it all over!"

Smear I did. All over my right lid, I smeared the shadow. I smeared it and dammit, I liked it. That wasn't so bad, but the whole process had felt so alien I needed a second opinion. "How terrible?" I asked Sandra.

Instead, she had this 'I told you so' look written all over her face. "Pretty damn good! That wasn't so bad, now was it?"

Heck no. It hadn't been that bad at all.

For the next step, Sassy Sandra handed me a medium, double ended brush with a number 15 on it. She dipped hers into the camouflage, rubbing it back and forth while I watched. Makeup was starting to be fun again. She lined the bottom half of my left lid with the green, then made me do it with the right. I was still uncertain. "Awful? Unfit? Too gay to function?"

She made a 'pfft' noise. "You worry too much. Now try this." Another smaller, double ended brush with a number 28 on it was put into my hands. Sandra ran hers through the brown shadow, then did this liney thing on the bottom of my lid that made my eyes pop out. I boo-booed only very minimally on my turn, but Sandra kept cheering me on. "Just keep going, this is pretty hard to really screw up."

She was right, too. In 10 minutes flat, my right, amateurish eye looked almost identical to the professional left. And, after Sandra had finished applying some blush (thunderbolt free), mascara and lip gloss, she put the mirror in front of so I could see my whole face. "What do you think?"

Smiling back at me was a happy, funky 30-something chick with some good features made great. I looked absolutely rock star. "I'm pretty!" I squealed.

"Yeah you are!"

"And I'm a GIRL!"

She laughed. "A girl that has no excuse to not wear makeup anymore!"

I picked up the colours and the brushes along with some written instructions, just in case, and gave Sandra a big hug before I left. Definitely a positive experience.

I walked through the mall for a bit before jumping back on the train, going about with the confidence of a movie star. I think that looking single *and* fabulous makes you walk taller and be more noticeable in general, at least according to the small handful of fine young men who gave me a second glance. One, a hottie himself, looked at me from across the hall, and so I flashed him a million dollar smile. I almost missed it, the quiet "Wow" that came out of his mouth.

Thank you, darling.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This message has been brought to you by your public service announcement board!

So tell me, just how bad have I really been? Two posts in one week is rather shocking, but I promise you that I have an excellent reason for being away. Really excellent. As in, totally.

Would it make you feel better if I told you that good things come to those who wait? That's a lesson I've been learning all week and hopefully, sometime soon, you too can share in that.

As for your fresh meat, Monday is the fresh start of a new week, and what better time to get back on track!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My dears, it has been a long, partially lazy week full of the intricate mysteries of relationships and the art of bridal showers. In short, I have written nothing new.

I will, though. But in the meantime, please enjoy this entry lifted from bell's blog. It is a fascinating article on relationships that she posted long ago, so much so that I asked if I could one day borrow it.

Read the whole thing. Not only will you be glad you did, but you just might see a lot of yourself in it.

The following is an extract from (c) EBBCG.Inc publication

What determines a successful relationship is not about conformance to a set of criterias. Nor it is about public or family approval. Nor it is about getting all that you want, either in your partner, or the relationship itself. Nor it is about figuring out what you want, although beginning to describe what you want helps to alleviate some of the confusions.

When we observe people in relationships, undeniably we can see that some couples are happier than others. Those are the ones whom we see and we get this warm feeling in our chest, because their happiness somehow permeates, and we smile. Because we have witnessed a beautiful union. Because seeing them gives us hope that there are a lot of beautiful things in this life. Because they are the living example that (true) love does exist, and when it is shared, it brings joy and happiness. Even to those who are not directly involved.

There are also the ones who are at odds with one another. Those are the ones who have been together for a very long time out of convenience. We can sense the emotional un-connectivity, we can sense the silence wall, we can sense the lack of understanding. Sometimes we even symphathise with them. Yet, their hearts are so cold that it makes us shiver. A lot of times we ask ourselves, why are they still together. Do they really love each other. If they are so unhappy, why dont they do something about it.

And when you know one or a few of those awkward couples, you begin asking, if this is what love is all about. Your idealistic side would say, no way, because you have seen what loving couple-hood suppose to look like. Your realistic side, depending on the mood it is in, may be cynical: "I may not be lucky enough to be in one of those loving relationships". The most awful, of course, is when you forget that loving couple-hood exists.

When we observe people who are unhappy with their relationships, we find that they are obtaining something that they are missing in their relationships - be it thrilling sex or even just basic respect. A lot of people may not realise this because they may not be able to articulate this, but they know when something crucial is missing. Other people may not see it, they may not even understand it. The people at question may not even understand it themselves. Yet, they know that they feel a lot better, a lot happier when their needs are fulfilled.

At the end of the day, a relationship is not about having a joyride - it is a rollercoaster of emotions, a continuous improvement process, it is an imperfect union between two imperfect people who are willing to work hard to make it work.

Wasn't that something?

As for me, I'll glue my ass to the sofa tonight, and my fingers to the computer keys. You shall have fresh meat!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I was not meant to be a fat girl. It doesn't suit my body. You can snort and say that about everyone, but I don't think that's the case. I really, truly think that some people look better with a little extra.

When you gain weight, your body rounds itself out. Or not. With men it usually goes straight to the gut, but women soften with curves to their arms, legs, hips, butts, breasts. You keep rounding gradually until it's not so graceful anymore.

The alternative is gaining a lot of weight in certain areas, but not so much in others. That was me. My butt and thighs are where most it went, and even into my face. No matter how big I got, I never had a big chest.

I didn't think I had a problem until I actually experienced University life for the first time. I was living on campus, and hiding away while all the other girls were having vicarious, no strings attached sex with different guys every week. Sure I'd go out, dance, drink and have a great time in general, but I always went back to my room alone.

My first chunk of weight came off naturally. Students leave home and gain the Freshman 15; I lost 25lbs instead. I don't know how it happened since I was stockpiling as much junk as everyone else: Pizza Hut, KFC, 3 for 1 wings, the works. Maybe because I was away from home, experiencing freedom and having some fun, it just slipped away without me really noticing.

The next 25lbs slid off over a couple of years. I didn't amend my diet, I just started eating less here and there. Being a student with no car helps, believe me, especially after a few trips to one of the biggest school libraries in the world. Rocky may have run up a lot of stairs, but he never balanced euro-traveler backpacks full of textbooks.

The rest has been blood, sweat and tears over the course of many upsets, and many moons. There have been ups and downs, tears and smiles, and I crave the happiness once again of a job well done. It helps that over the past few days I've also managed to lose three more pounds

Sometimes I just don't want to fight the battle. I'm really not into it. Today, right now, I think I'll stay in the trenches. I want to keep victory in sight.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I don't like admitting this. I don't want to admit this. I would be perfectly happy keeping it tucked away forever, with the label, "To be Shredded."

The point is that although I don't like admitting it, I have to in order to let it go.

Why do I have to let it go?

I have opened my heart many times. I have only given it twice. Both times, I got burned.

The first time, I handled it the wrong way. I handled it so badly, it changed me for life.

And now here I am, burned again, wondering what on earth I did so shitty that I deserved to be treated this way, angry and hurt and all the rest of the crap that comes with it, that every so often I have to stop and gently remind myself, let it go. Let it go, because this is not who you want to be.

I am older, not necessarily wiser, but if there is one thing I know for certain, it is this: I have to let it go, so it will never happen again.
Strong women don't cry. This is what I told myself. A strong woman doesn't cry over anything, because strong women don't have time for tears. This is nothing. Nothing at all.

I kept telling myself that every time I talked to Sandy. I didn't cry when he thanked me for still being in his life. He needed the support of all the important people, you know. I didn't cry when the families pooled together to buy them house, so the baby could have a decent place to grow up. I didn't cry when they moved in together, when he told me about her monthly progression, or when he announced the birth of his son.

I didn't cry months after I'd stopped calling him, though I still missed him, because I knew the best thing to do for everyone involved was just disappear.

I know better now. It isn't that strong women don't cry; strong women know when to cry.

I should have cried. I should have spent a weekend with the curtains drawn, crying my heart out, surrounded by all my girlfriends while they bitched and insulted him 'til the cows came home. I should have used up boxes of tissue, drowned my sorrows in a tub of Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and wallowed like it was going out of style. Anything to get it all OUT, because I shouldn't have let it rot inside me.

I didn't do that. Instead, I went back to life as usual, and ignored whatever hurt was there. I just told myself that it didn't exist.

If this had happened to me in my twenties, or after I'd had more significant experiences with men and the swine they can be, I might have handled things differently. I would have walked away a lot sooner, that's for sure. Nowadays, if I was seeing a man I was really into and he told me he'd had another girlfriend all along, I'd tell him to fuck off and throw a drink in his face.

If that same man told me he'd knocked up someone else, I'd tell him to fuck off in ten different languages, and throw my entire meal in his face. You play me, the least I can do is pound on your humiliation buttons, and rake up the dry cleaning bill. And from this point on, stay the hell away from me.

What did I know about love at 17? Diddly squat. I knew I could love, and be loved back. Heartbreak, that was something else. And to be fair, the whole situtation had "extenuating circumstance" written all over it. When you're in high school you usually dump someone because you've outgrown each other. How often is a baby involved?

I thought about it like this: by the twelfth grade, three boys had played very important roles in my life, Chris, Sandy and Asad. I'll tell you about Asad later. The point was, things with Chris had never left the ground, while Sandy and Asad had been fiascoes, to say the least. At this point, I determined that I'd had three runs, mostly bad, and I had to stop thinking about boys so much. Period. Either I wasn't prepared for them, or they weren't prepared for me.

I'd chosen not to cry, to be strong, and brush it all aside. But part of growing up is realizing that if you don't handle things one way, you handle them another way, often without even realizing it. This is what I did.

For starters, my social life was cut down drastically. I barely went out with Georgia, or anyone else for that matter. At least that made things easier because now I didn't have to sneak out anymore.

Work & studies became a lot more important. I was on the student council that year, the workload in general was heavier, and I'd finally met the bains of my academic career: Chemistry and Physics. Trying to figure out those ridiculous formulas and just how many times the pendulum swayed became my new Friday night companions.

I also started to eat more. A lot more.

Snacking was a big thing for me. I'd get home, and sometimes grab a bite before settling in to homework. Then I'd have dinner, then I'd work late into the night, always with a cheese sandwich, some olives, or even cookies on the table beside me.

Much like my life, my regular meals weren't balanced. I never ate breakfast, but bought something fatty at school before classes started. Lunch was usually a sandwich, and dinner was junk. Mom worked the afternoon shift those years, Dad came home later and Oli lived at school. I never made myself a healthy meal because I just didn't want to.

I stopped taking gym, too. In fact, I stopped doing anything physical, really. And little by little, slowly but surely, I started to gain weight.

I don't blame Sandy for the turn I took. I know I was medicating myself with food for my loss, but somewhere along the line, it became a habit, too. I was holding the fork. Just me.

That was the catalyst, though. Still, I just blame myself. Maybe if he hadn't even had been a part of my life, something else would have started it. Maybe I wasn't the strongest person in the world, and something like that was just waiting to happen to me. I don't know.

And so to answer the question to all of you who know me in person, who didn't know me then, but are always saying things like, "You look fantastic!" or, "Why do you call it 'Memoirs of a Fat Girl?' You are so not fat!", I am telling you that once a fat girl, always a fat girl. Even if you are slim on the outside, she will always be with you on the inside.

So to those of you that did know me then, you know the road I travel, and how far I have come. But if you didn't know me then, you should know that the reason I say these things is because by the time it was my turn to start University, I weighed 240lbs.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Men and the Boys: Sandy

I am 17 years old, and I have won the love of my life. I should be the happiest girl in the world. Instead, I've just discovered that he's going to be a father. With someone else.

What did I do when he told me she was pregnant?

I started laughing. I laughed my head off. Sandy probably thought I was being callous, but I didn't care. If the laughing stopped, the crying would start. The last thing I wanted then was for him to hear me cry.

What I really wanted to do was die. I think part of me did.

After a few more minutes, I forced myself to calm down. Sure this was bad, but it wasn't the end of the world. Tight spots can be fixed. There were just some things I needed to know first. "Is she far along?"

"Long enough."

"Is it yours?"

Silence. Of course it was his.

"Are you going to keep it."

Long pause. "Yes."

My heart dropped into my stomach. Only one more thing to ask. "Are you going to marry her?"

Longer pause. Then, very shakily, "Yes."

Sandy was gone forever.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Handling your Breakup, Day 7

Stop handling. You're tired of it.

This is your life now. And it's a pretty good place to be

The Men and the Boys: Sandy

The summer of my 17th year was the summer I was determined to stave off Sandy.

I didn't want to stop being his friend though, and so we still kept talking and seeing each other. Sandy even came to see me on my birthday, and gave me a card with, "I think of you every day" written inside.

That made my heart pound, but I was steadfast. I never told Sandy how I felt or what I was doing, but he knew.

That July I started a summer school class. Still needed an arts credit and so I drew, painted and sculpted the weeks away. A very nice, good looking boy in class made it known that he liked me, but I was hesitant to go out with him. Just because I'd decided not to keep my hopes up for Sandy, didn't mean my feelings for him could just disappear.

Sandy, on the other hand, was experiencing his summer to the fullest, and confessed that he and his girlfriend had taken their relationship to the next level. Sex.

That made me sick to my stomach. It also confirmed that I should light a fire under my butt and get to know other people. I went out with the boy in my class.

It was a disaster. I was a disaster. Never go out with one person when you are so obviously in love with another. You'll just end up hurting someone who doesn't deserve it. I ended things quickly, albeit messily, and by the time twelfth grade rolled around, I was single again.

Sandy was starting University that year, and I called to wish him luck. He was happy to hear from me, and said he was only slightly nervous about this next big step. I laughed. I knew he was uneasy.

Our talk started getting heavier, more emotionally loaded. Things with the girlfriend were not going well, he said. He wasn't happy. That was nothing new. Conversation turned towards me, towards him, towards how we were together and all the good times we'd had. Sandy said something and I jokingly told him, "Come on, it's not like you loved me or anything like that."

He got very quiet, then said, "But I did." And, after another moment, "I do."

Very suddenly, I was struck dumb. I didn't know what to say. But when Sandy asked if I would be free for a date sometime, I very quietly, somewhat giddily told him, "Of course." I could hear him smiling on the other end. He had to go then, but made me promise to call soon.

I was walking on air. After all this time it would be me and Sandy, Sandy and me. We could finally be together, the way we were meant to. For the next couple of days, he was all I thought about.

I was very, very happy.

After giving Sandy a few extra days to get settled into his new life at University, I called him back. I was excited to talk to him again, and babbled on and on about us and how great everything would be. I talked so much and got so ahead of myself, I didn't notice how stiff he was on the other end.

Something was wrong. I toned down, but Sandy assured me he was okay. I knew he wasn't though, and started asking little questions here and there. Sandy wasn't talking and when he did, he was nervous, scared, and even a little bitter.

I was weirded out. I'd never heard him like this and despite what he was telling me, knew things weren't right.

After much gentle prodding. Sandy told me that something indeed was very, very wrong. After a few more minutes of pulling his teeth, he finally spilled the beans.

She was pregnant.

Handling your Breakup, Day 6

Try to convince yourself that life is learning, and you didn't just throw six years down the drain.

Seethe. He always had suggestions on how you could be a better person, but never tried to make himself a better person for you.

Here is today's preferred playlist: "Pieces," "Dissolved Girl," "The World has turned and left Me Here," "Respect," and "What it feels like for a Girl." Do not deviate from the playlist. Listen until the message is shoved into your thick skull. Or until your ears bleed. Whichever comes first.

Read words written by wiser people who have been through this, and know what you've done is right. One of these people was you. Read a note you wrote a few months ago and tucked away for "just in case":

It is very important for you to remember that you will be fine. You know that everything is the way it is, and you're not so bad with that. You know you will be successful if you believe in yourself, and you do. He just wanted to take your power away, and bring out his own inconsistencies in you. What's done is done, but now you know better. You will make it, and you will make it on your own. You will have what you want and you will experience life, because you are taking life by the horns. Everything, everything will be okay. Everything. Don't forget that. You'll be just fine.

Cry a little. It's a good cry, not a sucky one.

Come to terms with the fact that things are the way they are.

Go out and buy yourself a touch of fabulous. A Swarovski necklace with a starfish pendant. Know that there are many ups and downs left, but inside of you there is always a bit of star.

Back at home, play "I will Survive."

The Men and the Boys: Sandy

How is it that a girl with no social life is allowed to go to the prom? With a date? That's a boy?

She lies through her teeth and bribes her parents, that's how. Being on the prom committee, I *had* to go, and I *had* to have a date. That wasn't exactly true. Mom and dad weren't too happy about this and said they'd consider it, IF I pulled off a straight A's report card.

Oh, the look they gave me when I did just that. All long faces, they asked who my date would be. I told them it was some third cousin of Georgia's that I'd met at her birthday party. Of course, that wasn't true either.

Permission received. Now, I needed a dress.

Prom dresses are very important. They are also very expensive. I wasn't the type to spend hours in the mall and wanted to find my perfect dress with a quickness, but it was not to be. Everything was too sequined, too sexual, too floofy. Nothing was me.

I raided some closets and struck gold. A friend of Oli's who'd had her prom just a couple years prior was the owner of a beautiful dress with no place to go. Brace yourselves because this might hurt, but please remember this is the early 90's we're talking here: short, strapless, bodice hugging gown, sweetheart neckline, skirt with two tiers of ruffles. The bodice was black, trimmed on top with the same fabric that the skirt was made of, a Picasso-ish pattern of red and orange roses with dark green leaves. Spanish lace peeked from underneath each ruffle, and a short, black three-quarter sleeve bolero jacket completed the shebang.

Oli picked me up some black heels, lent me a rhinestone necklace & earrings, did my hair and made me up into an exotic, high school flamenco dancer. When Sandy arrived to pick me up I saw him do a double take. I think that was one of the first times he'd seen me in something dressier than jeans.

I did my own double take, as he looked very handsome in his dark plum suit. In his hand was a clear container with an orchid corsage for me, that he slipped onto my wrist. I had a white rose boutonniere for him, and as I pinned it onto his lapel he leaned over and whispered, "Well, don't you look beautiful." It was all very gushing and cheesy. I was beaming.

Prom that year was on the Captain Flinders, an elegant, stately boat that would sail the lake over the next few hours. I didn't tell Sandy that I had a little seasick thing, I was too excited to just be there with him. We boarded onto the interior deck, mingled for a bit, then settled into our table just as the ship left dock.

All the teachers from school were there, a lot of my friends were there, but Sandy and I didn't really do the social thing. Not to say we were wallflowers; we were just so absorbed in each other. Dinner was served along with non-alcoholic cocktails, but to this day I couldn't tell you what I ate. Couldn't tell you what we talked about either, but I can tell you that the entire time, he held my hand.

After dinner we made our way through the first and then the second deck, and found that almost hidden on top was a tiny third deck. It was fully outdoors, brightly lit and had speakers set up playing the music that everyone downstairs was listening to.

This is how I remember my prom: It was a gorgeous early June night, not hot or cold, and you could still hear the swish of the water over the music. Sandy asked me to dance when "Tears in Heaven" came on, and we stayed like that for the rest of the evening. For three hours, Sandy and I held each other and danced on the top deck, oblivious to everything and everyone around us. Other people came and went, boats sailed by, lights twinkled on the nearby island, all while we danced.

There are only a handful of events in my life that I would do almost anything to revisit, if only to capture those feelings again. Prom is one of them.

All too soon the Captain Flinders docked, we walked down the ramp and in what seemed like no time flat, were standing in front of his car on my street. I hugged Sandy and told him what a great time I had; he held on for extra long and told me the same. When we pulled apart I thought, a kiss would make this night perfect. Just one kiss. Smiling from the magic of the night, I looked Sandy in the eyes.

But Sandy wasn't looking at me. He was too busy studying his shoes.

It didn't take a bolt of lightning for me to realize what was going on. He was still with her. He was still with her, he wanted her, and he wouldn't kiss me because he didn't want to be more unfaithful then he already had been. He could justify taking me to a prom. A kiss, that was something else.

If that night made me sure of anything, it was that Sandy wanted me as badly as I wanted him. I could see it in the way he talked to me, looked at me, touched me. If that night made me sure of anything else, it was that I had to say goodbye. No matter how many fancy dresses I borrowed, or how many songs we danced to, she would always be there. I had to wake up and see that.

If you love someone set them free, right? Easier said than done. I hugged Sandy again, kissed him on the cheek, and thanked him for a wonderful evening. And then I walked up the driveway, through the front door, and down the hallway to my room, where I took my corsage off and hid it away in a desk drawer. Then, I took the dress off and threw it into the closet. I didn't waste any time getting it cleaned and back to its rightful owner. Looking at it made me sad.

I never saw Sandy again, but still think of him fondly.

No, that didn't happen. A lot of times I think how much easier things would have turned out, had that been the case. But Sandy and I, we still had one more chapter to write before closing the book. Our story was not yet finished.

Handling your Breakup, Day 5

Wake up in your cousin's basement. Relish the fact that even though there are scores of people upstairs, you have a basement and bathroom all to yourself.

Get pretty. Meander upstairs. Eat breakfast, yadda yadda.

Get cozy in the Honda for the long ride back home. Lots of time to think in the Honda. Allow yourself one good memory of the man you are no longer with: that time you were sick and he took care of you. He even went to the store at 3am to buy you some ginger ale.

Fuzzy feelings arise. Quelch them with three bad memories. When he didn't like his birthday present. When he told you to fuck off because he didn't like the leash you bought the dog. When he said being with you was misery.

See, you're bitter again. That's better.

Get home. Drown your sorrows in blueberries.

Wind down with a phone call to your gay best friend. Listen to him bitch. It's nice to hear someone else bitch for a change.