September 2nd, 2010
She was an odd girl, who wanted desperately to be even. Born on the second day of a prime-numbered year, in a muddled house in Baldwin County, she appeared quietly and without fuss. It was in this house, filled with shouting brothers and sisters who stomped up and down the stairs, and a dog who barked often and very loudly, that she grew up alone. Her parents, though they loved her very much, did not understand her.
“Daughter,” they would say every once in a while, “why are you so odd?” To which she would respond almost always with a resolute shrug of her shoulders and count aloud to four. “One, two, three… four!” she would say inexplicably, click her heels together on the last count, and tip-toe quickly up the stairs. Her brothers and sisters, though they loved her very much, did not understand her either.
“Sister,” they would say at nighttime in the quiet before bed, “Why are you so odd?” To which she would respond almost always with a nod of her head and whisper softly , “Odd I may be, even though I am!” This made no sense to any of them, so they would all shrug their shoulders and giggle in the darkness. (The dog thought she smelled very good and was an excellent petter; he did not think she was in the least bit odd.) She loved her parents and her siblings and her dog very much back, and she desperately wanted to know why they didn’t understand her. They thought she was so very, very odd, while she knew for a fact that she was very, very even. Sometimes, she would try and ask them why this was so.
“Family,” she would begin, in a voice unaccustomed to conversation. “Family… “ Then, her voice would trail off and she would recite the periodic table of elements up until Titanium. It confirmed that they would never understand each other, because if they did, her family would know that Titanium was her favorite because it was element twenty-two, very even and solid, a good place to stop. They would also have noticed that she skipped Lithium, because the number three was intolerable and it only had a single valence electron.
She grew into a young woman, quiet and lonely, odd and even. She grew to be only five feet tall, which pleased her very much, as it was a nice, even number. One carefully plaited and shiny blonde braid always rested on each shoulder, and her ill-fitting clothes were always impeccably ironed. And, while she was very, very odd, she was also very, very smart. Her classmates and teachers did not understand her, but that did not matter to her a single bit, as she did not care for them. However, she was always the one they turned to when there was a dispute of fairness. Though they would never admit it to themselves, they knew she would decide things the most evenly. Day after day, she devoured schoolbooks voraciously, no matter the subject. This was her pride and joy, next to her evenness. She read book after book after book, skipping page three and re-read page twenty-two. She read about astronomy and the Romans and the Stonehenge. She read about mitosis and meiosis and early American settlers. She even read her way to become valediction at her high school in Baldwin County. (Apparently, page three is never very important.) Behind the podium at graduation, she thought her speech to be very concise and eloquent.
“One, two, three… four! Odd I may be, even though I am!” Grinning widely, she walked off the stage to a weak smattering of applause. The crowd in the bleachers did not understand her speech. This made them feel very uncomfortable, though they were pleased with its length and brevity, unlike the long-winded valedictorian orations of past ceremonies. These academic achievements made her happy, but she could never rid herself of the forlorn sense of longing that weighs down on the very lonely. Her family, proud as they were, still did not understand her.
Up until graduation, she went largely unnoticed and overlooked. However, after exposing her oddity to the whole town at the town hall during graduation, she began to alarm some of the people in her small town. They were afraid of what they did not understand, and they understood her less than anyone they’d ever known, even the pastor’s son who delighted in licking the windows of the hardware shop. They began to question her, but not in the loving and gentle manner of her family.
“Hey!” They would shout. “What’s the matter with you?”
When she shrugged her shoulders and counted, it would only make things worse. They began to follow her.
She hoped that her turned back would act as a shield as she tip-toed quickly home, but it failed to stop the abrasive and ugly sound of their voices.
“Hey! We asked you a question! Whassa matter with you?”
Her patient, even steps turned into a run.
“Odd I may! Odd I may!”
Her metered breathing was becoming difficult to control, its rhythm catching helplessly, and she was very frightened. They never followed her past Halloran street, but it was alarming nonetheless.
One day, after weeks of torment, her parents found her rocking back and forth, rapidly and repeatedly reciting aloud the names of the U.S. presidents, always skipping over Thomas Jefferson and repeating Grover Cleveland.
“Washington, Adams, Madison, Monroe!” Emphatically stating each name as if it was a declaration of evenness, she continued on as her parents did not exist.
“Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln!” Her tempo increased, and she squeezed her eyes tightly shut, wrinkling her face into a grimace. Her parents were very alarmed, but they did not know what to do. Picking up her delicate, shaking body, they carried her inside, careful not to wrinkle her dress. She did not open her eyes.
“What should we do? “ They asked each other pensively, aging faces grayed in the the dim light. Though the presidential tirade had long ceased, the floor above them creaked precisely with her methodical and agitated movements. An acceptable solution for fixing their daughter eluded them, so they decided they should keep their daughter at home. Mumblings and furtive glances amongst their neighbors and co-workers had become more and more frequent and menacing, and they believed their daughter to be in harm’s way.
Stuck in her muddled home in Baldwin County, with the dog that still barked too loudly, the lonely girl paced back and forth in front of their windows silently all day long. Her braids were uneven, and it had been days since she changed her wrinkled skirt. She knew she was an adult and could leave her parents house if she so wished, but she had know where to go. No one understood her, and she was afraid. It was in front of this window they found her when they told her the news.
“Daughter, please stop that and sit down,” they pleaded with tears in their eyes. Pretending not to hear them, she quickened her pace.
“We’ve decided that you might be happier if you lived somewhere else, somewhere nicer where they may be able to help you.” That caught her attention, and she stopped suddenly, planting her feet as her arms flailed to catch her balance.
“We’ve spoken to a doctor out of town who will help you, but you have to go a live in a building with his other patients.” She was very, very smart, and knew that meant that they wanted to institutionalize her. Her glassy eyes turned red around the rims as she looked into the floor, but she said nothing and was relieved.
On the second day of the fourth month of a prime numbered year, they left for the city. Their neighbors were standing outside their front doors, watching with blank faces. Children clutched at their sides, their heads turned slowly, gazes following the car down the street. When it was nothing more than a speck on the horizon, they turned and silently went into their houses. No one waved.
After a long, arduous journey punctuated by list after list, the family arrived at the steps of the mental facility. Everyone was afraid, but the building was clean and neat and looked like a house they wished they could live in if they had the money. They met with the doctor, who said very little but nodded his head a lot.
“Hmm,” he would say warmly, and his pen would wiggle across his notebook. This continued for exactly twenty-two minutes, at which point he pushed back his chair and said that he had a room for their daughter, not to worry. The family said their goodbyes, the girl counted, and the doctor hummed.
The halls were bright and cheerful, and all of her neighbors came out of their rooms when she arrived. Some had stuffed animals clutched at their sides, and their heads turned slowly as their gazes followed her walk down the hall. Most of them waved, and when she was finally in her room, they grinned happily before they turned away.
Her doctor explained her schedule of appointments, and meal times, and when to wake and rise. Everything was on the hour, very even. This was pleasing to her, as her existence had become excruciatingly mundane and lost much of its evenness. He showed her the library, which was forty-four paces down the second hallway, and it was filled with books new to her, that the library at school did not have. Then, he showed her to the large room where all the patients gathered for meals and between sessions.
“Attention, everyone! I’d like to introduce you to our newest neighbor. “The twenty-two patients became quiet and looked towards them. Some of them giggled nervously. The girl was very scared, because she knew she was very, very, odd, and she was worried that they would as her why she was that way. Fretful, she interrupted the doctor, shouting, “Odd I may! Odd I may!” Her arms waved a bit, and her face turned red.
“Hello, Ida May!” They all chimed together gaily. Ida May’s eyes grew wide, not with fear but with amazement. She didn’t know what to say, so she stammered, “One, two, three, four!” Looking at each other quizzically, the other patients paused for a moment, shrugging their shoulders. Someone shouted out, “Five, six, seven, eight,” and everyone clapped. Delighted, Ida May jumped and clicked her heels together, she was no longer afraid.
Her family came to visit her every weekend, even all of her brothers and sisters. They were nervous at first, but they saw how Ida May’s face shone with happiness.
“Ida May,” asked her parents, “how are you?” Never again did they ask her why she was odd.
“Ida May,” asked her brothers and sisters, “are you happy?” And never again did they ask why she was so odd. Still, though, they did not understand each other. No one questioned this, and it was no longer a bothersome question lingering over their relationship. However, it still lingered over Ida May.
“Why doesn’t anyone understand me?” She would sometimes mouth wordlessly into the dark of her room at night.
Days became weeks, and Ida May loved her new home. She read book after book, laughed with her neighbors, counted to four whenever she wanted, and no one ever questioned her oddity. In fact, no one seemed to notice. No one except for a young man named Robert. But what he noticed was not her oddity, but her evenness, and it made him grin whenever Ida May came near. He introduced himself one morning, pronouncing his name as if he were a frog. “Robert! Robert!”
“Hello, Robert.” Ida May said shyly. “Pleased to make your acquaintance,” she said while looking at him sideways. Robert was very, very smart, but no one back home could ever forgive him for saying his name like a frog. They also had difficulty believing him when he told them he could talk to animals. Here, though, no one ever questioned him. Ida May asked if he would be able to talk to her dog back home and ask him to quit barking so loudly. They discussed the matter, and he promised he would look into it if the occasion were ever presented. They discussed many things, as the months passed. He said that he liked that her lists skipped over the third and repeated the twenty-second, and Ida May blushed.
One spring morning, on her twenty-second birthday, Robert proposed marriage to Ida May. The neighbors said “Ooohh!” and wiggled around excitedly. She wanted nothing more than to marry Robert, who talked to animals and pronounced his name like a frog. However, there was one thing she still needed to ask. Nervous, she nearly shouted out, “Odd as I may! Even though I am?” She said. He clasped her hands in his own, pulling her in closer, and said assuredly, “Even as you are.”
August 4th, 2009
July 23rd, 2009
Limit Order, 17.25, GTC
ALL OR NONE LETS GET IT BABY YEAH
July 19th, 2009
Professional window watcher.
Not to be confused with window washer, oh no.
The thought of tackling the waist to ceiling windows with today’s newspaper and generic blue fluid would elicit a deep sigh if I considered it a probable task. Instead I watch them gather the remnants of passing weather systems, dried water spots left to collect the dust of human existence and our dirty technological advancements, and think nothing of the sort. Six to eight hours a day I stand behind them, ungratefully basking in the cool seventy degrees they afford me year round. And I watch through them. I watch the people and the lives they lead as they waltz across the half a block stage I can see from behind my bar, characters in the scenarios I create for them. This has been going on for five years now.
(Add another six months if I give in that time so long ago before they kicked me out the first time, which in all honesty I can barely remember anymore.)
The daily drive for this pleasure is a good half hour longer than what I should be taking, if I would have given in to the powers that sign my checks. Flimsy excuses lasted me the extra three months so I could hold out and transfer to watch through these windows, rather than the cement -to -mall rooftop monstrosities that would surely never keep me safe from the mass consuming hordes that frequent Ward Parkway. Or stray bullets, whichever. The same sort of flimsy excuses have kept me safe here at 39th street, safe from straying outside to the real world of hour lunch breaks, 8am commutes. And small, distant, boring, blinds-covered windows.
A shirt-less man enters the scene from stage left, his falsely confident stride bringing his sweaty man-back into my window-frame vantage point. His khaki cargo shorts sag just enough to let on that his tan extends only to his natural waist. His walk could have continued East down our busy street, so I could watch the sheen on his fat folded back through the windows as he left the set past the novelty shops and Mediterranean cafe.
No, today he granted me a small gift. Two, in fact.
Slowly and ever so slightly, indecisive but wanting to appear as if his walk was according to the script, he took the diagonal right in front of the majority of my windows. His pace lagged for a moment at the edge of the blacktop before he continued on. Diagonal right, leading to center stage. Covered with the weathered skin of a man nearly fifty, I imagined him as a rooftop specialist, a hard labor expert nailing shingles under the management of UVA and UVBs.
Then, there they were.
Taking the corner at such an angle, they came into my view slowly. His profile became apparent, and they appeared like unexpected Christmas presents coming into the view of a timid child tip-toeing in PJs down the stairs. I saw the right one first, and at thought surely that some combination of glare, inattentiveness, and boredom were once again blurring the lines between imagination and reality.
But, no. A small, smooth breast budded from his tan chest, the nipple pointing ever so slightly to the sky. It was a milky pale in comparison to his baked skin, and there was a matching B-cup twin emerging from his left pectoral as well. A woman of his demographic would be blessed with withered, sagging, downward looking breasts, but these were delicate ornaments belonging on a girl of no more than fifteen. My uncensored thoughts found my hands cupping their unlikely coolness and firm curves, reveling in their existence.
Then, he was gone.
Past the dumpster tagged with self-important political stickers and other sticky substances of unknown origin, my windows no longer offered a picture of his unlikely existence. Down the shaded residential street he walked, to demand his shirtless acceptance into our unsuspecting psyches.
I very nearly berated myself for thinking like a pervert, as I was now imagining myself caressing the soft skin under the bra of an innocent young girl. Two small gifts courtesy of the un-warranted bravery of the breasted man.
Then I reminded myself that the image in my head was in reality still an image of a sweaty, shirtless, fifty-ish construction worker who just happened to have perfect breasts.
July 17th, 2009
Another win, best sandwich ever.
Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta, spread with mayo and feta, then filled with
zucchini, squash, red onions, and portobello that were tossed in balsamic/evoo/garlic/basil mix then grilled. Then I grilled the whole thing again and it was fucking ace.
I got a Foreman today on a whim because I read this
"recipe" online. For once an impulse purchase is turning out to be a useful expenditure.
I also got my passport photo taken, stopped by the bookstore to say hi to an old friend (although I failed at finding any sort of language book I could use), and got some fun stuff from Michaels.
I stole someone's hair clip idea, and strung black hemp rope through beads and metal and wood leaf designs and let it dangle from my hair. Reactions ranged from Dog the Bounty Hunter, to Pocahontas, to Geisha.
I'm happy with the turnout, regardless.
Started reading I. Aasimov today as well, so far I'm really amused with his personality and writing style. For some reason his biography jumped out at me when I was at the library, although I've only read one or two of his works before. They were short stories I picked up a long time ago and they didn't leave much of an impression then, I can't even remember the titles. Nonetheless, I'm excited to delve into this book.
I've recently discovered the convenience of logging in to my local library from the internet at home, and putting holds on books from other locations, then getting an email in a few days when the item is available for pickup locally. How sweet is that?? Our neighborhood library is very small, and I haven't frequented it in years because of the lack of selection. Technology, however, has just granted me access to any of the books from any of the library in the Mid-Continent system without having to traipse around the city!
Work tonight was fun as usual, I've really been loving it lately. We did however get pretty damn behind because we were both talking to much, lol. I love my store, customers, and co-workers... Its like getting paid to hang out sometimes.
Good Night =)
July 13th, 2009
May 4th, 2009
Today I am sparkling.
Residual human life force energy created from and fed by love and connection and the intensity of life zips and zags and criss crosses from synapses flinging excitable happiness bringing electric dreams and the thought that this is how it could be and should be and this is what can happen when you let go and cross the line not to finish but to begin as a hand reaches out and grasps you just in the nick of time holding fast and tight and pulling you faster and faster until the loose ends dangling and fluttering down to the side are only a distant memory lapping at the edges while everything synergizes and becomes and is and that is, what i found.
April 7th, 2009
The Chancellor, the Faculty
The Graduating Class
The University of Missouri - Kansas City
College of Arts and Sciences
Announce the Graduation of
Friday, the Eighth of May
Two Thousand Nine
Bachelor of Liberal Arts Degree
Commencement Ceremonies will be held at
The Frank A. Theis Park at 4:00 p.m.
March 12th, 2009
January 26th, 2009
I am dreading my writing class this week.
Last week's class was one of the most traumatizing events in my life.
Srsly it was teh suck.
Maybe I should begin by saying that on Tuesday night last week, I got drunk by myself, wallowing in ruby red grapefruit juice and cheap vodka. I woke up around 7am the next morning, which i often do after drinking too much, my body punishing me by not letting me sleep. It was right as I was trying to decide whether i should puke before trying to re-hydrate that I got a phone call from work wondering if I was planning on showing up.
Forgot about the 8 hour shift I picked up. I ran out the door without so much as a glance in the mirror, and came in to work right before my district manager got there ready to review our entire store and pick us apart. Fantastic.
A small interlude between Starbucks and class to finish my homework, and then I headed off for the worst four hour class EVAR.
Two weeks ago we paired up and interviewed each other, with the assignment to write a profile of the other person. Not a huge deal. Ashley and I sat for nearly an hour and I mentioned a bit of my heartbreak issues, which she included in her profile. We had a pretty nice \"girl\" talk. Not a huge deal either. Then, last week, it turned that we were to sit in a huge circle and read our profiles of each other out loud.
So there I sat with my twenty some odd classmates and our professor, as Ashley described her impressions of me, my life, my appearance, and what she called my "shambled love life." What she wrote was great, and most of it actually made me feel really good except for the acute embarrassment. Nearly twelve hours earlier I had staggered out the door without showering, putting on makeup, or washing my face. I was wearing tuesday's dirty outfit which included seriously unnattractive men's pants courtesy of my loving mother. And now my classmates were all staring at my still slightly hungover and very disheveled self as Ashley complimented my sense of style and trendy look.
Then the teacher decided to pick on her description of my love life using the word "shambles." He claimed it was an interpretation (bad) versus a summary (good.) So, there we were discussing the accuracy of Ashley's description of my purportedly "shambled" love life.
He asked her to read that part out loud again.
The teacher asked her things like, "Well, did (Cheri) actually *say* her love life was in a shambles?" Which, no I didn't. I spoke up and said her impression was correct, and I didn't understand how we were supposed to use adjectives to describe without crossing this line of what he called interpretation. I should have just kept my mouth shut, because the situation just got worse, turning into more of an argument, I don't even remember quite clearly because I was dying on the inside.
Then I finally blurted out that I told Ashley how I'd found the love of my life in bed naked with someone else last month. My classmates laughed awkwardly and shifted in their seats while I aired one of the single most painful things to ever happen to me. Ashley said that she felt that was too personal to include, and the professor said it would've been better to write about that. I agree with him there, good for writing. I guess I should've kept my mouth shut (noticing a theme here) when I talked to her, but for fuck's sake I didn't expect this to be read out loud and then turned in to a discussion focusing on the adjectives used to describe the most emotional part of my life.
"I know you are the professor and all, but I still think her use of the word was right."
I'm fairly certain these were my exact words.
Then he had her re-read the part about how she could "see the pain in my eyes." He wanted her to say what "pain" in someone's eyes looked like. I turned to him, tears finally spilling over, face red and scrunched up with the effort from trying not to cry and said "THIS is what pain in someone's eyes looks like!" I asked if we could just go back to talking about this other girl's pierced nipples. Which then pissed that girl off.. "OHH nuh uh girl no you di-int just sayy that." Alright.
For the last forty five minute I hung my head over my spiral notebook pretending to be THINKING VERY HARD, and wondering if my tears and snot dripping in huge blobs all over my ballpoint notes were noticable. Probably. By then the strain of holding in my sobs and trying not to wipe away the itchy streams of mucus running in rivers down my face was causing my entire body to shake. The thought of any more attention being focused my direction was unbearable, and I was blocked in by chairs and classmates, I was glued to my chair.
Oh, and i'd been taking xanax regularly for the two previous weeks until that morning when I went to take one and realized they'd fallen out of my pocket.
Did I mention I'd also started my period the day before and felt like dying anyway?
Class this week?