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  • We aren’t going to make it.

    I’ve decided that I will throw up the day you have a kid.

    I can imagine the phone call and the news followed by a brief moment
    where I excuse myself to play out the plan I have for this:
    Put receiver down. Go to bathroom. Look at self in the mirror. Take deep
    breaths. Swallow. Pick up the receiver. Clear throat. Say nicely: "Ok.
    Tell me that again. Oh. You're expecting? That is wonderful. Oh, you've had a child? Yes, that really is such a beautiful name.
    Congratulations."
    Long and silent pause. ((Awkwardness and helplessness.))
    "Oh, sorry, that is my fill-in-the-blank (toaster, smoke alarm, nuclear
    weapon detector) going off."
    Politely say goodbye and echo congratulations again.
    Go back to the bathroom.
    Lie on the bath mat until dark.
    Get up.

    I’ll send you a card with a lovely gift that will fit and have a
    beautiful double meaning in some crafty way that I’ve planned out for
    the last 15 years. It will have a blue or pink ribbon (your choice)
    and my handwriting will look the same as it always has.

    ~ ~ ~

    I know that this feeling has everything and nothing to do with you.
    I know that I need to stop reading sad books while listening to sad
    music. It is not productive to wallow.
    I need to listen to that song you sang 5,000 more times so that the
    words will lose their meaning and I can just hum along to the tune and
    smile.
    And look pretty.
    And take the garbage out like you asked me to.
    And not stay out late.
    And not get so drunk that listening to that one song makes me cry-on-the-spot.
    I know that there are other people out there like me. But, what do they look
    like when they are 50?

    Last night I said that having a kid would feel like throwing in the
    towel and giving up on whatever semblance of a life I imagined that I
    would have for myself.
    You said that’s exactly what you wanted.
    We talk through milk cans and popcorn.
    The dishwasher actually has a green light that blinks “c l e a n “
    just incase you cant remember.
    Go through the motions.
    Put the plates away.
    Stack the cups that you wanted so badly to build a life out of.


    Yes. Like when we were little and you thought that you could build
    houses out of cups. Maybe at that point you really could. We did that
    at your grandmothers house on the kitchen floor. Houses as tall as
    houses are when you are eight, with just the right amount of space for
    sleeping in. then we would knock them down. I remember how the cups
    would sound when they would hit the floor. That sound was my favorite
    part. I remember this memory and it is actually mine. Not remembered
    because someone took a picture of it or because it has been told to me
    so many times that my mothers voice is looped into the memory. It’s
    real and truthful. And fun. And sad.

    So, she said to me last night in the sweetest most polite way, “I told you so.”
    In a way that was like an echo of what you’ve already said so many
    times to yourself that you weren’t sure if she knew what to say to you
    because you’ve told her before, or just because she knows you that
    well. I’m not going to tell you what she said, but I’m pretty sure you
    could guess at it if you wanted to.
    And just at that moment when the words escaped her mouth this song
    came on the stereo and those two notes meet together in the most
    delicate way – the kind of way that makes your heart swell up and you
    feel like the whole weight of the world is pressing on your heart. I
    started to cry. The kind of cry that I hate to do because I can feel
    my face turn ugly and hard and my chin starts to quiver
    uncontrollably. It’s not one of those cries that you must do that
    feels like starting over. It’s a cry of stuckness and surrender.
    I know exactly how I look when I do it, because ive cried like this in
    front of a mirror before so I could know how ugly it would look like
    when the truth was escaping my face in blotchy wet patches.
    And I wanted to sob real bad, but I just didn’t want to fall apart on
    her apartment floor. That would have been too much. Too over the top.
    So I just, you know, talk cried while listening to the song and wiping
    my eyes every few measures.

    But, it was one of those moments, too, when everything feels just like
    it was supposed to be happening, like somebody sitting in the sky
    actually did have a plan. The secret when this happens is to keep your
    mouth shut and open your eyes just a little wider so that you can
    remember everything the best you can.
    Like when Wayne and I played on the Ouija board and I knew in the
    corners of my soul that neither of us were moving that piece of
    plastic and it really was moving on its own and answering the
    universes questions like it is supposed to do everytime you play it.
    But, I knew that if I said something, draw attention to the fact that
    it was really actually happening that the hole in the universe would
    swallow the magic up and it would stop working.

    And that one time that we kissed to music and it felt like how you'd
    imagine kissing would feel when you finally found your soulmate. And
    your hand was on the back of my neck but didn’t know what to do or
    where to go and what would be ok so it rested there gently touching
    where my skin and hair meet at the base of my head, just fingertips
    and magic, until something breathed from inside me “its okay” and you
    knew what to do. And no one spoke it was just known. And somewhere
    some record player stopped and then started over, playing the entire
    album again until the record player knew that it was the right moment
    to stop, and it did, but I kept holding the note in my mouth until I
    thought I would pass out because I didn’t want the feeling to leave my
    body even though I knew it couldn’t go on forever.

    I always question if it couldn’t go on forever. Like, What if we were
    like the record player on an infinite loop?

    But! I knew like 30 seconds before it was ending that it was ending.
    Sometimes I can feel when something is going to happen just before it
    does. Usually with car crashes and other such horrible events. You say
    to yourself:

    Oh no. Wait. I feel it coming. Where’s the car?
    There it is.
    Pow.
    Crash.
    Bang.

    But sometimes at the same time, I know that it is going to be okay.

    I used to always say “it will all work out in the end” and truly believe it. Now, I have my doubts in my childhood sense of right and wrong.

    But I knew that this was all going to happen. Not in the way that it
    actually did. But in the way that it actually felt. I was pulled to
    it, like I am to the lake everytime I see it. I have to touch the
    water or else I feel like I’m incomplete. And water makes me nostalgic
    for something that my soul can't define.

    I think that it has something to do with our past lives.

    I just keep running to the water and feeling at peace, like I’ve met that old friend that I can always call to because it knows my past and all of my insides and can't understand why I feel so lonely.
    Always by the lake, any lake really.
    Maybe not. Maybe only lakes in Michigan.

    So you can never tell anyone this story, because its never as
    wonderful as it is when I play that memory over in my head. And I
    think that if I still like this tomorrow after I read it in the
    morning I’ll send it in the mail to you. Because everyone likes
    getting mail. Mail makes you feel special, and remembered, and loved.
    But you can read this at your leisure, piece by piece, line by line,
    moment by moment and that way I don’t overwhelm you like I have the
    tendency to do.
    And a little part of you can fall in love with me just a little bit more.
    And a little part of you will resent me for all the horrible things I
    have done to you.

    I really am sorry. I wish I were the type of person who takes the
    garbage out on a regular basis and doesn’t have it pile up on the
    kitchen floor.
    When she called me and asked for me today I stammered so quietly, “I’m sorry, I don’t
    know who that is.”
    And she was so polite and excused herself for calling me, apologizing so nicely.
    And I held on to the phone longer than I should have.
    Waiting for the music to crescendo out of my head.
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