Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Longest Day

MIdsummer - even before I publicly acknowledged that I am a witch, this was my favorite day of the year. The day the sun stays with us the longest - I dunno why - has always been a magical day for me.

I can remember when I was a kid laying on my neighbor's lawn (they had the best lawn), staring at the sky and watching the clouds. My brother, friends and I would shout out what we saw up above - summer was so magical then. We could stay out late. Ride our bikes all over the neighborhood. Run through the sprinkler, and then make mud pies in the gutter - and we were free until mom called us back inside after the sun went down.

Summer seemed like an endless present of sunny days, bathing suits, and watermelon. On very special days, my mom would drop us off at the theater, where we would see a double-feature. On other special days, she'd drop us off at the Lagoon, and we'd spend all day splashing in the muddy water. The rest of the time, we hung out with the neighborhood kids, playing games, roller skating, dressing up - whatever, really - it didn't matter, because we didn't have to go to school.

Summer isn't as magical to me now as it was then, with the exception of midsummer. On this day, I can feel the magic of yesteryear as clearly now as I did when I was eight years old. I can still feel the sticky sweat on my forehead, taste the refreshing sweetness of a cold Coke on a red hot day, and hear the sounds of the neighborhood kids chanting "Red Rover, Red Rover..." It's as if no time has past - but of course, it has. Lots of it, in fact.

We held our ritual outdoors and burned an effigy of the Sun God. We toasted the sun with wine and feasted on hot dogs, salads, and chocolate cake. And as the sun made its way down, we sat around the fire and talked about our future, together and apart. We were united underneath the sun of the longest day, and magic surrounded us.

I hope I never lose my fascination with midsummer, for it's the one day of the year I can count on in which the veil is lifted and I am once again eight-years-old, with no cares in the world whatsoever. I see fairies and shooting stars and clouds shaped like bunnies. I feel love and joy and complete freedom...that is, until mom calls me back home to face the reality that is the mundane, everyday world of home life.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strange, but True

Tonight I was out with my girlfriends, and I ended up driving one of them home. On the way, she said that the evening was another bust - another night in which she didn't meet anyone who flipped her switch. Another lonely night...

It took a minute for this to sink in. Why? Because she's the one most of the single guys I've met ask me about. "Hey, PJammy, what about your friend? Is she seeing someone? Is she free?" And here she was, expressing some of the same things I've thought time and time again... "Why not me?"

In all honesty, I don't expect to meet anyone on our dancing nights. I look at it as girls' night out, and don't even entertain the idea that I might meet someone. Still...when we do other things together, I think "Maybe tonight?" And in that vein, I pay a little extra attention to what I put on - clothing, lipstick, jewelery.

So, when one of the "pretty" girls says she's disappointed that she didn't meet anyone and she's lonely and wants someone, I realize that at our core - our heart - we are the same. We want the same things: love, security, a big hug, some tender and not-so-tender kisses, and, well, a little, ahem, something extra.

One could say that we went home alone tonight. And in the literal sense, that's true. But actually, we both went home together, our hearts in harmony and our desires mutual. The pretty girl and the not-so-pretty girl are one and the same in this quest for love. For now we have each other - but it's not enough so we continue to hope. And dream. And wish. And if we're lucky, our wishes will come true.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Go Out...Tonight?

After announcing financial difficulties, my horoscope ended with this: Tonight: go out and have a good time! And when I read my horoscope while drinking my coffee, I nodded and said "Yes, Astro, I am going out tonight!"

But the day wore on. And on. And on. And except for a bright spot in the morning, the day just didn't end. And neither did the rain. So when the girls started backing out of tonight's plans one-by-one, I actually started to feel some relief. A night indoors. Yay...I think.

I was ambivalent about it. In reality, I didn't want to make an effort. It was just that kind of day - the kind of day that left me wanting to put on my sweat pants and stay at home. But when I called my friend Ms. C to see if she was also going to give up on tonight's planned outing, she said no.

After three phone conversations, it was decided that she was going to go to the movies with L. That was perfect! She had company, and I could stay at home, curled up under a blanket. I went into the kitchen to scrounge up some food. Shortly after a tiny bit of success, the phone rang again. Ms. C said, "Hey! It turns out that all L. really wants is some popcorn and chocolate, and I have that here. So, we are going to watch a movie at my place. You in?"

And I was. In like Flint. See, when I went into the kitchen, I fully expected that I would have to turn on the light, as it had to be dark out, right? Wrong. It was still light outside. Would this day never end?

I brushed my stumps, put on my shoes and left for Ms. C's house. We talked and got the snacks ready. L. arrived with her dog, Buddy, who is now officially my new boyfriend. We talked, and then we sat down to watch Mildred Pierce, surrounded by popcorn, chocolate, stuffed mushrooms and dogs.

After the movie, I left because I have an early day tomorrow (oops...I probably should be in bed. Dang it!). I checked email and saw my horoscope still in there. I hadn't deleted it. I opened it up to see if there was some reason I hadn't. And the last portion of the 'scope stood out like a hooker in a bridal shop: Tonight: go out and have a good time!

I can't believe I had forgotten that part of my horoscope. And yet, going out was the perfect antidote to a draggy day. Good friends. Good food. Good movie. Good dogs. And sweat pants. I am pretty sure I enjoyed all of that more than I would have our original plan. In fact, I know I did.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sweet Home Alabama

When the girls and I go out dancing. there is one song that always gets us up on the dance floor: Sweet Home Alabama. It's one of "our" songs. Our other no fail song is "The Joker (Space Cowboy)."

I think it's cool that we all rock out to the same song, although I know our reasons for loving the song are all different. For me, the song always takes me back to Aschaffenburg, Germany - my first duty station. I was in a room with four other girls, and one of my roomies hailed from Mobile, Alabama.

Her name was Mary, and she was supposed to be my "sponsor" when I first arrived. She wasn't happy with that assignment, so she often pawned off her duties to someone else. I thought she hated me - in the end, she turned out to be my best friend.

Mary was a bit of a partier, and rarely did a Friday or Saturday night go by without her leaving the barracks to go to the Enlisted or NCO club. She used to take a long time getting ready, and spent most of that time blaring music on her stereo. "Sweet Home Alabama" was one of the first songs she played after her shower - it was the song to get her in the mood to go out.

When she decided she liked me enough to start including me in her forrays out to the club, I was excited beyond belief. After our showers, we headed straight to our room to finish getting ready. As soon as we had finished blow drying our hair, she'd put "Sweet Home Alabama" on the stereo and turn that baby up high. As we rocked to the beat, she would sip wine (I didn't like it back then - yeah, really I didn't) and I would go through my meager collection of civilian clothes to find something feminine to wear.

The music promised a night of fun and excitement. And the promise was almost always kept. Once at the club, we'd dance and have a good time. She always found someone to make out with. I always found someone to dance with. And when we got home, the music still pulsating in our soul, she'd whip out the forbidden cooking paraphernalia she hid, and make us macaroni & cheese and peas with white sauce. Over this early morning meal, we'd rehash the night's activities and giggle until the need for sleep overrode the need to talk.

'Til this day, the song "Sweet Home Alabama" always feels like home - while it may be Mary's actual home, it's most definitely my spiritual one.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sex and the Single Guy

I recently met a guy with whom I have explosive chemistry. We can barely be around each other in public without a gross display of public affection - so we planned on moving things to the bedroom.

Before we did, though, he dropped a bomb on me. He told me that he had two kids that he hadn't told me about. See, I knew about one of them - a 17-year-old daughter. I was fine with that; she graduates soon, and so that isn't a problem. However, it turns out that he had another child with his ex-wife, a son who lives in Washington state. Along with that is a complicated story involving custody issues, guardianship, etc.

As they say on the game shows "but that's not all..." Nope. It turns out that he also has a son, the result of a one-night stand. Apparently he didn't know about the son until two years after he was born, and the mother is a drug addict, blah, blah, there are more guardianship issues, blah, blah, and so on.

After he told me all of this, he said he would give me some time to mull it over. And I did, of course. He called me the next day and asked if I had any more questions or concerns. I did, and we talked about those. Then he asked if there was anything else I wanted to know. I said no, but that one thing concerned me, and that was the fact that he had a one-night stand and didn't use a condom.

Even if he assumed the woman he had sex with was on birth control, there is still the issue of STDs. And in this day of HIV and AIDs, I just do not get why a guy (or a gal) would engage in sex with a stranger without the use of a condom.

He didn't have a real response for me as to why he doesn't use condoms. He did say that if it was any consolation, he gives blood regularly therefore he knows he doesn't have "the big one." But what about all the so-called "small" ones? Chlamydia. Herpes. Syphilis. Gonorrhea.

Some time after our "talk," we finally did move things to the bedroom. And just as things were about to come together, I asked him if he had condoms. "Uh, no." NO? Not even after we talked about it and planned for it? No condoms?


I put my clothes back on and left. If a guy doesn't care about his safety, that's one thing. But if he wants to also put my safety in jeopardy, it's a sure sign he's not the guy for me.