Time Traveler

What would you do if you went back x number of years? Someone asked me and I asked the specifics. Did I time travel, or was I in my younger body? Did I have my memories and experiences from current me? Specifically, I considered what it would be like, having my current memories and experiences trapped in me during my freshman year in high school. I hated high school, especially now that I’ve lived ‘real life’. “I would chew my mother out,” I finally answered.

“Really?”

“Yeah. And I would enroll in more extracurricular. I felt like she didn’t let me enroll in extracurricular.” He was surprised, especially with my bitterness towards that chapter in my life. He somehow had drawn the conclusion prior to our conversation that I was popular and social in school. “No, I was the outcast of the outcasts.”

I understand myself now well enough to have been a counselor for young me. I would have been able to point out why I was looking so desperately for validation from my peers, and that I do behave differently from them due to the isolation I went through. I would point out that the reason why I was not drawn to boys my age was because they lacked the ambition and leadership skills that are not commonly found, especially in boys, but that there were people out there that would love me for me. In fact, if I went back in time as my friend suggested, I would spend those years waiting and preparing to come back to where I am now. I would make sure to be at the college cafeteria during the first week of school where Alice and Edward would see me and invite me to sit at their table for the first time.

I even considered the relationship with my ex and how it affected my relationship I’m in now. I wouldn’t date him. I wouldn’t be content to be with anyone knowing my “soul mates” were out there and I would meet them again. What I would do is I would surprise my ex by telling him things that others didn’t know, and tell him that he was important and needed to not give up. I wonder what that would have done to him, to not have wanted anything from him and still validate him as a person. To kill time (I’m waiting years for true love) I would have probably made friends with him still, and taught him what a non-sexual significant other is, and then hang out with him and tell him the future. I think the mistake I made with the first go was that I thought that if I loved him enough he would love me back, and in a weird way it eventually kind of worked, but it wasn’t organic so it was disastrous.

I would have studied the bible more, and burned my Tarot cards sooner. I would have worked on my relationship with my mother and sister. “I know I’m not like the person I was yesterday, but today I want to be my true self, and that’s what I’m going to do, whether you can appreciate it or not,” might be the first conversation I had with them. From then on, I wouldn’t be feeble, and I would try to allow myself to argue back. I would have defended my writing time, making the argument that this could be a sign that I’m a young prodigy and my mother wouldn’t want to get in the way of that. I wouldn’t let myself be afraid anymore. I would have been a completely different person by the time I put that into practice.

I think I was still going to my father’s place every other weekend per court order, and to be honest, I would have allowed myself to go one more time. I’ve struggled now with my memory, and I think by reliving one visit to his place, I would have enough fuel for my novel to flush out my character confidently. And then I’d draw the line and say more bluntly that I was not going to be around my father anymore and that he made me uncomfortable and crossed boundaries. I think I could have prevented him from molesting my sister, and he also would not have gone to jail years later. That makes me feel strange, that the abuse my sister went through has resulted finally in my ability to go anywhere in the city without looking over my shoulder for a few years.

I would have gone up to Bailey when I saw her in the hallways, and I would have kissed her and told her I would marry her someday, before walking nonchalantly to class. She would have appreciated it, too, even before knowing. Hell, she would love me more now if I had.

I asked her this evening what she would do if she could take her current experiences and go back to her first year in high school. I’m glad I asked, though her take would have been almost opposite mine. “I would tell everyone I was bi and polyamorous, and get the shock factor out of the way then so it wouldn’t surprise them with my relationship now. They will see it coming.” And she would have made sure to have fun. Because we went to high school together at the same time, but weren’t close, it was an interesting and enriching conversation. I got to learn more about her now by hearing about the old her and her motivations, and some of my memories returned to me. I also have a greater appreciation for who I’ve grown into.

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Coffee for Two .02

Good morning! Bailey made coffee this time, and there’s chocolate flavored coffee creamer, with or without sugar. You’re right, that one is hot chocolate mix, so you can make your cup into a mocha if you would like.

How do you feel about Christian music? I feel like the majority of Christian music is like a Mardi-Gras cake. It’s the one with the plastic baby hidden inside if I have it straight, I think the proper name is a King’s Cake. It doesn’t taste good. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal, or why they haven’t changed the recipe. I think it’s only still around because of tradition and nostalgia. I feel the same way about Christian music.

Alice likes it, maybe because she grew up going to church regularly so it has a different meaning to her. I can find music that praises God without the bland flavor, like He is Legend or Flyleaf, and some Emery and Icon for Hire to move the world.

I’m making French toast, by the way, would you like some? I’m frying bananas in butter as a topping, I recommend it.

Let me play for you something from a band Edward introduced to me.

There it is- proof I’m not the only one. Did you catch the verse, “lean with it, rock with it/ when we gonna stop with it/ lyrics that mean nothing/ we were gifted with thought”? Okay maybe he was referring to what’s on the radio in general and not strictly the cheesy, monotonous, redundant music sung in church. What do you think, though?

Oh, try this lavender infused honey on the toast, it’s pretty amazing.

I like the skill of living according to one’s faith in a way that isn’t stifling and benefits even those who don’t share in that belief. I grew up repulsed by the stereotypical Christian life. I almost never went to church and didn’t know what to do when I was there, and the music was probably my least favorite part about the whole thing. Yet naively I listened to Evanescence and Flyleaf because they sounded good. I want to live a life like that, and I would like to write in such a way that I can showcase the good I believe in and not repulse those I reach out to.

I actually think that this idea is related to being polyamorous. I believe in living in love, and I think it is hypocritical to believe that God wants you to love everyone but you have to have a favorite person that you treat as greater than mortal, essentially worshiping them as above human and the source of your fulfillment. That is where I place the blame for the high divorce rate (which is isolated to monogamist relationships). Our culture has grown selfish, but I feel everything trying to balance out, a fissure growing. How can I miss it when I’m caught in it, becoming the change that put me here? Polyamory is growing in popularity (I hate that word, popularity,) but we have to do it right or it will become exactly what we are struggling to diminish.

I went too deep again, didn’t I? I hope you enjoyed the coffee.

The Ox That Won’t

Finding the beauty in things like fighting.

“I don’t feel like we’re acting of one heart and one accord.”

“What are you talking about?” Edward was almost insulted. I watched to make sure that Alice was out of earshot as I stood outside the driver side window.

“I mean in regards to the show we’re supposed to be on.”

“Because she wants to go do her own thing.” He gestured to Alice as she went into the workplace.

“She says she wants to pray that God makes it clear whether or not he wants us to be on the show-”

“I feel like we should do it,” Bailey piped in. “I know it’s going to be scary, but if we want to win, we have to be in the spotlight. What else are we going to do, nothing?”

“We’re doing nothing right now.”

“I know,” Dwight grumbled.

I continued. “If God gives you something to do, you do it, and if it doesn’t go through when you do your part, then he clearly wasn’t behind it.”

“Well, I think you need to talk to her,” was his response. I looked away, admittedly looking for an excuse. I tried talking to her about it the day before, and I fear it would have been a fight if I didn’t walk away. He continued, “If I talk to her, she’s going to feel like I’m pushing her into doing something she doesn’t want to.” I knew what he meant. Sometimes Alice will safeguard her freedom, even from us. In the same way that I will sometimes raise my voice and say stupid things, just because my mom can’t tell me not to anymore, Alice will sleep with her head at the foot of the bed. (This is annoying because someone ends up accidentally kicking her in the face in his/her sleep.) Now it made sense to me why he avoided talking about it the day before, when I was trying to address it.

“Every time I mention the video, he doesn’t respond, even if he just gave a response to something else I said,” I griped to Alice. I measured the weight of the bags I strung across my shoulders to make one trip from the car to the house.

From the other side of the baby’s car seat, doing the same thing, Alice replied, “Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s a sore subject.”

“But this was supposed to be done before the beginning of the month!”

“Okay.” I waited for her to say something more. And waited. You’re just going to leave it at that? She didn’t care about the show, and she didn’t understand why not caring was a problem. Why not doing anything was a problem. “We prayed that God would make it clear what he wants us to do, so if it happens, then it happens.”

So many reactions came to mind. At this point, if the date does get scheduled, how is God going to take you to LA if you won’t even pick up your feet to walk?! among other thoughts attempted to formulate and none of them could make it out. In between trying to pick my words, I was testing to ensure that they wouldn’t hurt and I was getting overwhelmed with just that. I could sense in her tone that she was at that point where she was going to be condescending (she doesn’t perceive when she does so, it’s not intentional) and I was at the point that I was going to be mean because of what I perceived to be immaturity. I walked away.

I pursued Alice in the workplace, yet as I caught up, reviewing my memory of the evening before and realizing I might still need time to relax before potentially starting something with her, I instead got ready to clock in and messaged Edward about the evening before and how I wasn’t sure I could talk to her without starting something. ‘Okay, we’ll talk together tonight,’ he text back.

We’re normal people. We have our disagreements. I don’t like sharing them, but I feel obligated to show by example why we get along so well. How is that expressed by discussing a situation where we weren’t in agreement? By sharing how we deal with it. Even in anger, we do not want to hurt each other, and we work together to keep the peace. There’s a reference to being evenly yoked in the bible. It’s been interpreted many different ways, but the way that we understand it is that if we’re pulling in different directions, the team doesn’t go anywhere. If we don’t all agree to do something, it doesn’t get done. No, I’m not happy about us not being on the show that the three of us feel is the best move in fighting to have our children come home, but I am proud to say that we are each respected as individuals and that we accommodate each other.

(That’s how I happen to have more ladies than you [to most of you guys who wondered what you’re doing wrong] 😛 )

Couple-Couple-Couple

“It’s my favorite couple-couple-couple!”

Katniss invented this nickname for our group, which was probably the easiest way to describe us. In our culture, if you are with someone, you are a ‘couple’. ‘Couple’ now means two people that have an intimate relationship with each other. We have yet to discover a term that so easily communicates, “Yes, I am with that person, that person, and that person. Yes, we are ‘together’ together,” the same way that a word like ‘couple’ communicates, plural. I suppose she says it three times to put emphasis on plural, or because we’re a couple of ‘couples’ and by dissecting it out it would equal the same term stated three times. So we are referred to as Katniss’s favorite ‘couple-couple-couple’ and it actually makes sense.

Katniss is a character that waits tables at a restaurant where all the servers are popular characters. Danielle was Tinkerbell (or Stinkerbell, as some wanted to put it) when we met her. I thought I wouldn’t like her, but apparently it was because she was in character. They dance and sing for happy birthdays and potty trips and for a massive platter specially for parties of four, which we thought was too ironic to let down and ordered one for ourselves. Jokes ensued, and it was the fastest way to get to know people and the most memorable thing about us. We may start our conversations with our servers using the phrase, “what is the weirdest thing anyone has told you?” This is followed with the most disappointing pause as they consider some conversations that were held with their customers and either an “I don’t know, I’ve heard a few,” “I can’t think of any,” or a not-so-amusing tale. You would think more interesting things happen, but somehow they escape memories. In theory it’s a good way to start up a conversation, and sometimes it actually does create a lively conversation where we are perplexed as much as the server. Funnily enough, I can’t think of those stories right now, either.

At another restaurant, our waitress answers that she had a customer who said that he was with two women, who knew about each other, which she found interesting enough to be memorable. “We can top that,” was my immediate response.

Red Wine Vinegar and Dill Dip

Number 11?!

“I could eat this whole thing.” Alice cradled the dill dip as I crunched on the last carrot. Actually, Grace had the last two carrots, since she couldn’t chew them up with her 4 little teeth, though she tried. “Ooooh, I wish I had Ruffles! The crunch would be so good!!!”

I doubted it was the crunch she desired. “Are you craving salt?”

“…maybe.” She eyed the dip dreamily.

“Don’t do it.”

“I’m not going to.”

“You’re thinking about it.”

She did this thing where she chuckled almost bashfully, it’s pretty cute. “I did eat half a cabbage yesterday. And a cup of red wine vinegar….” We looked at each other.

***

She came back into the room, flustered. “I’m confused, what do you think?” She handed it to me. How was she confused? “It looks faint, so-”

“Hon. That’s not faint.” I matched the lines to the label. Oh $#!t….

She tore open the second package. “I did get the cheap one. It wasn’t the twenty dollar one, it was the seven dollar one that comes with two…” We compared the variable and the control, examining them like scientists.

“That’s not f***ing faint,” I repeated.

We looked at each other with half shock, half dread, half euphoria. Three halves make an overflow and it poured into a commotion, a word we were teaching Gary today. “Oh $#!t,” I repeated. “We can’t tell Bailey yet.”

Bailey and Ed have been working really hard for her to conceive. She prayed for a baby and I got one. It was like the story of Jacob and Rachel for a while, but she finally made peace with it. To help I started knitting a pair of baby booties in her favorite color, specially for her baby. “I think Bailey will have a baby next,” Edward had told Alice earlier that day. More like “I sure hope she has a baby first.”

“Not that you’re not welcome,” I start saying to Alice’s tummy.

“Five kids in six years. I wonder if this one will be a boy, or… will I have five girls.” Grace tried to stick the test in her mouth. Alice gave her the wrapper to play with instead.

I warned, “You’d better take it from her before Ed gets home.” As if by premonition, we hear the front door open. Alice snatches up the tests, I grab the box, and we both shove it in the corner. I remember to grab the wrapper from Grace’s mouth and crumple it into my fist. Grace looks at us wide eyed from the rush of action and starts to cry, sharing in our panic. “It’s Steve,” I try to reassure Alice, remembering that we have a smoker roommate that probably went out into the cold. The second I relax the bedroom door opens and our fears are realized, and I slip my fist into my pocket.

“How was your dinner?” we ask.

Entangled

Alice had curly hair. It took an afternoon of snipping rags, an evening of twirling her wet hair and tying the loops, and a night of letting it dry. The next day, bouncy locks.

Evening that day she sighed, “Charlie, I don’t know how you do it.” She was chopping vegetables for ramen-noodle stir fry when I crawled out of bed from my spontaneous nap. I stared at her blankly, groggy and confused. She elaborated, “I have to keep reminding myself I can’t run my fingers through my hair.” Her shiny curls cascaded down her shoulders.

“Oh yeah. I can only do it after I brush my hair while I have conditioner in it.” She complained that Bailey still tried combing her fingers through it, which is breaking one of those unspoken rules about having curly hair, causing it to frizz. We went back and forth with the other challenges that come with curls. She acted out the girl’s reactions to her new style, and despite Ed’s displeasure with her changing it up (he loves our hair long and natural), he still complimented her about it.

“How do you do it?” she went on.

“I leave it alone. It took me a while to learn that you can’t tame it, you have to let it do its thing. Don’t control it. It’s like a woman.”

Later Ed and Bailey were having a discussion in the bedroom and Guinevere needed to eat again. I took her with me to the bathroom where Alice was showering, so I could chat with her while nursing the baby. “I have so much more respect for you,” she groaned again, head achingly bent forward as she tried to tug the hairbrush through conditioner saturated, matted hair. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I brush it out before I get it wet. I thought of telling you, but I didn’t know if you would need to since it’s not naturally curly…”

“Thanks for telling me ahead of time.” She tugged some more. “I don’t think I can save this, I need scissors.”

“Let me see.” I don’t get knots nearly that big. I tried pulling at opposing parts to get it loose, but it was doomed. Still, I didn’t want to go across the house topless to get scissors. “I saw nail clippers somewhere that they didn’t belong, but I can’t remember where now.” I looked around the toilet where I was perched, wondering if they had been on the floor.

“Oh, I remember, they’re just outside the door.” I looked down at the bundle of joy in my arms and imagined trying to maneuver around with her. “I can get it,” she offered. “No one’s out there, right?” We each took into account that the boys had gone to a friend’s birthday party. I unlocked the door for her with my one free hand. Her hand was tangled into her hair. She ran out real quick and we each were hit by the realization that there were a lot of windows. Whoops.