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Nov 2012 15

by Laurelin

I sit here in bed, the television muted, my iTunes silenced. I sit here in bed with my cell phone on vibrate; my hands ready to receive at any moment. All night, my hands, waiting. Waiting for him to say something, anything, but he doesn’t. I almost welcome that familiar twinge, that feeling that leaves me so full of emptiness. I remember I heard once that you’re never more alive than when your heart is breaking. Mine is already broken, and apparently I like nothing more than to make the same mistakes twice.

I almost don’t even know who “he” is. At this point there are so many people who could fill that void that I feel stupid, because while there are so many, there are in fact, so few.

My ex, who I haven’t spoken to in months, says he’s on his way to the bar. I miss him, but I don’t really, and when he doesn’t show tonight I feel better for not having put the picture he painted me for my birthday back on the wall. I keep thinking, “One day I can hang it,” but it’s been one year and it’s still stuffed in the back of my closet next to the framed photo of the ex that used to hit me and the clothing I wore when I would wrestle bachelors for money at the strip club in hot oil and whipped cream. I don’t know why I even think I can stand to look at it, and for one fleeting moment it’s clear as day and I don’t know why I haven’t burned it.

I find myself sitting here, wishing for anything. The last guy I liked had my friends in absolute giggles; comparing the new guy to the old one, leaving me a little bewildered because this new one was honest and sweet… at least in the beginning. So he wasn’t as muscular or tall. And then, just like all the rest, he was suddenly gone, and I was left with nothing. In the beginning we had laughed over how cold we both seemed (we weren’t really). In the beginning I had thought, “He’s not cold at all,” but in the end I thought, “He was right,” though I never cried.

I never cried. There are some guys who make you think; some who make who question your very essence. There are some guys who make you feel like nothing will ever be the same. The ones who break you, day after day, month after month, year after year. There are those guys that no matter how many times you tell yourself they’re going to stay buried they always seem to surface just when you’re at your most vulnerable. There are the guys that never call; and those are the ones who are made for nothing more than heart breaking and other lies.

[..]

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Nov 2012 01

by Laurelin

There are moments in life when nothing has changed, yet all of a sudden everything is perfect. As I walk down the street from my house – the same street I walk every day with my head down – I suddenly look up and notice the leaves have changed colors and the sky is perfect. The wind blows and a single leaf falls into my outstretched hand, Tori Amos’s “Gold Dust” is playing on my iPhone, and I feel silly for being upset about such simple things when there is so much beauty in the world (“and then you’ll understand, we held gold dust in our hands…”). There are some songs you just remember, the songs you equate with moments, the songs that from that time forward will always remind you of autumn.

Taylor Swift’s “Enchanted” came through my ear buds on the way home from the bar one night two years ago on Boylston Street. I had met someone, our eyes connecting from across the bar, and after flickering away and back again a few times we wound up chatting; At the end of the night I had a new phone number in my phone and a smile on my face. She sang, “All I can say is it was enchanting to meet you, this night is sparkling, don’t you let it go, I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home.” And I was so hopeful, proudly wearing my newly blushing cheeks.

Ellie Goulding’s “Guns and Horses” reminds me of a year old summer fling, a boy who I would have done anything for after we broke up, even though I knew he and I never should have worked in the first place. He got a new girlfriend not long after our relationship ended, and I was devastated. His new girlfriend eventually broke up with him and it was his turn to be sad, and that’s probably why he and I started sleeping together again. I clung to those drunken nights with him, and always on the way home alone the next morning Ellie sang, “But I wish I could feel it all for you, I wish I could be it all for you, if I could erase the pain maybe you’d feel the same, I’d do it all for you, I would.” I wished so badly that he would choose me. He never did.

Oceanlab’s “Satellite,” while an upbeat electronic song, still makes me impossibly sad. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting to find different results. After being left not once, not twice, but three times by this abusive punk rock loser, I finally pulled what was left of my own self from the wreckage and managed to walk away with some shreds of my own personality and dignity left to cultivate and finally nurse back to full health. Each time I hear that beat and “You’re half a world away, but in my mind I whisper every single word you say,” I can’t help but cringe and remember the eight years when every day was spent feeling so hopeless and alone I could have just ceased to exist.

Taylor Swift’s “I Almost Do” has been on repeat as of late, and in my current state of mind I find myself reaching for the phone, wanting to reach out to someone and then remembering that I shouldn’t waste my time on people who don’t care. I delete his number and I feel foolish for wasting my time, silly for believing the things that came out of his mouth when I was as disposable as a Styrofoam coffee cup, only useful until you’ve sucked the last drop from the depths. It starts after I lock up the bar at 3 AM and I’m walking home alone as the city sleeps. “I bet this time of night you’re still up, I bet you’re tired from a long hard week, I bet you’re sitting in your chair by the window looking out at the city and I bet sometimes you wonder about me. And I just want to tell you it takes everything in me not to call you… every time I don’t, I almost do..”

I almost do. But I don’t, and I quicken my pace and I tuck the leaf that fell into my palm in the pocket of my black leather jacket. The wind picks up and I turn my head back towards the ground.

[..]

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Oct 2012 18

by Laurelin

“And it’s electric: the neon hurt inside your phone call…”
~Something Corporate

There are few things in life I love and hate more than the glow and vibrating of a cell phone when you’re expecting something big. I use the term “big” loosely; 9 times out of 10 I’ve just said something to a guy and I’m not sure what he’s going to say: minutes crawl by like hours and then (as though I had been holding my breath the whole time) there it is, the reassuring buzz and glow. When that buzz is never returned however, we enter the moments where you become acutely aware you had been holding your breath, and you make that conscious decision to slowly exhale or simply pass out.

I remember one relationship in particular; one where when I woke up one morning he was just… gone. He had left me, I knew it, but when something so drastic happens you don’t just process it and know to move on. Your world is rocked, your foundation shaken to the core and everything you trusted – especially yourself – is betrayed. A year went by and everyday seemed the same, but in reality, a year is a year, and I suppose I was healing.

I remember I was at a party and I wasn’t even thinking about him. I was in a tube top that kept falling down and I stepped outside to the front step where no one inside would see me so I could tug it up. Mid tug my cell phone buzzed, and in the darkness of that October night I saw his name glowing. I literally felt my heart stop and I put my hand out to steady myself against the front door. I answered the call, and what happened after that is now insignificant and trite, but I will never forget that feeling; the wind knocked out of me with just a small glow in the dark.

Fast forward to now and I’m realizing that once again, I have made a mistake and started to let someone in, when really they had no business in my life in the first place. This isn’t a time stopping event, probably not even worth writing about, but I know I am and I probably will again. His texts, now few and far between, still managed to ruin my dinner when I looked down over a plate of crab rangoon and saw his name glowing in the gloom. Suddenly I wasn’t hungry and I wanted to dunk my iPhone into the giant bowl of duck sauce.

Earlier that day it had been a text from a married ex. “Saw this and thought of you,” he had said, sending a photo of a CD that played our song. Another one had stopped by the bar the night before and hugged me. “I’m sorry, I’m an ass and I didn’t call you on your birthday,” he said. “It’s okay,” I mumbled. “I didn’t call you on yours either.” He tells me to call him sometime, and I say I will although I know I won’t because I deleted his phone number when I was finally able to delete him from my life. I don’t expect to hear from him anytime soon.

I realize that I’m drifting off into my egg drop soup and I snap back to reality, tucking my cell phone into my purse and deciding to not look at it for the next hour. Suddenly it buzzes and I glance down just one last time. My defeated face turns into a bright grin, my cheeks turning red and my friends start to giggle and ask to see pictures when I show them who it is. Those boys… they know just the right moment to pop up and say hi. I make a conscious decision to leave my phone out of the duck sauce after all.

***

Laurelin is running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer research and awareness on Saturday, October 20th; every donation counts and is greatly appreciated.

[..]

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Oct 2012 04

by Laurelin

I remember that I used to go to his bar after we had broken up. I had always gone there, why should I change anything just because my life as I knew it was over? Besides, I was fine. I would do my hair differently, a different style, parted to another side. And I’d wear a little black dress because I was on my way to a fancy event that once he would have also been invited to. I was okay, and he would see that.

I wasn’t okay, I was drunk. Lines blurred and people stared, and when I fell backwards off my barstool he came running to help me up. I screamed that I didn’t need his help anymore, that I was fine. Our friends shook their heads and saw me home, and I knew that I was far from fine. That night would replay a couple of times a week; a different dress, the same sad looks. And always I would cry when I thought no one was looking, even though everyone was. He must have been horrified.

Three years later, I watch him walk drunk into my bar regularly. He has his head held high, but I can always tell that something is wrong.

After the scene unfolded for the first time, I leant over to one of our friends and said, “This is what it was like all those years ago when I used to go into his bar, isn’t it?” Our friend nodded his head, and I felt impossibly sad.

I would rather have nights of my own endless heartbreak than know I’m causing someone else to ache like that. I don’t know what’s happening, and I am powerless to stop any of it. I have my own problems and having front row seats to his makes me feel guilty for being annoyed, but I am.

“I just miss you,” he says, reaching for me. I turn away, just out of his reach and I want to cry, but I don’t. Not until I was telling someone else the story later did my eyes fill with tears. “You’re happy now,” he had slurred and I wanted so badly to shake him and tell him that I was anything but happy; I was still always being let down, the only constant in my life was our sad city bar scene. But he didn’t need to know that. If he thought I was happy and that made him sad, it wasn’t my place to let him know that I really did want to be rescued – just not by him anymore.

It’s raining outside today, and I can’t bring myself to get out of bed. I don’t feel like drinking, I don’t feel like talking, texting, writing, eating. I feel sad, alone, heartbroken. I have to be at the bar in one hour. As shitty as I feel I know, I’ll get up, I’ll add some color to my pale cheeks and I’ll fake a smile, and while some people will know, others won’t. I’ll be okay. Maybe he’ll call and maybe he won’t, and no matter which “he” it is, I shouldn’t answer the phone, because nothing is right.

I have to be at the bar in one hour, and the mere thought of lifting my face off this pillow is enough to make me turn to ashes.

[..]

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Sep 2012 20

by Laurelin

He looked just like he did on TV. Face, smooth and smiling, muscles pressing up against his huge T-shirt and his hat pulled down just enough so that I could still see his eyes. I had started to get up to refill my wine glass, but when I saw him I sunk back down, the air rushing from my lungs as though someone had just squeezed the life out of me. I could feel a flush traveling up my body and suddenly my face was burning, and I turned away so he wouldn’t see me.

I rarely meet celebrities. Like every other girl in the world I have dreamt what it would have been like to meet Leonardo DiCaprio, staying calm and collected so that he would shake my hand and look me in the eye. You imagine that if they could just meet you, you would be best friends, they might even fall in love with you, and everything would be right in the world. But that’s just in dreams. You will never meet Brad Pitt or Ben Affleck, and they will most certainly not fall in love with you. You are just you after all, a regular girl, who dates regular guys. You are common, and they are special.

He took his time walking around the room, signing autographs and taking pictures with everyone from old ladies to screaming teens to little kids. Still, I sat. I wonder what I’ll say when it’s my turn, would he remember me from a brief Twitter message I sent that he replied to? Will he think I’m crazy if I bring it up? He moves closer and as he approached I could finally stand and I shook my head, clearing the clouds. He is just a man after all.

I reached out my hand to find his and from somewhere in me comes a voice, and I said, “Hi, I’m Laurelin.” He smiled and inside I melted, but outside I must have seemed okay because he started asking me questions, then we laughed and he said that he did remember me from a year ago on Twitter. I made a snarky remark about his clothing and he thought I was funny. I sat back down in my seat and I watched him continue to sign autographs. I clutched the stem of my wine glass and I looked at our photo and I smiled. I’m taller than him.

When I looked up he was sitting next to me.

“Do you have a ticket for tonight?” he asked.

“Yes,” I stammered, fumbling around for it. He must want to sign it; he signed everyone else’s. I found it and he took it, smoothly scribbling something on the back and pressing it into my palm. I looked down and I see a phone number. My blood ran cold and hot at the same time, and I thought, “Say something clever…”

“Can I drunk dial you later?” I asked, smirking.

“Absolutely,” he said, and I die. The girls around me had their jaws on the floor, and as he left he smiled at me and waved. We started texting almost immediately, stopping only because the arena was growing dark and it was time for him to come out.

I think of how all summer I have had no one, nothing but an empty bed and a cat, and now, with the coming fall, the promise of something new. All of a sudden, out of the blue, the promise of something totally just… fun. I slid my phone into my pocket and headed to my seat to watch him. The place is packed, everyone screaming his name, and my phone buzzed one last time.

“Nice to meet you,” he said. “I would love to see you again.”

I felt sick. I went home that night alone, and I crawled in bed with someone else.

“How was tonight?” my real life non-celebrity boy asks. I buried my face in his neck and hugged as tight as I could.

“It was fine,” I said, “really fun.”

We fell asleep, and I knew I was right where I belonged.

[..]

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Sep 2012 06

by Laurelin

Disappointment is one of the worst feelings in the world. I vividly remember experiencing it as a little girl who so badly wanted a cat for her birthday; my parents had a huge wrapped gift on the table when I woke up, and as I tore through the paper I was so sure it must be something for my new cat. It was a birdcage, and as it took everything in me not to break down in tears. I forced a smile, and I named my first pet parakeet Buttercup.

Later on in high school I would pick out my favorite outfit just to have my crush be out sick that day. I would do something out of line at home and have my parents so upset that they weren’t even angry, just disappointed, and I wished with all my heart I could take it back but I never could.

As I get older I notice that a lot of the time the fierce optimism I associate with my bright demeanor has faded. When one always expects to be let down, it almost makes the inevitable disappointment more manageable. That guy you liked, it never would have worked out anyways. He would never like someone like you. Things would be too complicated, too messy and it’s probably better this way, even though inside I’m screaming because I want so badly for just one person to prove me wrong.

I remember the moment I realized my last relationship was over, the black cloud of disappointment just washed over me like a wave and I was shaken to the core with the realization that this was really it. I was back to being just me, not me and him. It was the day after his birthday, and we were supposed to meet for a drink at the bar we worked at. I wanted to see him so badly, our schedules were tough and we rarely had days off together. I waited…

Every time the door opened I looked, and it was never him. A lifetime spent watching the door, and he never came, my cell phone eventually glowed with a text that simply said, “I’m sorry.” I walked home and I watched the trains go by under the overpass and I knew it was over, this was the last time he would let me down.

We all have baggage. An expected crash and burn after so many before seems only right; but maybe, just maybe, this time things will be different. As someone new comes into your life, there’s that fine line between great expectations and where they’re going to fall. I can’t help but find myself waiting for a storm, holding my breath, forever waiting for disaster.

It’s exhausting and I wish for something different. Outside it starts to rain, and I quicken my pace as I head for the bar. I wonder if he’s there yet, and I wish for sun briefly before realizing I don’t even care. No matter how grey the sky becomes and how rarely the sun seems to shine, maybe I’ve been going about things all wrong. Maybe the key is just to learn to dance in the rain.

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Aug 2012 23

by Laurelin

I am almost thirty. Thirty. Three- mother-fucking-zero. This age to me seems….crazy. Crazy like, “this could never happen to me” crazy. Think back. No matter what age you are, think back. When I was younger, I looked at thirty and I thought: married with children, steady job, steady paycheck, pets, house – I thought anything but what I have now. I thought that everything, EVERYTHING would be different.

The worst thing is that I watched it happen. I watched my best friends grow up. I saw every girl who was made fun of, every girl who was left behind, every girl who was too chubby, too silly, too crazy… I watched them all grow up, and eventually, I was left behind. I was always in their weddings and always, I was the one who never grew up. The girl voted “most likely to marry a frat boy” all four years of college was in the end, the one who no one wanted to marry.

And now, thirty. My friends have all been married for years, some with children, and all the while I feel so free and yet so alone…

I ran into an older man at a bar I frequent about a month ago.

“What do you do, “ he asked me, and I wondered if he really cared or if he was just hitting on me.

“Um…” I said, “Well, I went to school for archaeology, but I guess I’m a bartender… or a writer.”

“Well which is it?” he said.

“Honestly?” I replied, “Well, I like bartending. I love writing, and I love archaeology. I make money doing only one.”

“I loved playing the guitar,” he said, looking over at the cover band playing in the corner. “I never stuck with it, and I always wished I had. It just… got away from me, and now I feel it’s too late.” He looked so sad then, and I suddenly didn’t feel so old.

“You’re never too old to learn something,” I said. “Take Beck Weathers for example; the man learned to climb mountains when he was thirty years old- he wanted to make something of himself, and at thirty he changed the path of his whole life and he eventually climbed Everest—fucking Everest, the highest mountain in the world. And he started climbing at thirty,” I said, talking to the man but thinking about myself. The man looked at me with such wonder, and every time I see him now I am reminded of that, although every time I see him he is no closer to the guitar, and I am no closer to climbing anything besides into bed at night.

Looking at that, I am aware that things can seem so lost and yet, I am aware that I can still accomplish so much and that now, even at thirty, I shouldn’t be afraid to simply try.

I am almost thirty. I have always hated my body. Now, I am on week five of belonging to Rugged Crossfit, and I can honestly say that I am conscious of what goes into my body and what effort I put into making it look the way it does. I have always complained about the way I look, and I am suddenly acutely aware that if I want a change in my body I can only make it look the way I want through hard work. I am almost thirty, and I am sick of being unhappy with the way I look.

My heart for the past year has been selfishly locked away, kept only for someone who didn’t deserve it, and held only for someone who never knew me. I held onto something for a little while; something that for some reason festered in me like a disease, something that grew in me like mold until I could do nothing but crumble.

Now I look at that girl and I can’t help but laugh. She is so close but yet so far… if I reach my hand out, I can touch her; that scared girl still comparing herself to all those she left behind. If I reach my other hand out I see another girl; one who knows what she wants. One who is in control of her mind and her body. When I reach my other hand out I see a girl who is finally, finally… almost thirty.

[..]

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