The Encounter

Not gonna lie, I was a little spooked when I heard the footfalls catching up to me but I was pleasantly surprised when I turned around and Jared was behind me. My face probably showed an odd train of emotions traveling quickly from one station to the next. Surprise. Recognition. Joy? But my face went off the rails as I registered downright disgust.

Surprise because, hey, let’s face it, I was expecting a madman and instead I saw a pretty face. Recognition, because let’s face it, I could pick him out anywhere.
Joy, because, let’s face it, I was a fan.
And disgust, because let’s face it, what happened next was sad.

While I tell you my story, about this encounter, I need you to remember, this bitch ran up on me. I was simply walking up the hill on my own goddamn street to the vista that looked out towards the ocean. Well, kinda looked out to the ocean – maybe on a really good day – I mostly just saw rooftops and a few high rises in the distance but that’s what the realtor promised. And even though I haven’t seen it a single goddamn time since I moved in, I was walking up that way just the same. I can’t afford my own vista, not in this town at least, so I was going to borrow the one at the turnabout. Try to catch a glimpse of the Pacific. Maybe an inspiration. I needed something to look at besides the white walls of my house. And the blinking cursor on this blank page.

Anyway, this clown was in his feelings from the moment I walked past 8923 and I was just doing my thing, walking up a hill, oblivious to him, head in La La Land.

He ran to me.

Ran.

To catch up with me.

Me, the person who was, mind you, minding my own goddamn business.

I felt accosted!

“This is why I never come to this house anymore!” he said with a thumb thrust towards my chest.

“Huh?”

“That – ” he said and pointed right at my chest with his pointer finger this time, thumb pointing to the sky. So close to me I could shank him if I wanted. “It gives you all away, every time.” He acted like he was going to turn away, march off in disgust because he was done telling me off, but he didn’t. He waited for my reaction. A reaction that was probably a little slow for a girl from New Jersey. But I had been living in LA for 8 months now. That was practically a life time. And I had changed a lot. But not enough to apologize to the star I had unconsciously offended. I’m not a freaking pissant and in no way am I going to bow down. Even if the norm around these parts is to fall on your sword and re-establish the imaginary hierarchy, before anyone gets wind of your faux pas. Oh, hell no!

I couldn’t help but look down at my chest. Expecting to see remnants of my breakfast or something else untowardly and offensive. But it was just my favorite tank top. Old but still decent. I was confused.

“What?” I muttered like I hadn’t heard a word “What are you babbling about?” Palm upward to emphasize my question. Drop some knowledge in my open palm. Face scrunched when he didn’t oblige, reflecting that he’s an asshole, not a star – just like we do in the Dirty Jerz. I almost said “ah, forget about it” but I’m no cliche. I squinted my eyes instead. I unleashed my Who are you? And why should I care? attitude.

He didn’t my choice of words. “I’m not babbling. I’m telling you that this is private property! And you’re trespassing. On it. The private property!” Feet firmly on the ground even if his voice was shaking a tiny bit.

I had no trouble pointing out that we are in fact in the middle of the street because I am, in fact, a smart ass from smack dab in the middle of Central New Jersey (it’s a thing) and I kinda liked that he was getting perturbed.

“I’m not sure why you’re angry. But I’m just taking my walk. In the middle of this road. A shared road.”

“It’s not a public road.”

“Uh, I know that.”

“So…”

“Yes? So?”

I started to walk away because I still hadn’t seen the ocean and I didn’t like this guy’s whole entire everything. It was just pure ew. And if he was worried about me invading his private property, why was he standing so goddamn close to me as he yelled? Why did he think he had any authority to tell me where to go or not go in my own freaking neighborhood?

The idea of this encounter went very differently in my head when I learned I had purchased a home across the street from Jared’s compound. After a few months here, I thought it might be me that approached him first to chastise him for the unkempt nature of his property and the broken fence and the runaway weeds I was forced to look at every time I peered out a window of my house. Especially the window that sat neatly above my kitchen sink where I washed my pathetic single gal dishes at the end of every night. One glass, One fork, One knife, One spoon and One plate. 3 meals. One person. Depressing. Triggering. But I hadn’t seen him around. Figured he had moved on, or was a recluse. Or just another human being doing life their own way.

He had gotten to me as we stood in the middle of the road, that’s for sure, because I wasn’t able to write and I was hoping this walk would clear my head but he was accosting me. Here in Laurel Canyon. The epicenter for creativity. I had hit a brick wall mentally and now Jared was in my damn way with his self-appointed community watchman antics. Perturbed was no longer pretty, time to move on to petty. But I got my self together quickly and said “Not that it’s any of your goddamn business, neighbor, but I live here too” and then I walked away.

It was important that I remind him that he hadn’t introduced himself by calling him “neighbor” instead of by his name.

And even thought we both know I know his name, there’s something else about him that I also knew in that moment. A scary fact that he probably hadn’t yet accepted. While he thought he was on top of the world, I knew he was infected with tall poppy syndrome and everyone in this town was thirsty for a snip.

For whatever reason, I was mad at him in that instance for meeting me this way. It was oddly placed resentment on my part (and his too because he was wrong). Maybe I was the one that was being dramatic. But it was uncomfortable all around and goddamn it, he started it! I guess I had a second fantasy about the first time I might meet him. I thought he might recognize me from the old days. Remember how I used to tag him in all my stupid posts on twitter and he’d play along. Remember how he’d dm me to tell me something was good or going the right direction on my fan fiction blog. But this was all wrong.

“Listen,” he softened “I get a lot of stalkers up here and I just figured because of your tattoo…its too much of a coincidence, don’t you think?” He thumbed at me again.

Oh! That!

“Oh? That.” I said over my shoulder. “It’s old.”

To be transparent – I had completed forgotten I had it. If I’d remembered, the whole encounter might have actually made sense. It was a memento from another life time. I often forget I have any tattoos unless I’m looking right at them. And I’m hardly ever looking right at myself anymore. At least not for an extended period of time. I’m just not that in to me these days. Much older than I was when I first heard the name Jared Leto, but still younger than his confrontational ass.

My triad tattoo sits on my upper left clavicle. About the size of a quarter. Inked in a simpler time when I was a thirsty fan girl deeply entrenched in a major time waster. Distracting myself after a terrible divorce. Attending show after show. Small clubs at first, churches later. A quirky group of peers packed inside pits that maxed out at 500 bodies – shoulder to sweaty shoulder – enticed by easy access to the star, making signs and waiting backstage after the show for attention and free merch. A grass roots effort that believed in the band and fan sourced so much content. We bonded and we traveled and we reveled together. More about one another and less about the band as the years went on. Cheesy, really, especially at our age, but an awful lot of fun. But it all changed when they started selling out. From clubs to pop radio to arenas and we had less and less access. Less and less attention. It felt like, as soon as we got Jared to exactly where he wanted to be, he pulled back from all of us. Cut off access and left at lot of us feeling used. Used as fuck, really. Which probably isn’t entirely fair but hey, we’re all human. And most of us, in that little fan cult, were damaged in some way. Thusly, so were our opinions.

I hadn’t thought about the tattoo in years. So embarrassing now in retrospect. All that hullabaloo…it was so stupid…and as I looked at this over inflated ego having clown with crows feet and thinning hair I realized even more deeply than before, that he’s just a guy with some talent and a really bad PR team.

It made sense that he was angry. Even if his approach was off. He had changed but so did the fans.

“Yeah, sure.” was what he said next, while I didn’t say anything.

Now it was his turn to walk away. And walk away he did. Or so I thought. I decided this encounter wouldn’t mess with my objective; it might have even energized me a little bit as I restarted my slow trek up towards Crescent. The sun was peaking through the trees and I had been looking forward to checking out the construction on the monstrosity up the hill. I wish I’d had the inside track on that property before the original cottage was razed but now my imagination was perking up – thinking about a new character. Maybe I’d write about someone who would have lived in the old house. Perhaps, someone like me? I would have loved to have made the original house my own home. Would have been a delightful writer’s garret. Maybe she would be a writer. One with her first script just picked up by a big studio. She’s renting the cottage for pennies while she writes the next big thing… in pencil! A lucky pencil that is getting worn to the nub. Does she have another story in her, does the pencil? Oh, what do I know. Old Hollywood isn’t *it* anymore. No one even writes their shit – they just rewrite someone else’s shit, which was, incidentally, culled in a cottage, not a monstrosity. But, I digress. Again. And likely the square footage is to accommodate a family, not a lonely writer whose family is all grown. And writes on their Macbook because she’s allergic to pencil.

I had brushed off the encounter and reached the summit. There was a haze on the vista that removed all possibility of sneaking a peek at the ocean but I was reinvigorated just the same. I figured I’d write a little about my pencil wielding female protagonist. Or even, perhaps, some fan fiction about an egocentric star with a cult following. Just to get my fingers typing and my imagination awake. I was thinking about the possibilities as I walked down the road, a much easier trek especially with a little pep in my step, and I saw him before he saw me. Sitting atop an electrical box outside his compound, gate open, cars on the tarmac, eating something purple out of a glass bowl.

“You’re back.” He said, like he caught me trying to steal my second cookie from the cookie jar.

I ignored him and he stood up. “Where’d you park your car?” he asked “At the school?” as he followed me.

I raised my eyebrows but didn’t stop walking. His property stretches several lots. It’s an old military compound. Old studio. Old property in disrepair. To my left was his compound to my right were 6 homes in a row with driveways and kitchen windows each facing his land. Mine was the last one before a new row of homes began on either side of the street.

I stopped to look at him – dead in the face

He took a bite of the purple shit in his bowl.

I guessed he was eating acai and walked on.

“Get a fucking weed whacker.” I said as I walked towards my house. I reached in the mailbox I almost never check (because paperless is life), and just for emphasis, slapped the door shut tightly as I walked up the drive. Owning it. Junk mail in hand. Eyes on Jared. Flipped through my junk mail for emphasis. This is my shit! I was saying with every move I made. I pressed the security code on my garage door. It opened up swiftly. I didn’t need to go in there, but I did. Deposited the junk mail in my recycling container. Closed the door on the lookie loo. Thought about how sad this encounter was, and how much sadder it would be when I had to reopen the garage door to sneak around to the back of my house, which is really the front of my house, because there’s no entrance to the inside of the house from inside the garage. Fucking Californian builders! Sigh.

**This is a silly fictional writing exercise that I shared for shits and giggles. Jared has always been very funny and solicitous the different times I’ve met him through the years but the man does need a landscaper something awful. His address is very very very public knowledge – shit, even the NYT outed him – but that doesn’t mean you should seek it out.…k?

Manifesto

I have never hated anybody. Never felt that disgust that runs so deep that you’d do awful things just to make the awful feelings dissipate. I have never wanted death. An eye for an eye. Never asked God to forgive me for my thoughts.

I just haven’t. I don’t need to. It’s not in me. I don’t want to. And even if I did, I sort of can’t. Hate. It’s impossible. To do the unthinkable. Even if it is warranted.

Sure, there are people who deserve my loathing. Persons who have spent inordinate amounts of time cultivating darkness. Crafting wickedness in such a way that I am still astonished time after time. But I don’t hate them.

I don’t hate, him.

I’m alive. And that’s hard enough.

I’m raising children. And that’s hard enough.

Dealing with him, that’s hard enough.

My heart need not be hard too.

My actions need not be borne out of spite. But instead, I will love. And I will forgive every day. And I will cherish the lessons my soul is learning. For all their pain. All the tears. I know I am experiencing evolution. And there is no room for hate inside a seedling. No room for hate inside growth.

He’s not even real, yanno.

Did you ever scream out, loud, “Jesus Fucking Christ!”

Let the words flutter through the air and shrug your shoulders out?

Did you ever ask the clouds above “What now?” And have your question met with silence?

There’s nothing new to see. I just laugh….at the absurdity of it all. The nothingness. Of it all.

If I didn’t know there was something else going on here. That I agreed to this, I might go mad.

Or give up.

But I know that my soul is doing its job. There’s a purpose. Even if I hate it.

And next time I’m going easy.

But Jesus Fucking Christ (he’s not real by the way), enough already!

80 degrees in April

It’s a summers night somehow. 80 degrees and the windows are open. They always stay open this early in the season. I cleaned out the garage, music up. Momentum, moving forward but my mind was on the past. Isn’t it always? Probably.

I was remembering their albums. All of them have an album. Well, most of them do. The ones that hold any significance that is. George is Harry Chapin’s Greatest Stories Live 1976. Of course it is. Pedophile with fantastic music taste. He took my virginity and left me this album. To be honest, the album served me so much better and for so much longer than that lil ole hymen anyway. Mr. Tanner is my favorite. I, too, sing from my heart and my soul but unlike that beloved baritone, I can’t sing for shit. Or money. Just the pleasure somewhere in between.

Lenny. He has his own genre of music. From the masterpieces he created with his callused hands to Pregnant Spiders (can’t quite shake the timing of that song). He loathed the album that I’m about to mention. But it literally is the soundtrack to us. The album itself wasn’t nominated for a Grammy, my least favorite song off it was though: Pearl Jam – Ten. Lenny would tell you he hates that album but I’ll tell you his soulmate lived and breathed it. She literally scratched the lyrics of Why Go (Home) in to her skin and painted it on the wall for her parents to find. He saved that girl from a lot of pain – too many times to count. All of my senses remember it playing while his Jeep turned off QuakerBridge Road on to Rt1 when I’d finally feel free. He played that tape for me until it got hot hot. And if he hated every minute of it, he never showed. He knew how to love me but I didn’t know how to be loved. I tried to tell myself I didn’t want what he had to give…I was so fucking broken..but now….I daydream about what we both would be if I had just let it happen. Should have, could have but didn’t. And here we are. He’s been gone more than half of a decade, but I daydream about him. And what would have happened if I stood up at Echo Studios and said….”maybe I could sing?”

Marc and Eric and Jon in between. Jon had a pen and a book he called Worm Boy. It was good. Really freaking good. But no one has read it. No one but me. And he is summer concerts and Dave Matthews – Crash. AOL chatrooms and lyrics. So many lyrics. Words. Jon was prolific and intelligent and shy. And handsome and stupid and embarrassing and I would have given him everything. But he wanted nothing from me. Except publishing. Say Goodbye is our song. Pathetic? Yes!

The last one that shot to mind is of course that prick Joshua. He tried to steal music from me but he got my soul instead. While he was wearing his mask there was Kenny Chesney. All of it. From blue chairs to sexy tractors to wedding dances. To Nashville. To the nosebleeds. Good clean music to be deceived by. Music to hide behind. Used to trick me. Used to heal me. A few days after I filed for divorce, I stood on the floor of the Eagles Stadium (whatever the fuck its called this week) and got drunk with Kenny. Drunker than I’ve been in decades and I sang. Sang so loud and from my soul. I know I probably sounded like a drowning rat…but lord Jesus, in that moment, I was almost whole. Joshua stole just about everything he could from me, but he didn’t get Kenny and I’ll see him again this summer. With a clear head, conscious and heart.

Music is everything. It represents everyone some how. Think about it. My Mom is Irish lullabies like too-rah-loo-rah-aye and She’s got freckles on her butt…but she’s nice. And my Dad is Laura Brannigan – Gloria. My brother Pat – Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. My “best friend” is Tupac. Tehmina is Soul II Soul – Back to Life.

What’s your album?

Twenty to Life

This is from 2014 and a piece of Meet Beth Nobody that I never uploaded.  Enjoy….?

“Why are you here Jared?” he spit.

Emily shifted the camera from Damien Joseph’s face to Jared’s.  Zoomed in on the veins beneath his eyes and the tight skin on his hands.  The star was a shell of his former self.  Skin over bones.  Crestfallen and anemic.  Hunched over by the weight of his tragedy.  Wanting so bad to fix everything but trapped under a pile of bricks each one bearing her name and unfortunately … his.

“I don’t know anymore.” Jared rubbed his eyes with his knuckles. “I think … maybe I thought … if I came here and talked to you a bit …we could make sense of what happened.  Maybe if I had come to see you were bat shit insane, we would get you some help.”

“Get me help?  For what?”

“Whatever has got you so fucked up that you’d kill my wife in broad day light in front of her children…”  Jared stood up and paced the small pen that separated him and Emily from Damien Joseph.  “Maybe, with you getting help, her death wouldn’t be in vain.  Something good could come of this!” he said as he wound his hands around the bars of his three sided cell.

“I’m not crazy.” Damien Joseph declared emphatically from his metallic bench.

Jared sighed. “I know.  You’re just a fucking narcissist.”

A guard in the corner that was monitoring their interactions stood up a little straighter. Unhooked the snap over his pepper spray and hovered his hand over his taser.  Jared noted the guard’s movements and stepped down from the cell bars.

“Don’t go throwing your big words around here like they mean something brah.  Cuz they don’t.”

“Of course they don’t.”

Damien Joseph raised his plastic cup of sink water in the air like he was toasting their mutual acknowledgement of the mindless shit hole Damien would forever more occupy. Perfectly content and loving the attention.  This was a far better way to spend the day than back in his 3 x 5.  But he needed to prolong it.  Get himself more time off the block.  So he requested a return to his cell while Jared ‘lightened up.”

“You can come back tomorrow after you take a chill pill man.”

“I wont be coming back.” Jared announced. “I got all I needed from you Damien Joseph.”

“That right?”

Jared leaned in to the bars again and whispered under his breath “You’re going to rot in here Damien Joseph.”

“See you in twenty.”

“See you in hell.”

Finding Air Again

I haven’t taken a vow of silence. I just needed a new laptop. My world is busy. My mind is the same. The words, they’re hiding somewhere beneath all that I want to say (I’m choking) and a hearty heaping of ADD. I finished my degree. I’m educated now.

Nothing has changed except the letters after my last name. Still my Daddy’s last name. But I feel accomplished. Someone now. I have the prestige to support the privilege. And the privilege to represent prestige.

I’ll eat now. Take a bite of your apple if you insist. But then what? What should I do after the feast?

Maybe I should take a breath.

Maybe I should pursue life.

Live.

Finally.

Instead of whatever the hell I’ve been doing these past few years.

Live a little. Breathe a lot.

Find air….again.

Elderly woman behind a computer in a small town….

Everything had changed, yet, nothing had changed at all. Sitting on a dusty couch in an unfamiliar room. The faces of strangers. The absence of friends. My life had led me here but I was also here all along. Never finding myself. Only, becoming another person. Another trauma. Another dance. I don’t know that I ever felt at home. At peace. Safe. Still, today, I sleep with the lights on. I’m half-way through my life, in theory, and I still don’t trust the dark. I’m not wrong. Dark is where the pain lies. Darkness within the pain. Within me. Within myself. I was listening to Pearl Jam the other night, hence the opening line. It reminded me of that girl, the one who snuck out at night. Ran out to his Jeep – popped in this tape. He hated TEN but he sounded just like Eddie. I told him once. He was surprised. But his voice was nice. A man’s voice. A musician. I loved his music. His smiles. The escape. But for whatever reason – we weren’t going to live out ever after in this life. I know there’s something about the last life, and probably something to come. There’s a reason I can’t feel his soul any more. Why that link is blocked. Why he’s not waiting for me. Why everything that happened between us was ok. Always ok. There’s no other reason for me to have buried his bones unless we agreed to it before. He’s already there. I’m still working. It’s something. Something all the time. I wish I had a connection to him in the afterlife. But there’s a reason, I know. There’s a reason I knew at his funeral that he was gone gone. Not dead and gone. G.O.N.E. gone. Gone gone. Not one tether. Nothing man.

bhad bhabie & the game

Bhad Bhabie? I think that’s how you spell it. I follow her on some socials. That might be a little sketch since I’m 110 years old but god dammit I love that her angsty ass made a career out of being a semi-typical rebellious teen. Instead of working beside me at David’s Pizza & getting preg way too young, she’s singing about Gucci flip flops and doing some bullshit in her socks. I side eye the fuck out of her Mom but I’m secretly rooting for Danielle. Like really rooting for her. >insert Tyra here<

Anyway, this past week, I was only kind of half-noticing the Dr Phil thing. What I did see, was making me cringe. I figured it was a gimmick or I was old. So I saved myself from some second hand embarrassment by scrolling on by anytime she’d screech “Dr Phil!” Fast. Like really fast. But then some other Youtuber said something that caught my attention. She was using a normal tone of voice instead of screeching. And she wanted us to stop focusing on the messenger, and actually stop and listen to Danielle’s cry. I started listening and I sat straight up. Because what Danielle is saying – when translated in to small chunks – is really important shit. Especially if this shit is still happening in 20-goddamn-21.

I kind of figured Dr Phil sent people to behavior ranches and that type of thing. Oprah did too. So did Sally Jessy Raphael. Montel. Maybe even Jerry Springer. That’s the gimmick – you embarrass the hell out of yourself and your family in front of our studio audience, and we’ll help you access mental health care. If the ratings are real hot – maybe it’ll even be residential. Doesn’t surprise me to hear she went to Turnabout Ranch. Doesn’t surprise me to hear what she alleges went on there when she was there. The murder kinda surprised me. Suicide is more common. Or just disappearing off the face of the earth. But I’m not sure anyone really understands what this girl is yelling about. So many of these places are FUCKED up. Not because they are strict with bad kids, but because they HURT mentally ill kids. There is absolutely NO need to break an already broken child. And for some reason, so many of these places don’t get that. I was an absolute shell of a human when I walked in to Sierra Tucson. An absolute zombie. And little by little day by day, mostly because I was a 2,367 miles away from my toxic home life, I became a human again. They didn’t do it by silencing me. They didn’t do it by starving me. They didn’t do it by putting me on bans until I earned the right to talk. They did it by feeding me healthy ass food. I’m talking Kiwi, granola, flaxseed pancakes, dark greens…all of it. Detoxing me in the sunshine. Giving me animals to pet. Horses to ride. Walls to literally climb. Getting me in touch with my soul. Writing. Music. Water. Nature. Those things healed me. And of course a sprinkling of therapy here and there.

If you’re new here you might not know that I’ve been exploring my past a little bit with the idea of turning my story in to a script. I’ve never left Hilltop (CEDU) mentally but I did kind of close the door a little bit when I revisited Running Springs a few years ago. The biggest takeaway from this chapter of my story is that all the beautiful metamorphosis I did at STAC, was destroyed within days at Hilltop because of their fucked up methodology. They wanted to BREAK me – this person who had just been put back together. They legit starved me, not necessarily because there was no food, but because I didn’t know how to get it. I had just recovered from food insecurity and here I was again, not eating. They silenced me. They stole my tools. The ones STAC gave me and said I’d get them back in 2 years. They made me sleep above a woman who fucked herself every night until I broke bans and Michelle rescued me. There were no adults. We were on our own. The whole thing was insane from sun up until sun down. All it ever did was make me sick again. If I look back – I see my time in the desert as like remission and my time in the mountains as my cancer coming back.

I left CEDU in 1992. In 1992 that place was being investigated. As far as I know it stayed in business well in to the 2000s and then someone else took over for a few years before it officially shuttered. Both schools – I think Hilltop first, then CEDU a few years later. But it seems like they didn’t really shut down. No one in the industry learned from those places. They just changed their address. Changed the name.

I absolutely believe that 100% of my survival past age 18 was because I was taken out of Princeton and put on a plane to Tucson. I know the reason I’m sitting here today writing this little blog is because of STAC. I believe in taking the child out of the environment. I just don’t know that you need to torture them once you get them to the residential facility. There’s another way. STAC did it. Some might say – hey bitch, if you were so healthy after STAC, why’d they send you to Hilltop? Well they sent me to Hilltop because I was a new born baby basically and my parents were still demons. It made perfect sense to keep me away from there. Perfect sense. Just the choice of where I’d be kept away was beyond terrible. When kids can’t call home in the first few weeks – that’s a red flag. When you have to strip the child of their identity – that’s a red flag. When the child has to learn an entire new language – but there’s no freaking guide book – that’s a red flag. In 2021, we’re taught to pay attention to the red flags. We also need to finally listen to the people who notice those flags first.

When kids speak up and speak out….listen to them.

Wake up!

There’s this woman I know. Has two kids and a handsome husband. And she woke up this morning. Fed the babies breakfast. Kissed her man goodbye. Loaded the dishwasher. All while the world was ending. She had no idea as she checked her Facebook, sent texts to friends and took the boys outside that this morning was the last. This morning, this hour, this minute ….this Thursday…is the last Thursday where she’ll be a Mrs. It’s the last morning her family will be in tact – a unit. The last morning she wakes up in the master bedroom. It’s over today. And she has no idea. She wont know for a few more hours. But he knows. He’s been building up to this. He knows what he’s going to do when he gets home. He knows he didn’t even go to work today – she doesn’t. But he does. All she knows is the laundry. Grocery shopping and playgroup. But he knows what he’s going to do. And what he’s going to say and who he’s going to call and how he’ll leave her alone in the house to fend for herself while he’s plotting and scheming and laying it all out among friends. Friends she doesn’t even know he has. Mr. Duplicitous. He became Mr. Hyde while she slept. He made choices which lead to consequences that will be eternally unforgivable, once she finally understands. But right now she’s wiping down the counter. Uprighting a trike. Tying a shoelace. Right now she’s wishing her husband was nicer. Hoping they both can rise out of this funk. That he stops being so sketch. My friend is not naive. She hasn’t trusted him for months. But she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know yet. That is coming. After sunset but before the dawn. Today.

Ho Hum.

It’s not you. Anymore. It’s somebody else. Someone different. Someone lovely and gentle and smart and absolutely fucking hysterical. Multidimensional. Fearless. With your eyes and your thumbs. Your wit and your charms. But it’s real. Everything about him is real. His gaze..his…..touch. It’s tangible and right there. Beside me. Inside. Me. Deep. He is everybody else. Everyone different. Everything lonely and garbage and I’m absolutely fucking hysterical because he isn’t…..you. I don’t know why I still bother. I was never anything or anyone to you but we had a moment. And you’ve forgotten everything that moment was for you. How our conversations changed you. Changed who you are inside. You’ve forgotten why you got on your bicycle and peddled down hill. Why you watched us. You’ve forgotten. And now you’re lonelier than ever. I can see it on your face. You feel everything and everyone around you and none of it feels good. But there you are. And here I am. And there’s nothing funny about it.