Tag Archives: cuddle-up snuggle-fluff

Turn-Down Service

9 Dec

Books have always shared my bed. Since I was just half the height I am now, I’ve tucked in with pages and bindings surrounding me, adrift in the places they’ll carry me before I sleep.

You’re never alone with a book, I’ve written here somewhere before. And written here too are some lines about how when you’re single you can sleep with your books. I used to be giddy during the short phases between boyfriends when I could sleep morosely with hardcovers beneath soft covers. But now it’s just the norm. Three years of bookfriends in my bed.

That would be fine except now I am adding a newspaper section and moleskine calendar floating on top of the comforter too. Do I really never expect to share this bed again? I guess so.

At least I’m surrounded by love. And my life pursuit keeps me warm at night. I intend to become an author by osmosis.

Get a Good Look

28 Jun

texasEntangled with rib cages touching, I curl my shoulders and hold my heart at the center with his chest to contain me. His hold doesn’t drift while my mind disappears over a precipice. Three weeks ago I was tracing the  nape of another neck, and I poured every single ounce of affection into that soul. I stored it all there, gave it a home, and now here I am, mid-cherish, and I can feel my heart tremble at the thought that I would give it away again so soon. It’s not going voluntarily this time. It’s staying still, holding itself out of reach even while the generous Gentleman from Carrollton cradles me.

The way he reaches for me is exactly what I have always sketched for my future loved self. A duo on the sofa, some space between us, a pause, and that intentional but nonchalant reach. The enfolding into a safe place. And then a very calm and resolute sustain.

There is absolutely nothing turbulent or dramatic about it. Nothing like a time limit, impending flight, or marital partner to stir up the dopamine and make me feel engulfed in passion. So my heart shrugs, and asks, what about that Aloof Percussionist, the one you promised me to and chased and pushed and demanded and did not receive in return.

Sorry, heart, I understand you are going through drama withdrawal. And honestly, I am not really sure how to navigate this scenario. Everything feels good, and linear, with no spikes, only a gentle grasping of my hand as we drive back from the restaurant. He is that man. The one every therapist and friend has said I’ve deserved my entire life. He is steady and kind and he doesn’t demand or expect. He just is there alongside me.

A friend of mine said that I had to find someone who could just “be” with me. Not be “with” me, but “be”, as in, he’s a solid object, and I’m a solid object, and we can rest together without any kind of crazy catalyst stirring us up into an incendiary disaster. It helps that he is as familiar as he is new. I’ve known this man for the better part of ten years, seeing him only every once in a while, but always wondering at the connection. Then one year ago I landed in his part of the country by happenstance and six months later surprised myself by remembering his presence in the Metroplex.

Is this, this calm, this appreciation, is this the origin of love? I feel supported but not taxed. He is present but not squinting to analyze and extract every thought and feeling that quivers in my ever-shifting being. Observant, but not critical, he presents a very smooth connection that provides a sense that I am understood.

In the morning, I wake up and I have to count back to the last time I chose someone good to place next to my heart. The realization is a bit shocking. It was twenty-three years ago, when I was in high school, that I allowed a benevolent soul to join my orbit and hold me. Then three years later I pummeled him and traded up to a more jagged course. I first sipped the nectar of drama way back then, and I have never, ever stopped drinking.

People would say it, they’d suggest I was addicted to drama. But I honestly felt I wasn’t that stupid. Now, feeling this sense of calm acceptance, I realize that’s exactly how I’ve calibrated my every romantic encounter. Always choosing distance, either mental or physical, as a safe buffer, I made sure I was always alone.

This is what I wonder now. Can I retrain my heart to accept something smooth, a kind and generous match who fits every single descriptor I’ve listed ten million times. Older, already has kids, has a real job, is serious about health and fitness, likes beer, loves sports, has an artist soul and an engineering mind, makes me laugh, will probably never make me cry, and communicates early and often.

I built this construct, and now I am surrounded in it. But my heart actually cringes and shrinks in fear rather than swelling with acceptance. So, following the advice of my rational mind, I will slow everything down. I will let this love grow, rather than forcing it into existence. And he expects nothing more, requests nothing more. He is not calling this anything that it is not. We are enjoying each other.

Is this what it feels like to be with someone good? It’s quiet all around me, and it feels like I can exist as I am, with promise of support while I expand. I really do hope that I learn to like it.

Alight and Remain

5 May

I sit before you now the builder of a failed fire. The white charred bits of unburned logs are the brightest parts of the pitch-black firebox in my living room. Over the past hour, I stuffed three weeks’ worth of Sunday New York Times in there, trying to coerce two lonely logs to say farewell to winter with me, but they just wouldn’t catch.

The now-petrified hunks of crackling timber were porch dwellers until this evening, and I suppose they were probably damp with Texas humidity. Also, I didn’t have any kindling of any kind, not even dryer lint, which the son of a cowboy told me is a reliable fire starter.

My fire structure technique was way off, too. Sure, I opened the flue, step one complete. But I didn’t do a bed of newspaper on the grate, instead I just stuffed it underneath the metal bars. The aforementioned absent kindling was just a vestige of my imagination. And then the two logs… well they popped with laughter when I used my extra-long fireplace matches to try to introduce flame to the scenario.

So, at this moment, my apartment is the site of the world’s foremost exhibition of “all smoke and no fire.”

I always think I am about to set something on fire, but then I discover a lack of kindling. Eager to witness controlled destruction, I persist in my attempts to immolate, but the feebly arranged paper burns in huge gulps of flame without inspiring long-term ignition of the real wood.

“I’m unwilling to set this thing on fire and push it out to sea just yet,” I wrote but didn’t send to my love. He received the missive anyway and refused to annihilate “this thing we have so nicely and easily put together.”

When I prodded more and shoved more newspaper under the grate, piling on printed words twisted into vain attempts to mimic kindling, he shrugged it off. “I’m not worried about anything between us.”

He is the kevlar and I am the flint.

Elevation Training

4 Apr

train“You look so carefree, I almost didn’t recognize you.”

I opened the car door and climbed up awkwardly onto the too-high truck passenger seat. Salt Lake Rambling Adventure Writer friend was picking me up for lunch one day last August. I was home for a week to pack up all of my things and then get back to Texas just as fast I could.

Carefree. For one month I had been staying in a tiny carriage house behind a historic home in Fort Worth, shuttling myself between hospitals, yoga studios, and fancy grocery stores. My mother was very, very sick. She is very, very sick. But I was and am happier than I’ve ever been, because I was and am living with a purpose. My aim is to stay strong and well for my mother, to be her advocate and somewhat of a curmudgeonly chauffeur and grocery-getter.

Despite the exhaustion that now can crowd the features of my face so it looks like I’m squinting my way back to sleep, Adventure Writer was damn right. I felt progressively more carefree with each rotation of the four wheels on my car as I drove myself out of the high-mountain desert and placed myself on the southern plains almost ten months ago. And now, now friends, I am going to test the strength of that carefree, and return to Salt Lake City for my first visit since our breakup.

I am ready to see the city that challenged me and made me better while simultaneously suffocating me and editing out all my best New Yorker bits. Or so I always said.


At our sunny, summer lunch that day, Adventure Writer elaborated on his theory of my advanced levity. “Utah was your most conflicted relationship,” he began, outlining some of the finer points of how I never intended to be there, expended a great deal of energy regretting that I lived there, and yet as a result of some bizarre need to prove everyone wrong, hoped to flourish there and gamely trying to reinvent myself for social approval in that natural wonderland of oppressive misogynistic culture.

As one might guess, things didn’t work out too well for me in the dating world of SLC. But I did manage to foster profoundly important friendships that continue to support me right up to this very minute.

Then came the deus ex machina. My slice of pepperoni pizza was yanked from my hands by a force of nature beyond my control when Adventure Writer stated the most important truth ever: “The rejection you felt was actually coming from yourself.”

Blame the city all you want, but that carefree wasn’t going to show up until you found a reason to love yourself. And that I most certainly did, when I decided to once again move for love, taking myself to Texas for my mother. So that’s done. Now I am going back to that mountain town to claim the love that waited for me all along. It’s a good thing he was patient.

Not Nothing, but Not Something

12 Oct

I’m willing to bet he’s a Capricorn. Diligent, attentive, polite, but sees only the work ahead. “Let’s figure it out in one and a half weeks when my boss gets back.” Crosses the room and directly reports to your table to shake your hand and hug you upon arrival, remembers all your tastes, makes a joke incorporating the title of the play you’re seeing tonight without reminder, checking his watch commands you to return for a drink after the theater, seems defiantly pleased when you decide you actually like the cocktail he recommended and you refused last week. But that. That week and a half. Only a Capricorn could see that as a Capricorn-like denial of any free time. As a wall. An edifice. Only a Capricorn would ignore all the other Capricorn’s warmth and progress and see nothing but failure in the lack of definite plans.

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