Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day 202: How I Will Behave Better

(I'm part of a continued community of writers and mourners in a 30-day writing workshop found here: This is day 11.

September 18, 2014.

This is how I will behave better.

When my friend leans across the table
from me at our local ice cream shop
while I am picking the almonds out of
my jamoca almond fudge and she is
sweeping her spoon across her
scoop of strawberry cheesecake-

When she leans across that table and
says, “You think your life is bad?” and
then proceeds to tell me about a friend
of hers who found out her husband
was gay and is getting a divorce-
You think YOUR life is bad? and how
she also has to get heart surgery,

this. This is how I will behave better.

I will begin by throwing what’s left
of my jamoca almond fudge, no, hurling
it, across the room until it splatters on
the glass doors of the nearby freezer.
The one with the little cakes shaped like
dogs and stars and rainbows and shit.

I will reach across the table and snatch
the ice cream cup out of her hands,
dumping its contents onto the floor.
I will fling my shoes off and send them
flying in any direction I choose and I
will use my bare feet to dance wildly-
dance with rage, dance with reckless
abandon- in what was her perfectly
round scoop of cheese-fucking-cake
ice cream. I will do this as she sits
slack-jawed and the change in the hand
of the woman at the counter slips from
her fingertips and falls to the tile floor.

I will make sounds like a banshee. I
will laugh and scream and tear at my
clothing and make sounds like a banshee.
I will lie on my belly like a snake and
drag myself across the ice-cream slicked
floor, writhing this way and that and I
will scream like a woman who’s lost
the entire world. Like a woman
who’s lost everything she held
dear. I will curse loudly at the
space between me and the box of
ashes sitting in the childhood home
of my love, miles and miles away. I
will scream so loudly that space
between will be filled with my sounds.

And only then will the laughter
commence. The uncontrollable I’m-
laughter. I will flip to my back there
on the floor of the ice cream shop,
strawberry cheesecake ice cream
matted in my hair, and I will laugh
to the heavens above while my friend
remains mouth agape and the change
from the lady at the counter still
makes its jingling roll to a steady stop.

And when that coin and I each make
our last wobbles back and forth there
on the floor and after the several seconds
of silence that follow, I will sit up, no
gracefully come to my feet, wipe the
last of my jamoca almond fudge from
my mouth, and say to my friend, “I’m
sorry. What was that you were saying?”

1 comment:

  1. Atta gal, Bridget. Good for you. That's what I would have liked to do Sunday night after one of the hosts of a dinner remarked that his cousin deserved all her misfortunes---she had a troubled life, was rejected by a wounded narcissistic mother and at the same time bailed out inappropiately (no real guidance), suffered from type 1 diabetes, had lost her leg and died in her twenties. After he told his story about her, I remarked how sad it was and he commented, he didn't think it was sad and she deserved it. And he persisted in his same tone when I started to tell him I get very emotional....preparing to talk about mental illness and losing a daughter to mental illness...instead I cried, unbeknownst to him, left the table and came back thinking this guy is so full of asperger's, I'd hold back my anger. I still feel the need to talk to him. Some people say some of the most stupid, insensitive things at times. I'm tired of feeling like I have to take care of these insensitive idiots.