Airports make great places for people watching…at last after you’ve finished your own security check strip tease and gotten your shit back together.

This guy? Yeah…he and his new wife were making their way through Detroit Metro at about 5 a.m. last Friday morning, with a flood of “congratulations!” in their wake. I couldn’t keep myself from asking for a quick photo. His wife kindly informed me that the sign was easier to get through security than an actual ball and chain.

I love it when stories present themselves as people.


It’s time to get my shit together.

Sure, things reached a Guinness Book of World Record level of Suck this past week, but aside from the mounds of inspiration to throw into my writing, it’s really time to move on.

I’m supposed to be funny. I’m supposed to say “fuck” more often than is appropriate for the mother of a toddler. I’m supposed to be writing a funny-as-hell don’t-call-it-a-memoir book about losing the Baby Ph(f)at that’s supposed to be my ticket to literary stardom and become the gift-to-give to new moms everywhere.

What I shouldn’t be doing is wallowing. It doesn’t become me. Buttercup, after all, got her diva-like tendencies from somewhere, and the drying nail polish I decided to splash on at midnight ‘cuz it seemed like as good a time as any face in the mirror is looking pretty guilty.

So maybe the pity party I allowed myself tonight, complete with too many carbs, a hellacious amount of fat, and enough fat to make a Weight Watchers leader cry wasn’t the brightest of ideas. Food, when eaten for the wrong reasons, has a way of adding weight to the baggage already carried in my mind. Forget the scale; I know I’m heavier for what I ate. For what I chose not to let go.

As I said, wallowing does not become me. It’s not who I am. I’m my father’s daughter, and I am a strong, independent smart-ass. That, I’m told, is why you love me.

I’m back. And I suggest you buckle up.


This is the third and final installment of my one-act play. Click here and here to see where it how it starts. And if you have the time, I’d love to hear what you think at the end.



So that was it. I pushed him away again.


Any idea why?

Before Lilly can answer, a spotlight turns on, blinding her. The little girl runs across the stage, laughing. Lilly jumps in her seat, squeezing her eyes shut. The light is shut off almost as fast as it came on. Lilly opens her eyes.

How long have you known Michael?
Three years now. We met at a frat party freshman year. (Lilly Laughs.) He’s been trying to win me over since he helped me get my roommate back to our dorm. (She laughs again.) Marisa was just a little drunk.
Three shadowed figures enter stage right. The middle figure is stumbling and giggling. She is being supported.
Come on, Marisa, we’re almost there.
Yep, pretty damned close now.
(Slurring.) Who the hell is this guy again?
His name is Michael.

Michael? (To Lilly in an exaggerated whisper) He’s a hottie. Can I have if you don’t want?

Michael and Lilly are l.aughing as the exit stage left.

He’s a really sweet guy.
Sweet scares me. (Lilly wraps her arms around herself and bows her head slightly. She takes a deep, audible sigh.) I know that sounds stupid, Doctor. But it does. (She stands and sighs again. She begins pacing a bit, careful never to step out of her circle of light.)
I dunno. I mean, with Michael? I’ve looked at this thing – whatever it is, between us and I know that I should be incredibly and completely in love by now.
But I’m not. It’s almost like I can’t handle it. (She sits back down again.) Sometimes I want to. Handle it, I mean. He’s been there for me even when I didn’t want him to be. (She chuckles wryly.) And yes, I haven’t wanted him to be there for me most of the time, anyway, but the amazing thing is that he has never let me push him far enough away that I can’t reach out to him when I really need to. (She shrugs almost helplessly.)
Take, for example, my grandparents funeral last year. No one really knows what caused the crash but I’ll bet Grandma was arguing with Grandpa and he got more involved in the fight than his driving. He could be a sweet man, but God, he always had to be right. He had to be in charge. (She sighs again and reaches for her purse, pulling out a pack of cigarettes.) Mind if I smoke? I’ve been wanting one for a while now.
I suppose I can make an exception.
The click of a lighter is heard. Lilly inhales.
Anyway, I loved my grandparents. And I couldn’t handle the idea of the funeral. Closed caskets. My mother hysterical. My father trying to comfort her. I didn’t want to go but I knew I had to. Michael never really knew them but he showed up on my doorstep that Sunday and told my parents that I was driving with him.
My parents were too involved in their own drama to worry about mine. They just nodded and got into their own car.
Go on.
He made small talk on the way there. About what I don’t remember but it didn’t matter. He was just trying to keep my sane, I guess. And he never said a word as I smoked one after another in his brand new car. When we got there, I froze. I don’t know why but I couldn’t move. Not to undo my seatbelt, not to open the car door, and sure as hell not to go inside.
Michael just sat with me and talked, never asking any questions. And when people got back into their cars and drove away, he opened his door and got out. He went in with me to say good-bye. Then he held me as I sobbed.
Ya know, Doc? I think that’s the part that really scares the hell out of me. The fact that Micheal won’t let me push him away. That he thinks I’m worth the effort. But I’m not. He’ll go as soon as he realizes that.
Why do you say that, Lilly?
Because that’s what happens whenever I let anybody get too close. Once they see what’s really there they just leave.
And what is that, Lilly? What is it you think they see?
Me. They see me. And everything I’ve tried to remember. (She attempts a weak smile but
her lips are trembling.)…(Her voice breaks and she begins to cry.)
What is it you don’t remember, Lilly?

Anything before I was six years old. I don’t remember anything at all.

The little girl runs into Lilly’s corcle of light. She stops just short of Lilly’s face and
points an accusing finger at her.

Little Girl
(Screaming) Yes you do!
The little girl turns and runs back into the darkness leaving Lilly visibly shaken

NO! No I don’t remember. I don’t want to remember! I can’t remember…


Lilly, what is it? I can’t help you unless you talk to me. Please Lilly. Please let me help
There’s a picture of me on the wall at home. I’m 5. It was my first day of school so I’m
wearing a pretty pink dress with little flowers on it. I’m holding Molly, my doll. I don’t
remember who gave her to me but that doll used to go everywhere with me. My mom still
has her at home in her China cabinet.
Tell me more about that picture, Lilly.
I look so happy. Standing there all pretty and smiling that stupid little smile all kids smile
for the camera. But I don’t remember it! (She clenches her fists at her sides.) How the
hell can I not remember my first day of school? And why can’t I even look at Molly
when I go home? Why does looking at that picture make me want to get sick?
The spotlight on Lilly turns up. Her eyes widen as a figure enters stage left, takes a few
steps, and stops in the darkness. He stands with his back to the audience, feet set apart.
He is holding the little girl.

Remember what I told you, princess. Remember what will happen if you tell our little
The little girl in his arms sniffles before speaking out
Little girl
He’ll tell Mommy and Daddy and Daddy
(Speaking to the little girl in the man’s arms.) No!

Little girl

He will! And he’ll say it was my fault. That I liked it.
And then Mommy and Daddy will think I’ve been a very bad girl…

Little girl

And they won’t love me anymore.
Just remember that, princess. (He turns to exit and then stops.) Oh, and princess?
Yes, Grandpa?
I don’t want to have to remind you again.
(He exits)
Lilly closes her eyes and drops her head into her hands. She is speaking quickly to herself
as she tries to block the memories.

No…no…it isn’t happening. Not happening.
(She is looking at the audience now.)
No. It was all my fault…
The stage lights slowly dim until they are completely shut off. When they come back on, only
scattered toys fill the circle of light. The man and the little girl enter, the man remaining
in the shadows, the little girl entering the circle holding a new doll and wiping away


Do you like your new doll, princess?
Little girl
Yes (Sniffling) . Her name is Molly,
(To doll) It’s okay, Molly. (She rubs the dolls forehead, trying to soothe her.)
Molly, huh? That’s pretty. But you know what, princess? Mommy and Daddy won’t
think you’re pretty anymore if you tell them our secret.
Little girl
(A small gasp escapes her throat and she begins rocking Molly furiously as the man
walks away.) It’s okay, Molly. Lilly’s gonna take good care of you. Shhh, Molly. It’s our
secret. You don’t have to cry. We won’t tell.

The lights begin to fade as young Lilly talks to Molly. Slowly, they come back on. Lilly is
again sitting in her chair, crying.

(Screaming) NOOOOOO!!!! (She stands quickly, knocking her chair over as she turns
her back on the audience and her memories.) I can’t do this! I thought I could but I can’t.
I don’t want to remember anymore. I didn’t know I was going to feel so…dirty. (Lilly
turns to face the audience.) It was my fault, Doctor. I let him.
I let him touch me and hurt me and…(She pauses to wipe away at tears.) worst of all I let
him get away with it by forgetting every damned thing….including myself!
Lilly, it’s common for victims of incest to block out certain…
I don’t want to hear any of your bullshit med school terminology right now, okay? I don’t need to hear it! Fine, it’s common. But you know what, Doc? It’s me! And for me, it is not common to be sitting in a shrink’s office raving like a lunatic because I just happened to remember my
own grandfather molesting me 16 years ago!
I know, Lilly. And I’m sorry.
Well, what the hell am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to face my parents or
Michael? Oh God, he’s my ride back to campus! What do I say on the way home?
I think Michael is a lot smarter than you realize. He won’t expect or push you to say
anything until you’re ready.

A car horn honks in the background
That’s him. (She turns to leave.) I’ll see you next week, right?
I’ll be here
Lilly walks off stage. The stage lights are turned back on to show the opening scene again
with the little girl playing with her toys, humming the same tune. A figure enters stage
right and walks across the stage, stopping just short of the light. The figure remains in
the shadows. The little girl looks up, stops humming, and smiles. The tune she was
humming continues to play in the background.

Female Voice
Whatcha doing there, princess?
Little girl
Teddy wanted a tea party. (She giggles, holding up her teddy bear.) Want some, too? She
offers a tea cup.)
The figure steps into the circle of light and accepts the tea cup. It’s Lilly.
I’d love some. (She is crying softly.)
Little girl
What’s wrong?
I made a special trip to see you, sweetheart. It took me a really long time to get here. I’m
so sorry it took me so long.
Little girl
It’s okay. (She hugs Lilly.) You’re here now.

Lilly cries with her younger self as the lights fade to black. The curtain closes.


There were a million times I thought, “I can write a blog post about this tonight…”

I kept a notebook with me to record such thoughts. A knock-off Moleskine I picked up for three bucks at a Barnes & Noble. I even got about what I am assuming is about a quarter of the way through an essay inspired by a simple statement I made to The Husband while sharing with him the events of the past few days.

So I figured I’d blog about that.

“This is the adult version of finding out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.” My voice was nothing more than a smoky whisper, barely audible, I’m sure, over a cell-phone connection spanning 2,000 miles. But The Husband knew before he even answered the phone that it was his job to listen with all of his being tonight. I get like that when I’m emotional and almost smiled remembering our wedding day. But just like my wedding vows, he heard every word I said.

“I know, sweetest.”

He offered nothing more than those three words, knowing it was all he could give and yet the exact thing I needed to hear. An innocence, of sorts, has been lost and a simple truth revealed to be nothing more than a lie.

Daddy’s really the one in the Santa Suit, honey…please don’t tell your sister. It’ll break her heart.

Empty promises to make it all better and slay the dragons would have only served to soothe his protective feathers and, well, piss me off, quite frankly. Bullshit, even if well-intentioned, is not something I deal with very well.

But simple understanding made me cry.

I know Santa isn’t real, but I need a moment to mourn what I thought to be true. Closure is out of the question until the eight-year-old inside of me decides it’s time to grow up for the third time in my life. I’ll let you know when that happens.


I have a secret. It’s the kind of secret that makes for heart-wrenching made-for-TV-Lifetime-Original movies based on that book you read last month with the drama and the tears and the betrayal and the moments that make you and the relationships with the ones you love stronger.

It’s the kind of shit writers can only dream of making up. It’s a best-selling novel or a tell-all memoir.

It’s my life.

But because of current circumstances, I cannot share my story as fact. I can’t tell you why I’m hiding behind crap I wrote three weeks ago and auto-posting  so I can try and keep my head above waters rising so high and so fast that they threaten to drown me and those that matter most. I can’t tell you why I feel so betrayed. And I can’t tell you why burying my father two years ago now has lost the top-spot on Pauline’s Shittiest Life Moments list.

I beat around bushes. I speak in code. The truth is painful, but it  isn’t the only reason I’m being so purposely cryptic. Truth, instead of setting me free, could very well be what holds me hostage.

If based on reality, my own words can hurt me. But fiction is a different story, altogether. If I hide kernels of the truth in a world I have dreamt up inside of my head, scattered throughout a novel like a handful of birdseed on the lawn, the writer in me can satisfy the desire to share words with the world in the hopes that Someone Else can relate while the mother, wife, daughter, sister, and niece in me can simply disappear.

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