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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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In All Honesty...

I am in a very strange place... Every now and again, like fault lines, the cracks in reality widen a little and what lies beneath scares the shit outta me. When you don't have all the too busy in life to fill your days... you know, like a job or a husband that's around.. you tend to think about shit way too much..

My computer is broken.. Repairs will be hundreds of dollars so I haven't been online much lately. Which is nice.. don't have anything to say. Or maybe I have so much to say it will explode all over the monitor like a can of soda pop when shaken too much.

The Surge is home again. Then he leaves in a few days. It's tough to get used to someone, then they go.. Right when you adjust to them being home again, they're leaving. Fucking rollercoaster of this married life I lead. In all honesty I don't know what the fuck I'm typing.. Just relaying random thoughts as they flap through my brain. How is everyone? Somebody tell me a story.

A Hard Day Of Nothin' Much At All

She wakes up slowly. Gliding upward toward consciousness like a scuba diver rising to the surface. She breaks through the slumber barrier, acknowledges the bright sunlight crawling noisily through the blinds, scrubs the sleep from her eyes and sits up.

Instantly it snaps into her brain like a sharp slap to the face. She physically winces as if actually struck and falls back onto the bed, deadweight. She doesn't want to be awake. Craves the safe cocoon of snug bed covers, the dog's gentle snores that puff his gray lips with air and leave them flapping ever so slightly.. pffft pffft pffft pffft. And there are her dreams of a better reality.

But this is reality. This is life now.

It's not so bad, she tells herself. She's got her dog and her health. Allegedly. That's what folks always say when they're trying to make you feel better, she thinks. They serve you a steaming helping of cliche. "At least you have your health."

She suppposes those tired words of wisdom may gain meaning as she stumbles further into the future. Really she knows the cliche won't mean anything until she doesn't have her health anymore. And then, when it's too late to be thankful for her health, when her fingers have curled into arthritic claws and her brittle bones creak with the slightest maneuver, it will finally mean something.

Maybe she'll turn into one of the very people who have offered her words of encouragement these past few months. Benevolently pressing unsolicited advice onto her, like a Christmas gift. "There, there dearest, at least you have your health." Off you go.

He was killed six months ago. It feels like six days ago. Might as well have been six hours ago. She remains broken with grief. As often happens nowdays, her thoughts dance through a kaleidescope of memories, struggling to trap the events behind shiny glass, like pictures and then hang them in her mind's eye for safekeeping.

That's the thing about memories though, she thinks. You can't store them anywhere safe. You remember moments, wrinkles in time, good-bye kisses, rabid love-making, passionate fights.. but eventually you begin to wonder if you remember the actual events or you're just remembering the memory.

Memory isn't a tangible thing like a photograph. You'd like to think it is, but it's not. It's like when somebody tells the same story for years and years.. little by little the words change, exaggerations give birth to new details until finally, the story hardly resembles what actually happened.

That's why it's hard to trust her own memories now. Is that what really happened, she asks herself. Or am I romanticizing it because he's dead, because that's what I wish would've happened, what could've happened had I paid more attention when life was good. At least with a photograph I can look at it, can trace the lines of his face and know that it's authentic. That is what his sandy colored hair looked like that day. That's just how his green eyes always sparkled.

She absently strokes the dog's rump and rubs her feet together underneath the comforters. She stares at the ceiling. She turns on her side and stares at the wall. After a couple hours tick by she shifts onto her back and stares at the ceiling again. Soon darkness will fall. The sun will rise after that. And still, she stares at the ceiling.


ser·en·dip·i·ty ( P ) Pronunciation Key (srn-dp-t) n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2.The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

When I was 22 I met you. And it was magic. We simmered in the gloriously spicy stew of the first hello, first conversation, first kiss... I liked you. You liked me. So much so you immediately said goodbye to the generic blonde you were dating.

But I was tangled up in a debilitating relationship with Older Married Guy. His sea weed fingers tightly wrapped around my legs, pulling me below the suface.. Each time I managed to kick free, the weed multiplied, snaked around my body once again, slithered through my fingers, whispered sweet nothings into my hair... then yanked me beneath.. And so I let you go.

Nine months later I thought that, like Houdini, I had unlocked myself from the chains, slashed my way out of the bag and frantically wiggled toward light, toward the surface.. We saw each other again but you had returned to the generic blonde.

That didn't matter to me.. After pulling out all the stops, you were mine. But the fickle 23 year old inside let you go again. If you liked me so easily you obviously weren't that valuable, right? I longed for a challenge. And so I tossed you back. I was young, confused, needed to sample what life offered me in the way of male companionship. You were just so crazy about me. And so nice. Nice. A death sentence for a young man hoping to land the girl of his dreams. I thought it just couldn't be that easy.. I required passion, drama. To know someone cared about me, I needed them to yell at me, not stare at me with puppy dog eyes.

So once again, like a beautiful fish, I threw you back into the sea, choosing instead to get involved in a violent relationship that involved emergency phone calls and embarrassing public altercations. But you know this. Sometimes I would call you, crying about this latest fight, that latest humiliation...and you would patiently listen and offer advice. Because you are that kind of man.

Then, after years of heartache, wondering what was wrong with me.. like a shot to the heart I realized. I understood that I was repeating my dysfunctional familial relationships with my boyfriends. The shouting, the degrading... That's what I was used to. It felt normal. And unless I changed something, I would repeat the pattern with my children. Creating an environment where yelling replaces talking, silence replaces laughter, fear replaces contentment.

I left him then. I came looking for you. You, who loved my perfect imperfections. But of course it was too late. You were with Her. And my heart was broken. I couldn't bare it that I had so horribly misunderstood the meaning of love and companionship.

I saw you with Her that hot, summer day and although it was painful, I stayed and anesthetized the hurt with liquor.. I watched Her. I even spoke with Her briefly. I needed to know what She was like. What it was that drew you to Her? But I knew within moments of speaking to Her that She wasn't for you. I cried. I deliberated. Should I tell him I love him? That She isn't right for him? I wrote you letters but never sent them. Left you voicemails and erased them. I knew I had lost my chance.

And we moved on.. You continued your life with Her.. I dated others. We ran into each other once on a ski slope. You were polite, distant. I was crushed. I cried. But it was meant to be.

Eventually I found the man of my dreams and let my past dissolve like fog when a brilliant sun shines through.. Unbeknownst to either of us we each married someone else only hours apart. What are the odds? You in one Utah canyon, me, a few miles away, in another.

We embarked on our married lives, each of us unaware of what the other was up to.. And then this past Sunday I was struck with thoughts of you. I wonder what he's up to? I wonder if he's married? Maybe he has kids now... So I employed that old stalker stand-by and Googled you.

All the time, there you right inside my monitor. Your phone number, your work address. So I called you.
"I can't believe you just called me." You said.
"I just found out my wife has been cheating on me. She's with him right now."

We talked. Marveled at the serendipitous nature our lives have taken. Separating and joining us when fate sees fit. You explained your behavior on the ski slope...It rocked you to see me, only days before you planned to ask Her to marry you. You couldn't talk to me, were afraid of being drawn back toward me. You couldn't believe after years of not seeing me you ran into me just days before becoming engaged.

Serendipity. Out of the blue sky, I am struck by thoughts of you and call you on the very day your marriage crumbles.. when you most need a friend. Serendipity. It is my turn. Now I can pay you back for being such a solid friend all those years ago by being a strong support now. You will be okay. I know this.

So Aaaanyway...

"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3."
Fuck. Just hit 1 I tell myself. Now! Do it now!
I press 2 and cringe in horror as my overmodulated voice thrums down the line. As I listen to the Spoken Word that is my voicemail message I realize I said the word "anyway" at least as many times as Brangelina has graced the cover of US Weekly in the past year.

What I thought was a charming little message left for an old friend I haven't talked to in years is actually a sad festival of stuttering overmodulation giving the impression I suffer from a speech impediment and Close Talker syndrome. And what's with all the bandying about the word "anyway"?
'So... Anyway... just wanted to say hello and see what you're up to. Anyway... give me a call. I live in New York City now. Anyway. I'll talk to you soon." Jesus. You'd think I was auditioning for, like, head cheerleader on One Tree Hill.

"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3." The operator intones.
I press 3, clear my throat, hold the phone a tad away from my mouth, appropriate what I imagine to be a breezy tone and give it another go.
What with all the pressure of leaving a masterfully planned, 'spontanteous' message I got all nervous, flubbed my 'lines' then tried to cover with an adolescent giggle that would have prompted casting directors to give me the lead in Nickelodeons next big hit.
"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your message press 3."
I can do this. Here we go again...

I leave a casual little message, try to keep it on the short side and sign off. Don't listen to it! my mind screams. Just hit send! You're not recording an album here, it's a fucking phone message! God damn these choices. Why does it give me the option to listen to myself? I'm certain to find something I don't like in EVERY message!

I press 2 and listen to my message. Motherfucker! It sounds like I'm reading from a script. I sound more operator than the operator! I can't send that, I'll sound like an asshole. I press 3 to erase and re-record my message.
Keep it short! I tell myself. Short and sweet. Okay. Here goes:

"Hey! (Nice work.. cheerful but not TOO cheerful) It's me, Monica B!elank* (Shit, he doesn't know your new last name) Well, Butler...But it's B!elank* now, I got married (He doesn't need a fucking book on tape, just leave your number and say goodbye!) Anyway, I was just calling to see how you're doing, you know? (Okay leave your number and sign off. LEAVE YOUR NUMBER AND SIGN OFF!!) Was wondering how your life turned out... Anyway... give me a call back if you feel like it (If you feel like it? Duh!) So anyway, I got married a year ago.. well, almost two.. one and a half actually ( Oh. My. God. Stop talking!) I live in New York City now and.. well.. anyway (Stop talking now!) Just wanted to say hello and see what you're up to (You already said that!) Aaaaanyway, my phone number is probably on your cell phone so just give me a call..(Mayday! Mayday!) Well, in case the number didn't show up I'll just give it to you as well (Abort! Abort! Abort!) 347-403-****... So, anyway.. hope to talk to you soon.
"To send your message press 1, to listen to your message press 2, to erase and re-record your mesage press 3."

Out In Style...

Before I met him, The Surge made a music video for one of the songs off Marah's Float Away With The Friday Night Gods (2002).. I found it on the internet today and thought I'd post it here.. I love it. Makes me giggle... Plus he's naked at some points... and that's always a bonus.
Now Playing: Marah - Out In Style