29 September, 2013

Does anyone know anything about dishwashers?

Do I have any friends who know things about dishwashers? A few days ago all the lights went on randomly but I ignored it. Today, I turned it on and it started for about 3 minutes then stopped. Looks like the electricity to it is dead, circuit breaker is fine, all other lights are on in the house. It's 6 months old. Anyone know what's up?

22 September, 2013

Mirena IUD Journal – September 16th 2013


Pre, During, and Post Effects Since Placement

Read all the journals here


I had a few days to wallow in the anticipation pain since my Thursday appointment, where I got a sneak peak of the pain that would ensue during placement. I was feeling pretty good, and was really excited and nervous to have the thing placed and finally be over it all and move on.

I was given 3 types of drugs from the Gyno: 1) pill to be inserted the night before, to dilate 2) an anti-inflammatory that is supposed to block ‘receptors’ and 3) two Tylenol 3’s for pain. I knew right away I would not be taking those – because I have a high pain tolerance and the fact T3s never did anything for my pain during my wisdom teeth extraction. Also I don’t do well on drugs of any kind, so I didn’t want to risk it.

The night before I started freaking out. I was actually having a very near panic attack because I did not want to take the medications. They scared me because I didn’t know if they would make me feel different, or make me sick. I have anxiety and the thought of waking up with my body altered (dilated) made me almost sick. I don’t know why it affected me so much, and it wasn’t the procedure that was scaring me it was taking the actual medication.
  
I was talking to two very close friends (it was around midnight, since they say you should take it a few hours before the procedure) at the time, and they really helped me calm down. One was a nurse and he kept stressing that I needed to take them, and it would be over soon. Eventually I inserted the pill, and took the other by mouth. I was extremely anxious and I had a hard time sleeping.

The next morning I took the last pill (one at the time of the pill, the other 30 minutes before the procedure) and drove to the office. I was excited and nervous again and the pills didn’t affect me in any way that I noticed.

I got there and was greeted by the Nurse Practitioner and the Gyno, who were both extremely sweet and reassuring. I knew because the Nurse was learning it wouldn’t be as fast as I thought. They said the whole thing takes about 10 minutes, and I’m living the most stressful part right now: the waiting and prep.

They prepped me and put in the speculum, like I was having a normal pap test. Everything was fine at this point but I was getting a bit nervous. I made a conscious decision not to look at any of the tools they were prepping or had brought in. They then inserted what I assume was the uterus speculum, which would hold it open.

This part was the part that started to hurt. I'm not going to lie to you: It didn’t hurt so much as make me feel super uncomfortable. It wasn’t pain. Like I’ve said before, a brick to the face is pain. A punch in the gut is pain, cutting your hand is pain. These are all clear pain feels.  This feeling of a long what felt to be rod, caused instant cramping, intense pressure, and a searing feeling. I felt like the rod was somewhere it should not have been, like things aren’t supposed to go up there, it felt extremely foreign, and very very wrong. I can’t describe it other than in my head all I thought was “get it out get it out get it out.”

I found myself subconsciously taking in deep breaths and letting them out. The Gyno and the nurse were both patting my leg and my foot, and were so great during the whole thing. They kept trying to downplay it (I know what they were doing) by saying things like “it’s just a bit of cramping, right? Not that bad, it just feels like you’re on your period, just some pressure.” Like they were trying to convince me.

I slow breathed in and out for about 5 minutes. The Nurse fumbled a few times as she tried to navigate and the Gyno had to step in to show her, which added time onto the procedure and I'm sure didn’t make the pain/uncomforting feeling any better, because they had to reposition the rod/Mirena. They said they just had to make sure it was in the right place, because the body can reject it if it’s not. So I'm glad they took the time to make sure.

They cut the strings, and they tucked the excess strings into my Cervix. She said they shouldn’t be noticeable to me or any partners, but I would need to make an appointment in 6 weeks to follow up on it, and for the Nurse to teach me how to check the strings and tuck them back in case they were pulled loose. I was a tad disappointed, because I had hoped once this thing was placed I could just ‘set it and forget it’ as they say. For 5 years. So I still have to make an appointment for that.

The last week has been great. Monday (the day of the placement) was the worst, cramp wise. As soon as I left the clinic I had very intense cramps. The kind that is painful and not dull. Sharp, searing cramps that I felt like every bump I hit driving home sent me into barred teeth mode. I was feeling a bit distressed driving, and somewhat light headed. I think it was nerves and shock more than anything.

The pain was very real and as much as I could walk around, it was still present enough to remind me my uterus was on fire. I got home, I took a regular Tylenol, and I headed up several bean bag things and a hot water bottle. I laid in bed and had the heated bottles just under my belly button and just lay there. The warmth was soothing and I ended up staying in bed and an hour, not moving. I was really afraid to get up because it seemed when I twisted or bend over earlier, it was painful.

I got up slowly and stood up. The pain was almost gone. I was absolutely amazed. I felt great. The hot water bottle and the Tylenol really did wonders. I actually went around doing errands, walking around, etc. I felt great. I left my parents house (I stayed there the night before since it was closer to the office) and got back to my place around 6pm on Monday night. I started to have some pain again and I took another Tylenol. It seemed they lasted about 8 hours.

So the next few days I took a Tylenol maybe 3 times for the pain. It was immediately lesser the next day, and even less the next. It got to the point that only 3 days later the pain was almost completely gone for a day at a time. By 5 days I had no residual cramping, pain, or anything. I was back to my normal self.

What I should mention, is that on Sunday night before my procedure, I got my period. Which is horrifying and gross and terrified me. They said it was fine and it may even work to my benefit since it was being placed at the start of my cycle, and any bleeding or spotting would just blend in. The Gyno had said that my period may be wonky now, and I may have spotting for a few weeks.

So the first few days after the placement, I had a regular period. Nothing wonky, nothing weird. I figure maybe since it was already starting when the Mirena was placed it would be wonky next time. I’ve had spotting randomly on and off the past few days, I no longer need to wear tampons (they said tampons were fine, just don’t cramp them all the way up there, and you need to remove them every few hours – nothing new to me).

It seems my period ended and I'm just dealing with residual spotting, which is barely happening. No heavy bleeding or anything. I'm also excited for next month to see if it affects my skin at all. Some people take the pill to help clear up their skin, and I know when I stopped the pill I broke out a bit (of course I was coming up to my period so maybe that’s why).

Over the next few months I’ll update you guys on what happens. So far at this moment, I love it. I am so so happy I did it, and I never have to worry about missing pills, or getting sick again. Oh that’s one thing I wanted to mention. I was worried the Progesterone would make me nauseous like the pill did. So far, I haven’t felt sick once. The waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweat, the constant sick feeling, and the gut-churning feeling that came with the pill are gone. I can’t believe it, it makes me so happy! I never thought I could get rid of those feelings and I did.

Also, no evident mood swings or depression lows yet. Like I said, I was just on my period so I’ll have to wait a few months to see what’s period-driven, and what my new average will be. I'm also excited to see my period lessen over time and then go away altogether (which can happen). If it goes away forever I would be super excited. It may take months or years I hear, so I’ll see what the next few weeks bring me first.

If you guys have any questions or feedbacks at all feel free to ask and let me know, I'm happy to answer any questions. The one thing I noticed is that not a lot of information exists on people’s in-depth reviews of Mirena: What it was like, what the procedure was, and what happened after. So hopefully this blog series will help someone make up their mind or help aid in their decision.


16 September, 2013

Mirena IUD journal - Sept 12th 2013

The Consultation and Measurements

Read all the journals here

So today I took the day off to go to my consultation. I got my prescription for the Mirena, picked it up, and was asked to come in to talk to the Gyno about any concerns I may have and to see if I'm a good candidate.
That kind of scared me because how would they find that out? So My Nurse Practitioner was actually a delivery room doctor, and was teamed up with this gynecologist to be trained on how to put in the IUDs. When I got to the Gyno, she explained that the Nurse would be helping and if I was ok with that. Apparently the parent company of Mirena, Bayer, instituted a training program where they took the doctors who have no mistakes (problems with insertion and issues stemming from poor placement) and teamed them up with other doctors and nurses so they can learn from the best. It’s a really great idea, and not only does it help the doctors, but Bayer comes out on top because if only the best is teaching others, the chances of things that go wrong is less. It’s a win win.

So I get to the office and am not nervous at all. All I know is that I’ll be talking to the doctor, and maybe she’ll go through my history and make sure I'm not a risk. So I fill out all the forms, including when my last period was, typically how long it goes for, the heaviness of the flow etc. It asks if cancers run in my family, or if I have any allergies. The typical health forms.

When the doctor called me in she was very nice; she was younger, very friendly and immediately she put me at ease. She went through all the forms, asked me about my bad pap (which was on the form) and asked if I was in a relationship or not. Apparently, if they feel you have too many partners or are using the Mirena as the only form of birth control it becomes a concern. If you become pregnant on Mirena (the slim chance you can, .1%) this could cause miscarriages, infertility, tearing, or death. So it’s serious.

I explained I wasn’t in a serious relationship (or any) and I didn’t have a steady partner like she asked. She said that was fine as long as I ‘continue’ to use condoms. I say it like that because everyone is dumb sometimes and we don’t. And it’s stupid and a terrible idea we know but we do it anyway.

She went through all the forms, explained that the IUD was 100% reversible. It’s great (and recommended) for mothers who have had children and who don’t want any more right now, or are for women who don’t foresee starting a family. The Mirena is a long term solution (5 years) and stays inside the uterus for 5 years. You don’t take it out, you don’t change it, and you don’t touch it. It literally stays inside you. That can be kind of scary to some people. They have long strings that come out of the uterus into the cervix that can be used to take the device out. As soon as the device is out it will take between 2-3 months to start getting your period back and for the opportunity to conceive. So this is a great method for those who may want (more) children in the future, but know they don’t want any in the foreseeable future. If you change your mind and want kids in 2 years, no problem; it’s reversible. It really is a smart device.

At the end of the consultation she said she needed to take some measurements to see if I was a good candidate physically. Apparently some women have smaller uteruses and they need to be at least 6 inches in length. She was checking due to procedure, but also because I'm a small girl, and she wanted to make sure I wasn’t hurt if they tried to insert it and it wouldn’t fit. If your uterus is not at least 6 inches the chances of your body dispelling it is much higher. It needs space to sit properly and so it is not rejected from the body.
She asked me to lay down and she would do a quick measurement. She said I would feel cramping like I was having my period, and discomfort. Immediately I became very nervous and noticed that she had an actual measuring tape on the counter along with speculum (metal car-jack type thing that holds you open when you go to your pap).

The speculum part was no problem, as I mentioned I have had tons of paps in the past due to my bad cells, and it doesn’t bother me at all. At first she couldn’t find the opening to my Cervix, apparently it’s small so she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to get into it easily. She eventually navigated through that and tried to put the measuring tape through my cervix and into the uterus. She had a problem at first, because my uterus wouldn’t open. She put a little metal tip on the tool she used, which acted like a speculum for the uterus, and held it open. This was extremely uncomfortable. I felt the tool and I felt the tape measure (not inside my uterus but pass through the opening).

Before I went, I asked a few friends and pharmacists about any experiences they had with the IUD. I also looked them up online extensively. 85% of the people said that the insertion was the worst pain they’d ever experienced. I take that with a grain of salt because chances are good these people haven’t had babies, and they may be sensitive to pain. Plus I'm not so I didn’t pay it much mind. However, the rest of the reviews said that it was very uncomfortable and painful in a different way.

I feel like I should preface this next paragraph with this: I have a very, very high pain tolerance. Tattoos, piercings, laser hair removal, falls, epilating (seriously I did this for years, look this up it’s scary), cuts, etc. I can take it very well. I hardly ever flinch and I never say anything or make noise or cry out or any of that. In fact, side bar – my laser hair removal technician told me she has never seen someone with my pain tolerance before, she never have seen anyone not even flinch before (it hurt but not enough for me to flail around). That being said, this uterus excavation was not pain.

Getting hit in the face with a brick is pain (I can imagine). Getting kicked in the gut is pain. Getting needles is even pain for some people. Pinched? That’s pain too. This small tiny measurement up my uterus was not pain. It was a very very uncomfortable feeling. It felt like my whole pelvic region and internal insides instantly cramped up, and not menstrual cramps, but cramps like Charlie Horse cramps (I don’t ever get menstrual cramps, or maybe I do but they don’t hurt so I don’t notice them). I felt the rod and the tape measure and it felt like sharp long sticks in my gut. It wasn’t pain, but a very unsettling sensation. I was very uncomfortable and caught myself twisting my mouth in a weird pursing look. I shocked myself. I expected pain, and this was worse.

She was only up there for less than a minute but the second she pulled all the equipment out I felt myself relax with relief. “Oh shit” I thought to myself. If that was just a tape measure, what will the actual procedure feel like? Can’t turn back now!

To be honest, It lasted 40 seconds and wasn’t THAT bad. If you’re uncomfortable or feel pain during your regular pap smear, this may be a bit much for you. But it took almost no time and she determined I had 7 inches, which was a good candidate for the Mirena.

She said I may spot a bit, and experience moderate cramping for a few hours, which is normal. I actually didn’t spot at all and I had very minimal cramping at most maybe an hour altogether. She made an appointment for me to come back that Monday for the procedure. I had to bring my Mirena I bought with me, and I was told the procedure start to finish would take 10-15 minutes, with 10 being prep work and cleaning the area first.


I was starting to get really exciting but anxious. She gave me a prescription for a few pills to fill and take, which I will explain more in my next post, about the actual insertion.

Mirena IUD Journal - August 30th 2013

The device, pros, cons, and why I wanted an IUD instead of Pills.

Read all the journals here


Welcome to my journal based on my IUD experience! I thought maybe it would be a good idea to document what happens to me so that others who are looking into it, or already have it, can see what I'm experiencing so they can get a first-hand look at someone who has gotten it.

About 3 weeks ago I went in to see my family doctor for my PAP and checkup. I had had a bad PAP once when I was 22 in 2007, which meant they found some of my cells were mutated. This can happen for a few reasons but I remember bring terrified. Apparently it happens a lot to lots of women and it's almost never something to worry about. I remember the nurse telling me that if I left it unchecked and it was that one rare case, it could turn into the C word. But she said there were lots of stages before that and I shouldn't worry.

For the next year I went back every 3-6 months for follow ups, and each time my test was clear. After a year of clear tests they take you off the watch list. That was relieving. I had just started birth control a few years before, and had switched it once already. Someone had said it may have been the hormones, or the estrogen in the pills. Either way it was something I didn't want again.

The pill (Alesse) I took first made me nauseas to the point of throwing up and feeling out of commission for several hours during the first 1-5 days of the pill. It was literal torture. With food, morning or night - it made no difference. I felt horrible. I remember asking the pharmacist if this was normal and she told me "unfortunately people with lower body mass are affected more because there are more hormones going through your body and not that much fat or mass to disperse it to." So for 2-3 years I was on that thing, heaving and skipping class due to crippling nausea. 

I changed the brand another time (Linessa), which lead to less sickness, but I was more prone to mood drops and I found myself having a lot of 'lows'. I would feel depressed, sad, or the only other way I can describe it is "monotone." I didn't feel like myself, I felt like I was just going through my life without participating in it.

Another drawback for me was how it affected my libido. I'm a young woman, and was in a long term, committed relationship. I felt myself becoming less interested in having a sexual relationship, and I felt more and more dissatisfied with that aspect of my relationship with my then boyfriend. I'm sure it was a mix of other things as well, but I had no sexual desire or feelings. I thought maybe my relationship was in a rut, and maybe it was, but I felt like this was not normal. I learned some women have less of a sex drive when taking these pills and the hormone concoctions including the dreaded Estrogen affected my libido as well as other women's.

I mentioned this all to my Nurse Practitioner and asked if maybe she knew of or recommended another form of contraceptive. She told me doctors don't really recommend the shot, but there was the Nuva Ring and the patch. None of these seemed appealing to me and I had heard stories about each in a bad light. She then said what about an IUD?

The connotation I had about the term IUD was an old, 70's method that is implanted inside you that is scary looking. She laughed and said it's come along way. There was a brand of IUD, Mirena, (by Bayer) that has a reservoir of Progesterone that releases slowly over time. It was a long term solution, lasting 5 years (other copper IUDs have no hormones and last inside for 3 years). The effectiveness rate for the Mirena is 99.8%, where as the pill when taken 100% correctly was only 99.1, but normally how people take the pill, the effectiveness drops to 90%. This includes people who take it at different times of the day or miss a pill and take two one day. This was definitely me, I would always forget. She said unless you take it at the exact hour and approx minute each day you're looking at 90% or less. That's scary, I didn't know that.

The Mirena is the only IUD (that I know of) that has a hormone, but it's not a myriad of hormones like the pill. IT has no estrogen, which is especially important for me because that's what caused a lot of my libido and mood swings. Also Estrogen (and the pill in general) increases your risk of uterine cancers and breast cancers. That's pretty terrifying that a pill meant to help you can cause so much damage to your body.

After this chat I was super interested in the Mirena. The Nurse told me she had one, and it's been in for about 3 years. She loves it. She said it's a godsend for people who do not have normal periods, too heavy, sporadic, or those that bleed for weeks non-stop. The IUD corrects it and in most cases delivers a normal, light period to those suffering. She said if your period is already regular or light, the chances of having a period at all after a few months or a year increases. Apparently some women notice their period become lighter each month and then disappear forever. 

Of course good comes with bad. Bad is the risk of a perforated or punctured uterus. This can cause infection, and in extreme cases means you aren't able to bare children. The percentage of puncturing is 0.01%, or one in a thousand. I'll take those odds.

I decided right then I would do this, and asked the Nurse to refer me to the gynecologist and prescribe me the actual Mirena to purchase. The receptionist told me that the Nurse would write me a prescription as soon as they got a referral appointment for the gynecologist. I would get a phone call giving me an appointment for an IUD consultation, and then I could pick up the prescription for the Mirena at my family doctor when that happened.

IT took about 2 weeks but I finally got my consultation appointment, and they had written me a prescription for the Mirena that I could fill and bring with me.


08 September, 2013

Beautiful Musings of Wyatt


If you  have any spare time or want to read some really articulate words written by an intelligent man, you should check out my friend Wyatt.

His blog is here and his posts are often heartfelt, interesting, and quite beautiful. I suggest checking it out.

One line I like best is this, when describing the love of his life: "When you waltzed into my world, you made it your own."

And isn't that what we all want? 

Ninjas - A Short Story

Short story idea submitted by: @SteveNaka: Ninjas and backgammon


My brother and I were never close, even as twins. He was a few hours younger, and I was a few hundred shades more of a dick.

His IQ rendered him gifted, and he was teased a lot for his social awkwardness. He was awarded almost every science and math award given each year, and he already had letters from Brown and Harvard offering him early acceptance next year. He loved things like Star Trek, dressing up like comic book heroes, and playing tons of video games. He had a select crew of friends that were society’s rejects: too fat, too skinny, teen mustaches, or bad dragon bowling shirts. I never let him hear the end of it.

Every time someone would come up to me on the football field, or in the gym, or even in the hallways of our high school, they would say “is Jet your brother?” and I would always say “I'm not like him.”

I wasn’t anything like him. I was tall, strong, captain of the football team, square jaw and blue eyes. I had blonde hair and broad shoulders, and I was gunning for prom king. My brother was short, scrawny, and had a mop of curly black hair onto of his head. He was in the Chess Club, AV Society, and Comic Book Club. He’d never had a girlfriend who was remotely attractive, and his friends were all weirdoes who played with toys in their rooms.

I may be the popular kid but I had my own problems. My football scholarship was to a small state school, and I needed to maintain a B average to play. My parents were proud. Secretly I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough for even a local college. I was afraid of being compared to Jet. Girls would laugh and say “Jet got the brains but you got the looks.” We’d laugh because nobody knew how scared I was inside.

It was just after Christmas and we were at my aunts for dinner. While we sat around watching the folks eat peanut brittle and playing backgammon, I excused myself.

It was a really chilly evening. The night was already dark just after dinner, and it had just started snowing. Someone will tell you that snow doesn’t have a smell, but that person is wrong. Snow smells like something new. I wandered down the stairs through the basement hall to the sliding door. The fire crackled across the room and I unlocked the door and slid it open, popping my head out to the back patio that housed several feet of crisp, untouched snow. The flakes melted as they touched my blonde hair, and the water pooled in snowflake-sized drops on my cheeks.

I looked up at the stars and I breathed in. The pressure from school, the pressure from sports, and the pressure of being somebody who may not be smart enough to get into college melted with those flakes. The lake outside was frozen, and the icy wind ran through the trees like a frozen whisper. I shuffled on my uncles slippers by the door and stepped outside, greeted by a chill and a crispness in the air. I heard a shuffle and startled, jumped to face the noise, heart beating wildly.

Jet sat on the porch swing in his winter coat, boots, and hat. There was a giant blue scarf wrapped around his neck and matching blue gloves were holding little figurines, he was turning them over in his hands
.
Jet looked up at me and smiled. “Hey.”

“Hey.”

“I can’t eat anymore peanut brittle.” He smiled again. “Aunt Merle got me these. He held out his mitted hand and extended the figures to me.

I took a few steps forward and plucked them from his hand, the wind swirling my light polo around my waist and flowing up my back.

They were little cloaked men. Faces clad with black hoods and little weapons were in each hand.

“I painted these two earlier. You give them a coat of hairspray and they dry faster.” His gentle smile was very pleased with himself. I looked closer.

The little men were all hand-drawn. The hoods, weapons, they were all painted with alarming intricacy. I must have met his gaze with a question on my face because he took a deep breath, seemingly smelling the air outside as well, and moved his scarf down to talk a bit clearer.

“They’re ninjas.”

“Oh… You did a good job painting them.” I examined one more closely. The stripes on the base of his sword were visible, as well as the metal etchings on his stars.

“I know you don’t think that stuff is cool – actually, I know you don’t think I'm cool. But, I just wanted to let you know that as much as I'm a dork, I'm happy. I like who I am.” He looked up at me with soft blue eyes – brought out by the new scarf on his neck – and smiled so I could see how red his cheeks were from the cold. “And I look up to you. When I leave for college, I’ll be telling everyone the star quarterback in my hometown is my brother.”

I couldn’t help it. Tears welled in my eyes. My brother, the genius, the guy who would never have to worry about finding a good job, or affording a nice car, or staying in our town looked up to me? I had spent years tormenting and laughing at him. I had said countless times how I was embarrassed of him and here he was after all that, here he was proud of me. And my ability to throw a football.

Jet saw my eyes and the smile vanished from his face and was replaced by worry.

“Kell, I didn’t mean to… I was serious.” He stood up and looked at me, cocking his head like he was trying to see through my mask. He placed his mitted hand on my arm. “You’re a great brother, a great friend, and you’re a good person. You’re really good at football. You can throw the ball maybe a dozen feet further than anyone else on the team.” He smirked. I looked at him.

“How do you know that?”

He looked curious. “Kell, I go to all your games, of course.”

Tears streamed down my face and dropped silently into the snow. I was suddenly unaware of the cold I just felt a hot, humiliating sting of shame on my face. I’d never gone to any of his events. Not one. Not ever.

I looked down at the painted figures in my hand before grasping them. I pulled Jet into a hug, and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. The warmth of his winter coat soothed the icy burn on my skin and I knew I surprised him. He returned the hug and we stood there, enveloped by the darkness and floating snow.

I was certainly right about one thing; I'm not like Jet.

But I hoped one day I could be.




Read more stories with themes submitted by social media here.


02 September, 2013

The Roar of the Engine - A Short Story

Story idea submitted by: @firstelder_d: Retracing the past and loss.

We were on the porch swing when his large rough hands held my delicate face, he had asked me the same thing he had being doing since I met him.

We had been meeting for years, each year on the anniversary of our meeting for a weekend. Each year we would slip away from our lives like water droplets sliding off of the fast and beautiful cars he drove, clinging to each other before we fell and hit the pavement. We would wait the entire year again for it to rain, to feel like we were on top of the world again, and our love was the answer to every question that came up.

“Why won’t you leave him?” His beautiful brown eyes searched the glassy blue of my own, and his eyebrows furrowed slightly as if he’d been asking the same question all of his life; and he had. His hand – scarred with the calluses of hard labour and his job – caressed my neck and he drew his fingers one by one down my neck before grasping it like it may topple from my shoulders due to the weight of the world I carried.

I brought up my hand to meet his own and stroked it lightly, reassuring him with touch and confirming everything we had brought up before; a continuous and ever-circulating fountain that poured the same answers every time it bubbled to the surface.

Our torrid love affair had been going on for almost 5 years. I’d whisk away to a reclusive cottage to recharge my writer’s battery and work on new material for my novels, and he’d travel halfway across the country for his restoration and classic car convention. This is how we met.

***

I was 25 and in the prime of my life. I had nailed a great job writing for a reputable newspaper, while pursuing my lifelong dreams of becoming a published author and novelist on the side. It was working beautifully and I had managed to find an agent who was taking me to the top. I used the column to push my wares and highlight my own efforts, which was frowned upon but management simply smiled and rolled their eyes at me. As long as I didn’t hurt their bottom line I could plug my work.

I was the casualty of young love – university relationships that never quite ebbed and flowed with my changing personality. But, I was in love and he was a wonderful man. Our families got along famously, it also needs to be said that his father owned the newspaper I was working for. Our lives married so much into one another’s that nobody knew where mine started and blue eyed Lukas’ stopped. I wouldn’t say I had doubts, but I was blissfully content at being averagely happy. It wasn’t enough to try to leave, and I knew I would be happy.

We exchanged vows the year before to my mother’s protest. She was always of the mind that women shouldn’t marry before 30, because nobody knew what they wanted to who we really were. In hindsight, she couldn’t have been more right.

At the start of that summer I was sent to Upstate New York to cover several classic car shows to cover for a friend who couldn’t make it. I normally did entertainment, Opinion, and Reviews but I was asked to fill in. My job got me a beautiful room in an equally beautiful cottage not far from where the show would be held. It was a stunning Victorian home, with sprawling green fields every which way and a wraparound porch that housed a few comfortable rocking chairs. The tables beside them normally held chilled glassed of iced Tea, condensation running down the smooth etched glass and pooling below into the fabric of homemade coasters.

I spent the first few days holed up on those rocking chairs, cradling my laptop and sipping sweet teas, typing loosely as the smells of wheat grass and several types of trees made its way on the wind through my hair and onto my skin.  This was somewhere I wanted to be again, I had no doubt of that.

The first day at the car show wielded a very eye-opening experience, which lead me to believe I was definitely not meant to write about cars. Sure the polished chrome and steels were seductive, and the paint was bold and bright, but the topic bored me to tears. I spent the first few hours wondering somewhat aimlessly up and down the rows of the Chevrolet area of the open field, now spotted with hundreds of antique and restored cars, dotting the landscape with colours not normally seen in nature.

After filling several pages of my notebook I decided I would head back to the cottage for lunch and maybe come back during the evening. Evening events always boasted the best entertainment, with open bars and music, the event turned into more of a networking and social scene, where car buffs and those in the industry could discuss the latest trend or piece of work.

I set out for my loaner car past several rows of car-meatheads: a group of younger men who I would bet spent their entire lives on their cars. As I walked by, wind swirling my blonde hair, it caught my notebook and up like a tornado my notes went. I watched in horror as they scattered all over the men and the cars, surprised shouts when paper landed on their heads or in their popped hoods.

I started rushing to each piece, grabbing it along with handfuls of grass, murmuring apologies while trying to organize the sheets. I got to the last piece and as I reached to grab it so did someone else. Our hands touched for a brief second, and before he let go a jolt of electricity surged through me. I stood up and shielded my eyes from the blaring sun enough to see a tall man, build like a wall, olive skin and beautiful brown eyes smiling.

“You ought to get a stapler or something.” His light upper Midwest accent was barely audible but it brought a smile to my lips. I shook his extended hand.

“Adeline. Call me Addy.” I smiled as we shared a handshake. He laughed.

“Well in that case call me Rick. Maverick. And yes, that’s my real name. Don’t ask. Are you coming back tonight? We’re setting up the cars in the 1950’s area; you’re welcome to stop by.”

“Well, that sounds like fun, Rick, but I have to go back to my hotel and type these notes up.” I started walking away without thinking. “Um I'm a reporter. Thanks for this.” I held up the last piece of paper he’d given me as I awkwardly bumbled away, waving the paper in the air as I sped walked past him. He looked confused but smiled and waved. I literally just ran away from the most beautiful man I’ve ever met. Probably for the best, I told myself. Looking back, it wouldn’t have changed anything.

Back at the hotel I showered, typed up my notes, and called my husband. The whole time I was speaking to him I tried my best to listen but my mind was laser-focused on Rick. He was incredibly beautiful. The second time I caught myself not listening I said goodbye and promised to call him when I got back tonight. I dressed and took time doing my hair and makeup. As press, you never know who will want a photo with me. I repeated that to myself several times before I started to believe that was the reason. When I was satisfied I grabbed my notebook and headed out to the party.

It didn’t take long to run into Maverick, what a coincidence I happened to walk by his area. He shouted at me and waved me over. My heart sped in my chest. I took several deep breaths and told myself he’s attractive but I'm not attracted to him. This is normal.

We ended up spending the entire length of the party together. He introduced me to his car buddies, his boss from his shop who came with him to the show, and even let me take his 1956 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible (10mph but still). After a few hours the party started to dwindle and die down. It was bad but I only had one day left before I had to go home, and I needed to be around Rick. He made my heart jump and skip, his accidental brushes of his hand made me electric.

We sat in a circle, leaning on the cars, a few of Rick’s buddies drinking beer and smoking, me leaning nonchalantly close to Rick, my hip touching his leg.

“When do you want to head out Mav?” One of Rick’s friends spouted the words I dreaded to hear all night in-between sips of beer. Rick looked at me out of the corned of his eye and I could see him thinking. I needed to do something before he left.

“You guys are welcome to come back to my hotel. It’s a beautiful cottage, it has a large private deck and it’s big enough for everyone.” Rick’s head snapped to meet my eyes and before I could follow up with “OR I could see you tomorrow” he said,

“Ya I'm in. Boys?” The guys looked around at each other and nodded, raised eyebrows.

“Sure I'm up for a night cap.” They muttered in agreement as they picked up their things and headed to their rides.

“Just follow me.” I started toward my rental and I heard footsteps behind me.

“I thought I may as well come with you, so I know how to get back.” Rick stepped along beside me, huge grin on his face and hands in his pockets. I smiled back.

We stayed up smoking and drinking until early in the morning. Three times my phone rang, and three times I let it go to the machine. One by one Rick’s friends petered out until it was Rick and I laying on a blanket in front of the porch on the grass, stars twinkling and the euphoria I felt was unparalleled. We stared up at the sky, no doubt both our hearts beating hard in our chests, legs touching side by side as if by accident. Crickets and cicadas echoes through the trees and into the open meadow and the sound of the wind through the leaves made me think this was a dream.

“How long have you been married?” His words cut through the early-morning soundtrack like a knife, and for the first time all evening I remembered I was married. What was I doing? “Before you say anything, I'm engaged.” I felt like a bucket of ice water was thrown in my face and I was paralyzed. My beautiful dream was now a deformed, sick reality. “I saw the ring.” He held his breath and it sounded like he nervous to hear my answer.

I took a deep breath, “just under a year. We dated in college…” I paused, “It made sense at the time.” There. I said it out loud. I had never said it before. Or thought it but I felt it.

“We’ve dated for 10 years, since we were teenagers. She gave me an ultimatum. She’s a great woman, so I don’t know why I was having a hard time proposing. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem…” He trailed off, and I heard regret in his voice.

“Didn’t seem right?” I finished. We both turned out heads sideways to face each other, on our backs looking at the stars this was a moment I thought would be important.

“I don’t know you at all, Abby,” My heart started to beat faster and my skin was suddenly on fire, “and I hope you don’t mind me saying this but tonight was one of the most fun I’ve ever had.” He looked at me, eyes deep and dark, searching my face. “I’ve… God damn Abby, I’ve never felt this way until now. With you.” He sat up and looked down at me, visibly agitated.

I sat up immediately and we were inches apart. “Is it possible to have two people click after just meeting? While two others spend years together and don’t?” My heart was a jackhammer, I knew what was going to happen and I could stop it. I could stop it right now. I could get up, say goodnight, and walk into the hotel. I could walk into my room, lock the door, call Lukas and leave tomorrow.

I could but I didn’t.

I grabbed his head and pulled his mouth onto mine, instantly shocked by the electricity running through the contact. His kiss was virtually electrifying. His lips were soft and enveloped my own, his hands all of a sudden in my hair and all over my back. We grappled with our shirts and fell back onto the dewy grass, completely missing the blanket. Shoes and my bra came off before I noticed and then I felt the aching need inside me fill as Rick slid into me. I gasped as he hit ever nerve on the way in.

His hands clamped onto my lower back and he pulled me onto him, and we worked in a rhythm frantically clawing at each other as we rolled on the grass, kissing like we had reached the pit of passion inside us both. I never wanted this to end. My skin was on fire and Rick growled and snarled into my hair as he came, I followed him while sliding my hand down his barrel chest. We lay in a heap, still connected for a long time, listening to each other’s breathing and kissing and nipping at each other playfully. I had no regrets. I never would.

The next day we skipped the car show. We made our way inside eventually, showered, and made love again. And again when we woke up. We spent the entire morning and afternoon in bed. After that, Rick headed to the shower again, kissing my forehead and smiling. I lay there completely elated until my cell phone went off. Reality smacked me in the face and my face flushed as I jumped out of bed in search for my phone.

“Hi babe,” I tried to act casual, “Just at the hotel, getting packed and ready to head to the airport. Yep, I’ll call you when I'm there. Hope you have a good day too, ok, love you, bye.” I set the phone quietly on the dresser and turned around to find Rick in a towel in the doorway. His eyes were hurt and his expression was solemn.

“That was, my…” My voice cracked and I searched for something to say to make this reality disappear. Instead of saying anything Rick unwrapped his towel and let it drop to the floor. He stood naked and statuesque in front of me; his stunning physique equaled hours working out. He walked silently toward me and grabbed my wrist with one hand, pulling me into him. He smelled of spice and shampoo, skin soft and supple from the water. He kissed my neck and breathed into my ear.

“He may have you when you go back, but you’re with me now. And you’re mine.” He picked me up under my ass with his forearm wrapped around me and threw me gently onto the bed. Looking me in the eyes he firmly held me down while he caressed and touched my body. He entered me with a slight force and kept a slow and steady pace until my world shattered around me and my back arched up in response. I would enjoy every second of him before I had to leave.

 I would never get enough of this man.

***

Here we sat at the cottage, 5 years later, and the fifth year in a row we reunited. I had even gotten the same room overlooking the meadow where we made love the first time.

We sat on the porch swing hands clasped together in silence, knowing this would be our last hour before we needed to depart. I smiled thinking of my boss earlier this week when I made arrangements to go to the car show again.

“You’re our best columnist Addy, why would you waste time with that car show crap? Get a junior to do it.” My boss had rolled his eyes when I requested the press pass again this year but he smiled. “I don’t know what it is about you and this dang car show. I didn’t even know you liked cars.”

I toyed with the memory in my head, rolling it around and dissecting it. I was so happy when we had made the plans. We had talked for hours the week before planning it all. My husband and my son would be out of town visiting his mother’s, and his wife was out of the country on business for a few days. We spent every waking minute talking to each other. Giggling and laughing - reminiscing.

And here we were, yet another year flown by, another year of devastating heartbreak when we left. He took my chin in his hand and brought it up to meet his face. He planted a very gentle, very soft kiss on my lips. When he pulled away he had tears in his eyes. He held my face in his hands and asked me the same thing he’d asked me every year.

“Why won’t you leave him?” He didn’t ask it to evoke as response. He knew why. I had a son. Until you’re a parent you don’t realize that as a parent you would literally do anything for your children. Including sacrificing your own happiness to give them a stable life. If I left my son would stay in Boston with Lukas, because I would have to move to California. Rick had a shop; he had a business and responsibilities. He couldn’t move. I could, but my son would stay with Lukas.

How do I know? Lukas told me, on another of our arguments. If I ever left custody would go to him. His family had the money and the power. It was a battle I wouldn’t win and didn’t dare.

 “Can I see him again, do you have something recent?” His eyes lit up. I smiled as I reached for my purse and started to dig out my wallet. I pulled a small photo out and handed it to him. Rick’s eyes watered and a single tear slid down his cheek. I looked at him. This man, this man was everything to me. He was my entire world.
Now, Lukas was handsome in a nice looking way. He had kind blue eyes, blonde hair like my own, and a small frame. But looking at Rick, he was a whole different creature. Rick’s deep brown eyes held his soul. He was a few inches over 6 feet and shoulders as wide as a football field.

I watched this gorgeous man as he fingered the photo, gingerly tracing my sons face and cupping it with his other hand. He looked at me.

“Can I keep this?” Tears filled my eyes as they fell silently down my cheeks. He brought up a finger to swipe each one away and kissed me again.

“Of course you can.” We both smiled and looked down at the photo of this handsome 4 year old, with big beautiful brown eyes. Just like his fathers.




Read more stories with themes submitted by social media here.

The Wreck - A Short Story

Carion looked at me, his brown eyes now paling at the fear that once held them. The twisted metal around us groaned with the weight of the other car, the space closing slowly with the sharp shrieks of crushed steel.

He took his free hand and reached up and clasped it around mine, arms stretched across the driver’s seat to the passengers where I hung suspended. His hand was bloody and I wasn't sure whose it was; mine dripping down, his from the weight of the other car crushing his body, or - worse to think about - the blood from the other car running down the shattered remains of the window and pooling around Carion's feet.

Here he sat, knowing. My best friend was dying in front of me and I was stuck in the seat belt that held me sideways. His brown hair melted into his forehead with sweat and smears of somebody's blood. He started to smirk and rubbed my hand gently with his thumb.

All the feelings I had bubbled and rushed to the surface like an eruption, everything I suppressed for so long and for "the right reasons" suddenly seemed so stupid. We wanted to stay friends. He wanted desperately to keep the friendship and we decided that cutting off the emotional feelings that were starting to come to light was the best way.

I watched him marry his girlfriend. He was in my hospital room for the birth of my first child. He brought roses and stayed at my house the entire night when my step-mom died.

This was my person. The one I watched live his life without me for 10 years, re-enacting scenarios I had come up with for us in my head for so long before.

All I could do was cry. Hot tears streamed down my face as my chest convulsed in silent tears. He just looked at me with those fearless eyes.

"I've never loved anyone the same."

"We will be fine," my voice shook with false bravado at the lie I spouted.

"It was always you."

I heard shouting and sirens as my body flushed with relief. I started to scream out, letting the paramedics know that we were alive.

I turned back to watch him just as his hand slipped off mine and his eyes fill with tears of our life together. In slow motion I grappled for his arm before it fell away out of my reach and his eyes closed.

Hands reached behind me and I felt pressure against my chest. The seat belt was cut and I was pulled back through the broken window. I fought to escape, to touch him and take him with me. I screamed and fought as I watched the wreckage of the car and my life get smaller and smaller as I was strapped in and wheeled away.

Someone leaned over my gurney and whispered into my ear, "Shhh, miss, he's gone. Let him go."

I tried once. But I can't. 



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