Fear.

What is fear? It is an emotional response to a perceived dangerous person, place, or thing. This is the key. Fear is perceived. Sometimes the perceptions are accurate. Such as when someone is afraid of heights, if they were to fall they could be seriously injured or killed. So this fear, although perceive, has merit. What about the fears that are unwarranted? They cause no physical harm or danger. For example… being afraid of the dark. Yes, we can’t see but just sitting in bed in the pitch dark is not dangerous. If you take it at face value, it has no real danger. There are a million kinds of fear out there and every fear is experienced differently by every person. Something that scares me might be nothing to you.

As The Caffeinated Typist said “There’s two categories for problems that come with life. The ones that are in our control, and the ones that aren’t. If we take action for the ones that we have control over and have a positive attitude for the ones we don’t, then what can we truly fear?” I love this statement so much because its so true. We have control, lots of it. If we are afraid of something all we have to do is make a change. Change the circumstance or situation and you change the fear; you make it smaller and control it.

My thought on this is, what happens when we have nothing left to fear? We become afraid of success. We have made our changes and controlled our fears. Now we have everything to lose. Fear can be found in every nook and cranny, deep down in the smallest and ugliest places of our minds and beings. If we had nothing left to fear I believe we would still fear. We would fear fear itself. We would have all this control over our problems and worries and fears and the only thing left to be afraid of would be the fact that we could be afraid again. It’s a conundrum, truly.

Where does fear end? Honestly, I’m not sure if it ever does. I think the closest we can come to ending fear is to embrace it. Run into your fears head on,

Expose yourself to your fears. 

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Italian Wedding Soup

In all honesty its just soup, but at the same time it is the best thing I have ever eaten. I can’t even begin to explain the excitement when I know theres an upcoming holiday or birthday. This means a trip to mema Rosie’s house and her famous home cooked Italian Wedding Soup. The soup is called “wedding” soup but its really an Italian staple at any gathering no matter what the reasoning is.

Our family is cliche, like from a movie. Italian guys with too dark of tans, women who have big hair with way too much hairspray, and everyone whether man or woman is wearing something gold. Every single one of us is way too loud, but it’s perfect. It’s our family. We love each other. I could go months without talking to my family but I know I can always text them or show up at grandmas house and find some amount of my family hanging around. They are welcoming and accepting, but be ready to be made fun of… no one gets off without being teased. It’s all in good fun, though. Our family motto is “If you can’t laugh at yourself with your family, then you shouldn’t laugh.”

Anyway, back to the soup. No matter how informal the occasion we all sit at the dinning room table and have between two and four courses of whatever’s on. Most dishes vary with each season or each holiday but there is one entree that is always present: Italian Wedding Soup. The best part of the soup is the hard boiled egg chunks… sounds weird doesn’t it? Well its delicious. The savory flavor of the eggs goes well with the bite from the spinach, and the sweetness of the carrots. Then theres the teeny tiny meatballs, so good! Of course there is pas-tine in there too, since we are Italians. Oh my god, I’m seriously watering at the mouth just thinking about it.

The best part of the soup is how we all fight over it. No matter how much she makes there never seems to be enough. I tell my grandma “Gimme mostly the dry, with a little wet.” In translation, this means, “I don’t want too much broth, but just a little.” We all fight over the dry, Mema usually has to hide some extra dry in the kitchen after we all had our first bowls to replenish the soup. I cannot WAIT for Thanksgiving. That’s probably the next time I will be having this delectable soup. And I cannot wait.

Happy Occasion!

A walk through the park.

The air was  crisp, the coolness of Fall fast approaching. This was probably one of the last warmer days we would be having. The leaves already started turning bright oranges and beautiful reds. This is the first day we’ve spent together outside of the house. We’ve both been working a lot since it happened. I’ve been working in the office more instead of at my desk at home. Distancing ourselves from each other seemed the only way to survive this. He doesn’t understand my reasoning at all, and what’s worse is that I did it behind his back and now I know he doesn’t trust me any more. I love him so much. Kyle was the first man I had ever said “I love you” to. Growing up the way I did, I didn’t make that decision lightly. I was head over heals for this gentle giant of a man. I just wish he could understand. I love him more than anything but I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I didn’t want to end up like my own parents, neglectful and abusive. I suffered enough black eyes and bruised ribs to know I was scared to have a child of my own. Those things are hereditary they say. They call it “the cycle of violence.” It has nothing to do with us or our marriage or how much I love him. But we are still young and I just wan’t ready. I hope he forgives me some day.

We are walking along the path at the park. The grass is still green but fading slightly with the changing of the season. Our hands are latched together but not in the way they used to be. Our fingers are interlaced but his hand doesn’t quite hold on as tight as mine; indicating that he is still angry and I sigh with the weight of a heavy chest. I open my mouth to say for the millionth time that I am sorry but I decide against it. I close my eyes while we walk and picture Kyle in his plaid pajama pants with no shirt on, sitting on the couch with a toddler in his lap. Im standing at the kitchen counter drinking a hot cup of coffee watching them together. They don’t see me looking. He bounces the baby up and down and it giggles until it drools. Even the drool doesn’t stop Kyle from giving the baby a big kiss and cuddling closer. I rub my stomach and feel a sudden longing. I want children, especially Kyle’s children I realize, and think I may have made the wrong decision. 

I don’t know why but I sit here and continue to knit this bright red sweater that is too small for anyone but a child. I never had any grand children and sadly my kids are all grown. I loved having small babies around. I may be an old lady know but the giggle of a baby makes me feel young inside. I miss taking care of my little ones. I never felt more important than when they would waddle down the hallway saying “Mama!” and reach up for me with those chubby little arms and fingers that kids always seemed to have. Watching them grow up was a wonderful miracle but it was so sad for me when they were grown up and moved out. That’s when I started teaching, I remember. I wanted that feeling of being so important again. First graders have this way of looking at you like you know everything. “Why” this and “why” that, they want to know everything and think you are the answer to everything they could ever need. I’m long since retired though, so I spend the nicer days at the park instead of at home or the library.

Today I picked up my old knitting needles, yesterday was Susan’s 38th birthday and I spent the morning daydreaming about when she and Patrick were still little. I thought I would knit a sweater. In all my nostalgia I knitted a child size, it seems. That’s okay thought, I had a wonderful day enjoying this fall weather at the park. I love watching all the happy families frolicking with soccer balls or playing fetch with their a new puppy. I see a man and woman on the path walking towards me. She is rubbing her stomach in small circles with her eyes closed, leaning on his shoulder. How wonderful, she must be pregnant! A perfect use for my creation. “Excuse me miss, would you like this sweater for your baby?”

“What did you just say?” I am having a hard time believing what I am hearing but it seems to be true. This old disheveled woman with too big corduroy pants, white orthopedic sneakers, turtle neck, and one of those sweater shall things just asked my wife if she was pregnant. I’m not the crying type, I mean… I get sad like any other man and have cried once or twice but never like this. I’ve been holding in everything since I heard what she did. I’ll never forget the taste of sour burning vile rising in my throat when Mia told me she got an abortion. I locked myself in the bathroom and took a scalding shower for over an hour. When I came out, I gave her the silent treatment for two days. I was so shocked. We are young and moderately successful at our jobs. I am an engineer working my way up with American Airlines. She manages a small fashion boutique in the city called Lola’s and has an online fashion column for some web-zine that’s pretty popular. We live in a spacious loft and could definitely afford a house with plenty of room for a baby. I didn’t understand her decision to get rid of it. I wanted nothing more than to have a family with her. We’ve been married for two years, I was so excited when she told me I went out and bought her roses and made a reservation at her favorite restaurant. She seemed distant through dinner, I noticed. I couldn’t tell what it was. She said it was just nerves and I was too excited to realize she was lying.

The next day she got home before me which was unusual, and her face was puffy and red from crying. When she told me she got an abortion I nearly lost it. We haven’t had a real conversation in weeks, just small talk. I’ve been trying to keep my distance because I love her too much to argue all the time. I know she had a bad childhood but I wish she would have talked it out with me first. I would have done anything to convince her this was good, and she would be a great mother. Now here we are walking through the park on our first Saturday home together in a month. I agreed to try and forgive her but it’s so hard. I don’t know what prompted this old lady to assume she was pregnant but it just reminded me how much I want a family. I know we can still have kids in the future but it was real. Our family had started and now it’s gone, ripped away. I feel so empty. I told her I would try to forgive her but this old lady just jerked me back to reality. My wife was pregnant with my child and she aborted it without telling me or caring how I would feel. I let go of her hand and walk away crying.

Point of View. 

Observation.

I went to Dunkin to get some work done on my day off. Warm coffee in hand, my work begun. The people who filled the place around me were all unique. An old lady with a pale yellow sweater, white tee-shirt, and navy blue beaded necklace sat chatting with an older gentlemen from the next table. They appeared to know each other. She sat with conviction, this was her place… I could tell. I bet she had been coming here for years, a habit she made over time. The gentlemen speaking with her appeared content. His posture and demeanor were relaxed. They were friends. Maybe he came here often, too. The place had a murmur about it. Not noisy or soundless. The aroma of coffee spread through the air. Harsh flourescent lighting above every table. Yet somehow, these people seemed at home here. All accustomed to the atmosphere of this place, their meeting ground. A place of habit and ritual for them. It was intriguing. Observing these people felt like an intrusion. It was as though I was in their home, watching them have their morning coffee. My work did not get finished because I was absorbed in watching these people, and so I went on my way.

Death to Adverbs.

Give and take.

The clock ticks loudly on the wall filling in the silence of the calm between their fighting.

“I don’t know what you want from me.”

“I want you to WANT to listen to what I have to say… You never want-”

“I was on the phone, I asked you a yes or no question and it turned into a twenty minute story.”

I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE CALLING SOMEONE, YOU ALWAYS TALK TO ME FROM TWO ROOMS OVER.”

“Okay, you can stop yelling now. You’re crazy.”

“I’m not crazy for wanting my DAMN BOYFRIEND to fucking care about what goes on in my life. If you didn’t want to hear about work you shouldn’t have asked me. Or you should have waited until you got off the phone to ask me so you could have at least PRETENDED TO LISTEN. Or is that too much to ask for?”

I don’t understand why you’re being such a bitch, I asked why you didn’t go in earlier like you usually do and then you had to turn it into a novel. All I wanted was a short answer, I was calling the credit card company because I’m waiting for a refund because I had to return that-“

“So you don’t want to hear about my work story… which was NOT twenty minutes BY THE WAY. But now I have to hear about how you’re waiting for a refund? This relationship is a joke… IT ALWAYS HAS TO BE ABOUT YOU.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? I just didn’t want to hear the damn story, get over it.”

“Well then I don’t want to hear your story either. You’re being a hypocrite. You tell me stuff all the time about your job or about this new phone and that new tablet and I honestly don’t really care that much but I listen because I know its important to you, why can’t you do the same?”

You always complain about the same shit. I don’t do this and I should do that. You expect me to be perfect. You’re living a fucking fantasy in your head and you’re delusional if you think thats how relationships really are.”

“I don’t expect you to be perfect… I just want to feel like I matter to you. If you don’t want to hear a story once in a while I understand but I come home from a long day of work and I’m NEVER allowed to talk about anything. Any and everything I want to talk about isn’t important to you. Either that or I go on for ten minutes and when i’m done you look up from your phone and say ‘What?’

Then don’t talk to me when I’m reading something.”

“Wow, you are an entirely new bread of asshole. I’m sorry my existence is such an inconvenience for you that you can’t even take ten or twenty minutes out of the twenty-four hours in a day to listen to me speak. I’M FUCKING DONE WITH THIS.”

“FINE.”

“FINE.”

She stormed off to the bedroom and began crying. Hysterical sobs were escaping her like air being choked from her lungs. Mascara stained the pillow case but she didn’t even care anymore, she just wanted to be important. She wanted to come home at night and feel like her boyfriend loved her enough to just simply listen to her worries or funny anecdotes. She wanted to share her life with him, tell him what had happened while they were apart. It was unclear to her why he didn’t understand. Relationships are supposed to be about give and take. If he couldn’t even give something as easy as a listening ear then she didn’t understand why he was with her in the first place. “I don’t even matter enough that he wants to hear me talk,” she thought as she cried herself to sleep that night.

Give and Take.

What you see…

it isn’t always what you get. On the outside, there are some who could consider her plain, but also not ugly by any means. Her brown hair falls in a straight wave down her back. She doesn’t wear much make-up. Her bare creamy pallet of a face suits her though. Her brown eyes glint behind the lenses of her glasses. Her clothes are ordinary, nothing designer. I prefer this trait of hers. The outside of her is deceiving, seemingly average in every possible way. But her friendship and soul shines through her exterior like a beacon at the shore, guiding me home from the fog.

We met the first week of summer, both going through the grueling training process to be a counselor at Camp M. Out of all of our coworkers, I gravitated towards her. She has an aura around her that exudes kindness. She was genuinely curious about other people’s days, how you were feeling, and if something bothered you. Over the course of the summer we had gotten a bit closer, it was a work friendship. Towards the end of the summer we found much more in common.

We both had a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I could feel the pain in her past just from the look she had when she thought no one was watching. I knew, that like myself, her childhood was less than ideal. Before she ever told me stories about how her dad drove her to school drunk, or how she couldn’t deal with his controlling, OCD hoarding, it felt like I already knew. I felt that same pain, and in this we bonded. At the end of the summer we both got promoted to Site Coordinators. It was very exciting for us. I finally felt like I was being taken seriously and appreciated at my job. For her it was different, I could tell.

I saw the difference that pride made in her face. Her brown eyes now shimmered with hints of gold when she smiled, a real and true smile that you feel with your soul. We started to rely on each other to get through the first couple of weeks in our new positions. I couldn’t imagine doing it without her. When I’m having a really bad morning and I pull up to work, she smiles. Sometimes I can tell by her smile that we both had a bad morning, and sometimes I can tell by her smile that she’s ready to cheer me up. I haven’t had such a good friend in a long time. I’m glad I met this girl. She is a wonderful person. Smart, eager, friendly, funny, subtle, caring, and down right awesome. I’m glad there are people like her in the world, something shiny and bright hidden inside a deceiving box, which makes it all the more better when you find it. At first, I would have described her as average. But she is truly beautiful, and she shines like Krystal.

A Character Building Experience. 

A letter in the path.

I went to the grassy area in my neighborhood where they sometimes hold block parties. There’s a wonderful white gazebo and lush green grass, with enough benches for 10 people to sit comfortably. On a bench I spotted an enveloped labeled “Read Me.” This is what it said:

To whoever finds this letter,

I am at a point in my life where I need to escape. I am leaving this letter as a farewell. But not to anyone I know, this is a farewell to you. Maybe we might have met one day… maybe we would have been friends. I’m sure you could have been a good friend. Well stranger-friend, I am tired of being disappointed. In myself and others. Everyone wants me to change, to become who they expect me to be. So in turn I am packing all my things and going away. No one will be able to find me where I’m going. Pass along this message for me, if you please: be yourself and if anyone tells you any different then you don’t need them in your life. I wish I could follow my own advice but I am too cowardly to make these hard changes so I’m disappearing.

Thank you again my could-have-been friend.

Yours Truly,

Anonymous.

The handwriting was elegant and I could see a smudge where a tear had made the ink run. I pictured someone writing this short goodbye, crying with the heaviness of their decision. I felt sadness well up inside me. I suddenly felt a longing for whoever it was that went missing. If only I knew who Anonymous was. I would let them know they are not alone, they did not need to escape, we could have dealt with life’s blows together, as friends.

I took the letter home with me.

Be Brief.