Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What Are You Going to Do?

I don't tan. I burn if I'm in the sun for any amount of time at all. The best I can do is a light beige by the end of the summer, if I'm outside almost every day. I wear a sunblock. Not a suntan lotion, or a sunscreen, a block. YOU SHALL NOT PASS! Block.

I get ill in the heat and humidity. Like sick to my stomach, pounding headache, can't do anything, ill.

I get seasick. Doesn't matter how choppy or not choppy the water is, if I don't take precautions I get sick. And then I'm down for the rest of the day. It's big time sick, not a little queasy and done. But heaving over the side of the boat, then to bed for the day. Out.

I tend to get Mal de Débarquement Syndrome. That's a fancy name for extended sea legs. If we go on a long sailing trip (long being anything over a couple of hours) I have that the boat is rocking feeling for a long time after. As in we went out on Monday and I still have it today. After our Alaska cruise I want to say it was almost a month before it was completely gone. Bedspins without the alcohol sort of thing.

I'm super not graceful. Any sort of physical activity is going to leave me covered in bruises. Some I know how I got (I have three in a row on my leg from the ladder on to the boat where the wave came when I was still half on), more that I have no clue (the dark, almost black one that Brent pointed out on my leg that I would have missed otherwise).

Each and every time shopping for and finding a bathing suit that fits is an exercise in humility, and settling for good enough, and remember when you used to be hot (even though, honestly, suits didn't fit back then either).  Followed by the actual wearing of it which turns into a tug, tug, shift, tighten, loosen, tug, fidget experience of making sure my bits are covered and nothing is floating away (suit or bits).

I am absolutely not made for tropical beaches.

And yet...

I love to sit on the beach and listen to the waves crash on the shore. I love to watch the roll and break and wash of the water as it comes in and then goes back out. I love the hiss of the water as it hits and as it goes back out to sea. I love the smell of the salt in the air and the feel of the mist on my face. I even love watching from a balcony above the surf, just sitting out on the lanai with a book and looking up every few pages to watch the waves is a perfect afternoon.

There is a popping clicking noise that you hear underwater swimming over a coral reef. It's the fish chomping at the coral. clickclickclickclick There is almost nothing that makes my heart feel as full as that first moment I hear that.

Except the sound of a humpback singing. Listening to a hydrophone pick it up makes my eyes tear up each and every time. Being in the water and feeling the vibration of the song in my chest? I don't have a word for that feeling. And I have a lot of words.

Swimming out in the ocean with Brent and each of us pointing out things so we don't miss the cool things. The manta ray eating breakfast, the eel swimming after the school of fish looking like an old man chasing them off of his coral cave, the sleeping honu, the swimming honu, the blue fish, the green fish, the rainbow fish...everything is the cool thing. And we are just out there looking at it. And pointing.

Stepping off of the plane in Hawaii it feels like Brent and I shed a coat, no matter what the weather is, a heavy coat and we are just lighter there. Part of it is that it's vacation, sure. And it's actual vacation not Intel vacation. But it's just different. Like the salt water is buoyant so it holds us up with less gravity.

We talk about retiring there. I picture a life eating fresh fruit and swimming almost every day.

But then I wonder how long you have to be there before it just is normal? When we went to Oahu we were stuck in traffic going from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki and wondered how quickly it would change from "Sure you're stuck in traffic, but you're stuck in traffic in Hawaii" to "I'M STUCK IN TRAFFIC AGAIN!!" A few years ago on Kauai we were there for a week and it rained almost the whole time. Almost everything we planned got cancelled. Flash floods, high surf, trails washed out. And we still had a great time. It was still Hawaii. We found other things to do. Including one of the things I recommend to EVERYONE who goes to Kauai. (Lydgate Farms) But how long would that last?

I know I experience it here. Every once in awhile I am startled by how beautiful it is. I notice again. Fall is gorgeous. Spring is breathtaking. But summer and winter are awfully lovely as well. But on the day to day? It fades into the background. It's just where we live. If I'm not showing it off to someone it's just...well...home.

Where I can wear my sweaters and my boots. And the weather rarely gets too hot. And we have access to concerts and plays and sports. And beautiful hikes and a gorgeous coastline.

And a direct flight to Hawaii.

Because Oregon might be home, and I might be built for the PNW, but I've always been contrary and no matter how much I'm not made for Hawaii I think I should be.

What are you going to do?

Monday, November 11, 2019

All By Myself...

"He once tried to justify cheating on me by saying I had left him."

"Wait, that seems like a valid reason to me. It wouldn't even be cheating at that point it would be..."

"I left him to go to work! Like literally I was gone for 8 hours at work!"

"Oh no!"

With that the whole table started laughing. Nobody was going to be able to top Jenny's worst boyfriend ever story. No one ever could. And the horrible thing was she could win this every time without ever repeating bad boyfriend stories. She had just had the worst luck ever when it came to men.

"At least you can laugh now right?"

"Sure, I laugh now because once I gave up it all seemed very funny to me that it had ever really mattered."

"You gave up? What do you mean you gave up?"

"I don't date anymore. I haven't had a date in five, I think five years. Let me see, the last date was for Em's Halloween party up at Mt. Hood. Was that five years ago?"

"Yeah, that's about right. She and Mark just celebrated their fourth anniversary and that was the party where they met so that seems right. What was so monumental that that was where you called it quits?"

"You just said it."

"What?"

"Mark was MY date!"

"Oh god...that's right! I'm so sorry! I totally forgot that!"

"It's fine really. It was only our second date, we weren't a serious couple or anything and as soon as he and Em saw each other it was clear that was that. I feel worse for the guy Em had been dating. I mean they had been going out for months. He had no idea what happened. I was used to disaster by then."

"But to completely give up?"

"Yep. It's clear that I am not meant to be part of a couple. There is something wrong with me."

"No...you are...."

Jenny laughed and shook her head, "No, don't try to jolly me out of it. I mean it. Something in my psyche around relationships is just broken. I have a bad picker. A monumentally bad picker. I can find the neurotic, the asshole, the co-dependent, the mommy's boy, the emotionally unavailable, you name it, if there a relationship breaker I've found it. If it were just one thing I would say, okay, I have a tendency to find X problem so I need to fix that in me but it's not one issue, it's relationships as a whole. I have found too many new and unique ways to make bad matches and I'm done."

"Have you ever had a good relationship?"

Jenny thought for a moment. "One."

"One?"

"Yes, one. There was a guy in high school. He was great. Really smart, really cute. Interesting. We had a lot in common. We had a great time together."

"And what happened?"

"I broke up with him. Dumped him for a popular jock."

"Ouch."

"Yep. Broke his heart I guess. He pined for me for months, trying to find out what he had done wrong. I told him he just wasn't what I thought I wanted. He wasn't cool enough for me. Ended up killing himself on lover's leap."

Everyone was silent.

"His mother was a gypsy and put a curse on me that day. I was never to find true happiness again. If his soul was restless mine would be unloved." Jenny looked around the table and then smirked. "No. That never happened. I have never had a decent boyfriend. Not even my imaginary high school boyfriends were any good."

"Bitch. I believed you!"

Jenny shrugged and they all laughed.

They wrapped it up soon after that. Jenny walked to the bar to close out their tab. "Did you win again?" The bartender asked.

"Always. Nobody can top my 'he's the worst' stories."

"Someday you and I will have to play head to head. I have a lot of 'she can't really be that bad' ones myself."

Jenny laughed. "You're on. Name the time and the place and we will have a relationship off."

They lingered chatting while the bill was tallied. Making elaborate plans for their big bad date-a-thon. Both of them thinking maybe there was something else there. Maybe what they each needed was someone who had just as bad of luck. Maybe broken pickers were meant for each other.

But then both deciding they liked each other too much to ever risk finding out what was wrong with the other.

Besides there is no way someone would want to take a chance on someone as broken at they were.


Friday, November 8, 2019

Cycles...

"How was your day?"

That's the standard question when I pick up Brent from work. He always asks me how my day was. It's really nice. I generally feel a little badly because I don't have anything really cool to tell him. My day is some combination of chores, writing, reading, maybe visiting with a friend but pretty much the same sort of day. Don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly content with my days but I do wish I had something unusual to tell him.

But last week I picked him up and he asked and I told him, "Not good." And it hadn't been a good day. He, of course, wanted to know why and when I told him, "I just wasn't happy today. It was a not happy day" that made him really concerned. I am baseline happy. Most of the time I am happy. I am a happy person. I can find things to be happy about in the oddest of situations. Genetically I am predisposed to happiness and I also choose happiness whenever I can. So to not be happy is worrisome for him.

I told him it was just the first year. The first year is the hardest.

Which relieved him.

Not that I was sad about my mother dying, but that it was a perfectly normal thing to be sad about.

First years are the hardest.

Grief is difficult. It's a thing we carry with us forever when we lose someone. But in that first year it is still floating at the top of the cup. It hasn't settled down into it's permanent place yet. It sneaks up on you. This past week was a slow sneak into a full on bum rush.

Good reasons and bad.

One of the good ones was that my niece sent me a lovely note thanking me for something I did at Mom's service. Some of you might remember I had to apologize to her after Dad's service for being an absolute bitch so the thank you made me feel like I hadn't fucked it up again. Grief is a valid reason for not acting like yourself, but it's still a miserable excuse for hurting someone else who is grieving along with you. This time I didn't. Whew.

Another reason was this book I started reading. I talked about it on Facebook. It was a really good book. I'm really glad I read it. But...(spoiler alert if you are going to read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone you might want to skip ahead)...I'll wait.

Spoiler section: 

So, it's a book about a therapist and one of her patients is dying. She has cancer. Now, she's very young, it's not the type of cancer Mom had, it's completely different. But...it's the same. Cancer is like grief. It's always different, it's always the same. So anytime she would touch on this woman's story and sessions it was rough. There are other really rough sections as well. You are basically in therapy with four different people and it's brilliant and...anyway...it was rough. I cried a lot. Then today...

Well, I thought it was bad until today. Today we reached the end of her life. She was tired of being sick. Tired of dying. So she stopped eating. Yep. Just like Mom. I had to put my Kindle down, take my glasses off, and just sob. I haven't cried that hard since I got the first call from Susan that Mom had decided to die. It was the type where you hurt afterward, physically hurt, because it's such a wrenching sob.

It was beautiful though. The book, the end, the choice. It was all really beautiful. But man it hurt.

END OF SPOILER SECTION!

Right after Mom died there was an ad in my feed for a Christmas ornament. It's a sparkly owl. It was just so Mom that it took my breath away a little. I tried to find it last week and couldn't and then it popped back up in my feed and I realized I had been looking at the wrong company. So I ordered it. It came yesterday and I haven't been able to open the box yet. I know what's in it. I know that I am going to love it. I know that I really wanted it. But I can't. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week.

So yeah, the first year is the hardest. It's all still really fresh. You haven't figured out just yet how you are going to deal with it on the daily. You have really long stretches of just fine followed by not at all fine. This has been a not at all fine week.

It's all part of the cycle of grief. Perfectly normal. Perfectly fine. Then really hard sometimes.

For three months since I got the Mom's dying call I think it's all as good as it can be.

The first year just sucks.

Monday, November 4, 2019

It Depends on Who's Asking...

She was looking for the perfect stone. She needed one that was clearly heart shaped. If it was pinkish in color that would be a great bonus, but that wasn't really necessary. As she walked the trail through the woods she kept coming across discarded pumpkins. They hadn't been brought there and smashed, just left, so her guess was someone leaving them for the animals in the forest to have a snack and not a from a group of rowdy teenagers grabbing and smashing jack-o-lanterns on Halloween night.

She was glad to be done with Halloween. It was such a frustrating holiday. Unlike most of her sisters she didn't resent the misrepresentation. The green faces, the hooked noses, the warts. She honestly liked those costumes better than the influx of "Sexy Witch" that started with the teen set. Those set her teeth on edge. Patriarchy in action in the most inappropriate place.

But no, what she really hated was the question asked of the little girls dressed up in costume, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" Or more correctly the question asked of the girls who chose "Pretty Witch" the precursor to "Sexy Witch." Nobody ever asked the green faced, wart nosed ones if they were good or bad. People just assumed they knew.

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"

"Well, that depends on what you mean now doesn't it?" She would think to herself.

"I'm a very good witch. I can do things that would curl your toes.

Literally.

If I set my mind to it I could curl your toes. Permanently."

But then wouldn't that make them think she was a bad witch? Curses are in the bad witch territory. What do good witches do? Well steal shoes and withhold information if The Wizard of Oz was any indication. But what people wanted good witches to do was act like Fairy Godmothers. Go around granting wishes or doling out love potions. And now, of course, there were the "wiccans." Gods save her from the wiccans! They were all about saying that witches weren't what people imagined them to be. No broomsticks. No spells. No cats.

Well maybe cats.

They did still like cats.

But they were nature lovers really. Just intune with the goddess. Got a horrible reputation that isn't true at all.

Bullshit.

She hated them more than the Sexy Witches puking in planters near the college in the early hours of November 1.

Wiccans.

Save us all.

She was a witch. A good witch. A really good witch. Her mother had been a good witch, her grandmother had been a good witch. Her great grandmother. On and on down the line. Good witches all of them. To be perfectly honest they were closer to great than good. Not a single one of them with a hooked nose, a wart or a strategically cut out costume with a completely impractical tutu skirt.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

When she opened them again she saw exactly the stone she had been looking for. Heart shaped, pink veining throughout. This would work perfectly. Tonight she would cast the spell her client had asked for, one to harden her heart to her ex. The one that kept coming back around and convincing her to take him back. The one that had cheated, lied, stole from her, not just physical things but her self esteem. Tonight she would create a talisman that would help her to see him as he was, not how he kept convincing her he would be. Then she would be free of him.

She would also add, free of charge, a little bonus action. Some retribution for him. Something so others would see him as he was as well. Maybe a few warts.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Depends on who's asking.

Friday, November 1, 2019

First One...

Today is the first of the holidays. Those are always the worst.

Yes, technically yesterday was Halloween, but I grew up in a household that didn't really celebrate Halloween. Not really. There was a Harvest Festival at church and the Great Pumpkin would leave me a treat, yeah sorry, Linus, he came to my house every year. But I didn't trick or treat until I took my nephew when he was like 3.

But today? Today is Día de Muertos and it's all about remembering those we've lost so there was no way to avoid this one. I don't "celebrate" it usually either. I'm from New Mexico, and there is a Marigold parade every year and people paint their faces and there are sugar skulls and butterflies and...well..okay, so yeah, it's always around. But honestly Sugar Skulls and Marigolds are around all year long. My home town is big on that all of the time.

And I don't celebrate just means I don't go to a parade. I don't go to the cemetery. I don't build an ofrenda. But I do take a moment to remember. Especially since both of our fathers passed. I take time and remember them. Think about them.

Saturday was the service. That was for Carol and for John. Mom hadn't wanted one at the end. She was pretty sure nobody would come. Her peer group had all passed on or were in homes or just not healthy enough to make it. She just didn't want a big deal made for nobody. Carol and John vetoed that. Funerals are not for the dead, they are for the living. A way of getting closure. Of saying goodbye. Or marking an end. I don't agree that they are needed. You all know that. But it was important to at least two family members and so Mom agreed that fine, we could have one.

That's the odd thing about deciding to die. You are part of the planning of the funeral. At least just a little. She didn't really do much else other than agree that it could be done. The rest was left to us. And by us I mean Susan and Carol and Jeff. Denny too ended up having some say over what was done. The rest of us just took our places and did our parts. Brian was called upon to lead the music. He had to sing a solo at Dad's funeral so this, I think, was easier for him. Carol wanted people to talk so she did, I did and Ann did. I already talked about that part.

Then there was a fellowship portion. There were photo albums for people to look at. My mother was so gorgeous and my dad was incredibly handsome. No wonder they ended up together. The rest of Iowa must have looked so plain by comparison. And then there were people who wanted to talk to all of us, tell us how they remembered Mom and Dad as well. They were a matched pair. Always.

After the service we went back to her house and looked through her jewelry. Susan and David had sorted it all out, I posted a picture of part of the collection on Facebook. There was a lot. A lot. So much. I would wander in and look at it, pick things up, talk about memories of her wearing certain pieces. Then I would wander back out. There was so much stuff it made me tense.

And all I wanted of hers was an owl.

She collected owls, among so many other things. But owls were her thing. Her spirit animal. I had asked her last year which she identified with most, the owls or the hummingbirds (also a lot of those collected over the years) and she said OWL. Then said, hummingbirds are pretty but I am the owl. So all I wanted was one of her owls. One that meant something to her, one that seemed perfect to me to represent her. I couldn't choose. She had a lot of them but none that were smallish (I wanted it to match Dad's ring in size), none that seemed more loved than the others. None that really worked. I kept picking one up and putting it back down and I thought about it, because it couldn't possibly be the one, and finally chose a salt and pepper shaker set that were cute.

Then we collected our ashes and left.

Yes, collected our ashes.

Each of us took a package of Mom and Dad's ashes to spread. As we put first Dad and then Mom into my bag I said, "They aren't the same color." I sort of meant it to be my inside my head voice, but it didn't work out that way. It was interesting to me. They were both cremated at the same facility, cremation is done the same way, but they weren't the same. And to really make it odd to me Mom was darker than Dad. Everyone assumed my dad was native. That's how much darker he was than my mother. Especially during the summer. He was golden brown, she was lily white. But now? Mom was a darker gray, and more fine. Dad was a lighter gray and kind of rough and gritty. I held the bag and looked at the layers. Mom and Dad together again. The same, yet different.

The next morning the boys and I headed up to the east side of the mountain. This is where she wanted to have them spread. Years ago she had talked about being spread in the ocean so she could surf without worrying about getting her face wet so I had thought about taking some to Hawaii with us. But once Dad died she had settled on the east side of the mountain. She even had dreams/visions of Dad waiting for her there with their three children who passed before them. So east side of the mountain it was.

I had picked a trail earlier in the week. I needed one that wasn't going to be too busy, wasn't going to be too steep (we aren't acclimated to hiking in New Mexico) and was on the east side. I didn't want to go all the way to the peak, though I thought about it. I didn't want to go to Doc Long's though I thought about that too. We spent a lot of summer afternoons picnicking at Doc Long's. But I thought it might be too crowded. I also had an image in my mind of where I wanted to go. Where I would leave them, but I knew that wasn't likely to happen. I haven't been hiking on the mountain in 30+ years, so there was no way any place in my head was even still there.

So we got to the trailhead I had picked out and started walking. And...there it was. The spot in my head. I got goosebumps. And not just from the wind and the cold. But it was what I had seen. Two trees growing from the same spot. Joined at the root, but seperate trees.



I thought I got a better shot of this, but there must have been something in my eye.


The view that Mom and Dad would have had sitting under that tree together.

I spread their ashes around the base of the two trees. And then in a heart. And then in a little more design. And then I realized that what seemed like a small amount of ashes in the bag was a significant amount of ashes on the ground. I laughed. Which seems fitting. I also cried. Which also seemed right. Then I spread some pine needles over their ashes to keep them from blowing away and to keep the hikers that would follow us from wondering why there was a lot of light gray ash in the dirt. 

Then we headed up the mountain to take in the rest of the views and to give me a moment to collect myself again. My parents lived on the west side of the mountain but she always wanted to be spread on the east. I had to wonder about that. I hadn't before. When I could have asked. Which is what happens so often. We just know things but we don't think to ask why. But as I stood and looked at the view from the east side of the Sandias, the view that doesn't seem to stop I think I understood why.


They are limitless now. 

Then I went back to my family's house and picked up the owl I had picked up and put down 50 times the day before thinking it wasn't the one. It couldn't be the one. It was just a little wooden thing she had obviously pulled off of a flower arrangement. There is still moss on the back of it, for goodness sake. But it is colorful. It's covered in glitter. And she had liked it enough to pull it off of a flower arrangement for goodness sake. My sister said, "That one? Really?" and I could only shake my head in disbelief as well. "Yeah, this one. This is the one."


So today is the day. We think about those we have lost. We remember them in our hearts. I think of Jack and his loping walk that somehow Christopher inherited. And I think of my parents. Together again. The way they would want to be. Sharing a view after sharing a life. And today I tried my hand at something I probably won't ever do again, but it seemed appropriate this year.


The butterfly and the marigolds are made with Mom and Dad's favorite candies. If I were more talented, like my siblings, it would look better, but then it wouldn't be mine.

Happy Día de Muertos to us all. May your memories be sweet. May your love be strong. And may you always keep them in your hearts. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Recap!

And done...

One of my special project sparkly stars for October was "Get Through It" so yay! Got that one!

It was a month, that is for sure.

So how am I doing as we close in on the end of the year?

Fitness/Weight! Well I'm back on the gym bandwagon. Got that going again this month so that was good. Trying something new right now with circuit workouts instead of splits, I'm not sure I like it but I've only been doing it for two weeks so I'll give it until mid-November to see for sure.  Weight is the same on the 31st as it was on the 1st so I guess it could be worse. I can feel myself starting to prepare for a diet though. Nothing crazy, but I really am pushing the limit for what my clothes can hold. It's understandable, I have good reason to eat my feelings right now, they are delicious as well, but soon I'll have to do something about the extra extra I put on. There is only so far acceptance can take you, and right now it's taking me right out of my jeans.

Reading! I'm still four books ahead so that's good. Got a Discworld read and currently reading the next one on the list so that only leaves one more for the year to hit that goal. I've also got a long flight coming up so I should knock out an extra book this month. Which is great. Any ahead I can get in November makes December just that much easier.

Writing! Didn't hit the original monthly goal but I've been trending ahead for awhile so I only have like 22 more to go for the year. Totally doable. Need three of those to be fiction, so I'm feeling kind of fat and sassy there too. And I got my last submission turned in. If the rejection for that comes quick enough that will only leave two fiction pieces needed, but I don't think it will.

MasterClass! I did one by Alice Waters as my October class. It was okay. Not great. Just okay. I'm trying to think if I actually learned anything new, aside from I am not as rich as Alice Waters, but I don't think so. Doing RL Stine right now which will count for November. It's much more amusing.

Museum/Attraction! The Oregon Historical Society had a Darcelle exhibit that I wanted to see so it was a repeat museum, but not a repeat in what we saw. And this time we did the rest of the museum as well because the Darcelle exhibit was kind of a bust. It was cool, but it was only like 5 dresses and two sets of jewels. I really thought it would be a bigger deal. Darcelle has been hugely influential in the Portland LGBTQ community, not just performing as Darcelle, but activism as Walter as well. I really thought it would be more of a retrospective of that, but it was like a closet visit. Oh well.

Long Term! I got the table ordered and delivered and I really like it. I wrote the submission piece. I got through it.

Whew.

November!  What's ahead? Well, we are going to take a quick vacation so that will be fun, and, of course, Thanksgiving. Looking at the list of things to do in 2019 and I guess maybe this month I need to tackle the fan situation or painting the baseboards. Neither sounds great but I'll do one for sure.

So there we are. October in the books.

Whew.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Ring...

It wasn't really her style. A little too flashy. A little too much. And yet it did have its own charm. You'd never miss it that's for sure. A ring like this will get you noticed. No need for the subtle and not so subtle hand gestures some recently engaged women had to do to call attention to their small rings. No, this one stood out. If hit with a direct beam of sunshine it would probably blind an airline pilot.

She waved her hand back and forth watching the stones sparkle.

She had a friend in college who hated engagement rings. She thought they were barely a step up from a ring through a bull's nose. Just meant to control you. To show ownership over you. And diamonds were all mined by slave labor, everyone knew that. Engagement rings were the absolute worst thing ever. As she watched the light reflect from the pure, clear, stones she wondered if her friend would change her mind if presented with a ring like this one. It was easy to take a strong ethical stand if it was all hypothetical.

Three month's salary. That was the advertising campaign. You should spend three month's salary on the ring. And you should add anniversary bands to it on the milestone anniversaries. Which used to be 25 and 50 but now seemed to start at one. They were all being sold to all of the time. More, more, more.

The stones twinkled like they were in on the con.

Do you need an extra insurance policy on a ring like this one? Did you leave it at home locked in the safe when you went on vacation? Maybe only wear it on special occasions and have a plain band for everyday wear? Just so you didn't look like you were trying to lord it over people.

But then again...she waved her hand.

A ring like this was meant to be lorded. That was the point. You wanted people to notice a ring like this one.

She practiced holding her hand naturally. What a weird thing to think about. How do you naturally hold your hand? Maybe after wearing it for awhile it would feel totally normal and she would naturally hold her hand naturally. She laughed a little at the thought. Naturally hold it naturally. Well, naturally of course.

But right now she felt the need to wave her hand back and forth watching the stones catch the light. Twinkling. Sparkling.

Was it a bigger love if the ring was bigger? Or was it more like what she had thought with her girlfriends? The ones with the most precarious relationships were always the ones talking about how wonderful they were. How incredible their boyfriend or girlfriend was. She thought there was probably a formula out there that showed the inverse relationship to how good a relationship really was to how often someone said how great it was. Kind of like cool. If you really were cool you never had to tell people. If your relationship was strong you didn't have to say anything.

So what did that mean for the size of a ring?

And then she wondered how he got the actual size of the ring? Did he sneak out another ring he knew fit and matched that? Or was he just that good at guessing?

She waved her hand back and forth a few more times.

It wasn't really her style, it was a little too flashy.

The ring shifted on her finger.

It wasn't her size either, it was a little too big.

But he hadn't bought it for her.

She dropped the ring into her pocket and took one last look around the room.

She wiped a few more surfaces and then turned the AC to full before leaving the apartment.

A ring like that will get you noticed.

That's not always a good thing.