I am better. Things have stabilized (for now). It's not often I make public announcements like the last post, so if (when) I do, you will always know: oh dear, it must be pretty bad over there with Amy. (No flowers or cards please, just send light and love, thanks.)
And Becky, thank you for listening over salads--can we call these lunch dates "Cobb Salad Confessions"? It sounds like something HBO might air. Oh, and thanks for letting me try out your fancy new Chromebook! I researched them a lot--they have no CD/DVD player, but I think I'm going to go with that because it seems to get the job done and I'm all about getting jobs done. And also people rave about them. And I'm all about getting jobs done with things people rave about.
My life has been blessed with good people (like Becky) all over it; these more than make up for the Valdemorts who pop up now and then. (For those who don't know, Becky is like Hermione and Ron Weasley and whatever the name of that character is who Maggie Smith plays all rolled into one, except Becky is much younger and hipster) (I like to use Harry Potter references a lot even though I really have no freaking idea what I'm talking about--this makes me feel like I'm living on the edge. I'm dangerous like that. Come at me, Valdemort!) (I bet I spelled his name wrong.)
Tonight I have 1 story and then a Rumi quote to share with you. The story won't help you at all, but the Rumi quote might:
Story: Alice's Sensible Plan.
Alice stood in front of the judge. She could see her mother's worn out face (sad eyes) to the right, her two sisters staring solemnly at the floor to her left. She could feel Frank's mean blue eyes burning her back. She stared up into Henry's long, waxy face and focused on his pudgy nose. She felt that defeat again, knowing she shouldn't be here, and wouldn't if Frank hadn't said what he'd said. That day.
The judge asked Henry for the ring and Alice stared at her shoes as he placed it on her finger. White shoes. Comfortable white pumps. Nurses might wear sensible shoes like these. Sensible is important.
Alice decided five years ago, at 16, to become a nurse. She wanted to help others, maybe because she spent her whole life silently wishing someone would help her family--help her father, help her mother, help her sisters, and her. No one ever did, until Henry said he wanted to help her. But Henry also said he didn't want her to be a nurse. Henry didn't want to marry a working girl. He was off in a few weeks, and only God knew where the war and the US Navy would land him. Henry wanted a wife home, safe, not a girl out nursing the sick and wounded. He wanted to show off her picture to the boys, and tell them what a sensible, good woman he'd married, someone who was waiting at home for him right now, cooking and cleaning and getting ready for babies...and didn't she also look just like Zoe Mozert? He married his very own Zoe Mozert. Alice never saw the resemblance, but Henry insisted they could be twins, and that every sailor in the Navy would be green with envy over it.
Before all the Zoe Mozert talk, Alice had been at her parents' kitchen table a month ago, filling out the nursing school application when Frank walked in. He stood over her, smirking at the writing on the paper in front of her. "Women belong at home in the kitchen. Jobs are for sluts." Then, as quietly as he'd come in, he turned and left.
She looked at the paper for a long time. She felt tears, but refused to let them out. Slowly, so she could feel each minute inch of paper as it tore, she ripped the application. She'd placed the pieces in Frank's lunch box when she was done. He'd see them down in the coal mine the next day, and she prayed that would be the day there'd be a cave in.
Her mother had married Frank for security after their father died. But Frank had been the opposite of secure--though he never beat Alice or her little sisters, he was hurtful in other ways. Alice and her sisters were afraid of him, but the night little Betsy asked Alice if she thought maybe pushing the dresser against the door would help with the nightmares every night, Alice knew he was doing it to all of them. She knew it like she also knew how Frank's hands were callused and there was a large, disgusting wart on his right ring finger.
As she placed her ripped up paper into Frank's lunch box, Alice remembered Henry's face. He wasn't perfect, but he wanted her and he was the perfect escape from Frank. They weren't being beaten, so nobody would die--Betsy and Louise would eventually find their own escapes. Henry was going to be Alice's.
Last night, Alice let Henry have whatever was left of her virginity. "You'll keep 'obey' in, won't you, Alice?" asked Henry after he finished thrusting into her. Over milkshakes at the diner, she announced she was mulling a crazy notion to break tradition and ask the judge to take out the word. Alice suggested Rosie the Riveter wouldn't say it, and women could be strong now, too. Henry's face had gone blank, but his eyes darted side to side, making sure no one had overheard her.
Alice stared through the dark up at the ceiling, thinking about Henry's request. The whole act they'd just finished had repulsed her. Her insides felt weak and clammy, and the sharp sensation she'd gasped at when he entered her were only part of it. Henry's sweat dripping onto her nose, his onion-scented breath on her cheeks and in her ears, the way his mouth twitched like a beached fish as he came, the horrifying mewl-y groans he made, the scent of semen and something wet running between her legs. Alice took deep, slow breaths to keep the bile down.
"Alice?" said Henry. And then Alice nodded. With a weak, "Of course, darling," she agreed to love, cherish, honor, and obey Henry until death do them part. Henry patted her head, then got up to urinate in the motel's toilet. Alice grabbed the spoon she'd swiped from the diner and began scraping up Henry's insides from between her legs.
They'd checked in as Mr. & Mrs. Henry Grier even though they wouldn't officially both be Griers until tomorrow night, but Alice didn't worry about letting Henry have her a night early. She wanted it over, but she also needed him to do it. Tomorrow morning, Henry was coming for breakfast. Alice planned to let Frank know what they'd done tonight. It was important, very important, Frank know how wrong he'd been that day: Sometimes, Frank, sluts DO belong in kitchens.
Alice carefully wrapped a napkin around the spoon, hoping none of its contents spilled on her way home. She had a kitchen to take it to, and a special breakfast to cook, and something sensible to prove to Frank. Henry climbed into bed and patted her head again, then turned his back to her and fell asleep, completely forgetting she needed a ride home. Alice lay in the dark listening to an amazing cacophony of snores begin. She got out of bed, pulled the spoon off the nightstand and tucked it carefully into the bottom of her pocketbook. She began pulling on underclothes, and as she pinned her stockings to her garters, she started to cry. The silent tears gave way to sobs hyperventilating from her chest, which felt as if something was crushing it. Defeat. Alice sensed that is what the crush of defeat feels like--defeat is a deep burning crush inside of your chest. The color of red and purple and it's hard to breathe.
Henry sat up, annoyed, and told her to stop making so much noise. When he saw her dressing, he yelled, "Dammit!" and then told her to hold her horses, she was being stupid; he said he'd get her home and he would. Alice finished dressing and waited for him to dress. Something pricked at her as she sat at the end of the bed, some knowledge that, in spite of how carefully she'd planned this, Frank had still won.
Frank always seemed to, even when there was a sensible dresser blocking the door.
This was (obviously) longer than the other two pieces, so I didn't post it to twitter. In addition, I'm becoming quickly disillusioned with that place. I feel like I'm shouting into a very large, crowded cave. I can't see anyone, but I know they're there. Maybe some of them hear me, but most of them are so busy shouting into the cave as well that they aren't listening and/or can't hear me. My brother told me tonight it's not for social networking, just for following people. But what's the point of following people if you can't be social? I am far too social, I fear, for Twitter. Hey Twitter followers and following: does anybody want to grab some coffee? I'll buy! (not if all 70 of you come--I'm a teacher, yo.)
So I'm back to: I don't get Twitter. I did try. And I do like to just blurt out random thoughts now and then. It's something I'd do offline, so why not? On the bright side! When I was 7ish? 8ish? I developed sort of a gentle crush on Henry Winkler (The Fonz on HAPPY DAYS) because he was cool and rode a motorcycle. And he said, "Aaaay!" a lot and made me giggle. I found him on Twitter and he is So. Freaking. NICE. you guys! I introduced Miss M to him via youtube, and she agreed, so we sent him a message and he replied to us. Who knew The Fonz was so awesome? AND he writes children's books. Gosh, I heart you, Henry Winkler. Sweet man.
That's my only positive thing about Twitter so far. Otherwise, I feel like a big old, creepy lurker. And I don't like being a big old, creepy lurker. Okay, fine. I actually do. I'm pretty sure that's why the entire Internet was invented, so we could all creepy lurk one another. (Well, and: porn.) But on Twitter, no one is creepy lurking me, and I wish someone would. On Twitter. Maybe? I have no idea where I'm going with this. I'll move on.
Okay, moving on: here's a quote by Rumi. I'm etching it onto my soul, and I want to share it with you in case you'd like to etch it onto your soul as well. Or maybe tattoo it on your ass. Whatever floats your boat:
"If God said, 'Rumi, pay homage to everything that has helped you enter my arms,' there would be not one experience of my life, not one thought, not one feeling, not any act, I would not bow to."
(Thank you, hero Elizabeth Gilbert, for sharing this with me.) Not personally--Elizabeth Gilbert, EAT PRAY LOVE author, did not email or call me and say, "Hey, Amy, here's a Rumi quote I think you need." She shared it on her facebook page, and I happen to get her facebook page in my facebook newsfeed (because I creepy lurk her there), and this is getting really, really weird. I have GOT to get a grip on the social media thing. And stop fricking talking about it here so much and fixate on something other than internet lurking. Good god, I apologize for this entire blog post. I hope you didn't have something really important to do.
Rumi would tell me every single bit of this are all things I need to bow to, to pay homage. Twitter, I honor you. Facebook, you too. And you, whoever is reading this, I bow to you. And I'll buy you whatever you'd like at Starbucks if you talk to me on Twitter.
(I think I'm missing Rumi's point in that last sentence.)
Hey, look! Here's another really cool Rumi(nation):
Go seek (lurk, whatever) and be awesome. -Amy (not Rumi)