I’m Sorry

How do you say I’m sorry?

How do you say it when you just said the ultimate wrong thing, and you knew it, but you were just “expressing your feelings.”

How do you say that it has just dawned on you that you were so wrong, and that he was so right, and that if you had only said I’m sorry instead of those monstrous words, maybe everything would be okay right now.

How do you say that you were stupid and reckless and emotional and overreactive and if only he would forgive you, forgive you, forget everything and pretend it never happened…if only…

If only you could find some magic DELETE button hidden somewhere in the universe, and you could make it all go away, and he would never have read it, and you would never have said it.

How do you say it when you can imagine his face when he read it, but you couldn’t see it, and that was where you failed, and maybe you’ve lost some part of him that will never be yours again.

And the ring on your finger tells you that you have not lost him, that you can fix it, that he will forgive you, but you don’t know if you can believe it, because you feel the pain somewhere between your ribs and your lungs–you feel his pain–and you start to think maybe forever doesn’t really mean forever. Maybe you are too cruel to deserve it.

You think of how you said I don’t want you to feel terrible, but you knew he would. And you have this tiny hard spot of fear in your chest that shoots the chill down your spine, fear that maybe you really did want him to feel terrible.

How do you say I’m sorry using just those tiny, stupid words. How do you say it when it sounds so fake and so distant and so unreal. How do you know he will believe you?

He won’t. You know he won’t believe you.

Maybe if you could stop your own tears with I’m sorry, maybe if you could see his face, maybe if you could curl up in his arms and pretend it never happened, maybe then you could say it.

Maybe if you could tell him these emotions and tears without words at all, maybe then you could say it.

Maybe if you could tell him all this, all these stupid words you have written, maybe then he would understand that I’m sorry.

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“The Paris Wife”: A Poem

This poem was inspired by two things: One (obviously), the novel The Paris Wife by Paula McLain about Hadley, Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. It was also inspired by a line written by an Indonesian blogger, “rotted in their darkness houses and hearts.” This confusing line (I still have no idea what it was supposed to mean even in the context) was so beautiful to me that I wrote it down and kept it. After reading The Paris Wife, I found it again and immediately thought of Hadley and Ernest.

So I wrote this poem. Not really a masterpiece. Just words that came to my head.

 

And so he chipped away at her thin skin
with the chisel she gave him as a wedding gift.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
But really, diving headfirst into this “modern world”
it really always was supposed to be this way.

Taking, taking, taking, taking, taking.
She didn’t throw the shoe or the ashtray or the bottle;
instead she hid them and dusted them every day until they
rotted in their darkness houses and hearts.
Giving, giving, giving, giving, giving.

Could it ever have been any other way?

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A Poem

I’m not really big on poetry. Well, okay–I like to read poetry; I seldom write it myself. And if I do, I don’t usually share it. To me, poetry is this vast elusive universe that requires a lot of natural talent (and I also secretly think it requires a kind of brooding, Byronic-hero type author, which I most certainly am not). So it’s kind of out of my reach. The only poetry I’ve ever been very proud of is my sonnets. In a way, they’re actually easier to write because they have rules and guidelines for how to make them good. (Not that I’m saying I write amazing sonnets, or anything; I’m just more willing to share them.) Anyway, I’ve decided that here on this blog (since I have no readers that I know of anyway), I’m going to share some of my poems that aren’t exactly what I would call good. But I can say that they were written with emotion behind them, because the only time I ever really write poetry is when I’m feeling emotional.

So here is Poem the First (published on this blog, anyway):

No more, I wish,
No more of THIS. 
But what, exactly, is THIS?
Depression? Stress? Hard work?
(Or maybe not enough hard work?)
Maybe I just don’t have what it takes?
Maybe I’m just tired?
Or could it be that I’ve waited so long
for progression and moving forward
and here I am, stuck in this rut again,
climbing hopelessly up the sides.
I keep asking for the way out
but there is no answer
so I guess I’ll keep trying this same stupid old way
until I lie down on the ground and stop trying at all.
Maybe that’s my problem.

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The Ultimate Test of Fortitude

If you want to learn more about yourself, go grocery shopping.

Over the past several years, I have done quite a bit of grocery shopping. When I was but sixteen years old, my mom put me and two of my older siblings in charge of the grocery shopping and meal-making. We had a budget. If we stayed under that budget, we got to keep whatever was left.

It was a good deal, but my tendency to take charge combined with my siblings’ tendency to dream up worlds in which math and science reign supreme (oh wait–we already live in that world) ended with me taking over the whole venture. Since then, I’ve been working on my black belt in grocery shopping, learning its ins and outs, and most of all, learning to save money on food.

(I should have included that in the first paragraph. If you want to learn more about yourself, go grocery shopping and try to save money.)

So first, of course, you make a plan. You create a delectable list of meals that you will prepare, and write down the ingredients to make them. You feel very proud of yourself, knowing that you are going to save a fortune on food because you have decided to make it yourself instead of relying on flighty Stouffer’s for mediocre frozen lasagna. Clearly, you will save hundreds, starting today.

You head to the produce section and check your list. Apples–easy enough. You stride confidently to the piles of apples.

Suddenly you are facing a myriad of colors and sizes and shapes of apples. You always knew there were different kinds of apples–I mean, you’ve heard of Fuji and Macintosh and Red Delicious–but what are all these crazy new ones? Pink Lady, Ginger Gold, Paula Red? (Are you in a supermarket or a strip club?) You finally find the fine print that describes what each apple is good for. Do you want an apple that is good for eating, or good for baking? (Don’t you eat the ones you bake?) Do you want a tart apple, or a sweet one? A tiny crisp one, or a big juicy one?

Eventually you throw all cares to the wind and throw a bunch of random apples into a bag before moving on to the rest of the produce. It takes you five minutes of being appalled at the price of vegetables before you realize you are in the organic section. Then you have to debate within yourself whether it’s actually worth it to buy organic, because now you feel like you can see pesticides crawling all over the regular vegetables (which you never would have even thought about if you hadn’t noticed the organic veggies). But you remember your resolve to save money, so you eventually pick up the cheap, gross vegetables, and congratulate yourself on your fortitude in suffering. Continue reading

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“All my possessions for a moment of time.”

Quite a statement from Queen Elizabeth I, at the end of her life. By the time these words passed her lips, she had acquired quite a few possessions. One has to wonder if she really meant a moment of time. Really–just one moment? Not an hour? Or at least a minute?

But the truth is, every hour and minute and day of our lives is made up of moments. In a moment, we breathe in a deep breath of life. And we make a decision. Every moment means another decision. A decision to live in joy or misery. A decision to be angry or forgiving. A decision to love or to hate.

This may sound all vague and religious. I mean, what is joy and misery, or love and hate? How does that translate to our everyday lives? I’m not really thinking about that metaphysical kind of stuff when I’m vacuuming, or grocery shopping, or trying to poach an egg.

But I think it’s the fact that we’re not consciously thinking about it that makes it so hard. We’re not constantly saying to ourselves, “Am I going to choose to be happy or sad right now?” Maybe if we could think about it all the time, it would be a little easier to choose happiness. But we can’t. We constantly get distracted by questions of what could be making those crackly noises in our vacuum cleaner, or why the average grocery store doesn’t sell large bottles of lemon juice.

And it’s in those moments of constant distraction, when it’s the hardest to choose to be happy or loving or forgiving, that I think we, as people, are made and defined. We’re not made up of our huge life events, like getting married or having kids or having a successful career or anything like that. Those things matter, but they don’t really say much about who we are. I could show you a timeline of my life, but that wouldn’t mean you really know me. I’m not made from events. I’m a patchwork quilt of every moment in my life. If you could pull that quilt over you and examine each square and every stitch, then you would know me.

That, I think, is why Elizabeth I wished for one more moment. Because maybe just one moment would have tipped the scales. Maybe just one moment could have changed who she was.

This blog is for my writing, but I don’t write about big things. I don’t write about politics or current events. I don’t write fantasy stories about queens or princes. I write about moments. I write about everyday failures and victories. I write about poaching eggs and looking for lemon juice.

Because even though we may not believe it, each of these moments is worth a world possessions.

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March 9th, 2013

My oldest sister, Carrie, taught me the first principles of cooking when I was young. She taught me how important it is to be patient with oneself–everyone accidently adds too much cayenne pepper, or too little yeast, every once in a while. She taught me an appreciation for fresh vegetables. She taught me to be adventurous and seek out all the world’s unique flavors (which I’m still working on).

But most important, she taught me that even though so many recipes call for a certain, exact amount of vanilla . . . it’s not really necessary to measure the vanilla.

And I have gone through my life not measuring the vanilla. Because you know what? Even though everyone tells you to, even though every recipe has that little number next to a little t. or a big T., it’s just not really worth it to get out the measuring spoon. Maybe the recipe should really have more or less vanilla, anyway. Better to just pour in an amount that looks good–why not make it your own? Continue reading

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