Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dream: The Apartment

(you may notice that my recent writings are getting a bit more.... i don't want to say racy but perhaps romantic or mushy.  This one gets a little more "enticing" hahha these have been dreams I've been having.  Maybe i'll start changing up my headings.  Enjoy!  )

Getting up for work each day is tedious.  Take a piss, brush teeth, shower, feed the cats, get dressed, empty the litter box and remember to lock up.  Same thing every day.  Until the new neighbor arrived.

There was an empty store front i used to day dream about at work.  It had large glass windows and a double door to let people in/out.  There was brown paper lining the panes of glass so it was difficult to see in.  I had wondered when someone would take over the lease every time i saw the "FOR RENT" sign on my way home.

Thursday was different.  I remember it was Thursday because that was Chinese Food day.  Every week i was allowed one take out night and since nothing was better than my own cooking, i choose to eat Chinese Food.  I had just come back upstairs to my apartment after getting food from the lobby when i noticed a light against the brown paper.  Someone was moving around and their shadow danced from one window to the next.  I watched from my balcony door until the light went out and the show was over.  It would be interesting to see what would become of that space.

Little did i know the surprise its owner would bring.

I think I might have left something out - all the items in my daily routine are done completely naked.  Well, except getting dressed and leaving the house, of course.  My apartment is on a high enough floor that i don't even bother to close the blinds.  The only direct line of sight was an apartment across the street.  But their balcony was always fenced with tightly laid gray wooden beams in and no one moved around out there so i never paid it any mind.

Friday came along and i did my normal routine. Pissed, brushed, showered, fed the cats and as I was petting one of my dear babies i noticed a paper crinkle.  My radio was blaring the morning news but i could hear a distinct flapping of paper.  I looked around to see if my cats had rummaged through the recycling again and played with a paper bag.  They were happily munching on the new food i just put down.  I looked elsewhere around the apartment but couldn't see anything that would make that noise.    With a shrug, i decided to ignore it and started to make the bed.  I bent over to grab the sheets when i heard a different sound.

A man's cough or at least a clearing of the throat caused me to stop in my tracks.  Not in the most modest position, bent over my bed naked, but i turned my head to see that through the a man reading the newspaper, seemingly unaware of me being just across the street.  I thought about grabbing the sheets or the nearest piece of clothing to cover myself up but I stopped.  This was my apartment and i could do what i want.  Besides, if i could barely see him through the fence slits, who's to say he couldn't see me?

I went about my day thinking about the new neighbor.  I could bake some cookies or offer to show him around town.  I was just coming up to my block when the storefront doors opened.  Hugh Jackman walked out the store and took a deep breath.  He was smiling, almost ready to laugh and I could tell things were working out really well for him today.  Not wanting to ruin his moment, I started to cross the street.  He caught my glance and hollered "G'day miss!"  I smiled back and waved my hand.

Heading upstairs I smiled, he was a handsome man and I wondered if he was here all by himself.  Surely there was a family going to arrive just days behind him, ready to make their new home in this small town of mine.  I laughed, opened my door and went about my evening routine.  Shoes, coat, pet the kitties, feed the kitties, clean the litter box, change into house lounging attire.

I never could understand why people would get home and change.  It seemed so wasteful to use up so many clothes in the week.  I popped my work clothes into the hamper and slipped on some cut-off sweatpants made into shorts and a t-shirt with the star from Super Mario Bros.  I half expected to hear paper flipping from the balcony across the way but it seemed no one was there.  I did look down to find Mr. Jackman looking up and smiling.  He turned on his heels and went back into the store.

For the next few weeks he read the paper on the balcony every morning.  I attempted to catch even one stare but i couldn't.  His gaze was planted securely to that paper.  I didn't realize the news was that intriguing.  Since i was half asleep in the mornings anyway, nothing changed of my routine and I started having conversations with Mr. Jackman, even if he didn't answer back.

Then the strangest thing happened.   I was on my way downstairs and thought to stop by the mailboxes to check for a delivery when i saw Mr. Jackman waiting there.  He seemed anxious and was pacing back and forth.  "Are you all right?" My brow furrowed, it pained me to see people uneasy.

"Yes, it's just .... (man i can't remember the dream now.... all day i've been thinking about this and i can't remember what he said :(   it was something that would have been discussed or advertised on 1010wins because i was hearing that whilst i slept.)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dreaming of Vigilantes

My friends and i were all packed and ready to go on our weekend trip. I closed the passenger door and caught a reflection from the rearview mirror.  Startling blue eyes peeked out from under a green hood waiting for my recognition. I laughed and shook my head, my friends had no idea who they were about to meet. 

He laughed back, waited for my introduction then pulled back his hoodie. My friends were in shock - they had only seen this man from afar and now here he was. He walked over to me to say hello and with all eyes watching, leaned down to give me a lingering kiss. I was surprised myself, i didn't think we were telling anyone of our involvement but i followed his lead and kissed him lovingly back. By now my friends didn't know what to say. 

He took my hand and led me to my friends. I introduced them all and he humbly shook everyone's hand, returning his own to my waist when all was done. 

I explained that he would be coming with us on our trip for a short time before he had to go back to filming. 

We broke away from our friendship hiddle to get into our respective cars. He hopped in the passenger seat and watched me walk around to the driver's side. 

"I'm glad i could make it.  I would have missed you like crazy" he smiled. 

"You are amazing" i replied and kissed him before starting the car. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The path to loving yourself

Pamela had been staring at the ceiling for about five minutes before she realized her mind drifted from her task. She was to head to the bathroom mirror, look into her own eyes and say "I love you, Pamela Ann". It was all a part of this self love book she bought from Barnes & Noble. But she found her mind wandering and couldn't get out of bed. 

She knew this type of therapy was helpful, it was actually just what she was looking for. Years of taking care of others was due to her not taking care of herself.  All the hopes and wishes for her friends, family and even strangers to do well was not something she could do for herself. So she sought out a tangible way to help and found this book. 

But now that it was time to start this therapy, she found it hard to do the task. She bit her lip as she tried to look behind the reason for staying in bed. The bathroom was just at the end of the hallway.  She was not tired or lazy or wanting to do something else. She just didn't want to do it. 

"Why?" A voice asked in her head. 

"I don't know" she replied and closed her eyes. 

"You know why, but you don't want to admit it..."

"I...I don't"

"Go on, you can say it. There is no one here to judge your honesty. We'll get to that later."

"I don't think I'm important enough"

"For what, sweetie?"

"My attention needs to be spent on more important things than myself."

"Is that true? Is that how you really feel?"

"It's how i was made to feel. My thoughts, desires and feelings are secondary to those that need my help."

"Who made you feel that way?"

At this question she thought a moment. Her answer for years had been her father. He was strict and taught her how to keep a house. He reprimanded her for getting overly excited whether being happy or sad. She internalized those reactions to mean her feelings were not wanted and so she shouldn't have them.   The  Pamela started to cry. 

"Yes, go ahead, sweetie. It's okay to let it out. Who made you feel that way?

"I made me feel that way."

"Well, that's part of it. Years of hearing how not to display your emotions can be unsettling. But you are older and your own woman now. If someone tells you that, there is no reason for you to take that as a command or to even act on it. So why hold on to such memories?"

"There is a fear, a fear that my life was wasted, that i missed out on so much because I felt I had to live by these rules. I don't want these rules any more."

"Then leave them behind. You have to find the importance of yourself. You must define the love Pamela recieves not from others but from Pamela. That is what you can control."

Pamela looked through her tears at the ceiling. She balled her fists, threw the covers back and headed to the bathroom. The sunlight came in through the window and fell on her head and shoulders. Looking into the mirror she found her own eyes and turned away. 

"Don't judge. It will be difficult at first but if you do this every day you will get the hang of it."

"But it seems so silly. I don't understand how this is supposed to..."

"Don't think about it. Just say it."

Pamela closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. Planting hands on either side of the sink she looked up and into her own eyes. 

"I love you, Pamela Ann" 

The eyes that stared back were quivering with fear but steadied once the words sunk in. A younger Pamela started to peak out, wondering if this was a joke. Trust was just in the horizon and Pamela looked away. 

"I never realized how difficult this would be."

"you have the ability to love someone greatly. You see yourself do it every day for your family, friends and sometimes for people that you meet on the street. But we have to work on turning that kindness and compassion back into yourself. Perhaps not today but we'll check back in a few days. Anytime you see your reflection make sure to tell yourself how much love there is for You."

"I'll try" Pamela said wincing. 

"You'll do it. You've already taken the first step."

Pamela sighed, emotionally taxed and went back to bed. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dream: The visit

It's strange how you become accustomed to city streets.  People used to warn me constantly that it wasn't safe to walk at night.  Never really bothered me. Except for a few people here and there walking just a little too close or staring a little too long.  As long as I payed attention, I would be okay.

I walked along Essex with my hands in my jacket pockets as the warmth kept within my layers offered a welcome comfort.  Streetlights made the damp concrete glisten at this time of night.  Few people were out so I had the street to myself.

In another 5 minutes i would make it to his house.  Just as i was about to cross the street, a FedEx truck slammed on his breaks and fishtailed into a building on the corner.  The tiles that lined the outside of the building indented slightly, but it seemed that no other damage was done.  Cursing, the driver jumped out of his cab and looked for the car that caused him to break so quickly.  Throwing his cigarette to the ground, he stomped back and forth, unable to find the fiend.

I shook my head and crossed anyway.  I would have called the cops except the driver made it back to his cab and was on the radio in no time.  I continued down for two more blocks.

Either the music from my earbuds was really engaging or I was on autopilot because I can't remember getting to his apartment.  Before I knew it, I was inside. I didn't feel uncomfortable or intrusive.  It was as if someone invited me in, just not the owner.  I could hear rustling from another room - I think it was the cleaner.

I was so surprised to see how simple his setup was.  Compared to my own apartment, his Ikea furniture and lack of very expensive items made me feel silly for being embarrassed when we first met.  

If i remember correctly, I placed an ad on Craigslist selling some of my old vinyls given to me by my Grandmother.  I was hard up for money and needed to pay the rent.  I received an email shortly after  with an urgent ask to purchase those albums.  I arranged a pickup at my apartment for that weekend.  To my surprise, the guy that showed up to purchase the records was Robert Downey Jr. himself.  

Mr. Downey Jr. wasn't with anyone, and was really polite.  I froze for a moment with embarrassment because I hadn't cleaned the place and it was in quite a state of disarray.  I apologized to him for the mess and invited him inside to look through the records.

That afternoon was magical. We listened to records, talked about life and what was going on in our lives. His visit went long into the evening and he even offered to get Chinese.  When his visit was over, he insisted on overpaying for the records and asked if he could call on me again to have another afternoon.  I assured him that was fine by me.

Now I was let into his own home.  There was art on the wall, a flat screen TV and a few couches.  Nothing that would suggest he had a famous life style.  I was checking other things around the living room when I heard keys in the door. Mr. Downey walked in with a surprised look.  I froze in my tracks.  I couldn't remember why I was here.  Did he invite me over?  Why the hell was I let into his apartment?  Was this even okay to be here?

Cautiously, he moved towards me, almost studying me to see what I would do next.  I felt as if he was trying to gauge my discomfort and was hiding a laugh behind those watchful eyes.  I did my best to play it cool.  I pulled out a drawing pad and started to sketch random shapes.  

He moved to the couch and turned the TV on.  The door opened again and his wife stepped through.  She smiled and welcomed me, then began bringing in groceries.  I asked if i could help but Mr. Downey said not to worry about it.  He invited me to sit down and started up a conversation.  It had been a while since we last spoke after all.

I was mortified.  I felt I didn't belong here and I couldn't remember how I got here or why.  Mr. Downey seemed to pick up on that and moved closer on the couch.  I kept my eyes down on my sketching.  

I was able to make a swooping shape to the left. That gave me an idea for a dress for cosplay so I mirrored the shape and kept drawing.  To my surprise, it turned out incredibly well and that caught the attention of Mr. Downey.  He started to watch.

My nervousness grew, I am not a good artist, but he seemed interested and working with the blue pencil and paper kept me somewhat calm.  I was able to sketch out a highly detailed wedding dress until he moved a bit closer.

I could feel my temperature rise, having this person I admired from afar so close to me and there was nothing I could do about it.  His wife was working in the open kitchen, starting to make dinner.  And then he got closer.  

At this point, he was close enough to whisper into my ear. My pencil stopped drawing for a moment as it took everything within me to not try to melt.  He asked if I was going to his High School Reunion.  I blinked, not comprehending what he just asked and asked him to repeat his question.  He laughed a bit, probably noticing the breathless quality in my voice, put his arm around me and asked again.  When i realized what he said, i started to laugh. 

I asked him where it was.  He replied it was set in Ontario and he expected that I'd want to go.  He would really like it if I went.  Then he'd have someone to talk with. I felt honored and surprised at the thought of it and was quickly reminded of my financial situation.  I let him know I'd think about it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Diner

Stepping off the bus she thanked the driver.  "Merry Christmas, Frank… thanks for working today."

"No problem, Cathy.  You'll be okay out there?"

"Yeah, i'll be okay."

The doors closed and she walked toward the building.  The stores on that block had long since closed but light fell on the sidewalk from one set of windows.  A neon sign flickered 'Open' and she stepped through the door.

Inside was fuller than she imagined.  Booths were all filled on one side and tables had many empty chairs.  She opted for the counter since it wasn't so bad sitting alone at a table for one.  As she sat down, she realized everyone was sitting alone.  So was the tradition at the Christmas Diner.

People came from uptown, downtown, east and west of the city to this one place.  It was the only diner open 24 hours even on holidays.  While everyone had dinner with the families, they stayed open with a seat for those that could not share with their loved ones.

She swiveled around and took a menu from the stand.  It wasn't Thanksgiving but a turkey dinner sounded really good right about now.  A waitress stopped over and took a pencil from her hair.  She had on thick black rimmed glasses, bright red lipstick and heavy eyeliner.  Her smile was genuine.

"What can I get for you, hun?"

"I'll have the turkey deluxe, please and some ginger ale" Cathy quietly requested.

"You got it… hey, you gonna be okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine.  Hey, i have a question… Why is everyone asking that?"

The waitress put the pencil back in her hair, looked out the window and smiled.  A bell hanging over the door rang as a new customer entered.  "Maybe he'll explain."

Cathy looked over with her eyes but kept her head forward.  Through peripheral vision she could make out a tall figure with a hat and winter jacket on.  He made his way to the counter and sat a seat away from her.  He took off the hat, placed it on the unoccupied side of the counter and asked for some hot, black coffee.  It was his voice that Cathy noticed first.

Sadness rose from the depths of a baritone throat.  He knew what he wanted but didn't demand, only requested.  He offered respect with authority and wouldn't take advantage with the powers he was given.  He turned toward Cathy and raised his newly delivered coffee cup.  

"Merry Christmas, miss."

"M-Merry Christmas" Cathy hesitated.  She was staring and hadn't realized her head had turned toward him completely. So drawn in was she to his voice.  With a smile she folder her hands and turned her attention to her suddenly unacceptable cuticles.

The waitress brought Cathy a place setting of a cloth napkin, knife fork and spoon. Her ginger ale came next and then her plate of food.  The meal smelled delicious and she was starving, but curiosity turned her head toward her new neighbor.

"What do you think you'll have for dinner tonight?"

"Not sure yet.  Just worried about keeping warm for now.  Looks like you have a meal ready for a King, or a Queen perhaps?" He laughed and her heart ached.  She knew that laugh.  It was a way of protection to keep others out where they don't belong.  If someone was laughing you couldn't tell they were hurting, right?

She sighed in sympathy without realizing it.  He looked up from his coffee to catch her gaze but she already turned her eyes back toward the plate. This time he sighed and put in his order.

"I'll have the turkey pot pie."

Cathy smiled and started in on her mashed potatoes.  

"I know i shouldn't talk with my mouth full, but i have to ask.  What brings you out here on Christmas day?  We all have our reasons and i see no one else here with a guest.  Y-you don't have to answer if i'm being too intrusive but i guess i'm just not feeling introverted today…" She shoved a spoonful of stuffing into her mouth before she could ramble off anything else.

"Well… it is my tradition to come here on Christmas" he replied as he was served his pot pie.  "Donna here gets me a coffee, a turkey pot pie and apple strudel every year.  I've been doing this for ten years.  What about you?"

Cathy stopped mid chew. She was't ready for his question - she was the one collecting info on this new intriguing guy. "Me…?  Well i needed some space from my apartment.  It's kind of a sad story, you probably don't want me to bring you down on such a festive holiday."

"But you came here for company, didn't you?" He looked up again from his meal.  This time he caught her eyes.  He had dark brown irises that spoke of the same sadness in his voice.

"Y-yes, I guess you're right," she put her fork down.  She didn't mean to sound so dramatic but always felt the need to explain herself.  Why couldn't she just give short answers once and a while.  

Cathy opened her mouth to begin her story when the entrance bell rang again.  An old lady with ragged clothes walked through the door.  She held a cup in her hand and rattled the few coins that were inside.  

"Can anyone spare some change, please, i'm so very hungry…" she weaved to and from all the tables.  Donna served a couple in the far corner then headed towards the old lady.  She took her gingerly by the arm and led her to a booth by the window.  She set down a cloth napkin and some silverware and handed the old woman a menu.

"Take your time, mam.  I'll be back with some water"

"I can't pay for this, child…" the woman wearily cautioned.

Donna smiled and with a wink was away to fetch some water.

Cathy closed her mouth, unable to describe the pitiful sadness she was feeling.  Shame and righteousness washed over her alternatively.  How could she be upset this season when she still had a place to live, food to eat and money to buy things. The old woman had very little and was working hard to get what she needed to live on.

"Excuse me, Donna, was it," Cathy raised her arm to get the waitress's attention.  "I'll cover the charge for that woman over there."

"Thanks, hun, but Clarice is covered here."

"Okay…" was all Cathy could say and went back to the turkey.

"So are you going to tell me the story, or what?" 

Cathy couldn't lift her eyes past his half eaten pot pie.  

He leaned in to whisper "Look, don't feel bad for Clarice.  She has many things going on in her life that may seem unfortunate for us outsiders but she has a lot going for her too.  Her mind and health are still with her, at least for now.  We all have our burdens, it's okay, if you're not ready I can wait."   Then a little more loudly he said "This pie sure is good!"

She laughed at that along with a few others in the diner.  Taking a sweeping glance, she realized that while they were all sitting alone, no one looked unhappy.  They weren't dancing in their seats but they looked content.  She wondered why.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound…"

He cut her off. "Don't apologize.  Just speak freely, you may be judged but be yourself at least."

Cathy's shoulders stiffened at that remark.  Judgement.  That was the last thing she needed right now.  

"More ginger ale, hun?" Donna making her rounds.

"Yes, please."

Cathy turned toward her neighbor and realized she never caught his name.  

"Well before i tell you, at least let me know your name? I'm Cathy" and she outstretched her hand.

"My name is Paul.  Pleasure to meet you." 

He shook her hand with a warm, firm grip and let her own hand slip out of his.   Cathy's shoulders relaxed and she was surprised by how good she felt at his touch.  She tried to think back when she'd had actual human contact.

"I'm sorr…." she stopped herself and took a breath.  This was going to be a challenge.

"It's not easy to know where to start.  So I guess i'll start with today.  This Christmas has bothered me like no others.  This is the first Christmas in 17 years where i have not had a significant other.  It's not the first time i've spent the holidays on my own - in fact i've taken pleasure being away from family on some occasions just to not have to deal with the stress.  But this time, it's not voluntary.  

"Think of having no one to share your morning or evening with.  To talk about the day's news or books or movies.  I'm an introvert by nature but my God i need someone to talk to." 

Cathy's hands started to tense up around the silverware.  Paul listened and watched her knuckles slowly turn to white.  He took a sip of coffee and set it down a little closer to Cathy.

"I have friends and hanging out with them is always a special time but it's just not the same.  There is no contact.  No brushing hair out of my face, or caressing my arms or holding me while watching a movie.  None of that… for a really long time. I need…" 

Cathy broke off when she felt her cheeks burning.  They glistened with newly dropped tears without her blinking.  She looked down, ashamed of crying but couldn't bring herself to wipe away the tears.  That would admit she had fallen weak.

Paul slowly reached over and placed his hands atop hers. He wedged the fork and knife from her chilly fingers and moved one seat closer.  Her tears fell freely while she continued on.

"It's so damn lonely…" she cried out and her shoulders slumped.  Paul caught her in his arms and let her cry.  The sobs wracked her body and she didn't hold back.  Cathy didn't care about being judged. She was the strong one for so long - how was she expected to be strong forever.  If this made her weak so be it.  She was finished with being everyone else's rock.  This perfect stranger was willing to lend his strength for a moment and she took it.

"Just know that right now," he spoke as gently as he could "you are not alone."

"Thank you," Cathy choked out as best she could.

After some time, she pulled away and excused herself to go to the bathroom.  She could hear Paul ordering his apple strudel just before the bathroom door closed.  The mirror reflected her puffy eyes, runny nose and a nose that would have shamed Rudolph.  She cleaned herself up as best she could and thought about what just happened at the counter.  how could she have been so trusting.  She had no idea who this person was and yet she trusted him with her deepest secret.  Maybe she could explain to him some more and help make him understand.  

Cathy stalled in the bathroom, unsure what to do next.  She let her guard down which was a mistake.  How could she go out there and face him again? Maybe she could stay in the bathroom until he left.  

"Cathy, stop being so foolish.  Just go out there.  He was willing to listen, now be an ear for him" she took another deep breath, one to slow her pounding heart, and headed back to the counter.

She saw a plate of finished apple strudel and some cash for a tip but Paul was gone.  Her heart sank. 

"Not even a good-bye?" she felt new tears brimming.

"Donna, did you see where Paul went?"

"Sorry, hun, who?"

"The gentleman who was here, with the hat just a moment ago?  He had the strudel?"

"We have pie here, hun but no strudel.  Are you feeling okay?  Want me to call you a cab or something?"

"No, i'll be all right. Thanks for dinner. Merry Christmas."  

Cathy nodded to Clarice on her way out and headed for the bus stop.  Half a block down she wondered if she left enough of a tip and turned to go back.  When she found the door, the Open neon sign was off and chipped in several places.  There were NYC Department of Health stickers all over the door and windows claiming the site closed for unsanitary conditions.  The dust on the windows and floor showed it had been closed for days if not weeks.

"What the hell…?" Cathy felt full and could still taste cranberries.  She also remembered having arms wrapped around her while she cried.  Shaking her head she walked to the bus stop.  A few minutes later she could see Frank pulling up to the curb.  

"Hey - caught you on the return trip too!  Did you find what you were looking for?"

Cathy thought for a moment and then smiled.  "Yes, Frank, i think i did.  Time to go home."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Something nice for Sam

The sun was shining onto the golden yellow leaves still waving gently on their branches.  Sam smiled and tilted her face up to catch the warm rays.  She just left the tax office, her federal and state returns in hand.  The preparer mentioned a post office down the street and she made her way over to the granite faced building.

Today was equivalent to accomplishment.  When Sam could check things off a list her morale boosted. She wanted to ride that wave all day and decided to do a little something nice for herself.  On the way to the post office, she saw a salon with an open door.  One of the hair dressers was laughing as the other danced in her booth area.  They looked happy and Sam stepped in.

Her dressers name was Georgia and she was older than the others.  She smiled genuinely and asked to take Sam's coat.  Sam was seated while Georgia looked over her hair.  She loved long hair and wouldn't dream of cutting Sam's locks short.  There would be some good grooming done with two inches off the bottom and a layered look.  Sam agreed and she was sent off to the washer.

A younger dark skinned woman took her back and asked her to be seated.  Her own hair was brown at the roots and got steadily lighter up into her curls.  It was twisted and springy and a good look for her.  Sam leaned back and let the magic of a hair washing relax her after a long week.  The younger lady washed, rinsed then conditioned and dried with a towel.  She offered Sam some tea and walked her back over to Georgia.

Georgia was a good hair dresser.  She could cut and measure and style while still keeping up with small talk.  She didn't pause when she told her stories and would make constant eye contact through the mirror to ensure i was doing well.  The chat was not too deep but engaging and Sam enjoyed laughing at her jokes and shared some of her her own experiences.  

When it was all done, Sam counted this as another accomplishment.  She hadn't had her hair cut in over a year.  She headed back home, perhaps to take a nap as she was up earlier that morning.  Of course, when she got home, she got her second wind, found some new clothes and headed right back out for the first time in a while.  She never went out on Saturday nights.

to be continued….

Sunday, October 27, 2013

freewrite - who's the right one?

"He wasn't good enough." Todd said.  "You could do much better…"

She replied with a scoff and "Yeah? Like who?"

Todd grinned and winked.  Scumbag.

Nancy didn't have much luck with finding a partner.  The first needed someone his own age. The second needed a mommy replacement.  The third was passionate but required constant emotional care. The fourth wanted short freedom before he went off to fulfill his family duty.  The fifth seemed like the right one, at least for now.

But Nancy had a problem.  It was't until she had already invested time that she realized things weren't meant to work out.  Maybe it was due to her wanting things to work.   She would try with all her might until she had nothing left to give.  The weariness overtook her and she had to leave the situation or become completely crushed.

She was going to therapy for that.  A nice round lady with curly blond/brown hair listened to Nancy every week.  Steph was a good fit and listened empathetically to all of Nancy's stories.  There was never judgement but at times she called Nance out when she wasn't being honest with her or herself.

So Nancy heard Todd's comment and her heart began to sink.  Was she making the same mistake again? How could she tell?  Were the warning signs coming back?  She thought they might be.  Telling people that she was in a long distance relationship, making excuses of why she couldn't meet up for double dates, getting frustrated when promised a phone call and hearing nothing until the next day or two.

She couldn't tell if she was blowing things out of proportion.  Was she expecting too much?  He wasn't working, but looking hard for a job. This was the case in a previous relationship, but this was a little different.  She wasn't 'allowed' to go to his place.  Was she being too trusting?

Nancy smiled and excused herself from the dinner table.  She fought hard to keep laughing at the jokes they made while she walked toward the ladies room.  Behind the first door, then the stall metal she slumped against the wall and let her tears come freely.  It was so confusing, trying to be positive but not naive.  How could she tell what she should be doing?

Now her nose was running her eyes must be really red.  She blew her nose with toilet paper and started breathing deeply to regulate her heart.  Who would have thought these episodes couldn't be held back any more.  Smiling to herself, she jokingly damned her therapist for a good job and left the stall to wash her hands.

The mirror above the sinks showed her eyes were a little red as was her nose and cheeks.  After drying her hands she used the paper towel to wipe her face.  She wouldn't let the guys get to her.  They were just being silly and flirtatious.  If what they said bothered her that much, she had a lot more thinking to do on her current relationship.