"If he dumped you: what to do. Sometimes there's nothing like a new haircut to improve your mood. Or a different shade of blush. Now's not the time to save your pennies for a rainy day. It's raining now, honey, so go ahead and splurge!" Teen magazine, December 1993
July 22, 2002
This morning I bought a box of Band-Aids, some salt, a refrigerator magnet that instructs: "Act Silly," and a plant I have decided to call Pagoda Ludmilla Von Hasselhoff (Zamioculcas zamiifoliath). So it is over. We are through. Only brushing my teeth sustains any facade of order.
August 17, 2002
Just before noon I contemplate again the puckered rind of a callus that used to buckle around the knuckle of the right thumb of a man I once nearly loved who never once nearly loved me back. I say I nearly loved him. But that is a lie. I say "nearly" really only as a matter of pride. This man, whom I cherished, had an instinct for completion. He wasand still is, I imaginevery gentle and decent and wry. He is a teacher of architecture, of planes and lines, of the alchemy between points in space and that which is finite. That I was unreliable and contained at first did not unsettle this man. He did not seem to mind. It is what it is, was what he would always say. I wonder whether it is mathematically possible to calibrate the aftermath of a broken heart.
September 3, 2002
I am still struggling to refute this conviction that I must be inadequate. An extravagantly flawed polite girl with very good manners. What is wrong with me? Why was I not enough? The notion of pursuit can be arbitrary. I think it is a reckless device. There is a line in a Dorothy Parker story that goes, "He smiled at her. She felt her heart go liquid, but she did her best to be harder won." I should have done better to be harder won.
September 19, 2002
My dear friend Mia Streiber, who yesterday turned four, revealed to me at her birthday party that she wished her name was Conga, or Tree maybe. This information was disclosed in womanly confidence, of course. But then she also told her mom. So now her parents, also my friends, both know. Mia, I do adore. "Get lost," she commanded her dad and her uncles and the rest of the husbands and boyfriends there in her honor, which they did, sheepishly, adjourning upstairs. "This is for all the ladies in the house," Mia said. Then she gathered us in a circle and sang "God Bless America and the "Turkeys Anthem" from her preschool's Thanksgiving pageant last year. Mia had played the turkey. How she did not get gobbled in the end, an act of will, now I understand. And so, henceforth, I resolve to follow Mia Streiber's example. Men have their place, certainly, but what really matters, what is critical, enduring, or joyful, should always, especially, be for all the ladies in the house.
October 5, 2002
Today my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. They eloped 36 years ago: rode the train in from Canarsie on their lunch hour, were married by a justice of the peace, then rode the train back to work. My mom was (and still is) lovely, luminous, eccentric, and gutsy. My dad courted her slowly and with diligence. I am learning, not only from them, that love is mostly speculation; an experiment in optimism, paradox, lust, and forgiveness. It is my intention to be brave again in a little while, to undertake these things once more and until then, to just watch and be still. It is what it is. It is not such a bad place to be.
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