Posts tagged with "romance"

Christie Had A Speech Impediment

Her unwit­ting nick­name in high school was Fudd (as in Elmer), because her “r“s came out as baby­ish “w“s.

This was par­tial­ly due to the fact that she would imi­tate her old­er broth­er in admi­ra­tion dur­ing child­hood, after he devel­oped his own imped­i­ment from an oro­fa­cial sports injury. The oth­er, and much more severe, aspect of her imped­i­ment was a ran­dom and sud­den inabil­i­ty to speak. No stut­ter, no slur.

As her speech ther­a­pist explained, it was a short-cir­cuit in the brain, caus­ing her to believe that a sen­tence was fin­ished when she was only half-way through say­ing it. The only prob­lem was that she would get stuck on a word. On good days she sim­ply could­n’t repeat it, on bad days she could­n’t speak at all. Most peo­ple thought it was brought on by a rather trau­mat­ic series of events brought on by her sup­posed friends in high school. The was­cals.

I always found it endear­ing, but she nev­er cared for it. One of the tricks she used to get by was to take her time in say­ing a word. E‑nun-ci-ate. It was like mas­sag­ing the ten­sion from a mus­cle, and slow­ly, she would be able to speak again. Another trick was to imag­ine being in a com­fort zone, which was her room, to relax when she was flus­tered.

I’ve always found that girls share some intrin­sic bond with their rooms. It’s almost as if they’re fol­low­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary nest­ing instinct, and their rooms become their homes. A place to grow and be safe. Along with the care­ful­ly lined-up books and the ran­dom pieces of jew­ellery, the hid­den cache of pho­tos and the pur­pose­ful­ly placed can­dles (some of which must nev­er be lit), are the char­ac­ter­is­tic quirks.

Christie could nev­er fall asleep if one of her dozen stuffed ani­mals were fac­ing her. Her bed­time rit­u­al was to make sure that each one was turned away.

In time, Christie’s com­fort zone became the walk-in-clos­et of my room. She was old enough to make love, but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly too young to stay overnight, so we would spend most of our time in there, the place where we could reach out and feel the walls around us, con­fined to the inti­ma­cy of the enclo­sure. We spread out the blan­ket, lit the can­dles, and closed the door.

After a while, the humid­i­ty would build up, and this was no more appar­ent than in the win­ter when we would crack open the door and tan­gi­bly feel the chill on our skin. Opening the sun she called it, as the day­light sharply spilled on the blan­ket that cov­ered us. It was the only place where we could shut out the world, the only place that felt like night.

In a rela­tion­ship, shar­ing the night is more impor­tant than shar­ing flu­ids. Falling asleep with some­one is an accep­tance of trust, a way of say­ing that we’re com­fort­able enough to drift into our sub­con­scious minds. Perhaps it was the unavail­abil­i­ty of such a rit­u­al that’s giv­en the night so much sig­nif­i­cance.

Having no night of our own, we had to make due. I cov­ered one side of a card­board pan­el with glow-in-the-dark stars and sus­pend­ed it from the top of the room. The pan­el was large enough to fill the vision, and in the dark­ness the clos­et became a micro­cosm of the star­ry sky. Even in the mid­dle of day it was near black­ness, and we’d lose track of time, hud­dled under the blan­kets with her sleep­ing at my chest, or lying there face-to-face, talk­ing while I ran my fin­gers through her hair. Sometimes, all we would do was get togeth­er and nap.

And even­tu­al­ly, Christie did­n’t have much trou­ble speak­ing any­more.


(This took four months to write)

I was kick­ing back on the couch with ____
with the lights out and the music on.

Wut wut.

Anyway, we were stoned out of our skulls and it was Naked As We Came by Iron And Wine. We sat there, lis­ten­ing to the dul­cet notes of a lone gui­tar lead into Sam Beam’s sug­ary voice, soon to be gen­tly round­ed off by his sis­ter, Sara, as the har­mo­ny. A sum­mer-morn­ing-dur­ing-har­vest song, or danc­ing in the mid­dle of a cool rain­fall.

She says ‘If I leave before you dar­ling
don’t you waste me in the ground’
I lay smil­ing like our sleep­ing chil­dren
one of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open
naked as we came
one will spread our
ash­es round the yard

And we sat there, lis­ten­ing, remark­ing to each oth­er about how mor­bid it all was, yet so beau­ti­ful.

How two peo­ple can be so inti­mate with each oth­er as to be com­fort­able enough to casu­al­ly talk about the dis­pos­al of remains. They were plan­ning it like an ado­les­cent cou­ple decid­ing the num­ber of garages or chil­dren they’re going to have.

Even John was moved, but how could he not be? One of them would die but there was solice in the fact that it would be in the embrace of the oth­er, as if nei­ther one would want to die any oth­er way, doing any­thing else.

And it felt like, for the first time in my life, John could under­stand a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent side of me.


I can see it in your eyes
I can hear it in your voice
the signs are obvi­ous
that all we had has run its course

—Matchbook, Strung Out

The hard­est thing isn’t know­ing this’ll end, because the cer­tain­ty of such a fact was clear from the moment we start­ed. It’s know­ing that the end is com­ing and still falling in love that’s the hard­est.

How can I dis­tance myself when every­thing you do draws me clos­er? If only it was­n’t so fruit­less to keep remind­ing myself that this will nev­er last. All that can be said is that it’s worth it. Everything I’ll be feel­ing soon is worth anoth­er night lying next to you, worth anoth­er morn­ing wak­ing up with you.

So give me one more kiss, one more taste of your lips, and tell me how much you’ll miss this.

Guilt-Free Selfishness

I’ve been brave enough to lis­ten to The Postal Service late­ly, although my enjoy­ment is restrict­ed to head­phones on the bus. It’s still some­thing that’s a lit­tle too per­son­al to be lis­ten­ing through speak­ers, and for some rea­son, I’m not com­fort­able with oth­ers hear­ing the same songs that I do. It’s as if being able to hear the same trip­py beats and soft voic­es gives oth­er peo­ple the abil­i­ty to expe­ri­ence the mem­o­ries that the music brings to my mind; curves in a gen­tle face, car rides through the thick sum­mer air, ner­vous fum­blings on the couch, the scent of unfa­mil­iar sheets.

They’re all good mem­o­ries, noth­ing painful any­more, but it’s all some­thing I’d like to keep to myself for just a lit­tle longer.