I am holding myself together with patches. I patch the holes, trying to make more patches than leaks. It's a trying task and doesn't leave much time for writing. At least not much time for writing about anything people would want to hear. Maybe one day soon I'll get my words figured out and be able to write more than grocery lists and silly little stories and heartbreakingly honest journal entries. Maybe I'll figure out how to write what I think and put it here, or there, or get it out somewhere besides my own head. Until then, here's one of those silly little stories. If you read between the lines, maybe you'll get a glimpse into what I've been thinking about these days.
She wanted to write but all she knew how to write were love stories and grocery lists.
Life was spinning fast, like a globe being spun around and around in a pair of tiny, grubby hands, and everything was bright like the fourth of July and she was still trying to decide if it was a comforting glow or the worrisome blaze of a fire threatening to wreak havoc on the little life she had made for herself.
She constructed her life like a patch quilt, the kind her grandmother always used to make for her. She added pieces until she had what resembled a blanket but really was just a large square constructed of smaller squares, the stitches uneven and jagged. She collected these patches like girl scout badges. One for moving out on her own, another for getting a cat, a third for remembering to take out the garbage on Thursday nights. There was one for remembering to buy groceries every week so her fridge was not bare and empty, holding only melting ice cream, salsa and a loaf of bread. Patches were collected for calling mom on Sundays and paying bills on time and eating three meals a day. The patches she collected for falling in love and being in a committed relationship were prettier than just the plain patterns of everyday living. These patches were warm, with shades of oranges and reds and pinks. They were smooth, like satin and silk, and warm like flannel. These patches were lovingly stitched next to the patches earned for everyday chores and showing up to work on time.
Just as her grandmother was a quilter, she was a writer though she hadn't earned a writing patch in a long time. It seems the only things she could write about were the items she needed to get at the market that week - apples, milk, bread, Oreos, carrot sticks, toilet paper, eggs - and love stories about the grand tales of falling in, and then out of, love with a boy everyone says is made for you. It wasn't that she doubted he was a good man, a wonderful man. It was just that he had plans, big plans, plans that did not consist of living in a one bedroom apartment waitressing to pay the bills until her writing career finally went somewhere. No, his plans consisted of her becoming the perfect housewife as he pursued politics in the big city. She knew they wouldn't get anywhere, of course, at least not together. Sooner or later he would realize she could never be the kind of person he wanted her to be and he would leave, find someone better suited to his tastes. He would realize that sometimes she could barely earn the taking out the garbage patch or the one for paying the bills on time much less earn the patch for becoming a perfect trophy wife. Her counters were covered in crumbs and unopened mail and an unopened birthday package from her mother from three months ago. She couldn't even remember to put new toilet paper on the roll when the old one was used up and she still had an empty toilet paper tube sitting on the roll, waiting to be changed out with a new one. She only had one coffee mug and a bowl and she stole plastic cutlery from fast food restaurants.
She was a writer, a brilliant one, and yet all she could seem to write about was the food she needed to buy for the week - apples, milk, bread, Oreos, carrot sticks, toilet paper, eggs - and about a boy who would never love her the same way she loved him. For him it was only who she could become and for her it was different. She saw who he was. She wished he could see himself through her eyes, the way he looked first thing in the morning, with bleary eyes, not yet having had his coffee and before reading the paper. It was kind of tragic, if you stopped to think about it. She kept waiting for him to love her back the way she loved him and she also had this vague sense of knowing that it would never happen. He would never love her back. And writing about that was just writing the same sentence over and over again.
Please love me.
So instead she would write grocery lists and wait for fate to change things as fate always seems to have a way of doing and she would add patches to her life like the ones earned for taking out the trash on time and paying the bills and not forgetting to call her mother. She would wait until she found inspiration in words once again, when everything worth writing about didn't seem so sad and tragic. While waiting for her own art to take shape, she would become an artist like her grandmother, slowly quilting her life.