so you think you're all done, eh?

You've done the mall thing. The running all over town thing. You've made all your gift card runs. You baked cookies for the neighborhood cookie swap, planned the Christmas Eve Morning Gathering of friends for brunch and kid gift swapping. You've planned the Big Meal right down to the alcoholic coffee and dessert menu. The stocking stuffers are taken care of; the presents are all wrapped

You're DONE. And somehow you managed to do it all while managing to keep up with your everyday stuff. You know, the kids. Your job. The laundry. Dinner. Everything. Yay you!!

And then.

You remember you forgot to pick up a $5.00 or less thing for your kid's class gift swap.

You remember you were supposed to pick up the gift your husband ordered for his parents.

Then you get a card from somebody you COMPLETELY forgot to add to your card list and you're out of cards so you have to go buy another box of cards. And some stamps.

You wake up in the middle of the night, sit straight up in bed and shriek "SHIT! I forgot I was supposed to put together a White Elephant gift and make toffee for that party tonight!"

You realize you missed a hair appointment because you were too busy chiseling ice out of the driveway to look at the calendar. You know, that thing in the kitchen where you write the reminders for things like hair appointments.

And doctor appointments. DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS?? Crap.

Then, after you've made a new list and are feeling somewhat back in control, your teenager stands in front of you, hands you a sheet of paper with a bunch of numbers on it and says, "This is the website where you have to go to buy my stuff for the high school gymnastics team, and these are the item numbers. I need them by next Friday."

And she's so not kidding.

You don't panic, you just add it to your list, because really, it's no biggie...it's not like you have to leave the house to do that, right?

So just when you're really feeling all organized and cocky about it, you remember that your friend, whom you really, really love and enjoy spending time with but don't see nearly enough of, is coming for coffee on Thursday morning and you're really happy you'll get to see her, so you just take a deep breath and know that scrambling around on Friday morning to get DONE instead of sitting on your ass doing nothing is a very small price to pay for spending time with one of your very favorite people on the planet on Thursday.

This would be where you remember you rescheduled your hair appointment for Friday.

At least you'll be scrambling around with pretty hair.


call me

Late on a Friday night in July, when the oppressive heat and humidity of the day refused to surrender to the dark of night, I abandoned my stifling apartment in search of relief. Expecting deserted streets, I was surprised to find crowds of people out wandering aimlessly, all of them searching for the same thing I was. None of us could find it.

Deciding I’d rather deal with the wrath of Geoff when I showed up unannounced at his air-conditioned house than walk the mile back to my three room oven, I headed towards his house. I found him sitting on his front steps with a cup of coffee next to him and a notebook resting on his lap. He was watching his neighbor pace the sidewalk with a fussy baby and didn’t notice me as I approached.


He snapped his head around to look at me. “Hey,” he said, obviously surprised to see me. “You’re kind of far from home, aren’t you?”

“I am,” I said as I kissed him hello. “It’s hotter than hell in my apartment and I knew you’d be awake. What are you doing out here?”

“I like to see people sometimes,” he replied, shrugging.

I nodded, understanding.

He closed the notebook that was sitting on his lap and stood up. He grabbed my hand and pulled me along behind him as he went into the house. Once inside, he put the notebook down on the table next to the front door. I eyed it suspiciously.

“Please tell me you didn’t bring work home,” I said.


I was surprised. “You keep a journal? Do you say bad stuff about people in it?”

“I say bad stuff about people to people,” he said. “The journal is for other stuff.”

He pulled it from the table and opened it to the page he’d been writing in earlier. He held it up and showed me what he’d written.

I wonder if it’s too late to call Lemony.

He closed the notebook and put it back on the table. I looked up at him and frowned at the sudden sadness in his eyes.“Never wonder that,” I said.

I picked up the phone and heard his voice. “If you were thinking you might want to spend some time…”

I swallowed hard and squeezed three words from my constricted throat. “I’m leaving now.”

“You don’t have to hurry. Just come by tomorrow.”

“I’m leaving now.”

I dropped the phone and ran about my apartment without rhyme or reason; a broken wind-up toy spinning in drunken circles. “The cats…feed the cats…windows…lock the windows…” I raced around frantically, trying to remember everything at once, knowing I wouldn’t.

I grabbed a fistful of quarters and subway tokens from the candy dish on the small red table next to the door. I flung the door open and raced through, pulling it closed behind me. As soon as I heard the latch click I knew I’d forgotten my keys, my coat, my wallet.

“FUCK!” I shrieked as I threw my fistful of quarters and subway tokens against the locked steel door. They scattered across the floor and I sank to my knees, weeping.

I heard a door open somewhere behind me, and a timid voice asked, “Are you okay?”
I didn’t bother to look up. “No.”
I took a deep breath and slipped silently into his room, the profound stillness broken only by the rattle of his breath as he slept. I stood quietly and watched him sleep, wanting to remember him exactly as he was in that moment; peaceful, his face unlined by the pain that consumed him when awake.
When he woke up and saw me watching he smiled and asked, "Why are you all the way over there?" so I crawled under the comforter and settled next to him. I tucked my foot under his ankle, slipped my arm across his waist and tried to ignore how hot his skin felt under mine.
"Did I call you or did I imagine that I did?"
"You called me," I said into his shoulder.
"I called my sister, too, I think."
"As long as you called me first..." I said, teasing.
"I always call you first."
Later, when it was too quiet, I said, “So I met this guy on the train..."
"He's cute?"
"I guess..."
"Will he always call you first?"
"I don't know."
“Is he worthy?”
“I don’t know yet,” I said.
“He’s not.”
“How do you know?”
“He’s not me.”
I closed my eyes to keep the tears in and said, "Thank goodness."
“I’m not scared,” he said.
“I’m terrified,” I replied.
“This guy…from the train…”
“Brian,” I said.
"He won't always call you first."
"Probably not."
“He's not worthy,” he said, and this time the silence after the breath lasted forever.
I leaned down to rest my forehead on his. “Of course he's not, baby. He isn’t you.”


look and see

I see in their eyes how much they love me and the pain they think they're hiding. Mostly, I see the loss they're already feeling.

I wish they'd stop looking. I don't want to see.

Don't stop looking. I can't live without seeing.

"I think what I'll miss most is the way you look at me when you wake up and discover me there," he said.

"No, you won't, baby, because for the rest of my life I will wake up and look for you to be there."

I'll never stop looking.