She collected relationships like stamps in a passport. Each represented a different place, some good and some bad. There were some that were fun and carefree, some brought out her wild side and she let herself loose. Some spawned a creative and thoughtful side and some made her pensive and aloof. Some just made her homesick and sad. She continued collecting them because, unlike a passport, she never became full.

A Beautiful Disaster

She was a beautiful disaster. Always two steps behind in love, getting her heart broken at every turn. Still, she never lost hope. “Someday I’ll find him.” She wore her heart on her sleeve. Every love-torn slogan belonged to her. She was a true soldier in the fight for love. And I had the good fortune to know her. Trust me when I say that she would go down fighting for the cause. And the battle, oh . . . the battle was always love. The sacred of all vows . . . love. She was a warrior. In the end, a casualty of love. I will always remember.  She was a beautiful disaster.

For Sylvia and Anne and Sara

Tis a heavy burden to be a sad soul in a world so empty and dark. To be hidden so far in the depths that the light doesn’t extend adequately to give you hope. You desperately grasp, but everything good remains just out of reach. Oh, sweet elixir, release me from the pain. Unleash the cumbersome weight that holds me to this earth. Allow my faultless soul the respite it deserves from such a cruel and unforgiving life.

It’s The Small Things

My life sometimes seems so meaningless and insignificant. I don’t feel like I have a higher purpose. I live a small, unusual life. I sometimes feel like I’m a waste of good oxygen. Then I get a call from my son asking for advice on how to dress for a job interview. Or after a long day of problems at work one customer tells me how helpful I’ve been and how I’ve made the process that much easier for her. I greet a stranger in the store and they respond, almost startled with the kindness. Then I smile and think that even if it’s small, I do make a difference.

The Price of Fame

She sat on her sofa and looked out the floor-to-ceiling glass windows at the city lit up below her. The view of L.A. from her perch high in the Hollywood Hills was breathtaking, yet to her it had become ordinary. She felt like a caged bird. Everywhere she went she was hunted by the paparazzi and eager fans, curious to watch how a celebrity lives. Lifting the glass of wine to her lips she sighed. If they saw her now; face free of make-up, wearing yoga pants and a tank top with her long dark hair pulled into a pony tail; there was no glamour in her life outside of the red-carpet appearances and media events that were part and parcel of the career she chose. She preferred the days when she could wander the grocery store aisles in her UCLA ball-cap and sweat pants and nobody recognized her. Although her closet held an array of dazzling couture gowns and designer heels, she was most comfortable in Levi’s, a t-shirt and a beanie. But she knew her life was far from ordinary. Deep down she knew when she signed her first movie contract, it was as if she had signed a deal with the devil himself. Sitting here now, in her castle on high, she wondered if the price was worth the sacrifice.

The Five Stages

Luke was gone. I couldn’t decide if I’d won or lost the fight. When he first approached me about moving to Nashville he hadn’t presented it as an option but a foregone conclusion that I would uproot and move with him. My stubborn independent side reacted by drawing a line in the sand. Why should I give up my home, my job, my life so that he could chase his dream? What about my dreams? It never occurred to me that we could share dreams. For weeks we talked in circles, neither willing to budge an inch. Then he gave up. “I love you Kara, but I can’t make you go with me. And I can’t stay here.” Just like that, our life together ended. Months later and I felt like I was going through the five stages of grief, but acceptance was so far out of sight I was hopeless. As it was, I bounced around between anger, bargaining and depression like a ping pong ball on a daily basis.

I made my way slowly up the walkway, recalling that night that seemed like a million years ago when we had started to unravel. I was in no rush to get inside the house. That’s what it was now, a house not a home. A place to lay my head and shed my tears in privacy. Turning the doorknob, I dropped my purse and satchel on the floor and wandered into the kitchen for a glass of wine. I was annoyed when my cell phone rang, I wasn’t expecting anyone to call me. And I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. I considered letting it go to voicemail but a nagging feeling drove me to the front door where my purse still sat on the floor. I dug into the depths of the satchel and reached the phone just in time to see the missed call. The ID read: Luke. My heart began to race and I thought of the possibilities that the call held. New beginnings, shared dreams, a life together. Maybe I wouldn’t need that last stage – acceptance.


We pushed through the doors of the bar and the cold night air filled my lungs, replacing the stale smell of cigarettes and liquor. His arm stayed firmly around my waist and I couldn’t protest since it was the only thing keeping me upright. We walked to the parking lot, his car I presumed since I was in no condition to drive. I hated to depend on him right now. I thought about turning and hailing a cab but he ushered me into the passenger’s seat before I had time to think.

I sat fuming while he slid into the driver’s seat and turned over the engine. Staring straight ahead, I refused to give him any recognition. We drove in silence, the air turning thicker with each mile that passed. When we finally reached home, was it really home anymore, I quickly opened the car door and rushed up the walkway, eager to reach the comfort of my bedroom where I could nest underneath the warm, cozy comforter and fend off the outside world.

He had other ideas. “Kara, we need to talk about this.” I brushed his hand off my shoulder, reaching for the doorknob before realizing I had no key. “Just let me inside.” My voice came out half indignant and half defeated. He opened the door and let me in. My mind, previously weighed down with inebriation was suddenly laser focused. I had to get out of this relationship with minimal heartbreak. If he wanted to leave, I was determined that my heart would be intact.

I rushed up the stairs and slammed the bedroom door shut, clicking the lock in place. Juvenile, yes. He had followed me up the stairs. I heard a knocking at the door. “Kara, let me in.” I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face. Looking at my reflection in the mirror was like staring at a stranger. I felt disjointed and fractured from myself. A single tear escaped my eye. Dammit. I was a strong woman. How could he make me feel so needy and dependent? More knocking at the door. “Go away Luke!” I yelled as loud as I could, feeling a little release. The knocking stopped and his footsteps retreated down the stairs. I had won the fight. For now.


I sat at the bar peeling the label off the beer bottle in between my hands. I didn’t want to think so I focused on the task in front of me. The trick was to let the bottle sit about fifteen minutes and as the liquid warmed inside the cold glass, a sheen of liquid formed on the bottle, softening the paper enough to peel it away in a sheet – if you were deft enough. It was a game we played in college and I usually won. I wasn’t having much luck tonight; my focus being pulled elsewhere. I struggled to lose myself in the moment and not let his words haunt me.

Feeling a warmth next to me, I saw him out of the corner of my eye but made no move to acknowledge him, just continued to peel at my bottle. His arm raised and the bartender placed a bottle identical to mine in front of him. His fingers immediately began to pick at the label. I rolled my eyes even though I knew he couldn’t see them. “You have to let it sit a while. It’ll never come off in one piece if you start right away.” His fingers stopped and he lifted the bottle to his lips and drank. Nodding to the four labels stuck to the bar in front of me he asked, “How long have you been here?” I shrugged my shoulders but didn’t say anything. We sat in a long silence, him slowly drinking his beer, me slowly peeling back the label from my bottle.

When I got the last edge free I slapped it on the bar and downed the remaining liquid in one long swallow then motioned for the bartender. He shooed the man away. “I think you’ve had enough.” Turning on my stool I finally looked at him. “I thought I made it clear. You don’t get to make decisions for me.” I hopped off the stool and turned to go but the five beers had taken their toll and my brain was a little too fuzzy to react quickly enough. He caught me before I fell flat on my face. “I think I should get you home.” I glared at him. “You mean the home we made together that you’re abandoning? The home you decided to leave without even talking to me first? The home I’m supposed to walk away from to follow you and your dreams and just abandon mine? That home?” He sighed and put his arm around my waist as he led me out the door of the bar. It was obvious this discussion was far from over.

What Price?

She was eighteen years old with dreams and ideals and enough enthusiasm to lead an army. She thought she could conquer the world. She spent eight years in college having one idea after another shot down by professor after professor who she was certain had an axe to grind with society. No matter, she gave them no thought and continued on her way. She spent another ten years climbing the corporate ladder, pushing aside her morals and principles, rationalizing that it was for the greater good, there was a higher purpose. She sacrificed her personal life, spent all of her time working, dreaming of a better life. After another eight years, she made partner and was welcomed into the inner circle, the elite few. She was forty-four years old when she reached the top. She felt triumphant as she looked down at her accomplishments only to realize that the world hadn’t changed, only she had.

Feelings, Unwanted

I immerse myself fully in my daydreams, a welcome escape from the pain that daily life provides. Although I want for nothing, my God has allowed me a gift to feel everything. Most days I curse him; feelings unwanted, unexpected, a constant onslaught are no gift, but a penance. And I wonder what sin I have committed, what grievance so severe could demand repayment of such agony and torment.

The Return

I pulled my phone from my purse and held it up, framing him and me in the picture before clicking the camera button. “I think we should record this for posterity.” He pulled me into his arms and playfully bit my neck. “It hasn’t been that bad has it?” My country singing boyfriend had spent months on the road then, when he finally returned, his weekends were booked at bars and small venues just outside of driving distance of our apartment. With my hectic work schedule during the week, we barely had time to see each other. But he’d just given me the exciting news that he would be home for the second weekend in a row. The previous weekend had been spent almost entirely naked and in bed and a wicked grin formed on my face as the thought of a repeat performance played in my mind.

“I know your mind is in the gutter.” His words sounded so innocent but his hooded eyes told a different story altogether. Large, strong hands pulled my hips against him and I felt him harden at the contact. His full, lush lips brushed along my jawline, aiming for the sensitive skin of my neck where he knew my sensitivities lay. “I guess we could venture outside at some point.” My words trailed off as my hands tugged at the hem of his shirt, lifting it over his head then running my fingers over his taut chest. I could feel his smile in his kiss.

Sometimes You Have To Give In

I didn’t think “murmuration” was actually a word. Until I looked it up.

an act or instance of murmuring.


a flock of starlings.
Then I gave up. Sometimes the word of the day will completely stump you. I suppose I could write about some guy murmuring sweet nothings into my ears. It seems so cliche at this point. I’m too lazy or too indifferent to write about “murmurations” today. Perhaps tomorrow another word will inspire me.

Again and Again and Again

I told him it was over. He promised he would change if only I would stay. He loved me and couldn’t stand the thought of losing me. He said he would do anything, change anything, whatever it took. As long as I stayed. It took me a week to decide. Our relationship hadn’t broken down overnight and it sure as hell couldn’t be fixed with a few words or empty promises. But his demeanor was different. He was attentive, he listened to what I had to say. He even asked me questions, thoughtful and insightful questions. I thought he really did want to change, that he wanted to save our relationship. So, I stayed. And it was good – for a while. Then he fell into his old ways. It began slowly, almost imperceptibly. A little late from work to have a drink with the guys. Asking me to repeat my question because he was watching the television instead of listening to me. Talking me out of tickets to the art gallery opening in lieu of tickets to the ball game. He was taking me for granted, ignoring me, not willing to share my interests. We were leading separate lives but somehow together. And it was killing me. So, I told him it was over. He promised he would change if only I would stay. I didn’t know how many times I could repeat this pattern.

The Impossible

“But what if you did meet him and he asked you out?  Would you give him your number?” We were side by side at my bathroom mirror, putting the finishing touches on our make-up. My best friend Becky had gotten us front row tickets plus backstage passes to the hottest concert in town, which just happened to be my all-time favorite singer, Kayson Reed. The thought of meeting him face-to-face, much less him asking me out was so abstract and hypothetical I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. I peered at her through the mirror. “Pfft. Never gonna happen.” Adding another coat of mascara to my lashes, I figured you could probably see them from outer space by now. I normally didn’t wear much make-up but tonight I wanted to feel different – glamorous I guess.

The concert was absolutely the best time I’d ever had in my life. Kayson Reed knew how to put on a show and he had his fans on their feet and screaming for a solid two hours. There were a few times I could swear he was looking right into my eyes, he was that good at selling it. After the show, Becky grabbed my hand and we made our way to the area where we would gain backstage access, along with about fifty other “VIPs”. There was no way Kayson would know me from Adam with this amount of people around. Still, I would at least get his autograph and maybe even a picture with him. That alone was worth it.

When the band finally made their entrance the volume in the room increased exponentially. I could barely hear Becky. She tried to pull me towards Kayson but I resisted and hung back, a little intimidated now that I was so close to him. The reality was so much more intense than the fantasy. I needed a little time to have a very minor panic attack before I had my chance to meet him. By the time my breathing had returned to normal, the crowd in the room had thinned. I felt the hairs on my neck stand up and glanced around the room to see Kayson Reed looking at me while chatting with two very eager, very underdressed fans. A blush crept over my cheeks when I realized the two women hadn’t even noticed Kayson was looking elsewhere – at me – while talking to them.

He quickly wrapped up their conversation with autographs and strode over to me. “You’re the only one in the room who hasn’t gone out of her way to get my attention. I don’t know if I should be grateful or offended.” He let out a small chuckle but I could see a hint of apprehension in his eyes. I smiled warmly, “I wouldn’t intentionally offend you. I’m actually a huge fan. I’ve just been, um, trying to remember how to breathe properly so I didn’t pass out in front of you.” His laugh echoed, a melody in my ears. “No need to be nervous. Front row, stage right. I saw you a few times. I’m glad I got to meet you. Well, actually we haven’t really met.” He extended his hand. “I’m Kayson Reed.” I placed my small hand in his and felt electric sparks, probably static from the carpet. “I’m Nicole Thompson. It’s really nice, really exciting to meet you.” The blush returned to my cheeks. He kept my hand in his, the warmth radiating all the way up my arm. “Nicole. That’s a beautiful name. Listen, there’s no easy way to do this without it sounding like I’m the creepy rock star hitting on the vulnerable groupie. Would you ever consider maybe having dinner with me?”

The Lies We Believe

The sadness has returned. That old familiar friend. Uninvited, unwelcome, she sits with me and whispers into my ear about all of my failures and all of my fears. She tells me of the things I cannot do and the things I cannot be simply because I’m me. She smiles her sly smile, knowing I believe her lies. Because I have to believe in something. And she knows it isn’t me.


In that moment, she gave up. The light in her eyes was slowly smothered. She accepted her fate, that cruelest of mistresses. Hearing the voices echo in her ears, taunting her, mocking her. “You don’t have it bad, you ungrateful bitch. You should be thankful.” She sat in her gilded cage, freedom an elusive dream, and wondered if you could die from a broken heart.

Innocent Dreams

Those days we used to sit on the dock at the lake and talk about our future. We let our legs swing free, feet dangling into the water. Every so often we’d dive into the murky water to wash away the sheen of sweat that had formed from the hot, humid Texas air.

We both had big plans to escape the shackles of the small town we had grown up in. You with your football scholarship and me with my academic scholarship; first stop: University of Texas, next stop: the World. Always by each other’s side. Yes, we had plans.

As the late evening sun went down in the west, the mosquitoes began to swarm and we dreaded going home. Being apart, even for a few hours, was the hardest thing to a teenager. We didn’t know that the being apart would eventually last a lifetime.

You Were Right Here

I had such a vivid dream last night. You shifted in your sleep, the bare skin of your thigh brushed against my back side. Your arm snaked around my stomach, pulling me tightly against you. My back against your chest, your groin against my backside. I felt your hand push my blonde tresses aside and your plump lips placed soft, wet kisses along my neck. Your hand moved from my stomach to my hip to the triangle between my legs, causing my breath to hitch in my throat. I reached behind me, running my fingers through your hair, tugging and pulling your mouth closer to mine.

Turning towards you, your hands tangled in my hair. Our mouths fused together, tongues dancing in tune. Rolling, you entered me in one swift, smooth movement. My sharp intake of breath and your groan sounded together. Bodies molded to one another, rising to a crescendo. I clung to you, wrapped myself around you, allowing you to take all of me. We came as one, reaching a peak and crying out loud in perfect harmony. We descended, collapsing together into a pile of contentment. You pulled me against you, arm snaked around my stomach, pulling me tightly against you. My back against your chest, your groin against my backside, and we fell asleep.

I woke and reached for you, only to find your side of the bed empty. My heart fell and I slumped into your pillow, inhaling the last vestiges of your cologne after these long months alone. I remembered you were gone and I sighed, tears slipping from my eyes. The dream was so vivid.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

(Daily Post 3/3/17)

I sauntered into the party, my black dress clinging to my curvy body, the hemline hitting just below my knees with a slit that extended up the right side to just above mid-thigh. The halter top accented my ample bust and the four-inch stiletto heels gave me both visual stature and highlighted my already tight calf muscles. I searched the room for him, certain he was already here. He was the reason I was here, the only reason I came to this particular party. Taking a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, I pulled the rim of the crystal to my crimson lips and took a long sip, letting the bubbly sensation wash over me.  Another swallow and I began to circle the room, prey moving in for her kill.

I spotted him, looking absolutely scrumptious in his Armani suit. His chestnut brown hair was cropped close on the sides, longer on the top. Loosely styled, it was primed for me to run my fingers through it while my lips were otherwise engaged. His blue eyes shimmered like a clear morning desert sky. Plump, pink lips were drawn into a bow shaped smile. My body shivered at the mere thought of the things I could do to him. Swirling the liquid in my glass, I downed my champagne, eyes focused on him. Finally, he saw me, and his eyes locked onto me. I could see the desire in his eyes from across the room. An instinctive smile rose on my lips and I ran my fingers across them, teasing him.

A playful grin flashed on his face as he excused himself from the group he was with, his eyes never leaving me. I flashed down another waiter, steeling myself with more champagne. Moving towards the center of the room, we met one another under the crystal chandelier. “You’re beautiful.” He got straight to the point. Two could play that game. “And you’re quite the rakishly handsome man yourself, Mr. Smith.” His eyes slipped from my face to my décolletage momentarily and I knew I had him. I smiled knowingly, slowly looking him up and down, admiring every inch of this gorgeous man. “Well Mrs. Smith, shall we go home then?” I took my husband’s hand and we made our way to the waiting limousine. Our monthly charade had played out and now we could enjoy our night.

The Battle

(Daily Post 3/2/17)

Most of my things were packed in my bags, left beside the front door. This wasn’t a drill. I was ready to leave this time. The question was, would he let me go? I stood before him, held my ground, and told him I was leaving. I fought to hold back tears. I told myself I had to stay strong, to keep my dignity. I had to win this war if I wanted to win my independence. It had been a long fight and I had tried every strategy; I had begged, pleaded, negotiated, even manipulated. This was my last play. “So, I guess this is it.” I gave him one last chance to make things right. His vacant eyes left no doubt the battle was over. “Good luck,” he said, as he opened the door for me.


I was always in love with him, from the moment we first met. We had our ups and downs; the fights were fierce and the make-ups were even more intense. But we always managed to make it back. Until we didn’t. For years, I only saw him in dreams or in glimpses of a passing stranger. So, when he called and asked to see me again, I didn’t hesitate. We met in a dingy dive bar, ominous I suppose. He sat waiting for me, his hands wrapped around his usual bourbon neat. I slid into the seat beside him and kissed his cheek. We fell into an awkward silence and it was quickly apparent that we would never be the same. Sometimes you have to go back to realize how far forward you’ve gone.