Tag Archives: College

Why I Never Completed My Creative Writing Minor

11 Oct

I went to college hoping to complete a bachelor of fine arts in musical theatre with a minor in creative writing. After my first year, I realized that I would not complete college in 4 years if I wanted to complete my minor. I was NOT about to call home and tell my parents they would be paying for an extra year of out of state tuition, and so, in a moment of weakness, I dropped the minor.

Scary Honors Advisor Woman: Do you want to drop your minor?
Me: (weakly) …Yes…?
Scary Honors Advisor Woman: (CLICK CLICK CLICK) It is done.

I spent a miserable year writing angst-y poetry in my dorm room in between the magical hours of 1 am and 3 am because I couldn’t write in any of my theatre classes. 34 angst-ridden poems and one year later, and I had had it. I NEEDED to write. I could no longer deny myself the structured effects that a classroom had on my written words. I HAD TO GET MYSELF BACK INTO THE MINOR.

And so, on a dreary Friday morning, I woke up at 7:30 am  I was going to go into my advisor’s office and DEMAND that she reverse whatever dreadful buttons she had pressed on that fateful day exactly one year ago. The sky was dark and gray, and I couldn’t find my rain boots. It’s alright, I thought. I’ll walk quickly and get to the Honors office before it rains.

I grabbed my book bag and briskly walked outside. I hoped to get to the office, proclaim my major again, and maybe even grab a bagel at the Atrium before my first class at 9:00. Everything was going according to plan. I was even starting to fantasize about the screen writing class available next semester. Then, suddenly, and without warning, a purple Volkswagon full of what appeared to be Mormons pulled up beside me.

Questionable Mormon #1: (leaning out of the window) Hey! Do you need a ride? It’s going to storm soon, you’ll never get to where you’re going in time!
Questionable Mormon #2: Yeah! Come on in!
Me: Um… Well…
Questionable Mormon #1: Just get in!
(A crack of thunder rolls in the distance.)

My first grade education was screaming at me: DO NOT GET IN CARS WITH STRANGERS, EVEN IF THEY APPEAR TO BE FRIENDLY MORMONS. But the thunder rolled again, and this time it was followed by a purple pitchfork of lightning.

Me: Well… alright…

I waited awkwardly for Questionable Mormon #2 to get out of the passenger’s seat so I could climb into the back seat. I muttered, “Ooh, um, thanks…” as I climbed in.

Questionable Mormon #1: (pressing on the gas just a little too hard) So! Um, where are you headed?
Me: The Honor’s college please. This is so weird, haha… thank you for picking me up! I really probably wouldn’t have made it…
Questionable Mormon #2: Well, we’re not headed in that direction, are we?
Questionable Mormon #1: No! No we’re not…
Me: Oh… well, um-
Questionable Mormon #1: You see, stranger… uh, what’s your name?
Me: Carolyn?
Questionable Mormon #1: You see, Carolyn, we were actually hoping you could help us out with something…
(The car suddenly turns down a dark alley, towards the Downtown section of my college town… The complete OPPOSITE direction of the campus. The sky has suddenly become black, and a few raindrops scatter on the windshield.)
Me: Um… you two wouldn’t happen to be Mormons, would you?
(There is a stunned silence in the car. Then-)
Both: BAAA HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Questionable Mormon #1: No, no, Carolyn!
Questionable Mormon #2: No! We certainly are NOT Mormons!
Both: BAA HHAHAHAAHAHA!!!!
Me: Oh… so, then… um, where are we going? And why aren’t you taking me towards campus?
Questionable Mormon #2: You’ll get there soon enough. Don’t you worry about that… no. Don’t you… worry your pretty little face.

Suddenly, the car lurched to a halt. I hit my head on the seat in front of me, and heard Questionable Mormon #2 hit his head on the dashboard.

Questionable Mormon #2: What the HELL!?!?!?!?!
Questionable Mormon #1: There was a cat!
Questionable Mormon #2: ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME!?!?!
Questionable Mormon#1: WELL I COULDN’T JUST HIT IT!
Questionable Mormon #2: And THIS is why you never drive! Oh, poor me, I never get to drive, he says. Let ME drive this time, just this once! He says. And do you SEE what happens! (He turns around and looks at me) DO YOU SEE WHAT I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH!?
Questionable Mormon #1: I’m sorry!
Questionable Mormon #2: No. No, you know what? Stop the car.
Questionable Mormon #1: What?
Questionable Mormon #2: YOU HEARD ME! STOP THIS CAR! You just lost your driving privileges.
Questionable Mormon #1: Whaaaat!?!?
Questionable Mormon #2: FOR THE WEEK! Do NOT make me remind you what happened last time. Remember the mayonnaise? Do you? The mayo?

The car lurched to a halt, and Questionable Mormon #1 actually became a bit teary.

Questionable Mormon #1: (Very pointed.) I thought. We agreed. To never talk. About that.
Questionable Mormon #2: Get out.

Without another moment’s hesitation, both Questionable Mormons opened their doors and started to do the slowest Chinese fire drill I’ve ever seen. It was now or never. I grabbed my book bag and exploded out of the passenger’s side, sprinting as fast as I could through the rain. I didn’t stop. I didn’t think. All I knew was that I needed to get as far away from the Mormons as possible. I heard a muffled scream from behind me, something that sounded like “Hey! Hey wait! She’s getting away!!!” and then the scuffling sound of a body falling to the street. I didn’t look back. I ducked into an ally, cut across a side street, and kept running towards campus. The rain was falling in sheets, the wind was blowing so forcefully I could barely breathe against it, and still, I managed to keep running…. That may have been the creepiest and most absurd thing to ever happen to me, but I had escaped! Not only that, but I knew if I didn’t hurry now, I’d never be able to grab a bagel in the Atrium before my 9 am.

I ran for as long as I could, but I soon had to start walking. It was no use. I was out of shape. I KNEW I should have made going to the gym a bigger priority, but I was so busy with rehearsals and term papers and projects and-

Homeless Rodeo Clown: Hey! Hey you!
Me: Excuse me?
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Yeah! You!
Me: I’m sorry, I really can’t talk, I-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: It’ll only take a second. Look, I’m in a bit of a jam.
Me: I’m sorry, but I’ve already been through so much this morning, and it’s not even 10 o’ clock, I really can’t-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Wanna make fifty bucks?
Me: … I’m listening.
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Look. I’m gonna level with you. I’m as broke… as an old fence post in December!!!!
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: … Get it?
Me: …No. Not really.
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Aw shoot. Okay. It’s because there’s a lot of snow in December? So, if a lot of snow gets on an old fence post, it’ll probably break, right? Right!?!?
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: What aboouuutt… I’m as broke… AS A PC!?!?!
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: You have a mac, right? PC’s are shit.
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: They’re always breaking? Always getting viruses? VIRUSES. THAT’S IT! Here, look, listen to this…. I’m sick, I’m REAL sick, I’m as sick as… A PC!!!!
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Ya get it!? Viruses!? It’s a play on words, because PC’s well, they’re always coming down with…. Alright, well, never mind. Anyway!!! Look, the POINT IS! I’m a clown.
Me: Yeah… I can see that. You’re dressed in clown pants and you have a red nose.
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Yeah it squeaks too, look watch! (He squeezes his nose)
Nose: SQUEAK SQUEAK!
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Yeah. So look. I’ve been doing the clown gig for a few years now, you know, the usual clown stuff, birthday parties… Craft fairs… birthday parties… the occasional funeral…!!!
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: … You get it? Funeral?!
Me: …What?
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Okay, okay never mind. Look. I’m trying to get into the stand up scene. You know how they have stand up comedians in the bars in the Village sometimes?
Me: Yeaaah…
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Well look. I’m trying to, you know, sort of try my luck at some stand up sometime. What do you think?
Me: What do you mean, what do I think? Look, I have somewhere to be-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: (Grabbing my soaking wet shirt and pulling my face close to his) DO YOU THINK I WOULD BE A SUCCESSFUL COMEDIAN AFTER TALKING WITH ME RIGHT NOW!?!?!?!
Me: Um, yeah… sure! Please let go.
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Really!?
Me: Yeah, now let me go!
(He lets go.)
Homeless Rodeo Clown: Hey.. hey thanks a lot! You know, that really just means a lot, coming from you.
Me: What? You don’t even know-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: ITS JUST SO HARD SOMETIMES!!!!!
(He falls to the ground and starts rubbing off his already smearing make up on the side of a wet piece of cardboard.)
Me: Aw, come on now… don’t do that…
Homeless Rodeo Clown: DO YOU THINK I LIKE BEING A CLOWN FOR A LIVING!?!?!
Me: Well, I-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: DO YOU THINK I ENJOY BEING THE BUTT OF EVERYONE’S JOKES!?!?!
Me: I’m sure that has to be-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HAVE A SIX YEAR OLD TELL YOU THAT YOU’RE A FAILURE?!?! DO YOU!?!?!
Me: No, I’ve-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: BECAUSE I DO!!!! He was SIX!
Me: Hey, look, I’m sorry, but-
Homeless Rodeo Clown: He looked me dead in the eye and said, “I feel funny around you” and I said “Good funny?” and he said “No” and I said “like ha-ha funny?” and he said “no” and I said “like the funny clown made you LAUGH funny!?!” and HE said “No. I feel embarrassed for you.”
Me:
Homeless Rodeo Clown: HE WAS SIX!
Me: Are you going to tell me how to make fifty bucks or not?
Homeless Rodeo Clown: … What?
Me: Never mind.

I continued down the street, ignoring his calls and cries of protest. I HAD to get to the Honors college. I HAD to proclaim my creative writing minor again. I HAD to get to my 9 am class. These were the things I needed to do. I kept walking through the rain, which had thankfully begun to slow. It was now just a light drizzle. The rest of my walk was relatively uneventful. That is, until-

Helicopter wings: TUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUT!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: YOU THERE! HALT!
Me: What the-
MEGAPHONE VOICE: WE’VE GOT YOU SURROUNDED! PUT. THE BAG. DOWN!
Me: What in the-
MEGAPHONE VOICE: I REPEAT! PUT THE BAG DOWN, AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD.
Me: Oh my God!
(I immediately put the bag down, and put my hands on my head.)
Me: (Yelling up to the helicopter) You’ve got the wrong girl!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: WHAT?
Me: YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG GIRL!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: …NO WE DON’T.
Me: Yes you do!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: NO WE DO NOT.
Me: But I haven’t DONE anything! I’m just trying to get to the Honors college!!!
Helicopter Wings: TUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUTTUT!!!!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: WHAaaaaAAAAT!?
Me: I! AM! INNOCENT! I NEED TO GET TO AN APPOINTMENT!
MEGAPHONE VOICE: DO NOT MOVE! WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED!

Suddenly, and entire fleet of police men cornered me with AK47’s. They all started screaming orders at me, and a tank rolled out from behind a building.

Me: HOLY-
POLICEMEN: STAND UP PUT YOUR HANDS UP GET DOWN ROLL OVER STAND STILL MOVE TO THE LEFT NO YOUR OTHER LEFT STOP DROP AND ROLL SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL DO THE MACCARANA NOW EVERYBODY TOGETHER LEFT RIGHT LEFT AGAIN HANDS UP RIGHT HAND IN LEFT HAND OUT SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT!!!!
ME: I DON’T KNOW WHY ANY OF THIS IS HAPPENING!!!!! I JUST WANT TO PROCLAIM A CREATIVE WRITING MAJOR BEFORE MY FIRST CLASS!!!
HELICOPTER VOICE: WERE YOU OR WERE YOU NOT WITH TWO MEN IN SUITS THIS MORNING IN A VOLKSWAGEN BUG!?
Me: For the love of all things-
HELICOPTER VOICE: ANSWER MY QUESTION!
Me: Yes, but I don’t even know-
POLICEMEN: STAND STILL!  DROP DOWN! SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER!
Helicopter Wings: TUTTUTTTUTTUTTUTTTUTTTUTTUTTTUTTU!!!!
HELICOPTER VOICE: WHAAAAAAAT???
Me: I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO THEY ARE!!!!

Then the police men cornered me, grabbed my book bag, and searched me. Suddenly, they extracted a wad of cash.

Me: Hey… that’s not mine!

They then proceeded to count it. Fifty dollars, exactly.

Me: Okay, look, I know this may sound weird, but there was this clown earlier and he told me I could make fifty-

Then, out of no where, the Homeless Rodeo Clown jumped out of the helicopter, did a quadruple pirouette in midair, and landed in a perfect passe. He pointed in my face. His red nose was on the tip of his pointing finger.

Homeless Rodeo Clown: BAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!

THEN! The MORMONS CAME OUT FROM AROUND A CORNER AND STARTED THROWING PAPER PLANES AT ME AND SCREAMING THE DIFFERENT NAMES OF HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES!

AND THEN! A CAT ARMY STARTED SCREAMING IN THE DISTANCE AND IT STARTED SNOWING AND A MAIL MAN DELIVERED A PACKAGE TO ME AND I SIGNED FOR IT AND I OPENED IT AND IT WAS A DIPLOMA SAYING THAT I WOULD NEVER GRADUATE WITH HONORS, A BFA, AND A MINOR IN CREATIVE WRITING! SO I STARTED TO CRY AND THE MORMONS POINTED AND LAUGHED AND IT BEGAN TO RAIN MAYONNAISE AND THEN THE MORMONS SCREAMED AND RAN AND THEIR SKIN DISSOLVED AND I GREW A BABY ARM AND THEN THE CAT ARMY ALL TURNED INTO BEAVERS AND SLOTHS AND THEN-

I woke up. And I was late for my 9 am. And I decided I would be better off not doing a minor in creative writing.

The end.

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Hate Mail: An Actual Old Journal Entry

28 Sep

Day 18 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

I found this gem in an old journal. I’ve left out names for obvious reasons. Enjoy.

Dear ______,
Ever since I met you at that first party, I’ve wondered what it is about you that makes you a creep. I can’t really put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the way you sort of flirt with me while not taking a single step away from me. Maybe it’s the way you obviously try to make me “jealous” by giving me your creepy little I’m-trying-too-hard-to-be-sexy eye and then disappearing into the crowd to talk to other women. I don’t know. Or, maybe it’s the way you remind me of one of my girlfriends when you try to flirt with me.

You just rub me the wrong way. Something about you makes something about me go running and screaming in the opposite direction. When I think about kissing you, my mouth actually gets a funny taste in it. My hair starts to turn gray and fall out. And when you texted me, telling me you’d call me tonight, a little bit of my soul actually considered turning black and flaking off. The good bit of my soul, too, mind you. The part that wants to help any small, weak, hungry, helpless animal was THIS close to turning black and flaking off. My SOUL, ____. My soul. You scare my soul.

When I think about the thought of you reading this letter, I picture your sly and repulsive smile crookedly fading, and your square jaw drooping a bit in complete confusion. I hope you find someone who can look past your creepiness and make you happy, because with a last name like ______, that poor, naive, delusional, stupid and wretched girl will most certainly not be me.

Love always,

“Care Bear.”

P.S. Don’t ever call me that. Ever. Again.

What It Feels Like To Watch a Chick Flick When You’re Single… And I Mean REALLY Single.

25 Sep

Day 15 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

You will be afraid at first. You will wonder if this is a good idea, or if this is just a recipe for disaster… A masochistic cry for help to anyone who may walk in on you bawling your eyes out.

First of all, picking out a chick flick to watch… all alone… by yourself… without the arms of a strong man around you… is terrifying in itself. It’s like, what can I watch that will cause enough nostalgia and bittersweet sadness to satisfy my need to feel sorry for myself for a few minutes, without also making me lose complete faith in humanity, while also perhaps possibly giving me a fresh new perspective on life and relationships so that I can walk away thoroughly emotionally drained and simultaneously refreshed?

My parents went to bed and so I finished season 5 of True Blood. (Pam, you never cease to amaze me… ) And so I’m clicking through the free movies section thinking, “Okay, Carolyn. You can either go to bed right now and walk away… or… You can do this. You’re in a stable, good place and you CAN watch a chick flick alone. No amount of previous emotional pain can keep you from enjoying a light hearted romantic comedy, OKAY!?” So I go to the sundance channel, hoping that some romantic obscure funny Indy film will catch my eye. There are a ton of random one-word titles… Like… Octopus, or some shit, and when you click on it the description reads something completely unrelated like, “A young man who works in a laundromat realizes his true potential by shaving his beard and weaving mahogany baskets.”

Then I saw a title that caught my eye. I Hate Valentine’s Day. I didn’t even read the description. “Perfect,” I thought. “This is literally perfect.”

Turns out the movie is about a girl who only gives guys 5 dates and then cuts it off, because she loves the fluttery, “honeymoon” stage of dating, but believes that “when the romance is gone, just move on.” She meets this guy and is all like, “Oh you’re cute and you don’t know it, here is my masculine philosophy on relationships and now you want me because I seem fool proof and free spirited I have gorgeous hair and teeth” and he’s all like, “I’m nervous around you but I like it and I want to do something special for you always and forever, despite my complete lack of creativity and resourcefulness” so of COURSE they do 5 dates and then want to keep dating, but neither of them has the balls to say anything. During their time apart the main character finally realizes that she’s been harboring hard feelings towards her father for having an affair and she’s been keeping all men at arm’s length for all of these years because of it. Then this random UPS man has a really moving monologue about him writing “Happy V Day” in syrup on his wife’s pancakes when she’s busy getting their rambunctious kids off to school, and how those little things are really what true love is, not all of the embellishments and stupid dating things that don’t last. So then they both “learn” and “grow” from their experiences and time spent apart and of COURSE there’s the scene at the end where she looks out her window and he’s on the street all like “Here are some references that you only mentioned in passing but I’m bringing them up again now during the climax of the movie so that everyone, including the audience, can see that men really DO listen sometimes! And here are all of your closest friends and family members assembled in the street standing in the shape of a heart,” and she’s all like “Okay let me run down these steps and into your arms and smile REALLY big while you kiss me and I’ll say ‘You’re my boyfriend’ in a really adorable way and then the credits will roll just when our actual relationship is getting started.”

And this whole time I’m sitting on the couch by myself. My cell phone is off to the side. Not being used. I’m not texting anyone. I’m not feeling guilty for not texting anyone, either. I watched an entire movie without having to talk to anyone. Sure, my cell phone was right next to me just in case I did get a text ( I mean come on, people, let’s not get too crazy… ) But it was nice. I was sitting there, watching a movie, completely alone. And I didn’t feel sad or like I was missing out on anything or anyone. I felt at peace.

Sometimes, it’s good to be alone for a while. And let’s be honest, people who are in relationships always say that to lonely depressed single people. Did you ever notice that? But you know what?  I’m only just starting to believe them. Because when I finally do meet someone who has the ability to make me happy, I want to be happy and secure enough with myself, alone, to fully appreciate and enjoy the butterflies they can give me.

But… now that I think about it, I guess I really don’t want someone who is going to “make me happy.” I want to be happy before I even meet them. That way, they’ll just magnify my crazy good, already-there-to-begin-with happiness. Wouldn’t that be something?

So I guess I got what I was asking for when I watched I Hate Valentine’s Day. I got nostalgic. I got a little sad, and yeah, I thought about the love-gone-wrong in my life. But I also learned that I CAN watch a chick flick alone. And not only that, but I can do it without crying. And I can do it while feeling good, and happy. And later, while writing a blog, I’ll realize that I even got a fresh new perspective on relationships and life.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll watch Octopus tomorrow or something.

The Lock

22 Sep

Day 12 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

I am 18, and I am a college freshman. I have just settled in, arranged my room with big pink everythings and waved goodbye to my crying mother and my exhausted father.

Let’s go to this thing, says a girl on our floor.

I have no friends so I say okay yeah let’s go.

Its one of those things that makes you feel pressured to be someone you aren’t. There is loud music and there are bodies and you can feel the heightened expectations slinking through the fake fog on the dance floor. We stop and stare at everyone else trying to have a good time by bumping against a stranger’s bones and muscle and skin. The music is loud. It hurts my chest. We are inhaling each others’ needs and exhaling our own.

I’ve never been the type to stand still so I move a little. Sway my hips a little. My blood is begging to be pumped harder by a nervous heart.

I want to dance I say let’s go dance. They all shift their weight and scratch their elbows.

One of the girls says something to another and they glance at me. She’s weird she says. She thinks I can’t hear.

Someone moves their head and I see his face through the crowd. It’s like a movie but its not because this is my life and I stare. More ponytails and foreheads between us and then he’s back in my vision like a beacon of what-could-be. We both simultaneously move towards the other like magnets. I will look back on this moment later and appreciate that neither of us made the first move, it honestly was mutual.

Hey he says.

Hi.

Let’s dance he says.

Okay.

We dance and it’s like a shaking key fumbling to find a lock. I know we would fit together nicely if we could just calm down. I think of things like this sometimes, think in metaphors on a dance floor. I wonder in this case who is the key. I wonder who is the lock.

We walk outside and August is dying. I am sweaty from the dancing and the girls whispered behind their half curled hands when I left.

It’s warm he says.

I know I say I can’t keep still I feel alive.

Then let’s walk he says.

There is a fountain. I take off my heels and dip my feet inside. He watches my toes contract and asks how anyone does it. I tell him with all beauty there must be pain. He says he thinks I’m poetic. Maybe I am. He asks me about everything and my blood is still racing my hands are still sweating my cheeks are still flushing and it’s all so new so I tell him the true answers to everything he asks. The truth comes out easier when you’re with a stranger who makes life worth living for a few moments. I ask him my questions too and his lips are wet dancing partners of velvet. People walk by and look at us but we don’t care, at least I don’t. I am hot so I lay on the cool cement and he laughs and joins me. His arm does not brush against mine. We look at the stars and hear the fountain water and he says after a while You’re not like other girls.

I think of the ones I came with and how they said she’s weird and say I know.

I like it he says.

Soon people stop walking by and I look at my phone. It’s 3 in the morning.

I’ll walk you back he offers.

I know I say. He likes that.

We get to my dorm and we stop. We both know this is where the magic should end but we feel it spreading out in front of us like a red carpet we just kicked and it just keeps rolling. A crimson path beckoning us to follow. He stands in front of me and I see his arm muscles moving under his skin.

Aren’t you cold he asks.

A little I say.

I don’t have a jacket or I’d give it to you he says and I believe him.

We’re dancing again, an awkward dance of mutual uncertainty. I feel like we are two chess pieces suspended above a board of endless opportunities, lost in the lingering hands of an indecisive player. I wonder who is black. I wonder if I’m a white pawn who can only go one step at a time, or the Queen herself, a million directions and opportunities available at all times. He’d be a bishop I decide, diagonal yet direct. Here we go with the metaphors I think.

I’ll call you. He says the statement like a question.

I’d like that I say Goodnight.

I start to walk away and feel the heat return to my limbs and I suddenly realize that I miss him.

Wait he calls.

I walk back to him and he slowly leans down and gently hesitates. Our lips are touching but he is still hesitating. Velvet asking flesh is this okay is this alright? Flesh flushing fully it’s fine it’s nice. I feel fireworks and butterflies and a million and twelve cliches swirling around in my gut and I squirm. I pull away and his eyes are still closed.

I can work with that, I say when they open again. Velvet parts to show rows of white.

He texts me first and I feel like I’ve won something. It’s not a game but I still feel like I’m winning. We drink beer in his dorm room when I know I shouldn’t. We go to this party and leave early to be alone and just talk. We’re laying in his bed and we talk about God and what it all means. I feel grown up. He gives me his jacket to wear to class when it starts getting cold and my friends raise their eyebrows. I feel so stupid and young. I come home to a rose on my bed and a note that says “These past few weeks have been nothing short of amazing. The dinners, the talks. Thank God I took that dance.” I feel like I’m constantly wrapped in a blanket and I never want to put my feet back on the cold hardwood floor.

We don’t have sex. I like that. I like that so much. I want him and he wants me but we don’t and that’s good. I feel grown up. I feel in control. Weeks and weeks go by and we don’t and I respect myself, respect him, respect us together. I catch myself starting to think of the two of us as an “us.” This scares me but I figure it’s one of those things that you should just let happen.

We’re in his room, sprawled out together and his kisses become quicker with less time in between. Questions and answers all in a trail along my neck and I think this is good. Yes I think in a blurry haze Oh, yes. I feel wanted and happy and safe and secure and I like him. Gosh, I like him so much. I kiss him harder and he is on his back and I kiss his neck I kiss his collar bone and he is silent and I kiss his stomach. Pulses racing, breathing jagged, and fingers searching there are no metaphors in my head now because there is no room, there is only muscle. There is only breath. There are only his eyes locked in mine when I gaze up at him. People say “the heat of the moment” and this must be it, has to be with all of this fire and friction and sudden decisions and satisfied need. I just like him so much.

I do respect you he says later I really do. Like I need to be reminded or something.

Thank you I say.

Don’t thank me for that It’s how it should be.

He goes home for the weekend and I keep myself busy. I don’t like it but I know he wants to. I go running. I do my homework. I wait by my phone but he doesn’t text. That’s okay I tell myself he’s just busy at home. He comes back and something isn’t the same. His eyes look someplace behind me when I talk to him and they are veiled with a secret.

I can’t be serious with anyone he tells me This is great but I’m only a freshman I’m just starting out I don’t want to be tied down because I have to concentrate on school he says Concentrate on God and we moved too fast I need to concentrate on what really matters and what I really want.

What he really wants.

I think back to the “heat of the moment,” to the skin and bones and what he really wanted then. And now I realize maybe I only thought I knew. I feel like I was used but I don’t know why. I feel betrayed and I act like I’m not. I feel cheap and conquered but how can I feel that way when we never had sex?

I decide that he is the lock.

Years go by. A message here, a text there, a phone call, a short dinner to say Hi how are have you been Oh I’ve been great Really Yes Yes I’m fine and you Oh I’m fine too you know just hanging in there. The timing is always off, I’m always with someone else when he is ready or he is busy trying to save someone from themselves while I wait patiently in the darkened wings. I dye my hair black. He gets a tattoo. I don’t like it but what can I say. He buys me a candle that crackles and I listen to it in the afternoon when I skip class for a nap with the window open to let the sound of the rain storm in. The flame flickers and I stare into it as I doze, watching it dance like we did. Bright little blip of passion dancing on the end of a weak and fraying thread.

I am 23, and I am a college graduate. Everything changes. I’m old and young and tired and rejuvenated and ready to start and desperate to rewind. We haven’t spoken and I have forgotten him because I have loved others too deeply, more deeply still. My heart is full and empty with the loss of one life and the gain of another and I get a message.

When do you move he asks Can I see you before you move?

He arrives and I forgot how he sways when he walks. I forgot how his T-shirt clings to his back when he bends over to pick something up. I realize I forgot what he smelled like. We have the whole empty day just begging to be filled with activities. We stand awkwardly between our two cars with the space of four years of experiences stretched out between us.

You drive I tell him I like it when the guy drives. He smiles.

We go to lunch at this restaurant on the river. It looks out over the skyline and he tells me good call. We’re in the shade and it’s perfect because we’re not hot.

Do you want a beer he asks I’m going to get one.

Sure I’ll have a beer.

We are both legal now. I think it’s weird to be a grown up with someone who you’ve never really been grown up with before.

We talk and talk and talk and talk and we get more beers. We both get food and we eat and drink and he looks at me in the eyes a lot. I feel uncomfortable when he looks at me like that. It’s like he’s reaching over and touching my face with the tips of his fingers and whispering something poisonous but he’s not, he’s just looking at me in my eyes. I blush and look down at my hands a lot. We drink more.

I go to the bathroom because I have to pee and the alcohol is making everything warm and my eyelids are plush and heavy. I look under the stalls and my two feet are the only ones. I look at myself in the mirror. I ask my reflection out loud What are you feeling? Do you think you’re feeling anything? I notice that I can’t taste my mouth when I’m washing my hands.

We leave and go to a park. There’s a fountain hidden in some trees and it’s my favorite spot so I take him to it. He talks about his family and a fly lands on his knee. He doesn’t brush it away because he’s still looking at me that way and doesn’t feel it. I pick up a pebble in the fountain and rub it between my fingers. It’s smooth and wet and I toss it over my shoulder. I don’t know why I do that.

Let’s lay down I say I’m sick of sitting on this rock.

Backs in the the itchy grass and I’m trying to keep my dress pulled down in a modest way. He doesn’t look at my legs but just keeps looking in my eyes. He hasn’t touched me yet. Arms haven’t brushed together, hasn’t put his hand on my lower back as we go through a doorway. I like the way he’s looking and not touching. I always liked that. I’m remembering slowly what I always liked as we lay in the grass under the magnolia tree with the fountain gurgling its encouragement from the shade and us not touching. I realize we are laying on our backs by a fountain like the night we met and I decide not to mention that.

We go play mini golf. He says it’s the date we never got to have before. It’s one of those very cool places where teenagers feel older and parents feel younger. It’s all indoors, black light golf with glowing balls. He pays for everything. We go in and I’m not horrible at it. He wins. At hole number 13 he wraps his arms around me from behind and “helps” me line up my shot. He rocks us back and forth like a pendulum and says it’s all in the hips and I laugh.

We leave and it’s dinner time and he asks Are you hungry?

I could eat.

I could too.

He opens the car door for me. Boys don’t do that anymore and I know it’s a silly gesture but it’s not an empty one. At least I think he means it. We go to Olive Garden. He offers to get some wine but I don’t want any. Are you sure he asks and I look in his eyes and smile. I always feel guilty when I know the guy is paying and I can’t help that. We have a quiet dinner together. We make fun of the couple beside us.

They’re on a first date he says It’s the awkward silence of a first date.

No they’ve been dating for a while, they’re just fighting right now See how her foot is crossed and is touching his leg under the table without them even noticing anymore?

You’re good at this he says And we never had any awkward silences did we We talked so easily the first night I met you Four hours worth he says four hours!

It’s getting later and I don’t know what he plans to do. He could drive home tonight or I could offer him a place to stay. His home is hours away and it’s late and he’s paid for everything. He’s made me laugh and I keep looking at him when he takes a bite and isn’t looking back.

My friend has an apartment we could stay at I say Its late and if you’re tired I don’t want you driving.

I brought an extra shirt he says and grins as if he shouldn’t be grinning I didn’t know but I hoped he says I hoped.

We leave and he leaves a big tip. I like that. He puts his hand on my shoulder blades while we leave and his fingers are confident. We buy a bottle of wine on the way home. I grab two chairs and two blankets and we go on the porch.

The crickets are chanting together a strange rhythm and the lake is so still it’s almost spooky. It’s not water at all but a sheet of dark blue glass meant for reflecting the moon and evergreen branches. I drape my legs over his and wrap up in one of the blankets.

It’s beautiful I say the lake it’s nice This whole day was nice I say.

We sit there and I feel content. I am happy to sit here and listen to the crickets and have my legs draped over him and us just being quiet and just listening to the world as if we are not in it. Years happened between us but here we are again and this is just nice.

I never forgot you he says quietly with his hands twirling the knotted hair in the back of my neck. I concentrate on that feeling. I always had you in the back of my mind he says You aren’t like other girls I told you that at the beginning and I meant it I’ve been with other people and so have you but I always thought of you I was so stupid I liked you so much but I was young and I ran when I should of held onto you I like holding you he says.

His hands are moving. I don’t know how it happens but it doesn’t happen the way it did before. There is no question, no hesitation this time as he puts my face between his hands and kisses me fully and deeply and greedily. His mouth grabs for mine too hard. I want the hesitation, the uncertainty but that is no longer here. Not now that I guess he knows what he wants.

What he really wants.

I wait for the fireworks and the feeling of my blood being pumped faster like it did before but that does not happen. I kiss back and I wait but nothing happens. His hands move harder and grab and feel and explore, as if they have been wearing frozen wool gloves for four years and are only now remembering the feel of sun warmed silk. His breath and tongue and hands and muscle and I kiss back and wait and his spine shaking under my fingertips and his little noises that escape his throat and I’m silent and I wait and I wait and nothing happens. His hands touch the strip of skin exposed in the back of my dress and he’s feeling my legs and I’m glad I shaved but I wait and I wait and still there is only waiting.

I want you he says in between kissing me and feeling me. He is smiling and pulling me down and I’m confused. The day has been wonderful and I looked in the mirror and I asked myself what am I feeling. I remembered everything it is about him that I liked. But this is forceful, and different, and needed but needed for who?

He was always the lock, the one who needed a gentle pry of encouragement. The one who clamped up suddenly got jammed and refused to open. But now I feel him reaching for parts of me that I know I don’t want to share with him but I don’t understand why not. I cannot tell who is the lock and who is the key and our chess board has been overturned because someone changed the rules of this game and black becomes white and white becomes gray and I’m caught somewhere in the in between. He is moving every direction but that’s not right I think he can’t be the Queen because I  thought I was and if I’m not that must mean I am a pawn and I am no pawn. No, I think suddenly. I am no pawn.

Would you have sex with me if I wanted I ask quietly because I am wondering and I am confused Right now would you?

Yes he murmurs without a moment of hesitation Oh, yes.

He is so passionate and greedy and I cannot return these advances so we we kiss a little but then I become little spoon.  He calms down and nuzzles his nose in my hair and I stare at a notch in the paint on the wall and I fall asleep after he does.

The sun comes through the windows and I open my eyes and he says can I ask you something.

Sure.

Why do I never hear from you?

I say I don’t know. I say it’s because I’m moving. The truth is getting harder and harder to tell him now and I hate that feeling.

Can we talk more he asks can I come visit again before you move I’d like that he says.

When we say goodbye he lingers. I hate goodbyes and he is putting his hands on my arms and rubbing his fingers there and looking into my eyes. I let him kiss me goodbye again and his tongue works into my mouth. I do not understand why I cannot let my head loll back and drink in the feeling.

And then he pulls away and I am left on the sidewalk waving goodbye. I go back inside and I see the mess of wine glasses and tangled blankets and it smells of him but I don’t bother with that yet. I go out on the porch and breathe.

I try to think about other things but all I can do is replay the night before… Yes I hear him murmur in my memory Oh, yes.

The landscape blurs and I don’t know why but I’m crying. Stop crying this is stupid but there it is, I am. I realize I don’t care who is the lock and who is the key anymore. I don’t care if we were good together and I don’t care if deep down I always wondered what if. Now I see that people can change and you can never go back, and sometimes that hurts more than never having a second chance. The sun is too bright and it’s humid and I’m sweating.

So I watch the geese land on the waves of dirty green water that seemed so calm and so smooth last night.

The Best Gift of the Summer

21 Sep

Day 11 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

I knew this night was coming.

I tried to fight it off, tried to tell myself that it wouldn’t be that hard. I figured if I could say goodbye to the cast of “Chicago,” my boyfriend of two years, and my entire college life in one night, I could certainly say goodbye to these two morons and not be too damaged about it.

When I first started my summer here, I was afraid. I was scared of having no one. I was afraid the people in my cast wouldn’t “get me” due to my obscure, off-the-wall sense of humor, my obsession with carbohydrates, and my need to sometimes be left alone in a quiet corner with only my journal.

And then Dallas and DJ walk in. I see tall, dark Dallas and think “Please let him be straight!” Then he sticks a perfect triple pirouette and and says quietly to himself, “I’ve still got it, bitches!” when he doesn’t think anyone is listening aaand I give up on that hope. I wave at them and introduce myself. Dallas gives me the biggest smile in the whole world, and DJ politely does his adorable little DJ grin and half-wave.

We start rehearsals, tentatively singing our separate parts in fear of being judged, while secretly trying to hear everyone else’s voices in order to assess their talent. Dallas and DJ listen to me sing the big note at the end of “God Bless America.” Dallas says, “Gorge!” and DJ says, “YEAASSS.” I like them immediately. Later, while we’re taking a five minute water break, Dallas and I are by the lockers. I forget what awkward thing was said, but I did the “Brrrr” awkward moment sound effect, and Dallas burst out laughing.

“Deeje!” He called, “She just did the ‘brrr’ noise! She does it too! Oh, I’m gonna like you. I can tell.”

It was pretty much history from there.

I spent mostly every single night of this summer with them. I found we had the most fun when we did nothing at all. We watched ALL of the movies. We snuggled in bed and argued over who had to be big spoon. We figured out ways for the three of us to sit comfortably on a two person couch. We went to downtown Cincinnati together. We went to an adult novelty store together on the fourth of July. …I don’t know why we did that…

Slowly, our personal space boundaries grew to be non existent. I found myself being able to jokingly touch Dallas anywhere without it being weird or awkward. DJ and I discovered we both have an innate need to snuggle at least twice every three days. Walking into a room where one of them already was just felt good. It was like I could let out my breath when I saw one of them sitting on those disgusting, sweat-infested suicide-suede couches in the humid smelly armpit that was the Festhaus greenroom.

We taught each other things. I taught them how to cook Cajun vodka pasta. The two of them together continuously showed me how little I actually know about musical theatre. (Brrr…) Dallas taught me to stop thinking so much. He taught me how to let go and let my heart make a decision once in a while. I taught DJ that it’s okay, and even necessary, to be sad sometimes. DJ taught me that no matter how bad it gets, you can always keep going. You can be stronger than you ever thought you were. DJ and I taught Dallas how to listen to that little voice inside of his head, and to always be true to himself, even if that means making hard decisions. They taught me that nothing is planned, especially within relationships, and sometimes you just need to dive in. They encouraged me and listened to me, rooted for me, coached me, cried with me, snuggled with me, laughed with me, drank with me, slept in awkward positions with me, (and in Dallas’ case) showered with me. They plucked their eyebrows with me, yelled at me, told me when I was being stupid and over thinking everything, kissed me when I needed kissing, hugged me when I needed hugging, and left me alone when they knew I needed my space.

I’ve learned so much about myself simply by knowing the two of them. The whole summer, we’ve said that I am a complete mixture of the two of them. I’m mature for my age, like DJ. Like him, I tend to over-think everything, and rarely do I find myself diving into love with reckless abandon, like Dallas does. Yet at the same time, I’m so much like Dallas. Our crude sense of humor, our crazy violent outbursts, and our very deep need for emotional connection with those around us. Where DJ and I are tentative, once I get into a relationship, I am very much a Dallas. I’m passionate and wild with my feelings, never apologetic, and I love big or go home.

I’ve had an amazing summer, and I’ve been “#soblessed” to have been in the shows that I was in. I’ve been in and out of relationships, cried heaving sobs and laughed belly-cramping laughs, gone on road trips to cities I’ve never seen, reconnected with old friends, and learned (once again!) to never judge a book by its cover. And yet-

Having the two of them near me, to listen to my life problems and give me advice, to be there for me at a time when I felt like everything I knew was over and gone… That was the best gift I was given this summer.

It’s rare in life that you find people like them… People who are so open to who you are in that exact moment, whatever that means. They never judged me for anything I was feeling. Instead, they listened with open hearts and open minds and were always honest with me, even when I didn’t want to hear it. They forced me to get out of my head and encouraged me to take a chance on a relationship that proved to be just what I needed. And when I suddenly realized that I needed the chance to be alone for a while, they didn’t judge me or say I was making a mistake. They supported me.

And then… just when they had taught me to follow my heart once in a while and let go, they came through once again, and talked me out of making a decision that would have caused WAY more heartache than happiness. Just when I thought they had taught me everything they could, they showed me that sometimes, your heart should ache. And by denying that yearning heartache of the person it craves, a sense of strength and clarity can also arise from a place you didn’t even know you possessed.

It’s amazing to find a friend who knows you better than you do. What’s even more incredible is when you find two of them in one unforgettable summer.

And so, this blog post is for them. For the two incredible, inspiring, kindest, make-any-bad-day-better people I know. And as I sit in their apartment for the last time, Oxford curled by my feet for the last time, I see the summer I spent with them flash before my eyes…

I see us laughing on stage together.
I see Dallas farting on me right before rushing onstage to sing “Standing Outside The Fire.”
I see DJ and I on a picnic blanket in Eden Park, drinking lemonade and feeding sparrows out of the palms of our hands. I see them sitting at the kitchen table, playfully arguing while I silently wash their dishes with a smirk.
I hear Dallas’ big footsteps coming down the old creaky stairs.
I see the three of us sprawled out on a couch screaming expletives at each other for sharp elbows and sticky thighs.
I see Dallas getting a ticket for parking in a “non-parking space.”
I see DJ and I sitting on the platforms during the very first mic check, and I can still hear the strain in his voice, the interior war raging inside of him as he tells me why he’s not been himself lately.
I see the hurt in Dallas’ eyes when I tell him why I’ve been distant with him, and in that moment, I realize I was wrong.
I see us go from “Hey… do you mind if I have one of those…?” to dirty hands racing across cafeteria tables to fight to the death for the last fry.
I see the three of us rolling our eyes at the security guards.
I feel the sun on our shoulders as we lay by the wave pool.
I see Dallas glaring at my antique jewelry saying, “That has bad juju. I don’t like it. Get that shit away from me.”
I see DJ’s apprehensive first sip as he drinks his first glass of wine.
I feel Dallas’ wet hand grasping mine as we go down a giant water slide, with me dressed in a banana suit.
I hear the beat of the bass vibrating in my ribs while we watch a tragic drag queen croon Wake Me Up  by “Evanescence.”
I hear myself say through tears, “But I love him!” and Dallas answer, “If that’s how you feel, then go be with him!”
I see DJ petting a purring Oxford, and Dallas’ jade face glaring from the table.
I smell the Oreo truffles and the rotting rotisserie chicken.
I hear us burst out laughing, all three at the same time.
I see us hugging, and hesitating before letting go.
I feel them.

Even now, while they sleep in a separate room, drunk from the excitement of a new love that only took the entire summer for them to discover, I feel them.

They are the brothers I never had.

They are the open ears.

They are the look from across a room that can send me into a fit of laughter with the simple raise of a perfectly-plucked brow.

I’m pointing at Dallas.

They are my protectors.

They are my secret keepers.

Simply put, they are my friends.

And I love them.

Why Birthdays Simultaneously Rule and Suck

17 Sep

Day 7 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

A few days ago, I had a birthday. I went from being 22 to 23, all in one magical day that revolved around me. And looking back on that day, I started to realize how ludicrous and selfish the entire experience is.

Birthday magic happens immediately. You wake up like every other day, and then- SUDDENLY- you remember! It’s your BIRTHDAY!!!! It’s like Christmas- But only for YOU. NO ONE ELSE’S CHRISTMAS. MY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

The first person you see on your birthday is the first reminder of how freaking awesome you are today. “Good morning!!!” They’ll croon, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” You’ll smile sheepishly, and suddenly feel really special and proud.

Do you see what I’m saying, readers? You’ll feel “really special and proud.” But… for what? For the fact that 23 years ago you existed for the first time? That, by some miracle, you managed to escape death for a another year? 

Then, you check your phone. Dear. Sweet. Text messages. And Facebook. Notifications. I mean we’re talking “You have 38 unread messages.”  People it’s only 9:00 am. It’s been my birthday for exactly nine hours, and you’re already writing on my facebook wall!?

And so I reiterate: You will feel incredibly special and loved… for no reason, other than the fact that you exist.

Seriously. I’m convinced that even if your life is a complete wreck- you left your family to go deal crystal meth and now you’re addicted, starving, and living in a box under a bridge next to some flea-infested bum who is convinced your name is “Peter the Pancake Provider”- you still feel AWESOME on your birthday. Because there is something really awesome about having a day devoted to you, simply for the pure fact that you were brought into existence.

There is also something sickeningly satisfying about having a day that is YOURS and NO ONE ELSE’S! It’s like you get to go up to a stranger and say, “It’s my birthday today.” And suddenly, everyone just knows their place. YOU are awesome today, they are significantly less awesome today. It’s just how birthdays work.

Thing can get pretty awkward if you run into someone else with the same birthday as you. This can happen if you’ve ever been out to a restaurant on your birthday. There you are,  just sitting there eating the appetizer, just waiting for the off-pitched chorus of jaded waitresses to come around and sing to you, when suddenly, you hear the CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP train somewhere in the back of the restaurant. No, you think, This can’t be right. We’re only on our appetizer… And the entire place erupts into cheers and cries of glee because it’s someone ELSE’S birthday. And you suddenly feel cheated. And jealous. And really, REALLY pissed off. How DARE they be born on the same day that YOU were?! THIS IS YOUR DAY NOT THEIRS! THIS IS NOT FAIR!!!!!

By the middle of the day, the novelty of the Birthday Magic will wear off. You’ll have already read 4,000 “Happy Birthday” messages on your phone. Your best friends from high school and college will have already called you. Your mom and dad have called you. Everything is going your way. Only now, you start to realize just how special You are today, and with that specialness comes power…

“It’s my birthday,” You say proudly to anyone who will listen. Even strangers will say, “Oh my GOSH it’s Your BIRTHDAY!? HAPPY BIRTHDAY! WE HAVE TO CELEBRATE!” People will just suddenly give You free shit. Bartenders especially.

“It’s her birthday,” your friends will tell him with a knowing gleam in their eye.
“OH MY GOSH IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!?” He will exclaim. “HEY EVERYBODY! IT’S THIS LITTLE LADY’S BIRTHDAY! SHOTS ON ME!”
And the whole place will explode with cheers, all because of You. They don’t even ask how old you are. I guess if you look a day over 21, they just stop asking, for fear of offending You. After all, it is YOUR day. You don’t want to be reminded that You are now one year closer to death.

Soon the sun sets, and You’re feeling really weird. On one hand, You realize just how many people on this planet know about your existence and aren’t pissed off about it. And that if anything were to ever happen to You, You’d probably have one kick ass funeral or something, one where everyone is saying how great You were, how much You mean to them, all of the great shit You managed to get done while you were alive…

Birthday’s start to have this effect as you get older. They really start to make You think. Before when You were a little kid, You just realized that You got gifts and everybody loved You. Now, You’re like, “Oh wow, so many people love me! So, I’m 23! Wow. That’s only two years away from 25. I’m old. I’m OLD! Holy crap I am so OLD. And yet, I’m still so young. Life is so funny that way… What if I were to just get run over by a car tomorrow? What would happen? Would all of these people who are contacting me today be sad? Or are they just wishing me a happy birthday because Facebook told them to? Have I accomplished everything I want to accomplish with my life? What could I be doing better? Am I a good person? What is my life? What am I DOING? What is the POINT OF ALL OF THIS!?!?!?!” And in one existential swoop of understanding, you’re sitting there, on YOUR birthday, suddenly depressed as shit because everyone loves you and you’re still alive.

Soon, midnight rolls around, and You go from being You to just you again. It’s no longer YOUR day. It is no longer your own personal Christmas. And on one hand, you’re really sad. It’s nice to feel really special and loved for a whole day, and when that day is over, you feel the absence of that love and attention hit you like a brick on the end of a chain. And yet, on the other hand, you’re just grateful that it’s all over. For one thing, your FRICKEN’ PHONE has stopped going off! That’s a good thing! And another thing, you’re no longer feeling special for no reason. While feeling special is great, feeling special for no reason is just confusing and frustrating. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” everyone screams at you all day. They light up like a fricken’ light bulb just to LOOK at you, and you’re left there all like, “Thanks! …I didn’t do anything…”

And then you go to bed and wake up the next day, and you’re not special. No one is calling you to tell you how awesome you are, how much they love you, and how great it is that you’re a living breathing human being. Nope. Just another, regular day. Only now you’re one year closer to death.

Yep. Everything feels perfectly normal again.

Charmin: Enjoy the Go, While Watching Our Show

16 Sep

Day 6 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

A giant inflatable Mr. Clean is proudly standing 15 feet tall behind the sound booth. On the other side, framing the walkway, is a 20 foot inflatable bottle of Scope. Okay, I think. I can handle this. Sure, it’s P&G product placement. After all, P&G rented out the park today for their employees today. Let them have their obnoxious blow up products looming over the stage. That’s fine.

There’s also a massive tent placed RIGHT next to the stage. Almost as if they were setting up the tent, completely oblivious to the stage’s existence, and someone from King’s Island meekly went up to them and said, “Um, excuse me… I don’t mean to be a bother, but… Your giant circus tent? It’s, well… It’s kind of blocking this little stage we have here… We have shows on it on the hour, and we’d really appreciate it if you would…”
“WE ARE NOT MOVING THE TENT!”
“No, no, of course you aren’t, but.. do you think you could move it just a few feet to the left?”
“… Well. I GUESS we could do that…”

And so, the three ring circus tent was moved a few feet to the left, so that our puny little stage could be seen peeking out from behind.

That’s fine too, I tell myself. No one cares about the show, and that’s just fine.

But that’s not all. Oh no. P&G didn’t stop there. P&G decided that they needed to advertise one more product, a product that we all have probably used at some point in our lives… A product so soft, so clean, so refreshing….a product that makes you feel like you’re home, a product that has the ability to comfort you in times of great need…

Charmin toilet paper.

And just how did P&G decide to do this? Oh, you know… Just by casually setting up a GIANT golden toilet seat with a sign that says, “Charmin. Enjoy the go.”

So I’m onstage singing the duet with Nic to a crowd of maybe 20 people, tops. Suddenly, I realize that there is a giant line forming near the sound booth. I try to see through the crowd to make sure that everything is okay. What could possibly be happening that 40+ people need to talk to our sound technician?!

But then I see it. I see the giant toilet with the “Enjoy the go” sign. And then I see a mob of people LINING UP to take pictures whilst sitting upon the golden throne itself. I close my eyes and keep singing, trying no to laugh and cry simultaneously, trying to ignore the voice in my head that says, “More people would rather take their picture while pantomiming taking a sh*t on a giant toilet than watch you sing this song.

So, I’m doing a pretty good job of, oh, you know, remembering my WORDS, and keeping it together. Nic’s trying not to laugh, too, and the way we work is if one of us is about to break, we’ll simply look away in the completely opposite direction and SQUEEZE the other person’s hand. That way, the other person knows we’re struggle bus-ing, and will behave themselves until we can get it together again. This entire process usually takes… I’d say, 20 seconds. Tops.

But as I squeeze Nic’s hand and try to look away from him, I’m forced to look back in the direction of the toilet. And what I see is truly baffling.

There is a small army of African American children running around, climbing upon, and sliding down the giant toilet. A few of them are on the seat, holding their hands up to their chests in tightly-clenched fists, and making faces that can only be described as “squeezing faces.” They are also all wearing squid hats that they won earlier by playing whack-a-mole.

I don’t burst out laughing, which is a complete miracle. Instead I just… close my eyes. I can’t look at Nic, I know I’ll burst out laughing because he’s probably witnessing the invasion of the squid, too. And so, I just close my eyes and sing. I sing the entire duet with my eyes closed. It is the ONLY way I am able to get through the whole song.

“I love you more today than yesterday.
But not as muuuch, as tomOOOOOrooooooow!”

Just, you know, eyes casually locked closed. Head completely turned away. Not even looking at the man who I am supposedly completely in love with.

In a few hours, I will drive my car to King’s Island. I will park my car. I will go through the little security gate where the large Asian security man will say, “Are you still here?” like he does every day, and I will reply, “Yes, unfortunately,” as I do every day. I may add, “But today is my last day. So I will never see this place, these people, or you, ever again.” And then I may skip away whilst screaming, “VICTORRYYY!!!!!!”

I will then go to the greenroom, clock in, and warm up. I will do my hair, put on my make up, and change into my costume. I will then do three shows, all with 30 minute breaks in between. And then, I will change out of my costume, clock out, go BACK through security, where the large Asian man will surely ask, “You’re still here?” like he does every day. And I will reply with, “You’re still asking that question?”

Then, I will swipe my little ID for the last time, throw my bag over my head, and run away screaming, “FREEDOM!!! FREEEEEDOOOMMMM!!!!!” I will then grab someone else who is leaving at the same time, shove their face between my two flattened hands, and kiss their squished pancake face fully on the mouth. I will pull away in passion, look into their eyes intently, and whisper to them as if we are the only two people left on the planet earth, “I’m free…
And then I’ll get in my car and go to Wendy’s.