Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Amazing Life

I had a hot dog as big as my head for lunch today. It was no Nathan's, but tasty none the less. Nathan's is this amazing hot dog place in the New York, New York back home in Vegas. Thinking about Nathan's started to make me ultra excited for my upcoming vacation.

On July 10 I fly out of Austin and through today's modern marvels, will land in Vegas mere hours later. I moved to Vegas to live with my dad at age 15, half-way through my sophomore year of high school. Even though I only lived there for three years before I left for college, it really is the first place I ever lived that I could call a city my own. It is where I was when I learned to drive, had friends, joined the church, and really became aware of myself as a person.

From the moment I set off the plane, all of my sense tell me that I have returned home. The smell is something that you cannot capture. It is an arid smell of the parched dirt, mixed with an ephemeral quality that I have never quite been able to put my finger on it. The heat is a warm embrace from my city, that I spend my entire life trying to recapture. As the tiny pores on my arms open up to release moisture into the air, I can feel the city permeating my body. Entering my blood stream, and saturating my soul.

I fly in on a Friday and that night and day, my father is off and we get to spend time together. We will probably do some touristy things while we wait for my step-mother to wake up year. In previous years we have done the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton, the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, and the Bodies exhibit at the Tropicana. I wish that Wet 'N Wild was still open. The Sahara had to go and ruin that for everyone. I might try to talk my dad into eating at On Top Of The World, the restaurant on top of the Stratosphere, or see about getting a locals pass to the Hard Rock's pool. It has real sand at the bottom of the pool. Then again if only the pretty people can swim like at The Palms (they literally have a bouncer), we might have to make alternate plans.

Sunday both parents will be off and I am sure that my step-mom will drag us out for some shopping that neither me or my father wants to do. I love to shop. Lets look at shoes or bags or cute dresses. Unfortunately that is not the kind of shopping that she likes to do. She will drag us to Costco where I am not going to buy 10lbs of pretzels, she will drag us to the bookstore where I am not going to buy six books that will put me over my luggage weight limit, and she will drag us to Babies R Us to buy things for my other siblings. Not to fear, dinner will make it work it. We usually eat at a fancier place like will usually net me lobster tail or at least crab.

Monday my dad will work, and it will be more painful shopping with my step-mom. Tuesday I am going to try to talk one of the parents into letting me us a car to go to the temple. The Las Vegas temple is amazingly huge. Every time I do a session there and I sit in the chapel, waiting for the session to start, I look around and wonder why you would need seating for 500. Wednesday I will fly out to Portland. As I board the plane that will whisk me away for Vacation part two, I know that there will be the sting of the bittersweet that will buzz in my chest for months. One day when my parents retire, and I have no reason to make my annual pilgrimage. I am sure that the last time I board the plane to fly away, and I have to close a chapter of childhood, the sting will become a permanent part of me.

Autobots, Clean It Up

I am freshly back from seeing Transformers 2 and have to say that I am fairly disappointed. Let me back up and give you some background...

Yesterday's post about me wanting more spiritually, lent itself into an amazing FHE lesson. A month or two ago, I asked Frankie about The Tree of Life and how it related to Adam and Eve and Lehi's vision. With the question long forgotten, he surprised me two weeks ago with an answer that could have honestly been the basis of a dissertation. It was so well thought out, organized, scripturaly reference, and not only held the answer I was seeking, but also opened my eyes to other revelations that I had not even thought to ask for. I urged him to share the answer in FHE. This not only allowed others the benefit of the knowledge, but allowed me to hear it again and hopefully cement it in my memory.

With a 10 pm showtime, I had to rush from FHE straight to the movie. I met Gizmo in line and we got amazing seats. When the lights lowered, and the music swelled, so did my excitement. Two and a half hours later I walked out of the theater simply crestfallen. The movie was everything I had hoped for in the heart-thumping, gun wielding, explosion crazy, saturated film that you expect from Micheal Bay.

What I did not like, however, was the unnecessary crudeness. It was just plain vulgar. His mother used profanity for profanity's sake, jokes were not witty but raunchy for no reason, and is there any functional reason that the ultimate machine would need a pair of testes? I can accept many things in a movie; blood, gore, no plot, incongruencies. I am fine with it all. I am not even going to claim that I do not watch vulgar movies from time to time. But it feels so tasteless when the movie could have been just the same without it.

It reminds me of when we went to see Hancock. The language was totally unnecessary to the plot of the movie. I can understand language if it is a frat movie, or if the climax of the film needs to express extreme frustration and the writers are not the most creative. But to ruin a film that would have been just fine with a kinder line, it just irks me.

Tonight, every joke and reference from this PG-13 movie stung like the lash of a willow branch. My hard earned spiritual high was crushed by the entertainment that I had chosen. All of the intense labor that someone else put into assisting me with my quest for knowledge was wasted. It makes me wonder, if I had not gotten so much from the lesson tonight, would I have even noticed the content of the movie? That thought gives me pause because I have never really been a stickler for self-censorship. It might be a though worth pursuing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fill My Cup With Living Water

I have been looking forward to Sunday all week. This week has seemed to be a grinding force that was determined to reduce me to a starchy, mealy paste. My week has been filled with demoralizing work, fraught with disappointment, and loaded with an overwhelming need to feel the calming force of the Spirit.

In Monday's post I talked about how since my forced exile to the family ward four months ago, I have felt that I am having trouble filling my cup to capacity. I went from getting about 80% out of my meetings, to about 20%. The disparity makes me feel as if I was moving along a ridge and then have suddenly fallen off a cliff. Now that I have fallen. my wings are not strong enough to raise me back to the height that I was at when I was just walking along the edge. Like the bottom has fallen out, and I don't know how to get back up.

In February, I was was the highest I had ever been. My faith was solid, I could feel the iron rod in my hand, and was somehow a sheep amid a flock, heading in the right direction. I was confident, felt well taken care of, and had a fellowship in the Gospel like I had never know before.

Today I am a different. I think that my faith is still solid. Ever since a seventeen year old version of me knelt in my tiny bedroom, in the upstairs of my father's house, I have known of the truth. My strength of my conviction is what has waxed and waned over the years. It was not until several years later that I realized that baptism really was only the gate and it would take several years of hard work before I was wholly and completely dedicated. It was a journey that no one told me to expect but fared well in the end. Today my testimony is full and mature, and have the conviction necessary to live up to my temple covenants.

The family ward comes as a sharp incline on the path. Where I was cruising along before at a rapid clip, I now feel as if I am crawling along at an excruciatingly slow pace. Every step is hard earned, every gain a minuscule one, all progress hungrily gulped up but not enough to feel that same sense of fullness that I have grown so accustomed to.

I need more. I want more. Today that need was so consuming that after my own block of meetings, I went to my former YSA for an additional one and a half hours of church. There is something different there that is amazingly satiating. Thrusting my cup under the spigot, I felt guilty. Questions about what I was doing there left me hard pressed for an answer. I gave the truth to Frankie and Red, who wholly and completely understood with a simple, "I need more". But how to do causally explain to other about the searing desire I feel in my chest to be close to my Heavenly Father, to bask in his glory, to feel of his love that is incomparable to the love you can get from any mortal man? I don't know if you really can.

I think that part of my need this week is due to my upcoming trip to visit family. The church and what it means in my life are so foreign to them. It is easy to be dismissive when you do not comprehend the foundation that the institution of the church is built on.

A month or so ago, when I was talking to my father about The Boy, I was trying to explain to him about my mixed feelings about dating a non-member. His response was, "Are you still doing that? Isn't is about time that you let that go? If you are not careful your convictions are going to guarantee you that you will never get married". How close to the bone he cut. All my fears and insecurities welled to the surface and sent me into a swirling eddy of actually considering what he was saying. But by the light of the next day, I could see his argument for what it really was. I am concerned that my five days in Vegas are going to prove to be nothing of a campaign by my parents to have me give up my silly obsession with God.

Tonight as I close on my post, I want you to know, dear reader, that today, today my thirst was slaked. After a week of hard work, I finally have enough in my cup to drink of the Living Water. I know next week will be just as hard...and the week after that. Moving forward from here, I am going to have to actively seek out my opportunities to fill my cup to the brim. My days of passive participation are over, and you do not miss them until they are gone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not Showers, Its Pouring

I am finding the blog word processor very frustrating. It will not let me add words to the dictionary like FHE, it has a habit of taking out my paragraph breaks, and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to put a picture mid-post. I know these should not be the biggest concerns in my life, but still it is enough to be irksome.

I missed a day of blogging for the first time yesterday. This was due to the fact that I was go from morn' to well into the eve. I went to work more tired than usual due to the fact that I am currently caught up in a book I am reading. Lunch at Taco Cabana did not help the feeling less than myself.

After I got off, I rushed home and got ready for the bridal shower. I must say I had a grand time at the shower. I don't know when I have hung out with that specific combination of girls, but it made for a nice blend. The party activities were relatively short in comparison to many others I have been to, but that just left more time to eat and chat. I was a bit self-conscious when I first got there until I realized everyone was. But at the end of the night I got a nice confidence bolster when AK told me I had a hot stomach. You can't pay for that kind of feel-good.

After leaving there, I went to spend some quality time with Moe. Last weekend's funtivities ignited a desire to see more of her. We went over to her man's house and in Moe's immortal words, "Got our Lost on". One and a half episodes in, Frankie came home looking very tired and thinner than in recent memory. It could have been the cut of the shirt or sugar-free June catching up with him. You could see the tiredness etched into his face and looking out from his eyes. I feel bad for him. When he says that he is never home, I actually believe him. Between work, his enormous calling, family, friends, and what ever time he needs for himself, I have no doubt he is burning the candle at both ends. It makes me want to shoulder some of the load, but do not know in what ways I can help.

My need and desire to help is a trap in and of itself. Too oft those I try to help do not know what to make of it, and in the end it pushes them away. In my continuing campaign to become a better person, this is one of the things that I have been working on. It is not just about offering my help, but it has to also be about offering help in a way that they are comfortable with and feel like they are in a place to accept it. I have been told that the way I go about it sometimes make people feel beholden to me. Sigh. Somewhere I missed the day on what is socially appropriate and what is not. Does anyone have those note that I could borrow?

Our Lost-a-thon, put me to bed well after 2:30. In my haste to get home I realized that I did not even fold my blanket or put my cup up before I left. Some guest I am. With my late night, morning came shockingly soon. When the alarm went off to rouse me for work, I was very confused, with it being a Saturday and all, and just laid there momentarily, attempting to find my bearings. With my eyes closed, I could hear the dog getting up. Isn't it great that he knows what the alarm is for too? Perhaps he is not as dumb as I think.

KS was the doctor on call this weekend, and consequently, we got free breakfast. I know this is no consolation to the 8:00 arrival time and the fact that this means that I will have 12 of no sleeping in. Work marched on at a moderate pace. Twenty-five patients, minimal phone calls, and only five speculums; it could have been way worst. Now I am off to get ready for a baby shower. Update to follow...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sixteen Days To Go

I just painted my toes Plugged In Plum, so have plenty of time to blog while I am in my forced repose, less I smear the paint. OPI has the best color names. I just took off I'm Not Really A Waitress, but there are other classic colors like Pinking Of You, Aphrodite's Pink Nightie, Miami Beat, Light My Sapphire, and Chocolate Shake-spear. I think that I am in the wrong field. Wouldn't it be great if your job was to come up with punny OPI names all day? As Bill from True Blood informs us, "puns used to be the highest form of humor".

I had lunch with Gizmo today and it was a much needed reconnection for the two of us. All friendships wax and wane, and sometimes you just need that one hangout to get everything back to where you would like it to be. I can't even really remember what we talked about, but perhaps it was just the relaxed time we spent together that heals all rifts. The white rice was just an added bonus.

This evening was all about what I wanted to do. Tired of the sulky, glum me, I decided to just do what ever struck my fancy. I came home from work and laid down for an hour and a half. I woke up wholly refreshed and headed up to the Arboretum where, surprise, surprise, I had crab bisque for dinner. I cannot get enough of that stuff. If the recipe didn't involve words like sherry, reduce, and something called surimi, I would make it by the bucket full. I then found an amazing skirt at The Banana. It is bordering on to fancy to wear to church, but I thought that I might wear it to Wicked. I stopped into the Apple store and seriously considered buying a case for my iPhone. If I wasn't so enamored with the aesthetics of the thing, it would be easier for me to hide it's light under a bushel. The small scratches and dings on the back don't bother me, but the screen has got it's first nick and it has made me finally consider a case. After leaving the Arboretum, I stopped into Target and finished buying all the tiny toiletries that my trip requires. I can hear Red laughing in my head right now that I have sixteen days until vacation and am already considering things like tiny saline bottles, and how many Q-Tips to take.

I am greatly looking forward to my trip. The first stop on my multi-leg tour will be in Vegas where I will spend five days with my parents. I fly in on a Friday after my dad gets off , but before my step-mom goes in. We will all have dinner together before she leaves. Due to my step-mom's odd work schedule, Saturday, my dad and I will spend together, Sunday will be all three of us, and then Monday she and I will hang. Tuesday, while the whole world is at work, I plan on doing nothing but laying by their pool, eating what ever I want, and watching old episodes of The O.C. on TV. Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday I fly out to Portland to spend some time with my brother and his family. While I am there I will to go to work with my brother for a day, see the new Harry Potter movie, and soak up as much time as I can with my niece. Now many people will try to tell you that their nieces and nephews are the cutest thing they have ever seen. They will show you pictures and expect you to "ooooo" at them like they do, while you stand there and wonder if you two are looking at the same kid. I know, I have done it. That was until I was an aunt.

Something inside of you changes when the tiny face you look down into looks so strikingly like your own. It will melt your heart, change your feelings about kids, and fundamentally change the way you look at things like tiny Converse or Dora the Explorer. It must be just a glimpse of what it is like to be their parent. I did not know I could love a kid so much until I knew her soft curls, and brilliant blue eyes that are the exact shade as my brothers. Five days there with her will just not be enough. If my brother didn't live in the Arctic Tundra, I would move in a heart beat to be near her. You think that I am exaggerating, but to let you know that it was 51 degrees there today. His house does not even have air conditioning.

Just one more day of drudgery until...until I get to get up and work on Saturday. Boo! Sixteen days until vacation. Good night and a happy birthday goes out to APO.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Wednesdays We Wear Black

Let us get the self-aware portion of tonight's post out of the way. I must say, I am really beginning to look forward to my evening blog. Cathartic indeed.

Today just so happens to be Wednesday which was significant for several reasons. First and foremost it means the triumphant return of the Peacemaker to work. She is the calm happy center of our work area, and thing fall apart when she is not there. She has been out on sick leave status post a tonsillectomy. She did an amazing job of describing her last week as it feeling like someone scooped out her entire throat with a melon-baller and then used a flamethrower to catch the rest. Her description of the worst physical pain she has ever experienced showed so vividly in her face that I was hushed out of complaining about much of anything. When someone tells you that the pain made labor feel like a walk in the park, how can you complain about your stubbed toe?

Next, Wednesday is mutual night, and as a Young Women's leader I get to enjoy all the spoils of the church funded program without any of the embarrassment of waiting on the curb for my mom to pick me up. Tonight we had our quarterly book club night. Everyone was to bring our favorite books, give a short synopsis and trade, to broaden our horizons. As instructed I brought my favorite book which is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I was sitting near the end of the row, and about two or three girls into our presentation, I realize I might have missed the point. By the time I stood up, Atlas Shrugged was juxtaposed next to the likes of Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Princess Diaries. I excitedly told everyone about how her Russian last name had to be changed before the book went to print, and it was her Rand typewriter that inspired her new moniker to a room of glossed over eyes. Extemporaneously I decided to skip the part about how my college graduation announcements were mailed with Ayn Rand stamps. Wow, I really am a nerd.

As much fun as mutual was tonight, I was scheduled not to be there. Tonight, this Wednesday night, was/is the night of the Talib Kweli concert. Who is Talib Kweli, you might as ask. No one knows, except The Boy. He is probably there right now, waiting for the rapper to take the stage. These are the tickets that I got him for his birthday, the ones that were part of the perfect, tiny gift set. I have the mini Moleskins in my purse to return, and heaven knows what I am going to do with the Shuffle I got for him. I knew before tonight that it was over and done, but to look up at the clock at the gym and realize that he was at the concert, with someone else, with the tickets that were the perfectly thoughtful gift, was just one more pain to a broken heart.

It is a little known fact that I have never broken up with anyone. I am always the one who gets broken up with. It has happened to me in various ways and I am familiar with all the tactics. There is the we make better friends than lovers. There is the I cheated on you and am not really that sorry about it. There is the I really like you but am just not really in a place to be in a relationship; used most by Divorced Dad. And then there is the all to familiar, I just plain fell of the face of the planet. This last one is so frustrating to me. What happened to you? No, better yet, what happened to us? I have to suffer all the hurt and self-loathing of a break-up with out at least the dignity of a break-up. What makes it even worst?!? I told him of my fear of this happening between us and he told me that he would never do that because, "I am a person". If he were still talking to me, I would have thrown that in his face.

I have this overwhelming desire to know why. Why do you not want to be with me? At least when I know the answer, I can have closure and can stop thinking about it. If he tells me it is because of my standards, great, I can be satisfied that was never going to change and if it was a deal breaker for him then let's part as friends. If it is because of a fault of mine, then I can work on it and be better for the next man in my life. If it is because there is another girl ... well, you can lie to me and tell me its the sex thing. Whatever the reason, that much needed closure from his end has been denied to me. I must break-up on my own, reason it out on my own, and shut down my feelings on my own. Then again, after being in a relationship by myself, what more did I expect?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The World According To Me

Day number three, and today I find myself actually looking forward to getting to post. I looked for tiny little things that could be made anecdotal, thought of titles I could post under, and generally wanted to write about the world according to me. Talk about being self-aware; despite how much I hate writers who write about writing or have main characters who are writers, still I pontificate on the act and art of writing. Hypocrite thy name is girl.

Today I got my first comment, which means someone is actually reading my post. True it was the only person I sent a figurative engraved invitation to read, but a reader none the less. I no longer have to worry about a tree falling in the forest.

Work could not have been more unpleasant today. We were down two nurses today, which means that three people did the work of five. In addition to our normal daily duties we also had to teach the lesson and monitor a procedure in the clinic. It was not any of these things, the fact we had to work through lunch, or the fact that the stress had my lower back feeling like a twisted rope that just totally demoralized my spirit and made me want to get up and walk out. After finishing my lunch at my desk, The Boss came over to my desk and berated me for a clinical decision I had made in front of the whole clinic. When I retorted that it was within my preview to make such a decision, she derisively informed me that yes it was my decision but that she did not think it was good nursing care. This is the woman who does my yearly review. In addition to the public humiliation, I now have the awkward pleasure of trying to decide who informed her. Level One Drama Center, indeed.

After work I joined Stix and Red for dinner. We meet at Whole Foods downtown and ate a hurried meal at the same table. Stix's sullen mood helped me gain insight into what she must be going through. My selfish need to mend our relationship must take a back seat for a few more weeks. Love is patient, love is kind, love is long-suffering. To love her, I must be all of those things for her. What surprised me the most from our dinner was to see the relationship that has developed between Stix and Red. I was touched at how Red is such a good friend to everyone. On the other hand it hurts to see the very thing I am begging for from Stix somehow blossomed between the two of them. Patient, kind, long-suffering...I should write that on my hand.

Last night's FHE was more special than I could have anticipated. In our week in review it came to our attention that APO's birthday was on Thursday. In his usual fashion, he seemed slightly mortified and slightly tickled at the recognition. The lesson started and as he stood up there and taught a thoughtful and uplifting lesson, my heart swelled to a near bursting point. I could not help but remember who he was just one year ago sitting at his sister's dinner table on his birthday, freshly home from the desert. How much has he grown in such a short span of time. From the shy and quiet at our first meeting in the temple waiting room to a fully fleshed and functional member of the church. Although our relationship has drastically changed in that span, I still feel lucky to have stood by to witness the mighty change of heart.

Friday night's festivities have caused a touch of anxiety in me. An idea of a lingerie shower where you wear lingerie sounds fun in theory. That is until you are trying on your outfit in the privacy of your bedroom and are overcome with embarrassment that you are to wear this not in an intimate setting, but to be ogled and judged by other guests. I, in no way, suffer from body image issues, but somehow feel at odds with the amount of skin showing. I show more when I am in a bathing suit, so why is this an issue? Perhaps it is my lack of garments that is making me feel so uneasy. When I made sacred covenants to wear the garment at all times except for certain occasions, did that include bridal showers? To not dress would mark me as a stick in the mud. I have a few more days to ponder it before I have to make a decision. Perhaps a solution will present its self.

As my post closes so does my day. Sleep calls, so that I may lay my head down and lift it to trudge through another day of work. Till tomorrow; I will keep my eyes and ears open for post worthy material.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When The Sunset Meets The Horizon

Day two and another entry; I am already exceeding my own expectations.

Facebook informed me today that Stix’s pseudo-boyfriend has finally gotten the okay to leave for his overseas expedition. He leaves Thursday, and I am sure that this week will bring their all consuming time spending together to a fevered pitch. My own recently disappointed heart goes out for her in the most empathetic way. I in no way ever wish this feeling for anyone. When the sunset meets the horizon, does it ever feel good? My own selfish desire hopes that this separation will free up some time for our relationship to return to where it used to be. I miss her, and it is hard to see her and feel how truly far away we are from each other.

Tonight is FHE and I am so looking forward to it. Ever since I have joined the family ward, I have felt an overwhelming incongruity of how much I want and how much I am getting from my weekly meetings. Lessons about being good parents, raising children to the light, and eternal families rain down on my heart week after week but fail to fill my cup to capacity. Even when lessons are about faith, repentance, or the plan of salvation, they are still couched in family ward terms. I find that in filling that need that FHE, Institute, and Firesides, meant for those so many years younger than I, are like bright spots that give me the spiritual nourishment that I so desperately need. I am at the point in my life that I should be a complete spiritual person and am now intended to fill other people up. Am I selfish to long for the days right after my conversion where every one's wish was to bolster and to be sure that I was on the right path? I fear it is.

This week the thermometer is tipping into triple digits and as the temperature nears boiling point, so does the temperaments in the office. Our dynamic has changed since the Peacemaker has been out and consequently the balance of power has tipped the other way. Our dynamic is a delicate one that depends on the blending of the five of us in our own specific way. When one piece is missing, nothing is the same. The group has been a sulky, sodden mess for a week now and I can feel the stress pressing down on me as if it were a literal hand. I am ever being tested in my weakness of patience. Everyday I work on it a tad more. Like grains of sand passing from the top of an hour glass, it does not feel like I am making progress, but I think if you ask anyone who knows me, they could tell you my growth from just a year ago is immense.

Yesterday was Father's Day and due to the fact that mine was in Arkansas, got to talk to him for 55 minuets. Their retirement home, I fear, is a bigger responsibility than they anticipated. Their biannual trips there does little more than beat back the wilderness that is slowly determined to take the land back. I can feel how much he is ready to be done with working and to spend his day lazing my his tiny pond, listening to the crickets serenaded him. A combination the market, his gastric banding, and life in general, he is slowly being stepped back from his hard earned retirement. I know that he fears his own demise will happen before he ever gets to his days of leisure. His own demise haunted my own fears. His ever growing girth is wrecking havoc on his system. Between his heart, blood pressure, and diabetes, I am ever worried that his chair will stand empty on my wedding day. Every parent should have the privilege of dying before his children, I just hope that his day is still many years off.

Upon that cheerful note, I must jaunt off to finish getting ready for FHE. I hope to post again tomorrow, but cannot guarantee it. Till then...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To Blog Or Not To Blog

My life is fairly transparent. Between Facebook, Loopt, and telephonic communication, anyone can know what or where I am at in any given day. In addition, I also have a journal. So why blog? It seems like such a natural fit for me; something I would enjoy. I had a short lived blog on the Tiki Wiki, but soon felt pressured for every entry to be a literary masterpiece. Despite this all, today I am going to make the grand attempt. With that caveat in mind, let us blog.

Today was Father's Day, the first day of summer, and The Boy's birthday. The Boy and I have not spoken in eight days, and not through any lack of effort on my part. Try and try as I may, I can't be in a relationship by myself. Earlier this week, I carried myself over to his place to have a talk. His car was there, lights on, TV blaring, and yet when I knocked...no answer. In my mind, I set today as the deadline. If I had not heard from him by today, then I will consider myself broken up with.

After church I went over with his birthday gift in hand and was prepped myself to have the break-up talk where he says in soft tones that this is just not going to work, and I cry slow, sad tears of the dumped, then we resolve to still be friends, and we are both comfortable with the lie. I got to his door and stood for a lifetime, with the heat of the first day of summer washing over me and in the end did not knock. I taped the concert tickets that I so methodically scoured the net for and triumphantly planned the perfect birthday around to his door. I turned heel and considered myself done. This in no way means it hurt any less.

I ran into Frankie* at the gym on Wednesday and he said something that I had never heard anyone say in quite that way. He said that when your in a relationship that if will never work if each of you is only giving 50%, because if either one of you gives less then things are bound to fall apart. Both of you need to be giving 100% for you to ever have a chance. I don't know if I can even say that he was giving 50%. It is the standard trap that I always seem to fall into; I don't mind doing the work, so I pick up the slack, and then pick up more slack, until I am doing all the work. He went on to tell me that he can see me with a guy who is going to be just as much work as I am. It is amazing how words can bolster your spirits so. He always gives great advice, even if I don't always want to hear it.

Tonight as the sun sets on the end, I am tempted to remember the beginning. It is always so nice at the beginning. There is the talking on the phone for hours, the butterflies, the smile you cannot rid yourself of, you are never hurt or disappointed. Looking forward, you are so full of hope, and the relationship so full of promise. As time passes, reality tempers your starry-eyed outlook and the reality of male/female relationships comes to remembrance. I have never been in a relationship that hasn't failed. Every beginning I have ever had has been paired with an end. So it goes.

*All names have been changed to protect the innocent.