Sisters – a short story

I’m a published author. Go check it out. Trigger warning: contains domestic violence.

Sisters

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Happily Ever After (Originally published to Plymouth Patch May 16, 2012)

A constitutional amendment to take away people’s rights – not the America I believe in. ~ Carol O’Brennan

What the hell is wrong with people?

Seriously? That’s not a rhetorical question. Okay, maybe it is a little.

Did a certain portion of this country sleep through the last forty years? Have they learned nothing from history? Back then we were fighting over color instead of gender. Guess what? Nothing they predicted has happened. Nothing. The world did not go spinning off its axis, hurtling toward the sun, to punish the sinners and miscegenators. God did not smite anyone. People of all colors and nationalities have been getting happily married and the world did not end.

Just as nothing will happen when same-sex couples are allowed to marry.

Listen, hate anyone you want but do it quietly, in your own home. Do not bring it to the public square for if you do, you will be held up and reviled as the bigot you are. Do not hide your hate behind your religion; it’s cowardly. Do not wrap yourself up in righteousness and argue that intolerance is a family value. It’s not.

Love is a family value and it should be encouraged and nurtured whenever possible. Celebrated. If we loved more and judged less, the world would be a much better place. Seriously, maybe you should try it.

Marriage has evolved over time. If you did not, then too bad for you. You don’t get to hold the rest of us back. For most, marriage is no longer about rival clans settling a dispute or an attempt to negotiate a merger or prevent a war. It’s not about gaining an extra pair of hands to work the farm or to acquire land or wealth.

Modern marriage is about love and making a life with a partner you choose.

Every marriage is unique. It has its own goals, its own hopes and dreams. I have been married for close to two decades and my marriage has matured and changed over that time. It has experienced happiness and sadness, regret and remorse. It has been both suffocating and liberating. It has been hard work but it has been totally worth it.

When I think about my life and my marriage and the joy and the balance that it brings me, I can’t imagine denying it to anyone and certainly not because they love someone with the same parts. Preventing people from achieving personal happiness is a much greater transgression than any sin you can manufacture to repudiate it. I feel a little sorry for those who can’t see that.

By refusing to recognize marriage as a right for all, we are, in essence telling every bully, bigot and would-be thug that it’s ok to single people out if they’re different from you or if they deviate from your cultural norm. That there exists in America, in the 21st century, a lesser class of American; Americans that can be denied the basic human dignity of deciding whom they want to make a life with; who to love.

I’m going to say this once and I’m going to say it slowly: Every single consenting adult has the absolute right to love the person of their choosing. They have the right to live their lives without interference from bullies and bigots.

They have the right to get married. Not civil unioned. Not gay married. Not same-sex married. Just married.

As in Happily Ever After married.

Just like me.

Mr. Checkers

wickedlocallarge

This past Sunday morning, I found him abandoned in the bottom of her travel bag. He had been there since Friday.

Mr. Checkers is an elephant, a stuffed yellow elephant with checkered ears – hence his name. He wears satin pajamas with multi-colored polka dots, and he was, once upon a time, Emma’s most cherished possession.
Read more: Mr. Checkers

Birds and bees and other things

wickedlocal

“Boys are like street cars. Stand there for a few minutes and another one will be by in five minutes.” – Jim Mulvey (advice from my dad when I was 16.)

The Saturday before Christmas turned out to be one for the busiest days of the year for me. I spent the day wrapping presents, doing laundry and getting ready to head to my in-laws’ in Maryland for Christmas. My day started at 7:15 with a walk along the waterfront with my puppy, Felix, and ended sometime after midnight with a very wide-ranging conversation with my daughter about boys and relationships.

Read more: Birds and bees and other things

If you asked me to marry you, I’d say yes…

That was what I said to Pat just before he decided to propose. What, I know how to seize an opportunity. Don’t judge me.

We were in a bar in Baltimore. It had peanut shells on the floor and it kind of smelled. Don’t remember the name of the bar. I could ask Pat but I don’t feel like listening to the first time he went to that bar and who he was with. He can’t just answer a simple question. No, that would be too easy. Instead he would rather see how long it takes me to have an actual stroke while he tries to remember the name of the kid who sat in front of him in third grade. Which, who cares! It’s not even important to the story. Anyway, blood pressure is rising just thinking about it. Moving on.

We went ring shopping when we got back to Boston. I’m a low-maintenance jewelry girl. Not that I don’t have expensive and impeccable taste it’s just that I have a tendancy to lose and/or demolish things. All things. Especially shiny expensive things. Ask Pat about my Museum Watch. Yeah, took it off and put it in my pocket then I WASHED it. He still gets mad about that. I still have it. As a reminder. It sits, patiently, in my jewelry box waiting for the opportunity to mock me. And Pat.

Wow, I’m moving WAY off track tonight.

Poor Pat wants to be a romantic. He married the wrong girl. I don’t want candle-light and rose petals. I don’t want breakfast in bed. Want to be romantic, do the laundry (which he does), make dinner (or pick it up). I want real world stuff. Not hokey Hallmark crap.

He really puts up with so much. He should be sainted. Honestly. I’m not an easy person to deal with. I’m pretty low-key most of the time. No really. I’m fine until I’m not fine. Unfortunately for those around me, that goal post moves. A lot.

I’m thankful every day that he stuck it out. When we met, I wasn’t interested in a relationship. I just wanted to party and have fun. I was coming out of a failed marriage and was looking for a good time. Then I met Pat. Eddie introduced us. Kept telling him he should ask me out. He kept asking. I finally said yes. I remember our first date. I went to his place in Field’s Corner. He bought a pizza.

I never left.

Happy anniversary Pattycakes! We met 20 years ago and on Sunday we’ll be married 18. You’re the best man in the world for me and I’m so glad that I get to be your wife.

Boys to Men

Dad gave me the best advice about boys and dating. One day, I think I was about 16, I was heartbroken after a HUGE fight with the current love of my life. I thought for sure we would stay broken up and my life would be ruined. I was a little high-strung when I was a teenager. Hard to believe, right.

I was probably crying when Dad yelled, “Jesus Christ (he prayed a lot) Blondie! In 20 years you won’t even remember his name!” He then went on to say, “Boys are like trolleys, stand still for 5 minutes and another will be right along.” He most likely added, “Enough with all the damn crying.” Ah Dad, always bringing the warm and fuzzy. It had also been several years since Dad had waited for a trolley since 5 minutes, yeah, not so much.

Little did he realize I would take that advice to heart. Not the stop crying part, the trolley part. Literally. Over the next several years I enjoyed dating and meeting new guys. Breaking hearts and having fun.

When I was 19, I met my husband. Not Pat; that’s still a few years off. No, I’m talking about my practice husband, Dana. We dated for a long time but were only married briefly. He was older than me by about 5 years. And smart. One of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Also, kind of a jerk.  But he’s not the point of this blog, I am.

I met Pat the year we lost Dad. On Halloween. We had a fight. We fought just about every time we saw each other. I was still married, although we had already separated. Pat and I slowly became friends. And along with Ed and Greg, we proceeded to get in loads of trouble and have a hell of a good time! Pat asked me out several times. I always resisted. I think I knew that it could get serious. Pat and his stubborness finally wore me down. The rest is history.

I don’t classify relationships in my life as mistakes, especially intimate, romantic relationships. Each important partner in my life left me different. Those experiences have left me, me.

Dad was wrong; I do remember that boy’s name. We’re Facebook friends and I’m glad that we are. We were important in each other’s lives at one time and I’m glad that I didn’t damage him beyond repair. I was a bit of a bitch. Hard to believe, I know. He taught me the importance of being gracious to those that love you. It took me a long time to understand that lesson but I’m glad I finally got it.

I’m (almost) sorry that I’ve lost touch with Dana. He gave me an education. Literally. He broadened my world and taught me how to think critically and impartially. He also taught me that some people need to control those in their lives in order to feel complete. Those types of people are not emotionally healthy and need counseling not a spouse.

That brings me to Pat. I can’t imagine my life without him. Seriously. Our relationship is about the only subject I can’t write about. Every time I start, it seems so trite and stupid. Hearts and hope and gah, stab me in the face, please!

Love you, Pattycakes. From the girl I was when we met to the woman I am now. You’re the best man in the world for me and I’m glad you can tolerate my particular brand of bullshit.