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Category Archives: Hope

Spring into action

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It’s dumping snow outside… and my dirt is frozen in the greenhouse. I’m a sad farmer when the planting is delayed, because I like for my tomatoes to come up around my son’s birthday; April 8th. Unfortunately, we have 4 feet of snow on the ground, and accumulating…so I don’t dare plant them yet. It’s going to be an even later start this year, but it’s coming!

Happy March! It may snow and rain and suck, but it’s the gateway to April, when all good things return. My babies birthdays begin in April and continue on into the summer. Everyone in our small circle, celebrates another trip around the sun. It’s the best time of year…

Flip-flops, raspberries, fireworks and ripe tomatoes, are on the way. There’s a lot of great things to look forward to!

More importantly though?

pussyhat

Click for the pattern and make some to share if you’re feeling particularly knitty. ♥

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It’s MARCH! You can find me knitting pink hats for the women I love, or marching for them. ♥ #resist

march

 

Grandma

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I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

Serving with a side of baby.

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Both of my children arrived early. My son was two weeks early and my daughter… five.

Tomorrow, I will be exactly 32 weeks pregnant… which means this lovely little girl could arrive any time in the next 4-6 weeks.

I have two weeks left at work and if I weren’t out of time, I would continue right up to the moment I went into labor.

Which is precisely what people brace for when I approach their tables now.

C- “OH GOD, you’re about to pop, huh!”

C2- “Are you sure there’s only one baby in there? I think there’s two. That happens you know. I’m pretty sure you’re having twins”

C3- Wow! You’re HUGE!”

All of these comments were made by women, I might add. Men have been so fantastically complimentary that I feel quite beautiful, thankyouverymuch.

I work with the most wonderful bunch of people…. and frankly they’re closer than most of my genetic family members. I’m your garden variety extremely pregnant woman. My back aches. My ankles are swollen. I get heartburn from a sip of ice water. I’m less than comfortable and beaming with the happiness created by the imminent arrival of a baby I only ever dared to dream I would, could or should have.

My boss is the quintessential perfect big sister…. and she’s younger than me. I work my ass off and provide great service because I love her and I want her to succeed as much as I want to pay my bills and feed my children. She’s so much more than a boss, and even more than just a friend. She’s family, she has faith in me when I’m doubtful and she is the bright smile that greets me each day and waves me home at the end of each night.

My co-servers are my chosen sisters. Women I adore who represent every dynamic and beautiful facet of feminine strength you can imagine. We are more than a team, we are a force to be reckoned with in perfectly pressed black and ever present beaming smiles. We won’t just serve you- we’ll stick in your brain as one of those magic nights you had with your wife, your kids… or yourself. We love what we do and it shows because we work with people we want to spend time with. Our restaurant is not just a fantastic place to eat, it’s an experience with the finest group of happy friends you would want to be part of.

My kitchen boys. Sigh… the same men I had such a weakness for in the past who are so incredibly attractive and dynamic. Not only can they smile your bad day into a giggle… they can cook the perfect steak and make you feel gorgeous in a pair of hot polyester maternity pants. The man behind the swinging door… My sweet Mr. Commitment, bless his heart… is afflicted with the same disease I used to have. He encrusted my steak with pink peppercorn the week I was craving pepper. He makes incredible food look like art… and he wants most what he cannot have. He’s a phenomenal man and deserves an equally incredible woman… he just likes the douchey girls. Bless his heart… I hope he knows at some point how much more he’s worth. Some lucky woman deserves to steal him away from the crappy girls that waste his time.

My favorite, Mr. Perfection blows us all away on a daily basis. Our executive chef next door, who runs his own kitchen… but also comes next door to save us when we need saving. He’s a one-man-miracle, fixing appliances, planning menus and running two separate restaurants with a level of respect and kindness I’ve never seen… and my dad is a chef. He’s the gentle one who wants to know how the night went while making the kitchen fix you dinner after hours. I had a crush on him for years but he’s perennially single and married to the job. The restaurant is his lady and our success is, in many ways; thanks to him. He’s become a dear friend and it’s refreshing to know that not all chefs have traded their souls for cooking skills. They can be good men and good at what they do. He’s proof.

The one sad fact of the job is that sometimes people leave… and my dear King Sushi has left the building. When I got this new job after escaping the hell that was my old job, I walked in to see curly red hair and sparkly mischievous eyes grinning at me. Once upon a time I would have fallen in love with his wicked ways and gotten my heart broken along with all the other girls who couldn’t help themselves… but I love him like a brother and I understand him like a friend. My Little Red loves him just the same, and he’s family in ways few people are to us. Walking in to see an empty spot where he used to be grinning is as much a death in the family as when your oldest goes away to college. He’s a hot head, he’s a red head… he pissed us all off on a regular basis…. and I miss him so much that his absence is the only thing that makes my upcoming work hiatus a little more bearable.

So yeah… my legs ache…. and I may have a few more varicose veins than I did a month ago. I slip into my black clothes, glide some lipgloss on and look forward to every minute of my night with the family I feel so blessed to have found.

They say when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life… and I love being a mother more than anything, but I love my job too.  This job has taught me that when you really have a family… their absence stings.

I’m going back to work after baby Quinn is born, which I never thought would happen. Honestly in my mommy heart, I would rather not… but it’s more than a job. It’s my family, and I love them. They lift me up when I’m heartbroken and hopeless and they have taught me the one thing I struggled so hard to learn about myself.

I’m an amazing server and I kick ass and take names with a wine key. I memorize your favorite things and catalog the shit you hate. I know what you drink, I know which hand you use and I remember your spouse, children and grand-children’s names. I don’t just go to work, I come to serve.

A year to the day I got fired from the worst job I’ve ever had… I am living proof that even the darkest days can give way to days brighter than you ever imagined.

I am reminded not to settle, and would hope my work experience would inspire anyone stuck in a job they hate, with people that make life miserable and don’t appreciate you.  Life is short and time is fleeting.

Do what makes you happy ♥

Indomitable

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Happiness is free, and thank God too… because unemployment is rather stressful financially.

I’ve had plenty of reason to feel bad. Losing a job I needed to survive, watching people I thought were friends vanish as quickly as the dollars in my wallet and being 86’d for life from a place I’ve worked hard to support.

I’ve been a bitch, but I challenge anyone to tell me they’d react differently if they were walking around in my shoes.

I grew up with The Desiderata on the bathroom wall. At 6 years old I remember reading it every time I brushed my teeth. In high school it really made sense and now? I have my own copy hanging on my own bathroom wall. It’s the foundation of my hippie upbringing, and I find myself swimming in it lately.

I can be wicked hateful, and I arm myself with the details most offensive and use them to my benefit like bullets in my very own verbal arsenal. If I want to kick you where it hurts, you’re going to feel it. I’m one supercilious nightmare when inspired to be.

Which isn’t who I want to be, but who I need to be sometimes.

I take a lot of shit. I swallow a lot of pride. I also return the feeling, tenfold-when you push me too far.

I could ramble on and on with an acid tongue and a thesaurus of hurtful adjectives… but it’s just not who I am or who I want to be.

So they hate me. Oh well. I’m not terribly offended considering the facts on the ground.

So my dear friend is jealous enough to post offensive bullshit on my Facebook wall. Oh well. Jealousy doesn’t inspire me to love anyone, and I’m single. I’m fully entitled to inspire jealousy with absolutely no ramifications and beyond that? I know a man who opens his mouth only to bless me with his kindness and affection. Real words from a real man make jealous insults sting a lot less.

I wish I could say I’m surprised- but I’m not- just like I warned him…

J- You do not want to date me. We’re friends. You’re only going to hate me at some point. Trust me.

Guess who was right…

BUT….

Being hateful only drags me down to their level, something I’ve worked too hard to avoid in the last year.

So I flushed the hateful crap and took my little mangy hounds on a walk. I picked a bouquet of daffodils for the dinner table and hung the sheets on the clothesline. They’re crispy smooth and smell like sunshine and spring time.

I baked some honey wheat bread… and snuggled with my little mangy trio while cracking out on the first season of The Tudors…filling out the millionth job application. I weeded a row in the garden and planted more potatoes. I have about 15 pounds of seed potatoes left to plant… Good lord.

Hi, my name is Jenni and I’m a vegetable hoarder. I come from a beautiful line of hoarding gardeners- and hey… I absolutely loathe store-bought marinara. I may be a size 5 by the end of summer because the garden is out of control weedy…

Bonus! Free daily workout and veggies too? See how it starts? Too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH.

I’m a little haunted by the silence and boredom in my daily life these days. I had the best interview I’ve ever had in my life yesterday, dinner and a drink with a dear friend last night and another favorite chick sighting this morning.

I know I’m being redundant… but for all the shitty men in my life? I am surrounded by phenomenal women.

My dear friend Miss Wisdom saved me yesterday with truth. Not bullshit flowery nonsense, but real “Get a grip and take your own advice” sort of words. Love her. Love them all…

It takes a real friend to see you making bad choices or flailing. We touched on the sorest of subjects…

W- Why would you go there, when you know he’s there and you know it stings and you know he’s bad for you.

J- I have a crush.

W- You HAD a crush… why would you like anyone who would treat you so poorly?

That applies to so many people in my life right now, it took my breath away. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment? Either way- it’s a thing of the past, and I’m cutting the bullshit out of my life at record speed.

Life is too short, and it’s too beautiful outside. My garden is all the challenge I need at this point, and my favorite flowers sprouted this morning.

Baby Bells of Ireland, smiling up at me and reminding me that everything is as it should be.

Life goes on- and happier when you cut the nonsense out of your life. More than that, it’s even better when you learn to love yourself first and let the assholes fall where they may in the hurricane of figuring out how to demand respect from people.

Or how to tell them to go fuck themselves.

Either way? I haven’t been so happy in months and I made a few hundred bucks today getting shit out of my garage.

Purging at a profit… now that’s the kind of chaos I can get behind.

Yeah I’m pissed off, offended and insulted- but I’m also single, smart & funny as hell. I’m doing what I need to do and remembering who I really am, now that I’m away from the cancerous source of suffering.

Welcome to the chaos of my fancy schmancy new life. It’s scary uncertain and full of potential disaster, but when I sink to the point I use my words to hurt someone instead of to free myself- I become an asshole like the rest of them.

No hate. No haterade… and most importantly?

No haters.

That right there is quite the victory, if I do say so myself.

Oh Miss Harley…

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I have an amazing bunch of incredible women in my life. They represent everything the world needs more of, and for every jerk I’ve had the misfortune of crossing paths with, I know five stellar women… I have an incredible bunch of girlfriends in my life- I’m blessed with amazing examples.

Sure…we can be a rowdy bunch… we’re independent, hilarious and hot. We dance on bars and tables, we ride motorcycles and can out-cook chefs. We are incredibly artistic, tattooed, brilliant, down-hill racing daredevil girls who can get dressed up and act like ladies. We’re a well rounded bunch.

We can do some whiskey, gin, vodka, rum damage… and we are a helluva lot of fun- but we collectively have our shit together as well.

My friend Miss Harley sets the bar high in a group of really cool chicks.

She’s easily the most valuable employee where I work,  she outworks all of us. I’d bet her tips percentage blow all of us out of the water, too.  Without question…she’s beautiful, friendly and genuine, rocks a smokin’ hot body and to ice the cake? She rides her own restored 1982 Shovelhead to work every day. Without a helmet, cause she’s just not willing. (We’ve all tried to bribe her…) Her dark hair is tinted a shade of purple showing under her do-rag, dyed to match the deep purple paint on her bike, Daizy. Personalized license plates and everything. Blingy-butt Miss Me jeans showing from the back of black leather chap-wrapped Miss Harley, she’s nothing short of a calendar girl.

Does it get any hotter? Yep. She pulls her do-rag off, blinks sparkly green eyes at you and is charming enough to sell you oceanfront in Kansas. She’s also the friend who makes you soup when you’re sick and offers to take your shifts or help you with anything. She really goes the extra mile and she inspires everybody by being kind. She’s the girl nobody could ever say anything bad about- and defends even the indefendable. She’s an amazing mother and has raised her son alone for the most part. She just wants to be happy and so she is.

She’s true blue and red hot.

Miss Harley- well done!

She rides the bike her father died on when she was 11 years old. Her parents were just about home- close enough that she remembers hearing the siren of the ambulance that came to get her dad. They’d gone down on a corner and her dad had broken his neck and died instantly. Her mom kept the bike for a few years after he died but eventually had to let it go.

Years later someone got in touch with Miss Harley to let her know it was up for sale again. Seeing it only made her want it more. She offered the guy everything she had and a hug, and he took her up on it and let her have it for nearly a thousand dollars less than his asking price.

Her mom drove it home, with Miss Harley on the back. Holding hands here and there- crying now and again. It was like bringing a family member home. Miss Harley was getting the bike of her dreams and a piece of her dad back, as an adult- when you still need it just as much.

She restored it completely, on a single mom’s server/manager’s wages… until it was finally complete and so beautiful. Her mom gave her the old saddle bags that were on it before. She’s oiled and loved this bike into something beautiful enough for everyone to notice what Miss Harley always did.

They’re meant to be together. They’re a perfect match, like sisters- out knocking boys dead at every stoplight.

She recently went through a break-up because her boyfriend couldn’t handle all the attention she gets.

H- I told him, I love ya, I’m sorry you’re jealous but I’m not gonna get ugly for you. He told me he just couldn’t take it- I gotta love him for being honest!

She has her first motorcycle show today & she even brought us purple t-shirts to wear. I wrote a little thing for her poster and was stuck on the image of her mother and her riding the bike home that had been so life changing in their past. How nostalgic she gets when she tells the story… and of her calling to read what I’d written to her mom and hearing them both cry a little. She’s survived the worst of a cheating boyfriend- who lives with her sister. She’s been through a cheating husband and survived a divorce that cost her everything but the baby he didn’t support. She lost her house, her fairytale ideas about marriage and her faith in the legal system- all at once. Digging deep and pulling it all off, regardless of the challenge- and doing it with a smile.

She’s been through hell. She’s walked through fire  and  is stainless steel strong and polished as a result. She’s raising an amazing son who is growing up with a healthy childhood spent outside. She grows a garden, helps her mama and would drop everything to be there for you if you need her. She’s generous and thoughtful and sets an example with kindness rather than judgement. One helluva woman- doing it on her own with pleasure.

Miss Harley, you are a knock-out- through and through & your daddy would be SO proud.

Update!!

She tied for 3rd place!

and I got the best picture of her and her mama, waiting for the results of the voting. It was such a neat moment- and it’s such an amazing bond between them. They’re so cute- and it really is inspirational. Her dad may have died but he lives on in the two of them riding together.

A real Man.

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Every once in a while, you come across a man that reminds you why it’s worth it. A shining example of a guy who does what he says he’s going to do or dies trying. Faithful, honest and funny, he makes the other guys look bad just standing still.

He’s my best friend’s boyfriend and in honor of his birthday, I’m outing him for being a fabulous enough example that he gives me faith on a week I shouldn’t have any left.

She met him a year ago (or so) and after ten minutes with the two of them you can’t imagine one without the other. She steals the bread off his plate and he steals it back and licks the whole thing. She laughs and steals it back. He’s confident enough to baby talk to her in front of anyone.

R- I love you sho, sho….

C- Sho, sho?

Yeah… sickening and fabulous all at the same time. It’s quite a bit priceless.

He’s one of those real men. Complete with the commercial fishing career. He’s cute as hell, sweet as sugar and the most confident man I’ve ever met. He walks beside her, with his hand on her back or wrapped around hers. He’d flatten anyone for disrespecting her AND he doesn’t mind hanging out with her friends.

He dances with us… (and he might kill me… but it’s just too good not to share)

He’s taken a pretty serious ration of shit for it from his buddies, but in my not so humble opinion, this is the guy we all hope our boyfriend/husband is like. He’ll make you laugh till you cry, protect you with his whole soul and throw down with a little Katy Perry…

Robby Meyer, well done my friend… you give me faith that there are good men in the world, and that when you meet one it’s pretty obvious right off the bat.

He doesn’t have to lie, because he’s living a life he respects and believes in. He doesn’t have to cheat, because he cares about the value of his love and his word. He doesn’t have to, because he doesn’t want to be anything less than everything to my dear friend.

THAT right there- is a real man.

Way to go, Mr. Man-card, and Happy Birthday 🙂

Puerto Rico… part 4

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[youtube:http://youtu.be/rtOvBOTyX00%5D

Getting lost in the rainforest with him was next to heaven on earth. I spent the good portion of the last day, crying. I’m a crybaby- it’s how I roll… don’t judge. I’ve seen the worst mankind has to offer in the last year and here was my forever- standing in front of me and loving me out loud.

With words…and actions.

He did little things that counted so much more than big displays…. yet he walked in front of me and doesn’t open doors. I’m so old fashioned at my core…. and those were the flags that resonated the most.

My favorite man ever used to kiss me on the cheek, then move to whichever side of me was closest to the road. He opened doors for me everywhere we went. Cars, restaurants and such. Gentlemen are my downfall… and I’d always thought the man of my dreams would be a door-opener.

But… my mantra is: Expectation is premeditated resentment. Given to me by my very best friend and something that replays any time I start feeling disappointed. Perhaps I need to learn to feel a little comfortable having a few expectations?

He spoiled me- didn’t question a thing I wanted and fed me anything I wanted. He bought me a purple toothbrush… and of all the things I left behind, I’m the saddest about that. I miss my purple toothbrush as much as I miss him. It was one of those tender gestures- along with the bag of seashells he bought for my daughter, which I balked at and he assured me we could throw them in the sand and pick them up and it was nearly the same. There aren’t shells in Puerto Rico… and I’d promised her. He found them… and they’re another thing I left behind. I still wonder if he threw them away or took them home with him.

At any rate…we got back to the hotel from the rainforest (and don’t we all wish we could type that sentence, at least once?) and had 20 minutes to get ready. I flew… got dressed and smiled at him from my teary eyes. Positively heartsick. Begging God to slow the clock and let me have a hundred more years with him…. or just one more day?

But the seconds just kept ticking by… and we left for dinner. He handed me his phone to call the restaurant to tell them we’d be late. I could hardly breathe and just kept thinking about sand and love and anything but leaving him.

Being a princess suits me just fine, thankyouverymuch… as did this enigma I’d fallen in love with so long ago. I didn’t want my fairytale to end, and I could feel it slipping away like sand in an hourglass. He parked the car and we walked down the same stairs of the parking garage that we’d fought on the night before. Shudder…

He never told me I looked beautiful. The valet smiled at me every day and said it. The bartender said it. Frankly? I know it. I played fashion show before I left, I only took the shit that made me look smoking hot. Come on now, I’m not an amateur. It was almost like a game? He pointed out other women. He commented on other women. He didn’t compliment me.

Ouch.

It really stuck in my throat the last night though. I wore my favorite dress. I wore my favorite shoes which make my beautiful tattoo just ridiculously sexy…

Nothing.

We walked out of the garage and the cobblestones are kicking my ass. I’m searching for the tiny sidewalk that lines the street and he’s giggling at me.

J- I love these shoes, laugh all you want.

T- I love the girl wearing them.

Sigh… tears… sigh…. tears… ugh.

We walked in to the restaurant and they sat us. Our waiter was adorable and he explained the local special, something I can’t remember but wish I could. Mofungo? Something like that. It was delicious. Shrimp… red sauce of some sort? Some sort of bowl made of plantain. Yum, yum, yum. I couldn’t decide between that and the shrimp salad I really was craving.

Confession? I turned into a lame teenager around him. I wasn’t ever comfortable eating in front of him… ever. I asked him to help me and he refused. I ordered the special- because when in Rome and all that. The waiter smiled and told me he was sure I’d like it. He ordered himself a drink….

I was so sad in that moment… I can’t really describe it. Just desperate for peace and looking at the paintings that lined the ceiling to stop the tears from falling. Missing my sisters. Missing my mom. Missing my babies. Sick to my stomach and so upset I didn’t know how to pull my shit together for a moment.

This was it. Our last night. The grand goodbye…

They brought our food and it was amazing. Absolutely delicious and worth every penny. He kept telling me to take pictures because I was going to get home and be sad that I didn’t have any of just him alone. Huh.

You’d think he’d get his phone out and do the same if that were the case, right?

Nope.

He’d taken my picture once, the night before… because he said I looked like the saddest little angel, and with my favorite pregnant kitty. Two pictures.

Huh.

Things were nagging in the back of my mind but I was fighting back tears and trying to maintain my composure. We finished eating and left. He had an agenda for our last night together.

Caipirinhas at the Parrot Club…

Pina Coladas at the bar they were created…

Watermelon mojitos at the place famous for them…

While hassling me to ask for the la quenta. Ugh. I could see the potential for trouble before the clouds started to roll in. I just refused to see it. I took a million deep breaths and told him how much I loved him a million times. Not willing to waste a second as they ticked by too quickly.

Devastated. Stupid in love… literally.

Sitting next to him, watching the bartender muddle sugar cane and ice… looking back to see our reflection in the mirror and marveling at the irony of the two of us. My split-apart… this soul mate man of mine… who was slowly turning into someone I would spend every second missing… feeling tears burn a path down my cheeks when I looked at the clock.

His flight left at 6 the next morning, and mine at 9… facing the three hours in the airport I’d be crying in the corner, cursing the knowledge of a love like this. Missing him so desperately I needed to excuse myself to the bathroom. I walked quickly to a little door with a little lady in a dress on it and barely made it in time to be sick. I brushed my teeth, washed my hands and splashed some cold water on my face. Determined not to ruin my last night by grieving its passing. Deep breath. Deep breath… and rejoin him at the bar.

Delicious drinks… interspersed with kisses and promises of the sleepless night ahead.

T- We’ll go back and get everything packed… then I want to do nothing but unwrap you until we have to leave for the airport.

Thank you baby Jesus. Or Mary… or God… or whoever aligned my path with this devil/angel. We’d walked by a homeless guy the day before and he told me in Spanish that I was walking with the devil. We giggled about it then… now it’s not so funny.

He led me down Paseo de la Princesa… to the edge of the island. An old fishing pier where I made sure to not destroy my heels… and he kissed me in the moonlight… and told me he’d love me forever. He pointed at the San Juan Gate that we’d just walked through and told me the words inscribed on it said “Life is waiting for you”… but I know a little bit of Latin and knew he was incorrect. It actually said “Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord”. For the first time I felt like I was on some staged walk through the last night of the weekend with him. I’d bet my life he’s done the exact same thing with someone else because he told me at the beginning of the night that I’d love him so much by the end of the night after seeing all the amazing things he had to show me- and I’m too damn smart to be on a recycled date and not know it.

I cried. A lot… and looked out over the moon-kissed waves of the ocean so far from home. Praying for more time… and reaching in my pocket for the gift I’d come to set free.

That Dirty Boat Stealing Asshole gave me one thing that mattered to him. His mother’s pearls. Seven years of my life for a necklace I couldn’t wear without being filled with regret. He took so much from me and I still felt compelled to return them. So I did. I pulled them out of my pocket, choking on the sobs ripping through me, kissed them, and gave them back to the ocean. I sent them back from whence they came. It wasn’t vengeful, it was a gift to us both. I turned around and there was my heart, walking back towards the arch. I followed, doing my best to stop the flood.

He wanted to dance with me <smart man> but it was Superbowl Sunday and the place we went was having a football party, no dancing to be had.

T- You blew it last night, I wanted to take you dancing.

Huh.

We stopped at Burger King for burgers, and headed back to our hotel. He kissed me when I told him I was taking the food up to our room. He told me he was going for his double…. and I agreed to come down and meet him. I allowed myself to really cry about it in the elevator alone. The door opened on the fourth floor and the man who walked in was instantly comforting.

M- You ok?

J- Yeah, just really sad. I leave my boyfriend tomorrow to go back home.

M- You look beautiful, where is he?

J- At the bar.

I held the burgers up and he grinned.

I dropped the burgers off, cleaned up my make-up, put some perfume on and fresh lip gloss… and headed back downstairs to face what would end up being the very worst night of my life.

The valet stopped me before I got to the bar.

V- Are you ok? You were so upset last night. Your husband, he is angry?

J- Thank you, I’m fine.

V- Here is my number if you need anything. You are so nice. Please call me if you need help.

J- Thank you.

Oh the nightmare that awaited me… and oh how the number in my pocket would become my lifeline…

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