Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am liberated. I have moved on.

Dearest Summer,
I cannot wait for you to come into my life. I love your sunshine and warmth. I love walking to class with the wind in my hair, oversized Urban Outfitters sunglasses resting on my nose. Oh, and the sandals: my rhinestone sandals, my red strappy sandals, my Bandolino's, have all been hiding in my closet for far, far too long. I love turning brown in the sun, cooling off in the Snake, skinny dipping at Beaver Dick when the rest of the town is in bed kicking their comforters off their legs. I want to ride my Cranbrook Cruiser with the old-fashioned bike bell; I want to feel the strong wind throw back the hair I meticulously put in its place minutes before and hairsprayed for no reason. I want to climb the homeless man's tree at the Nature Park and feed my loaf of bread to the Mallards--to watch them honk and fight, I would sacrifice afternoon PB&Js. The only thing that could make you better--stretch you to celestial heights--would be fireflies at dusk. Think about it.
I love you.
Yours in 2009,

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Surgeon - Creative Non-Fiction

That night I prayed to God I would die in my sleep. Eyes exhausted from tears, I fell to my pillow. I dreamed I was inside someone’s home: An illicit surgeon cut open my abdomen to operate on one of my pumping, bleeding parts. Next thing I knew I was sewn up. I feared my sutures splitting open like a torn shirt and my insides greasily sliding from the small incision onto the carpet floor. I woke the next morning, frustrated by my unanswered prayer, still sensing the residue of my disturbing dream.

* * *

Before Jeff and I started dating, I was locked in, what I thought, an impenetrable physical and emotional bubble. I avoided any sort of contact, emotional or physical, without a sense of trust. That was what was so extraordinary about the fact that I could touch Jeff ’s arm like it was an extension of my own, like he was a brother or a parent, like we shared blood. He was familiar in so many ways, and he felt like home. “I feel this in my heart,” I’d say, “Do you?” I see now that his “yeah” answer was a pacifying lie. I let my sutures pop and split, and my guts now lay on the floor beneath him. I thought I was safe, but he was an illicit surgeon. He didn’t know what he was doing. So, in those four months I was intimately exposed to a stranger I thought I was safe with.

I should have known better. But Jeff cradled me from the beginning, rocked me, and told me he would keep me safe. It was everything I’d read about in books and seen in the Audrey Hepburn movies. He was the first one to call. He was the first to grab my hand, so I was sure he wanted to touch me. He kissed me first; he was my first kiss. He was the first to mention that word, the loaded word we’re all terrified to say. I loved him back. When he came to visit in Austin for a week, we sat on a mountain overlooking the lake. It was here he was the first to say unofficially that he’d marry me.

Sometimes when we’d talk over the phone, I’d scrounge for words. He said he loved my silent moments, but I am not just silence. As we became more intimate, he learned the things I wasn’t saying.

I don’t ever fold the clothes I put in my drawers. His were folded, methodically organized, and fit neatly in his drawers without forceful shoves. I opened myself wider: I have twelve dollars in my bank account and owe 450 dollars to the school bookstore. In jest, he said paying off my loans was a burden. I sensed his seriousness. I let myself spill: If I don’t know the answer to something, I’ll make one up to protect my pride. He could pinpoint the moment I’d do this. “Did you make that up?” he’d accuse me with a chortle; speaking in the same tones you’d address a child. I became less and less unspoken: I got a D on my close reading in American Lit, and I’m supposed to be an English major. Write outlines and study harder. I was unlocked: I cry often. He never cries.

Jeff knew the secrets I never let anyone else know. Though it was liberating to reveal myself to someone so completely, I failed to realize the danger in it.

The morning of my birthday, before brushing my teeth or getting up from bed, I texted him to apologize for crying over the phone the night before, and ended my message with I love you so much. His typical immediate response did not come. In an English class, Jeff ’s unresponsiveness overshadowed any discussion which may have been going on about Amy Tan’s “Two Kinds.” I ate lunch by myself, placing my phone on the tray where I could watch its activity, where I could look for the little blue envelope. The entire day, he did not respond.

That cold night, I lay isolated in my room, on my side, covered by my dark brown comforter and checkerboard heating blanket. My phone was sandwiched between my ear the pale pink pillow beneath. Because of Jeff ’s winter internship with Disneyworld and the month and a half of having to corresponding with him over the phone this way, I developed this nightly ritual. “Hey Jeff, are you okay? I feel like something is different.”


My bed parallel with the only window in the room, I fiddled with the strings of my blinds, repeatedly clicking the knob against the sill. I was reminded of the last time I asked him this question, a little over a month before. The question led to a two-hour discussion and a three-day break, so he could “figure things out” and “have some space” while he did. During that small break, I had torturously prepared myself for the end. To my relief, he called on a Wednesday with the decision he had made to make me his forever. From then on I gave myself to him with complete confidence. I had solid ground to walk on. I had finally found my husband. My body cringed as I waited for his reply this time; I was anxious to hear it, but mostly terrified.

“Huh…” was the response. “So what’d you do today?”

I stopped clicking. “…Are you serious, Jeff? Don’t change the subject.” I faked a chuckle and turned onto my back. I thought about how I had just spent 368 dollars to go visit him in Disneyworld six days prior, how he talked to me then about what we’d name our children.

He allowed a long pause before sighing a dawdling sigh, and replied gently, “I’ve been feeling differently.”

I clutched the phone with my right hand and sat up on my bed, my back resting on the wall behind me. “About us? About marriage? What?”

“About everything. I’ve been having doubts again.” There was a gap in his speech and I waited, my grip on the phone became slippery with sweat. My ear cartilage grew sore from the pressure of the earpiece. “Honestly, I’ve had them the entire time. I was planning on going to the temple this Saturday to pray about it.”

“You already went. I thought you got your answer then.” I needed his final answer now. It was as though I had been dangling over a cliff for days. I needed gravity, clarity, something solid.

“I think I might have been talking myself into everything.” Did he talk himself into loving me? Into loving my silent moments? Into visiting me in Austin and meeting my entire family? Into calling me every night? Were all of his calls obligatory? What about the e-mails? And the letter he mailed me telling me he would never be able to find anyone better or more beautiful? I never needed to talk myself into loving him. This was betrayal.

“ Jeff, if you’ve been having doubts this entire time and have been talking yourself into everything, don’t you think you’ve received your answer?” I didn’t want to wait until Saturday for him to get his answer, I needed it now. I deserved it now. I couldn’t dangle from this cliff any longer.


“Yeah,” he said with a sigh. Yeah. Not I don’t want this to be my answer, or I love you, or I can’t picture my life without you in it. A sharp zing shot from my neck into my ears, and my insides pulsated with shock. But this was not an Audrey Hepburn movie.

“So, is that it?” I moved the mouthpiece of the phone up toward my forehead, keeping my ear on the earpiece. I was angry and hurt. He didn’t deserve to hear me cry.

“Can I just say two things before we hang up?” He went on, but all I really listened to was the blood thumping in my ears.

“ Jeff, I never had any doubts about how I felt about you. I don’t ever want you to talk to me again.” I nodded my head. In that nod, I talked myself into the rightness of what I had just said. I knew I’d cave if he talked to me again; I knew I’d give him a second chance and I deserved better. “Don’t call me. Don’t text me.” As much as I wanted to deny it, I had felt this coming.

“Okay.” His voice was soft now. Okay.

“Have a good life, Jeff.”

Not waiting for a goodbye, I snapped my cell phone shut and threw it onto my bed. My breath grew heavy and uncontrolled. What had just happened? Why? My entire life had been planned out for the next three years—I’d finish school and live in Rexburg until he graduated, I’d go with him on his internships and make him turkey sandwiches without pickles for him to take to work, I’d have a boy named Dominic, I’d fold his clothes for him—I swore to him I’d fold them. That life crumbled in an instant. I had to make new plans. With the thought of that, my face warped into the ugly cry I haven’t cried since childhood, mouth draped open into a tunneling frown and brow crumpled into my head. I thought about my weekend in Florida —flashbacks of sharing a bowl of Cheerios, laughter, lying on a hammock at the manmade beach of the Polynesian. The joke was on me. I had been on a vast red stage for four months, dancing my heart out for him in a ridiculous costume, twirling and lobbing my awkward body. I sang to him, I shouted to him from the stage, thinking he was with me doing the same. But, mid-turn, I discovered him missing. I felt humiliated in the deepest sense. The illicit surgeon scoffed and laughed at the secrets on the floor—the ones I didn’t choose to have. I ardently wished to disappear from the surgeon, from Jeff.

That night I prayed to God I would die in my sleep.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Today in my creative writing class a 28 year old guy named Golden, who is a sci-fi loyalist, got up and announced a D&D tournament coming up. I might go.

The Nordic had that delicious tapioca, mandarin orange, pineapple salad I love at the salad bar today.

I finally discovered what is going on in my head.

Friday I watched Amelie, a foreign French film, while drinking a ginger beer and eating popcorn, and I think I've discovered what beauty really is. Life is just an endless rehearsal of a show that will never play and Without you today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's.

Saturday I ate Thai, watched a rendition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Dr. Heiddeger's Experiment and Young Goodman Brown at the Black Box Theatre, and danced some emotions out at the banana house.

I burn my Biscotti candle frequently even though candles aren't allowed here. I don't freaking care.

I ran today and it felt like my mind could breath deeply for the first time in weeks. Uh, I love that feeling.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Tonight for dinner I had:
cherry flavored Jello
a bowl of mixed veggies
a cup of chicken broth
a PB&J Rollup on a whole grain tortilla
a bag of popcorn
fat free sugar free chocolate pudding

But besides that. I'd like to get away for a little bit. I am applying for multiple oversees internships. There's this art college in Florence called Santa Reparata that I'd love to lick envelopes for or make afternoon cappuccino runs for. I thought about applying to some programs in Africa, but all the applications looked really shady and I'm guessing they might be recruiting poachers-- I don't really want to spend the rest of my life in some African prison.

I used to think it was so silly when I'd see people on TV who wish they could go somewhere else in the world to make a difference--like those extremists on American Idol who quit their waitressing jobs and leave their babies with their parents to go to Hollywood for a week and make a new life. What could they possibly do there in a week's time that would change the world/their life? Now though, I almost kind of understand them.

Sometimes in high school I'd go to a dance or a concert where the air in the crowd was so unbareably humid, it was almost too difficult to breathe. Throughout the event, I'd stand on my tiptoes and cock my head back just to get a breath of cooler, thinner air. Thats what its like here, now, in Rexburg. I feel like the air is so stale and clouded. If I could, I'd stand tiptoed. Get me out. Somehow. Somewhere. And maybe I could make a difference.

I'm invisioning Orange County for a little while. Maybe I'll go burn down a model home and some rich family will let me stay with them for the next five years and I'll magically look like Mischa Barton. Anyways, back to life and the powerpoint I've been putting off for a week and a half...

Monday, March 2, 2009

God Knew

I have seen the Lord's hand in my life the past few days. In a work seminar on Thursday we talked about pain--how to grow from it, how it's healthy, how we should experience it and not try to hide from it. At the moment, this information wasn't relevant at all to my situation, but I needed it a few hours from then. God knew that. Every testimony born, every lesson taught, and every hug given in church yesterday was for me. My family, roommates, co-workers, and friends have inundated me with love and I can't help but see how blessed I truly am. I've become stronger. And I am happy. God knew this would happen.