Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dear Universe: WTF?

"I'm really gonna need a big KSL hug today when I see you." She texted in a moment of weakness.  It had been a rough few days with almost no communication between the two of them.  She didn't get a text back until much later that day.

"What's going on?"

"I'm ending my marriage and it's hard."
"Oh shit"
"I'm so sorry"

They ran into each other at the theatre downstairs.  He hugged her and she gave him a short rundown of what happened.  "When was this?" He asked her.  "Monday.  I did it on Monday."  She answered.

"Fuck.  That's freaky.  That's when I had my fight."  He held up his hand to show her tons of little puncture wounds along his fist and up his wrist.  There was a bruise forming on his forearm as well.

"Holy shit KSL, what happened?"  She said, alarmed.  "Who did you get into a fight with?"  

"Who do you think?  He said, getting up and walking away from her.  She followed and said "I don't know, your brother?  A relative?  TELL ME."  He stopped and turned around and whispered "The girlfriend.  I punched a wall to keep from punching her.  Got a screw embedded in my knuckle for a minute there, didn't even notice."

"Did you--"

"--nope, still together.  Honestly I don't have anywhere else to go.  That was the only thing stopping me.  Shit, if we had broken up...that would've just been way to convenient, wouldn't it?"


After the play they took a walk by the river to talk about their respective situations.  KSL's fight had gotten dirty, and she had dared him to leave.  He had screamed at her that he didn't have the money to leave her, that she had drained him.  It was like a more aggressive version of the fight she'd had with her husband.  The parallels were unreal.  What was the universe trying to tell her?

When she was talking about her marriage ending conversation, he saw that she was struggling to keep her thoughts together.  "Cm'on, lets sit on that bench for a bit."  They sat and she started talking about how she felt like she deserved someone who would care about her, who would want to at the very least go 50/50 through life with her.

"You're right, you absolutely deserve someone like that." He said wholeheartedly, but then got remarkably quiet.  She was about to ask him if he felt like her saying that was a challenge, when they heard what sounded like a gunshot incredibly close by.

They both looked behind them, not moving but on edge...ready to hit the deck at a moments notice.  She couldn't remember that urban legend went, the one that says that gunshots don't echo and fireworks do...or was it the other way around?  After a moment of silence he said "Let's just get out of here." and she rose with him and started a brisk pace towards their cars.

"Listen," he said "I don't regret what I did, but I shouldn't have done it." She realized now they were talking about the birthday kisses.  "You know what, they gave me the push I needed to do what I need to do.  It's fine." She said.  "It's not like we didn't both see the kiss coming, for weeks now." He agreed.  "And it was nice.  It was really gentle.  I didn't expect you to be so gentle."

"I don't know what came over me.  I'm not sure why I did it.  You know they were just friendly kisses.  That's why I didn't use tongue.  When I really kiss it's not that gentle."

She rolled her eyes at him "Okay asshole."

"It just seemed like you needed it!" He exclaimed.

"Oh, well thanks for taking one for the team." She said, trying to make her voice sound more sarcastic than hurt.

"It wasn't like that!"

Really, she thought, then what was it like?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dystopian Sadness

When she got home that night, her husband had cleaned up the living room, talked to people about jobs, and came to her like a dog with a ball.  She had seen this before.  It only lasted a few months, tops.  She just couldn't do it anymore.  Goldie had convinced her she needed to get out now, and said there was a studio open in her building.  She would be near Goldie and Super Director, with a doorman and living next to all the theatres.  It was a year lease and 435 square feet.  She texted her husband that she might take it.

"That was quick." Was his response.  When she got home he talked about his friend who had died, and how he didn't want to waste his life.  She thought it seemed positive, like he was going to take action.

The next night she went out for a walk by the river with PJ.  They hadn't had a chance to be alone and talk in months, and she desperately needed her friend.  After going over all the specifics, he said "Have you told him this with as much clarity as you've told me?"

"I'm so afraid of hurting him further.  He asked for three weeks, I figure then he'll have his shit together and he can get his own place.  He'll be able to make it on his own."

"Then you are still enabling him.  You need to go home now and be very clear, very specific.  Although I don't understand how a man can be okay with not having a job this long."

"He's always had everything taken care of, handed to him.  He just doesn't know any better.  That's part of the problem.  I just can't take care of everything anymore.  I'm so emotionally drained."

"You need to tell him this.  He deserves the kind of clarity you have right now.  And whatever you do, please don't fill the holes of your soul with anything other than your feelings right now.  Don't do anything with KSL, don't drink, don't do drugs--not that you do anyway."  PJ was saying the right thing, but she also knew she wouldn't be doing it.  She had plans to go up and drink with Goldie right afterwards, and she wasn't going to turn it down.  She thanked him, they hugged, and he went home to AB.

PJ had said all the right things, the things she needed to hear but didn't want to hear.  She knew she had to take his advise, and shortly afterwards she went home.

He had baked, and talked about things he had done.  He saw her face and said "Am I trying too hard?"

She opened her mouth, closed it.  It was so hard to say mean things to someone she cared about.  "Just say it." He said dejectedly.

She opened her mouth again.  "You are trying too late.  Years and years too late.  You trying is not who you are, and that's fine.  It's just not for me anymore.  I don't want to change who you are just to suit me."

The words hung in the air, echoed in her brain painfully.  He said "That's fair.  Excuse me." and walked out of the room.  He had never been this sad, and she was unsure what to do.  She gave him space as she set her stuff for the next work day in the bathroom (she did this so she didn't have to turn on the bedroom light and wake him up early in the morning), then went downstairs to check on him.

"I'm sorry, crying isn't very manly of me." He said, as if he had been aware of the conversation she and Goldie had.  "I don't mean to emasculate you with this" she said, her throat catching.  She had never seen him this sad before.  The guilt washed over her like a wave, but she dug her heels into the sand to also stand her ground.  She looked up at his computer screen and saw "Apartments for rent in [old city]" and said "Do you want to move back there?"

"No, but I don't think I have a choice, if I can't find work here.  Maybe they'll take me back at my old job.  Then it would be easier for you to be here."

"You are going to leave me alone to explain this to everyone?  You think that's fair to me?"

"...just tell me what to do."

"I'm not doing all this just for selfish reasons.  I'm not good for you right now either.  I think it will be good for you as well as me if we can stand on our own for awhile."

"...just tell me what to do."

She was sick of having to tell him what to do.  He was never going to see what she saw, regardless of all the clarity PJ told her to give him.  He was not capable of change.  She didn't fault him for that, but it did make her feel like she was doing the right thing.

The right thing had never been so hard in her life.  She felt like she was leaving a puppy by the side of a highway.

She would never leave behind high school life.  Her feelings felt heightened the way they would in high school when your emotions are all out of wack regardless of the circumstances.  In high school, if the boy didn't like you, it was the end of your world. The only difference is now, it kind of is.

After leaving him to gather his thoughts, he came up to bed.  He wordlessly looked at her bare hands, then down at his own.  She thought she saw him realize how long it had been since she had worn her ring.  He slowly removed his old wedding ring and set it on his bedside table, turning out the light. She had a feeling that was the last time it would be on his finger. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


After 24 hours of swirling thoughts in her mind, she still didn't know what feelings to settle on.  The office manager waived her into the office for a small chat, which lead to the ultimate question: "Has your husband found a job yet?"  It quickly spiraled into everything else that was wrong (minus KSL drama) and the office manager was super supportive.  She told her about her first marriage, and how happy she was with her second husband now.  Office manager told her "You are a great person.  You need to do this for you.  You don't deserve this."

She went home after work, she had nowhere else to go that day.  His car was in the driveway, and it was a dagger through her heart.  She suddenly realized it was now or never.  A rush of blood filled her ears, and her balance was suddenly off.

He crumbled.  He begged.  He forced her into agreeing that she would give him three weeks to get his shit together and get a job.  He said "We never should have moved back here" and she was quick to correct him that if they had stayed where they were, she would have killed herself.  By year 4 (out of 10) she was crying herself to sleep with how miserable she was there.  He obviously couldn't take it anymore.

"Is there someone else?" He asked.  In her head she wanted to say "Yes, myself."

"No," she answered half-truthfully.  She didn't expect to make a life with KSL, and this wasn't really because of him.  This had been going on for years. "You thought it was PJ or KSL didn't you?" She asked.  He nodded.  "No.  They are giving me something that I'm not getting from you however.  That's why I'm hanging out with them more."

They spoke a little more, and she held him for a long time.

"Why don't you go see a movie or something?" He said, basically telling her to get out of the house for a few hours.  She gathered the things she just laid down, and walked out the door.  She got into her car and drove down a block, and then pulled over.

She sobbed.  She had hurt him so much, and felt so terrible.  She also felt so free, like she was able to move forward for the first time in a long time.

She texted Goldie that she was coming over.

"What's wrong with the relationship is primal.  Your sex drive is based on having certain things provided to you, that's just how it is.  If you aren't being provided for, taken care of, the sex drive and love diminish."  It felt very anti-feminist to say, but it was very, very true.  She needed an alpha male, someone who would, at the very least, be an equal partner.  Someone who might be KSL, but might not. 

But right now she needed to just rely on herself.

Monday, March 28, 2016


"How are you feeling?"  He asked her as he widened his arms for a hug.  She hugged him without the usual tip-toe stance and said "I do have a lot of feelings going on right now.  It's intense up here." she pointed to her head.

His face contorted and he said "Look, don't worry about it.  It's not that big deal, we had some fun, but it's no big deal--" He stopped talking as someone came around the corner.  For now the conversation was on hold.

She had the whole run of the show to contemplate why he didn't think it was a big deal.  Was it because he didn't mean it?  Did he do it out of pity?  He felt sorry for her?  He had no feelings for her whatsoever?  She was just another story to tell to the next girl?  The dumb married chick who was unhappy and he gave her a few kisses for funsies?

She had a lot to think about, but saying it wasn't a big deal sent her wall up, and she was quiet backstage for most of the play.  About halfway through he asked her if she was okay.  He made a hand motion to suggest she had become very stoic.  She said she just had a lot to think about, but in retrospect she just needed to shut up her heart for awhile.

They got stuck outside waiting for Super Director to come out and talked a little about everything.  "Of course it was a big deal.  I just said that to get you to calm down."  She didn't tell him that it had the opposite effect.  Since she was uncomfortable, she made a bad joke about how if she was going to throw away her marriage, she'd want more than just stage kisses.  His wall went up and they said things that she texted and apologized for later. 

She had so many things she wanted to ask him and hesitated.  Were they really friendly kisses?  Why does he like her?  Why did they both always put up a wall and say things they don't want to?  When they both had a drink they had no problem taking the walls down and answering these questions.  For now, the production played out behind the wall, and she sat backstage comparing it to her entire life.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Am I Okay? Asking for a Friend...

She got out of the car and he laughed at her trying to gather her things as well as balance her beverage on top of the car.  Finally she got her flowers, cake, drink, and purse in her arms, and he said goodbye.

Before going to sleep, she knew she would remember everything that happened in order to write about it the next day.

Then the nightmares started.  One of the people from the play was suddenly in the back of her car, saying "It's never anything until it's something" a line from the play.  She woke up, and her memory was now out of order.  The night was coming back fractured, in flashes.

She hadn't even had that much to drink, it was just the nightmares that jolted her memories and combine it with her new reality.

She remembered the cast singing her Happy Birthday.  The cake was small but absolutely delightful.  The top wasn't snapping in, she reminded KSL to remind her of that fact when she picked it up out of the car.

They got to the bar for their drinks, but found the bar uncomfortably hot.  They took off their hoodies and discussed going to a table after placing their order.

"We, it's crazy." KSL said.  "What?" She asked.  "No, forget it."  She pushed him, knowing what he was going to say before he said it.  He wanted to go to Lookout Point.  In fact that is what he suggested, and they tucked their drinks into their hoodies and walked back to the car.

They looked down on the city and talked about a good friend of his who knocked up a girl and married her, then decided he would have neither.  The kid just turned one, and the guy was still living with his mother.  Still, people gave the girl shit for breaking it off with him.  It was a very sad situation that she might find herself in sooner rather than later.

Another flash: In the car to Lookout Point, they were talking about house parties.  She was upset that she never got to have house parties since she was lacking a house.  "Well," KSL said "You and I might be hosting our own New Years Eve party this year."

Flash: "Obligatory 'sorry for the crazy shit' text post.  He asked why, she said it had been 15 minutes so of course she was overthinking it.  He texted back "Don't do that.  It's fine."  After a minute he texted her good night.

Flash: She couldn't remember what they were talking about, but she was animated.  Suddenly she realized he had taken her hand.  It felt warm, right, and heavy on her own.  She felt safe, grounded.  She looked down and told him that if they were to do anything, she would want to do it the right way.  Not start anything until they were out of their respective relationships.

Flash: His eyes were this hypnotic mix of green and brown flecks, and it was as if he was staring into her soul.  He had these tiny freckles on his face that you could only see if you were very close.  They were endearing.

Flash: His lips were soft, and tasted like just the sweetness of the margarita he drank without the booze.  Though sudden, the kisses were easy.  They found a flow right away without any awkwardness.  It was as if they were choreographed, they were so perfect and sweet.

Flash: She told him Sleuthy friend thought that she would be his unicorn.

Flash: "You know these are just friendly" KSL said.  "Sure they are," she replied as they kissed again.  He was surprisingly gentle.  She had expected more roughness from him.  But he was right, they were friendly kisses.  Introductory Kisses.

Did she lean in for a third time?  Or was that part of the dream?

She didn't sleep much.  She had a lot to overthink about.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stupid Girl

11:12 PM: "I got home with my anthem." She texted him the display of her radio, showing Garbage's Stupid Girl.


"You've got to learn how to text with feeling.  Let it out man."

"Just didn't know if there was a joke there or not"

"I fail at being funny.  Good to know.  Drunk Penny, no more self depreciating jokes for you!"

"Ah, so you *were* commenting on yourself?"

"My anthem=myself yes"

"Ah.  What's up?"

"Nothing.  You said to text when I got home.  I made a bad joke.  Here we are."

"Why are you using that song to describe yourself?"

"The Vodka made it sound like a good idea.  It said 'hey bitch, that's you!' and I said 'you're right vodka!'"

"If you say so, haha"

"Sigh.  Good night KSL."

"Christ, what did I fuck up now?"

"Nothing.  Rest easy."


"We are totally fine.  You are totally fine."

"Whatever you say.  Or don't."

"Listen, our talk gave me a lot to think about.  When I'm sober I'm going to feel inadequate.  I'll get over it, but I'll still feel like that for awhile."

"Inadequate how???"

"Sexual experience wise"

"That wasn't my intent"

"I know!  I'm beating myself up about it.  It has nothing to do with you.  It's not a comparison, just a fact."

"Why, though?"

"Why?  Because it just is."

"'Sorry for the crazy shit' should be our motto or something."


"Anyway, I'm mad at myself and my life choices.  No reflection on you.  See you tomorrow."

9:23 AM: "Okay, non-vodka version of last night: I was feeling morose because it was hitting me that if I get a divorce my sexual experience is seriously lacking and it's likely I'll just end up alone/without a meaningful relationship.  Then that song came on, like *confirming* it.  when I get morose I make inappropriate jokes.  Vodka made me think the joke was obvious."

"Ah.  Well I understand that feeling, at least from the 'I'm screwed if I'm ever single again' angle.  Sorry I put you in that spiral."

"I put myself in it.  I was raised to assume that no one would be there for me, but sometimes that is still hard to accept."

"I see.  Still, sorry"

"It's cool.  Sorry I assumed you were inside my head."

"It's okay.  Just don't want you to feel like you can't talk to me."

"I feel like I can...then I feel like I say way too much."

"How so?"

"Again, upbringing.  Both my parents were very hard of hearing, so it kind of led to me never really feeling like anyone wanted to listen to me.  It's also why I'm not vocally very loud.  Never saw the point."

"That can lead to some pretty socially damaging practices, yeah."

"Yeah.  Just so you know when you ask me to repeat something and I say never mind, that I'm just thinking it was stupid to say in the first place."

"Don't do that."

"Tell you what.  You stop being so self depreciating and I'll work on speaking up.  Deal?"

"Ha.  Fine.  This outta be good."

Friday, March 25, 2016

View From the Top Part 4

After saying goodbye to everyone, they stepped out in the cold.  It was finally getting a little warmer, and although they needed jackets, they were comfortable.  As usual she trudged to keep up with his longer strides.

"I am sorry again.  I told them to make the drink a double to apologize." KSL said.

"A double?!?!  No wonder I still feel drunk.  Anyway, it's okay.  I'm HSP, I'm just really sensitive.  Don't mind it."

"No, I don't want to make it awkward between us, and I know you are sensitive, and I should be sensitive to that!  Are you going to be okay to drive home?"

She shrugged her shoulders non-nonchalantly and said "We'll find out!"

"Stop it," he replied as they reached the parking lot.  "Cm'on, get in."

"Where are we gonna go?"

"I'm taking you to Lookout Point."

They went through her list of questions about his blog on the way up, and the subject of losing his virginity came up.  Apparently she'd been in an open relationship and took 20 year old KSL's cherry to "teach him things."  She was a very good teacher, according to him.  Until she decided she wanted a threesome with him and his roommate.  It ruined everyone else's relationships and never recovered.  She married her open relationship boyfriend and they are living happily ever after with other people in Portland.

The view from Lookout Point was amazing.  She wanted to take a Pano on her phone but thought it would be really cheesy.  Plus then she'd have to admit she was there, with him.

On the way back she started thinking about how she would essentially be a virgin if she got a divorce.  No one would want to be in a relationship with her, someone with so little experience.  It would be like starting over, teaching.  She would be seen as damaged goods.  Not KSL, not anyone.  No one wanted her.  Not like any different from now.

He got out of the car for his backpack in the trunk, and they hugged goodbye.  "Are you going to be okay to drive?" He asked as she rested her head on his chest.

"We'll see!" She parroted from earlier.

He sighed and said "Will you please text me when you get home?"

"Text you when I get home?"  She pulled back a little and looked up at him, but didn't break the embrace.  "Lame."

"Stop it!" He exclaimed as he drew her back into his chest.  Their breathing synced, and they took a few deep breathes as one.  It was as centering as the yoga class that had been missing for weeks.

They broke apart and looked at one another.  Her heartbeat quickened.  Someone had to break the look they were giving one another.  She said "Thanks for listening to me again." and they went in for another hug.  It broke when he kissed her on the forehead and reminded her to text him.

She wasn't going to ask about this kiss later.  She knew what a kiss on the forehead meant.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

View from the Top Part 3

"He has my drink, what do you want me to do?" She hissed back.  She already had too much to drink, and knew she had been too loud.  She didn't care, she was sick of BFF's crap in regards to KSL.

KSL shifted in his seat as she approached, and she did a side step, silently asking if that was a message to "Bros not Beaus" and sit in the seat NOT directly next to him.  He shook his head and indicated the seat next to his.  "They said they made it 'Texas' dirty for you."  She took a sip and indeed it was pretty dirty, and pretty boozy too.  She made the drunk decision to drink it quickly so that she would be sober more quickly.  Drunk decisions never turn out well, and she slipped further into a happy stupor. 

The play was a string of monologues done by different people.  Some moving, some yawn-worthy.  Every once in awhile, KSL would whisper a comment in her ear, his breath dancing around her neck.  She would also whisper to him, the side of her face brushing up against his.  She draped her arm around the back of his chair.

At intermission she made plans with PJ to meet up for dinner the next week when the usual movie day happened.  After one week they had been pretty burned out, and AB had other plans.  She was nervous to tell him what she had been up to.  She knew she put far too much trust in his opinion, and she was afraid he was going to tell her to stop.  That what she was doing was wrong.  Then she might have to listen.

She was tired of doing all the right things.  For once in her life she wanted to do the wrong thing.

The second half of the play was uncomfortable as BFF decided to sit directly behind them with another member of the board.  They still whispered to each other, but not as frequently.  She felt as if she was under glass the rest of the night.

"Shall we go?" KSL asked after the lights came up.

"Yes, we can go now."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

View From the Top Part 2

She pretended to check her non-existent watch and said "Wow, not even a full 48 hours before you threw that back in my face!  Most impressive!"  She saw in his eyes widen at the impact he realized he had.  He apologized with his whole heart, and then said he had fucked it all up.  "It's fine," she said, "I know you were joking."  Her voice was not convincing enough.

"That's not anything to joke about though, and I should know that, god!" He exclaimed.  "I just made it so awkward!"  It was nice that he felt so bad about it, but he was clearly getting more upset than he needed to.  Despite the narrowness of the sidewalk, she slipped beside him and looped her arm through his.  It was an easy fluid motion, and felt very natural.  "Listen," she started, trying to console him.

"--Excuse me, do you have any spare change?" a homeless man interrupted.  She started to speak an apology, but KSL broke away from her and reached for his wallet.  "Here you go man, my last two dollars.  Spend it well."

They started to walk again, and she said "I want to tell you something PJ said to me--"

"Speak of the Devil, hey PJ, Hey AB!  We'll see you inside in a minute, we are gonna go get a drink from the bar." KSL yelled out to the couple.  They waved wordlessly and slipped inside the theatre.  KSL slipped into the bar and up to the ATM to take out cash.  She leaned up against it and told him about The Potential conversation.  She was animated and he was animated back, to an outsider they looked drunk-happy.  Halfway through the story she noticed their old director out of the corner of her eye.  The one KSL had made out with on New Years.  The story faltered, and she finished up without much detail.

KSL never noticed her, and walked right past her up to the bar.  She kept her mouth shut.  Why not let her enjoy the show?

"Do you want anything?" KSL asked her once they reached the bar.  "Mmm, not from this bar." She wrinkled her nose.  It was her least favorite dive bar.  She already wanted out of there before her whole body smelled like cigarette smoke.

"Come on, I'm buying.  I still feel bad."  He made puppy dog eyes at her until she cracked a smile.

"Alright, get me a dirty martini so I don't have to feel the sting of your comments anymore.  If they ask how dirty, say about as dirty as their bar.  I'm going to the theatre to go to the bathroom before the show."

Of course there was someone in the bathroom, so she instead greeted PJ and AB, waved to a local photographer, kissed her BFF on the cheek, then put her stuff down and went to the bathroom.  While inside she heard the old director starting the pre-show talk, and hurried out.

KSL was seated away from where she had set her stuff down, and she looked up at him with a "WTF?" look.  She had forgotten he liked to sit higher up.  She grabbed her stuff quickly and headed up to meet him before the lights went down.

"I knew you were going to do that." BFF hissed as she walked past.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

View from the Top Part 1

"Where is this place that you keep going to in all your blogs, this Lookout Point?  It sounds magical."  She asked KSL on one of their walks.  His description of the location left her confused, but she figured she didn't really need to find it.  It was just nice to have a visual when she was reading his "thoughts" as a friend would put it.

After a disastrous line through of the play at the bar, they headed over to watch another play's preview.  She had a drink and then a shot of fireball with KSL, as was her tradition during the run of a show.  Of course she had forgotten to have dinner, so it hit her a little harder than anticipated.  She asked KSL to walk with her to the play instead of drive, as it was only a few blocks down.

He agreed readily and they set their stuff in the cars, make a sexual innuendo joke about he didn't need to ride in her "box" anyway.  She said her box was fab and he'd be lucky to have it.  He had rebuffed a comment she made, and she called him out on how he can brag about his sexual prowess and she couldn't. It lead to a well mannered discussion as they set off down the street.  Well mannered until he made a joke about her suicide attempt in high school, something she had confided to him not more than a day before on their walk.  It wasn't something she was proud of, but she had shared because he had shared.  This is how you get trust issues.

Her poor HSP heart sank.  This is how she got trust issues.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Feeling and Not Feeling

"What have you got going on after this?" She asked him.  He'd been evasive over text earlier, saying he had "stuff to figure out" and she anticipated the end of the friendship or something.  As it turned out, he just had a potluck at work the next day, so he was off to grocery shop.

"What about you?  First night of freedom in awhile."

She had an urge for speed.  She explained to him that when she wanted to feel something, she would do something fast.  Go on a roller coaster, drive fast down the interstate.  If she wanted to stop feeling, she'd have a dirty martini, or anything with vodka in it.

"I think I'm going to drive to the state capitol." She said more specifically.  She then stopped to take a photo of the sunset in front of them.  The seagulls had just taken off across it, and it was breathtaking.   She hoped her crappy camera phone would do it justice, and wished she had her father's Nikon with her.

She didn't ask him along, and he didn't invite her to grocery shop.  They hugged it out, him saying "Thanks for the walk tiny one," and her scowling at him.  She had doubled her walking goal, and they had covered a lot of ground as far as their history as well.  It had been a good walk.

But she knew if she went home, she'd be faced with her mother and sister bugging her.  Although she would have loved to gone home and write a little, she got in her car and headed to the capitol 45 minutes away.

Going 80 MPH on the freeway did exhilarate her.  Her legs ached from the walk, but she kept pushing and refusing to use her cruise control.  Keeping an eye out for cops, she pushed harder.  She got there in 20 minutes instead of 45.

She cruised through town and decided to get a coffee and head back.  She parked the car and stepped out to get her purse out of the back.  Suddenly her foot cramped up and she almost went down.  She must have been a little too intense either on the walk or the drive.  She sat back down, took her shoe off, and massaged the bottom of her foot until it was almost gone.

She used the cruise control on the way back.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trust Issues

Super Director gave her a look, telepathically telling her to look over at the lead actor and a mutual theatre actress.  They were obviously scheduling a hook up later, and they totally girl-ed out about how hilarious and scandalous it all was.

She called BFF on the way home to tell her the news, attempting to conference in SD but failing.  The next morning she saw theatre actress on Facebook, and remembered that she had some damage control to do.  BFF had said "She knows you hate her."  BFF would have been the only one to tell her that however, so she knew she had a little explaining to do.

The conversation went horribly.  The reason she had become angry with her in the first place became super apparent, and by proxy she became angry at BFF for putting her in this situation in the first place.

Her mouth had almost cost her the friendship with KSL, and pretty much had cost her any potential friendship with this actress because she couldn't see past the harsh lies BFF had told her.  It was no great loss there, but who else could be hating her because BFF couldn't keep her damn mouth shut?

She really needed to talk to PJ about this.  He would be able to put this into perspective and tell her what the best path was to take.  She didn't want to lose her BFF, but she could no longer trust her.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Get a Room

"Want to watch about 30 minutes more of the movie before I have to go?" She asked her husband.

"Well, I only have a half hour before I have to go to rehearsal." He replied.

"Yeah...I only have that amount of time too, I just said..." She trailed off, unsure if she was even being heard by him anymore.

"Wait," he said, suddenly coming back down to earth, "Where are you going?"

"I'm going for a walk around the marina." She replied carefully.

"With who?" He asked quickly.

Why lie?  She replied "KSL."  He looked at her and said "Are you going on a date?"

It wasn't like him to kid around like this, but his lilt was clearly joking.

"No...if it was a date the only reason I'd end up sweating is if he was getting us a hotel room." She replied.

"Is that what you want for your birthday?" He asked.

"A hotel room?"


"....What I want for my birthday is to be able to afford a hotel room."

When she recounted the story to KSL later, she said "I wanted to say 'you want to get me a room with KSL?' 'cause that's weird."

KSL gave his hearty laugh and then said "When is your birthday again?" as if to switch gears in the conversation.

"Saturday.  Why, did you make other plans already?"  She asked, a little upset.

"No, no, it's just..." He held up his fingers to tick off numbers in his head, "I don't think I'll have enough money by then."

She was confused.  "Money for what?"

"For a hotel room." He said with a smile, looking over at her sideways as they walked with the sunset to their backs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Green with Something

She forgot how she got here, but she knew she had rehearsed this interlude before it happened.  On their walk turned a bit to flirting and sex together was mentioned.  She said her rehearsed line to him; "The way you talk down your penis, you expect me to be interested?"

The line was meant both to tell him to stop being so negative and to get him to stop talking about how small his penis was because he was Irish.  It was a St. Patrick's Day Downer.  He really needed to be more positive about himself.

Apparently he chose that moment to correct the situation.  "You think that just because I think my penis is small I don't know how to use it?  You think a big penis makes great sex?"

She didn't rehearse this part.

"Noooo, that's not what I said.  You just talk about your small penis all the time and you aren't that positive about it--"

"I'm great at sex."

"Okay, okay, just...." She just knew she was blushing a little, having lost control of the conversation.  His sideways glance and smile caught it, and he was delighted with the results.  "You wouldn't be disappointed."

"Well who knows, maybe someday in the future we will find out."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sunday Funday

Sunday proved to lift the entire weekend to "not bad" status.  The crowd had been a receptive one, and it actually left the cast in pretty good spirits.  They had their after show drink downstairs, sat around, and talked about how the run had been going and how they were at the halfway mark.

KSL said he was going out to sushi later in the week, which led to a discussion about the best places in town.  Suddenly she was very hungry.

"Mmmm, now I reallllllllllly want sushi.  Super Director, you want to do sushi before we shop?" She asked SD.  "Yaaaaaas!  Let's all do it!" SD said.

"KSL, you gonna come with us?" She asked him.  He hemmed and hawed about it, talking about how he made bad food choices the night before and wasn't sure he should do it again.

"KSL, look at me...right in the face." She said to him.  When she had his full attention, she said with passion "Sushi. Is. Never. A. Mistake."

He sighed and then said "Okay.  I just need to put my stuff in the car."

"Me too," she said "SD, we'll be right back.  Just dropping stuff in the car."

"I'll meet you there!" SD said.


"So, how was drinks with the 'girls' last night?" She asked as they walked to the car.

"Ugh, it was terrible.  I left really early."

"Really?" She said with a slight smile.  "What happened?"

"She invited her other friend and some guy that was in town...I just didn't expect it to be that many people.  We were supposed to catch up, but it ended up being too many people."

Ah, the small parties factor.  It had been a middle-sized party and ruined everything.

"I'm just really in a depressive state lately." KSL said.  Funny, he'd been fine on Thursday, his usual jovial self.  What had changed since then?  Besides the fact that they hadn't talked much...but she put that out of her mind immediately.  There was no way that her distancing herself a bit had changed his attitude.

They ran into a producing manager of another theatre company in town on the way back to sushi.  They chit-chatted for a little while, then they were on their way.

"He's a good guy." KSL said.

"Meh, he's okay" She replied.

"Wow," he said.  "So, I get it now.  I should actually feel pretty special, that you want to be my friend because you seem to judge everyone else pretty harshly.  Like, I should feel unique."

"Well, yeah." She said matter-of-factly.

"Damn, and modest too!" He laughed.  His laugh also contained some reverence and caution.


"So, do you like this place?  I know you can be awful judge-y." KSL said to her with a smile.  She scowled at him, then said with a fake snotty accent "Well, I ain't mad at it."  She was actually not that impressed, but decided she didn't want to come off as judge-y anymore and kept her comments to herself.

The rest of the lunch was pleasant, and he agreed that sushi was not a mistake.  He seemed in much better spirits, and they parted after lunch on good terms, planning another walking meeting to discuss his blog posts.

She and SD went off for successful shopping, and were taking pictures of the sign stating the street was closed for the movie the next day, when Goldie stepped outside her car in front of them. They opened the door for her, and she jumped in the back to have a chat.  They talked about the movie inside her car for what ended up being an hour.  It was a great conversation that went by fast as the windows fogged up and the sprinkling of rain hit the windshield.

She was so lucky to have these bright amazing people surrounding her.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Weekend from Hell

She had just completed her show when she got a call from the husband.  "They need you on set badly, BFF has to leave soon and you HAVE to take over for her.

She was so tired from her show, but she gathered her strength and went to set.  Movie sets are both the most magical and boring places on earth.  The AP was an old college-mate of hers; they had time for a quick hug and a comment to his mountain man lumbersexual status before getting back to work.  She made a mental note to contact him after filming to hang out in a more social setting.

She was up for a full 24 hours when she finally got back to her broken bed.  The husband had not followed up with the manufacturer to get a replacement, so her sleep had been fitful from 6AM to about 3PM.

She was beyond tired when she got to her show the next day.  She put all her set pieces in the wrong places because she was dizzy with fatigue.  Everyone in the cast was tired, and KSL was due to go out for a drink with his old ex-cheated-on-person.  She excused herself early in the night and went home to drink heavily and just wallow for awhile.  She and KSL hadn't really connected all weekend, and she was looking to connect with booze so that she could sleep until the matinee the next day.  It was sure to be a bunch of old blue-hairs who didn't respond, but she was looking forward to clothes shopping with the director later for the movie. She need to get her prop shopping done, or the "art direction" that she had been assigned, according to the call sheet.  She felt in over her head, but she would do her best.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Starting a Habit

"Have you heard from him?" Goldie asked her.

"Well, I kinda went against the rules yesterday.  Like, basically said fuck the rules.  I invited him to the movies with the gang." She answered.

"Damn, and he came?  Did you talk, is everything okay?"

"Yep.  It was a tiny bit awkward with BFF, but everything is cool.  I even asked him..."

"Shut up, Penny!  You did not ask him about the kiss."

"Yeah, I kinda did.  He said it was just a friendly gesture."

"Well of course he did, what else was he gonna say?  He wasn't going to lose face after you flat out asked him!"

"I guess so.  I don't know.  Either way, everything is good now."

"Yeah, just stay away from champagne and long conversations."

She opened her mouth, then closed it and bit her lip.  "I think I can handle myself." she said to Goldie.

She decided in that moment not to tell Goldie that she had just spent 10,000 steps with him that evening discussing life as they walked around the marina.  She also decided not to tell her that she felt like a piece of his wall had come down a little that day, when he admitted he worried how she felt about him, that she was mad.  He had suggested that walk around the marina that should have ended with 5,000 steps, but didn't.

Earlier that week he had said that it was only fair that he read her blog, and she couldn't find fault in that.  She gave him the link and stated that he would never read it anyway, that no one did.  He said he was going to "buck the system" and actually be the first person in her life to read her blog.  He was the first person to even make the claim, to be interested in her writing.  She was still skeptical, but open to it.

They had also made plans to do it again early next week before the play, for both of them to start to get in shape.

She went home and pulled her walking shoes out of her closet and set them by the door.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Just Manic

"Talked with BFF last night...didn't bring you up but she did. Her take on what she said was quite different, but that doesn't really surprise me. She wanted to know what we were talking about on the couch all night and I just said "he let me read some stuff he wrote and I had questions. You know me, I always have follow up questions." and then I changed the subject. I'm really sorry she came at you like that, it shouldn't happen again."
Seen at 11:00 AM

No answer to her apology after a full 24 hours. She told Goldie not about the details of his life, but just how the night had gone, and asked her if she was being crazy.  

"I think he either got gas and excused himself quickly and then booked it out of there before he sharted, or he started to get feelings for you and left so he could avoid fucking you in the bathroom."

"The 11AM no reply thing is a little long.  But he kinda almost had an intimate moment around/with you and probably is just going to shut you out for the usual 72 hour man-recovery period until he feels safe.  If you let him have space, when the show forces you to hang again, he'll remember you're awesome and be okay again."  Goldie was wise, and that was the right thing to do.

But who ever wants to do the right thing?

Sleuthy friend convinced her to contact him again, so she sent off a text about getting together with some of the old cast from the old show for $5 movie night.  He just said "I'm broke" and she offered to pay, and later upped the ante by saying if he drove, she'd buy him tacos and the movie.  He agreed and plans were put in motion.  She knew inviting him was going to piss off the BFF, but she decided it was a good day to be daring.

BFF was drunk by the time they showed up to dinner, and thankfully it was happy drunk as she said to KSL "Why don't we hang out anymore?" and KSL brought up how they fought at church camp and their relationship was never the same.  As KSL left the table to take a call, BFF said "That's just what I don't like about him, he puts himself down all the time and it's frustrating, you know?"  BFF was almost accusatory, and for a minute she almost said "It's something we are working on," but then realized how that would sound.  Then she wanted to say "Listen, he's not sticking his dick in me so he can do whatever he wants."  She instead decided to take that time to compliment someone else on their necklace and change the subject.

In the car on the way to the movie, he told her that his therapist session went well that week.  He said that basically the therapist said that he was on the right track and everything was a-okay for the month.  He asked her how her week had been going, and she said good, just busy overthinking her whole life.  He asked for specifics, and saw her hesitate.  "Penny, come on.  You know more about my current situation than my therapist, you can tell me."  The tequila was about to make her reveal more than she cared to.

So, using a line from their play, she asked about the kiss, prefacing it with how it could have been that he just felt sorry for her, and how normally he walks people to their car, but he just booked it like someone had shot him in the ass.  

There was a silence, slightly longer than usual, before he answered.  He said that it was NOT because he felt sorry for her, absolutely.  "We had just shared a lot that night, gotten closer...and it was just nice and friendly."

She didn't look at him, as she was embarrassed.  She felt juvenile even bringing it up.  "Okay.  I'm sorry, I really overthink everything.  So we are good though, right?"

"Better than." 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Different Perspective

"So, you and KSL were awful close Friday night.  Sitting on the couch all close.  What were you talking about?" BFF asked.

"Oh, he let me read some things he wrote.  You know me, I always have a million questions about that kind of stuff." she answered.

They moved onto another subject, but eventually they moved back.

"I talked to KSL a little that night." BFF said.

"Oh yeah?" She tread lightly.

"Yep.  I asked him how he was, he said work was good...he's training some new people." She nodded that this was correct, so BFF continued.  "He said he was still doing the [girlfriend] thing."

There was a long pause, so she prodded the BFF.  "Did he say anything else about her?"

"Nope, just said he was doing the girlfriend thing."  BFF looked at her to fill in the blanks.

"Huh...interesting.  So what do you want for dessert?"

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Hand You Were Dealt

"So, what did you think?" KSL said.  "Now that you basically know more about me than 90% of my friends."

She had finished most of the blog posts by opening night of their play.  As the champagne reception dull roared around them, they kept their voices low and talked about his life, the hand he was dealt, and his choices.  They talked in hushed tones, as this was sensitive subject matter.  They looked around, changed the subject when people hovered too close.  Hindsight is 20/20, and it became obvious that they were talking about a subject they maybe shouldn't be.  Their body language, legs close to each other on either side of the couch, most likely looked bad from someone on the outside.

The next night, while quoting the play to each other, he told her that the BFF had said something to him.  "How are you doing?"  the BFF had asked him.  "Good, I'm doing good" he had replied.

"You know that Penny tells me things, right?  I know you aren't okay." The BFF had told KSL.

So much for best friend anonymity.  It pained her more than she let onto KSL that night, but the trust level was officially gone from her and BFF's friendship.  She realized that all the things that had come back to bite her in the ass with other people could have only come from her.

Lucky for her, he understood when she told him it had been an offhand comment to explain her situation and not his.  He understood enough that he suggested they go out for a drink since his girlfriend was at her mom's house watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  She had deftly avoided actually speaking to his girlfriend and her mom that night at the show, unsure of where her mouth would lead her.

"So what do you want to know?" KSL asked her as they settled in with a drink at a bar a few days later.  "Go ahead, be blunt."

They talked about the giant wall they both had up, his ability to trust his life with people but not his feelings.  He talked about the various women in his life, and she thought again to herself how they both fixated on romantic relationships.

They were brutally honest with each other; she told him she was worried about her own looks after being lumped in the same category with his other interests.  She found them all pretty moon-faced or horsey looking.  He seemed a little insulted by this, but took it in stride.

They had a deep conversation about their lives...their similarities, their differences.  He talked about his relationships, the ones who got away.  They talked again about his wall, his inability to see his negatives as positives.  "I really do wish that I could make you see what I see." She told him.  The rest of the bar faded away, and it was like they were the only two in the entire universe.  She didn't even remember hearing the music.

"Well, I'm going to therapy to figure that all out, why I can't accept myself." KSL said, a little downtrodden.

"Just keep in mind I don't like losers, okay?" She said to him playfully, trying to cheer him up.

They looked at each other and she smiled at him.  Suddenly, a text from his girlfriend made him look down.  It was time for him to leave.  He said he had to go to the bathroom first, and that he'd be right back.  Before she could get out that she needed to go to the bathroom too, he booked it past her quickly.  Upon return he hugged her tightly, and for a longer time than he normally did.

The hug was reminiscent of a hug that PJ would have given her.  It was extended, and held purpose.  While still in the hug he turned his head to her without letting her go, and before she could process it, he was kissing her cheek.  Just as quickly he was out the door, leaving her alone in the bar.  She suddenly felt sad, like all the wind was just knocked out of her.

He was the one who was big on walking everyone to their car, insisting because it was him that was scared of getting raped.  She already knew she was about to overthink this one.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Emotional Baggage

The week had been very trying.  The set changes for the show had proven to be very exhausting, and she was beating herself up about not being able to physically get through it.  She had snapped at KSL after he gave her crap about rolling around a stanchion because she couldn't actually pick it up. She apologized a few minutes later, he forgave her unconditionally, and all was well between them.  She was still worried about not making it through without her body giving up on her.

One night after a mostly successful tech run of the show, KSL brought up his writing, and she pointed directly to his face and said "I still need those MySpace blogs of yours!"  He said "Well bring your laptop one night and--" She cut him off with another finger point to her laptop just offstage in an audience seat.  He disappeared backstage, and emerged with a thumb drive from his backpack.

"Wait, you just carry these around with you all the time?  You are taking emotional baggage to a whole other level buddy!"  Apparently he had many things on that drive, not just the blogs he told her about.  "I want everything!" She said.  He didn't agree, but ended up giving her all the MySpace blogs as well as his later Wordpress blog.  "What if we stop being friends and I never get to read the rest?"

"Don't worry, that won't happen...we still have to have our tryst." KSL said with a smile.

"Please...that's YEARS away." she replied.

She had his life from 2005-2010 on her desktop.

She spent the next two days at work going through the poorly written entries.  She was worried she was going to have to hurt his feelings.  He asked how far he'd gotten after the first day, and what she thought.  She opened her mouth to answer, and he interrupted with "You really get to see my writing style change!"

She couldn't bite her lip in time and said "Does it change to being able to capitalize letters?"

A hurt, then slightly angry look crossed his face.  He grabbed both of her upper arms noir-style, mock shook her, and said "They were stream of consciousness."  She couldn't help but dig at him one more time.

"Well, when the stream dries up, you could always try spell check."

Friday, March 4, 2016

Conservative Crocodile Tears

"When you get a minute come into my office."

Always the dreaded words.  It turns out the pants she was wearing into the office were considered "jeans" even though they were not made of jean material.  They were designed similar to jeans, but when she showed the office manager other slacks from the same site, the only pants that fit her well, she also deemed them jeans.  She was stuck.  Instead of picking up props for her show or props for the movie she was involved in, she had to do the dreaded thing and go shopping.

She cried in her car on the way there in anticipation.  She was disproportionate to everything in life, nothing fit her correctly.  She had short legs, wide shoulders, narrow hips, chicken legs, narrow feet.  Her whole body didn't go together, and it was rare she found anything that made her feel confident.  Now she was being forced to get new pants that would undoubtedly make her look like a distant cousin of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. 

Fortune did smile on her in the form of a store she had sworn off long ago because she got fat shamed.  They opened an outlet, and she was skinny enough now that she managed to fit into their second largest size.  She decided that she forgave them, if only to make her life a little less horrible in the moment.

She picked up two pairs of pants that dragged the floor even though they were considered "short" and were too loose in the hip area but a little snug in the stomach.  Her total came to $80, money she didn't really have.  Against her better judgement, she went into the next store and came out with a top she later regretted, a skirt, and a different pair of pants.  She tried not to think about the fact that in a few months it would be too hot to wear all of these things.  Tears welled up in her eyes as she exited the outlet mall, but she managed to keep them from spilling.  So much money spent to make her look frumpy.  She hoped her work was happy.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Transmission Transition

After the end of the weekend, she needed to take her car back and go to her first tech rehearsal.  She had a limited amount of time, but they needed to grocery shop and she had run out of Advil, which she desperately needed. 

Of course every. single. mirror. was out of place, as well as her chair which she had nicely pushed back and he didn't reciprocate with pushing forward.  It took her several precious minutes to adjust everything back to the way she had it.  Lean forward, adjust the rear view mirror.  Lean back, not quite right yet.  Days later it still wasn't exactly the way she liked it.

After she had gotten everything as close as she could, she looked down and saw that her gas light was on.  He'd gone through half a tank a gas in a day and a half.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Imaginary Relationship

KSL was nice enough to pick her up for the evening, since the husband had managed to finally be so destitute that she had to let him borrow the car.

It had turned into quite the adventure, but they had finally landed on a restaurant that wasn't that busy on a Saturday night.  They celebrated with a pitcher of margaritas and picked out their food.  KSL had just calmed down after venting about the last fight he had with his girlfriend.  It had resulted in his girlfriend leaving to stay at her mom's house for the night, even though it started with him not emptying a box for her.  He might not last the 8 months he has left.

"I do it with everyone." she said.  "Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I imagine the whole relationship.  Start to finish."

He leaned back, the smile wide across his face.  "Tell me our story, I'm dying to know!" he exclaimed.

"We break up with our significant others, move in with each other to save money.  Everything is good for awhile, but one night after drinking too much we become roommates with benefits.  Then we 'catch the feels' and start dating, but it's a little weird because we are already living together.  We get too close too fast, and end up in an epic hearts-broken crying jag break up."

KSL raised his eyebrows, impressed.  "Yeah...that's pretty much the way it would go."  He was silent for a moment, he almost seemed sad.  Then he changed the subject to real relationships.

Their conversations seemed to always center around current and past relationships.  This was the case as they made their way to the play they were seeing.  At first, he didn't want to tell her details because she would judge him but then relented to the fact that he had cheated on and off for the last year of a relationship.  He stopped because the other girl 'caught the feels' and he didn't want a relationship with her.  She shrugged it off and said she didn't judge him, and he was shocked.  "Maybe I spent too much time in Sin City" she laughed.

They were waiting in line when a girl screamed and approached them.  Well, approached KSL, hedging in front of Penny in the only way a girl can; territorially.  It was a Girl Standoff, one she was going to win because she came with him.  KSL introduced them and she eventually went back to her friends to wait in line.  As soon as she left he whispered to her "That's the one I cheated with."

She gasped and hit his arm playfully.  "Speak of her and she appears!  Now I just have to meet the one who was the girlfriend at the time and the cycle will be complete!"

"You've met her already.  She's my current girlfriend."  She raised her eyebrow and said "Ruh-roh.  Okay, now I'm a little judge-y."  He slightly winced at the statement.

The play was good, they ran into a couple of other guys they were friends with and had a fun evening.  Afterwards they decided it was early and went to go see the latest superhero movie.  They checked their phones afterwards and he said he couldn't tell his girlfriend about why he was out so late, mostly because he didn't want to go home.  She said she couldn't tell her husband they had seen the superhero movie, because he'd be upset she didn't go to see it with him first.

"We are both lying to our significant others about each other, and we aren't even doing anything wrong.  That's weird." KSL said to her.

He wasn't wrong.  It was weird.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Leave Her

"So where did you end things?" KSL asked her.  "He told me that I had his work phone now and could call him during work hours.  I'm not sure if I'm going to though."

"Oh yeah, why is that?" KSL seemed pretty interested in what the answer might be, but rehearsal was starting and she needed to make it quick.

"Because...I think he wanted me to tell him to leave her."  She replied.  She didn't want to be responsible for the end of a marriage that had a child on the way.  She remembered Favorite Mistake saying to her "I don't think this is what marriage is supposed to be." She told him she didn't think this was how it was supposed to go either.  It was a dangerous road, to continue to speak with him even though it might mean the end of his marriage.  Again, as Sleuthy friend had pointed out to her, she wasn't making him DO anything.  The blame wasn't to be put on her.

"Awwww, it's so hard being Penny!" KSL chided her as he got up to go onstage.  Sometimes he made her want to just stick out her tongue at him, though they were far too old for such things.  Later during a break he helped her plug in her phone and made gently made fun of her again, while looping his arm around her waist.  He left it there for a little too long to be considered playful.

Was it the fact that she could break up a marriage making her more attractive to him?  It was a weird thought that she couldn't exactly shake off.