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Showing posts from February, 2013

Vacation Me

It was only 5:30 in the morning, but I was awake already. It was neither an alarm nor a bad dream that roused me; I’d simply slept enough and the sunrise was calling me. My still-unconscious friends were undisturbed as I changed into the clothes I’d pulled out of my suitcase the night before. I tied up my sneakers, filled up my water bottle, grabbed my phone and key card, and practically ran down the hotel hallway. I couldn't stand being inside a minute longer. I headed down the canal trail under the sapphire blue sky. The sun emerged from behind Camelback Mountain and made a silhouette of everything in front of me.

Vacation turns me into the person I aspire to be. When I’m at home, 5:30 looks more like a grumbling lump under a pile of blankets, an orange cat at the foot of the bed, and a loud and irritating alarm that has been snoozed almost to its maximum allotment. My hiking shoes sit hopefully by the door, pitiful under a thin layer of dust. “Tomorrow,” I always say as I hit t…

The Red Envelope

Candles lit, wine poured, cupcakes frosted, filet mignon in the oven, and a bowl of conversation hearts on the coffee table. As the final touch, I placed the red envelope against the vase of fresh flowers in the center of the table. Brian was on his way over, and I was a tangle of excitement and jitters. Valentine’s day, for the first time in my life, was going to be romantic and wonderful, like it was supposed to be. I wanted it to be perfect. I didn't want to screw it up.

Brian arrived with a bottle of champagne in one hand, a box of Godivas and a DVD in the other.  His smile showed off his dimples – Oh! Those dimples! – and his eyes twinkled as he said “Happy Valentine’s day, sweetness.” I kissed him before he was even through the door; we lingered on that kiss for a moment before we went to the kitchen. I exhaled, calm again.

I served up bacon-wrapped filet with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. With a California Merlot, we toasted. “This is perfect,” he said of the steak. …


I heard the thumping bass as I drove past the place. The building looked like it was once a house, one of those depression-era homes with two stories, no shutters, and white siding that was scuffed with dirt and mold. It was the kind of place that didn't even look like a destination, just another house along a row of buildings that looked exactly the same, except for a small square sign hanging over the front door.

Five blocks away, I found a parking space. In an attempt to remember which old, white house my car sat in front of, I tried to count my steps. I lost track when my cowgirl boots kept slipping in the snow that still covered the sidewalks. It had been more than 24 hours, why hadn't the neighbors bothered to shovel yet?

I could smell cigarette smoke oozing from the place. Crap, I thought, it’s been years since I've been to a bar where smoking was still allowed. I should have left my coat in the car. And my scarf. And my boots. And myself, I briefly considered last …