Secretary

I’m glad I found a job as a secretary.  They call it an administrative assistant, but who they bull shitting?

I’m a secretary.

If I didn’t have this job to define myself by then I might have to consider whether my talent and my intelligence mean I should try to actually do something, something maybe worthwhile. Maybe, I might even be forced to achieve something.

Good god. NO.

Instead I go to work every day safe in the knowledge that no real challenge awaits me and no unnecessary displays of brilliance will be demanded. I don’t have to produce a masterwork. I don’t even have to produce a lot of rough sketches of terribleness with just a hint of potential.

I am a secretary and all potential withers at my feet.  All flashes of insight dissipate into a wisp of smoke. The siren call of creativity is but a whisper of intense systematic organization. The random incongruities, the potentially funny moments I see, assemble themselves into neat rows of numbers in a spreadsheet.

Thank god. Do you know how much work it is to take responsibility for yourself?

I need a nap and maybe a half-day of vacation just to recover from thinking about it.

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Sex. On. Legs. — Part 2 (The Letter — 101)

This is Part Two of this story (https://kimberlysparkle.com/2015/04/09/sex-on-legs-101-part-1/

I’m 35 and this is my second stint as bridesmaid. This time, it is an old college friend.  Back in the day, where I was shy, she was gregarious and it seems like our entire class is here. Of course, HE is here. He was Mr. Popularity with the men in the class and many of the ladies. I think of my friend, Casie and feel a pang. He’d broken her heart and she dropped out of school. An expensive private school education is a helluva thing to ghost on. He’d broken my heart and made it clear he despised me. He accused me of being obsessed with him. I refused to be run off.

I’d seen him earlier with the groom, but so far I’d avoided him and all the awkwardness. Honestly, it’s mostly awkward on my side, but the avoidance makes me feel safer. What do you discuss with a man who so deeply misjudges you? I’ve spent the first half of the reception heading to the other side of the room, dancing off with old friends and getting a refreshment whenever he even looked my way.  I’ve been supersuccessful and, I am pretty sure, undetected. Craning my neck one way and the other, the coast appears to be clear to head outside and score a puff of 420. I turn the corner gingerly and step right into him.

“You’re avoiding me.”

“…” I am avoiding him and denying it seems stupid.

Somehow, he looks sexier with age. He’s grown into his body, and his face is leaner, so many laugh lines around the eyes. It occurs to me he’s had a happy life and that makes me happy for him. He remains sexy as hell. The kick of sexual awareness to my gut surprises the heck out of me.

Annoyed hazel eyes meet mine. “It’s ridiculous.”

“I agree, but it’s my choice to be ridiculous.” As always when we speak,he accuses and I defend. I feel my hands fist on my hips, and my chin jut out rebelliously.

“I really don’t care.” The gut kick becomes painful. “I wanted to return this to you.”  He presses an unopened letter into my hand. I know this letter. I wrote it as a peace truce during the worst of our battles in school. I considered it a big success until the gossip reached my ears.  Gossip he’d spread.  The bride was one of my few close friends from school I’d stayed in continual contact with.

“Why didn’t you open it?” It occurs to me that the hours I spent laboring over this letter, carefully weighing my words, were wasted. He never read it. He simply chose not to speak to me again.

“I figured since you wouldn’t speak to me that I didn’t need to know what you wrote.” His lips twist bitterly? cruelly? I can’t decide because I can’t help but see him through my years old hurt.

The full impact of the rejection hits me and I shove the letter into my sleeve and turn on my heel and walk away.

He’s speaking in the distance, but he’s moved on to another discussion. The words rattle in my head, the pain and first love rattle through my stressed system.

I love you.

I could draw you pictures or write you poems from my love, but that would just make you miserable.

I recognize that this is one sided and that you do not return my feelings.

I ask for your kindness and your distance. We won’t speak again, but I do wish you the best in your life.

I turn the letter over and over in my hands. I’d written more but a few lines made up the gist of it all.  I watch him from a distance. Always a people pleaser and still a people pleaser. I feel a laugh bubble up inside. He hated me for rejecting him and the entire time, he’d had my heart. He’d set out  to reject me and he’d pushed me away from far more than himself. There wasn’t a person present I’d want to discuss this with. Simply put, how far had his gossip spread all those years ago?

A bonfire had been a tradition for Saturday night drinking and someone had made sure we had one today. I flung the envelope with my faded, familiar scrawl into the flames and watched it burn. Laughing and crying, a little hysterically, I decided to leave. I notice a scrap of it arc up and float over the reception, the pot smokers, the dancers, the aging dreamers that I met in art school.

I didn’t belong here. I go to grab my coat, say my goodbyes and head to bed at the hotel we’ve rented next door to the catering space.

I don’t see the paper land in the reception’s crush. I don’t see him follow its path from the fire with his eyes, smoothly move to make sure it lands at his feet and finally read what remains of the letter.

Free Wine

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I watch as red wine splashes down the front of my white button-up shirt.  For some reason I giggle maniacally. Freedom, I guess.  Then I remember that red wine will never come out and I no longer own a work appropriate shirt.

I work at the restaurant in 7 hours, so I strip frantically and scrub maniacally.  My shirt is definitely ruined.

Now I cry. I need my job, but not enough to buy an extra shirt.

That’s freedom, I laugh, as I open a second bottle of red wine stolen from my ex-boss.

313-285-HOME 

313DayI grew up just south of Detroit. It wasn’t a place I got to go much, but I wanted to go there.  Every time I went, we ended up some place fun: The Science Museum, theatre, the Detroit Institute of Arts, a Tigers game. Detroit was a place you went to go somewhere and DO something.  The good bands played there in the coolest venues. I knew it was where Motown was, because I saw it on the labels of my Jackson 5 45s.

I wasn’t from Detroit, but I claimed it.  Like Motown, my dad said, Berry Gordy moved it to LA years ago.

Smile for Me, Baby

I am 12 and sitting in a front row desk in my advanced English class.  A fellow student sits down at the desk next to mine.  I ignore her because experience has taught me that my fellow students do not want the social scourge of the 7th grade to speak to them.  She appears upset by something and focused on her books anyway.

A few moments pass and I hear something unusual—a friendly voice saying “Hello?”

I look up and find my classmate smiling at me.  A big friendly smile I return. For a brief shining moment, I see our similarities.  Long brown hair, hazel eyes, we are both overweight and boyfriendless.  We’re in the Seitz Jr. High uniform in 1989:  French-rolled jeans, turtleneck under a sweatshirt, gold necklace dangling.  I am beaming at someone, maybe a new friend?

She opens her mouth to speak and I lean forward with a bit of excitement.  She speaks clearly and with great precision.

“You have the stupidest smile I’ve ever seen.”

I can’t believe what I’m hearing.  All my life people have complimented my smile, how friendly it is, how kind.  It is one of the few things on my body that I can unequivocally say is AWESOME. “Excuse me,” I sputter.

“You have the stupidest smile I’ve ever seen.” Remarkably, this is said with even greater precision.  Not bad for a tween with a mouth full of marbles.

I can’t help it.  As I stare at her now victorious eyes, I laugh and laugh and laugh.  I can barely choke out, “No, no, I don’t.  What is your damage?”  I laugh so hard I have tears streaming down my face.  I snort.

I watch as this girl who was so puffed up a moment before, deflates and slides deeper and deeper into her chair.  I kinda feel bad for her in that moment.  I mean, how lame are you when the social outcast of your entire grade thinks you’re a ridiculous loser?

Marissa’s monologue, 2014

(This is from my first play with some editing, and updating. This is the first thing I ever wrote that I fell in love with. I would change it so much more if I knew where it belonged.  This is delivered to a character who is considering suicide and may be a bit of a drama queen. )

My brother OD’ed. My family’s whole relationship to each other to changed completely.

My brother OD’ed on pills and some hard ass shit liquor. He figured visually this would be the least damaging thing to see for whoever found him.  That’s what his letter said.  He was wrong.  I found him. I walked through the door and there laid Dan strung out on the couch. Nothin’ unusual.  He was a user. So I said “Hey, bro.”, and he muttered some incoherent thing back to me, and that was that.

I turned on the TV, and for about a half hour I watched a dumbass  sitcom. I was watching a stupid, motherfuckin’ sitcom, and my brother lay there dying. I don’t know when, he just started moaning—apologizin’ left and right for somethin’. So I reached over to wake him up—I figure he’s having a nightmare—and I don’t remember how he felt or anything spectacular—I just remember thinking, “Oh my god, he’s dying.”

I remember I called 9-1-1. I remember the ambulance came, and I remember my parents running into the hallway demanding to know how Dan was. My brothers and sisters came—all the family. No one talked to me, no one even noticed me, except Dan. I was the first person he asked about when he came to, first damned thing out of his mouth.

Later, when we’d left his room, my folks yelled at me for not getting an ambulance sooner. They blamed me because they didn’t wanna blame themselves, and they still do. But I’m not gonna kill myself as punishment. I don’t consider it punishing myself to kill myself too. Or settling the score, or whatever else is floating through your lunatic mind.

When you tell me your suicidal, it tells me you don’t have a shitload of respect or concern for anyone, and maybe too much interest in the somebody who already fuckedyou over. So, you just keep wallowing in your self-pity because it’s easy. It’s so damned easy. And keep on hurting people friggin’ care enough to fight for you. Cause you are worth fighting for. So, fuck you.