Monthly Archives: April 2013

As I age

In 3 years, I will be as old as my grandmother was when I was born. My grandmother, ZZ, has been dead for 21 years – this is beginning to sound like a word problem in some horrible math book. Don’t worry, there are no trains leaving the station in this post. Moving on (yes, I did really just do that)

Anyhow, for the first half of my life, she was my most-favorite person in the world; we had a very strong relationship and I thank her daily for all she gave me. I haven’t seen her in a long time. Obviously. I mean, it’s not like she’s a zombie, though ZZ would be an awesome name for a zombie.

No, my grandmother didn't look like this, but if she were a zombie, maybe she would.

No, my grandmother didn’t look like this, but if she were a zombie, maybe she would.

Anyway, I haven’t seen her in 20+ years…until today.

I’m 40. Life and time have taken their toll on my person and it’s showing. I look more and more like my own mother every day and today, when I looked in the mirror while washing my hands, I also saw my grandmother.

It’s the jowls.

I’m sure she didn’t have them when she was 43 but by the time I started memorizing her face, her voice, her smell, all those things you learn about a person just by being around her, her jowls were probably making an appearance and the older she got, the more pronounced they became. For some reason, one I can’t figure out, I loved them. They looked so soft and touchable and they were so … ZZ. No one else had a jawline quite like hers. And now I do. Or, at least, I’m beginning to.

I know I should be a little alarmed by my sagging skin, my gray hair and wrinkles, my changing appearance. And sometimes I am. But today I’m thankful and even joyous to find my grandmother’s face in mine; it’s nice to see her again.

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Filed under My Dearly Beloveds

My fancy French perfume smells like bugs. Apparently.

Once upon a time in the mid-90’s, my longest running friend (she hasn’t been running a long time; I’ve known her since I was in 5th grade. Her name is April) and I lived in South Korea for a year as English teachers. We had many fantastic adventures there and I loved it but that’s not what I’m writing about today. It’s just that this story starts in Seoul and ends in a machine shop in the Rockies so here we go:

I wish I’d have written down what these stories were. Just because I’m me, I’m thinking the woman in the blue and yellow hanbok is doing something with kimchee and the the woman in gray with the brown tunic is a thunderstorm. But that’s probably 100% inaccurate.

This one time in South Korea, my friends and I went to dinner-and-a-show at the Buddhist temple restaurant in the art district of Seoul. It’s a neat place to eat – it’s vegan and they serve little pieces of plants you’d never think to stick in your mouth had they not been presented as food. There’s a phenomenal show complete with drum solos and dances and you sit on the floor, knees tucked under a short table. So my friends and I were sitting at our little table and I smelled something gorgeous that wasn’t food. I asked my friends if they smelled it, too. We pinpointed the scent:  It was coming from the table next to us. I tapped the woman over there on the shoulder – she was white so I felt safe using English instead of Pantomime – and asked, “Excuse me, but what perfume are you wearing? It smells amazing.” She looked at her husband and he leaned in and said something. She nodded, then looked back at us and said, “Hahn zhelle” So…ok, not all white people in Seoul speak English, apparently. I know, weird, right? But, come on, who else but English people would be in Seoul? As it turns out, lots of different people. This particular couple was French. And you’d think that would have been easy for me; my grandmother is French. I took six years of the language between high school and college. April, also fluent in the language, having even been able to tell the police, once, that a goat had fallen out of a tree and onto her car…in French, was sitting right next to me and we could NOT figure out what this perfumed woman was saying. We kept prompting her until her husband got in on the action. They kept saying, “HAHN ZHELLE! HAAAHNN ZHHHEEELLLE. Eez dee airy mooglay. Eez heez HAHN ZHELLE!” and I was all, “I don’t even know what a ‘hairy mooglay’ is.” Finally the French man said, “Eye theenk een yohr lahngooahje, yoo say ‘AYnjelle’,” making the word sound hideous. The third friend, she hadn’t spoken French in about 20 years, yelled out, like it was a game show, “OH! ANGEL! Right? You’re saying angel?” The man nodded, relieved that we’d finally broken through our stupid American language barrier. His wife had long since turned away, fed up. She did shoot us a look and I think she rolled her eyes at us, but it was in a French way so I can’t be sure because I obviously do not understand that language. Regardless, I caught hints of her perfume wafting by throughout the evening and was determined to buy some for myself because, honestly? The scent truly was heavenly.

When I got my next paycheck, April and I went to hunt for Angel by Thierry Mugler. I’d never heard of the guy but we figured he was some couture dude so started at the upscale perfume stores. We drew pictures and pantomimed and some of the stores had heard of the scent but none of them had it. We were going to give up when we found this tiny perfume shop on our way home and decided to stop and ask  because it’s always good to be turned down one more time. And we were turned down, only not because they didn’t carry it. They did, but they only carried a couple of bottles because it was very expensive and they’d sold their last bottle just that week. However, she said, they would get more in and we should check back.
We checked for months. We always missed it except for the one time I stopped in on a whim and there it was, a small blue star bottle. It was beautiful. The only problem was that I didn’t have any money on me; I hadn’t planned to do any shopping that day and it was only coincidence I’d been in the area. By the time I returned several days later, it was gone. Angel was the most elusive perfume in Seoul.

Our time in South Korea came to an end. We were sad to leave and scared to return to America so we decided the best thing to do would be to acclimate to the White Man Ways by going to Australia first. I was excited to hit all the duty free shops in the airports along the way because they would have to have Angel. Only, they didn’t. I knew it existed, I’d seen it with my very own eyes. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. By the time we got to Australia, all the airport shops were closed. I don’t remember the order of events, but at some point, we wound up at the train station in Sydney and there was one little shop open down at the end of a dark hall. It was a perfume shop. I walked in and asked if they had Angel and the women turned around and took a box from the shelf then handed it over. It was light blue and the silver scrawl across the front said, “Thierry Mugler Angel” I FOUND IT! It was over $80 in American money and I had allotted myself only so much spending per day which I had to make  last for the full 17 days we’d be in the country. There was a chance we’d be back to the train station before we left but I’d learned a valuable lesson: if you turn your back on this stuff, you may never find it again.

I don't have any pictures of the shop in the train station because I was using a film camera and it seemed like a waste of a shot to to take a picture of a dark little perfume store in the basement under the trains. So, instead, I'm just going to share some pictures from my trip to Australia to prove that I was there and also to make you jealous of my jet-setting ways. (Please be jealous now)

I don’t have any pictures of the shop in the train station because I was using a film camera and it seemed like a waste of a shot to to take a picture of a dark little perfume store in the basement under the trains. So, instead, I’m just going to share some pictures from my trip to Australia to prove that I was there and also to make you jealous of my jet-setting ways. (Please be jealous now)

This little wallaby totally let me abuse it and it didn't even bite or kick me! I pet it and kissed it and loved it and held it and took it home and called it "George" only not really because it got bored with me and hopped away. But it was a super cute hop and I was really excited about the whole thing.

This little wallaby totally let me abuse it and it didn’t even bite or kick me! I pet it and kissed it and loved it and held it and took it home and called it “George” only not really because it got bored with me and hopped away. But it was a super cute hop and I was really excited about the whole thing.

This is the big, ol famous bridge out in Sydney Harbor which is what leads me to believe it's called Sydney Harbor Bridge, but I could be very wrong on this point. I'm going to hope that my new friend in Australia who found me via Goodreads will come back and correct me if I'm wrong because I'm waaay too lazy to Google it.

This is the big, ol famous bridge out in Sydney Harbor which is what leads me to believe it’s called Sydney Harbor Bridge, but I could be very wrong on this point. I’m going to hope that one of my friends in Australia will correct my mistake because I’m waaay too lazy to Google it.

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Here is my bottle of Angel. And I also kept the little card and information packet that came in the little envelope. I had the box until a few years ago. So I’m a pack-rat…but I’m a fancy, elegant pack-rat. Obviously.

I bought it. I was elated. I kept it safe the entire trip and brought it home with me and it became my Fancy French Perfume because, up until that point, my fanciest scent was Calvin Klein’s Eternity. I still have my Angel. Parfumiers say that perfume can last for up to 5 years if you keep it in a cool, dark place. I’ve had perfume go bad on me before but Angel is not one of those. Now it’s less sweet, there’s less of a light powder scent; it’s muskier and woodsier but it still smells divine. I started wearing it again recently because it’s a wonderful scent for the end of winter; it’s rich and deep and smells good seeping out from under a heavy sweater like the earth smells good seeping up from the thawing ground.

I still had some clinging to me when I went to work at Chris’ machine shop on Friday. I walked in, sat down and got started. He came over to tell me something, stood for a moment, then said, “You smell like bugs.”

I asked, “Bugs? What do bugs smell like?”

He said, “Buggy.”

I asked, “Is it a sour smell?”

He said, “No. And don’t worry, you don’t smell like crickets. They smell horrible.”

I said, “Well, I know what grasshoppers smell like. Do I smell like that?”

He said, “No, you smell like pine seed bugs.”

I said, “What the hell are pine seed bugs?”

He said, “You’d recognize them if you saw them. They look like Maxwell bugs, only brown.”

I had to google Pine Seed Bug. Yup. They’re box elder bugs that are brown. I asked, “What do they smell like?”

He said, “Not good. They smell like you smell. I think it’s your perfume.”

I said, “How do you know I’m wearing perfume?”

He said, “Because you smell like bugs.”

So maybe I was wrong about my 15-year-old perfume not being rotten. Apparently, it smells like bugs.

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Here are some extra bonus pictures of Australia. These pictures are currently in my photo album and I just took pictures of the pictures, thus the glare, because Gabe is too lazy to scan all my pictures for me. He’s so mean.
Anyhow, this was taken in the rocky-formationy area that is NOT Uluru but is somewhere else in Kata Tjuta National Park.

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Also taken through photo album plastic. Nice, right? This is also in the Ayer’s Rock general area. It’s a shame I never became a travel photographer…based solely on how much I like this one picture.

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Filed under Adventures, For my short story collection, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood, Out & about or abroad

Toothpicks and Scabs: A Very Gross Story

When I was tagged for a Leibster Award, I had to answer a question about the grossest thing I do. Gabe and I strained our brains but couldn’t come up with anything that was truly awful. Slightly icky, maybe, but not downright EEYYEEEWMonths later, Noelle inadvertently helped me with that. She’d come over for some occasion and she was super early so I put her to work vacuuming. Noelle was serious about the job; she had the cushions off the couch and everything. While she worked, she kept making this weird noise. Finally she flat-out asked, “Why are there so many toothpicks in your living room?”
Oh. There is my grossest thing ever.
Ok, so, it’s like this – remember how one of our goals this year was to stop eating in front of the tv and eat at the table like civilized humans, instead? Before that happened, we ate on the couch. Like heathens. And I was laaaazy. See, I have these jacked-up teeth that poke out in all directions and I get food stuck in them all the time. Well, I’d be sitting on the couch watching tv and I’d need a toothpick to get the dinner out of my fangs. I’d go get one and then have to remember to get up and throw it away and it just got to the point where it was easier not to throw it away because I was very busy watching tv. My solution was to cram the toothpick – used and full of giant pieces of tooth food – into the cushions, usually under a pillow along the edging of a seat cushion. The great thing about this was the next time I needed a toothpick, I just dug around a bit in the cushion next to me and I’d come up with 3 and didn’t have to get up to get a new one. Awesome, right? Gabe thought this practice was vile and yet he did nothing about it because we were too busy watching the tv for anyone to care that I was digging 4-time used toothpicks from the couch to stick in my mouth. NICE!
Oh, wait, it gets better. So the cats think toothpicks are mortal enemies and they’d fish them out at night and kill them, leaving their broken corpses in hiding spaces because that is what you do with dead bodies. The cats chewed on the toothpicks that had been used to excavate morsels from my mouth on numerous occasions and that’s how you know that we are a classy family.
I told Noelle all of this while she was holding out this small, beaten-up bouquet of toothpicks. She passed out and died right there. No, actually, she shrieked, “WHY? WHY??? THAT’S SO GROSS!” Little B was there, too, and was equally horrified though not as shrieky about it but perhaps also a little less forgiving.  I will never live this down. Ever. To be fair, though, I probably don’t deserve to. I mean, that is really gross.

As you may or may not know, Noelle and I recently had a Remembering Party; she came over to drink wine and discuss our white trash childhood. One topic was the gross things we have done. The toothpicks were first on the list, of course, and I was happy to tell her that the toothpick regime had ceased because we don’t eat on the couch anymore. We eat at the table and the toothpicks are right there and the trashcan is right there and I’ve become quite civilized. She was relieved and then it was her turn to share her grossest (former) habit.

When we were around 3, 4, and 8, Mom would put Noelle, Chris and me in the bathtub all together. I don’t think it was for water conservation so much as getting three of the four kids out of her hair for an hour. Anyway, you know what dirty little kids look like in the summer and how they’re covered in scabs. Well, Noelle loved those scabs. She’d sit patiently in the warm bath water, waiting for the edges of her scabs to turn that white color because they’ve detached from the skin. Then she’d slowly, patiently peel them off even if it made her bleed a bit. This only works with scabs that are a week, or so, old by the way. Anyhow, she’d remove a little dried-blood treasure and would pop it into her mouth, chewing on it like gum only with her front teeth. Gnaw, gnaw, gnaw.

This is Noelle, around 3 years old, the scab-eating age. She is holding Fluffy and a little basket because I posed her like that. In front of curtains. I obviously paid too much attention to those Nolan Mills people who took my school picture every year.

This is Noelle, around 3 years old, the scab-eating age. She is holding Fluffy and a little basket because I posed her like that. In front of curtains. I obviously paid too much attention to those Nolan Mills people who took my school picture every year.

Chris and I were usually too busy being horrible to each other to really notice Noelle’s proclivity, though we knew she was doing it. We just had bigger things to worry about…like drowning each other or making each other eat soap or getting bubbles up each others  noses. You know, important stuff.

This is Chris. He's probably 4 in this picture. He's 13 months older than Noelle. Note how I also posed him in front of the curtains. Mom gave me a Kodak Instamatic and this is how I wasted my film.

This is Chris. He’s probably 4 in this picture. He’s 13 months older than Noelle. Note how I also posed him in front of the curtains. Mom gave me a Kodak Instamatic and this is how I wasted my film.

Here’s a fun aside: Once bathtime was over, as announced by a yelling mom from the other side of the bathroom door — and really? What moron parent lets three little kids play unsupervised in the tub? (I asked Mom that very question on Easter. Apparently, she always left the door open but we got out of the tub to shut and lock it; at first she’d pick the lock but she eventually just gave up and let us gamble with our lives because she had a baby to care for or some such nonsense) Actually, you know what? I don’t think our mom understood Childhood Physics. There’s some law that states that even if there are only 3 inches of water in the bottom of the bathtub, it’s going to wind up on the floor. All of it. It seems like it would have been a lot more work to clean up all that water every few days than to watch the little ones bathe for half an hour. But who knows. I’m not a parent so I don’t have to deal with these crazy decisions. — Anyway, once the bath was done, we’d drain the tub and soap up our backsides. I don’t mean just our butts, I mean our entire backsides, from shoulder blade to kneepit. Then we’d lay ourselves down, one at a time, against the sloping back of the tub and let our feet go and we’d zip down the length of the tub all the way to the faucet. I know we banged ourselves up during this activity; I remember hitting my tailbone a few times on the way down the backrest and I know Chris and Noelle both whacked into the faucet with their heads. We must have been freakishly small kids, short and skinny, if the tub held all three of us and allowed us that much length to get up a good speed from back to front without bowling into each other. And how we survived without blood is beyond me, though a little blood on Noelle would have made her happy because it would have promised a future scab.
Oh, right. The scabs. So when she was done chewing her scab, she’d put it in the corner of the tub where the two walls meet. After a while, there’d be a pile of chewed-on scabs turning all tub-slimy. They’d be a weird gray color and once they were noticeable enough, she hid them behind the bottle of Suave strawberry shampoo (oh, geez, do you remember that stuff? It smelled like unicorn dreams. It doesn’t smell like that anymore but back then? It could have been the blood of Strawberry Shortcake (the doll, not the dessert)) and I think this goes to show that our mother was not the most diligent when it came to housekeeping. Or she was afraid of cleaning the bathroom because who wants to run into a mound of chewed-on tub-slimed scabs?
I can only assume Noelle learned her trick from the neighborhood squirrels because this stash became her winter cache. There was a definite dearth of scabbiness in the months of November through March but that was no problem for my little sister! She could just rummage through her crusty pyramid, pull out one that looked chewy yet crispy, and pop it right into her mouth; she would chew happily all winter long while Chris and I sank boats and made washcloth monsters and tried to kill each other.

It’s a shame she didn’t use those same skills in a fiscal manner because that girl would have been rich by now. Come to think of it, if I’d have been stashing dollar bills like toothpicks, we’d be able to afford the internet in our house.
Dammit, Noelle! We did it all wrong!

Post Script: Dear Noelle, Happy Birthday today! I’m sending you a box of used toothpicks and I’ve asked all the children in the neighborhood to donate their old scabs. I’ve wrapped each one like a stick of gum and put them in a pack. I think you’ll like this gift. Don’t worry, it will come with wine. Lots and lots of wine. Because I love you.

Yes, Noelle, I used a picture of a cake YOU made for Little B as your Happy Birthday image. Because I'm lazy. But I still love you. Lazily.

Yes, Noelle, I used a picture of a cake YOU made for Little B as your Happy Birthday image. Because I’m lazy. But I still love you. Lazily.

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Filed under For my short story collection, My Dearly Beloveds, My journey to writerhood, White trash childhood

I was honest and didn’t even get in trouble. For once.

Something really neat happened to me. I mean REALLY neat, like in the Top Ten Coolest Surprises In My life neat. I won a debut novel from GoodReads First Reads Giveaway last December  (that’s just plain neat, not the super neat part) called The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri. I received the book in  February, read it, then reviewed it on the site, as suggested in the contest rules. I tried to be a little more concise than usual, a little better at expressing my opinion in a normal-person way, but, as always, I was honest and I gave the ARC a 3-star rating and that was that.

This isn't my ARC, it's the actual published copy. If you don't want to buy your own, why not try the library?

This isn’t my ARC, it’s the actual published copy. If you don’t want to buy your own, like maybe because you’re poor or just horrible or both (poorible), why not try the library?

Until February 9th when I got a message from the author. She wrote to thank me for my review and said that I’d picked up on the things she’d had the most trouble with when writing the book. She was enthusiastic and seemed genuinely happy with both my praise and criticism. This has never happened to me. Well, ok, once I gave a local band’s album a terrible review and they put it up on their MySpace page apparently under the belief that there is no such thing as bad press, but that’s not quite the same. I was…well, a little floored, actually. An author wrote to  thank me for pretty much saying, Yes, I liked this book but it wasn’t great and here’s why, though here are the parts I enjoyed. Who even DOES that? Well, Suzanne Palmieri does because she’s a genius who must understand the concept of fan loyalty because she was making fans before she was even on the market. (She says she values honesty and constructive criticism because it makes her better at her craft, but I suspect brilliant marketing because no one is really that introspective and appreciative. Come on.)

Here’s what happened next:
I wrote her back to thank her for responding. I told her I appreciated her not sending a face-stabber after me and from there a conversation started, one that led to her asking if I might have time to read the manuscript for her second book. I tried to be all non-chalant in my, “OH HELL YES!” reply and I think I nearly pulled it off. On my side of the computer, though, I was all giddy and I probably fainted. Several times. I mean, seriously, an author just asked me to read her manuscript and give it my evil, critical eye! MY HONESTY WAS NEEDED! Wow.
I thought maybe she was being nice and wasn’t really going to send me a real manuscript because isn’t that dangerous or something? Apparently not since a couple of days later, she e-mailed me the first part. I fainted a few more times and then stayed up til 2:00 am for 2 days reading it. It was really hard at first – I wanted to make sure I said the right things for the right reasons. I wanted to not be fawning but I also didn’t want to be my normal brusque, mean, critical self. I edited and re-edited my comments over and over to make them fit into those narrow parameters. And then that just got too exhausting and I said, “Eh, screw it. I’m just going to say what I think because that is what is easiest and it’s what I’m good at,” so I did. I sent that first part back to her, never expecting to hear back due to my bizarre running commentary throughout her draft. And yet, a couple of days later, I did hear back and she did not even tell me go gouge my own heart out with a rusty nail file! No, in fact, she was gushing with even more enthusiasm, if that was possible, and she promised me part 2 ASAP. Part 2 came and I plowed through that both because it was the best-written part and because I’d found my rhythm and felt comfortable spewing my comments all over the place. When finally I got part 3, I read it all in one sitting, happy to suffer at work the next day in a zombie-like haze because getting to the end of the story was much more important than getting to sleep. And besides, sleep was unnecessary since I was left feeling incredibly lucky, special and also inspired.

I felt special because I had been hand-picked to read a manuscript with a reader’s eye and to give feedback. I’ve edited ten bajillion school papers and some articles and too many technical documents but that was always for school, for friends and family, or for my job. This time, it was solely for my honest opinion. For once, my unhumble self was finally not in trouble for shooting off at the mouth and it was an amazing feeling. More important, however, is that I was inspired. I’ve always said I want to be a writer someday and that day started on my 40th birthday when I became serious. And then I ran into ten thousand and one stumbling blocks, many of my own creation (I can edit the hell out of a paragraph over and over and then forget to write the rest of the story) so to see an actual manuscript, one that would be sent over to an actual editor and would eventually be made into an actual book made me realize that I can probably do that, too. I recognized that manuscript as something that looked very similar to things I’ve written. It was not formal, it did not have secret codes that only REAL authors know, there were mistakes, it was a work in progress JUST LIKE MINE!
This experience left me with three things:
1) The knowledge that I can finish a book, regardless of whether or not it ever gets published. I know I can make it from the beginning to the end, now, because I know what that looks like. Such a strange little realization but one of such magnitude that it changed everything.

2) A sense of purpose. I don’t know how long it has been since I’ve felt I’ve done something that has made a difference. Thanks to Suzy (I call her that, now; we’re tight), I felt like I had helped someone with something very important and that I was good at it. I may not have been good at it at all but because Suzy was so supportive and encouraging and seemed to appreciate all my thoughts, I wound up feeling positive about what I’d done. It made me think that I would love to be an editor.

3) Someone to look up to. I don’t know if Suzy’s just a brilliant strategist, though, honestly, it’s probably more true she’s a naturally magnetic personality, but she has made one loyal fan via a simple gesture and a truckload of trust (because giving your baby to a stranger is crazy). She has unknowingly inspired me, knowingly encouraged me, and has made me feel like I belong in her world, the world she writes about, like she’s writing me stories about people we know and now I will always buy her books, always push her books, and even if she writes something that disappoints me, I will not stop supporting her. I think I’ve just become a fangirl. Well, a fanoldlady, at least.

Her work is being compared to Alice Hoffman’s or Sarah Addison Allen’s; I find it closer to the latter but am even more reminded of Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series only with more magic. If you like any of those authors, go pick up The Witch of Little Italy. Seriously, do that. Because it’s important to get prepped for her next book (not the one coming out in May that she co-authored, but the NEXT one)  because, dude! I helped with that one! Oh, I’m going to faint again. Excuse me.

Authors are amazing people. In my line of work, I’ve been able to meet several and beyond my line of work, I’ve met even more. Some have been nasty creatures, most have been lovely, but a few stand out and shine. Suzanne Palmieri is on the top of my Shiny Pile. Also? I’m going to continue to be honest about things because that was one sweet reward.

April 30, 2013: This just in! A book trailer for The Witch of Little Italy!

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Filed under Adventures, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF

WoW – what a love story

Gabe and I started dating in the Undercity.
That is 100% true, though our dating wasn’t intentional. We were pretending to just be friends and told everyone who would listen (as well as those who wouldn’t) that we were only pals. He was spoken for and I was still recovering from a previous relationship so, obviously, nothing could possibly be going on.
Even so, we’d get on our computers every day after work, load up our little undead people, and play World of Warcraft together for hours on end. Then we added weekends, too. And since it was winter, snow days. We were spending pretty much every free moment together in a world that doesn’t really exist.
I’m pretty self-aware most of the time (well, sometimes, at least); you’d think I’d have figured out what was going on but denial can be such a good ally. It convinced me that I was just pal-ing around with my buddy all the freakin’ time and there was no reason for concern.
Gabe got me into his guild so our dates were usually chaperoned; we’d go on raids or they’d all take me down to an area that had monsters that were ten jillion times bigger than I and they’d see how long they could keep me alive. It was a fun game, but everything there was fun because I was with Gabe. Then Valentine’s Day showed up and we could get moonlight and rose petals and one night in late February, Gabe and I sat talking in petals and moonlight for hours. It was just the two of us. Near a mausoleum. Romantic.

Dancing in the moonlight

This is what our dates looked like. Romantic, right?

Then Gabe’s relationship really did come to an end and I’m sure I was the straw that wrecked that camel’s home – well, me and World of Warcraft, at least.  I started avoiding Gabe when I played WoW, either playing on a different server or rolling up characters he didn’t know or playing when I knew he wasn’t there.  Then I just stopped talking to him altogether because I engage in very healthy behaviors.
About 3 weeks later, I got an e-mail from Gabe. He said his relationship was over and he had found a place to live which was, coincidentally, right down the road from where I lived. I told him that it was nice to hear he was taking an interest in his life and when things settled down, he should give me a call.
He called me on March 31st, having just spent the day moving into his rented room. He said he’d like to meet me for dinner and catch up. We met at a Chinese restaurant in the area that we called the House of Food because it had no apparent name. We talked. We talked until the House of Food closed. We went to my place and we talked some more and it got late and we went to bed (that is not a euphemism) because we weren’t done talking. We laid in bed, and chatted some more (also not a euphemism) and around 3:00 am on April 1st, Gabe gave me the best kiss I’ve ever had in my life and we decided we should start dating in the real world.
Two and a half years later, we were married and some of the people from our guild were at the wedding, which was important because they had been so supportive of my home-wrecking ways and our scandalous meetings in the Undercity. I guess they saw what had been there the entire time and were probably pretty frustrated that it took us so long to see it, too.

I think we were sitting in the coffin shop area of the Undercity because we like to do things right.

I think we were sitting in the coffin shop area of the Undercity because we like to do things right.

We totally owed them free food and drink and wedding cake, at the very least.
Not too long ago, Gabe found some of the screenshots he took of our interactions from back when we were playing as friends. All I have to say is that I am apparently very powerful when it comes to denial because looking at those now? Holy hell, I am surprised I wasn’t given a red “A” to stick on my chest. The flirting and ridiculousness is so blatant! My poor guildmates.

Today is the first day of April. This post is not an April Fool’s Day joke (well, other than the trickery of putting up a post on an unscheduled day AND not being mean to Gabe)
Also, it is probably the only time I will ever say anything nice to Gabe here, but: I’m really glad you invited me to play with you in Azeroth, Gabe, and that I got to know you as someone more than just a guy I’d hung out with two Sundays a month for eight years. Happy It-All-Started-Today Anniversary.
Now if I could only find a way to really make you into a rotty little corpse…

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Filed under My Dearly Beloveds, My Phenomenal Fake Life