Monday, April 07, 2008

the rain


Rain always follows the lonely.

As I stand, alone, on the sidewalk underneath the dripping sky, I look around. Couples. Everywhere they stand close to one another, their bodies melting into one, their minds in a place the rain cannot touch.

My mind is drenched. The rain falls on my forehead and trickles slowly down my cheeks, mimicking my tears as they mingle with each drop.

It does not matter that I - too - was like them once. It does not matter that I now stand on this rainy street in search for something to fill the emptiness where my other half used to be.

I melted once. Now I only pretend.

As I turn, I can see him sitting on the step behind me. He's closer to the building, and the rain has not touched him yet. I stare, waiting for that first drop to hit, echoes of angry words ringing throughout my ears.

He looks at his hands, staring at them, memorizing every detail and I wonder if he remembers when his hands held mine. As the rain splashes on his skin, trickling down his fingers, it occurs to me that a photograph may speak a thousand words, but they're all whispers compared to the memories that roar through my head.

I long to reach out to him. My fingers weave through thick raindrops as my hands near his. They grasp mine, smudging the stinging salt of the water into my skin, the drops racing away as he looks up at me, raindrops on his eyelashes - a watery frame to those liquid depths.

I watch as he slowly rises and steps out into the rain with me, his sadnesses mimicking my own. The rain drenches us both now, gathering in a puddle at our feet as we cannot soak up anymore.

He leans closer, his mouth opening ever so slightly, and as my aching heart skips a beat, he presses his lips to mine.

My mind is reeling as our bodies come closer together, melting in memories long remembered, weeping for the forgotten.

Falling harder, the rain weeps with us.

He steps away, his eyes looking down, lost in the puddle of water beneath. With a slight shake of his head, he turns away from us.

And as I watch, tears no longer less than the rain, he walks down the sidewalk, the rain following him as much as it stays with me. He gets smaller and smaller, drowning in the watery depths of the sky.

I - too - drown, the memories flooding my mind, filling every corner until all of my emptiness is filled with cold, watery splashes.

As I step away as well, one final thought sinks into my mind.

Memories do not drown.

All I have left is the rain.

First written January 28, 2001

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

last night


Even as it looms above me, I refuse to fear its immensity.

It wouldn't matter anyway because the pressure I feel comes from within - from the raw fear leaching the marrow from my bones.
If you think the fear comes from the rigid, dead body silently waiting on the floor, you're wrong.

As my eyes keenly flicker over the surrounding walls, one thing is certain. He's still here.

Luckily, my brain is filled with methods and protocols to save me in such a trepidatious instance. Something kicks in and my feet automatically step toward the body. My knees bend and suddenly I am right next to it. I'm so close I can feel its warmth. I touch the right hand and marvel momentarily at the slight dent my fingertips makes in the skin - like pressing on a medium rare steak.

The dread remains. It snakes up my spinal cord, causing the little hairs along my back to stand tall. Behind me, I hear movement and I know. It's my time. I reach for my gun, but it's not there. Dammit, Steve, what did you do this time?

I whirl about and race through the door behind me. Office - it's an office. Books, pens, paper. Can you kill someone with paper?

His footsteps drown my thoughts. They fall heavy on the floor, like a sledgehammer to an anvil. Clang... Clang... Clang.... He's coming.

My hands search the area behind me, eyes afraid to look away from the door lest he sneak in past me. Fumbling, my fingertips feel cold steel, grasp hard, and pull up a scythe. I heft it in my hands, remember the lessons my daddy taught me back during softball practice, and get ready to--

Laughter. Little girly giggles. The scythe lowers slowly as I turn around and see a playground. I meander toward it, scythe dragging behind me until it catches on a nightlight and I let it go. Whoosh! A yellow blur sails past my face, brushing my eyelashes as it goes. I pull a tennis racket out of my pocket and turn just in time to hit the next ball and send it careening out of the park.

Several people stand in a group, clipboards in hand, frowns on faces, getting ready to give me my scores. One shakes her head and mumbles tersely, "You should be ashamed of yourself."

Another looks at me solemnly. "It's still there." My eyes follow his finger as he points to the body in the other room. I know this. What, you think I've forgotten? You think I'm stupid?

He's shaking me, slaps me across the face, and I snap out of it. A smile and a whisper, "I'm going for a pony ride." Without another word, he jumps in a little red wagon and paddles away. Three kittens overtake the wagon and rip off the wheels with their talons. One grabs an oar and dashes off with it, meowing with glee.

Bruised and scraped, he limps back to me and hands me a large manila folder, covered in plastic wrap. I peel back the layers and crack it open, only to find maggots and moving pictures. Each one tells me a story of cheating on history quizzes and stealing candy bars.

"You won't like it. We won't be friends once you know," he tells me. With a wink, he catches up to the rest and gets in a car to drive down the dirt road. I watch until he's long gone before I continue flipping through the pages. One falls to the gravel and I pick it up, reading it as I walk into the house.

I see the words on the page and suddenly it's clear. I know. I get it now. I'd always thought I needed an answer. I was so wrong. It's right here in front of me.

As if on cue, the pumpkins start singing in unison, and I take the lead vocal. It's a polka number, which strikes me as funny because classical seems more like Freddy's style.

A loud buzzer interrupts our song and the pizza comes out of the oven. Each pumpkin stops to eat, except for Skippy, whose mouth isn't carved yet. The phone in the refrigerator rings, but I don't open the breadbox like I should because I know what it will say. Thirty-two years and I finally know the answer. It's so easy. It's so clear. It's



Wednesday, October 18, 2006



I beg you...to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books writtern in a very foreign language.

Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.

Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing, live your way into the answer.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

How long do you wait?

What if you're tired of waiting?

Is there ever a point in your life when you no longer have to wait for things to fall into place- when the answers to the Big Questions (Will I Find Love?, Will I Marry?, Where Will I Live?, What Will My Career Be?, When Will Those Around Me Die?, Will I Have Kids?, Will I Be Happy?, When Will I Die?) are clear?

And what if the answers you seek are more pressing issues- things you don't have the time to sit around and wait for? Answers such as...Is This the Right Path For Me? or If I Marry This Person, Will I Be Passing Up the Chance at Someone I Love More Later On?

I've had a constant journal for over six years, and if I've realized anything from reading back over the pages, it's that I'm An Idiot. The things I thought, worried about, and analyzed over way back when all eventually fell into one of two categories: they became resolved (as in I waited, and got my answer) or I totally forgot about them (as in, they became unimportant).

Well, what if by the time we get the answers we're waiting for now we won't care about them anymore? Was it really prudent to have ever waited for them at all?

And if that's the case, are we to just go through life, trying to ignore those questions entirely without ever pausing to ponder whether they will ever matter to us again?

Or, are our journals to serve solely as reminders of the things we once valued enough to write about? I know that when I read over them, I often laugh at the questions I asked before I got my answers. And, as the enlightened-by-the-future reader I am, I can look back at those and wonder how I ever worried about something working out (knowing that it did, later on) or cared so much to write so many pages about something (knowing that I wouldn't write so much as a post-it note on the subject now).

What worries me most, I guess, is the thought that in our anxiety over those answers right now, we might be missing other answers that are right in front of our faces...other answers, other opportunities, other people. Will dreaming or fretting about the future change how we see our present, and will that, in turn, change our future?

Rilke makes an interesting point, though, and I guess it's the depth of his argument that causes me to read that quote day in and day out, to post it above my computer and on the front page of every journal I write in.

He's almost advocating that we DO forget the questions now, but not in a forgetful sense.
Instead, we accept them. We go on with life, and accept that they will either work out or be forgotten in the future. We "live into the answers" without noticing it because we have forgotten to keep asking the questions.

What's more, he suggests we love this moment- this time when life is a mystery, when we don't know where it will go. I have a friend who always picks up books and reads the ending before he will read the entire thing. He would rather know that there is a satisfying ending to the book than read the whole thing, only to be disappointed. I, on the other hand, would rather be enthralled by the mystery, feel my pulse race as my imagination goes over the possible outcomes, worry if the people are going to get together at last after so many trials and tribulations or if they will succumb to the pain of a failed relationship...to wonder if the hero will finally succeed or if he, too, will fall like so many before him.

And even though those books may be amazing books, any avid reader knows that NOTHING is like reading it for the first time. The times after that are fun and interesting, but nowhere near as vivid, since we already know what is going to happen. But that first time is awesome.

Maybe that's how life should be as well. Rilke is telling us that we should enjoy our life's unanswered questions like a good mystery novel (or, in our case, epic sagas). You don't know the answers yet because that's all part of the experience. Sure, it would be comforting sometimes to be able to pick up the book that is Your Life and read the ending, but it sure would kill the rush, wouldn't it?

It hurts...sometimes...to wish for something so hard and not know if it will ever happen. The worry can keep you up at night, give you nightmares, fill your journals with pages and pages of angst...will I get the life I want...will I ever see this person again...will I be happy...will I be someone I can admire...

It hurts to not be able to know these things now. But if Rilke is right, and those moments are the best chapters of our lives, then they have to be cherished as much as any ending, no matter how much they make us write, scream, fret, and cry.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

laughter is the best medicine


Taking a small sip of my coffee, I savored its taste and flipped the newspaper over to read the comics on the other side. I always started at the top, left corner, and slowly worked my way down to the lower right-hand corner to my favorites.

As I continued to read, small giggles erupted from me at some of the funnier cartoons. Reading them was always the best part of the morning. In fact, I could think of nothing better than beginning the day with laughter. Slowly, I scanned down the page, a smile never leaving my lips.

I saw her out of the corner of my eye.

She sat primly at a nearby table, back straight, legs together and hands neatly crossed in her lap. Her table was empty, and I wondered briefly if she was waiting for someone. While she appeared completely normal, something struck me as...off.

Her head pivoted slowly as she turned to look at me. A shiver bolted down my spine - her eyes were totally black - all pupils and no whites. They bored into me, burrowing the blackness into my bones. Even as my heart galloped and my pulse kept pace, I couldn't look away.

And then she smiled.

It wasn’t the sort of smile that reached the eyes, the smile that invited a good friend in for tea. Instead, it was as though someone took strings of wire, attached them to each corner of her top and bottom lips, then stretched them tight. Her teeth jutted out of her head, skeleton-like in appearance.

I tried to be polite, smiling softly as I turned away and ignored the cold chill streaming through my blood. In my peripheral vision I saw her rise and walk to the door, her body stiff as a bone. Glancing over one more time, I saw that smile again. It was bigger now, growing, taking on a life of its own. I imagined the teeth opening up and out came...


Such loud, raucous, disgusting laughter I’d never heard before. The sound was deafening. HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW over and over again. My hands jerked reflexively to my ears, covering them, protecting them from what tried to get in. I felt I would scream if it continued. My eyes closed, my body tensed, bracing for it...


It was so sudden I hardly noticed. My breath escaped in a quick sigh and I realized I’d held it the entire time. I opened my eyes and looked at the doorway. She was gone. Sighing again, I laughed a little and glanced around the room, looking to see what others thought of the weird woman’s crazy outburst.

They were gone.

Table after table. All empty. The coffeehouse was absolutely filled to the brim with people drinking coffee, laughing, reading. Now it sat vacant, silent, as if the world was swallowed whole.

I laughed nervously as I gathered my things, thinking the coffee shop had closed and I just never noticed. After stuffing the newspaper and books into my bag, I grabbed my coat, knocking my cup off coffee onto the floor with a loud crash. Chuckling at my clumsiness, I bent over to pick up the ceramic shards, trying not to cut myself in the process.


It was soft, almost imperceptible, and when I turned towards the sound, it stopped. Then it was behind me. Whirling around, I stood quickly, thoroughly confused. The place was empty. I pirouetted around, looking for someone, until my gaze fell upon him. His hat was tilted forward, obscuring most of his face in deep shadows. The long trenchcoat he wore disguised him as shapeless, formless, unknown. With slow, subtle movements, he raised his head, flicking his eyes towards me, the bottomless depths yawning at my mind.

More giggles. They surrounded me, coming from all directions, bouncing off of the walls to meet each other in the middle, laughing in unison. My eyes darted around the room, spinning and spinning and then they were there. All there. And they were smiling. Just like her.

I backed up, trying to get away, to escape the ear-splitting cacophony. My feet seemed to stumble, and then he caught me. Turning slowly, I dreaded what I would see.

It was him. He stood silently, his face blank, his eyes hollow.

As I gawked in horror, his mouth contorted and smiled. It was the same smile of the woman earlier. His lips, his cheeks, all pulled back, forced into a deathly grin. His teeth glared at me, beckoning to me. They slowly opened, a great chasm of hilarity, and out came the loudest laugh of all.

I screamed- a rich, bloodcurdling scream that cried for the heavens to take me. Glass shattered, cups broke, and yet, the sound of their laughter seemed to rise as well, drowning out my attempts. Of their own accord, my hands plastered themselves to my ears, pressing so hard as if to squeeze my skull like a melon.

There was no escape. The sound was so loud it was pulling me in. Even as I tried not to listen, tried to ignore it, they penetrated my brain, filling it with a dense and smiling fog, laughing even more as I struggled to swim through it.

Just let go.

Echoing through my mind, the laughing voices seemed to merge and call to me.

Let it all go.

My lips began to twitch, pulling back, even as I screamed NO.

Swirling, I was, swirling downwards in a great spiral of laughter. They invaded me, overtook me. As I fell further and further, the laughter was no longer around me, it was in me, throughout me, I was the laughter as it floated in the fog. With my last breath, I gave into it all...

And smiled.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Curiosity and the Cat


Snoqualmie River
It all began one boring Saturday night, whilst I chatted with one of my employees about how I planned to spend my two days off. She mentioned that it was going to rain, as it was already torrential outside, and suddenly it hit me. The idea of hiking deep into the woods and having a rain-soaked, muddy adventure appealed to me. My friend Jon and I had been talking about it, thinking of the gorgeous Washington foliage that glows emerald when it rains, and how it's still a balmy 80 degrees outside even though the sky is pissing. I thought of nothing but the utter joy of getting completely drenched, and stumbling, exhausted, back to the car and a fresh, dry change of clothes.

Moreover, I thought of how it wouldn't be yet another wasted day off. I wouldn't be just sitting in front of the tv, cleaning my apartment and reading one of the hundred books I've just checked out from the library. I would be doing something different, something out of the ordinary...something adventurous.

Boy, did I get my wish.

Jon and I ransacked the internet and discovered several awesome looking trails- ones that went past glaciers and boasted spectacular mountain views. We were dead-set on the Carbon Glacier Trail, which was about 7 miles long and would take about 4 or 5 hours to hike. Unfortunately, we lacked a high-clearance vehicle to get us there (which, if you've seen it, is not my car considering it is so big and heavy it barely clears speedbumps). Dad didn't trust me with his brand new Ford F150, so we were forced to find an alternate trail.

While the way we found our trail might seem inconsequential and boring, it is pertinant that you understand we WERE planning this hike well. We WERE planning it, so the adventure that results is not due to any carelessness on our part.

Jon's dad, a total nature buff, came to our rescue and offered up directions to a trail he described as a beautiful loop through the Cascade Mountain Range, following the crystal clear waters of the Snoqualmie River. At the Middle Fork of the river, we parked the car and packed our bags. We meandered on to a big, arching bridge that gave us an amazing view both up and down-river. Tall evergreens framed the quick-flowing waters and white rapids. We paused to admire the beauty before heading across the river and up to the trail. Our directions from this point were simple: Follow the trail for about 5 miles until reaching a second bridge, which crosses back over the river. Continue a little bit further until the trail intersects with a road, which, if we follow back down the river, will take us directly to the parking lot and our car.

Simple directions...well...we'll see.

We started off fine. The forest was dense, a view people in other states must only dream of. It was a movie set for ancient times- times before the earth had been dozed and slathered in concrete. The river bubbled to our left, and the mossy ground made soft thumping sounds to the beat of our steps. To our left stood a large slate bluff, capped by tall trees and dewy moss. The skies were a crystal clear blue, even though weather forecasts had promised showers.

The surrounding visions and our surging hike uphill reminded me of The Lord of the Rings and days when people walked everywhere because there were no cars or planes. I felt a bit nostalgic, and liked the idea of pretending we were on our own little journey, back in a distant time, striving to reach home or to save the world from Sauron. (Hey, your mind wanders when you're stuck walking for hours on end, okay?) We talked about how quiet it was and it reminded me of how Aragorn is able to hear the Orcs speed up just by listening to the ground. It made sense- he could hear them because the world was more quiet. I could hear each and every footstep Jon made, and as I was walking behind him, could also see each and every time he slipped on a rock, root, leaf, plain old dirt, or his other foot.

As we padded onward, I began to feel a sense of peace, which immediately gave me the urge to babble incessantly. At first, I resisted, thinking I would spoil the solemnitude for Jon, but then something got us talking and we never stopped again. We discussed my aversion to politics and the people in Berkeley who have been protesting anything and everything for years. This led to talk of Russia and China and whether communism had ever really existed there.

As we chatted, the trail wound us through the thick brush. It would tease us with glimpses of the river before yanking us back and uphill, toward the bluff. The trees were covered with a million varieties of moss, each greener than the next. Jon and I joked that they looked like the home of the Keebler Elves, but I didn't see any.

Out in front of me, Jon was breaking the wind and heading us up the trail. As a result, he was constantly ensnared by members of an entire army of spiders. They lined our path on both sides, catching any part of us that dared peek out of the two foot trail. Sometimes, Jon could see them land on his arm, and he'd jump a foot high and hurriedly brush them off. Sometimes, he would get close enough for me to see the scores of spiderwebs that covered his backpack, forming silken layers. Sometimes, the mouthpiece of his CamelBack drinking hose would brush against his arm and he'd jump and scream like a little girl, much to my amusement.

Several hours passed, and we began looking in earnest for the bridge that would take us across the river. Yet, every time we neared the river, instead of crossing, it veered back toward the mountain again through a series of steep switchbacks. After still more hours passed, we really became worried. If we didn't turn back now, we would not make it back to the car before dark, and wandering through the thick underbrush in the middle of the night with only one flashlight and thousands of bears did not seem appealing.

But, the stubborn hiker in us refused to turn back. We wanted to find the bridge, determined to make the complete hike. And fortunately, just as we were thinking our stubborn sides be damned, there it was. Granted, it crossed over a waterfall, but rivers have to start somewhere, right? So we parked on the bridge and had lunch. Surging below us, the water ran deep, over rocks so huge they seemed ominous and alive. I kept picturing them being there since the mountain range was created, having formed and rested here on this hill ever since those plates crashed into each other. We watched the water in silent awe and ate our granola bars and bananas. Mosquitos bit me on each shoulder, leaving me with symmetrical bites. Jon threw part of his banana into the water to see if it would splash. (Your guess is as good as mine.)

After a quick rest, we continued along the trail, expecting the road back to the parking lot to meet up with us soon. Then, just ahead there was a clearing, and we shrieked in joy until we realized it was the river again- the same river we'd been walking along the whole time. We still hadn't crossed the right bridge.

Our shoulders sank and worry started to wedge its way into our hearts, but we plowed on. We were confident that the directions we'd been given were correct, and that they would eventually lead us to the right place.

As we followed the river, our conversation began to meander from the intellectual topics we'd started with down what would be an horrific decline. We pondered what we would do if a bear sauntered over, intent on killing us (Grizzlies do it for fun, you know). Since neither of us knew what one is supposed to do, we discussed what we would probably do. Most of these scenarios involved Jon seeing the bear, pissing his pants, screaming like a little girl, and running off into the wilderness, leaving me laughing on the ground in front of said bear. We even talked about us blogging about that discussion, and how he would describe our horrific incident as the proudest moment of his life where he fearlessly and courageously defended me in the face of danger. We also talked about how I would post a blog in response declaring his story a lie, then tell the sordid truth of how he only saw a frog and THOUGHT it was a bear, before pissing his pants, screaming like a little girl, and running off into the wilderness.

After about 5 or 6 hours of hiking, and after we'd decided we would rather walk naked across the river and climb up to the road on the other side (leaving me to wonder if vaginas rescind when in freezing water just like testicles do), we came to our third bridge. Now let me remind you, we were only supposed to see two total.

By the end, we'll have seen five.

We rejoice (yet again), and stop to admire the river (yet again), which has gotten even wider and more daunting. After crossing, we proceed to climb straight up a giant hill for about 45 minutes (which was a load of fun) until finally...we see a sign, a clearing, some cars, and, thankfully, the road.

From here, Jon said, it's a straight shot back to the parking lot. It's a straight, smooth walk. The hard part is done. We should make it back before dark, and make it home in time to meet the people we had plans with that night.

What's the old adage about speaking too soon?

Yeah...straight shot back to the parking lot from here, my ass. Remember that whole adventure thing I was talking about? Well I got my wish. We walked down that road for eons. The world was considered and created in less time. It was getting dark, starting to rain, and the road was not only NOT straight, but it took us up and downhill, over and over again. We were exhausted. Jon complained that his heels were rubbed raw and his knee was about to give out. My feet were aching balls of fire, as my shoes were just a TAD bit too small for me. So, with every step, they rammed my toenails back into my feet, causing unbearable pain. My heels were rubbed raw as well, and every once in a while I would experience the fresh sting of a bursting blister, wincing as the fresh and sensitive skin rubbed against the hard leather ridges of my boots.

Hours dragged passed, and even though there was still no sign of the parking lot, we always knew it must be somewhere nearby. Around every corner, we believed it was just there, waiting for us. We even said it before every corner- so frequently that we started to consider it a jinx. We agreed to not say it anymore, hoping it would make the little leprechauns that kept moving the parking lot leave us the hell alone.

So we walked and walked and walked. We dreamed of getting into the car. The thought of taking off my boots and putting on sandals was orgasmic. Jon said he'd kiss the car as soon as he saw it- and would use tongue. Then we spent the next few minutes pondering how you could give a car head (I didn't like the tailpipe idea as I've always considered my car female).

Meanwhile, our conversation continued its decline into absurdity. We talked about our longest-running sexual fantasies, to favored positions and why men enjoy ejaculating all over women's breasts and faces so much.

As it got darker and darker, I started to discourage Jon from flagging down the next car that drove by and asking for a ride, arguing that it was probably a serial killer returning from dumping his latest body who was just thinking "Man, that's done, where am I going to get my next victims?" when Jon and I appear and ask for a ride. I mean, never ask for a ride or trust strangers when the place you're trying to flee could ever be described as "a great place to dump bodies" or "serial killer country." If you watch a lot of movies or lived in Washington during the Green River Killer era, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Then, as if to prove my point, we came upon a red car on the side of the road that had been COMPLETELY FLATTENED. Now, we're not in the middle of the dump or the junkyard, we're out in the middle of a mountain range, so question #1 is how did it get flattened in the first place. The second question came to me as I went to look at it and realized that it was covered, and I mean literally COVERED in bullet holes. There were even still bullets in the holes, and they were pretty big- probably 1/2 inch in diameter. Our eyes widened in fear of whatever hillbilly psycho was lurking around the corner, loading his gun, and we hightailed it out of there, going as fast as our mangled feet would allow.

But as it got darker, all of the scary things we'd talked about became a real possibility. It's dark, we can't see anything, and there are bears and cougars and who knows what else around. My eyes were wide as I constantly scanned the nearby brush, never wanting to walk too far away from the middle of the road, wishing I had one of Jon's knives and my maglite from the car.

Fortunately, we were bright enough to be semi-prepared. We had two flashlights, one of which was left on in Jon's backpack, and was of no use to us. The other only served to show us the few steps in front of us, but ruin our night-vision to anything outside that scope. Eventually, we just turned them off, thinking they were more of a homing beacon for nutties and psychos than any sort of help.

Still walking, it was pitch black by now, and luckily, not that cold. To our utter chagrin, the road took us far away from the river- so far we couldn't even hear its rushing waters anymore.

Jon started praying to God, even though he's never been particularly religious, promising to never ask for another thing as long as he lived if God would just give us the parking lot right now. We joked about how Jon was forsaking his prayers for the first-born son he'd have who would probably end up with cancer, leaving his wife to wonder why her husband wasn't praying for their child. But nevertheless, we wanted that parking lot.

By this time we were exhausted, sweat-soaked, and our feet were in total pain. And we were still walking, with no end in sight. The conversation turned to questions of "what celebrity would you sleep with if you were gay?" And "if you could sleep with one straight celebrity for one night, who would it be?" My vote was Salma Hayek or Peta Wilson and either Brad Pitt or Jude Law. Jon apparently likes the pretty boys and voted for Paul Walker. I can't remember his female choice.

We came upon a clearing on the right side of the road, and I was ecstatic to see a truck parked there. But as we approached the truck, we realized it was not our parking lot. I felt really freaked out because the truck looked so...hillbilly-ish. I just kept picturing those crazy guys in Wrong Turn or the inbreeders that lived in the house in the boonies in X-Files who kept their mom (who had no arms or legs and apparently lived on some sort of modified skateboard) under the bed.

So we turned around and walked some more. Jon must have sensed that I was getting freaked out, picturing serial killers at any turn, because he told me to give him a hug to see if it would make me feel better. All I can say is I am sure as hell glad I wasn't wandering around the Cascades alone in the middle of the night.

Further down the road, we caught a glimpse of a light and relief surged through my veins. It was probably a light in the parking lot! But no, it was just a family out camping along the river. Jon asked them how far to the trailhead and they said 1/4 mile. Woohoo! We were close!

So we kept walking until we came to a bridge (bridge number 4). It was closed off to vehicles and from what little I COULD see, led into a mysterious black tunnel. Great. A sign on the other side of the river said "Taylor River Trailhead." Taylor River? This is where I got really pissed off. Taylor River? Where in the FUCK had the Snoqualmie River gone? When did we lose it? And were we following the wrong river the whole time?

We got out Jon's map, which told us where Taylor River was, but neglected to tell us where the parking lot was, where the Middle Fork trail was (the one we were originally on) or where we were at that exact moment. It showed us a plethora of squiggly lines, but nothing was labeled that could tell me which little line we were standing on.

In a scene straight out of Blair Witch Project, we tried to walk into the dark and mysterious tunnel, but it was really shady and so we just stopped and turned back, thinking we'd rather just chance backtracking the wrong direction and bother the people for some more specific directions. Namely, where in the hell are we and where is my goddamned car?

We sat on the bridge for a little bit and read the map. I stared at it and stared at it and decided that if we had to spend the night and try this all in the daylight, the map was being used as kindling.

Deciding against this, we found our way back to the people, and, thankfully, they knew their way around the woods. It turned out we had passed a turn to a bridge about a mile back. A turn? The directions didn't mention a turn? And what fucking bridge?

Welcome to bridge 5. Remember how there were only supposed to be 2?

Luckily, the father offered to drive us to our car and we graciously accepted. At first, he was intimidating. He was really skinny and had a deep, gravelly voice that sent shivers down my spine. But this was all offset by the very normal looking kid, dog, and wife that made up his entourage. I felt that he was on guard because we were strangers in the middle of the night and thus tried to put him at ease by standing in the light and babbling like a harmless idiotic female. The other guy offered us a beer, which really sounded heavenly at the moment except for my more pressing desire to get the hell out of there. I wanted no further delays.

So we ambled along in his truck, making idle and slightly uncomfortable conversation, watching in awe as we backtracked about a mile, turned where we had seen that scary hillbilly truck, crossed a bridge, followed the road another mile, and sailed into the parking lot. Hallelujah! I have never hugged my car so hard before.

So we made it. We drove for about an hour over a bumpy, pot-holed road to get home, and saw a big fox on the way, but I didn't care. A big old grizzly toting an AK-47 could have come out of the woods, followed by a serial killer, hillbilly, cougar, and 5000 spiders and it wouldn't have mattered because I was in the car. I love my car.

We made it home a little after midnight. It was pouring down rain. I was in so much pain- sore, tired, my feet were no longer toes and skin and bones and muscles- they were just blazing, aching bundles of pain. I was starving but I didn't have the energy to cook. I grabbed a granola bar and two big bottles of water, which I downed immediately, before passing out for about 12 hours.

It's days later, and there are giant holes in the backs of my feet, on my toes, and huge blisters under my toenails. Earlier today I used a knife to drill a hole through the nail so this brownish, Iced-Tea colored liquid could ooze out. I told Jon about it and he almost barfed.

Final count? Jon looked at a better map and calculated that we'd hiked over 30 miles total, most of it uphill.

So I got my adventure. Ask and ye shall receive. It will take some time before I go back out hiking, mostly to make sure I'm healed and to get some better shoes. All in all though, it was a thrilling time, and one hell of a great story!

(For Jon's version of the story, which I have not read at the time of writing this, go here.)


About Me...Again


I’m crazy.

I read magazines from back to front. When I get on a roller coaster, I scream bloody murder, yet insist on sitting in the front car and keeping my eyes open. I must always carry chapstick. In my room there is a box full of things I want to do with my life, and I just did one last weekend.

Playing piano is my secret passion. (That, and Star Trek: The Next Generation). When it’s raining, you can find me dancing in the middle of the street. If you see me crying, it’s probably because I just saw a Porsche being driven 20 miles below the speed limit. I hate having pictures taken of me, and I’m always writing stories in my head.

Quite accidentally, on my bookshelves I have Fix it and Forget it: Recipes for Entertaining next to The Lord of the Flies; The Bible in between The Closing of the American Mind and Heart of Darkness; and The Feminine Mystique surrounded by semi-trashy romance novels. I can distinguish the ironic from the sad.

I hate it when drivers don’t wave after you let them pull out in front of you. People who lack deadpan, sarcastic, witty, dry senses of humor often think I hate them at first – mostly because they don’t realize everything I say is the creation of my deadpan, sarcastic, witty, dry sense of humor. And yes, that is the proper grammar.

I simply cannot stand being bored. As a result, I’m really good at self-entertainment. Instead of a green thumb, I have a green hand. I love helping people when they aren’t asking for it. I’ve got a black belt in debating and am not afraid to use it if you deserve it. My golden retriever, Rosie, was one of my best friends in the world.

I am definitely a Gemini and definitely not schizophrenic. The voices in my head agree. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what I want to do with my life, I would be really good at nailing people in the head with nickels. I enjoy Garfield, peanut sauce, the sound of fast typing, and Aquafina. I am kidding with you 99% of the time and if you can’t handle that then you better walk away now. My cat, Loki, is the only animal in my family raised solely by me. She is independent, loving, never boring, afraid of nothing, loves to play, hates being in a cage, and is quite the little bitch. Nicely enough, my dad always says she’s definitely MY cat.

I am outgoing and assertive, yet still that shy little girl peeking out at the other kids from behind her mommy’s back. I remember everything. Ignorance in others brings out the verbal predator in me. I suck at mailing things. Once, I asked for an “iced hot chocolate” at Starbucks and the woman gave me chocolate milk. There are two things I take very seriously: driving and going to the movies. I love people who always say please and thank you. I hate people who take risks without appreciating them. I’m good at keeping in touch.

I believe you can find out a lot about a person just by fighting with them. Since I am the youngest of five and the only girl, I have a lot of experience with this. I think I believe in reincarnation…or at least I did in a past life. I know that if I ever go skydiving, they will have to physically throw me from the plane, but once I land I will ecstatically want to go again. I think a man in a black beanie is oh so sexy, unless he’s robbing something.

I love my family, even if they do tease me incessantly. Then again, so do most people. Apparently I learned to talk when I was one year old and haven’t stopped since. No matter what happens I know life goes on.

Some people think I’m quiet. I have a tendency to always look at the world and think, “Now, if we were in a movie, here’s what would happen next.” At any given moment I am reading five different books. I really love first-person shooter video games. In my life I’ve had 29 cats, 5 dogs, 1 rabbit, 2 iguanas, 2 geese, 4 goats, and a plethora of fish (including Dinglebob and Biffledorf, my two goldfish).

I’ve been called the dumbest smart person. No matter where my career goes, I will always be a writer. No matter how long I live, I will always be a smartass. At the end of the day, I’m always sorry it’s over. In the morning, I’m always excited for what’s to come. During the time in between, I dream in epic sagas and must always have chapstick and a glass of water by my side.

If you’ve made it this far, kudos. If you want more, see the rest of my blog. If you’re expecting answers, you’ll only get questions. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you’re expecting this list to end, it never will so I’ll just stop.

(For everything else, please speak with my receptionist).




{This is a short story I wrote with my friend Jon. He wrote all of the paragraphs in third person, as well as the poem. I wrote everything in first person. Be aware- it's really dark and disturbing (even though Jon and I are not). If it bugs you too much, read something cheery, like Meet a Real Bitch or Curiosity and the Cat. Have a nice day!}

"If all your world is dead and gone, unchanging with the seasons;
To want to go on living then, one must find their reasons."
- JoMo 3:14

In misery, he falls to the ground. Tears seem to seep out of his weary eyes, as he scrapes, drags, and lurches his broken, bloody shell of a body across the rocky road. The ominous gates stand tall behind him, their cold blackened iron depths forgiving none who pass. As they slowly close, he feels the echoes of their bolts locking tight reverberate throughout his foresaken bones. One muddy finger rises to wipe away the wetness on his eyelashes long enough to take one final look back inside. Row after row of tombstones stand still in the driving rain, guardians of lives he never knew. Mimicking his falling tears, the water splashes hard against the cold granite of each stone. With one last stuttering breath, he mouths one single word. "Goodbye."

Do you know what it's like to have to remind youself to breathe? I choke if I forget, like my body knows that I don't care anymore and doesn't even try. I lay on the road, desperate to block out the thoughts that hammered like sharp thin nails into my brain. I felt the kind of loneliness that squeezes your heart and numbs your bones, and it wasn't that I'd never find happiness again, it was that I didn't care because I'd forgotten what happiness felt like. I heard someone screaming in pain and torment and looked around, only to find myself completely alone. I wasn't scared - if you're ready to die, you're not scared of anything. The rest of your life is simply the gate before the ultimate freedom, and it doesn't really matter who leads you through.

The screaming continued - and it sounded like someone's soul being torn in half - and then I realized it was me screaming. The rain stopped, and my tears stopped, and suddenly silence came crashing down, drowning my screaming as if my head was held underwater. Everything was thickly still except for my mind, which squirmed like a worm in the apple of my skull. I struggled to my feet, needing to get away from this place. I took one look back - knowing I shouldn't but NEEDING to - and then I forgot to breathe, and the nails pounded and the worm squirmed and the road rushed back up to meet me.

Sonnetts, hours, oceans, epics, universes later, his eyes fly open. The brown, muddy road lies inches from his brain, as it should be. His muscles and bones and nerves with all of their sinewy, synaptic depths quake and quiver as he opens his mouth and oxygen floods his lungs. Like a thick molasses sludge, he slowly rises, his body a lithe, towering mass in the middle of the long, winding road. Step by step, his beaten body surges forward, leaving a trail of connected footprints in his wake. With each movement, the bones that are broken creak and scrape, drawing fresh blood to add to his already soaked clothes. As he staggers forward, images...no, real...buildings begin to take shape, amassing in grey blocks of despair. None stands whole. All are ruins - blasted, bombarded, decimated, and destroyed- these buildings have fallen...as has he.

As my gaze slithered over all that was left, a black wave of loss drove me to the brink of insanity. Broken stones jutted from the dark ground like rotten teeth in black gums. A glint of silver caught the cold moonlight, and I saw in the wreckage a shattered picture frame. Thoughts of what I had left in the graveyard ambushed my swollen mind, making my skull ache with equal parts mourning and madness. Hot tears poured from my eyes as I begged myself to forget, but the memory burst through like someone crushing an egg in their fist. I remembered what I had done, the horrific decision I had made, and felt my heart shatter in my chest like fine porcelain. I was already dead inside and nearly dead outside. I couldn't tell you what I felt, because I didn't feel anything anymore. I was just looking for the perfect place to die.

The air reeked with the rank stench of death. It was so thick, it seemed to be smearing a hefty, oily coating of pungence on the wind. His fingers rolled up into his palms, digging deep, forming fists clenched so tightly the skin was translucent straight through to the bone. His eyelids grew heavy in remembrance, but he forced them open, searching...always searching. He passed sunken building after building, each wreckage a testament to his betrayal - to his hell. Faces, pale and deathly...deadly...materialized out of the rancid mist. Their skin was a mottled, rotten flesh, draped loosely over old skeletons. Long, bony fingertips rose to tap impatiently on the cold stones of the buildings. For as far as his blurred and bloodied eyes could see, they arose, surrounding him with a death unmatched by any graveyard. The death pervaded his senses, encompassing him and the surrounding world entirely. Nothing stirred in this barren wasteland. If there had been flies, they would have feasted on the mutilated carcasses of those that stood before him. As it were, only their faces, marred by empty, sunken eye sockets, moved- turning to stare...and condemn. At last...he is met with his jury.

They had finally come for me - the ghosts of my past. I was surrounded by horrifying, ghastly, deserved wraiths made corporeal by my failing mind. They drifted closer, and I felt my skin crawl and my lungs corrode as I moved among the ranks of the dead. Their eyeless gazes tore into me like bitter fangs, impossibly realizing who I was and hungrily drinking in my guilt. I was being judged, and like a murderer found drenched in his victim's blood, I knew there would be no lenience. As I staggered along, my broken bones grating, my wounds leaking crimson with every heartbeat - my terror was tempered with the weary knowlege that my journey was almost over. I think I'd always known that they'd come back, that this would be the consequences of my actions and the debt of my mistakes. Then I saw it, looming out of the dark, and I knew I was almost there.

Their yowling, shrieking voices demanded blood. Knowing that which already soaked his skin was nowhere near enough, he raked his fingernails down his cheeks, his arms, his legs. Deep ridges filled with separated flesh and fresh blood. In his right pocket, he felt the weight of the picture frame, that single snapshot of his happiness, and grated the metal edges across his skull, filleting open the flesh until it hung in wet, dripping flaps. The glass shards he used to dig deeper into his aching limbs, severing tendons from the bone, one by one. His actions were frenzied, mirrored in the pool of viscous sanguine liquid below. Like a razor, the frame slashed through his body, decapitating all but the one thing he wished to lose...his memory. It eluded him cleverly, seeming to know that until it was gone, he would be forced to remain living...to remain...unresolved.

Behind them, it growled with its growing tenacity, snarling, feeding off of his unending desire to die. Looming over him, it snaked tendrils of darkness out to poke at his brain, screaming unbearably for him to remember, screaming and screaming and pushing and pulling and he was bleeding and falling and their hands pulled as they came for him, mouths opening, he screamed they tortured murdered mangled please die please die I want to die and then...they were gone.

A simple flutter and he was alone. Floating, softly as a feather, he watched the photograph alight ever so gently on the ground. And there it was, a thousand words of torment more painful than any open wound. It was what he left in the graveyard and the only thing he wanted. His happiness. It was more than smiles and love and friendship. It was everything. He exhaled, shoulders sagging, and dropped to the ground, grasping it in one hand, leaving a trail of bloody fingerprints. As the tears fell, as the unextinguishable pain soared through his veins and out the raw wounds, he watched it crumble into ashes, and blow away.

The dark forms were gone, and as the shadow ebbed away like a thick black tide, I forced my dimming eyes to study the photo in my hand one last time. How it had arrived here I did not know, but it had saved me from the darkness, and the madness. Things could not be undone, but I had at last found peace, the sort found in the face of man who expires quietly in his sleep. I had left a graveyard to find a place to die, and I had finally found that place. As I lay there with my torn cheek on the cold ground, I could hear the last of my blood trickling out of my veins and seeping into into the hard ground. I made an effort, and the last breath of air sighed out of my lungs and past the last smile I would ever make. And as my eyes slipped closed one final time and the darkness rolled down like a black curtain, I knew I was finally free.

"If soon their reasons are not found, all they have is sorrow;
Their soul may wander far and wide, but never see tomorrow."
- JoMo 3:14


Monday, October 18, 2004



This is inspired by a friend who did the same thing at www.googlism.com. I thought I'd share!

Googlism for: laura

laura is new
laura is a racist and a total phony
laura is full of it
laura is a big skinny idiot
laura is no hillary
laura is hardly a sympathetic martyr
laura is a sadistic witch
laura is like playing with fire
laura is dangerous
laura is born
laura is a lesbian and fucks chickens
laura is 'styling'
laura is such a bitch it is unnatural
laura is being fucked by a guy with a very thick cock on the
laura is behind this
laura is luke's heart & humanity
laura is your god
laura is a 39 year old 5ft 5 1/2 in
laura is mainly interested in
laura is a single mexican woman from hermosillo
laura is an unsaved
laura is right
laura is a braggart
laura is an acoustic craftsman
laura is away
laura is keen on sending messages in odd ways
laura is melting
laura is a tremendous person
laura is my hero
laura is glowing
laura is so used to people that don’t think for themselves
laura is an aspiring model in georgia
laura is judging on sunday
laura is confused
laura is something else
laura is big news
laura is a professional in every way
laura is good in bed
laura is currently undergoing simultaneous seed multiplication in south australia
laura is mainly interested in passing moral judgements
laura is jewish
laura is an incredibly ticklish girl under any circumstances
laura is also the only girl in america who is rated number one in competition against boys her age
laura is also very versatile
laura is a nice woman
laura is extremely adept at computer hacking and can find almost anything without leaving a trace
laura is 3
laura is even inconsistent with her judaism
laura is big on the philosophy that people must take full responsibility for the messes they put themselves in
laura is justly proud of her archery skills
laura is lusting for you
laura is a goddess
laura is an i
laura is dangerous
laura is tops at wimbledon
laura is good emma is dumb
laura is so fucking cool she
laura is that george
laura is good in bed
laura is the best singer in the world
laura is my favorite crayon
laura is a man
laura is a mysterious young girl that seems to have a connection to your late wife
laura is here


Thursday, October 07, 2004

what I learned from C.S.I.



1. Never touch anything. Ever. Not if you're committing a crime...not if you've just walked into a crime scene...not if you've just realized that someone has committed a crime against you. Don't even think about touching anything. And even if you're absolutely sure that you haven't touched anything, you still probably have.

2. Bugs are REALLY cool! They're the good guys. And the fact that they're usually found eating your rotting, dead flesh is a good thing!

3. Coroners are EXTREMELY and weirdly de-sensitized to the sight of bodies in any shape and condition. Enough so that they can eat and drink while looking at one.

4. People never ever tell the entire truth. It doesn't matter whether they're innocent or guilty. They're always hiding something, either because it makes them seem guilty (and they are) or because it makes them seem guilty (and they aren't).

5. Be thankful for DNA. It's the end-all be-all of every investigation, it's itty bitty, and it's everywhere.

6. No matter where you put a body, someone is always going to find it. And it doesn't matter if you bury it in sand, concrete, or dirt. It also doesn't matter if the body is chopped up and spread about, left on the side of the road, or burned entirely from head to toe.

7. There are tons of really cool gadgets out there that can identify blood, DNA, minerals, fingerprints, spores, fiber-type, and pretty much anything else that's in microscopic form and floating around a crime scene. And once blood gets on something, it's never leaving. They can always find it. Even years later.

8. Defense attorneys really are assholes. They always show up just when the suspect is about to tell everything and instruct them not to say another word.

9. Whoever you think is the killer, usually isn't. And whoever you are sure isn't the killer, usually is. Unless they're trying to throw you off, then the one who isn't is, and the one who is isn't. OR, it's neither of them and it's someone entirely different.

10. That job really really really really really really really sucks sometimes. Like when they find a kidnapped and murdered baby lying in the bushes, and have to fend off the hysterical mother.