A Girl and Her Cat

Two years ago I adopted a cat and my roommates and I named him Oliver. Our inspiration: Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist (one of my other roommates was also an English major and we persuaded the others into submission). Adopting Oliver has, and probably will continue to be, one of the best decisions of my life. As many other pet owners and lovers will agree, there is a niche in my heart that only Ollie, as with all other pets, can fill. 

Pets love with a certain kind of love unlike any other, and that's why my fiancé and I are so lucky to have him. He may be here for only a short time in comparison to our own lifespans, but we will be present for most of his. All but six months, in my case. And that is sometimes a hard thing to think about. I know everything dies, all things come to an end, etc, etc. But that doesn't make it easier to imagine a world without Ollie, and losing him won't be easy. I've accepted that. I relish the knowledge and hope that I will still get another twelve years with him, and that I can do everything imaginable to make each of those years the best, just like he deserves. 

Pets give us love, unconditionally in most cases, though cats sometimes do hold grudges. What we give them in return is a promise; a promise that we will love them, care for them, feed them, hold them, treat them like the best friends that they are, and protect them against an otherwise cruel world. That is my promise and I work everyday to keep it. When I falter, Ollie reminds me and he returns my love tenfold. He is more than I could ask for, so I do my best to give him more than he asks for as well. 

But What Is This Really All About?

It hasn't been that long since I started this blog and already I am asking myself, what is this blog about? What am I trying to say with this? What should I be saying? What do people want to hear? 

Well, to tell the truth, I do not know the answers to any of those questions. I am not sure what readers want, or what hot-topic issues I should be discussing here. Mostly, I am using this blog as a venue for my own thoughts. I am expressing my thoughts and feelings as a post-graduate, a writer, and a woman.  I am talking out my ideas and hoping that someone out there talks back. I don't have a direction, but I have passions and questions and only a few answers, but I think more will come, especially with other people's opinions and ideas bouncing back to me. 

I want people to comment on what I have to say, if they will, and for readers to think about my words after they've read them. I am not looking for a million followers to find me overnight, I just want a couple people to maybe give a shout out once in a while, to tell me they are listening and to share what they are thinking, too. 

This is my first attempt at blogging, as you know if you've read my other post "Blog" (and yes, that is the title, and yes I did do that on purpose. I didn't just forget to title it.) So bear with me, reader. With any luck I will get better at this blogging thing and it'll find a direction and a focus and it will result in brilliant things. Or maybe not. Let's just wait and see what we can come up with, together. 

The Envelope

This is a story I wrote last year and that I have been working on since. It's very short, and the first time I've tried this style. 

 

The Envelope

Do you want to play dolls, she said. She laughed and something in her hair winked at me in the sun. A butterfly clip catching the light, purple, metal, glittery. You can be the teddy, she said. She handed me a bear, stained and fraying. Its left eye was a button. 

What do we do now, I asked. 

 Clink clink, we’re drinking tea, she said. We drank away the afternoon, sun and lemon in our tea. 

*****

Won’t you kiss me, now, she said. I know you want to. 

I’m too old for you, I said. Have you gotten your shots yet? 

I’m fifteen, she said. I’m old enough. She leaned in close. I started to fade. 

Please, just get your shots, I said. It really isn’t safe. I could bring something back. 

I know you want to kiss me, she said. 

It really isn’t safe, I said. But she was gone and so was I and the man on the corner eyed me as I walked past. I dug around in my pocket for change and the edge of the envelope cut my finger.  

*****

What’s this, she asked. Her eyes glinted like that clip in the sun. I can’t take this. What did you do. 

You need it, I said, just take it. Please. 

I can’t take this, she said, I don’t want to know how you got it. I’m not a charity case. I have a job, you know. I’m not a silly young girl anymore. You can’t keep trying to take care of me. She paused. I have a husband now. 

I watched her twirl the metal band around her skinny finger. I put my hand in my pocket and worried at the softening envelope.  

You should probably go, she said. 

You didn’t move out, I said. You’re still in this same house. I was starting to fade. She looked down. The gray threads were barely visible in her light hair. 

I didn’t want to leave and have you not find me again, she said. It was hard enough the first time. I kept waiting and waiting and you never came back. 

I tried, I said. I tried to come back to you. I reached out but she wasn’t there anymore and my hand brushed brick instead. Around me, bombs crashed and dust filled the air and it stuck in my throat and choked me. 

*****

It’s you. You do exist. I can’t believe it, he said. 

Who are you, I said. I stepped back off the stoop. 

    She’s gone. They moved, the whole family, he said. Wait right there, she left something for you. He turned around and went deep into the house. Wait right there. 

    He came running back and his shoes squeaked on the hardwood and I was almost to the gate and he came tripping out over the thin lip on the uneven sidewalk.  Damn, he muttered, I’m still not used to that.  Here, he said. 

    My name was scrawled in crayon on the front of the envelope and it was sealed with fuzzy scented stickers. Her address was inside, neatly written in her mother’s hand and then signed clumsily at the bottom in the same crayon as on the front. 

    She said you’d come back for it, he said. I gotta admit, I thought you weren’t real, like an imaginary friend or something, you know, when she talked about “the pretty lady” who would pop up out of nowhere. 

    Thank you, I said, I have to go. 

*****

    I got my vaccines, she said. The university paid for them. She rolled up her shirtsleeves and poked at the tiny Band-Aids. 

    That’s all you have to say, I said. She stopped and blinked at me. 

    What do you mean, she said. 

    I found you, I said. It took me years, but I found you. I followed your address here. I pulled the yellow, wrinkled envelope from my pocket. The stickers weren’t fuzzy anymore and they’d lost their smell and the creases in the paper were white and soft. She took it from me and traced the tattered edges. 

    I can’t believe you still have this. I mean, it’s been years for me, so how long has it been for you, she said. 

    Sometimes it’s been decades, sometimes just yesterday, sometimes it hasn’t even happened yet. I paused. You had a husband, I said. 

    She looked up at me. Her eyes glinted and  blue spilled over and trickled down her cheek. 

    You never kissed me, she said. I have my vaccines now, won’t you kiss me.

    You had a husband and a family and a life, I said.  You could still have all of that. She shook her head.

    No, she said, I wouldn’t do that. I’ve only ever wanted you. You’re the only one, she said, don’t you want me too. 

    Yes, I said. Yes. 

    Then stay with me, she said. Stay with me.  

    I can’t, I said. I was fading away. But she grabbed my hand and pulled me back and I stayed. 

    You can, she said. For me, you can. 

    I never felt lips so soft. 

    

 

    

Blushing Bride

I recently became engaged to a man. While this in itself is no unique thing, engagements being quite common however exciting they are, my engagement still caused a bit of a ripple among my friends and family. It wasn't a matter of scandal or ill will or disapproval towards me or my fiancé. No, it was a matter quite different altogether. As I went around boasting the news, I was met with many congratulations and well wishes, as I expected. But underneath the happy tidings I also heard other murmurs along the lines of "but wait, I thought she was gay?"

I expected this, too. For the past three years I've identified as a lesbian. Thus, when my chosen life partner ended up being a man, people began to wonder. And question. And comment. 

Never to my face, out loud, of course. But that wasn't malice on their parts, it was just basic human curiosity and respect and confusion and propriety. People were surprised by my 180° change, and I knew it. But that didn't mean it was easy to hear when people were shocked by the news. 

I experienced a moment of panic regarding my impending nuptials.My friends' reactions to my engagement left me no longer feeling like the blushing bride in the usual sense. After being so buoyed on a cloud of excitement and elation, I felt grounded by insecurity and doubt and a little bit of anger, irrational that it was, whenever I told people about my engagement. I began to doubt the whole thing. And that doubt was only bolstered when a few friends of mine called, texted, or wrote to me in attempt to persuade me out of my marriage. They felt I had made a hasty decision and I started to feel the same. 

The root of the matter was, though, that I was starting to  question not my engagement, but my sexuality. Again. And I hated it. I hated being in between sexualities. I knew my own wants and desires and I accepted them. Not an easy feat by any means. However, my own security did not guarantee anyone else's and indeed I ran into more than one person whose concept of sexuality was limited to labels, stereotypes, boxes. 

In high school, I identified as bisexual, which had its own benefits and downfalls too. Some people, in both the heterosexual and homosexual communities, say that bisexual isn't even a real sexuality. That those who identify as such are wishy-washy and can't make up their mind. I never felt that way. 

For the three years  I was in college, I identified as gay. But only to some people. I never really "came out" to my parents or family, officially anyway. Most of my friends and colleagues knew, but then again since I did not "look the part," per say, many people did not know I identified as gay. 

Now, I was engaged to a man. It may have seemed confusing to some, but to me it was just the natural progression of not just my sexuality, but of my life. I met someone, got to know him, fell in love, moved in with him, and then decided to marry him. It was not some radical decision but the one I felt was right. Who I was at the core did not change in any way. I was still myself, still held the same beliefs and values, and had happened to be lucky enough to find someone who shared those beliefs. That person happened to be a man, but that didn't matter either.

I didn't fall in love with him because he was a man, and couldn't not love him because of his gender either. I fell in love with a person, not a sex. 

Sexuality is a sliding scale, and I traversed the whole spectrum. As was my right, my choice, and my freedom, as it is for everyone. I got bogged down a few times by my own insecurities and others', but then I stopped blushing. I didn't have to explain myself to anyone. It was only normal for people to wonder, to question. But that would pass. I fell in love with a person, not a sex. It's just that simple. 

Blog

We live in a media-rich world and it is becoming ever more important for writers, musicians, and artists to reach out to followers online. Anyone who denies the importance of technology and social media today is deluding themselves, and unfortunately I was guilty of just this. I never posted, tweeted, blogged, or friended. I didn't have any social media accounts besides Facebook, and even that I barely used except to highlight the newest recipes or cute dresses I'd found on Pinterest. I preferred spending time with those around me rather than people I had never met who lived 5,000 miles away, even though we shared similar interests.

But, I realized, I was looking at this all the wrong way; these were people who did the same things I did, who liked the same books, movies and recipes. I should make more time to reach out to them, to connect with them, not to push them away by hiding out in my own dark little corner and never sharing my own ideas with the world but just re-pinning others'.  So this is my first attempt at blogging--thinking out loud to the internet and hoping others will read, respond, share, and start thinking too. So here's to broadened horizons and new followers and friends.