“An Absent Detail” Terzo

Introductory, Secondo

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“Hmm…”

I stalled, trying to come up with the perfect thing to say to resolve the situation.

“Let me show you something here on the computer.” We walked over to the desk and I plopped down into the office chair. I signed into my Facebook account and pulled up an old photo that someone had tagged me in from high school.

It was a bit grainy, as pictures of pictures tend to be, but you could still clearly see the group of us girls, arms over shoulders, the lot of us grinning widely. “See that? That’s Mommy.”

“Yes. And is that Aunt Maggie?” she inquired, pointing to a girl who looked absolutely nothing like my sister.

“No, that’s just another girl with blond hair. That’s me my friends after we did a play. That’s Katie, Jen, and Leslie.”

“Wow. Cool.”

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“An Absent Detail” Secondo

Scared

(Continued from Introductory)

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“Mommy! I missed you so much!” She came over and hugged my waist, her 7-year-old scared little hands gripping at my sweatshirt.

What had happened in such a short period of time?

Confused, I looked down at Avery, who still had fistfuls of my clothing. Her voice was muffled as she spoke into my stomach. “I’m really scared, Mommy, really scared.”

I looked over at her little brother, who shrugged. “Can I stay up and watch tv?” He was completely oblivious.

“What happened? Why are you scared?” I tried to peel her off of me so I could hold her at arm’s length. She didn’t say a word.

I looked up at Tayler.

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“An Absent Detail” Introductory

Parenting can be straightforward a lot of times:

“No, you can’t have Oreos for breakfast.”
“Yes, you have to go with the family to Aunt Suzy’s house for her dog’s wedding.”
“Don’t lick your brother.”
“Eat a piece of lettuce, for God’s sake. Just one freaking piece of lettuce!

lettuce detail

I’ve notice that as the kids get a bit older, however, situations become more difficult and parenting becomes more complicated. Last night was a prime example.

“Only 2 and a half hours left!” Avery cried to me from up in her bedroom. “When she gets here, we’re going to pretend to be princesses, then play Jenga, then we’ll color a picture, then I’ll play her the new song I learned on the piano, then we’ll read my new library book, then we’ll-“

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Refusal

I refuse to give up control.

I refuse to allow myself to fall in love. I refuse to possess another’s heart, because I refuse to lose my own.

Being guarded is the only way that I feel I can stay sane. In the past- what seems like lifetimes ago now- I chose to give my heart, and was awarded with its being burned; as though over a bed of coals at a festive roast, with everyone staring at me, waiting for a reaction.

“Come gather around the fire and breathe in the intoxicating aroma of Kirsten’s misery!”

Opportunity has arisen, and I take measures:

A) After meeting someone I actually like, I completely ignore them. If accidentally I answer a telephone call, my methodology is to act completely distracted. I like to pretend that I’m doing something else that is far more interesting, and am, therefore, preoccupied while conversing. Though “familiarity breeds contempt,” the opposite, it seems, is true as well.

B) When allowing a male counterpart into my circle, after cursing at myself for doing such a thing, I keep him at arm’s length, until he eventually gets bored or realizes that we’re never going to move forward.

C) I choose to be with people who are terrible matches for me. Commitment-phobes and the emotionally unavailable are a great choice. If nobody in the “relationship” has any expectations, than nobody gets hurt, right?

If I control my own self and my own heart, I can control my own happiness.

I refuse to give up control.

The Judgement

Sitting amongst a room full of strangers, yet the silence is numbing, bringing to mind the Pink Floyd song that begins to plays on a constant loop in my head.

“…I can’t explain you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb…”

This is not comfortable, though. Not even a little bit. I push my thumb nail into the flesh on my other hand to make sure I’m still alive, and not a first-hand witness to purgatory. My cell is sitting in my car, where I was forced to leave it when I came inside the courtroom, so I stare into space and daydream.

Another potential criminal is called to the stand to receive his fate. He is alone; no lawyer to plead his case. I strain my ears to hear the plight of the man, whose back is turned to me. It is the only thing I have to assess him. His hair falls wavy and uncombed, its length trying to compensate for its lack atop his head. He is cloaked in a black leather jacket that is far too large for his frail frame.

I judged. I judged harshly.

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The Kiss (Quatre)

Un

Deux

Trois

 

It happened so quickly that I had no choice but to exhale into his mouth, which was all at once on top of mine. His lips created a seal that was not unlike a toilet plunger. His glutinous tongue filled my whole mouth. My urge was to bite down, but I resisted. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. “Is everything okay?” he whispered.

“Yes…” I breathed. Crap, I wasn’t doing it right.

“Good.” He tilted his head put his hand gently under my chin, and once again took over the entire area under my nose. I heard some movement and perhaps a grunt come from the couple across the room, so I let out a little laugh, which of course startled the boy who was exploring the inside of my mouth with his tongue. “Whoa, whoa, what’s up?” He seemed kind of pissed that I’d expressed any emotion in his presence.

“Um, I think we should go,” I stammered.

“Fine.” I heard him muttering something under his breath, but couldn’t make it out. When he opened the door into the party, the light temporarily blinded me, and I got nervous that everyone was staring.

I know what you did! The voices in my head were calling me some nasty names, but I shushed them when my eyes adjusted and I saw that nobody had even glanced toward the make-out-room door.

Liz looked over from across the room, concern on her face when she saw that I was out so early. Mission accomplished, I mouthed.

The Kiss (Trois)

Un

Deux

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Finally, the boys started coming in, looking Long-Island-90s preppy. I looked at the sea of plaid shirts that was before me. Almost all the guys looked the same in their button-downs and baseball hats, so choosing would have to be based on more than their looks, which would require much more detective work. I walked back over to the only two people who I actually knew at the party.

“So, what do you think?” Liz asked me, pouring herself a cup of lemonade.

“Think about what?” Her cousin asked.

“Don’t worry about it, Mark. Kirsten’s just looking for someone to hook up with.”

“I just want to kiss somebody,” I said, not wanting there to be any confusion about my intentions.

“Oh,” Mark rolled his eyes, “I’ll leave you girls to it then.” He walked off and was quickly engulfed amid the waves of teenagers.

“What about [insert generic boy’s name here]. He’s cute. Nice, I guess. He keeps looking over here too.”

“I trust you.” What the hell? They all look the same anyway.

“Consider it arranged.”

In a few minutes I could see Liz out of the corner of my eye talking to a boy and trying to motion discretely with her chin. He WAS pretty cute. I was glad I had put my trust in he;. It would’ve taken all night to deduce a contender by actually talking to all of them. Generic white boy, you are the chosen one.

I tried to play it cool, as I knew he was looking in my direction. I poured myself a cup of lemonade, all shaky and uncool, in order to look busy. I heard a voice from behind me, confident and strong. I had found my polar opposite! “Hey,” he greeted me as I turned around. Liz tells me you’re one of her friends from Stony Brook. That’s cool. Kristen, right? I’m Mike” (?)

I tugged at my hair and fidgeted in my own skin for far too long. “It’s actually Kristen. Uh, I mean Kirsten. Whoops.”

“Ha. Do you wanna… umm…”

“Hmm?“

He wasted no time. “You know, go to the other room?”

“What?” Over a decade being friends with Liz, and I wasn’t aware of the other room.

He smiled coyly and led me over to a door in the basement that led to the boiler. The other room?

It was pitch black and free from any ambiance. I sat down on, well, I’m not quite sure. I felt like a live flounder was flopping around in my belly. I heard the sound of another couple kissing in a different corner of the room. “Comfortable?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah. I guess.” That fish wouldn’t stop wiggling.

He sat next to me. Herewegoherewegoherewego…

 

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The Kiss (Deux)

Continued from The Kiss (Un)
the big night
When the big night came, I brushed my teeth 30 or so times. My gums were sore, but it was all for the greater good. I chose my sweater-turtleneck-jeans combo carefully. I didn’t wanted it to look like I tried too hard, but try I did. I brushed my hair and swept it up into a messy bun. The full-length mirror revealed the reflection of a little girl. “Next time I see you, mirror, I’ll be a much more seasoned young woman.” My stomach did a little flip-flop at the premise.

I got to Liz’s house about an hour before everyone was expected to show up. We carefully constructed a game plan for the night. My stomach growled as I stared at the chip bowl on the coffee table. “No!” I scolded myself, “No one wants to kiss a girl with sour cream and onion on her breath!”

“Okay,” Liz was saying, “so you’ll just give me a signal, I don’t know, wink or something, when you see some one you’re interested in. I’ll get this done, don’t worry about it.”

“Okay!” a nervous laugh escaped me.

“And don’t do that.”

“What? Laugh?”

“Is that what that was? You sound like a hyena doing jumping jacks.”

I tried to picture the scenario. “I get it. I’ll try to play it cool.”

We sat on the couch in her finished basement watching some made-for-tv movie that starred a somebody from 90210, but even that couldn’t catch my eye. I couldn’t concentrate on anything but my impending kiss.

Her cousin showed up first, the one who I really wanted to make out with, followed by a group of girl friends, who greeted each other with loud yelps and jumps, as though it had been years since they’d seen each other, as opposed to the three and a half hours since school had let out.

Continued

The Kiss (Un)

I was 14 and had never been kissed.

Well, a peck on the lips while playing “truth or dare” under the snack bar at the cabana beach, but not a real kiss. Not the one where someone else’s slimy, wet tongue invaded your mouth, thrusting itself barbarously. Not the one where two people’s saliva commingled in a ritualistic, germ-infested dance. One where you needed to awkwardly tilt your head, as not to smash your noses against each other. I hadn’t had THAT.

And I wanted that SO BAD.

I wanted to be desired. Coveted like Brittany Cohawks, who everybody talked about in awe just because she got a haircut over the summer and probably because she grew boobs. Big whoop. I had seen Brittany in the locker room before swim class, her beige-colored bra tossed casually on the bench, displaying padded cups that made up for 75% of her chest size.

I knew I had to come up with a plan of action. Should I forgo weekends spent having sing-a-longs with Jackie, Saturdays riding my 10-speed throughout the neighborhood, lazy afternoons spent playing Barbie dolls with my little sister, give it all up to have a boyfriend? It just seemed illogical.

I complained to Katie, to Sarah, to any friend who would listen to my sad story: I hadn’t and WANTED to kiss a boy. It was in discussing this drama with Liz that a course of action was devised. A party. One with girls AND boys. I’d surely find some dude there who was willing to toss this girl a little tongue. After all, Liz went to a different school, so there’d be new blood, so to speak.

 

Continued

Kiss
How I envisioned it…