Tag Archives: Asher

Adventures in home making


I never intended to be a homemaker, not because of disdain but rather because I am rarely impressed with my organizational or cleaning skills. Yet in this in between year of life that I also never intended to have I find myself enjoying the process entirely too much. A job is going to be an extreme hindrance in my propensity for cleaning the kitchen and catching up on my shows, not to mention my coffee dates with girlfriends and the new hobbies of sewing and pencil sketching that I have picked up. I’ve come to enjoy my leisurely mornings of juice, coffee and a run followed by clean up and then writing. When one of my mentors suggested we meet for coffee at 9 AM I gasped audibly.

“Does it have to be that early?”

One morning I was feeling particularly inspired after several days of half heartedly keeping up with everything and decided to tackle the Everest of dishes in my sink. Cleaning and scrubbing and loading the dishwasher ensued, and satisfied with myself and feeling productive enough to ride out the next two hours without lifting a finger I opened the cabinet and pulled out the empty container of dishwasher soap. A litany of curses flowed out of my mouth and, completely put out, I closed the cabinet door with a flourish and petulantly put my hands on my hips. After all, True Blood was not going to watch itself but somehow these dishes had to be cleaned. I glared at the offending culprit but the snide little green bottle did not magically fill up.

“So clean your dishes will sparkle!” it cruelly teased me with.

I opened every cupboard I could think of wondering if we had any more soap when all of a sudden, like an angel parting to show the holy way, a stream of light fell across my sink and illuminated the deep blue bottle of Dawn that I had been using to clean my non conforming dishes with.

“Soap is soap!” I sang to myself and joyfully filled the entire container in the dishwasher with the magical blue liquid. I shut the door, hit the right cycle and off I went to occupy myself with whatever was next on my list.

Fifteen minutes later my house smelled incredibly clean and I felt an enormous pang of self love at my own brilliant genius. The dishwasher never smelled this clean when we used the boring old dishwasher soap! I practically pranced down the stairs to get a glass of water and then screamed with a combination of anxiety and panic when I saw what awaited me.

The dishwasher was spewing out bubbles like an angry white monster and my counter tops and floor looked like someone had gutted them with a knife and they were oozing soap instead of blood. It was everywhere, small specks of it flying around the air and the dishwasher just kept spilling more and more out as if to punctuate the stupidity of my decision with each passing bubble.

Immediately I thought to myself  “This is all Asher’s fault” followed with an ever increasing sense of dread of what he was going to do when he came home and his house was just a giant bubble, consumed with soap and water. I briefly considered running away and claiming that I had no idea what he was talking about but thought better of it. After all, who was going to believe that the next crime wave was an intruder who was putting the wrong kind of soap in dishwashers? If I was going to make a run for it I needed a believable alibi.

“This is why we need a dog” I muttered to no one in particular.

Finally I faced the fact that the dishwasher was still running, there were still bubbles everywhere and that something had to be done. Standing in my underwear in the kitchen while it was being continuously bombarded with soap bubbles was clearly not a viable option. Using my hands as machetes I cut through the attacking forces until I could see the front of the machine and found the customer service number. Spitting soap out of my mouth I frantically dialed the number and waited.

“Thank you for calling customer service! Your call is important to us and will be answered in the order in which it was received”

“MY KITCHEN IS FLOODING WITH SOAP BUBBLES. IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD SOMEONE ANSWER THE..”

“Hi this is Matthew… ma’am is everything okay?”

“NO. Um. Hi Matthew. I was wondering if say, someone had hypothetically put dish soap in the dishwasher instead of the right detergent, just hypothetically, what would one have to do to fix that?”

There was a quiet silence in which I imagined Matthew covering the phone while laughing and then high fiving his buddies at the customer service line. I hate Matthew. Then his voice came back on the line with an almost unbelieving strain of restraint came forward over the line.

“Miss, please do not put dish soap in your dishwasher. And if you did then run the rinse cycle until there aren’t any more bubbles, it should only take a few cycles”

I stared at the mountain of bubbles cascading out of the dishwasher and wondered if the angry sounds emitting from the machine were normal or if the soap had worked its way into the inner pipes of the house. I imagined lying in bed that night reading to Asher and having the pipes groan and burst, the soap bubbles frothing in revenge until finally the walls and ceilings exploded in an ecstatic display of clean white lace. He was not going to be pleased.

Arming myself with three towels and disposable gloves that I imagine psychopaths also keep stock of I took to battling the soap with ferocity. I cleaned, swept and chopped at the bubbles until finally I could see the controls of the dishwasher.

16 rinse cycles and three hours later, the bubbles had subsided and my floors were spotless. It is exhausting business, channeling Lucille Ball.

That evening the door opened and in walked Asher. I was attempting to play off the whole incident as non-chalantly as possible which as I came skidding down the stairs to greet him was instantly betrayed by the look on my face.

“Baby why does it smell like a Laundromat in here?”

I sighed inwardly and related the events as calmly as I could. He ducked his head down and pursed his lips, attempting in vain to keep the smile to himself but it burbled out of him and shook his shoulders. He does the only thing he can which is wrap me in a hug and wonder how on earth this tornado of a girl hasn’t burned his house down yet, and worse yet how it is that even if she did the story would surely be worth the ashes.

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Lulu


The other night when Asher and I were preparing ourselves for sleep, I looked up onto his dark wall and noticed a spider comfortably squatting above one of the picture frames. Turning to Asher, I politely pointed out that there was an intruder in the room.

“I know, and when you’re sleeping he’s going to come and crawl right onto your face” he responded.

I’m not particularly afraid of spiders, a trait which Asher and my father seem to think can be broken with enough grotesque images of flesh mutilating arachnids. However both their attempts to instill this paranoia in me have only proven to me that spiders are about as snobby as cats, and generally like to be left alone. In response to Ashers picturesque night time pillow talk of how spiders were going to slowly scavenge parts of my anatomy, I decided to name the spider Leroy.

I have an unfortunate habit of naming most creatures and inanimate objects in my life, thus creating intense attachment to things that were not meant to last a lifetime. My cactus is named John Wayne, my bike Ted. Now there is Leroy the spider and, of course, the one time a slug came in with the garden collection he was promptly named Gary. When I asked Asher if he had seen Gary the next morning, he looked at me curiously and asked who Gary was.

“The slug that was on the lettuce, I put him on the glass and now he’s not there”.

Asher’s eyes just get bigger and he peers at me in utter disbelief.

”Why did you keep him in the house?”

So it goes, with me collecting friends left and right and Asher shaking his head and cursing under his breath as slugs, spiders, and cacti assort themselves like old drinking partners along our windowsill.

One sunny day, I managed to find myself running meaningless errands in an attempt to avoid the cleaning ladies at the house, and while walking up the curb to the grocery store around the corner I heard a faint and distressing peeping from a baby bird struggling for life. The pavement was hot, and from the perspective of the little creature looked like a barren, flat desert being marauded by large screaming figures and metal boxes on four wheels. I kneeled next to the bird and then looked around for its nest. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, but returning it to its home seemed like the best idea. I couldn’t find the nest anywhere, so the next step was to call my best friend, who happens to be a biologist, and an avid nature lover, and therefore would know a lot more than me about what to do next.

“Let it die” she heartwarmingly said.

“I can’t let it die its little and bald and ugly! No one else is going to save it!” I was aghast at the idea that nature had any idea of what it was doing.

“Fine. Then find its nest. Don’t touch it, whatever you do. And if you do touch it, don’t bring the diseases over to me”

Horrified I searched my car for some container I could save the little bird in. Finally I found one, and brought it back safe and sound to my backyard. The cleaning ladies were still at the house and tilted their heads in confusion to see me frantically running around the backyard clutching tufts of grass and twigs before kneeling down to speak to a Tupperware container.

In a state of perpetual anxiety, I decided to go back to the parking lot and find the nest. As I was rolling my bicycle down the driveway, Asher was pulling in. He rolled his window down to smile at me and say hello and in response I waved my arms over my head and shouted

“There is a baby bird in a plastic box in the backyard! Don’t kill it!”

He blinked twice and then just nodded, shaking his head slightly in disbelief. I of course could still not find the nest and when I got home he wrapped me up in arms that love me entirely too much and said

“Baby girl, we can’t keep it and raise it, and it’s dying right now”

“Lulu” I sobbed “her name is Lulu”

“Okay. But we still can’t keep her”

I nodded and turned away while he did the hard part, a small tragedy in the blink of an eye. Later, we buried the Lulu in the backyard, and Asher made sure she had flowers. It is his unending strength and steadiness that guide me, and that he loves me so much is a testament to why I am still here. He kept his arm around my shoulders and squeezed me in tighter as I dropped a small note alongside the little bird that read:

Life is a shipwreck, but we must remember to sing in the lifeboats

                                    -Voltaire-

That night he wrapped me in blankets and watched cartoons with me until we laughed. Leroy was still sitting comfortably on the wall and Asher breathed evenly next to me, I thanked whatever forces were at work that I had the capacity to live, and more so, to clutch his hand when tidal waves overtook me.


Anniversary


Anniversario

He left her a year ago, walked out of her office into the summer heat and drifted away, each step permanently bruising the cement. She never thought she would see him again, after a brief, cursory hug she sat back down in her chair and looked at her screen pretending with all her might that he meant nothing.

A year ago he walked into his house, into his ordered life with his neat, square fence, and prepared for the vacation he had been intending to savor for so long. But this girl had slipped into the crevices of his mind and she demanded all of him to be happy, he sensed her requiring every small piece of his being, every dark corner that only he was master of; she needed it all before being satiated and for some unknown reason, he had to satiate her. She was younger, impetuous, filled with a strong desire for him that he hadn’t felt in years. Absent-mindedly he wiped his hands on his leg before realizing her thighs had been left in the intricate mappings of his fingertips. He shuddered at the thought of someone else touching her, tasting her, swiftly cutting out the image of any other person creating the moans that he so viciously burned out of her. He would never admit this to her, never confess to his overwhelming need to have her only ever love him, need him, to consume her world the way she had consumed his. While he walked away a thick coating of fear trickled into his throat, if she did not love him he would disappear.

On her part, she tried in vain to forget him, convinced he did not care for her and cried in silent agony at falling for yet another human who could not consume her with the same vengeance she met every single moment of life with. She exhausted herself in the pool that night, each time she hit the wall and pushed back into cool blue wishing she would look up and see his face. He is not the type to surprise, not the type to need her so desperately that he cannot stay away. She loves this about him as well. Walking home in the thick heat to her small apartment her legs can barely pick up and carry her but her mind is far, far away. He smells stronger than the chlorine. Her organized chaos taunts her as she turns the key to her tiny apartment with too much furniture, arranged like pieces of six different puzzles. That night, away from everyone, she breaks and whatever small piece of her heart he left in her chest so that blood could still pump falls to her toes. She screams at her walls, her windows, rips down the pictures and paintings she has haphazardly put on the walls so that she would become attached to something. Left alone in this tornado she realized she was dying.

They are in love, that sickening sticky mess. Humans are piles of goop and muscles, growing bones long enough to stand up next to someone so that when they fall apart again there are arms to disappear into. She feels her skin stretch away from her breastbone towards him, forming a thin invisible line. The glue that holds the world together, and he knows that without it he will wither and die. But every mile that he drives away from her she senses herself breaking down, falling apart. Her existence is his memory of her, snippets of waists and nipples.

Together now, they celebrate the anniversary of this abandonment quietly, without flowers or cards used to mark occasions of lovers coming together, and every day she wakes up yearning for him more and more. He lies next to her every night, and yet she feels the sinking desperation to hold onto any part of him she can, mediocrity is her worst enemy, her worst nightmare. She remembers all too clearly how her heart cut out of her chest on that hot August afternoon, that horrible day he left her. She is afraid of becoming ordinary, of their love becoming daily, of becoming forgettable again. He loves her more and more, for the way she believes that omens are told through the moon, for her obsessions that change weekly, dictating the entire vacuum of her attention. He is unyieldingly proud of her, she has the courage and spirit he has emulated his whole life. She loves his ordered, careful ways. Not a single part of her understands them and it consumes a grand majority of her time to remember to put the glasses away in the right order, the place to leave the sponge, and how to lock the front door.

They live together and still cannot believe it. The darker memories gnaw at both of them in different ways, bittersweet reminders are left all over the house, a house she does not feel a part of. These memories cut at her, making her wish the skeleton made up some part of the human heart because maybe then bone could stop that cold knife of past loves from piercing. She is too young to realize how much of him she owns, youth clouds the mirror and makes it impossible to understand that other people hurt and fall in love with the same fascination. . Without realizing it they have become the lovers so many stories were written about, people so utterly smitten they have banished the cold thought of life after each other.

They mark the anniversary of this love by remembering that day, a day so hot the wind was too sticky with sweat to move.  The bitter memory of him leaving remains, like a cut on the side of her mouth that splits open every time she smiles. Her heart seizes with the thought of him one day walking away forever. Love, like life, is not to be savored because it lasts forever. It is its inevitable end that feeds the fire, makes hands grasp hips, and tongues slip over unfamiliar teeth. They love each other with voraciousness, all too aware of the pain of losing the other, and celebrate the dark side of that coin to remind themselves that for at least one more night, both get to fall asleep listening to the breathing of someone they secretly swear they can never live without.


Letters to Asher (Letter 2)


-A-

I wish there were a literary equivalent of a dramatic unveiling. Some gesture that could be captured in the curve of a ‘V’ to illuminate the way a hand can swoop down, grab a curtain, and then swoop up again to reveal a grand truth. Humans seem to be cursed with this endless pursuit of truth, of knowledge. We have created an entire field around it, with such precision of the word being granted to having a sliding scale, from theory to fact. It gives us a strange sense of superiority to know something, when in reality we are simple little dolls, thrumming to the beat of music we refuse to listen to. Day in and day out I am concerned with the mundane aspect of my own existence. Convinced that whatever psychological turmoil is seizing my heart at that moment is of such brilliant importance that it is vital that I write it down, capture it in some way. Even in my egotistical rages, some semblance of me can appreciate the irony of wanting to capture these fleeting moments in the belief that they are eternal.

Tonight you spoke of cowardice. You used a slightly more vernacular vocabulary, but I’m sure it will quirk your smile a little bit to see me wrap it in the pretty bow of eloquence. Life, in this little ones humble opinion, is simply too short to not use as many words as possible. Smarter creatures than I uttered ‘you will find poetry nowhere if you do not carry some of it with you’.  Are you bemused by this idea? I am so curious about you. We are all cursed with chasing after anything that is difficult. I found myself fiercely defending a person not telling the truth about their emotions because for so long I was that figure, the joker thinking it was their pretty words that made people laugh and not their very existence. Siddharta explained that you must go through life with the conviction that everyone around you has achieved perfect enlightenment, and that any behavior towards you is done in order to help you achieve it as well. I try to hold on to this thought when frustrated, angry, or sad. Breathing in and out and learning to practice patience, to smile when I am angry, to control my emotions and outbursts to the point of knowing how they shape me, instead of waking up one day, twenty years down the line, and realizing that I have no idea how I got there.

If I were to assume that you were perfectly enlightened then, what would I learn from you? I would learn to never shy away from how I am feeling, you saw my cowardice for what it was and held it up in ugly light. It is hardest to see your faults held in hands that you find completely perfect, there is nowhere else to look. You forced me to recognize my own worth, my own brilliance. It was the cruelest line you wrote to me in that letter, those compulsory days of solitude which we failed at so miserably. So much of that letter made me taste bitterness, realization that I had unfairly condemned you and worse off, reduced myself to this pathetic figure that I had always despised. My biggest fear is to realize that I am not brave, that in reality I am mundane, a person so castrated by trepidation that I lose out on anything worthwhile. Cowardice may not be honorable, but it is certainly safe. You always know where cowardice will take you. I was a coward when it came to love before because I was so fearful of being found out. If you forever hold people at arms length, all they see is a mystery and not a scared little girl begging for an excuse to just breathe the way she wants to. The former is much easier to maintain, albeit lonelier. I want a brave love, a person that is mine, that is proud of me and cannot wait to hold my hand. I refuse, however, to give to this love in any way. I tip toe around the ugly parts, soothe tempers and bite my tongue when upset. I must be easy, I must be simple, I must be perfect for whomever is laying next to me at the time. Once the first flowers fade I am already finding excuses to leave, discovering cracks in what I had painted to be a perfect picture, pitfalls that I do not even consider attacking. The only celebration we have, however, is that moment when we realize that we can no longer live in constant fear, that the darkness is suffocating, not soothing, and that with our hair a mess, and our eyes still sleepy, we grab whatever weapon we can and charge forward. I have found this lesson in you as well, because if you are lost, then the ground will shake and split open and I will fall in. So I will give you everything I have, I have no other option.

Finally, in you I learn what it means to rise to a challenge, confront demons. Force myself to stand up in the back of the truck and scream into the wind because I demand to be heard.

I love you madly, in that way that begs of you not love in return but rather, your scorn and your anger. I wish with fervent necessity to have that which is most base about you, if it is simply thrown at me with little regard to where it lands is fine. I demand you, every time I wrap thin fingers around yours it is with the childish hope that I will be able to capture some part of your essence that I swear is hiding from me. If I could have you in your weakest moments, when you are angry and out of control, when your perversions have captured you and you are enraged and engorged by things you cannot comprehend I will be happy. When you bend over me, naked and sullied with the dirty interactions of two people laughing at the cosmos with desperate desire and your eyes intensify while you look at me, give me that in all its completion. Give me that, and I will stop wreaking havoc on your perfect plans (I swear). I want to drag you outside in the rain and the mud, I don’t want to taste your lips in sweet kisses but rather tear at your skin until you bleed, broken and despondent. I want you, all your stupidity and imperfections, your anger, your repressed need to feel sanctioned and approved, your disastrous belief that you will find immortality through beauty.

Give me every dark corner of yourself and I swear I will be happy

I love you today.

Matilda


Letters to Asher (A Series)


asher

His name should not be capitalized. Not out of lack of respect, admiration, or love. Capitalizing a noun gives the assumption that it is tied to something concrete, or understood. He is none of these things.

Heaven has either decided to curse me or the fates have an extraordinarily cruel sense of humor. I have dreamt of him, tasted him for years, reached between my legs to feel that prohibitive moisture rise forward at the sensation of him being near me and yet, he lies next to me in this white bed and my hands seem to tremble in fear of their own desire. I attempt, over and over again, to explain to him how I feel. As if this simple naive art will be enough to enthrall and overwhelm him just for some measure of time. He’s never shown any form of terror to me, yet he has so much of mine. Those cold, breatheless nights when I wake up feeling that my life has ended, I am resentful of the fact that his hand calms me down.

If I were to leave him (or more likely, him me) would I have shaped him? Carved any small piece of him in a new way? I’m afraid of walking somewhere and not leaving any discernible trace, even though I may have lost my soul among those footsteps.

It was Borges, in his interminably frustrating wisdom that said “To fall in love is to create a religion with a fallible God”. I am raising my legs as temples to him and rewriting every book I own so they will sing his praises, and just like every other God ever imagined, he is above the clamor and the rude interruptions to his existence. But I would rather dedicate my life to the blinding slavery of faith to him than to exist as a cynic without him.

Matilda 


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