Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The onions kept repeating.

She sat up in bed, quietly trying to burp to relieve the pressure in her stomach. She glanced over at him, asleep. Worn out actually. She smiled, quite pleased with herself. They had both been invited to the same New Year's Eve party of a mutual friend, and both had decided to bail at the same time. Her new shoes made her feet hurt; he was bored with trying to make conversations with women half his age. Each trying to evade the march of time. They acknowledged each other in the elevator.

"Not as much fun as it used to be, is it" he murmured.

She gave a tired little laugh.

"No. I keep telling myself I need to get out and meet new people, yet all I really want to do is sit on my couch in my pajamas."

He smiled, knowing exactly what she meant.

The elevator doors opened, he held the door open for her, letting his eyes wander down the length of her form. He stopped as he caught a glimpse of her shoes; black stilettos with multiple gold buckles wrapping half way up her calves. He let his eyes wander to the street, covered in slush and enormous puddles.

"Your feet will freeze if you try to walk home in those shoes."

She turned her head and smiled a knowing smile at him. He was kinda cute, she thought.

"You're probably right. I decided to go for style instead of comfort tonight; I don't think I can feel my toes anymore."

"You should put them up."

He blushed slightly at the possibility of a double entendre.

"What did you have in mind?"

"I know a place where we can get a great wedge."

She looked at him blankly.

"What's a wedge?"

A confused look crossed his face as he tried to think. He started to mold something long and thin with his hands.

"You know, it's a sandwich, on a long piece of bread, usually with cheese and salami and ham and capicola, with oil and vinegar. That's what we call them in Rhode Island."

She smiled back at him, finding him even more appealing as he struggled to explain himself.

"You mean a hoagie. That's what we call them in Philly. And you need to add lettuce, tomato and onion on it. Never mayonnaise."

He scrunched up his face in mock horror.

"Mayonnaise! How uncivilized."

He reached out his hand; she hesitated for two seconds, then took it. He managed to hail a cab, and twenty minutes later they were downtown at some hole-in-the-wall deli, a large wedge with the works sitting on the table, surrounded by cole slaw, fat dill pickles, deviled eggs, and several bottles of beer. God, she thought, I'm gonna feel this in the morning.

She sat up in bed, trying to gently rock the burp out of her when she felt his hand on the small of her back. He rolled over and placed his other hand on her stomach, beginning to rub it counter clock wise; she let out a loud 'UUURRRPP'. She clasped a hand to her mouth, an embarrassed giggle following.

"I'm SO sorry. That's so un-lady like."

He laughed softly and placed his head in her lap.

"You actually lost your lady like behavior when you finished that entire half of the wedge, plus the pickles and slaw."

"I don't think I lost any points, did I?"

He smiled up at her, letting his hand brush the side of her cheek. He let his fingers weave into her hair, pulling her slowly down towards him. She hesitated slightly.

"Let me rinse my mouth. Onion breath."

He pulled her to him, kissing her deeply. He'd never liked the taste of onions as much as he did right at that moment.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Silence is Golden, Duct Tape is Silver

Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver.

He smiled as he read the worn piece of paper, creased to the point of ripping from years of being folded and unfolded. It was one of the more ridiculous things she'd written to him. He had tried to educate her on the finer points of prose, but she just laughed, and always scribbled down the first thing that came into her mind.

He stepped into the elevator and pressed the up button. So many memories flooded into his brain. One morning after they had been living together for about a year, she had come into the kitchen and announced,

"If I go to jail, I'm going to need a prison nickname. I was thinking of calling myself Pony Girl, and getting a gigantic tattoo of a pony inked into my bicep. You should come and visit me, but we'll have to get married first, otherwise we won't be able to have conjugal visits."

He had merely shaken his head at that one. He didn't know too many people who decided to get married in order to have conjugal visits when one of them went to prison. He had merely smiled, and said, "Well if you're asking, I'm saying yes."

She had laughed, and thrown her arms around him, and said,

"Oh, I knew you wouldn't object."

The elevator door opened, and he stepped out into the sterile hallway. He could never get used to the smell; always the lingering scent of death. He nodded a hello to the nurse on duty and went into her room. The curtains were still open; a brilliant sunset was displayed. He walked up to her still body, and gently kissed her forehead, careful not to dislodge the respirator tube.

"Hi Pony Girl, sorry I'm late. I brought you something."

He reached into his jacket and pulled out a roll of duct tape, placing it on the movable shelf where a food tray would go. She hadn't had a solid meal since she'd been admitted six months ago, when a drunk driver had made the decision to get behind the wheel and jumped the curb, throwing her body into a wall, crushing her spine and cracking her head open. He picked up a wash clothe, ran it under the sink, and gently began to wipe her face. The light in the room began to fade, the last bit of sunlight falling on the roll.

Silence is golden, duct tape is silver.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead!

Utter, total chaos. The house may not survive the Bacchanalia; the wine consumed, the meats and sweets ingested, people standing, people sitting, cheering the football, singing the songs. Children yelling, sometimes screaming, always running, adults shouting, "Not in the house, take it outside"! Dogs barking, babies crying.

Jaimy grabbed Simon's hand and pulled him upstairs, past the bedrooms, jumping up to grab a string from the ceiling to pull down a ladder. She quickly pushed him up to the attic, retrieved the ladder,and slammed the door shut. It was the first quiet moment they'd had to themselves since they arrived at her parents' house three days ago.

Jaimy knelt on her knees and crawled over to where Simon sat sprawled against a box of old clothes. She rolled over on her back, letting her head fall into his lap. She smiled up at him.

"How ya holding up, sweetie?"

Simon leaned against the boxes, grateful for the relative silence of the room. Jaimy had said Christmas with her family would be unlike any he'd experienced before, and she was right. When he was a child Christmas had been a quiet, decorous affair; drinks and church on Christmas Eve, breakfast, Church (again!) on Christmas morning, THEN the presents could be opened. Three presents only, because, after all, that was all the Christ Child received. Relatives to lunch in the afternoon; a quiet board game to pass the time, or perhaps someone would read Dickens a loud. No one ever raised their voice, no one ever careened through the house like a wild savage. Really bad form to show too much emotion on a solemn holy day.

Only it wasn't. Well it was, it was holy, but it was also a birthday, a day to celebrate, to rejoice, to laugh out loud and eat too much and make a mess in the company of loved ones. You don't dabble in Christmas, you jump in! Feet first, and damn the torpedoes!

Simon bent over and kissed Jaimy, letting his nose gently brush against hers. My God, he loved her so much! He could feel the small ring box in his jacket pocket stab his chest; now was as good a time as any, he thought. He sat up straight and took her hand.

"It's like this every year?"

"Oh, my no. When the whole family's here, it's even worse."

She smiled up at him, hoping, not hoping for what would come next. The two of them gazed into each other's eyes.

Simon started to speak, felt his throat catch. He took a deep breath, then pulled the box out. He smiled at her, then playfully placed the box in between her nose and her forehead.

"I'd really like to come back again next year, just to see. And the year after that. And the year after that."

Jaimy sat up, catching the box before it fell to the floor. She opened it up, gasped, laughed. Started to shake, then started to cry. Simon took the ring, placed it on her finger, then held her in his arms. A loud crash sounded from below.

"Cheese and Crackers, will you kids stop running in the house! Take it outside!"

Haiku 12:22

We can not choose who
We foolishly fall in love
Ignore your heart's pain.