May 31, 2007

Hallucinations

I've dealt with night terrors for years. Well, I wouldn't call it a night terror. It's more like a hallucination. I feel absolutely awake and aware of my surroundings, but I still see figures from my dreams. Most often, these hallucinations are spiders. Other times, they have been snakes or some kind of bug. Once, after falling asleep while sucking on a cough drop, I saw a crouched, two-legged robot ambling toward my bed.

My heart pounds fiercely each time, shock washes over me, until I realize the vision just might not be real. The intensity and quantity of the hallucinations seem to be directly connected to anxiety.

Last night, I felt awake, as if I just couldn't fall asleep. I looked up toward the ceiling to find Andy, my dead brother-in-law, standing on the bed, towering above where Josh and I were lying. While I knew this figure was Andy, it didn't look like him. Before I could see the face clearly, he disappeared. With my heart thumping wildly, I turned over and looked at Josh. His face was turned toward mine, eyes open. But it wasn't his face or his eyes that I saw. The nose was wider, the brow more pronounced, the eyes gleaming with a near-ravenous leer. I quickly turned over, shaken but aware that this was most likely just another vision. I finally fell asleep, under the covers.

May 29, 2007

The American Facade.

Sometimes I think about how we must appear to others: a mom and dad with hands on their child's shoulders, waiting outside the restaurant for their names to be called. The parents joke and talk about their day. The child interjects his young, but clever commentary while the parents smile proudly at one another. Maybe they are joined for dinner by family or friends. Everything seems to be if not perfect, then keeping with the idea of typical American life.

But what lies under this image, this picture that others might perceive?
And if I know this to be true of my relationship,
how can I be sure it is not this way of all other relationships?
Is unhappiness disguised as contentedness the true American life?

Friday night. I am driving to Kortney's house. I blindly apply some foundation to my face while singing along with Cindy Lauper's Time After Time. I am annoyed with Josh after he failed to show up for Kayden's first t-ball practice. However, how could I be upset with him when I missed all of his soccer games due to my class schedule? More than anything, I'm angry with myself because I am not able to do all the work myself. I need Josh. I don't want to need him. I want to do it all myself so that if we separate, I won't be helpless.

My briefly-lifted spirit is dented slightly when I exit the freeway ramp, passing the intersection where Andy was killed only three months ago. Will I ever drive by without thinking of him or of the events following his death? So much surrounding that time is now ingrained in my head. Aimee Mann's "Save Me" will always be the song I kept on repeat, drowning myself in the lyrics; Abe's Cafe will always be the place I dined at the day after, when I was feeling so close to the edge; my mother-in-law's face will always be contorted in a grief-stricken, sobbing mask of pain even if she is smiling.

I arrive at Kortney's townhouse. I push past the two large dogs and go to the living room. Kortney rushes around, making last minute changes to her appearance. She emerges finally, short hair in low pigtails, and announces that she forgot to take her medication. She rushes throughout the house, pulls cheese from the refridgerator, washes her wine glasses, all while discussing perks of her new office job. Rachel arrives moments later and takes the seat next to me at the dining room table. We slice cheese, drink wine, and talk. This is what I need and I feel my body relaxing.

May 28, 2007

So many times, I think about how I should make the marriage work. It would be so much easier to just plug away at it: enjoy the good times, ignore the bad times. This is so unlike my old mindset. I have never been anti-divorce. Even before marrying, while many brides with heart-shaped eyes declare to one another that they would never divorce, unless, like, they were abused or something. Even then, I was always aware that the odds of divorcing were against me so why fight it? Maybe not the most optimistic spirit, but I consider it to be more realistic.

However, after tasting the fruit--the fruit being, "look how much easier it is to be a parent when there is another parent around to help you"--it's so much harder to throw it away half-eaten.

But who am I being fair to? Not Josh, not Kayden, and not even myself...

May 27, 2007

Rap

I had iTunes on shuffle and Deltron 3000 came on.
At one point, the rapper says "stupid ass n****r..."

At that moment, Kayden popped up from out of nowhere.

Kayden: This music is inappropriate for me....

Kelli: (thinking) oh shit! He's going to be repeating those lyrics, I'm going to have to explain to him about racial slurs and swear words and...

Kayden: They said the word "stupid".

Kelli: (wipes sweat from brow)

May 22, 2007

Emos.

The deli across the street is pretty much run by little emo boys. One of them has black hair (dyed, of course) and always wears a black beret and thick-rimmed glasses.

I happened to glance out my office window today and saw him running down the street. He was wearing black skinny pants, a black-and-white striped shirt, and his black hat.

I swear to god, my first thought was that he was the Hamburglar.

May 18, 2007

Probation.

The office manager says, "Do you have a moment?" while walking past my desk. Immediately, I know I am in trouble. She never says this unless I'm being talked to about yet another issue. I say sure and follow her into an empty office. She turns on the light, closes the door. Yeah, I'm in trouble. I sit down calmly and wonder why I'm not worried.

"Now," she starts, "I just want you to know this is not personal in any way. This is only professional. While we think you do a great job with the tasks you're interested in, it seems like you've been slacking on your daily routine." She continues in this fashion--littering every positive with a couple negatives--for about twenty minutes. The bottom line, she states, is that I'm being put on probation. We will meet every week for four weeks. At the end, she will decide if I'm worthy of my crap job.

I am not affected by this until she states that this deterioration of performance has only been during the last few months. I begin to feel sorry for myself. Through my newly wet eyes, I mutter, "This is just icing on the cake." I don't feel like agreeing with her evaluation of me. I don't feel like defending myself. I don't feel like being here or there. I just don't feel like anything.

May 16, 2007

I hear his familiar, near sing-song voice and I look up from my computer monitor.

"Hey! How are you?" I ask, hoping my eagerness isn't seeping into my voice.

"Good..."

"We haven't seen you around much lately." I say this nonchalantly while thinking I can't stop thinking about you.

"Yeah, I know...what's up with that?"

"We finally fixed our wide-format printer." I still felt like kicking Leigh, the admin assistant who finally took the initiative to have the monster of a printer repaired.

"Well, why don't you break it so you can see me more?" He says this while laughing. I giggle, blush, and agree in response. Why? Why must my mind shut down in his presence? I can almost feel my IQ dropping whenever an attractive man talks to me. It kind of feels like vertigo.

May 15, 2007

Corporate American.

The longer I spend and the more immersed I become in Corporate America,
the more I hate it. Everything about it.

I hate the moneymoneymoney mentality,
the idea that being a workaholic is key
and valuing your home life is seen as a weakness or quirk.

I hate how every single day is the same...just with different people or projects.

All of it.

It's just stupid and meaningless and I hate it.

P.S. I'm in a bad mood.

Mad World

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me

And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circlesI
It's a very, very
Mad World Mad World

Enlarging your world
Mad World.

True Things

They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday.

- Brian Andreas, Story People

Symmetry

My head is resting on my desk, staring out in the foyer of the office.
From this angle and position, everything is perfectly symmetrical.
The lights above, the windows of the conference rooms,
even the flowers are split in half,
a mirrored image.

I stare straight ahead, out of my office, into the office across the hall.
I wonder if the receptionist over there has ever laid her head on her own grimy desk and stared over into my office.

I'm surrounded on all sides by idling cars. The dripping rain makes the road into an untouchable black sea, one that might be found in hell to torture the damned with its mere presence. I close my eyes, strain to lose myself in the haunting, despairing melody coming through my speakers. Lose myself in my mind where everything is either alright or has the potential to be. The place where I imagine how much better the future will be, how this is all temporary. I try not to think of the past or the present...always the future. It's hard to be optimistic if you only think of what has been.

I open my eyes, look to my left, and see the wide expanse of the city amphitheater. Enclosed by pillars in the fashion of the Parthenon, it manages to make all that concrete look somewhat majestic. I think of him. I know he and his friends often ride their bikes around the promenade. I had seen video footage of a kind of last-man-standing game they had played: they rode their bikes around and around the oval path, trying to pull one another down. It made me ache for that kind of silly free-spirited behavior. For that large group of friends who want nothing more than to have a good time with you.

I wonder what he's thinking at this moment, where he is, how he's feeling...who he's with. It's 8:30 a.m. He's probably at work now, preparing for the day. Is he already out delivering large rolls of drawings? Wearing a black rain slicker and his ridiculous goggles? I had made fun of him once for those goggles, but he wasn't fazed.

I close my eyes again and hear an impatient honk from behind me. I open up to find the car ahead has progressed five feet ahead. I catch a glimpse of a bike messenger in my rearview mirror and snap to attention. Is it him? The courier speeds forward and I see it's not my courier. I close my eyes again.

May 13, 2007

The Anniversary

It's my two-year anniversary. The Dude is at his father's house for the night--his father's idea, not mine--and Josh and I are driving around.

"What do you want to do?" I ask him.

"I don't know. Are there any movies you want to see?"

"I kind of wanted to see '28 Weeks Later'. What about you?"

"'Hot Fuzz' looks good."

"Well, do you want to see that? We can see that..." I cling to this gleam of normalcy. Yes, we can see a movie and eat snacks and pick apart the scenes like snarky a-holes afterward . Just like regular couples.

"No, I don't really want to. I don't have the energy for a movie."

"The energy? You sit. In the dark. And watch it for a couple hours. Why do you need energy for that?" I feel myself getting tense.

"You don't understand how much it takes out of me to be around crowds..."

"Right. What do you want to do instead? Do you want to eat? What are you in the mood for?" I ask.

After negotiations which include his usual hoing and humming, we settle on a pseudo-fast-food restaurant. Quick-service. I order the nachos, he gets a burrito. Upon taking a seat in the patio area outside the restaurant, he asks if I'm alright.

No, I'm not alright! "I'm fine...why do you ask?"

"I don't know."

I eat half of my nachos, feel my stomach begin to curdle, and push the plate towards him.

Riding in the car, a slow love song begins. I think of somebody else and imagine scenarios in which we might be together.

I feel like I've already betrayed Josh by thinking about this.

Legoquarium.

K and I built a multi-story German aquarium out of legos.
It has separates tanks for sharks, whales, an octopus, stingrays, and more.
There is even a habitat for amphibians.

(The reason I know it's a German aquarium is because all of the visitors had German accents. Apparently, that's the only accent K and I both know.)

May 8, 2007

Homeowner

I want to sell and go back to an apartment. I don't think I'm earning any equity. The townhouse market is not growing. The mortgage increases every year. I could be in a bigger apartment for about $300 less per month than I'm paying (and that gap will increase with each year). The only benefit I'm getting so far is the ability to paint the walls as I please.

May 7, 2007

Titanic

Kayden has been really curious about the Titanic for some time. I got books from the library, showed him photos, and finally, let him watch some of the DiCaprio movie. He did really well with it, asked questions. He started crying at the end, though.

And now he's watching the National Geographic documentary on it.

May 1, 2007

Take that!

While at Kayden's soccer practice last night, I mentioned to Josh about how I would be meeting a friend in Grand Junction.

He said, "Do you know how far of a drive that is?!"

I said, "Yes, about 4 hours."

He laughed uproariously and said, "That's so cute that you think it's only four hours." He said it took six hours instead.

I checked MapQuest when we got home. This morning, I said, "I checked Mapquest and it said it takes four hours...but it's so cute that you thought it took six hours."

Yes, I did sink to his level and it felt great.

He repaid me by ignoring me and refusing the goodbye kiss. His loss.