The Right To A Voice

The other day, a piece of mine was taken from my Facebook and messaged to someone I have no contact with because of their simpleminded meanness toward me. This person referred to me as “young dumb pussy” to my husband when we were dating. This person used to like to get drunk and spam my Twitter feed with malice. This person has actual mental health issues (most likely bipolar 1, but I’m guessing) and a long history of unbalanced behavior, but still — there’s no reason for us to speak.

The person who sent him my blog post was a woman who once referred to me as her adopted daughter. That was long ago, and we’re not that close anymore — in fact, we never met. But we had a constant Facebook relationship for a while, that simmered down into amiable acquaintanceship.

So I thought until I read the message she had mistakenly copied me in on:

“I thought of you guys when I saw the title and read the first lines–dear god. . .in case you can’t see her link, here’s the url.”

This was immediately followed by a yellow-bellied apology so transparent it could have been window glass:

“I owe you an apology. I just realized that I included you on a message I sent to —-*. A message in which my near-50 year-old self was being embarrassingly catty about your pre-30 ramblings. My face is flushed and I feel queasy from the near instantaneous karmic-bitch slap…. I am sincerely sorry.”

*Name blocked to protect the low-minded.

This kerfuffle of sorts is why I haven’t posted anything new in days — but let’s be clear. It’s not because I’m upset. I don’t do “upset” over grown adults acting like teenagers passing notes. It’s not because I’m hurt, because that would require any sort of genuine feeling attached to these people, and I’ve come up short. It’s certainly not because I’m afraid that they’ll be reading this. If they are: hello! Get a hobby!

It’s because I wanted to write about exactly this, and didn’t know what to say.

What do you say about people who search you out just to be mean-spirited? About people who, when apologizing, do so while calling your writing “pre-30 ramblings”?

Speaking of which, what does that mean? Of course the ‘ramblings’ bit is derisive, but am I to believe that once you hit 30, you cease to ramble and your writing is then validated? That in three-ish years I can be a writer with a capital W and all?

You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes.

In the wake of things like Gamergate, which I do not follow or participate in, but am nevertheless aware of, there has been much talk of the right to be heard, the right to a voice. I’ve never had that right questioned until now, but it’s not irksome, or saddening, or any such thing. I simply do not give a fuck.

A trio of maladjusted idiots can’t do anything to my voice. They can pass it around and laugh at it amongst themselves, if they wish. I would choose something more constructive and age-appropriate, but to each their own. They can’t silence me, edit me, or even mean more to me than blog fodder.

As writers, as women, as people — we all suffer criticism. But words, pretty or ugly, only penetrate as far as we allow, and I simply won’t allow it. Even Ariel gave up her voice willingly, and I’m not that kind of mermaid.

I won’t ever give my voice away.

Sports Bras To Work

When I was a young A-cup, I did everything I could to enhance my bust. I bought low-cut shirts and incredibly padded push-up bras. All of my clothes were fitted — read: tight. Jeans may as well have been painted on. I bought a button up that could only be buttoned to below my bust, like an added bustier. I was trying so hard to attract attention, that I didn’t think much about what I liked, what I wanted to wear.

This ceased for a time after I ‘landed’ my first boyfriend, my first love syndrome. For two and a half years, I took a break from trying so damn hard. I went so far as to make a uniform of hoodies and jeans, of my strangest ‘man repeller’ outfits, of tanktops and shorts, and IDon’tGiveAFuck.

Until that relationship ended.

It was my decision, and much to do with sex — namely, that he didn’t seem to want to have any. I had my own place, but he shared an on-campus apartment with four roommates. That was where we stayed: in a two-bedroom place with a literal roommate, and a guy who slept on the couch. Every time I showered there, I’d walk out of the bathroom with a towel around my body and a towel on my head almost directly into the living where two or more guys would be lounging around, watching TV or playing Halo 3. I learned to bring my change of clothes into the bathroom with me to avoid running into The Roommate just as I was about to undress. It was less than ideal, but we never chose to spend more time at my place — or rather, he didn’t want to.

The last day we were together, I was changing clothes to go for a run, and he kept his eyes fixed firmly on his monitor instead of the body of his soon-to-be ex girlfriend, who he would never have sex with again.

And so the cycle started again, but with a twist: I still rocked the sweatshirts and jeans to class, but come party time my inner slut was given time to shine.

I gave her free reign under the liberation of alcohol. I had my one and only one-night-stand while wearing a short white velvet dress and angel wings after about five large screwdrivers. I played a good deal of beer pong and followed some guy around a party — to be fair, I didn’t realize this is what I was doing. In retrospect, it must have been completely obvious, but he did make out with me on a few occasions, so it must have been more cute than obnoxious. I wore a lot of sheer white shirts with black bras underneath. I wore a lot of short shorts. I reinstated my push-up bras.

And I was into it, even stayed in this frame of mind and dress after I snagged first a quasi-boyfriend, and then made it official after about six months. Even then, I made sure to keep the eyes on me. If they stayed there, if it was clear that I could fuck almost any guy at almost any time, this new boyfriend would see and stay. It helped that I was out of his league — which I don’t say to be mean; at the time, I cherished our relationship, co-dependent and emotionally abusive thing that it was — but (without vanity), he got kind of lucky.

That was probably an unconscious choice. Pick someone inexperienced, slightly odd looking, and emotionally broken, and he should stick like Velcro. Which he did, until rrrrrrip! — my obsession with being wanted, being cherish, being needed by a man led to me chasing one on a two week trip home.

He was an artist with thick hair, a mustache, and a collarbone tattoo. At that time in my life, that was Kryptonite. The first time I saw him tagged in a Facebook picture with my friend Jameson, I thought he was attractive. Some months later, I friended him, and fell in love with his drawings. The first night we met, we went swimming in a lake at night in our underwear. When I jumped off the wooden dock and into the lake, the clasp on the front of my bra broke irrevocably and I wore his clothes home.

It was a disaster waiting to happen.

But what a sweet disaster it was. Yes, I got drunk and kissed him in a tent in my side yard. Yes, we continued to make out throughout the night, sleeping only a few precious hours on the ground. Yes, he told me he wanted to sleep with me more than anything. But we held hands on a midnight walk to Dunkin Donuts; I was barefoot, and he offered me his shoes. While the other two sleep-over guys snored next to him, I traced the lines of his tattoo (Be strong, I love you) which he had gotten while his father was dying, or just after. It was romantic and ethereal, fantastic in the true sense of the word:

— “imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality”

When I had left my boyfriend in New York, I was having a panic attack in our parking lot. I needed him to come to me, put his arms around me and kiss the side of my head as he used to, until the shaking stopped. Instead, I wheezed and cried and couldn’t catch my breath, but he told me be quiet, the neighbors will hear!

Technically, we broke up.

I was indecisive about telling him while laughing with my girlfriends over tomato soup, our hangover cure, but I couldn’t stop myself from giving him what he was owed — the truth. That, however, wasn’t the problem. He didn’t care that I had kissed another guy or why I had done it. He forgave me instantly, or so he said; I believe he merely didn’t want to lose me, his little trophy girl.

And technically, we broke up, technically he lost me, but we continued to sleep together on and off for a year. I cheated on two boyfriends with him, one who became my husband.

There’s a term for that I believe: slut.

A slut is “a woman who has many casual sexual partners.” A slut is “a woman with low standards of cleanliness.” A slut is “an immoral or dissolute woman; a prostitute.” A slut is “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.” A slut is “a woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade.”

I had three casual sexual partners in the course of six months, sometimes overlapping them, always looping back to them. I certainly preferred dry shampoo to a shower, but that was because my bathroom was freezing. I cheated — an immoral, dissolute act that went against everything I had ever believed. I was loose with my sexual morality. I felt low in my character.

But I would never say I was a slut.

I was 23 and confused. I did things that were against my morals, that were wrong by most standards, but I was trying my best to be happy, and didn’t know how. I never aimed to hurt anyone — in fact, I lied and concealed truths so as to minimize pain felt by anyone but myself. If there was any mistake I made, it was following the advice of a twice-broken heart — believe me, they’re unreliable.

It wasn’t until I abandoned all that, though, that I put away the clothes I used to put myself on sexual display. That came when I left my mistakes, my tumult of perplexity, in the past and committed fully to the man who is now my husband. I went through everything I owned and everything that reminded me of that girl I once was went into trash bags — not because the clothes didn’t flatter me, or that I didn’t feel confident in them, but that they made me physically uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the anxiety diagnosis talking, but I believe not because I haven’t worn those clothes or anything like them since.

Instead, I embraced menswear (I’m wearing a sweater of my husband’s now). I embraced basics. I embraced clothes that made me feel confident, cool, and effortlessly woman-like without feeling like a bikini babe posing beside a car.

Now, I put together outfits that feel like myself instead of a highlighter for my body. My pants may still be tight, but that’s my choice. I may wear scoopnecks that hint at cleavage, but I chose them because they make me feel good. I wear heels because I love being six feet tall and thin and strutting around like I’m a contestant on ANTM. And sometimes, I wear sportsbras to work, because I want a long slim line instead of accenting my breasts. That’s me.

I’m also the girl who sexts her husband from the office, who takes masturbation breaks, who watches and enjoys porn, and who has slept with five men — who will only ever sleep with five men.

If what I wear now or what I wore at 23 makes me a slut, fine. If my enjoyment of sex, the partners I’ve had, and when I had them makes me a slut, I’ll take it. Because I’ve had a few casual sex partners. I’ve cheated multiple times. I’m certainly bold and impudent, and think showering is a waste of valuable morning time. So call me a slut, and I’ll take that scarlet S and craft an amazing outfit out of it.

But I won’t put myself on display anymore for the attention of men, plural. If I’m on display, it’s for two people: myself, and my husband. That’s all I care about.

And if the rest makes me a slut? Fantastic.

I’ll be your little slut.

Beer and Rumination

Last night, I had two potent beers and watched Birdman. This is a dangerous game when your medications are also potent.

Sure enough, when IMDBing how old Michael Keaton is (63), I realized that my father is 65 years old as of last month, and while that might qualify him for Medicare and Social Security, that’s nowhere near old enough for me. Especially since his family line has a penchant for living as close to forever as human beings can reasonably live.

My father is the worst human being I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. If that sounds like an exaggeration, I assure you, it isn’t. Both my mother and my best friend’s mother (who unfortunately chose to date him for a time during my sophomore year of high school) have restraining orders against him to this day. My mother divorced him 24 years ago, and my best friend’s mother broke off their relationship 15 years afterward, 11 years ago somewhere around this time. He raped them both, and was physically violent to my mother on multiple occasions. She’s been in the hospital more than once as a result of his hand.

I’m lucky in that he only hit me once.

I was a senior in high school, and living with him at the time. I had been on the phone with a friend who had to hang up and call me back. It would be a matter of moments between hanging up and the phone ringing again. I was sitting on my father’s bed with the phone in front of me; he was putting away laundry nearby. When the phone rang, we both reached for it, but I made the ‘mistake’ of pushing his hand away, saying, “I got it. It’s for me.”

In response, he punched me above my left knee, on the outside of my lower thigh. It left a bruise for well over a week — I don’t remember how long exactly.

When I backed away from him, and said that he would never touch me again, I remember his laugh, as if to say how ridiculous — over this? I left that afternoon, and went to my mother’s house to exchange music on my iPod — my father’s place didn’t have iTunes. I don’t remember how I mentioned it to her, but it was casual — our relationship then was strained, nothing like it was now, and I imagine I wanted to tell her so she would feel badly about making me leave her house.

She didn’t say much about it, and I left to see a movie with my best friend — Silent Hill. We were cowered in our seats at the sight of various creepily crawling monsters when my mother tapped me on the shoulder (not the best move) and told me I was never going back there again. And I didn’t, save for the day after she got an emergency court order changing my custody — we went into his house during the day, when he wouldn’t be home, took everything that was mine, and left.

For whatever reason, my freeze-out didn’t last as long as I would have hoped. I’m ashamed to say it was probably due to convenience. My freshman year of college was a miserable experience, and I came home every weekend I could make plans with friends, which was often. I needed rides back and forth, and my mother could only do so much, so, eventually, I reached out to my father.

That ended one afternoon in April 2007.

I had spent the weekend talking with my mother about her history with my father, piecing together the history of violence committed by one whose genetics I shared, whose awful temper I sometimes shared. She told me that, when in the Navy, he had picked up a fellow sailor by the pecs and left weeks-long bruises because he had pinched my father. She told me that he had held her in the air by her throat when they were long-distance dating, leaving her in terrible pain on the flight home. She told me that they had had a puppy together — but that he had grown sick of it, and so, one day, shot the dog instead of giving him to a shelter. She told me of the many, many cats he made her give away after promising they would be permanent pets. She told me that he had called her fat when she was pregnant, while he made her pose sideways in a two-piece bathing suit to monitor her progress. She told me that he had anally raped her, many times.

She told me that when she decided to leave him, we ran away in the middle of the day, while he was at work. We had to take the dog, for fear of her life, and, since the women’s shelter we stayed in didn’t allow pets, my mother begged and pleaded until a local vet agreed to kennel her until we found a permanent place to stay. We lived in that shelter for weeks. I was two years old, and they had been married for about as long.

She told me I hated going to see him on alternate weekends as a child. I believed it all, but this I could remember. I remembered staying with him and his girlfriend in the house they shared, and being forced to sleep in the basement because the guest room shared a wall with the master bedroom. Presumably he couldn’t keep their sexual activities outside of the four nights per month I stayed with him, so I cried myself to sleep at night, scared of the furnace, the cold and dark. If I couldn’t sleep, he made me march around the room until I became exhausted, or to stand in the corner, but not lean against the wall.

He did take me rock climbing, to the science museum, the aquarium, and the children’s museum, but more often than not, I spent my father-weekends riding my bike to the local library, stocking up on books, and climbing the tree beside the driveway, reading away the time. I remember playing by myself in the woods for hours, going deeper and deeper into the wilderness, and never hearing my name be called. I remember only being allowed to watch educational VHS tapes about the biomes of the Earth. I hated it there — I remember many things.

She told me these things because I had asked her, knowing he was going to drive me back to college on Sunday afternoon. It had been about a year since he had hit me, and I was ready to confront him, scared as I was. He never drank, never did drugs, but worked out constantly, and was strong, especially for a man in his mid-fifties. I had caught slants of his temper before of course — he would never yell, but his eyes would turn cold, and his voice would sharpen, and you would know to hold your breath and do as you were told, else

I was in the car, calculating the time until we were to reach my dorm, on a busy street in Boston. I knew that once the car pulled up to the curb, I would have to fly out of it and away, and that it would be difficult for him to follow, especially since leaving his enormous Buick on a street that narrow would be almost impossible in the city.

So I confronted him.

I told him everything I knew, with anger and dismay. I told him that I knew what he was, that I was ashamed to be related to him. I repeated back to him the story of the time he had hit me, never asking him to apologize, but speaking in such a way that it was suggested. And then I asked him why.

“You had to know who was in control.”

At that point, the car was at the curb and I flung the door open, grabbed my bag from the back, and hurled my parting words into his face before slamming the door, and racing up the stairs. Recalling it even now gives me a speeding heart. I don’t remember what I said to him, but it was intense — it was loathing — it dared him to take action.

There were no elevators to the dorms on the first floor — you had to walk up to the second first, and then present your ID. I remember there were people in front of me, and I cursed them, sure I was about to feel a hand on my shoulder, and fire in my face at any moment.

It never came.

Instead, I rode up to the eleventh floor, hid out in the laundry room, and — sobbing — called my mother. I told her I never wanted to see or speak to him again, and I haven’t since. It has been eight years.

He has tried to contact me since, calling me every so often until I changed my phone number. My mother told me that when we split from him, he hired a private detective to hunt her down, and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done the same with me. He’s incredibly thrifty, and made quite a lot of money when I was a child. How else would explain the sudden appearance of his mother in the restaurant I worked at in 2012? I pretended I didn’t know her, poor thing, with such fear and sadness in her eyes. She has since passed away. That was the last time I saw her, the first time since I was a child.

I dream of him often, nightmares all. He’s always hunting me, for violence or sex — though he never assaulted me that way, not that I can recall. I’m always afraid he’ll turn up somewhere, and thank my job for it’s lockdown approach to security — no one gets in without a badge, no exceptions. I thank my building for requiring a fob to swipe into the parking lot and building. I thank my husband for being a man that makes me feel safe.

And I wait for the call that will inevitably come, the one where some lawyer somewhere will tell he’s died. That day, I will feel a great deal of relief.

Perhaps it sounds monstrous to think this way about your father, but then again — if you knew a man who had beaten and raped multiple women, who had hurt and neglected you, who savagely killed animals and never apologized for any of it — if such a man happened to be your father, even — wouldn’t you hate him, too?

Uppers and Downers

Wake up.

Take 75+75+75mg of your SNRI so you don’t feel depressed, so you stop fighting or fleeing from every day.

Take half a milligram of your benzodiazepine to keep calm and carry on.

Microwave a cup of coffee with cinnamon roll creamer.

Drink in big, fat swallows to combat the aftereffects of the atypical antipsychotic you took at bedtime.

Get shaky.

Get fidgety.

Get real productive.

Clickety clack all over the keyboard, planning out your social media day.

Find inspirational quotes.

Post them to Twitter and Facebook.

Schedule the rest.

Feel very accomplished.

Crash into the restlessness, the foot tapping, the uncontrollable hand tremors.

Go back to bed with the laptop and your books to lay beside your snoring husband —

you have a tendency to wake up very early these days —

and keep moving, even in under-the-covers comfort.

Your feet rub over and over each other because there is no such thing as stillness anymore.

Even in sleep, there are nightmares:

Your abusive father comes after you for sex.

Dinosaurs and aliens kill and eat the people you know.

The crazy world turns apocalyptic.

You run to survive, to stay alive, to remain unviolated, to find a moment of peace in sleep —

The worst is it’s lucid.

You know you’re trapped in a horror-film-dream.

Waking up takes an incredible act of terror.

Instead of stretching and opening your eyes to the warmth of sun, you flail and punch and bite.

You try to calculate how long you must stay awake —

the film picks up where it left off.

Or else a new one begins, but the genre never changes.

The lethargy never goes, but restfulness never comes.

And the days run this way, like a wind-up toy.

Some hand keeps the gears tight, and it is not yours.

Your therapist says you’re better, and asks what would you like to do now?

You insist upon continuing your weekly visits.

You don’t see what she could possibly see.

You eat a lot of protein, to keep your energy level.

You are often hungry and your heart rate is often high.

You practice mindful breathing.

You practice yoga, moving through your asanas adeptly;

if your mind cannot be strong, your body will be.

You practice meditation, chasing peace, knowing that wanting anything is contrary to the practice.

You try to take the nothingness of after-the-panic-attack-goes and implant it into your sitting time.

You are aware that ‘trying’ is contrary to the practice.

You breathe.

You blink.

You think of breathing and blinking and drawing your shoulders away from your ears, your shoulder blades in, back, and down.

This helps for a time.

Other times, there is an urgent lassitude that comes and then you are most productive.

You are aware of the choke hold of productivity.

You crave it like a BDSM fantasy.

You sleep and wake at strange hours, letting the day pass as it will.

The sun is also a mechanical thing.

So too the moon and stars.

You find solace in selfish cat-cuddles.

You find solace in being fucked.

You find solace in great amounts of nicotine.

You don’t think about repercussions.

Sometimes you spend a lot of money.

Sometimes you eat a lot of blueberry scones.

Sometimes you laugh.

You have a favorite sweatshirt.

You clean your teeth on the cuffs.

You spill food down the front.

You use the hood as a swaddle for your head.

You are loathe to put it in the wash.

You obsessively brush your teeth.

The taste of a dirty mouth digs into your brain until rectified.

Until now, you had ghastly oral hygiene practices.

You drink water with excessive amounts of ice.

You begin to experiment again with wine.

You develop cravings for ginger ale.

You begin texting conversations that you don’t finish.

You worry your friends feel neglected.

You give good advice in a piss-poor tone.

You give people reasons to get angry with you.

You have a fantastic idea for an article about your cats.

You have a fantastic idea for a novel about Jeopardy.

You have a fantastic idea for an in-depth piece about David Foster Wallace.

You don’t write much of anything.

You listen to a lot of podcasts about motherhood.

You listen to podcasts about productivity.

You listen to podcasts by middle aged men talking about bric-a-brac and their children.

You crave a lot of silence.

You crave a lot of silence.

“Sometimes I feel it coming all the same. Then I go all queer.”

There is something in the light slinking lower to the skyline that knows that you’ve been awake for some time already, and will be for some time yet. The wave of morning hypomania has crashed to the shore, and the pensive complicity in living has settled in nicely, like a cat turning round three times, washing its back and belly, and shut tight its eyes that you might think it has fallen asleep. And all the while it grows darker, and the nicotine gets harsher on the back of my throat, and there’s a restlessness, a wanting of something that feels like hunger or thirst or withdrawal, but is only the backlash against overglazed eyes.

Jazz has always been red, never blue, but this afternoon it is the crimson setting sun, the lassitude of cream warming in the coffee I’ll be warming my hands on soon, replacing the warmth that was never out in the open winter air. It has been a harsh, clean day, the little white bubbles frothing up from hydrogen peroxide on a wound. Let them all pop and dissolve the sanitary smell away, and underneath, the place where skin used to be will be red as a sunset, red and insistent as jazz. Wrap it in gauze that matches the fresh coat of glistening snow, and everything matches deliciously as the day slides away, until the air becomes visible in its black fur cape, and the only contrast is the stinging pricks of the stars.

That is a long way off and the gentle fatigue of knowing is a whisper in my ear —

I could shroud myself in the shadows beneath my desk, switch the lights away, and hide my things. I could leave and throw the blanket over my head at home. No matter to become nothing of consequence in the dark, waiting for the transition to finalize, for things to click into place such that I would emerge into darkness instead of light and until my eyes adjusted, I would be a thing that did not exist, a specter-shell-girl loose in the room, haunting with dizziness and despair.

But all adjusts, even perspective. It isn’t too late, I’m sorry — I meant so late, and my least favorite hour is still readying herself to arrive, donning gloves and frippery to come steal the light away so all is in balance — lamps won’t help you — all is at the same level — too warm to be conscious — let it slip — let me sleep — give it all over to her with her gloves and her many trains and petticoats.

— and it says: _______________________ before stepping heel-toe away so no one can hear the sound.

Keep In Touch With Friends

I have two apps, both on the homescreen of my iPhone, that I use to make sure I do everything I’m supposed to do in the course of a day. Apparently it takes two to keep my life together.

There are reminders to take my medication (despite the fact that my cocktail of pills keeps me sane and functional, you’d be surprised how often I forget them), to meditate, to write a daily blog post (ahem), to drink more water, to reach Inbox Zero (this one hardly ever gets checked off my list), to practice Spanish, and even to floss.

I don’t particular feel anything about these tasks — perhaps annoyance (Duolinguo, do I have to?) or relief (oh yes, I am so turning off all my screens after 10PM), but those are fleeting and inconsequential, really. The one exception, which is listed on both apps, is “Keep In Touch With Friends” — and I didn’t notice it until just today.

My best friend of twelve years texted me to tell me about a guy she had been seeing for a little while (circa 4-5 dates), and how he ended up being a huge jerk who criticized muffins she baked him — this is actual truth; I wouldn’t even know how to make up such a thing. The troublesome bit is that I can’t remember whether I responded or I checked off that daily goal first.

I do remember checking the boxes, while my mind fell straight down into my lap — these days, there’s not much difference between heart and mind, nor do I much trust either, but I knew this wasn’t a chemical trick. This was my best friend —

— and I choose that verb tense wisely. Can you still call someone a best friend when you don’t call? When you don’t Skype? When every time she brings up a friend or a guy, you have to ask, “Which one is that, again?”

We live too far away to visit, but I don’t see friends of mine anyway. It’s an anxiety/depression thing. People take it minimally personally. I don’t Facebook like I used to — my business life exists on Twitter, so that’s my landing page for the majority of the day. I would hate to say that I don’t interact with people who don’t have Twitter accounts, but I would say it anyway.

Keep in touch with friends — apparently a reminder I need? Shouldn’t there be something in my nature that compels me to reach out to others for companionship outside my marriage? Humans are said to be social creatures; does this reflect on my humanity?

I feel melodramatic.

Nevertheless, there is a part of myself that is either missing or comatose. I used to be a party girl, you know. I would take shots of Everclear, really lose at strip poker, and text the entirety of my local address book every Thursday. What’s going on this weekend?

An invitation out feels like a chore now. I can’t drink without becoming filthy drunk after one beer, so I avoid alcohol altogether, which is another kind of sadness; I once was also the girl who trolled the town looking for the best Manhattans. What instead? Board games? Dinner parties? Coffee dates?

Droll.

I have things to do — editing, writing, occasionally relaxing when my schedule permits. The touch of ‘keeping in touch’ has begun to feel itchier, wool-sweatery and it used to be cashmere.

And everyday, the reminder pops up to Keep In Touch With Friends, and I hope someone contacts me, or that I can make a suitable excuse to contact them — you see, just now I got a text asking “How’re things?” Today I’ve succeeded — because apparently that’s what people do, and I, somewhat sadly, have forgotten that part of being a person.