9:35am He’s married? Did he just say he’s married? Oh. My. God. I wish I were deaf, so I didn’t just hear that. God! God hates me for not believing in him. This is payback, and it’s in the form of a wife. What a horrible woman! Stealing my secret future husband. He doesn’t even wear a wedding ring. I have never seen or heard of any topic even remotely related to eternal vows with a soul mate in a year of working together. In 365 days, he never had the urge to mention her? Is she the elephant woman? Maybe she’s just hideous. No. She’s probably cute. A super cute, blonde, Kindergarten teacher who wears short shorts because her legs are perfect.
Married Girl patted her baby on the back while bobbing up and down in an ad-lib Hokey Pokey dance. She wore the tortured expression of an unseasoned mother, valiantly attempting to care about a problem other than her wailing newborn. Single Girl was pleasantly ignoring the baby, which appeared to her as a benign growth on the side of her friend’s head; one that was emitting a radio static frequency she found mildly distracting. “She has a bubble,” explained Married Girl, unapologetically. “Bum or throat?” asked Single Girl in an offhand manner, snapping her gum.
(First published in Broken Pencil Magazine, Feb. 2013) I woke up Monday morning feeling out of whack. A dream about fizzled love left my mind burnt out to the point where just being alive took a revolution of effort. I wasn’t going to bother getting out of bed but eventually cracked from the pressure of boredom. I needed to rummage up a distraction. Outside, the sidewalks sputtered under a lazy May shower. Picking at a crust of paint on my thumbnail, I peered through the bus window at the washed-out wetlands of the Downtown East Side. Rows of Asian strip malls passed by, storefronts packed to the ceiling with sushi equipment, porcelain urns, accordion lanterns and mismatched china. Then there was the Happy Endings Funeral Home conjoined to Vernon Dobb’s Meatpacking Factory. Where reincarnation is both ironic and delicious!
Le grand solitaire of my high school hallways had an easy amble, seaweed-green eyes and jaw like a shard of Michelangelo’s beloved Carrara marble that, by memory alone, still floods me with the feels. Every school had one: that guy in the worn leather jacket who walked through the school doors as if in slow motion, hair ruffling in an invisible wind as all eyes turned to stare in envy and desire, depending on sexual orientation – and sometimes not.
Let’s go back, way back, and take a moment to observe one of the more public teenage mating rituals, in a small northern town during the mid-90s. There they are congregating in a dark gym that is strewn, with little forethought, in coloured balloons and droopy streamers. Beside a ghetto blaster are two large black amps from which uberous energetic tempos pour forth belonging to Ace of Base, Counting Crows, Boyz II Men, Gabrielle and Garth Brooks. A 30-something DJ is owning his Magnum PI moustache.