Emily walked out of the bakery with the fresh baguette for dinner and carried the bag along with the others from the market. She was cooking dinner for her new boyfriend tonight and wanted everything just right. She smiled thinking of Zac. After the death of her boyfriend, it had taken her a long time to come out of her self-imposed exile and re-enter the land of the living. Zac had been patient and allowed her to reach this level of intimacy on her own terms. It was something she not only appreciated but adored about him.

As she turned the corner at 45th Street her breath caught in her throat. It was Michael. Standing on the corner, as if nothing had happened. But Michael was dead. Her heart began to beat rapidly. The bags she held fell to the ground. The world spun out of focus except for the man on the corner. Michael. She screamed his name but he didn’t turn, then she realized it had only been in her imagination. The crosswalk sign turned green and he began to move forward. She didn’t want to lose him. She lurched forward awkwardly, pushing the strangers around her with no more than a weak “sorry”. When she reached him, her heart was pounding so hard she could hear the beats in her head, she thought everyone around her could hear them as well. She touched him on the shoulder, “Michael?”, afraid of the answer.

He turned, confused at first. His eyes were identical in feature, but lacked the spirit of Michael’s. She knew and her heart fell. It was eerie how much he looked like Michael. But it wasn’t her love. “I’m sorry, I’m not Michael. He was my brother. Did you know him?” Emily wanted to cry. She wanted to scream, to ask Michael why. Why didn’t you tell me you had a brother? But it didn’t matter now. Really, did it matter?

“No, I’m sorry. I must have mistaken you for someone else. I’m sorry.” It was easier this way. For both of them. She retreated without taking her eyes off him. He looked so much like Michael.

And Now I Wait

I told myself I wasn’t going to rearrange my schedule for another guy. Not again. I’d done it too many times in the past and I always ended up in the same place. Alone with enough self-loathing to last through a box of chocolates, two bottles of wine and an afternoon of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I knew a little something about emotional abuse. But this one seemed different. When I looked into his green eyes I saw a hint of laughter at the edges mixed with genuine interest. He listened when I spoke and not only heard what I said but responded animatedly, engaging in a give and take conversation that could last minutes or days. He began at a polite distance so when he moved closer I didn’t feel preyed upon. I never felt like a prize, always an equal. So when Whitney asked why I wasn’t going out for drinks on Thursday like we always did I looked at my calendar and realized – I had rearranged my schedule. My breath caught in my throat. And now I wait.

Somewhere Out There

The smoke began to dissipate as the fire burned out, leaving hot embers, burning red. He pulled me closer to replace the heat from the dying fire and I could feel the warmth from his chest radiate through his jacket. But with our light gear I knew we weren’t long for the cold night air. I took advantage of the time to gaze at the clear sky, the stars shining brightly away from the harsh city lights. Pointing, I picked out the landmarks. “Look, Orion’s Belt.” I was an amateur stargazer at best but even the most novice could pick out the three bright stars that form the belt of the hunter Orion; although I couldn’t name any of the stars to save my life. Still, I took comfort in knowing that somewhere in the great beyond were entire galaxies that went unexplored, and possibly another being was sitting in her loved one’s embrace and looking at the sky saying “Look, there’s Earth.” Well, maybe not in those words exactly. Still, you never know.


He left and she was alone. She thought her life was over. Still she woke, she breathed, she moved through each day, one and then another, until she did it without thinking, without hurting. Then like a caterpillar to a butterfly she emerged, a different creature altogether. Her transformation complete, she flew away on the summer’s breeze.

Soul Heart

How big is a heart

Not the one in your chest

The one that beats

To keep you alive

But the other heart

The one in your soul

The one that feels dead

When love has gone

How big is that heart

How much can it bear

Because a tiny piece breaks

Each time I hear your name

Another piece splinters

When I picture your face

Certainly my heart won’t survive

All the memories of you

How Adam Saved Christmas

A Gods of P B & J Story

The aroma of cinnamon and cloves filled the air as the mulled cider warmed on the stove top. (Okay, it was mulled wine. It was the third day in a row with no school because of the snow with the weekend looming.) The fireplace radiated warmth, the crackle and pop from the fire snapping. Three kids sat at the table with mugs of hot chocolate filled with miniature marshmallows, making new ornaments. I stood at the bottom of the ladder pleading with Adam to let me go into the attic for the Christmas decorations. “It’s my house, I should be the one up there. Besides, I’m a very, um, dedicated feminist.” Who was I kidding, I had never been in the attic before. I always made my husband crawl up there. Feminism, schmemenism. It was dusty and dirty and there were spiders and probably mice or rats. Or worse. That’s exactly why God made men. I’m all for women’s rights so long as it includes the right to make men go into the attic.

So why was I practically begging to be in the attic? Adam had sweetly volunteered to help me with my Christmas decorations. I secretly think he believed I would have just left the house undecorated for the holidays and deprived my children of the fun and excitement of Christmas if he didn’t step in. He was thoughtful like that. Adam had patiently helped guide me into the murky waters of single parenthood. As a widowed father of 5-year-old daughter Katie, he’d learned the hard way how to do everything alone. When my husband left me for another woman, making me a suddenly single mother of 7-year-old Hannah and 5-year-old Noah, Adam stepped in as my new best friend and life line. Truthfully, the kids and I were all dreading our first Christmas without their father.

“I’m going to play the sexist card and say that, as a man I’m not going to stand at the bottom of the ladder while you climb around the attic. Now take these boxes.” He started lowering the boxes of decorations one by one until I heard a small gasp. I called up to him, worried that he had found a family of rodents. Or another equally terrifying animal. “What was that? Is there a mouse? Adam?” He peered at me through the attic door. “You have an artificial Christmas tree.” It was both a statement and an accusation. I let out a huge sigh of relief. “Shit you scared me.” I caught myself and looked to the kitchen to see if the kids heard me. My daughter quickly looked down but I saw her body shaking with giggles. Damn, I’d have to have a talk with her later. I hated when I had to apologize for being an adult. These days I so seldom acted like one that when I actually got to the fun parts I usually ended up getting caught by my kids.

Adam poked his head out of the attic door. “Why do you have an artificial tree?” I stared at him and blinked a few times, not certain what answer to give him. The truth was always a good thing. At least that’s what I told my children. But the truth is sometimes complicated. Or in this case lame. “Um, well.” I averted my eyes. I really didn’t want to say this out loud. “Daniel was very lazy. He thought it was too much effort to go buy a real tree every year. Then the hassle of disposing of it.” I made it sound as if it was brain surgery or rocket science. “He thought having an artificial tree would be easier. It’s always right there when you need it.” My voice rose an octave on the last sentence like I was selling him something. I was selling something alright. The same bullshit Daniel sold me all those years. And I bought it for ten years. What a sap I was.

Honestly, I was a stay-at-home mother and I should have insisted on the real tree, something I believed was essential to a complete Christmas. But I never pushed. That was the problem, looking back it was a pattern that I let happen without realizing. When had I become a pushover in my marriage? It’s not like it helped keep him around. Suddenly I felt embarrassed and my cheeks began to burn. Adam didn’t seem to notice. “I think you should get rid of it. We can take it to Goodwill next week on our way to buy a real tree. It’s time for you to start a new tradition.” Once again I thanked the gods of peanut butter and jelly for my single-parent friend.

The Gods of P B & J

A Gods of P B & J Story

“I volunteer.”  My voice echoed in my head as I realized the gravity of what I had just done. I had willfully submitted to being the parent chaperone on the field trip to the zoo with my son’s kindergarten class. What was I thinking? Only six weeks earlier my husband of ten years had walked out on our marriage and left me with two children to raise while he pursued a job promotion on the other side of the country. He made it clear I wasn’t welcome to follow when he introduced me to his girlfriend, a colleague who had secured said promotion for him. They had apparently been planning their new life for months, on his frequent business trips away.

Somehow in the aftershock of the implosion of my marriage, the hazy days of soothing my 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter’s broken hearts (not to mention my own) and the stress of becoming a suddenly single mother with no job who desperately needed to dust off her resumé and find a job, I had put my prefrontal cortex on auto pilot, thus the reason I volunteered for a job I really didn’t want to do. And wasn’t certain I was up for.

“Oh, Kim. That’s, um, that’s great. Thanks.” I could tell by her halted speech the room mother, Allison, was surprised I had spoken. Well, that made two of us. As I looked around the room it was quickly apparent it was more than two of us who were surprised. I took in the shocked faces staring at me and I only hoped the parents in the room trusted me with their little treasures. And I hoped I was up to the task. I took in a deep breath to steady my suddenly jumpy nerves. I fought the urge to put my head in my hands and scream or to throw up, both of which were distinctly possible. Instead I sat upright in my chair, looked straight forward and willed myself to stay silent for the rest of the meeting. At this rate, I could end up as president of the PTA, another job for which I was woefully unprepared.

As the meeting ended I thanked the gods of peanut butter and jelly that I made it through without another peep. I reached for my purse and as I pulled the strap towards my shoulder I felt it untangle under my fingers as it overturned, spilling the contents on the floor below. I let out a low curse under my breath. Seriously? Could this get any worse? Apparently, it could. “Here, let me help you.” The resident hot single dad, widowed a year earlier, knelt with me to help gather my belongings. He held up a white wrapped package labeled Tampax. I blushed a deep scarlet which he soon matched. “Oh. Um, sorry.” Adam quickly pushed the wrapped tampon into my hand, avoiding eye contact. He had the good sense to only pretend to help as I finished picking up the rest of my things, shoving them haphazardly into my open purse, then quickly standing. I stuck out my hand and grabbed his tightly in mine, shaking it vigorously up and down like I was meeting him for the first time.  “Thank you.” I felt like such an idiot. Was it possible to feel so lost even being a seemingly competent adult? I turned and left before I could embarrass myself further.

A week later I dutifully appeared at the school with Noah excitedly dragging me through the parking lot. “C’mon mom, I don’t wanna be late.” I smiled at his blonde head. He’d had trouble getting to sleep the night before. He loved the monkey exhibit at the zoo and, coupled with the attention of his mother as chaperone, he was in high spirits over this field trip. I paused before stepping inside his classroom, sucking in a deep breath – possibly the last peaceful moment I would have ever again, ever. EVER. No, I wasn’t being overly dramatic at all. I could already taste the chardonnay I would pour myself after tucking the kids into bed later in the evening.

Plastering a smile on my face I decided I couldn’t postpone it any longer. I opened the door and stepped through, immediately adjusting my noise tolerance level. I scanned the eager faces of the little monsters darlings I was entrusted with watching over today. I briefly contemplated running, but my husband leaving had taken enough of a toll, so I took the high road (there was really never a doubt) and stood firmly in place. I heard the door open behind me and turned. I smiled and felt a familiar blush creep up my neck even though I hadn’t said or done anything. “Adam. Hi. What are you doing here?” I tried to act calm and adult-like but my voice came out in a croak and I stood awkwardly with my hands crossed in front of me like a teen-aged girl facing her crush. “Hi Kim. You looked a little shell-shocked at the meeting last week. I know what it’s like to do this parenting thing alone. I thought you could use a friend. So, I volunteered to help today too.” He smiled softly, a knowing smile that made me feel suddenly like everything was going to be okay. I let out a soft breath and smiled back. Then I thanked the gods of peanut butter and jelly for my new friend.

Rainy Days

She sat in her favorite oversized chair by the window overlooking the garden, her mood subdued by the darkened skies outside. It had been raining for five days now and she missed the afternoon sun glinting off the stained glass ornaments hung from the windowpane that showered the ceiling with a rainbow of colors. Resting her head against the cushion, she stared at the flowers in the garden, drooping from the strain of the constant rainfall.

As a rule, she didn’t mind rain. In fact, she found it oddly romantic on a damp rainy day, to sit with her legs curled up, sipping a cup of black tea and watch the raindrops slide down the glass windows. Then the second day felt as if she was waiting for her long lost lover to return, her wistful gaze trained faithfully on the horizon. On the third day there was the anticipation of the sun returning and a new outlook revealed after everything was washed away. But by the fifth day it was just dank and wet and depressing and she could barely remember what the sun looked like.

Sighing deeply, she closed her eyes and waited. Perhaps tomorrow the sun would return.

Surely By Now

She thought surely she was over him by now. It had been almost a year. She didn’t cry when his face flashed through her memory. She didn’t flinch when she heard his name. She could go days without him crossing her mind and when he did the memories were usually harmless. In the beginning she had cried all the time. She thought her broken heart would actually start bleeding its pain. His broken promises had nearly destroyed her. She deleted all the pictures on her phone and computer, threw away all the letters and notes he had written her, destroyed any evidence he had ever been in her life. Still she cried herself to sleep at night and barely managed to get through the day until she could crawl back in her bed and hide under the covers to repeat the cycle. But she had made it through the darkness and found her way back to the light. Slowly, ever so slowly she had begun to heal and she remembered how to live again, this time without him. Surely she was over him by now. And then there he was, at the same coffee shop, the one close to her new apartment, the one where he didn’t belong. She saw his face and the memories and feelings and emotions came flooding back and threatened to drown her as she stood there in the middle of the shop. She wasn’t over him. Not by a long shot.

Three Amigos

We were the original three musketeers. Where there was one the other two were sure to be close by. We grew up together in the same neighborhood. We went to the same schools. We lived the same emotion filled adolescent-hormonal-emotion driven life. With us there was no such thing as a third wheel. We turned life into a tricycle. So when we ended up at separate colleges we never doubted that our sacred bond of sisterhood would make it through unscathed. What naivety in believing we could withstand the test of time and distance.

the darkness within me

Save your flattery for someone else. I deserve none of your kind words. I’ve done nothing to deserve your praise. I’ve no talent nor gift nor skill. I write words aimlessly, hoping to exploit an untapped emotion deep within you. I’m a predator circling the skies above, waiting for the spoils to unfold. Undeserving at best, manipulative at worst.

The Gift

I want to give you something. A special gift I don’t share often. It’s very fragile and easily broken. But I’m giving it to you because you’ve become someone very special in my life. Someone I can lean on, someone I can trust, someone I feel at home with. So please take this gift with the passion and love with which it’s given. Please be careful with my heart.

The Game

She loved him with a burning passion. He adored her like she was his moon, circling him and visiting him every night. He tended to her every need. He showered her with affection and attention.

She hated him with a burning passion. He had played on her sympathies, used her for his selfish needs and left, destroying her.

Love is a crazy game. Emotions change with lightning speed. Actions, once sweet and unquestioned become sinister and suspicious. She danced on the border between love and hate.


She loved him and he loved her, but it wasn’t that simple. It never was. She was the wrong girl for him. She didn’t grow up in the right neighborhood, hadn’t gone to the right schools, didn’t have the connections to get where she was. Although she had put herself through state college, fought for internships, worked overtime, twelve to fourteen hour days to become the successful woman she was, it wasn’t enough. She had fallen in love with her handsome, silver spoon, ivy league colleague. Their courtship was idyllic. He was romantic, thoughtful, well-mannered, but he had a bad-boy streak that appealed to her. And he didn’t care about status. The neighborhoods, the schools, the connections – none of that mattered to him. It wasn’t until he had taken her to his parent’s home in the Hamptons for a long weekend, being around his peers, his friends, his people, that she realized no matter how hard she tried to bridge this gap, no matter how much he didn’t care about status, she would never belong in his world. She loved him and he loved her, but it wasn’t that simple.


My life is changing. Every day is new. I realize this is a part of life. But I don’t like it. Friends once close move on to new interests or different obligations and I find they are no longer a part of my life. It seems as if I haven’t changed, only those around me. But I have, maybe in subtle, barely noticeable ways. And to my friends maybe I seem to have moved on to new interests or different obligations. That’s life.

Endless Love

Meet me under the sycamore tree
We’ll find the initials we carved so many years ago.
I’ll let you hold my hand
While we sit and gaze at the stars.
When I see a shooting star
I’ll make a wish that probably won’t come true
Because they never do.
When the crickets chirp their nighttime symphony
I’ll let you kiss me.
Just like you used to.

But better.

Free Fall

Inching closer to the precipice I peeked over the edge of the cliff to the swirling waters below. Waterfalls are beautiful until you’re standing at the top looking down and gauging the depth of the pool beneath you. He stood behind me egging me on, daring me to defy my logical, calculating mind and just jump. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and made a leap of faith, my heart lurching as I free fell. I opened my eyes briefly to aim then shut them tightly as I drew my knees in to my stomach and plunged into the cold water, hoping for the best. I was suspended in the frigid pool and floated freely for a few moments before surfacing for air. Pushing the water off my face, my laughter echoed through the cavern and for the first time in months I felt free.


He had been hurt before. And so he had put up walls around himself, invisible walls that shielded him from pain and grief and suffering and heartache. He had numbed himself to the world but in doing so he had deprived himself of the joys and pleasures of life, because all of these emotions become intertwined to provide the fabric of our lives. She needed a breakthrough that would tear down his walls and open his heart to the world, to her, because she loved him and she needed him and she knew he needed her.

So Beautiful

Standing in the doorway, he watched as she removed her jewelry, carefully putting each piece away. She hadn’t noticed him watching her yet, this was his favorite part. When she was completely unaware and lost in thought, oblivious to his presence. She removed her heels and disappeared into the closet. He waited patiently for her, hoping she wouldn’t see him. He wasn’t ready to stop watching her yet. Then her voice rang out like a melody, “John”, as she emerged from the closet, three inches shorter. She finally noticed him in the doorway and smiled at him. “There you are. Help me with my zipper?” It was both a question and a statement as she turned away from him.

He pushed his shoulder away from the door frame and slowly made his way across the room, drinking in the sight of her curvy backside, accentuated by the deep blue satin cocktail dress clinging to every inch of her. His eyes roamed up from her rounded ass to the V shape of the back of her dress that exposed the milky whiteness. He could already feel her smooth, soft skin in his mind. When he reached her, his hands went to her shoulders and his fingers trailed down along the edge of the fabric, the silky satin and smooth skin melting together. His lips moved to her shoulders and he planted soft kisses along her graceful, swan-like neck, relishing the cooing sounds she made. Before unzipping her dress, his hands snaked around her hips to her swollen belly, rubbing and caressing it as he whispered in her ear, “there is nothing sexier than the beautiful woman carrying my child.”