4hdc827.


it's summertime, and it's hot. earlier in the day, it was 102, but it has cooled down significantly. they are lost. he took the right exit, but he must've took a wrong turn somewhere. he hits one speed bump after another, and they might as well be bodies underneath him. it's so dark out, and he has to turn down his high beams because the other drivers are all annoyed. finally, he gives up, and he starts heading for home. he rests his head against his fist, arm propped up against the windowsill. she puts her hand on his thigh. "what's wrong?" she says. "nothing." "you can tell me," she says. he begins to cry. "i just wanted to make things perfect for you."

it's new years day, and the car is parked outside the window of cafe septieme. they are drinking hot cocoas with mini marshmallows. he drowns the marshmallows with his small spoon, and she watches him. he gulps the warm drink, and then he smiles. "this is the best hot chocolate i've ever had," he says. she blinks. "i'm glad," she says. back in the car she goes, brrr, and then she crosses her arms, rubs them up and down. he cranks the heat, and presses play on the cd player. diana krall's christmas songs. "there's still a little bit of christmas left," he says. when they get to the apartment, he rolls up a snowball and launches it at her. her mouth drops open, as if to say, did you really just do that? but by then, he's already rolling up another. she takes cover behind the car, stockpiling her own ammo.

he puts the pedal to the floor. he's going 80, pushing 90. "stop it!" she screams. "slow down!" but he won't. this is what his mother used to do to him, and it taught him a lesson. the lesson was, don't piss off the driver because the driver is the one in control. but he wasn't in control. he would rather die than not live in harmony with her. each fight seemed to escalate, and they had reached a point where there was no going back. he swerved in and out of lanes. what if a cop car had tried to pull him over? would he give up, or would he just keep going? she is crying and she is scared. he is doing this to her because he hates himself. why are you even with me? don't you see how goddamn fucking crazy i am?

"oh god," he says. she is doing something naughty, the sexiest thing she has ever done, and it pleases him because he believes that he is the only one she will ever do this for. she unbuttons her blouse, and he reaches over, cups her boob. her body has gotten stiff and cold from the air conditioning. "are you sure no one can see us?" she asks. "yes," he says, "i'm sure." but he isn't really checking. he'll say anything to keep feeling like the luckiest guy in the whole world. he checks his speedometer, and he's going 80, much faster than he had previously thought. he eases up on the gas, but it doesn't matter. nothing does. he's invincible, king of the road. king of all roads.

they've finished with dinner, thai food, and his stomach is killing him. too many spices and he feels like he's gonna die. he nearly runs a red light, and she finds it kind of funny. it is funny when he thinks about it later, but at the time, all he wants to do is find a bathroom. he pulls up to the parking garage, unbuckles his belt, puts the car in park, removes the keys, opens the door, jumps out, slams it shut. he doesn't look back. he's left her in the passenger seat, and he knows she will catch up with him later. he does what his body tells him to. he leaves her behind.

he drives slowly in the rain. she slips her hand into his. she rests her head on his shoulder, and she smells like the perfume her grandmother bought her as a present. when she leans away, looks out the window, he reaches over and puts his hand on the back of her neck, warm and delicate. he puts his hand under her chin and he squeezes her cheeks. she hates that, and she tell him so, but he keeps doing it. he is thinking, can't you put up with something so small that i love so much? but he doesn't say it. he never says it.

after a long break, they take a long drive. they stop at random small towns along the coast, and each time, she double checks the street signs to make sure they won't get ticketed, or worse, towed. they were almost towed once. she ran toward the car, already attached to the tow truck, and she begged the driver to stop, to please stop. she waved her arms frantically in the air, and she pleaded with him, and the man listened. she saved the day. she was a woman of action. she wasn't a fatalist, all doom and gloom, the way he was.

the civic witnessed the tender moments, but also all the screaming, slammed doors and cursing. it played them music. it died on them. it made running errands a little more convenient. and now, it serves no purpose. it just sits there in a stuffy garage, thinking about what it all means.
harder and harder each day.


my poor dad, all he wanted to do was go to sleep. but i wouldn't let him. he already had his eyes closed, his head on the pillow, but of course, i wouldn't let him. "dad," i said, "what happened when you first had a panic attack?" he sat upright on the bed. he told me he was driving on the freeway, and all of a sudden, he looked up at one of the exit signs, and it was all blurry. so blurry he couldn't read it. his palms were sweaty, and he was shaking all over. "why?" he asked. "did you have one?" i said i wasn't sure. he paused for a second. and then he said, "did it feel like you were going to die?" and then i told him yes.

go back a few hours into the evening. i'm at the imax with my friend, and we're sitting in the middle of the theater. it's a sold-out screening of inception, opening night, and all of a sudden, the crowds start pouring in. i think about this irrational fear my ex-girlfriend once had, when the fire alarm went off during x-men 2. she had read some story about japanese people dying in a fire in a movie theater, and she was afraid it was going to happen to us. i get claustrophobic. my heart doesn't seem to be pumping normally. there's a skip, a dull ache, and on top of that, my palms are sweaty. my palms are almost always sweaty, but that still doesn't help matters.

i tell myself to breathe. it's this trick i have. i breathe in all the good air and i breath out all the negativity my body is capable of holding. i think about being a dad someday, and my child is standing in front of me at the checkout line in the grocery store. i don't know why this image is there, but it is, and i grasp onto it to help me get through whatever it is i'm going through. at some point during the movie, when the characters are in a dream within a dream within a dream or whatever, i start to think about the time i broke out in hives and my parents drove me to med clinic in the early morning. i think about the time i sat in the park before i went to the doctor because blood came out where blood should not have come out. i am still afraid of letting go, even though i'm already holding onto nothing.

we get back to the car, and there's a parking ticket on the windshield. it was my fault, since i parked the car without her, but before i can even admit to my mistake, she asks, "do you mind covering it?" and for some reason, this annoys me. every little thing about every friend i have begins to annoy me. it's a text message about secrets i've revealed, it's a podcast about immigration, it's a married man, it's a subtle put-down over gchat, it's the way you fucking talk, it's the way you keep letting me down, it's the way you're just like me.

that night, i told my friend i had the same feeling i had about four years ago, when i was watching the devil wears prada. i knew something was wrong, and i couldn't pay attention to the movie. and sure enough, when we got back to the car, the side of my civic was completely destroyed, hit by a stupid speeding orange cab driver. the damage itself didn't quite bother me. what bothered me more was knowing that something was wrong, that i could literally feel something wrong. i blamed sondra perl's book felt sense for giving this strange phenomenon an actual vocabulary. i don't want to have that. it fucking scares me. i just want to be beautiful and oblivious.

inception. my dad putting the idea of a panic attack in my head. my mom putting in the fear of everything in my head. "you were even afraid of frogs!" she said. i told her, what more could one expect? i grew up in the suburbs, in a terribly sterile house where we killed ants and spiders with raid. we never went camping, and the only animals i saw were on cable. i was the definition of sheltered, and the world looked like a scary ass place.

i was walking along rainier ave. in the sunshine, and i heard it loud and clear: "you'll do anything to avoid conflict, won't you?"
help yourself.


there's this woman at work named rebecca. she's in her late thirties, early forties, and she's stressed out all the time. i thought she was mean at first. she'd sigh a lot and shake her head, and i could tell that my ignorance about events protocol annoyed her to no end. i didn't know how to fill out online forms or what kind of food we should order. eventually, she figured out i wasn't going to make any real decisions, so she'd just go ahead and place food orders for me. i liked that.

she's into theater, does plays. she invited all staff to one of her plays once, but i didn't go. i think i had a legitimate excuse, some event our department was putting on that night. i don't know if anyone went. she seems like she's big into drama, though, i can tell. i know this because she sometimes uses big words and antiquated phrases when she writes emails. like once, instead of saying, what do you want, she used some old school phrase that i hadn't even heard before. i can't even remember it now, but at the time, i had to look it up, and sure enough, it meant what do you want?

she's been divorced. i know this because i saw her walking down my street once. she had just gone to see up at the columbia city cinema, and there was a white man carrying a white boy with him, but then there was also a black girl, and the black girl looked more like her. she introduced me briefly, and i put two and two together. i might not be able to fill out online forms correctly, but i know when there's a little more to a family's story. she seemed kind of happy to see me that day. it was during the big seattle heat wave, and she smiled at me.

she keeps all these signs at her desk that i sometimes need when our department is hosting an event. i always knock on her door, and she automatically knows why i'm there. i'm not there to chitchat or ask a favor. i just need a sign. i ask for a sign, and she always says, "help yourself." i grab the sign and easel, and i try not to hit the lights above her, which i've done several times in the past. i say thanks, and then she thanks me. i don't know why she thanks me. all i'm ever doing is taking her signs.

this one time, though, i grabbed a sign, and she dropped some real personal stuff on me. i don't remember exactly what it was about, but probably it was something about how her mother-in-law or somebody was driving her mad. she was particularly exasperated that day, and i couldn't help but wonder why she was telling me this. after all, there were other people in her office that she talked to all the time. she went into the family drama a little bit, and i tried to act sympathetic, but i couldn't get over the fact that she wasn't just saying, "help yourself" and "thanks." that day, she reached out to me, and i couldn't understand why.

she is super skinny with shoulder-length curly blonde hair. she hardly ever smiles. she wears dark cardigans over light shirts, rolls up her sleeves. she's got gold-framed spectacles over eyes that look like they've seen their fair share of trouble and sadness in the world. she wears long skirts and boots. i don't know why i should pay attention to her appearance. she's always dressing like a character in a play.

i don't know why she's on my mind tonight. she apologized earlier today for dropping the ball on a food order for our department's event. that led to me popping six bags of popcorn, and then pushing a cart full of juices and snacks across e. columbia street. i told rebecca it wasn't a problem because really, it wasn't. as usual, i had nothing better to do.
dudes are a dime a dozen.


i don't know what she's doing. she told me once that she just wishes she had people who cared about her. now if i was a girl or sentimental or something, i would've said i cared about her. the thing is, i do care about her, but i'm a dude, and dudes don't say that kind of shit. that was like the time this other girl who was a friend told me her grandmother died, so me and this other girl that was also a friend both came over to her dorm room. she was crying her eyes out like i had never seen her cry before, and i was ready to come in, but she just let the girl in, and she shut the door in my face. she told me later it was because i was a dude. the funny thing is, she's not even friends anymore with that girl she let in.

i don't know why girls keep befriending me. maybe it's because i'm effeminate or something. i'm kind of lanky, speak softly, and i don't pose a threat. i am not dangerous. i still sometimes listen to wussy music. i read. i am supposedly a nice guy. it's a sucky thing, though, attracting the straight hags. because when a grandma dies, when it's bathroom time, when another girl is readily available, i move down in rank. the rule it seems, at least for them, is always hoes before bros. let's face it, if you're a girl, you're probably not inviting your straight male friend on vacation with you to another country.

and one would think having all these girl-friends (who are not actually "girlfriends") would lead to introductions to other available straight women, hookups, dates, sexting, etc. not so. for some reason, they always talk about setting me up, but it never actually happens. because a straight male friend to a girl is just like another pair of so-so shoes. she's never gonna wear them. and logically, she should donate them to the local goodwill, but there's a chance that some other younger, more attractive girl will snatch them up, wear them around town. and when that happens, the girl who got rid of her perfectly good shoes will think she has made a big mistake.

maybe most of my friends are girls because i got dude overloaded in high school. i went to an all boys' school, so it was dudes a dozen, day after day. we saw each other in the morning. we ate lunch together. sometimes, we hung out after school. and dudes were disgusting. in every class, there was always a fart. i mean, like a real fart. not just someone putting palms to his face and blowing air out his mouth, but the real deal. blowing air out of his ass. and everyone thought it was the funniest thing like it was the first time they'd heard a fart. me, i just thought it was disgusting. like, who farts in public like that? we live in a society, didn't they know? there are rules and customs, and we must follow them. but no, they just wanted to be animals.

i thought things would change in college. and they did, but not by much. dudes continued to annoy me. but this time, they farted out their mouths, acting like grownups when they clearly weren't. they wore ties with armbands and dark-rimmed glasses and tried to look like indie rock stars when they obviously weren't. they slept with girls way out of their league, and i bitterly resented them for it. they just wanted to smoke pot and drink all the time, and they talked about nietzsche like he was a buddy of theirs.

there was a time when i did actually have some serious male bonding. sophomore year, i bought an xbox, and three other dudes and i would play conflict: desert storm while listening to sigur ros. i enjoyed those nights immensely because everyone took it seriously. we were all 19, 20 years old, and we were real into this one video game, and we all could agree that () was the only thing we should listen to while playing it. it was the closest we were ever going to get to the real thing, our fictional band of brothers moments. we'd call for help when a man went down, and we'd throw smoke screens to distract tanks while another soldier would go plant the c4.

those dudes and i drifted apart, and we didn't bother keeping tabs on each other. because, who the hell keeps track of dude friends? it's always the weirdest thing asking a dude for his number. because that's like hella gay. whenever i see a potential dude friend, there are limits. you have to play it cool and overemphasize your heterosexuality. this can be done by checking out every girl in sight, talking about sports, spitting, talking about strip clubs and drinking a lot of beer. and when the encounter is through, you can't just say, hey, that was a great time, let me get your number and we'll do it again. nah. it's more like, aight, peace. see you around. or not.
maybe it isn't even a gender thing. maybe i'm just a misanthrope and girls happen to annoy me less. for one, they are typically more responsible. you don't normally hear about a thirty-five year old woman living with her parents and smoking dope while watching icarly in the basement all day. for the most part, it seems like they know what it takes to survive. this held true when i worked as a tutor at a high school. most of the girls did their work and behaved well. and the ones who didn't? well, they were going to be the meanest and baddest bitches around.

maybe i'm friends with women because i feel guilty. in general, they make less money, they have crazy stalkers, they sometimes get assaulted, they have to worry about being alone at night, they get cramps and bleed, they have to buy all kinds of crappy products just to look acceptable in society, and some of them, they actually have to push another human being out of them. that just sounds awful. my mom told me about childbirth once. she said it was like going through a dark tunnel that never seemed to end, and she was screaming at the top of her lungs, but she couldn't hear a sound. come on, mom. really, was it worth it?

it should be noted that jesus hung out with whores. remember the night before he was about to die, and all his boys just fell asleep on him? and when his ass got crucified, guess who was still around when it was all dark and rainy and shit? two women.
american squalor.


harvey pekar died today. i first found out about him by watching the movie american splendor during my senior year of college. after seeing that movie, my cousin gave me an american splendor anthology as a graduation present. i read it cover to cover, even the parts where the print got really tiny because there were so many damn words in the little box. i couldn't believe what i was reading. it was exactly what i needed. sometimes a strip would just be about a trip he took to the airport on a cold morning, or else it was him helping his daughter, danielle, find her glasses. i read a comment on an online article today that said something like, he made the ordinary extraordinary.

lisa has been coming into our office space recently to do math problems. she continues to make me feel bad for not wanting to take the gmat. i don't understand where she gets this sense of superiority, like she knows what's best for me. girl just turned 25 and is still working on her bachelor's. not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just, don't be giving me life lessons, you know? but then again, i am two years older than she is, and we have the same job, same pay, so i guess i lose the battle.

joseph rang me up because he and his family were in town for a wedding. he said, come meet us at the tamarind tree. i had never been, and i figured they were gonna pay, so i went. there was no more room at the table, so joseph and i got our own table. i took a long time looking through the menu, and he already knew what he wanted. it's what i always get, he said. vermicelli noodles and deep fried pork rolls or something. i settled on noodles and meatballs. we reminisced some more, and it made me sad. because he works at sam's club, and i work for a university, and we don't really have friends, and we obviously have nothing more than memories of grade school. still, it was good to see him.

i walked down to dearborn and rainier ave. s. to catch the 9. i thought maybe i'd walk all the way home, but then i checked my phone and saw that the 9 would be coming in four minutes. i figured i'd wait it out. i watched a guy walking up and down rainier with a cardboard sign. some people rolled down their windows and handed him money. somebody handed him an orange. something about that moment caused my throat to swell. i remembered what it was like to be like that, to want to just give, even if it was just a stupid orange. and on his part, to be grateful for something like an orange.

i fell asleep on the couch, woke up in the dark. my first thought was, what the hell, i want to do peace corps? i'm afraid of just waking up alone in my apartment, how am i gonna survive two years alone in a foreign country? i don't know why panic is my first instinct. i turned on the light, and i felt better about it. i felt sick. probably because i haven't exercised in two or three weeks, and i've been eating a lot of ice cream again. i read a little bit of up in the air. i did the dishes and made a salad for tomorrow's lunch. i thought about how i needed to write about my ordinary day where nothing really happened because harvey pekar was dead.
2 a.m. summer night.


fools from high school wanted to go hang out somewhere, so i asked my cousin where i should meet up with them. he said to go to hoppy brewing. i went there, and it was like almost 9, and they were already closing up shop. i was like, jesus, 9 o'clock and you guys are closing already? but that's how things were in the sacto. jason said we should go to hooters instead, so i said ok. i wanted some wings, beer, and boobs. so we went to hooters, but they were closed, too.

jason and joseph shook hands, and it was weird. they hadn't seen each other in years, and i think we were all thinking how weird it was. like, why did we even bother getting together again? what was the point? we were supposed to just walk away and never see each other again, weren't we? that's how things are supposed to work. we confirmed that hooters on zinfandel was closed, so we had to find another place to go. i yelped it on my phone. there was a billiards place in rancho, and joseph was like, oh yeah, billiards, hell yeah.

so, there i was on a sunday night in rancho at some billiards place i had never been to. it was a real sausage-fest in there, and i didn't expect any different. we played pool, and i was actually good. i told them it was beginner's luck - it always was - and my secret was just to hit the balls as hard as i could and just pray they went where i wanted them to go. we racked them up and jason and i drank beers. joseph said he didn't drink anymore, and we respected that decision. it seemed that our timing was always off. in high school, i never wanted to drink. now, i do.

we talked about jason's job - he records hip-hop artists and teaches audio recording. we talked about other fools we used to know. we said hella and for real and damn a lot. we talked the way we did in high school. i wondered why i couldn't just be satisfied doing this in high school - hanging out with some dudes, shooting pool, drinking beer, and talking nonsense. i couldn't be satisfied then because it wasn't enough for me. i always believed i was too good, too smart and special or whatever, for that kind of loser dilly-dallying.

when we finished pool, we drove around looking for a 24 hour diner. all the places we knew had closed down long ago. we finally found a denny's on howe. we went inside and there were only three other people in the restaurant. the waitress was old and worn and looked like she had seen her fair share of troubles in the world. we ordered food and reminisced a bit more, three asian men who still felt like boys at a denny's in sacramento. joseph asked about jason's girlfriend. he asked if he planned on marrying her. jason said yeah, probably, when the job is a bit more stable.

after we said goodbye, i drove off into the night, and thought about how i would make these summer night drives after working at tower. the streets would be empty, the air cool, and everything closed. that, i think, is the best way of remembering that place.
i'm really going off, fireworks.


i waited for tiff in front of the showbox. i took a picture of the marquee, and i tweeted it. i couldn't believe i was back here. why the hell was i back here? sometimes, i float around this city, and i think, there must be a reason i came back here. if there really is fate or destiny or something, then what the hell was the purpose? for a while now, i've been waiting for something good. like, even if i'm at the corner of 4th and pine, and i see hayden panettiere's boob fall out, i could be like, oh, so there was a reason for me to come back to seattle, after all! for this one glorious moment! but who knows? most likely, there will be no heroes celebrity nudity for me.

so i saw this band called carissa's wierd. they hadn't played a show since 2003 or some shit, and this was their big one and only reunion show. i had a few beers and it was an alright time. afterward, misch bought me a polish sausage, and i ran into some old classmates from college. we didn't really talk about anything. after a few minutes, they left, and i felt like that was how it always was. other people always have somewhere more important they need to be. no one can just stand there and shoot the shit anymore. it gets too awkward or socially unacceptable or something. but me, i could stand there all fucking day.

i peed a lot that night. there was a dude in the bathroom, and he looked at the sink that was all scratched up and shit and he was like, i don't even wanna know what happened there! and then there was this girl who graduated a year before me, and i had never even seen her before in my life. we talked about something or other, but she grabbed my attention when she said she was unemployed. what i should've said was, would you like to help me sell all of my stuff tomorrow, and then we'll use the money to go volunteer at the american samoa islands through world teach? she wasn't even that cute, but it didn't matter. the next person who tells me to go somewhere with him or her for a short while or for good, and i'm gone. it'll make up for the time i didn't run away from home when i was fourteen, and i should have.

there are so many regrets that i have already. even just today, for example. nice weather and all that shit, but did i even bother going outside? nah. all i could think to do was leave the house to spend money. i wanted to go to guitar center to buy a new guitar. i wanted to go to target to buy a playstation 3. i thought about going to american apparel to get some baseball shirts. my only excuses for leaving the house are to acquire money and to spend money. it's no way to live.

i've already said this, and i'm sick of saying it already, but i need to man up already and make some real decisions.
see you in another life, brother.


megan found me on facebook, said we should meet up. i hadn't seen her since 2002, 2003. i said sure, i'm not doing anything, why not? she said in her message that she had gotten divorced, had back surgery a few months back, and that she was now collecting disability, all the while trying her best to raise three boys. jesus. i said that i'd text her when i was in town, and that we'd go out for a drink or something. you know, something two people do when they haven't seen each other in nearly a decade.

i told another old friend, joseph, that i'd be in town, and i said i'd text him, too. he and megan didn't know each other at all. i told my cousin about this odd little reunion, and he agreed that yes, it would in fact be a strange encounter. i made plans with everyone to meet at the monkey bar, the bar that used to be the convenience store my dad once co-owned, and i told them to be there at 9 p.m. megan was already waiting there, and my cousin showed up with his new girlfriend. all the proper introductions were made, and then we sat at a table on the patio. cool summer nights, always good for some patio sitting.

to drown out the awkwardness of my facebook rendezvous, i knocked back a couple of beers, and at my cousin's suggestion, also had a mind-eraser. by then, joseph had shown up. he was wearing a large orange shirt with an eagle on it, and a baltimore orioles cap. i asked if he was an orioles fan. "no," he told me, "i just like birds." he then added, "i've also got a blue jays hat." he had asked about my ex-girlfriend, and megan moved in closer, saying that she wanted to hear all about it, too. why everyone was so interested in my lack of a love life, i wasn't sure. i told them it was over and done, and what else was there to say?

joseph told me that he was "cool" with kathleen now. that he stopped being a hater. back in the day, we always joked around about how great it would be to destroy our whole school and crush all our enemies. "can you imagine if columbine happened before that?" he said, "we'd be in hella trouble!" we laughed about our miserable upbringing, and how we believed that everyone was against us. "i've stopped being a hater," he said. "me too," i said, "what was with all that animosity?" "i don't know," he said, "do you know?" i said i didn't, but that it was just all in our heads. i offered to buy him a beer, but he refused, saying that he had quit drinking a few months ago.

joseph, megan, and i reminisced about other things. that's what happens when you haven't seen people in nearly a decade, and you're at an empty bar in a city where the only things to do are to go to in-and-out burgers, leatherby's, the galleria, the arden fair mall, the country club plaza, and dimple records. joseph told me that he just hangs out with his cousins now. megan said that she spends all her time with her kids. i would've felt bad about it, were it not for the fact that i don't have many friends, either. because that's what happens when you get old, see?

this random life. it just throws us all together, and waits to see what happens, doesn't it?
i don't blame you.


i must've been a pain to be around, you can admit it. me with my stack of adbusters magazines. me with my netflix queue full of anti-corporate, anti-war documentaries. me with my borrowed naomi klein book that i never even cracked. my musty, worn-out clothes from the thrift store, my eagerness to return things to target, my animal rights' rants, my uninformed self-righteous talk. how did you ever put up with it? i'm so sorry for the trouble it has caused you. but oh, only if you could see me now. my biggest dilemma now is trying to find a really nice white hoodie so that i can look like i belong in a kid cudi video.

there was a moment i was walking down broadway in new york, and i felt it again. that strange, rare feeling that i was free. i've felt it a few times in my life now. once, after the weezer concert in san francisco, while walking back to the parking lot by myself. i was sunburnt to a crisp, and i had my oversized mxpx sweatshirt, my sunglasses, and i bet i looked like a mess, but i didn't care. i was free. the other was that ferry ride i've mentioned plenty of times. and then there, the most recent, in new york. i don't know how to describe it. it's just this realization that i really could do anything. i don't know how to put it any other way than that.

i've got this problem, see? this whole thing about how we've grown up with these concepts of sarcasm, self-parody, irony, etc. we are the scary movie 4 generation. most of the time, i don't know if i'm doing something because i really want to do it, or just because i've seen someone else do it, and i want to know what that's about. how do i explain it. there's a scene in greenberg where the girl is talking about how she and her friend went home with some guys and took off their shirts and let the guys videotape them, and she couldn't tell if she was doing it for her own sake, or for the sake of trying to be like everyone else.

that's what you wanted. you wanted nice dinners with friends where appetizers and wine glasses would be present. you wanted road trips and small vacations here and there. you wanted romance and to go out dancing. you wanted compliments from other pretty girls, and "where did you get that dress?" and expensive shoes. you wanted a man who could understand all of this, and give it to you. you wanted to be taken care of and defended, and who could blame you? i don't blame you. in the end, it didn't work because, just like me, you had all the love in the world to give, but you refused to accept any for yourself.

my grandma on her hospital bed, what was she thinking about? did she think about the mess she left behind? people who have children, do they realize that yes, there's love they put into the world, but there's also a mess that they leave behind? there is no way around it. in her last breaths, did she think about her grandchild, the one in montana, who hasn't spoken to any family members in years and is doing god-knows-what? is she watching over her son and daughter now, the ones who live in the same city but who no longer speak to one another?

as for me, well, i don't really know about nothin', nothin'.