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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Beautiful Bones... Or What Happens When Monica Watches Too Much CSI

You walk all over me. My DNA is caked to the bottom of your shoes, but you don't know I'm here. I've been here a long time. Waiting. My crumbling bones fertilizing the earth, becoming one with the cold, damp soil.

I was alive once. Like you. I laughed, I cried. I laughed until I cried. I loved. As much as a 16 year old girl can love. In many ways, I've decided the love of one so young is feverish, more vibrant than the quiet love I saw between my parents. Theirs was a tired love. The kind of love that groans like an exhausted old man when forced to get up off the couch. They'd been together so long it seemed not so much a choice as a routine. Old habits die hard, like me. The act of my parents holding hands not dissimilar to the brushing of teeth. Occasionally their love simmered, like the chicken soup Mom used to make on cold winter evenings, like tonight. But unlike the soup, I never saw their love boil.

I think about that a lot. And I think about Jacob. What might have been. Would our love have become weary, limping forward out of habit? As father time nibbles at my decaying flesh - long gone now - and my once fashionable jogging suit disintegrates into mildewed scraps, I think... I have lots of time to think.

I replay that last night over and over again. Each time imagining myself living it differently. Living. One seemingly insignificant change and it might have ended differently - or it might not have ended at all. I would be there with you, instead of here, a mangled marriage of bone and fabric, slowly decomposing in my improvised grave.

"Wanna watch Sleepless In Seattle with me? It just came out on video." my little sister asked.
"I'm going to go for a quick jog first"
"When you get back?"
"When I get back." I affirmed.

Only I never made it back. He stepped out of the darkness, sweaty palm clamped securely over my mouth and nose before I could scream. Before I could breath. Salty, sausage fingers hooked into my cheek and pulled me away.

My 98 pound struggle, no match for his hulking girth. Branches tore at my bare arms as he forced me deeper into the darkest corner of the park. The sour stench of stale sweat infiltrated my world and my mind exploded. Air rushed from my lungs with the force of a popped balloon.

He kissed me hard, rubbed his sandpaper jaw jaggedly across my cheeks. His thick, wet tongue pried my lips apart, insinuating itself in my mouth. I bucked ferociously, but my arms were pinned into the cold earth that would become my final resting place.

Eventually I gave in. Submission. Hoping he would have his way and leave me to find my way. Home. To warmth and light. To my sister and Sleepless In Seattle casting flickering blue-gray shadows across her sweet face.. Home to Mom reading in bed, Dad tinkering in the basement and Shadow snoring on the carpet. Familiarity. Dazzling in it's sameness.

Ultimately he left me - but I never found my way home. As he grunted on top of me like an animal, he wrapped his meaty hands around my throat and squeezed until I saw beautiful bursts of light. Bright reds, yellows and oranges.. Then blues, purples and black. And then nothing. And now this. Waiting. To be found. For my bones to tell the story of my death. And then my life.

A 16 year old girl went on a jog once and never returned.

Dinner Party Dynamics

This is a true story:

Green has a crush on Red and although they've exchanged bodily fluids, Red harbors not-so-secret feelings for Black. Black belongs to Orange, as much as he can ever really belong to another. Orange is very aware of the other color that longs for her lover, but Orange is not worried. She knows Orange and Black go together, like Halloween and it's two-tone pallete.

Green is roommates with Blue who pines in a sarcastically serious way for Yellow. Yellow is best friends with Orange and also happened to hook up with Red one drunken night. Black is related to Silver who once shared hot summer kisses with Yellow but is now betrothed to Purple.

The lush colors shimmer luminously, lending an ethereal beauty to the otherwise dark night. They are strange and lovely, painting each other with broad, textured strokes. Somehow, despite the risk of mixing and muddling into an offensively ugly brown, they manage to remain individual and refined. Magically complimenting each other like the hues of a rainbow during a storm. The storm of life.

Too Big For My Britches

I am too big for my britches. Not in the way you might be thinking. Oh that I were afflicted with an inflated ego as opposed to just being heavier than I've ever been. I am quite literally too big for my britches. As I roll steadily onward, bearing down on the gates that herald the entrance into my fourth decade of life I've discovered a grim phenomenon.

Back fat.

Maybe you're acquainted with back fat, maybe not. Either way, you can imagine my horror upon discovering (with the assistance of three-way hotel mirrors and grisly flourescent lighting) these fistfuls of flesh creeping out the tops of my jeans in the back.


Ass fat has been with me for so long we're nearly friends. Thigh fat introduced itself to me in my mid-twenties with a hearty handshake and a booming "pleased to meet ya!" Fastening tightly to my body, thigh fat seems to have developed a case of separation anxiety. It refuses to let me out of it's sight. Belly fat, that flaky bitch, comes and goes, seemingly coinciding most directly with my immediate eating habits.

But back fat. This fucker sneaks up on you, tiptoeing behind you and when you ain't looking, slyly attaches itself to your back. Back fat is a sucker puncher. That's why it's behind you. What's next? Finger fat?

Austin: The First Time

I'm packing for Texas. Headed to SXSW via Chicago early tomorrow morning. Austin holds a special place in my heart. It's where The Surge and I fell in love. I'm excited to go back. If you've read Mormon To Married In Manhattan, you know the story. Short version: after meeting The Surge during a gig in Salt Lake City, I drove over 20 hours to meet up with him in Austin. The trip sealed the deal.. and our love.. and the rest of our lives... As I'm a chronic journaler, here then, are those entries from Austin:

August 26, 2004

Wow... Wow! Wow! Wow! Here I sit at a little coffee joint on a main thoroughfare in Austin, Texas. This is the life for me. Free... Meeting interesting people...Seeing new things.. EVERY DAY. I can never go back. Serge. He is it for me. He is so beautiful. His mind is so fantastic. So vivid, so imaginitive, intelligent, funny. I love being with him. My system is somewhat shut down. It's all a bit much for me... So my soul just goes on autopilot. It pretends like I am used to all this happening to me. It's hot. A wet heat. Unlike the dry desert from whence I came.. Sorry - I've been reading Dickens and it seeps into my vocabulary. But if anybody else's words are seeping into my vocab - I'm glad it's Dickens. I can't talk about Serge much. I know I should, but it's too hard. He is in the midst of things with Catherine. He doesn't know what to do. I know that she is not for him. I know this. But in the meantime it is hard. But I am quite calm. And not jealous because I am so certain we are supposed to be together. Jesus. I look around myself.. and there are so many fantastic people sitting around me. Nothing like Salt Lake. I can't wait for my trip to New York. It's so strange. I feel like I've lived in the fog until now. Then. The switch was flipped and I woke up. To the real me. I'm all over the place. I know. I am finally me! And it will only get better. Everything makes sense to me. I have a higher level of understanding. I look back and it all comes to now. This point of jumping off.. and never going back. I am finally me...

August 28, 2004

Serge called me from Texas

I have died and gone to heaven. My heart is hammering, am having trouble breathing. My beautiful Serge.. Holy christ. This is it. It's almost to much to write, but I know that I have to. I have met the man of my dreams. This passionate, beautiful boy loves me back. And life makes sense. I am completely, utterly wordless. I don't know what to say. . Just the facts ma'am. Okay. Serge called tonight. He says he loves me. And wants to be with me. And that's the way it is. This is so important. Oh my god, it scares me how important it all is.. Everything I have done in life was in preparation for Serge Christopher Bielanko. I don't feel a bit silly writing about him.. as I have in the past about others. August 28th. The official start of the greatest thing I will ever do in my life. This beautiful love story. Serge, read this when we are old and remember all the heart stopping things you said to me tonight. Remember, you taking a wild leap and letting yourself fall. It's the best thing you've ever done, or will do. I love everything you've been, everything you are and everything you will become, with me by your side.

In Which Monica Is Shamed (In A Most Heinous Fashion) Into Doing Her Part To Save The Planet

I don't recycle. Really I just can't be bothered. I have more pressing issues than the environment. Save your lectures. Yup, I let the water run when I brush my teeth too. I live on the edge, man. You will be happy to note, however, that I ALWAYS scrape my plate clean for the starving children in China or Somalia or wherever Angelina Jolie last visited. If it's a really good meal I've been known to lick the plate... if The Surge isn't looking, that is. Although it's doubtful the licking maneuver would surprise him.. Yesterday evening I had just finished scooping up the last of the cheese sauce from a bowl with my index finger and looked up to find him staring at the woman he married, a look of horror affixed to his mug. But I digress.

Recycling. It's all the rage amongst you do-gooders. Happily sorting plastics, papers and aluminums, god love you... It's not because I don't care about the environment.. it's just that recycling in Utah was nearly impossible whilst living in my particular condominium. There was only the main dumpster, you see - so you were on your own if you wanted to sort recyclables.. Well you could sort all you wanted, it was getting them to the proper recycling location that was the hard part.

Eventually, city officials proffered giant blue garbage cans for homeowners.. but that left all us condo dwellers out in the cold... which was fine by me - I figured the global warming I was gallantly escorting into fruition would keep me toasty. Alas, I never got into the habit of recycling.. Until today. And now I will never leave a stray bit of plastic or aluminum languishing amongst my empty Doritos bags. Ever. Did I mention EVER?

The Surge is Texas bound as I type, so I took advantage of the empty apartment and used the morning to clean. Y'know - the kind of cleaning he never does.. Tub and toilet scrubbin', refrigerator blitz (dead produce, the humanity!) floor mopping and so forth.

At the end of my whirling dervish of spotlessness I emptied all the trash cans in the house.. This included the bathroom bin and the kitchen garbage can. Then I left the full-to-bulging bags by the front door where I could grab them for deposit in my apartment trash cans on my way to work.

I ran a comb through my snarls, brushed my choppers and slapped a bit 'o' paint on my deathly winter pallor, smooched Maxer g'bye and left for work. As I exited my apartment building I noticed the elderly Polish woman who lives upstairs messing about with the five garbage cans that call the front of my apartment home.

Now there is nothing unusual in this. Said Polish woman messes about with the trash cans once a week. I've noticed it coincides with the arrival of the garbage collectors and figured her cause legitimate as opposed to the legions of crazy elderly women who can regularly be seen going through the garbage in search of a bite to eat. Well, hunger is as legitimate a cause as any - but you know what I mean.

The woman had just finished lugging the trash from our apartment building to the curb. Several heavy duty black trash bags lined the street awaiting pick up. As I felt silly depositing my refuse in the newly emptied garbage cans, I asked if I should put my flimsy, white trash bags next to the others at the curb.

In response, she waddled over to me and yanked the bags from my grip. It wasn't an unkind gesture, more of a grandmotherly-let-me-do-that-for-you-because-I've-been-doing-it-for-years-and-you'll-just-fuck-it up gesticulation. So I handed my bags, stuffed with - among other objectionable items - wet coffee grounds, dirty tampon applicators and yes, wet hair from the drain in my bathroom (I threw up a little in my mouth when I typed the wet hair bit... is there anything worse??)

I stood there uncertainly, not sure if my help was expected or required.. I'd assumed she was maybe going to stuff my two offerings to the Garbage Gods into one of her heavy duty black bags at the curb. But she didn't do that. It was worse, so much worse.

She started by stuffing one of my bags into the other one. Right. Consolidating the trash.. Makes sense. But in the midst of the trash compaction the aged geriatric paused, I could nearly see her nose twitch, and like Max chasing birds, she pounced.

Liver spotted hands clawed apart the plastic bag and talon fingers began an achaeological dig through my trash. Holy Christ! What IS she doing!!! I was truly at a loss. The first thing to spill from the bag was the clump of wet hair from the shower drain. She brushed it aside like so much lint and continued to rummage. Coffee grounds gathered beneath ragged fingernails and still she pressed on.. Used tampon applicators clattered to the sidewalk.

I stood, horrified as the remnants from the past view days of living plopped obscenely onto the sidewalk. In addition to the tampons and wet hair horror, the trash bag (with the assistance of it's Polish midwife) gave birth to moldy banana peels and rotten veggies.

My antediluvian neighbor continued to scrap her way through Bielanko life until she located the abomination. The Soddom and Gomora for environmentalists the world over: A plastic two-liter of Diet Coke.
"Idiotka! Skurwysyn!" she muttered under her breath.
"Can I help you with something there?" I asked helplessly.

The senior spinster ignored me and tossed the empty container behind her and continued pilfering my trash. My offer to help was instantly forgotten the moment I eyeballed a used condom loitering at the bottom of the bag. Mother of god. I will puke right here if she digs through that.

Bony hands rampaged through tissues and coffee filters (both used!) until she located the second cause of her seemingly immense distress. Another Diet Coke container. This one half full.
"Pierdolony Fagas!" she cast a disparaging, milky blue eye my way, twisted off the top of the container and emptied the flat liquid into the gutter.
"Okay then." I said. "Thanks for the help."
"BLUE! BLUE!" She shrieked. Desperately I tried to comprehend. Code blue? Is she having a heart attack? Is this hospital jargon? Annoyed with my dithering, she gathered the offending Diet Coke bottles and shoved them at me, the sinner.
"BLUE!" She nudged me backward while pointing a claw at the garbage cans in front of my apartment.

Understanding razored through my mind. She wanted me to put the bottles in the blue trash can. The one for recycling!

So I did. And you can bet your goddamn life I'll be utilizing ol' "BLUE" in the years to come.. If only to keep my trash - and myself by proxy - from another public raping.