Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thank You for Your Concern

If you know much about me, you know that I tend to keep certain things out of what I post freely online. Not for any real reason, but, more for my own privacy. That, and I tend to think that most of what gets left on the cutting room floor either falls into the "That's Un-incredible!" and/or "Who Cares?" categories. But feel free to stop me on this one.

So, I'm breaking my own self-imposed rule.

I have a daughter. She's 8, soon to be 9 years old, who loves video games and My Little Pony. She's into girly things, like princesses and makeup, and puts rainbows on everything that can take marker or crayon. And boy, does she love to eat.

Oh, and, she has autism.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh, how horrible!" or, "My cousin's nephew has that!" or something else along those lines, right? Or maybe just some general sympathy towards my bad luck?

Please don't. It's because of things of the like that I keep it mostly to myself. I'm not embarrassed, nor am I in any sort of denial. But when she starts having one of those days where she gets very physical and a little out of hand, I feel obligated to tell the other parents at the playground this. She's not pushing those kids around to be a bully. She's not yelling because she's a problem child. She didn't mean to throw the ball in your child's face. She's not ignoring your child because she's rude. She has communication problems. She has social interaction problems. And every day, she gets a little better. Even if today doesn't show it.

Then, come either one of two things.

The first, is how they can relate. Or how they read something on it 2 years ago, and completely understand. This relative has it. Their neighbors' kid has it. X Y Z celebrity's kid has it. They use Mongolian rain water and peanuts for therapy. Have you tried it yet? I heard of this program that doesn't exist anymore that might help...would you like me to email it to you?

I understand what they're trying to do, but, really, it's completely unnecessary. Pretty much unwanted, if I can be perfectly honest. I know what she is, and I know what she has. I've been to the pools of resources and caves of information so many times that I feel I could write books on it. So the anecdotal tales of folks I've never met or the snippet of of information that isn't even relevant anymore just feels like treading water. I know they don't know this, so I try my best not to seem ungrateful or snooty in any way when it happens. Even if I'm secretly rolling my eyes at them.

There's a downgraded version of this I get from time to time too.

Do her brothers and sisters have it? Oh...she's an only child? How sad! It's so hard, isn't it? You can hardly tell she has it, though!

Again, I understand what they mean. They're trying to sympathize with something that most don't know a great deal about. Only, in this version, it always leaves me a little depressed. It's like getting a verbal effort ribbon from parents with 'regular' kids. She's all I've known in terms of raising a child, so, who can say how hard it is? Who can say how sad it's supposed to be? This is what normal is in our family. And I don't ever really think about it like that until things like these come up.

The second, is downright stupid.

She's retarded...so what? She still shouldn't be so rough! My kid is 'special' too, y'know! This area is for children! Keep her out!

To clarify, no, she's not retarded. But thanks for understanding. And I'm sure your drooling idiot is the unique little snowflake you think he is. She is tall, so she looks older. I'm 5'11" myself, so it's obviously hereditary. Mentally, though, she's still 5. So, she still likes to play with baby-ish stuff from time to time. I mostly try to discourage it, but, sometimes when she can't process things, the baby stuff acts like a safe zone. So, sorry your kid didn't get to play with the foam blocks instantly. I hear theres a nice pile of paint chips in the corner, though.

I wont lie. There is, sometimes, a lot to deal with. I have meetings with her teachers seemingly every month, and with it comes an avalanche of paper. She's a picky eater, so we wind up cycling through the same dinners all the time. And getting Medicaid and SSI was a small battle in and of itself. But these aren't everyday things. So, while it might be tough at times, it's never tough all the time.

So, really, thank you for your concern. But, I think I've got it covered.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Porcelain

The five of us sat around, and looked up at the menu above. Shelves were littered with a rainbow of sweets, with frozen drinks on the counter behind, and golden, buttery popcorn to the left of the register. The man in uniform smiled at us all, nodded and took our order.

Moments later, we were picking through our bags of treats. You tossed a chocolate in your mouth as I bit the head off of a gummy worm. You caught me staring. You just smiled.

We headed over to the ticket counter. Foolishly, I spent whatever money I had on food. You nudged me to the side, playfully. "I got it." I heard you say, before you smirked over your shoulder. My mouth opened to protest, but I stayed unwillingly mute. I blinked, with a prickle of heat curving over my face. "...Thanks."

It wasn't going to start for a while. The doors weren't even open. I rested my hand on the small brass pole next to me. Yours was already there. "Oh..." was all I managed to get out, as I slowly pulled away. We locked eyes. I could feel myself being dragged towards you, helpless. Words drowned in the beating of my heart.

We perched ourselves by the oversized windows as the other three sprawled out on sofas. I planted my elbows on my thighs, staring out into the afternoon grey of nothing. You did the same. Then you spoke. I watched your lips move, but I couldn't hear what was being said.

I was staring again. Your eyes were so blue. Your mouth seemed like it was teasing a laugh. I felt myself drifting again, falling into a void where I knew I would never leave. I looked down, and inched closer, resting my head on your shoulder.

"You don't have to..." you said, never completing the thought.

I turned my head. I was being swallowed whole. I didn't care anymore. I wanted to be lost, forever, alone, with you. I leaned in, tempting a kiss.

"What are you doing?" you asked, innocently.

"I just...really wanted to do that."

Silence floated lightly in the air. I could feel my chest pound out a heavy rhythm, as you grinned, wide and true. You wrapped your arm around me, and I could feel my body flood with warmth.

"You should of told me, then..."

I felt you freely kiss the side of my face.

I melted into you.

And I was gone.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Internet Flowers

So, the last thing I had on here was a bit of a downer, and, I can't really have that, right?

Well, it was bothering me. So, I found some stuff that might, uh...make with the happy feelings. Or something.

Damnit, just take them.













monkey animated gifs

Yeah. Warm, fuzzy, wtf-ery, right? Right.

I have done my job.

Until then.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Oh Noes...

Just a tiny little post I'm making here.

If you've noticed, I've taken the last entry away. I haven't deleted it entirely, but, I'm guessing I might in the future.

Why? Well...because. I uh, decided that I should really start editing myself more. Starting with the fangasiming. I know this whole thing is set up so I can do as I more or less please, but, in the event someone...especially someone I cared about read this, I don't think it would be looked upon too kindly.

I'll probably be taking down things I consider too personal too. For the reasons above, and, because it probably shouldn't be out here anyway.

So, yeah. Nothing earth-shattering. Just taking better care of my internet self.

Until then.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

3:53 AM


These days, I can't sleep. I fall into prolonged snooze sessions, where I neither feel rested nor really go unconscious. I can't get comfortable. And I can't dream.

So, I lie there, for hours. My brain just firing away, for no reason, strings of things mashing together into some semi-coherent timeline. I try to steer myself into a more calming territory, one that might just bore me into that sweet black oblivion, but of course, I don't listen. There's that song....and another...mixed in my head, as images flicker in and out. Remember that joke? Yeah. Oh, hey, that's an idea. I'll text that to myself. It would be awesome if...

Before I know it, it's 6:45 and time to get up.

I feel tired. I have a headache. My stomach curls around in knots. But I can't sleep. Even after the morning routine is done, and I have nothing else to worry about, I keep going. One long rant after another.

It's a mixed blessing, really. On one hand, since I have all this time to just think, I can actually come up with a few cool things. Most of it will be swept under the mental rug, but for now, I feel somewhat productive. Like I could actually do something with all of this. On the other, I'm walking around drunk half the time. My legs are twice the weight they were, and I don't even know how to use my arms or spine. I trip over nothing all the time. Rocks form in my gut. And I'm seeing things from behind the small pulsing ache between my eyes.

Through all that though, I sometimes find myself remembering things. Things that, for whatever reason, I stashed away long ago. And really, it's a wonder that I haven't totally forgotten about them.

Years ago, I used to have friends.

Now, I know that fact itself isn't anything to cheer about, let alone write a whole post on. But, it was that idea that let the train of thoughts come forward. I had them. Really, truly, I thought I had them. People who thought I was cool enough to hang with and who would laugh at my jokes. One by one, I could see them, and I could remember their names. And, thanks to social media sites, I knew what had happened to all of them and what they had been up to since. All of them, except one.

Jim.

Jim was...well, different. And, I don't mean that in any sort of derogatory way. He was taller than me, and he wore stuff that was baggy or looked trench coat-ish all the time. His hair was long and dark, and usually a little frizzy. His crustache was...well. Really, the guy looked like a junior Hagrid if anything. He knew it, too. He was almost proud of it.

He and I used to hang a lot, after he broke up with Christi and started seeing this new girl, who, also had a girlfriend. Their relationship wasn't complicated, but at times it was confusing. We would ride the 14 bus an hour and a half just to get to the Oxford Valley Mall, walk around for 15 minutes or so until we found her and then just...sit. She usually had all her friends there, and if I'm remembering correctly, she would go to counselling once and a while in one of the side buildings. I think she even had a job at the food court too.

Despite doing nothing all the time, it was never really boring. When we were waiting, Jim usually had something to say. He told me about the awesome new drink he made by smashing fistfuls of Oreos into milk until it was thick like a milkshake. And how he found out about bounty hunting. It's only $200 for a license. And this neat trick he was working on where he could pull the leg out from under a chair just by using a whip. We would talk about anime and D&D, and about the people we knew, what movies we had seen and which video games were cool. Only rarely did I find myself haunting the Suncoast video store by myself.

It was a once-a-week ritual for us, but only for a short while. I got my first real job around the same time, and a month after that, my first real boyfriend. He got a job too, over at Checkers, so our schedules often clashed. We still kept int touch, though. A call once or twice a month.

Occasionally, he'd confide things in me. Despite me not knowing much on the subject, he'd ask about relationship things often. If I thought some of the things she and him did were normal. If I thought it was OK that she sometimes wanted to hang out with her girlfriend more than him. If I thought he was justified for being mad at her. I did my best to help with what I could.

A year and a half later, I had a daughter. She brought a lot of changes when she was born. A lot of my other friends treated the baby like the plague, or got mad that I couldn't go out with them all the time. I couldn't help with what they thought. Admittedly, I didn't care either.

Jim still kept in touch, though. He was bouncing around from house to house and job to job at the time, but I'd still get a phone call every so often.

He and his girlfriend were on and off so much too. Every week was a new adventure, and I kinda felt bad for him. Granted, I only ever got one side of the story, but it was enough to guess the other half. Eventually they called it quits for good. I kinda felt relieved.

The year wasn't good to him, though. The phone calls became few and far between, mostly due to not knowing where he was sleeping that night. I would of gladly asked my parents if he could of lived with us, if it wasn't for the fact they were just getting over the last friend I had stay. She's another story though. A long one, at that.

One of the last phone calls we had together, I admittedly, was only half awake for. Between having a crappy job and trying to be a decent mom, time was just being sucked away from me. I remember him telling me about a friend that was going to help him out. They had a volunteer fireman program in one of the states south of here. If he went through that, and passed, he would of been eligible to get a real position at a station. But that meant moving. Probably permanently.

"Well, I'm happy for ya, man. It's going to suck not having you around, but, I understand."

"Yeah, yeah....so, um, how's the baby?"

"Oh, she's doing fine. Eats like a horse. Craps like a champ. The usual."

"Heh heh...yeah. So, I guess I can start calling you a MILF now."

"A....what?"

"MILF. Mom I'd Like to....uh, y'know, just, nevermind."

"No, tell me!"

"Um...it's a...joke. Really."

"Yeah, but the F....oh. Wait...
DUDE. The hell?"

"Yeah...anyway."

The last time he called, I was out, so, he left a message on the answering machine. He gave me his new number, and told me to call. He almost...sounded sad, though, I never figured out why.

And, as fate would have it, I would never get to know, either. My brother came home the next day, fresh from the clinic, and deleted the message before I had a chance to copy the information down. I yelled at him to be sure, but, his foggy little head didn't register.

The house number has changed since then. Even still, I don't live there anymore either. The people we knew together, have since stopped talking to me. And to top it all off, I don't even remember his whole name. All I remember is...Jim.

I have, on occasion tried to find him again. Without much success, as I'm sure you can tell. So, in the wee hours in the morning, I'll sometimes fill in the blanks myself. I imagine him to of found a great job, met a great gal, and had a handful of kids. I imagine him as a great dad, and a great friend to those he knows. I see him in his modest, but nice house, with his shiny new car, and a pair of dogs in the front yard. He works hard. He gives generously. And he's never left wanting.

I think all this, and I smile.
Only a few hours to go until I wake up again.

Until then.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Coming...

Oh yes, it is.

That...thing. Where I roll around in misery and convince myself that everything is going to be okay. I'll rock back and forth, on my hardwood floors, chewing my lip, and staring up at the ceiling. I'll think to myself that, really, things are not as bad as I perceive them to be. Really. It's all a myth, anyway. Why stress over it? Have another diet Coke and just sit back with some Mario Bros. 3, aaaand...

But, I know. It's coming. I can distract myself all I want, but it's already on it's way. Here. To mark me. To rub it in my face. To ostracise me.

I'm talking about, of course, my birthday.

What's the big deal about birthdays, you ask? Normally, nothing. But this year, I'm hitting one of 'those' years. One of those landmark years where theres an ideal of what you and your life should be. One of those years where your younger self might even shake it's head at you. Your non-sophisticated, pizza-eating, Godzilla underwear-toting self. How dare you.

I'm turning 30.

Yeah, I know.

"30 is the new 20!"
No, sadly, it is not. It's just that. 30.

I don't look 30. Not to pat myself on the back er anything, but I've been mistaken for as young as 17. Plus, I don't own or even know what the hell "mom jeans" are. Nothing khaki in my closet. Or taupe. Or eggshell. Or anything even close. No pantsuits. Dresses, sure, but almost never used and very colorful and fun. I live in tees. With Sanrio and Nintendo characters all over them.

I certainly don't act 30 either. I don't care about a lot of things I think people of my gender and age do. I will unabashedly talk about anime and RPGs until I'm blue in the face. Shoes! Nails! Hair! PTA! Whatever. It feels very foreign to me to even think about the more 'adult' stuff, anyway.

Most of my free time is usually spent either drawing or typing out...this. True, I might as well just call it "Calabrese Fangirl Dreams" at times, but I only keep track of the ones that I think might be entertaining. (Aren't you glad you don't get to hear about the smooshy-cute, kissy Davey ones?) And anything after that is usually divided among family. Or books and handhelds, if everybody's away for the weekend.

I'd be lying if I'd said that I wasn't having a minor crisis at the moment. That ideal and myself are miles and miles apart. And, I often wonder if I'll turn out to be one of those 60 year old women, in some sort of ill-fitting girl's shirt, sloppy pornstar makeup with just a wisp of hair on top. My teeth will be snagged, my face will start to resemble a bulldog, and I'll have the high score in Mortal Kombat 79. Or something.

But, there are so many things I want to do that are considered 'for younger people'. And, I think it wouldn't be so bad, if I didn't have a kid, who might possibly be looking up to me. Or a younger sister who has done chunks of said fun stuff already. Or a nagging conscious. Or bills. Or girl parts. Or a filter.

So where does this leave me? 30, but not 30? Which side of the divide am I supposed to go with? What my birth certificate says, or my heart? Who gets to say which choice would be the right one? Will I be that embarrassment I envision myself to be? Or will I be the older, but still cool gal in the retirement home?

I don't know.
I really don't know.

And it's making my head spin.

So, come June 1 of this year, if you happen to hear about someone hijacking an airplane, a case of rum, a farm of exotic animals, a tattoo studio, 3 Toys R Us', a Pizza Hut and a few dozen people and celebrities...you can consider this my ransom note.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

That Bar

So, here I am again, about to record yet another dream. Cala-themed, of course.
Hey, don't scoff at me. You're the one reading it.

Just close your eyes, if you're not ready for it.

I was somewhere arid. The wind was warm and dry, the land was parched and dusty, and the sun was bright, but not annoyingly so. To my left, was a large patch of nothing, aside from my friend
Sarah. To my right, was my sister, Cindy. Behind her, there was a long dirt road, with sporadic buildings bleached from the sun, and not a car to be seen. I focused back on what was ahead, which looked like an aging bar. The neon was inviting.

Pushing through the saloon-style double doors, I looked around. It was well lit, and clean, but surprisingly empty. An unused stage sat on one side, and a window, almost cartoonish in size on the other. Souvenirs sat in the corner. Cindy and Sarah suddenly saw something they liked, and walked over to the large, square bar in the center.

The tender was friendly and portly. He looked like a stereotype from another time, complete with a pinstripe shirt and curly black moustache. His horseshoe head shone under the lamp above.

Wordlessly, he gave us our drinks. Cindy had something pink and girly, and Sarah had something that looked like a ginger ale. I took my water and sipped it thoughtfully.

The two of them kept looking over on the other side of where we were, pointing and smiling. I tried to look in their direction, but all I could see were hands with beers. I try again, and I catch a sleeve this time. For some reason, the way the mugs and stemware were hung in relation to the lights and bartender made it nearly impossible to see things that wasn't right in front of your face. Frustrated, I walk around.

I poke my head around the corner, and freeze. I nearly drop my glass.
They were here.

Cindy takes Sarah by the hand and pulls her around the other side. They're both just close enough to see, but far enough that nobody could actually hear their conversation or giggling. I perched on the
opposite corner, trying not to be seen or heard, practically living on the wooden pole, just watching. Calabrese payed none of us any mind though, and continued with their own animated conversations,
laughing, having fun.

Cindy whistles in Bobby's direction and winks. Sarah looked at her, surprised. Then she says something to her I can't hear. He, nods and waves, out of sheer politeness. I inch over slightly, curious.

A few minutes pass before she gets bolder. Cindy takes another sip of her drink, and I can hear her now.
"Heeey.<3" she says, doing a cute, top-of-the-fingers motion, " Hello. <3"

Bobby nods, and raises his glass an inch, before finally turning around. Davey stood up to continue with whatever he was saying, grinning. It kind of looked like he was setting up a joke. I slide over just a little bit more. I'm off the corner completely now, but I'm still far enough that I think nobody will see me.

"You're cuuuuute. <3" she says, leaning over. Bobby doesn't move.

"Hawt. <3" Sarah's eyes flit back and forth between them, waiting for something to happen. Bobby still doesn't move. I wiggle in as close as I'm willing to go.

"Smexy. <3" I can actually see the alcohol doing the thinking now. Jimmy glanced over his shoulder, and for a moment, he seemed annoyed.

In my mind, I'm thinking. About what was going to happen next and how this will all turn out if I don't do anything. I considered it highly unlikely that a fight of any kind would happen, but, seeing as
how we all came together, I reasoned it was my responsibility to do...something.

"Hey...why don't you cat-call him louder? I'm sure he didn't hear you the first 5 times." I say, maybe slightly louder than it needed to be.

Cindy looks over at me, with a facetious hurt look on her face and finally sits down. I get a slightly confused expression from Jimmy, though, and a smirking, wtf-face from Davey. I guess this is what
happens when you don't think before you speak.

I slump down. I feel a little red-faced. I am totally the queen of smooth comebacks.

A few moments pass. Jimmy and Davey decide to head toward the bathroom. As they walk by, I stiffen with embarrassment.

I should probably leave.

I look over at Cindy and Sarah, and they seem to be having a good time, despite what I had said earlier. And, strangely, don't seem to mind that I've all but disappeared. At least somebody is
happy, I think to myself.

"Hey, uh...do you have some paper I can use?" Bobby suddenly asks me, making a scribbling motion with a pen in one hand, while holding his phone with the other.

I look at him dumbly for a few seconds, before I hand him a notebook. I don't know where I was keeping it, or where it even came from, but it was thick with used pages and drawings. He opens it to the the last page I wrote on and points.

"I can write on this?" he asks, noticing there were a few words at the top.

I nod.

"Are you sure?"

I shrug. "Sure."

He takes it from me and turns back around, writing whatever it was down pretty quickly. I sat back on the stool I was on, and swilled my water, pretending that it was a legitimate drink. Or maybe
even something stronger. Poison, perhaps.

Bobby hangs up. He's about to rip the page out, when he starts to read the words at the top and stops. He lets the page go.

I look at the back of his head, confused.

His head turns, and I see that he's looking on the opposite page. He starts reading.

I start to panic.

What was the last thing I wrote in there? Was it a story? A dream? Or did I re-write one of my old poems? Was it a good one? Was it finished? Was it even...oh god...about them?

I wince. This is too much. My brain goes into over drive on how to steal the notebook back without seeming like a complete psycho.

He flips to the next page back, and I can see one of my pencil-smudged doodles next to another sketch. Another page, and more drawings. Another, and it looks like a poem from the way it was
written. I mentally scream for him to stop. I will myself to not grab it from him outright.

For whatever reason, shifting slowly away and melting into the bar top seemed like the best solution. He was already elbow-deep in whatever was in there, so it really didn't matter if he saw the
whole thing at this point. At least I could hide. Tall as I may be, I tend to blend well into walls and backgrounds when I want to.

"This is..." he trails off.

I was in mid-stand, and now I'm petrified. My heart slows, and I can feel my pulse in my ears. I close my eyes and brace myself. I can handle this. I can handle rejection. I can handle disgust. Firing
squad of hurt, do your worst.

"It's actually...kinda good." he says, turning to me with a small smile, "I'm a fan, for sure."

My mouth hangs open for a second from shock. Did he just say...he liked it? That he was...a fan? Am I really hearing all this correctly? Where are the slings and arrows of reprobation? Where is the
cauldron I was to be thrown into? Is this still Earth?

"Th-thanks..." I stutter. My mind is still brittle with disbelief to say much else. I sag back into the stool, reminding myself to breathe.

"Plan on doing more?" he asks, handing the book back to me.

"Y-yeah. Uh...I was working on some other stuff...um..." I dry swallow. What are words, again?

"Cool."

I sigh, with a grin. Side-glancing, I see Jimmy and Davey coming back, laughing. In my head though, all I can think is, "I think I've just won at life."

My alarm went off right after that. I'm kind of grateful that it did, because I'm sure something weird or stupid would of happened if it continued. Kinda how it works with me, I guess.

Before I sign off on this, I just want to point out that I know this is one of those 'wish fufillment' dreams. Because, aside from the obvious, there were also things that never happen in waking
life...such as Sarah and Cindy knowing each other, and me writing and drawing in a notebook. I'm guessing part of me thought I needed a pick-me-up, and came up with all this in sleepy land. Or, maybe all this was a fluke to begin with.

Either way. Fun.

Until then.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Lesson in Kindness

This is a little tidbit o'life that happened about a month ago. Still don't know how I feel about it, really.

Earlier this year, brilliantly enough, Joe decided we should do our taxes online and as soon as possible. If you haven't guessed at this point, we are a fairly broke bunch here, and, we had bills that needed to be paid. Like, now.

Luckily for us, the money came 3 weeks later. Which surprised both of us, because going the paper route, it takes much longer than even the estimated times on the 1040 forms. Past dues became paid, and a zero balance on the credit card was nice to see. Even with all that, we had a few extra dollars, so I decided to get some supplies at Target the following week.

The day was brisk, but the sun was bright. Ivy and I headed out late in the afternoon, walking the mile and a half easily enough. We get there just as the sun started to slip from the sky.

Ivy likes riding in the shopping carts. As any kid does, really. So, I grab one, and let her climb in. She seems happy, even if the steering on this particular cart is kind of weird. I think about getting another one, but decide against it.

Walking up the aisle, I take a peep at some of the sales. I know I'm not going to be buying much beyond the few items I have in mind, but, stupid stuff like that has become kinda fun for me. Strange as that may be.

I look at the men's department, debate on whether or not I should buy Joe socks and underwear, then hang left. I stroll past the baby department, in all its diaper-y cute glory, and head over to the toys. It was, after all, a few weeks before Ivy's birthday. Plus, to be honest, I like snooping around in there too.

Lots of things were almost-purchases.

Like...lots.

But, we kept our collective cool, and nothing actually landed in the cart. A minor victory for both of us. Even though we were both moaning on the inside.

In this particular Target, the book section is next to the DVDs and video games, across from the aisles of toys and collectibles. So, really, it's the only part of the store aside from where they keep the frozen Red Baron pizzas and Pocky where I more or less know exactly where and what I'm looking for at any given moment.

Certain authors have managed to publish things without my knowing in the past, so, on a whim, I point us in that direction.

As I do, A person...couldn't tell if it was male or female, as he/she was in a motorised cart and wore layers and layers of clothing...tried to leave the section. The store is moderately busy, so I do the best thing I could and drag the wonky cart over to the middle of the walkway.

Said person then proceeds to ram the rack of Dr. Seuss books not once, but twice.
Everything fell.

I had a moment where I paused. Then immediately proceeded to pick up all the books on the floor. It seemed like the right thing to do, in my mind. Obviously, he/she couldn't do it themselves if they're in one of those things, and I'm sure asking would of been embarrassing.

Person, however, didn't miss a beat. He/she drove off, without turning around or paying the least bit attention to the mess they had made. Even ran over one of the books.

So, there I was, fixing an entire display disaster that I had nothing to do with, feeling my face redden for no reason, as the others around me just watched and stared.

I'd like to think that he/she drove off, worried that they might have to pay for breaking something. Or, that he/she drove off, because that was all their mental facilities could process at the moment. I'd also like to think that the rapt audience I had then was more interested in the sales behind me, or, even looking for a sales associate to help.

But that's just my mind trying to reason with the situation, isn't it?

Maybe this is the reason why I don't actually have friends.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Muddled Grey Matter

Right now I'd like to record a little dream I had while I took a nap yesterday morning. Why? Because when life hands you tiny nuggets of joy like this, you tend to not want to forget them.

And yes, before you go any further and scold me for not warning you beforehand, it is Calabrese-themed.
...Not like that will surprise anyone.

I was in a bar. It was one that I had never been to, and must of made up. There was colorful but dim lighting, with lots of seating and tables to the right, and the cramped stage by the window to the left. Really, it seemed like an afterthought in it's design. In between that, was the bar itself, weirdly tiki-esque and not nearly big enough to service the building. A guy looking much like a very thin, young Bruce Campbell was wiping out a lager glass, complete with a blue Tommy Bahama shirt and pearly grin. There was also seating in front of all this, random, sporadic chairs and things to sit on thrown about haphazardly. I had my prime seat here, in a gloriously lived-in, brown laz-y-boy recliner.

Calabrese was playing. For how long, I don't know. To me, it seemed like they had been on for a while, even though I had just heard them now. Bobby's sweat made his hair stick to his face, Jimmy was turned from the audience, and Davey was tearing it up. For some reason though, Davey's drumming seemed overly exaggerated. Like one of his legs was glued to the floor pedal. It all sounded perfect though.

I took a sip of the mysterious cocktail I suddenly had in my hands, its bright blue hue indicating it must of been something tropical. Other than cold, I couldn't taste it. I never questioned where it came from, either.

The show ended just as quickly as it had started. I felt a stitch of sadness then, hoping maybe an encore would kick in if I had just wished for it hard enough. But, regardless of how I felt and wanted, no such luck.

People behind me started laughing, mingling. A blonde girl with overly puffed, curly hair sat on a table, soaking in the attention the guys around her were dishing out. Neon signs flickered back to life on the wall. Puffs of smoke wafted from stranger's cigarettes.

I turn back around, and see the three of them packing up their gear. Maybe I can go say something to them? Maybe I could buy them a drink? Maybe--

My thought gets taken away by a busboy in front of me, his small arms spilling over with stacks of cups, glasses and plates, piled higher than his greasy, shaggy hair. I reach out and help him before he falls over, taking the majority of what he had before it had a chance to tumble onto the floor. He lets out a huff of exasperated air, and smiles, face cocked at me. His teeth were spaced and gummy. Looking at him now, he only looked 14. Was that even legal?

"Here..." he says, handing me a darkly colored backpack, "...that's theirs."

He flipped his head backwards, motioning to the stage as he re-collected the mess. I didn't have to look to know who he was talking about.

"Wanna help them to the car?"

I wordlessly take the bag in both hands and nod. Whatever was in there was that much more important to me now. But, just what was in there, anyway? It couldn't of weighed more than five pounds. My hand grabbed the other side and felt something like wires poke at my palm.

Glancing up, I see Jimmy breeze out the door. Nothing was left on the stage. I nearly chase after him.

I catch up to him as he puts the last of whatever in the van, that strangely looked like it belonged to a soccer mom, complete with a light, steel blue paint job. From the window, I can see Davey perched in the back, sitting stiffly next to a pile of equipment. He looked tired, and ready to crash.

"Ah, and our favourite fan..." Jimmy says, taking the bag, and gingerly putting it with everything else.

Wait...what did he just--?

I'm cut off by a pair of arms hugging me. For a second, all thought leaves my mind. I cautiously put my arms around him too, that fairy tale warm, fuzzy feeling glowing from inside my chest like a dull bulb. The leather on his jacket creaks, and I forget to breathe. Am I...? Did he..?

I lower my head, near his shoulder. Some of his hair product gets on my head. I don't care.

About five seconds go by, and he pulls away. I feel my face slowly fill with color.

"Do you want a ride?" Jimmy asks, motioning to the front seat.

I nod and make some sort of affirmative noise. In reality, he could of asked for all of my vital organs, and I would of gladly given them over, right then and there.

I hop in, and turn around. I finally get to see why Davey looked awkward all night. His left leg was broken, covered in a cast from his toes to the top of his thigh, sporadic sharpie graffiti decorating select spots. My mouth hangs wide to say something, but nothing comes. He waves back at me, sleepy but grinning.

Bobby was in the middle row of seats. For whatever reason, he looked moody and a little upset. His gaze was firmly stuck outside the window. I decide not to bother him.

Jimmy pulls away as I shift back in my seat. It's late enough in the night that even in the city...whatever city I was in, just then...roads were lacking in cars. A window was cracked. The air was spring-cool, and refreshing.

We pull up outside a run-down corner store. Bobby leaps out of the van and closes the door before I could utter a word.

"Cigarettes." Jimmy says, matter-of-factly. He drives off without looking or waiting. Somehow, it felt normal for him to do that. For a moment, I consider if Bobby was actually mad at me for taking the front seat, and not over the lack of nicotine in his system.

I glance in the rear view mirror and see Davey fast asleep. He looked so cheery, even with his eyes closed and his mouth partially open.

"So. You like the show tonight?" Jimmy asks, grabbing my attention.

"Y-yeah." I stutter. I bite my lips to keep from looking too silly between the smirks and whatever graceless motions I was making with my hands. "You guys were great!"

"Oh, really..." he says, enjoying the praise.

Blushing stupidly, I try making small talk with him. I can still smell the quality material of his jacket, and the clean scent from his skin, even though we're nearly 2 feet from each other. I bring up the weather. I bring up their tour. I even bring up the costume I wore years ago, when I went as Roy from Siegfried and Roy, complete with fake tiger bite and stuffed tiger. He actually seems like he's enjoying my company. I feel like I'm making a friend.

During this whole time, I never stop to question where we were going. We pass streets and highways, some of it familiar, most of it not. Should I tell him where I live? Will he know where to go? Honestly though...does it really matter?

Those questions answer themselves as we crawl back into the parking lot of the bar we had left from earlier. Suddenly, I understand what he meant by 'ride'. I sigh. I don't want to say my goodbyes yet. I don't want them to leave. I--

Am then woken up by Joe. It was 11:30 or so.

I lay in bed for some time afterward. I let the memory of the dream float back up to the surface of my conscious mind. I still feel hazy with sleep, but I remember. I remembered it all. And most importantly, my chest still buzzed with afterglow. It was such a small thing, such a dumb thing, but it had made me so happy.

I often wonder why my brain is able to latch on to so many details when I sleep. Most people I know, don't dream at all. Or, if they do, they cant recall anything once the morning light hits their eyes. Am I considered one of the lucky ones? Or am I secretly giving in to escapism?

Maybe both. Maybe none.

Years from now, I might consider posting dreams I have about people I like embarrassing. I'm also fairly sure reading one of these from the other end might not be as nice either. Will I delete this? Will I be asked to delete this? In the unlikely event I become famous somehow, will any of this be fodder for the American media frenzy?

Honestly though...does it really matter?

Update 2/1/2013: I can't spell...-.-()

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Aquarius

It's January. Again.

It's that time of year where most people go into preparations for spring, with the hopes and wishes of warm sunny weather on its way. Soon, there will be yard sales with things no one wants, 'gardens' with terrible ideas of what is beautiful or edible, and of course in my neighborhood, the ubiquitous Latino cowbell music blasting up and down the streets at 1 in the morning. I'll be forced to acknowledge the sunlight much earlier than I'd like, and inevitably, trips to beaches and water-and-sun themed places I'd really rather not go to. Happy new year! Depression starts early!

That's not really why I'm here though. As frustrating and nauseating as summer is to me, I can deal. I have been, for years now. Obviously.

But, January, in addition to being the herald of the upcoming year, is also kind of strange for me now. My brother's birthday is in a few days, and I'd like to go visit him. If I could only remember where he is. And go without baggage.

He's 10 years older than me, thereby making him always cooler than me and always one step ahead. When we were younger, he'd use this to his advantage in any way he could. 3 tennis balls for all of my Looney Tunes figurines? Sure! I'm only 8, what do I know? You lost at Street Fighter and it's my fault? I don't see how, but, will you please stop hitting my leg?! A new wrestling move? Cool! I....can't breathe though...

Yes, he was a jerk at times. Boys are very apt to be as such at certain times, and our family seemingly never mentally ages past a certain point. But, he was my friend. As strange and unusual as that is. I tended to look up to him in a way a daughter would to her father. Maybe one day I'll be good at karate. Maybe one day I'll wear all black and listen to metal. Maybe he might see me as an equal at some point and reciprocate the friendship.

After high school, he went to a community college in Bethlehem Pa. He had a dorm there, which meant I only got to see him on weekends when we would visit. It was dumb, but I actually looked forward to that. Even if I was generally ignored. He didn't last long, though. The party life became his major, and he dropped out after only a semester or two.

He went on from there, and actually moved out of the house when I was in my early teens. I cant remember the year exactly. I remember feeling lonely though. Like something was missing for weeks. True, I had my little sister to keep me company, but, it wasn't the same. I'm 6 years older than her, so she was just getting a grip on how, we, humans worked. Let alone want to pick up a Nintendo controller and mash out a few levels of Mario Bros. 3.

I'll say right here that I've never been a social butterfly of any kind. At any point in my life, I've only had a handful of friends. And half of them were either interested in whatever money my dad was dishing out or were just outright facetious. BFF forever! Until I find someone better. The trend, as you would imagine, hasn't gotten much better now that I'm older.

I say this not to gain votes of pity of any kind. Just merely highlighting how things work around me. I'm used to it, trust me.

Eventually, the apartment he had with his then-fiancee had fallen apart in many ways, so he came back home. I was happy, to be sure. But he was...different, though. His sharpness had dulled, and something had changed that made him not who he was when he left. I couldn't put my finger on what it was at the time. I think I was lost in the haze of memories I had and just didn't see past who I had remembered he was.

I was in high school at this point. My hair was greasy, my face was pocked, and I was awkward as hell. I had people I talked to, and people who I considered friends. One of the people I considered the latter was Jackie.

She was like me in many ways. We were both heavy, we both liked music class, and we both had an interest in the occult. Though, to be honest, my interest was more of an aesthetic at the time, and hers was more of a 'I have a pet dragon and talk to dead people and Satan is my dad' kind. I really could go on and on with that. Pages, in fact. I'm sure I still have her notes we used to pass around somewhere.

Jackie would do my homework sometimes. Because she was bored, she would say. And split the Jolly Rancher candy she would get from the vending machine, just because. On the surface, she seemed like a good person, once you got past the blatant, offensive 'witch' stereotype and the crazy, messed up things she would say in the name of 'being Pagan'.

And then, one day, another friend I had at the time came running up to me after class to tell me that Jackie and by brother were in front of the school. Kissing.

I can look back at that and shrug my shoulders now. It's disgusting, I know, but it's also years behind me. At the time though, I felt hurt and a little betrayed. Now I knew why she wanted to hang out all the time. Certainly, it wasn't for my company.

Thankfully, that didn't last long. I don't know who or what put the brakes on that whole thing, but they have my gratitude. Not just from the almost-pedophile relation, but for also showing me that I have to start being less than naive from now on.

He continued to change. The lights were dimming, and he started quoting TV. He would sit in his room for hours on end. Things he once cared about fell to the side, without so much as a second look. If it wasn't directly in front of him, or being handed to him, it didn't exist.

Dad would yell at him. I cant remember what was being screamed, but I remember it was angry. Angry enough that it would make me upset at times. Dad would on occasion get mad at me too, because I couldn't see what was doing it to him. Because I couldn't see what was going on. More than once, I'd shakily nod in agreement with whatever he said. Even if what he had told me lies, I'd parrot the information back at him, as if I understood.

I had never dealt with drug addiction before. At least, I thought I hadn't. As it turns out, he had been using a menagerie of things for years. With mom, too. They even had code names for their dealer so dad wouldn't find out. Jackie had connections, too.

I actually had known this whole time, and just never connected the dots. I remember visiting 'a friend' the two of them had, in the suburbs, in a fancy house for years. Never questioning, never thinking twice. Why did mom fall asleep driving? I guess she was just tired...

Dad made mom get help. Not so much with my brother. There were attempts later on, but it was useless at that point.

So, he never stopped.

And we all watched him decay, like a living corpse.

I guess I really don't have to tell you, he's six feet under now.

Happy 40th birthday, Timmy.