(Originally written for a class assignment on 10.7.14)

drop spreading

At first, it was just a drop. A simple, unintimidating plop. Thunderclouds had produced more on a sunny day, but when it landed, it had authority. Liquid into liquid rippled and spread, covering everything it touched with its purpose, its reason, its will.

It would haunt you if you let it.

One drop turned into two, three, four, five, eleven, twenty-six, one thousand four hundred and seven. He counted every delicious one.

“It looks like blood,” she said.

“That’s because it is,” he said.

“Okay, wow. I’m way too much of a wuss to deal with this.” She closed her eyes and covered them with her hand. A moment later, she splayed her fingers and peeked through.

He studied her movements. Silent. Careful. His breathing was short and shallow. Excited. His gaze lingered on her polished nails, a purple-ish blue, like blood moving towards the heart in search of oxygen.

“It’s actually kind of pretty,” she said, leaning not towards the puddle, but not away from it either.

“That’s because it is,” he said.

“I can’t believe I’m saying that because you know I can’t even watch scary movie previews, right? I mean, watching TV, it’s so dangerous this time of year with all those movies coming out for Halloween. You’re being serenaded with car commercials and puppies and then BOOM, haunted babies and possessed houses and dark corridors. I can’t hit the mute button fast enough.” Her laugh was high and breathy, shallow and short. Uncomfortable.

He fiddled with his phone until deep, creepy chords poured out.

Her hands landed on her hips before the lyrics spilled out. “Is that supposed to be funny?”

He placed the phone on the table, hands rising up in a salute of surrender. The apology didn’t fill his eyes. Nothing did. Dark brown irises surrounded by a black fringe of lashes that made everyone believe the softer edges.

She looked closer.

He licked his lips.

She stepped back, all limbs and adrenaline and clumsy. The music, tinny and throbbing, surrounded her, filling every corner with danger. He advanced on her, tracking her step for step. The table halted her progress with its heavy, unmovable presence. He embraced the freedom he still had to move about the room. He circled behind her, the musty scent of his sweat trailing him, tying her in knots. He slowed his steps, luxuriating in each footprint as he tightened the space between them, quietly, patiently. Her heart shoveled out blood as if lightening the load could offer a better chance at escape. He stopped in front of her, their bodies parallel; lithe, muscular, mirror images of one another. The air between them evaporated.

She laughed, a deep and true howl. Her silhouette shifted as her body, lush and accepting, gravitated towards his. Her blueberry gaze handcuffed to his.

His control cracked and a single drop slipped to the floor. It wasn’t much. Barely noticeable, but just like in the beginning, it spread with intent, with infection. She focused on his face, which had melted back into the bland, unremarkable mask that had originally caught her attention.

“Come on, baby,” she murmured. “Let go.”

His hollow eyes blinked, empty; blinked, empty; blinked, empty; blinked, filled with daggers of drama, spider webs of lust.

“Gorgeous,” she whispered, her voice all razors and roses. She reached for him, fingers delicate as a corset, landing on his cheek, burning a trail down to the divot of his collarbone, the flesh pale and freckled. She pressed down. His pulse hammered under the pockets her fingertips created. Her thumb slid a rough trail through the shadows of his facial hair up to his bottom lip. Her other hand covered his neck, braced underneath his ear. Her breath floated over his face rich with desire. He captured her wrists, locking their position, tangled, twisted, tight.

Stubborn seconds filled with flammable questions. Tick. Are you? Tock. Who? Tick. How long? Tock. Do you? Tick. Tock. Neither one willing to give an inch. Tension. Friction. A spark.

Ribbons of flesh appeared as clothes burned to the ground. Violent violet heat crackled and dominated. Pulling, directing, dragging, thrusting. They unmasked the masquerade and feasted on each other.


the shape of loneliness

A studio apartment. A room full of people. A heart barricaded by too many self-preservation tactics. A silent apartment and a too loud head. Saying goodbye. A house with three kids and one adult. An empty barstool next to you. Reaching out to friends, checking in, but no questions asked in return. Questions asked but not wanting to answer. Not wanting to answer because the truth of your heart is too heavy. A six hour time zone difference. An empty swing swaying in the breeze. A pot without a lid. A negative sign every month. Looking at the sidewalks instead of those passing by. A website/an app with scores of superficial options. Dropping off your child at daycare. Cat calls from construction workers/passersby. Social media. A loveseat for two sat on by one. Being the first to arrive. An empty slot on a bookshelf. A three hour time zone difference. A keychain with no keys. Rain clouds. The third wheel. The last slice of pizza. No new messages. No lives left on Candy Crush. Cooking for one. The setting sun. A blank page.


rocket scientists

I don’t have much in common with rocket scientists, because, math, but there is one commonality. Blood.

You see, my grandfather (my dad’s dad) was a rocket scientist. I first discovered this when I found out he published Jet Propulsion for Aerospace Applications, 2nd Edition (which I, of course, promptly bought even though I can’t decipher a word inside). I re-discovered this fact when another one of his work legacies came into my possession not too long ago. It was then I realized I might have something else in common with those ridiculously smart rocket scientists: failure.


I’m really good at failing, especially of late. I’ve failed to buy a condo. I’ve failed to keep a car in working condition. I’ve failed to stop snacking on every single thing within my reach. I’ve failed to get a good night’s sleep (any night of the week). I’ve failed to take a step where my left foot doesn’t hurt. I’ve failed to feel something other than loneliness. I’ve failed to write anything worth publishing. I’ve failed to write anything merely for my own amusement. I’ve failed to even try.

As the failures piled up, I’ve been unable to see anything else. I clutched at the clear plastic cube. I traced its edges and studied the piece of the rocket within. The piece was from an explosion at, or shortly thereafter, its launch. You see, the scientists had to collect all the blown up bits and reassemble them to study what went wrong so it wouldn’t happen again. (I don’t know if the piece inside was the critical part of the second rocket’s success or the first rocket’s failure, but I like assume they were successful in mastering the rocket launch. I also like to assume my grandfather was an integral part of its success, hence, the trophy. Back then, trophies were for winners, not just participators… :))

To my mind, rocket scientists are brainiacs who never make mistakes and never get messy, but this blows all those notions out of the water, or umm, sky. To study something so you don’t make the same mistake again? Getting dirty as you crawl around in the dirt gathering every minuscule piece and particle? That is hard work. That is what it takes to succeed.

And so I will scrounge up the messy parts of my life, put them on a petri dish, and slide that under the microscope for further studying.

Woah, look at how scientific I already am! Maybe some of my grandfather’s (and father’s) mathematical and scientific sides did make it through the generations to me.


zombie car

On 12.20.14, I posted this, but it turned out to be a lie. I certainly never set out to lie to you, dear reader, but it happened.

My car was resurrected from the dead, patched up, and declared fit to drive. I picked it up in February two days before the third massive snowfall in as many weeks. I grumbled something about evil spirits and gave my car the side eye as I shoveled it out again and again this (record setting) winter.

Despite the snow drifts suggesting otherwise and a lack of hope throughout the entire city, spring actually did arrive! My car and I were reunited as we made trips to the grocery store, condo open houses, and, you know, the usual, until the afternoon of 9.27.15 when brake lights were suddenly a lot closer than I expected, than they should be, and than they ever had been before.

On 10.1.15, after numerous phone calls and emails with my insurance company, I trudged to the underbelly of the auto shop, waded through the thick layer of dust, and said goodbye.


Despite it only having 64K miles on it, this car is from 1999, and has partied just like that. The fender bender left it more broken than bruised and so it was, for the second time, declared a total loss. For realsie. There was no patchwork or witchcraft or hocus pocus that could be done to save it. It only took about 5 minutes to gather up and clear out the remaining maps, phone charger, tire air pressure tools, EZ pass, bluetooth speaker, and license plates.

I left the snow brushes, 1/2 full bottle of road salt, and 1/4 full bottle of windshield washer fluid behind.

In the last lingering moments, I stood there with the mechanic by my side as I pondered how I got here, what shape would my life take now that I no longer own a car, and how he managed to unscrew and remove both my license plates in less than 30 seconds.

Maybe there is magic still crackling about?



I’ve never planned a trip so extensively as my recent trip to Spain.

I’ve never traveled with just Sister E.

I’ve never flown within a European country.

I’ve never visited a historic site that’s still in the process of being built.

I’ve never tried to navigate a color-coded metro system using a black&white printout.

I’ve never had a “local” friend before.

I’ve never had a European cell phone nor felt like such a hardcore, take charge spy when I used one.

I’ve never overlapped vacations and managed to make the most of the 5 hour overlap before.

I’ve never had food poisoning abroad.

I’ve never had a bus driver acknowledge me and then keep on driving abroad. (Oh, but I’ve had this done in the US.)

I’ve never bought walking sandals the day before vacation and had them not give me blisters. (I could have worn those babies all day and all night.)

I’ve never been not nervous when solo navigating my way around a large (or small) European city.

I’ve never studied people so hard trying to find and follow the tourists to the historic sights.

I’ve never insulted someone by saying thank you before.

I’ve never had sweet vermouth + a few drops of bitters + a toothpick with an orange and an olive and loved it so fiercely.

All these nevers left a lot of room for firsts, for a proper education, for diving in without checking the temperature of the water. I suggest you compile your own list of nevers and cross them off one by one or, heck, all at once. ;)