Still With Her

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img_0964To say that the past week has been difficult is the understatement of the year. Likening the election results to the death of a loved one is an apt comparison. Although still present in their flesh, I mourn the loss of many in my own family, the divide between us becoming too large, ugly, and unwieldy to ignore.

Even before the election, around the time of the leaked tape, on which an individual supported by the Russians to overtake our government was heard claiming liberty to grab women by the pussy, I started to feel long crusted-over wounds again become raw.

Like many others expressed around this time, I have countless stories of experiencing sexual assault and abuse of power by men. Too many to cover here, so I’ll stick to three.

I’m forty-five years old and one incident in particular is seared in memory, many details intact. So vivid are the sounds, smells, sensations of parts of this incident that I find myself peering into my memory like I’m watching it through a window, wanting to bang my fists against the thick glass and cry out to my four-year-old self and implore her not to follow him, my supposed godfather, to the front of the house opposite ours, our two backyards facing across the narrow alleyway. To go back to the comfort of the picnic. But she can’t hear me, so she walks on, her small hands clutching the too-thin paper plate, already collapsing under the weight of its hotdog and corn-on-the-cob.

As she settles onto the porch, little more than a square concrete platform with steps descending off either side, she can feel the roughness of the surface scratching the backs of her thighs. He takes a seat beside her. For a few minutes, the two sit there in silence, eating from the plates on their laps. She can hear the reverie behind her: her mother’s laughter, the faint sounds of the stereo, a dog barking at the end of the block. Her own house is so close, and yet here, on the front porch of the house across the alleyway, it is quiet. No one else is around.

Just as she is noticing this, her godfather leans over, presses his mouth—which smells of beer— against her ear and says, “I could snap your neck right now and no one would ever know.”

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We’ ll Always Have Paris

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Hundreds of environmentalists arrange their bodies to form a message of hope and peace in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, December 6, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RTX1XF6Y

Hundreds of environmentalists arrange their bodies to form a message of hope and peace in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, December 6, 2015, as the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) continues at Le Bourget near the French capital. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier – RTX1XF6Y

Editor’s Note: This piece was written in three separate settings, which accounts for the lapses in time and space. 

My family and I are scheduled to fly to Paris in a week. It’s a trip we’ve been looking forward to for months. Imagining ourselves strolling down the narrow, cobblestone streets, pausing to enjoy a croissant and cafe at one of Paris’ ubiquitous and adorable bistros; walking along the banks of the Seine, visiting the Louvre; wandering the stalls in the expansive flea markets in search of antique treasures…has been an all-consuming pastime since we decided to go.

And then the events of last Friday night unfolded. I was in a meeting when I received an email from my brother-in-law that simply read, “Tragic news coming out of Paris right now…”. He didn’t go into details, and I couldn’t respond in the middle of my meeting, so it was hours before I understood fully what had happened.

Readers who don’t know me well (and even some who do) might be surprised to learn that I secretly call myself Worst-Case Scenario Girl. Why? Because if there is even a whiff of danger afoot, my mind immediately goes to the, you guessed it, worst-case scenario. It seems my new pastime was imagining all the terrible things that could—and in my mind definitely would—go wrong in Paris.
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Don’t Eat That Shirt

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IMG_0004Keeping growing kids clothed can be a full-time job. I just love getting hand-me-downs for our kids. We are lucky to have good friends whose two boys, ages seven and nine, keep my four-year-old clothed in cool threads for much of the year. But what you can’t find at consignment shops or other second-hand stores, you just have to break down and buy.

My son, having gone through a recent growth spurt, seems to have no pants that actually come down to his ankles. Fleece capri pants on a four-year-old boy? Not a good look. So, on our way home from an appointment yesterday, we noticed that a local Gap store was having a major pre-spring sale. Since saving money comes in second only to saving the planet when it comes to our purchases, we decided to see what we could find.

Well not long after we set foot inside the store, my son found some t-shirts with superhero themes that he just…had…to have. What kid his age wouldn’t go for a batman t-shirt with built-in cape? I mean, come on. I almost wanted one for myself. [Future DIY project: make t-shirt that reads “BatMom”.]

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