June 30, 2014

Confessions of your Maid of Honor.

The day before they got married, the three of us took a break from backyard wedding prep and stepped out for a bite to eat. Over our lunch, I heard this snippet:

Sam: Haley, may I have a fry? 
Haley: Sure, Sam! Besides, starting tomorrow, my fries are your fries forever!

This was the final click. Haley and I used to share our lunches in middle school. This silly conversation began a recognition of the obvious changes that were to take place the next day. My turn now, I thought, Here I go to pass the torch. 

At the end of the reception, she took my arm and asked me to help her change. As I followed her into the bedroom, I had to force myself to keep the tears inside. Keep your shit together, Courtney. 

I zipped down the back of her wedding dress and began packing the bag just as we'd planned, and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude came over me. I have spent the last eleven years growing up with this woman. She has had such a massive impact on who I am as a person and I cannot thank her enough for being so good to me. I kept making trips out to the getaway car to prolong having to say goodbye, though, once the final bag was placed in the trunk, I was at a loss with excuses. On the bed in a mess of undone hair and grass-stained heels, I sat cross-legged, watching her scramble around the room to ensure everything was in order. 
     "Court! Am I forgetting anything?" she asked. I'll never be able to forget the way she looked at me. Forever cemented in my brain like a sacred, sweet homage to the friendship we shared all those years. Like I was the one with the answers. I was the one who had to tell her things were good and she could go now.
     "I don't think so. I think it's time to go." 
     "Okay," she breathed. 
     "Guess it's time to say goodbye," I said, grabbing both of her hands. As I went in to hug her, the tears ran out of my eyes. I could hear the music outside, the party continuing without us. 
     "Thank you for everything. I love you," she said.
     "I love you, too. You're my best friend." 

And then, she left and it was over.

I was prepared for all the happiest pieces of the day, the parts they play in movie montages. Like, the one where, after she's just been married, I see her through the window, give her a thumbs up, and she responds with the biggest smile, like, can-you-believe-what-I've-just-done? How, minutes later, she walks down the stairs, and I'm the first person she wants to hug. Their first dance as husband and wife. Her hair and the way that it looks just so perfectly undone. I was ready for so much of it. All the good things. 

But nobody tells you about the stuff that makes you ache. No one mentions that after she leaves the reception, you'll sit on the grass under the party lights, barefoot, hair tied atop your head, eating leftover wedding cake, watching all the best parts of their 6 year romance on a plasma screen. There'll be quiet buzz behind you. The cleanup crew will arrive, clinking glasses, pouring leftover water into the plants, and collapsing tables, but you'll be alone. Absolutely alone. The empty parts, like these, are left out of conversation. There isn't a Hallmark card to express the feelings her dad will need to express when he watches his youngest daughter drive away on her wedding night, so, he'll come to you, hug you tight with tears in his eyes, and confess that what he's just done was the hardest thing he'll ever do. Stuff nobody tells you about.

I drove home that night so heavy in my head and heart that I had to pull over, hands on the wheel, and compose myself before driving on. What if things are different now? Now that I can't just call her up any time I want and demand a 3 AM trip to Walgreens.


Tonight, I FaceTimed her. When the call connected, I was overjoyed to find her beach-tanned skin and post-honeymoon demeanor. 

     "I called to see if you were still you, you know, still the same person. Still my best friend," I said.
     "I am. Well, sort of. A little different, though, because now I've got a joint checking account." Still the same person, still my best friend. 

And, my friends, no one tells you that the world sets itself right time after time. And though things are different post-wedding and you talk about sex more often than you used to, there's still more life to do, and she's still the one who's going to be there for you to do it with. She's the best person in the world and she's not going anywhere. 

Here's her wedding video. 413 plays. 400 were played by me. Enjoy!

June 22, 2014

Gone Girl.

"We share a taxi home, the streetlights making dizzy shadows and the car is speeding as if we're being chased. It is one a.m. when we hit one of New York's unexplained deadlocks twelve blocks from my apartment, so we slide out of the taxi into the cold, into the great What Next? and Nick starts walking me home, his hand on the small of my back, our faces stunned by the chill. As we turn the corner, the local bakery is getting it's powdered sugar delivered, funneled into the cellar by the barrelful as if it were cement, and we can see nothing but the shadows of the delivery men in the white, sweet cloud. The street is billowing, and nick pulls me close and smiles that smile again, and he takes a single lock of my hair between two fingers and runs them all the way to the end, tugging twice, like he's ringing a bell. His eyelashes are trimmed with powder, and before he leans in, he brushes the sugar from my lips so he can taste me." 

Too bad I didn't write this. 

Too bad this book is about a murder. 

But if F'd up psychological thrills are your jam, read it. 

June 12, 2014

June Violet Wilde.

Struggling with writing about myself, so I wrote about someone else instead. 

Her name is June Violet Wilde, and I made her up. 

This is all pretty new to me, because I would never call myself a fiction writer. That being said, I have needed to find ways to channel my thoughts in a productive way, so I've been sussing out the details of June for about a year now, but have kept her hidden away in a little word document. This tiny chunk has been through a fair share of edits and will need a few more, I'm sure. I didn't feel ready to share her with anyone else until I was overlooking a pass of mountain this evening and felt like doing something brave. 

I haven't fleshed out much of a coherent exposition because I think scenes come in waves. And also, I have no idea where I would even begin. Not quite sure where I want to take this yet, or how much I'd like to share--still trying to wade my way through story outlines, conflict resolution, and dialogue, oh, dialogue.

Please keep in mind that June Wilde is very much a person to me, dear and close to my heart, so please be kind.


     “You’re pretty. I like you and love you and I want you to put down that newspaper, come over here, and let me kiss you for a while.”
     “Did you know that the average cost of a dinner in New York City is forty-three dollars and thirty four cents?” I walk over from the kitchen with a half-eaten apple in my left hand. My right holds the New York Times. “See that?” I hold it up to his face. “It’s right there in The Times.” I take a bite of the apple, sit down on the arm of the chair he’s sitting in, and continue reading. He puts an arm around my waist.
     “I think you’re worth every penny.” He pulls me in and kisses my cheek. I’m wearing pink and grey cotton pajamas with my pants tucked into tall socks, and that’s how I know he’s telling the truth.
     “We shouldn’t go out anymore. With the taxi, just to get out of Tribeca--that’s a hundred dollars a night! Think of what we could be spending that money on!”
     “A trip to Bali,” he says, kissing all around my face. I continue reading.
     “Oh, babe! Look at this,” he doesn’t mind me, but continues his charade. “They’re honoring Reagan at the Guggenheim on the seventeenth. My dad loves Reagan.” He begins unbuttoning my pajama top when I gasp. “My dad!” Startled, he sits up.
     “Well, if that isn’t the most alarming buzz kill at a time like this…”
     “No, no. That’s not—I forgot that I told my parents we would stop by next week. And also, I think I forgot to tell you.” I straighten the buttons that have been undone. “Wait, you want to go to Bali?”
     “We. As in, you and I?”
     “Who else would I mean? Yes, you and I.”
     “Okay, well, your parents live in New Hampshire, so just stopping by is a difficult thing to do.”
     “The seventeenth. Six o’clock.”
     “That’s going to be tight, but I can probably make it if Grant will handle my last account. By the way, your parents. They don’t know that we’re…”
     “Getting married? No.” I bite my nails. It’s a nervous habit I picked up somewhere along the road of debutant balls, beauty pageants, and I blame my mother for it."Or sleeping in the same house. Or bed. Or even that we know each other."
     “Well, where do I sign up?”
     “You're playing in jest, but you don’t get it,” I say, standing up, “they’re wealthy and my dad plays golf.”
     “What's not to get? I could play golf!”
     “I love you, Ian, but you cannot play golf.”
     “Okay, no golf, but I can schmooze your dad, and that's something!”
     “You didn’t even vote in the last election.”
     “Yeah, but I’ve got stuff! Magic, June. I can work dad magic.”
     “And I think it’s sweet that you genuinely think that. The point is that I promised a trip to see them with you in tow, and, well, I didn’t promise them you, but you’ve got to meet sooner or later.”
     “And you've chosen to make it the night you tell them that I even exist, which is equal parts terrifying and fun.”
     "You're not understanding this because you're from Portland where people have time. Lots of it. The land of Keens, organic juice cleanses, and riding your bike to work. I don't want to give them time to think you over. They just need one dose of you in one fowl swoop, and you're in. I just--with too much time they'll... I don’t want them to wreck you up.”
     “First of all, going to add ‘wreck you up’ to a list of ‘Things I Never Thought June Wilde Would Say’ and second, I am the accountant version of James Van Der Beek. Everybody loves me.” He’s trying to calm me down, which is something that often works, but I am still internally panicking.
     “I know. You’re right. So, let’s go. Will you go with me? I guess I never really asked.”
     “Happily, I will. But only if you won’t embarrass me in front of them,” he says. “I’m concerned about your outward appearance because I’ve only just noticed your pants tucked into your socks and it’s making me second-guess our agreement.” We laugh together and he takes a bite of the apple in my hand.
     “If I promise to adjust myself to a list of set stipulations, will you come with me to New Hampshire?”
     “Let me… think about it.” I slide myself from the arm of the chair and into his lap.
     “Please?” My apple arm is around his neck and I’m removing one of my socks with the other.
     “Oh, is this how you’re going to get me to go? You’re just going to keep removing your clothes?”
     “No, I was under the impression that my socks were the only item of clothing you opposed. But the clothes-removing theory you speak of has worked in the past, so I might try that if this doesn’t do the trick.”
     “I hate everything you're wearing. I hate it all!”

 I kiss him long, apple in hand, one sock removed, and we’re both very, very late for work.