Tag Archives: family

Maura: Outside Session 1

I chose her because looked young. Because she’s young, and probably because she’s Jewish. Steinhauser. Jewish, I think. Jewish people are okay with abortions. This is the only choice for Tiffany, and she can’t be convinced any other way.

I’m being sensible.

Outside Dr. Steinhauser’s office there is a carpeted seating area with five chairs, all black leather, which I think might be fake but it doesn’t really matter because it’s comfy, and I’m alone. Tiffany has been inside for fifteen minutes. We are no longer in Haightford. It’s too polluted. Too many people know her story. There are too many news trucks, and everyone is talking about Keith Rose when they should be talking about Tiffany. Well, they shouldn’t be talking about Tiffany. They should be minding their own goddamn business. But what I mean here isn’t lost. Longington, this office—it isn’t a place that has room for people like us, but I know I’m kidding myself that Haightford isn’t just like that, too. We are relegated to our apartment complex, to our corner of the town. Tiffany does not fit with the Haightford girls, and I’ve always known that.

Is this really what she deserved?

I reach for the keys in the outside pocket of my purse and keep turning them over in my hands. The triangular one, the one that opens up the dental office, that’s the best one to touch.

Dr. Steinhauser—Rachel—is she one of those doctors you call by their first names? The doctor had a website with a pretty picture. She looked young. I already said that. She graduated from Yale and Columbia. I specialize in assisting families and young women. Out here, in Longington, no one takes insurance.

I get up and start pacing the waiting room, and check my phone. Patrick has called again. Son of a bitch—doesn’t he get that I haven’t called back? It’s too much. It’s all just too much. There is a tabloid, an Us Weekly, that I pick up, relieved to see it, and surprised to see it in the stacks of the Harpers’ and the New Yorkers and the Psychology Todays, but it’s three weeks old, and I’ve read it already at the office. Somebody must have left it behind. I drop it back on the stack.

What is she doing in there? What are they talking about? Has she mentioned me? She’s mentioned me. I can feel it.

I bring up Rachel Steinhauser’s website again on my phone. A Southern Connecticut native, I established my practice in Longington with a focus on providing support to the community and its members. I specialize in assisting families and young women. 

I can’t do more of this. Why her? Why us? Why me?

Brooklyn Bridge Is Falling Down

If she drops off her child wearing inorganic rubber-soled shoes, they will notice. If she feeds him one fewer leaf of kale, they will notice. If she comes one minute later than she did yesterday, they will notice that, too, because they stand around before yoga and watch her, and they will notice how Manhattan she looks while doing it all.

She does not fit here.

A few miles over the bridge, Nick promised Melinda a lot of things. That was years ago, and the things that she wanted to grow grew: their relationship, his bankroll, her stomach. And then there were three. Polka-dot bordered stationary with a blue bundle of joy cartoon.

The great migration. It was Nick’s idea.

Gavin’s getting big, he said, and Melinda nodded, mostly because he was. She heard the tapping of her heels on the slanted floorboards in their Upper East Side walkup as she did. She kicked one of Gavin’s toys under the couch, where it stopped, lodged there until the day they moved.

In the Brooklyn Brownstone, everything changed. They spread out. Nick suggested they learn how to cook, which meant Melinda would have to learn how to cook. Nick bought a set of golf clubs. They had space. And they had enough spare rooms for a twenty-four-seven nanny to live in.

Did you know they make those? They’re new, like the next iPhone or something, Melinda marveled from behind her desk with the view of Fifth Avenue. She still put on her heels every morning, and walked her pencil-skirted-size-two-self to train each morning before Gavin was old enough for school.

But when Nick suggested—no, said—the nanny would go upon Gavin entering Kindergarten, Melinda nearly had a fit. In her heels, of course. Outside of the natural food store, of course. Nearly, because on the side of the bridge, people don’t have fits, of course.

At home, she spread out.

And now, every day she is on the wrong side of the bridge. It’s late, and she’s thinking about what to wear tomorrow. She steps away from her closet, puts her glasses down on the nightstand, and comes downstairs.

Nick, she says, you take him tomorrow.

I can’t, he calls from the basement, where he has set up a putting strip.

Yes, she says. You can.

A Portrait of My Mother

My mother has never been like the other mothers. She has always worn more makeup and different clothes, and she has never been very good at cooking dinner, or signing permission slips, or making decisions. She likes the Lean Cuisines because they have the most appealing names and make her feel the best about herself, and she eats them at the kitchen table putting down her fork between each bite like one of the magazines has told her to. She uses a lot of salt. Once I asked her whether or not she thought that was a good idea and at the same time she took a bite of one of the frozen parts of the meal that hadn’t cooked through.

When I go to my poetry club meetings after school and in the evenings at Mr. Rose’s house she watches Hollywood Insider and Extra and shows about people that she would like to look like, and these are the people she brings pictures of to the salon when she gets her hair cut. She has always made a point to tell me that she’s proud of me that I go to Mr. Rose’s, and that I take AP English as a junior, and that she thinks that the Italian women who work the hair-washing stations at the salon are trashy-looking with their “talon nails”. My mother keeps her nails pretty short. She asks why I do not paint mine.

For my mother’s thirty-fourth birthday this year, she asked for a sushi dinner, and told me I could bring a friend along. I told her I would ask De’Andra, and she asked if there was a boy I would like to bring instead.

Tonight, she sits on the couch, and she is plucking her eyebrows. They are the only hair she has left that is brown. I know, because I have seen it all.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Break

Twas the night before Christmas break, when all through the web.
Not a tweeter was tweeting, not even your Aunt Deb.
The blog posts were scheduled to autopost with care
In hopes that the readership soon would be there.

The college kids were passed out all drunk in their beds,
while visions of potential high school hook ups danced in their heads.
And mama implores them to help her with chores,
but they’d rather sit around the whole month and be bored.

The news cycle trickles out with hardly a clatter
And we habitually check Facebook to see what really matters.
But everyone posts the same holiday status
of seasonal greetings and some New Years gladness.

The impending threat of the first-fallen snow
gives a nostalgic glimmer to objects below.
And then once it snows, what instead should be appear
But wet muddy roads that make it hard to steer

For every little drink driver, so lively and thick —
but really, you should have had a DD, you dick.
How rapid you spun when to black ice you came
but you’ll come out unscathed, and still find someone to blame.

“Well yeah but so maybe I had a few beers.
I was just fine to drive, there was nothing to fear.
I was typing a text to see who else was home
when I don’t know, man, I just swerved on the road.”

And the mornings you spend with your family feel quaint
but by mid-afternoon, it’s clear that they ain’t.
Your parents have so many answers to seek
when they don’t realize that you just want to sleep.

But you’re still looking forward to seeing old friends —
forgetting, of course, their own holiday plans.
So you look back to Facebook, but nothing is new,
so then you check twitter to find something to do.

But your parents have cable, so hey, that’s still cool!
With eight thousand channels, and you feel like a fool
for watching some network crap you don’t like
but that’s better than just surfing channels all night.

Then you see an old ex on the way to the store,
And she’s fat, or he’s married to that old high school whore.
And the comfort is fleeting, but at least now you’ve seen
that your life didn’t peak when you’d just turned eighteen.

So you get drunk with dad and discuss politics
and realize that hey, maybe he’s not such a prick,
and wine works much faster than cheap, shitty beer
so you start to rethink your plans for New Years.

Then you remember your plans for a productive week,
and the things that you wanted to watch, write, and read.
But instead you fall down a Wikipedia hole
and learn all about the agricultural benefits of voles.

And you watch with your parents an childhood great
which washes over you with a sentimental wave
and those annual plans you had made with your friends
are now spent at home with more emails to send,

checking twitter, and updates on Facebook for news;
you find nothing, and so open a new bottle of booze.
But when the time comes to leave, you drive off with a grin
because you can’t wait ’til next year to do it again.

The War on Marriage

The War on Marriage won’t be waged with fighter jets or green platoons. Instead we’ll see soldiers suited up in homogenous suburban camouflage, blending in to raid their gated communities. There will be suicide bombers entering into self-destructing civil unions; dirty bombs that poison minds, infecting them to branch out to something more than Missionary style; bazookas that blast through yards and scorch the earth of our otherwise pristine lawns, shattering our picket fences; and billowing clouds of chemical warfare, suffocating our souls until we love who we can’t help. POWs contained, tied down with wedding rings, and tortured well beyond the limits of the Geneva Convention by daily household chores and a mortgage; those who refuse to cooperate are forced into a 401k. The fear that fills our hearts and minds will be justified once it turns to nuclear warfare, when loving, functional, nuclear units are dropped from the heavens to lay waste to the idyllic lives that previously plagued the neighborhood. Once those nuclear family bombs detonate, it will only be a matter of hours until the war comes to an end, and those of us who survive will be forced to rebuild, digging ourselves out of the apocalyptic ashes of this post-coital wasteland.

Post-Turkeypocalypse

Ambling sloth-like through the wasteland, breathing in a noxious haze of tryptophan and sickly sweet liquor, I plod past the pestilent pond of porcelain piled high in endless pillars, towards the puddles of putrid fat liquidized and pooling on the plates, once poured steaming over broken bones now dripping down the drain while the last vestiges of flesh hang threadbare off that osseous matter. Small hands have left their mark behind them, stained and sliding down the wall as if grasping for some invisible rungs to rescue them from wrath. Meanwhile, that gelatinous glob of congealed red mass continues to vellicate on the floor, a ceaseless tremor that suggests its sentience. Yet somehow, the empty glass and glasses have survived the slaughter mostly intact, only weathered and worn by overuse though now dirty, discarded and disheveled down among the grateful undead whose virile corpses litter the living room furniture until such time tomorrow that consumption might continue.

And They’re Off!

“Alright folks, it looks like we’re just a few moments away from the main event. We got the last of our contestants lining up on the raised portable dance floor. Jerry, what’s the competition looking like?”

“Well, Bob, as always, we’ve got tons of beautiful talent out there, but it looks like the real matchup’s going to come down to Aunt Vivian, Cassie, and Cousin Beth. Now Aunt Vivian is an established veteran of the bouquet toss, having just gone through her third divorce, so she’s especially anxious to get in there and give it a go. Now, that being said, Aunt Viv has already pounded about seven glasses of wine so far today, so her reaction time might be a little off. Of course, being the Maid of Honor, Cassie is looking to be the crowd favorite tonight, everyone’s really pulling for her. But my money’s on cousin Beth. The girl’s got a reach on her, not to mention some bony elbows, and she’s small enough to slip between the competition and really get herself in there.”

“Not to mention, she’s better dressed for the occasion. Her dress flows enough so it won’t restrict her leg span. Not to mention, she’s the only girl smart enough to change into a pair of flights.”

“Right you are, Bob. It looks like the bride’s getting ready for the toss —”

“See, right there. Cousin Beth’s already getting down low, ready for the pounce, well before the whistle’s blown. She’s effectively boxed out all of the girls from Table 12 already.”

“She’s not messing around, Bob. Wait — looks the bride’s getting ready — she’s squatting down to give the toss more height — and they’re off!

“Now you see, Jerry, poor Aunt Vivian’s overeagerness is gonna cost her this time. She didn’t expect the bride to get that extra leverage in the toss, and now she’s too far up front and — OH! Did you see that? Cassie, our Maid of Honor, digs her bony elbow right into Sarah Jones, the Best Man’s amicable college Ex. Oooh, that’s gotta hurt!”

“Cassie pivots on the end of her stiletto heels and —”

“Oh no! A surprise from the front as Aunt Vivian recovers and launches her ape-like arms through the air and right towards that bouquet. She might get it after all!”

“Don’t speak too soon there, Bob. Looks like Beth has already snaked her way around the Girls from Table 12 and —”

“Wait, it’s looking like Aunt Viv might —”

Oh! Boxed out by Cassie!”

“Beth takes the lead as Cassie plays defensive. She throws her arms up and —”

“Whoa! Do you see what I’m seeing, Bob?”

“I think so, Jerry! Interception! Who was that —”

“I think she came with one of the cousin’s on the groom’s mother side, Bob. Bam! Outta nowhere!”

“That was an impressive snag from a total wildcard.”

“I’ll say. Well, folks, there you have it. Another successful bouquet toss.”

“Which means that lucky lady and some other gentlemen are heading into the next round. And that’s where the real competition begins.”

“Heh, you said it, Bob!”