Sunday, March 06, 2005

This is going to sound crazy.

But sometimes really important published authors google themselves and read what people are saying about their books, as we all learned when an important published author commented on Alissa's blog. So, Jodi Picoult, I just read My Sister's Keeper and had I loved it, loved it, loved it. I can't remember the last time I was so engaged by a book that I read it straight through, weeping and laughing and changing my mind about the characters as they developed.

When I put it down for brief intervals- to go to the bathroom or grab a banana or reach for chocolate- I missed the characters. I was moving in that vague, hazy way that makes you feel like maybe you were dreaming, or maybe there's phone call you need to return, or maybe there was a movie you were watching... Then you dive back into the book the way you dive back under the covers. Delicious.

I am astounded that it is 6 a.m.

You know, a lot of people have said to me: "In a way it's good that you and Stephen were long distance because he's not really a part of your daily routine." While that's true, and getting past 1:30 a.m. (our daily talk time) was hard the first ten days or so, I'm really in a bad place at the moment. Let's say, for instance, that a Hypothetical Exclusive Couple has a weekly routine. They spend every weekend together, staring with a Friday night date through leaving for work Monday morning. They break up, and damn- that first Friday night is absolute hell.

This is my first Friday, metaphorically. I had solid plans to see him for the opening night of his show. I am so angry, and so hurt, and I can't get the notion of driving to Boston to egg Stephen's car out of my head.

I don't know what to do. I want to drive up there. I want to call. I want to scream into his voice mail. I worked today, seeking out "found features" and finding extra things to make my day last longer. I volunteered to work Monday, because my co-worker threw his back out. And the overtime is pretty sweet.

I'm trying to spread the tearful phone calls out among my friends. I'm trying so hard not to call them too late or too often, trying to be sensitive to sleeping boyfriends, visits with grandmas (sleeping grandma!), husbands returning from South America, pending mortgage approvals, wedding invitation stuffing, fighting illness, and not fighting with visiting apartment-hunting mothers. Tonight my future brother-in-law did a heroic job of listening and reasoning and joking me through what should have been an ordinary, relaxing night of TV watching.

But it sucks. Because everything sucks. Because the phrase "Waiter, there is too much pepper in my poppy-cosh" sucks now. Because "Surrey with a Fringe on Top" sucks now, in part because Stephen used to play "Oklahoma Baby Chicken Hat" (something Dave Barry made up) where you balance a baby (Andrew) on your head like a hat (you hang on to the baby) and you dance around clucking like a chicken to the tune of "Surrey With A Fringe On Top."

Changing the channel to Finding Nemo isn't a better option because last Thanksgiving Andrew got really sick, the scary little kid kind of sick with a really high fever. All he wanted was to watch Finding Nemo and have Stephen hold him. And I know, because I cherished that kid, because I held on to every anecdote and treasured every detail, because even though I wasn't there, I know he kept asking Stephen to "play the fishy movie." Over and over again. And I took that as evidence for the great father Stephen would be to the kids we dreamed of having together, AND YOU TOOK ALL OF THAT AWAY FROM ME WITHOUT WARNING, YOU FUCKER. (Which, by the way, is what I would scream into Stephen's voice mail, if I weren't, of course, following my future brother-in-law's excellent advice to take the high road.)

So, I went to Borders, (which is what all Good Americans should do when overwhelmed with the desire to vandalize something) where my pseudo-friend Rhea (store manager) asked how I was. I laughed and said, "I've moved into the Angry Phase." and she said: "I think that's a good thing." and I shrugged and said: "I really want to egg his car." She laughed and said: "That's not a *bad* idea. Just don't get recorded by the convenience store security camera buying the eggs." I said: "True" and she said "If you want to lose yourself in a book, buy this." Which is how I ended up reading My Sister's Keeper and forgetting about everything else for six dreamy, hazy hours.

THANK YOU, JODI PICOULT. You rock.

5 comments:

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Oops. Didn't take the high road after all. Left furious voice mail message. Not so good.

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

And then I called last night to apologize for the shrieking harpy message, because apparently, I am That Girl now. Sigh.. Feel free to jump into this little conversation I'm having with myself any time. Tell me a knock-knock joke! Whatever!

I'm feeling better, though, :)

Cindy W said...

Once upon a time, I was friends with a guy who dumped a girl rather harshly. I barely knew the girl, but I could tell she wasn't exactly emotionally stable, and she was way too young for him, so I had warned him to handle it carefully. He didn't. She got the most excellent Revenge of the Dumped ever: She slashed his tires. TWICE! I mean, it sucked the first time because he had to buy all new tires, but then she did it again! Excellent! (Even though he was my friend, I was totally on her side in this scenario. He had acted like a jackass.)

The point: if leaving an angry voicemail message is the worst thing that you do, consider yourself practically a candidate for sainthood.

Alissa said...

ok, here's the thing. You're right. Leaving screaming voicemail messages is not taking the high road. And then you feel like a real dolt when you have to call back and apologize (although, calling back may just be another excuse to call, period). BUT.... it is also not slashing tires, or sending special cookies laced with bodily fluids or using his credit card number to order p0rn and have it sent to his grandmother's house. I'm totally all for finding another outlet to use rather than calling him, but if you have to, you have to, and eventually this stage will pass and you won't feel the need to call anymore. But you're still in this stage (totally normal). It will be ok. Eventually. Not now, but eventually. So... just go with it, and try to find alternative ways to get it out, but if you happen to leave him a message or two, so be it, and we all still love you.

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Aw, thanks. And Cindy, the tire slashing story is hilarious. I mean, not for the guy, but still... way better than a knock-knock joke. :)