Wednesday, March 30, 2011

That girl

                “He was so mad at me and I tried to tell him that I did nothing wrong.”
                I paused and furrowed my brow, trying to convey the confusion I was experiencing in my own mind on my face, “Um, hon, but you did do something wrong… you cheated on him.”
                She flipped her hair over her shoulder, in the way she’d been mastering since middle school, and looked at me like I was crazy.  “Psh, come on, it totally wasn’t like that.  That dude came onto me and I was just being nice.”
                “So nice that you felt the need to practically swallow his tongue in a roomful of your, and his, closest friends?”
                “You make it sound like I cheated cheated, which I totally didn’t.”
                I turned around and walked away from her.  The questions, “Why am I friends with you?” and “Are you fucking retarded?” ran through my mind in rapid succession, but all I could do was grab both sides of my face with my tensed hands and draw them angrily and roughly down my cheeks.  I had met that point of livid enragement.  I was experiencing what is often known as “seeing red,” and mostly because I considered myself friends with this girl.
                “Why are you so mad, anyway?” she asked as if she didn’t really care what my answer was.
                I whipped around and faced her, finally ready to air every, single reason why my boiling rage had finally met the point of eruption.
                “You honestly have no idea, do you?”
                She raised her eyebrows at me, plastered a look of “Um, what the hell are you talking about?” onto her smug face, and pulled up the side of her mouth into a sarcastic smirk while she shook her head.
                I wanted to scream, right into her face.  I wanted to reach over and smack her so hard that, literally, the idiocy and utter stupidity that resided in between her ears went flying out onto the floor.  I wanted to relieve her, and quite frankly me too, from having to go through this conversation.  So many times I had to suffer her drama secondhand, listening and commenting in understanding tones and murmurs about every, single, little thing.  I was so done that I could barely stand still long enough to get out what I needed to say.  I felt the urge to pace and pull at my own hair and yell obscenities into her dumb, make-up caked face.  But, I sat down on the edge of the futon and put my head between my knees.
                “What the hell is wrong with you,” she said, tone dripping with malicious rancor.
                “You are such a dumb bitch, you literally make my brain hurt.”
                I looked up just as she jerked back, an expression of utter insult and shock registering on her face.  But I wasn’t allowing her to stop me now.
                “But that’s not even the half of it.  You are twenty years old and you’ve never done a single, independent thing for yourself.  Ever.  You expect everyone else to fall at your feet and take care of you or do things for you, and when things don’t go your way, you flip out, as if you’re entitled to the kindheartedness that others bestow upon you, though you do absolutely nothing to actually deserve it.  People fall into your trap of lies and fake nicety, and when they realize how pathetic you truly are, the ones that feel they can brave it out only stick around because they feel bad for you… they are too afraid to leave you be because they know how truly alone and incompetent you are.”  I paused, allowing my lungs to refill with air before I continued.  While I gave myself a nanosecond to think, I realized the harshness of my words.  I started to stop myself, but I understood at that moment that if I didn’t say what I need to say and what she needed to hear, no one would ever get this opportunity to enlighten her ever again.  And I would be stuck in an unhealthy and frankly, slowly dwindling but quickly regrettable friendship for the rest of my life.  I had talked myself out of this for so long and no matter what anyone else said, if I didn’t save myself, for once in my life, I would never be able to forgive myself for not doing her any good.  I honestly didn’t care if I came out looking like the bad guy… that’s what happens when you’re an adult and you take responsibility for things.
                I continued, “You want people to trust you and love you, but all you ever do is walk all over them.  And, and…” I began to raise my voice a bit, “you are such a child.  You want all this responsibility and encouragement but WHAT have you done to deserve it?  Huh?  Not a single, damn thing!  You got pregnant at fifteen, had an abortion, got pregnant at nineteen, decided to keep the kid, got into a relationship with a drug dealer, really hon, a drug dealer, cheated on the father of your child, not once but twice, and now that you’re single, you’d rather get another piercing or tattoo then provide shelter or food for your own child!”
                “My child does have shelter and food –”
                I cut her off, “Yeah that your father, his grandfather provides!  You don’t have a job, but the money you do get, probably as an allowance from your daddy or from whatever illegal activities you don’t think are inappropriate, you don’t spend on the things that are necessary.”
                “But I need to let my hair down sometimes!  I need to act my age and have fun, too!  It can’t always be boring and the hard stuff!”
                I yelled at her, “Are you SERIOUS?!  You lost your freedom and childhood when you gave birth and decided not to give the kid up for adoption!  There’s no more partying, there’s no more childish nights out with the girls, there’s no more time to get high and neglect your duties!  Wake the fuck up and realize that life has hit you full force in the chest and it’s time you step up and act like the adult you want to be treated as.  You are a parent first, and there are no exceptions!  Ever!  Get that into your dumb ass skull!”
                “Stop calling me dumb and stupid!  I’ve managed to keep my child alive and healthy for this long, and not just anyone can do that!”
                “Sweets, haven’t you seen Teen Mom?  Seriously?  You honestly want me to sit here and encourage your absurd pathological tendencies?  Well look elsewhere because I know that that kid, if left entirely in your own care, should’ve be taken to DCS, like yesterday!”
                “What the hell ever!” she retorted back at me, “You have NO idea what you’re talking about!”
                “No, you are deranged.  You have no idea what you’re talking about.  I’m so done with supporting your lies, your stories, pretending that I don’t know when you aren’t telling me the truth, making you feel okay for keeping things from me.  You consider me your best friend, well I’m pretty sure you treat me like shit and I’m also pretty sure you aren’t supposed to treat the people you love and care about like that.  I’m so done with you.  I’m so done with this and I hate that I’ve wasted so much of my life on trying to be there for you.  This is so completely useless.  You’ll never change.  I’ll wake up one day, ten, twenty years down the line, turn on the TV to see you or your child on Maury or Dr. Phil.  You’ll be like that mom that the kid and his friends hate because she is still trying to act like she’s in high school, when really, she’s fifty, wrinkly, disgusting, and pathetic!  Get a clue, would you?”
                I abruptly stood up from the futon and turned to leave.
                “You know,” she practically whispered, “I don’t know why I was ever friends with you either.  All you’ve done is make me feel like crap about myself.  No one else ever does that to me.”
                I stopped and looked over my shoulder.  Part of my wanted to run to her and say I was sorry for being mean, that I didn’t mean it, I was just angry.  But the part of me that eventually won out, it told me that I was being honest with her the first time in our friendship and that I needed away from her like a hunted prey needs a good hiding spot.
                “You know,” I said sarcastically back at her, “I may make you feel like crap, and I may be the only way that makes you feel that way, but I’m also the only one that’s stuck around you for this long.  Haven’t you ever noticed how all your other friends, the ones that always have an excuse to not hang out or never answer your calls… those friends, haven’t you noticed that they all avoid you?  Haven’t you noticed that they disappear quickly after you become so called ‘friends?’  Listen to me, and hear me, if you hear nothing else… I’ve done you a favor today.  I’ve handed a prime opportunity to accept the truth of what I’ve said.  If you choose to do nothing, then you are as stupid, stuck-up, and childish as I’ve always known you to be.  If you heed what I’ve said and maybe make some serious changes in your life, I’ll be looking forward to a big fat thank you in the near future because your life will be a completely new experience for you.  One that you might actually enjoy, and one that everyone might actually want to be a part of with you.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

what are friends for?

Why did our paths intersect?
When did I allow you to come inside my safe zone?
How did things get to be this way?
What are you going to do to make up for it, and why do I hope you will, though I know you won’t?
Where will I be when you realize you really do need me?

I was perfectly content with my life the way I’d always known it… practically a recluse.  I was okay with just going through life as the person who had a few friends, a couple people she’d hang out with on a hot summer night.  I was fine with not having someone who I confided in or felt like I needed to call on a regular basis.  But then, for the sake of my one true love, I made myself become the friendly person.  I forced myself to be okay with opening my home and my world to you.  Although it took a lot of work for me, I became alright with you constantly needing every ounce of attention on you.  I realized that I’m the type of person who gives and you are the type of person who takes.  That’s just the way the cards were dealt, and I accepted playing the hand.  I don’t know when it happened, but I woke up one day and you were a selfish, arrogant child.  Either I’d been walking around with my head up my ass or you were really good at manipulating the people around you.  I hate to give you that much credit, and I hate to think I was fooled by the likes of you, but I also know that I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.  It took me a while to stop feeling sorry for you.  Every single time something slightly this side of right went down, I was there listening, giving advice, letting you cry, and I was okay being that person.  But when something went wrong in my life, you made suggestions that seemed to benefit you.  You gave me advice as if I were someone you wished to be unhappy.  Luckily for me, I was and am smart enough to realize that I can only count on myself for the honest answers.  Luckily for me, you helped my eyes shoot open to reality, to the truth.  I quickly understood that feeling sorry for you only fueled your unhinged craving for drama and empathy.  At first, I beat myself up for rolling my eyes behind your back and telling myself over and over, “I’m so done with this!”  I want to be your friend, still, after everything, because I know you need someone like me in your life.  But there’s only so much a single person can give before they’ve been sucked dry.  For your sake, I hope you realize this before it’s too late, because I won’t stick around forever.  I won’t wait until you grow up and see what a horrible friend you’ve been.  I won’t be here when you grasp how much you’ve needed me all this time.

Dedicated to all those who know what it feels like to be taken advantage of =)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Pup

          She longs for a moment of any attention, whether good or bad.  She lays at our feet, wondering if moving closer will make us want to bend over and scratch behind her ears.  No one can say for sure, except for maybe Cesar Millan, exactly the thoughts that run through her mind, but we've imagined dialogue for her voiceless soul.
          Her love for watching cars can only be outweighed by her adoration of her human parental figures.  Her lazy Mommy rarely plays with her, cursing herself over the lack of exercise the poor dog gets.  She certainly has more energy than the typical dog, and they try to make up for it by having a lengthy Frisbee date every weekend.  She tries to compensate by allowing the animal child to lie around on the couches, snuggled up beside her, slathering her in kisses, hugs, and plenty of belly-scratching.  When Mom is up and about, she's right at her heels, waiting for a crumb to fall or ball to be dropped, signaling that any time is the right time for some ball-chasing.  At night, the second that door opens, her heart rate increases and she slithers across the floor, giving snakes and fish a run for their money.  "Daddy's home!  He's home!  Oh my goodness I am so excited to see him!  Can we play, or go outside?!  I love going outside!"
          "Hi pretty girl!  Have you missed me," usually screeches out as our response, because the higher your pitch, the more the tail wags, making you feel good about yourself for at least a few minutes, because you know she's genuinely excited to be in your presence.  When we've had an unusually difficult day, our response falls more along the lines of "Lucy, chill!"  She sits, tail still waving frantically, her tongue hanging out of her mouth, breaths coming more and more rapidly, all the while being patient for that one moment of affection.
          Dinner time is one of her favorites because she's spoiled to the core, her Dad allowing her the remnants left on his plate after he's finished.  If she's really lucky, she'll get her own portion mixed into her silver bowl.  When she's nice and full, she'll plop down on her comfy over-sized pillow and watch the room, keeping a protective glance at the door, making sure that nothing interferes in her world.
          Bed time comes and she knows her place, cozy and warm in her padded, darkened, lair, only feet from her guardians' resting place.  When she's feeling lonely, and especially when there's a storm, she jumps up and nestles herself between them, saying, "Please don't be mad, but I'm so frightened!  Let me sleep up here until I'm okay.  Can I please put my wet nose against your warm arm and nudge you ever so slightly, that way you can comfort me the way you always do?"  Drifting into sleep is one of the hardest things for her, always alert, ears perked listening to the sounds that are too far away or too soft for human ears to hear.  Utter love and devotion are what flows through her owners hearts, and although they don't always make every moment about her, she's the most forgiving living being they'll ever know.  She never asks questions, never holds grudges, always listens, and is always ready to give a wet, loving lick across the chin, foraging in their minds the most-widely known fact in the world... "A dog is a man's best friend."


Monday, March 14, 2011

Growing Up

           We waited in that cold, hard, room for hours.  We sat, shifting from side to side, chair to couch, too anxious to eat, yet too hungry to keep our stomaches from rumbling.  He was a brother, a son, a boyfriend, someone who we all cared for.  We looked hopefully at all the other faces coming in and out of the room, trying to instill some sort of feeling through a half-smile and kind eyes.  We weren't fooling anyone, though, we were just as nervous as they looked. 
          "Just a routine procedure," they told us.  "This guy is the best," was how they consoled us.
          We tried to keep the air light by chatting about everyday nonsense, watching some rerun of an ancient soap opera on the telveision in the corner that was more bothersome than coaxing.  We tried to seem tired, closing our eyes because we had to be here so early, but secretly we were imaginging the worst possible outcomes, praying we were wrong. 
          Jiggling nervously then responding, "No I'm just restless," when someone asked if I was on edge.  Watching the door everytime it swung open hoping that he got done earlier than expected because, "Wait, we were incorrect... there's nothing wrong, he'll be fine!" was what we truly wanted to hear.
          Oh, we're supposed to go into the consult room now?  Sitting, waiting, hoping, was what took place in that small, windowless room.  Then, having to watch as tears streamed down my mother's face.  It took every ounce of my own willpower to keep from bursting out into tears, and we were getting good news.  I don't even want to imagine if something bad had actually occurred.  Tears of relief mixed with fear for what was to come escaped from her green eyes, while my brown one's welled up, me pleading to those drops of saline to stay put. 
          The doctor was kind to us, kept his patience as we asked questions that had already been answered or simply didn't really need to be asked in the first place.  I wanted to reach out and grab her hand, hold her, tell her that everything was going to be okay.  But I just sat there, unable to be the strong daughter she raised and needed.  It was times like this when I felt like I wasn't as good to her as she deserved.
          More sitting, waiting, stressing.  "I want to see my son," were the repeated words she uttered, writhing her hands in frustration and anticipation.  "It's just a few more minutes, Mom," I said, trying to convey to her how much I wasn't saying, through just a few words.  When we finally got to go back we were told only one of us could stay.  No questions, Mom would be with him.
          Seeing his breathing chest, that familiar face, those manly hands, that used to be so small, grasping for me to play or help.  I looked at his closed eyes and wished he comprehended how much he meant to me.  Everytime I looked at him, this overwhelming nostalgia crept up into my soul, filling me with sadness that someday one of us would actually be gone from the other.  In the wake of success it was difficult to not focus on what could've gone wrong, but so utterly thankful that he came out okay.
          I kissed his lips and wished I could squeeze him, eager for when he'd be lucid enough to make me laugh like he always could.  When it was time to go, I felt a longing to stay, to shield him from what was to come, begging God to give his pain to me.  "Let me take some of his burden, he's so young, and it's unfair that he should suffer through this," were my silent cries, the doctor's earlier words of "These next few days will be the worst pain he's ever experienced," echoing through my mind. 
          What a great way for him to spend his 18th birthday, that rite of passage everyone talks about.  How must he feel?  Is he screaming inside, trying to put up this front, this tough exterior?  He must be petrified and infuriated at the same time, getting this last chance to be a kid wrenched out from under him.  Having the one thing he loved to do ripped away from him, is he really holding it together?
          "I worry about him," I utter to my husband, "I'm scared for him.  I want to cry and fight and scream for him.  What can I do?"  "Just be there, like you always are," he responds, hugging me and wiping away my small trickle of tears.
          "Thank you Sissy," he repeats over and over, and it breaks me open, exposes my unconditional and absolute affection for him, though he can't see it.  Though it's almost unimaginable how far it extends, he knows, and I never stop showing it.  I want to entrap him and put him a plastic bubble so nothing can get to him, so nothing can harm him.  "How could we have prevented this?  What did we do wrong?" were the thoughts that all of us thought, though they went unvoiced.  They quickly turned into "What can we do to help?  What can we do to keep his mind off the pain?"  Nothing.  It's a constant ache, a constant reminder of what's lost.  Only he can do now, only he can overcome.
          I want to erase it, make him happy, make him okay, make him have acceptance.  Maybe he does and he's just being stronger than I, as his older sister, can give him credit for.  I've seen him hurt, cry, be frightened, run away, need me.  I've seen him endure, toughen up, keep a stiff upper lip, stand his ground, help me.  I just want to make it all better for him and I know that only he can do that for himself.  He's so grown-up now that I'm lost without the little him.  The boy who used to say "Will you sleep in my bed, Sissy cause I'm scared."  The boy who used to sneak into my room when my friends were over just so he could be a part of my life.  The boy who I shielded from our fighting parents and told him everything would be okay.  The boy who used to hold my hand when he was walking into the unknown.  My little brother isn't little anymore and I'm thankful for the man he's become.  I'm grateful for him because now I say, "Buddy, will you help me?"
         Soon, we'll be far away from each other and all we'll have are texts or phone calls, empty emails to keep in touch over many miles.  Will I be able to survive this?  Can I go this world without him there, just across the hall... or just a few minutes away?  I'm the one that's scared now... scared of the unknown, anxious about what's to come, afraid he'll grow up and not need his big sister anymore.  Time is constant, things change, people grow up.  They fall in love, they build their own lives, and I know that I'll miss him so much I'll ache inside, but that's just life.  We'll start our own families soon and then we can pass this bond down to our kids and watch as they form relationships with one another that will remind us of what we had, have, and will keep until we die. 

Joey this is for you, buddy.  I love you more than life itself little brother.