Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Note: today's post is a throw back essay from 2016.  I found this half written essay last week while I was going through my archives, and had an extremely loud laugh over it with D (could have been due to the content, could also have been due to the giant bottle of wine we were sharing at the time).  I am out in CA for the week focusing on some family time, but thought everyone could use a post-Thanksgiving, mired in holiday shopping laugh at this time!  Fair warning, apparently I was in a mood when I wrote it and there is a lot of colorful language.  I hope you enjoy!

Original Essay written 5/21/2016

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, I had a good idea.  A writing idea.  I was going to write about reality and perception and gratitude.  I was going to draw the veil back across our Instagram curated lives and reveal the seedy underbelly, and then blow your minds with the truth that in that seedy underbelly was more beauty than I had every dreamed possible.

I have this picture, which is the backdrop for this entire conversation.  You were going to be amazed, delighted, enlightened.  You were going to close your eyes, nod your head a little bit, and in your mind say "yeah....yeah."

Lucy and Riley painting in the backyard.

But you're not going to actually do that.  Because I am not going to write that piece anymore.  Because I am an asshole.

I was looking at this picture while sitting on the floor on second floor landing listening to one girl snoring softly and the other girl sing (which is a loose interpretation of that verb) "Go away Ana!" over and over again.  I was thinking about pictures and images and image and truth.  Something started to click.  So I ran upstairs to my desk in the attic.  I was excited!  I haven't written for too long.  Inspiration, time, etc.  There are a million excuses.  But I felt it tonight!  Something was plucking at my subconscious, wanting to get out.  There was only one load of laundry to fold instead of the usual four.  Half of the children were already asleep!

As I ran up the stairs the stars seemed to align even more.  The evening light was streaming in through the attic windows.  The laptop was plugged in at the desk.  The wayward toddler was no longer wailing lines from Frozen.  The scene was set.

Look at my gorgeous desk!  Actually
it is a lot more cluttered now than it usually is.

I sat down at the desk and cracked open the computer...and froze.

What.  The fuck.  Is that?

Is that a...coffee stain?  No, wait.  Two coffee stains?  Two perfectly round coffee stains in two separate spots four inches from each other.  On my Aunt Virginia's gorgeous wooden desk.  The desk that my parents drove out from California.  The desk that we had to surgically disassemble and reassemble after using a rope and pulley system to haul it up the tiny stairway and into my attic office.  The desk that I love, because family and history and old wooden furniture, you know.

The desk on which I keep a literal stack of fabric coasters.  Three fabric coasters.  Three fucking fabric coasters that are stacked, literally, no more than six inches away from these two fucking coffee stains.
Coffee rings to the right.  Many coasters to the left. 
Notice the coffee cup demonstrating their mode of use!

I sit, staring at the circles, still slightly wet.  I go numb.  Finally I spring into action, jump out of the chair and run for the cupboard in the little attic hallway where I keep the Old English polish and cleaning spray and the rag.  Seriously, I keep a bottle of Old English in the attic JUST for my desk.   I use the dusting spray.  Nothing.  A light, now slightly white circle remains on the formerly golden brown wood.  I spray on the polish.  No effect.  I polish the entire desk anyway, just to see if the oil needs some time to sink into the stains.

Nope.  No change.

I sit at the computer.  I stare at the coffee stains.  I forget why I came upstairs in the first place.  I cease to be anything except for a receptacle for dark, unforgiving thoughts.

Seriously?  Seriously?!  Does anyone else in this house even know what a fucking coaster looks like?!?  Why do we keep them everywhere when I am the only one who ever uses them, and also the person least likely to spill a drink?!!?!!

I mean, they were literally RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU!!!!

How did you spill twice and not notice?!  Or did you notice and just didn't give a shit that you were staining my new/old desk!?

Nobody appreciates me or what I do here.  No one even notices!  I just cook and clean for myself and my own enjoyment anyway.  If I disappeared it would be over a week before they noticed the dirty clothes piling up and realized they had been eating ramen and spaghettios for every meal.  I might as well just lock myself up here Mrs. Rochester style and spend my time doing what everyone thinks I do and read trashy novels and eat ice cream.  And then burn the house down!

Now, you shouldn't be so hard on him Crystal, you are saying.  After all, he was probably talking about Haiti, or consulting on a medical malpractice case.  And then he was probably late for his important work.  I mean, Haiti and work, both of the things that are more important than anything you have to do.  So it's no wonder that you aren't writing now, because the mess he made while doing more important things was just the thing you should be cleaning up instead of doing anything like writing!

Yeah.  I know.  Dark, right?  Not at all conducive to healthy marital communication, or giving your partner the benefit of the doubt, or offering them grace.  Or, you know, mental health in general.  The important thing to note here is that I dealt with it in a supremely mature manner.  I bottled down those emotions and never spoke of them to Don again, until December of 2019 when I found this unpublished essay while going through some of my blog archives!

No comments:

Post a Comment