Friday, June 18, 2010

Happily Ever After

      Listen to your mother when she says, "You're not getting any younger, Patty. No man will want you if you’re old. Find someone before it's too late."
     Remind her that you have plenty of time. Pretend that you secretly don't worry that she's right. Convince yourself that life will be good, even if she is. Alone doesn't necessarily mean lonely.


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     Panic slightly when your best friend gets married. Panic even more when she starts having children. Have a complete nervous breakdown when your younger sister gets married and gives birth seven months later. Do the math and realize why she got married.


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     Try not to feel rejected when your friends don’t have time for you because they have plans with their husbands. Convince yourself that you can go to the club alone. Sit at home instead and watch An Affair to Remember. Remind your self that "alone doesn't mean lonely." Question the sanity of the source of that statement. Remember that you are the source.

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     Meet a man at a bar. Decide you could marry him if he changed a few minor things. Is there any way to change his eye color or get rid of the skull tattoo on his forehead? Secretly tell yourself there is no one who could possibly make a worse husband. Openly declare that you love him just the way he is. Register for china and flatware three weeks after you meet him. He’ll learn to agree with your taste once you're married.
     Move in with him. Work two jobs and pay all the bills while he stays home to work on his music career. Believe that he could actually become a famous musician, even if he doesn't play an instrument and the deaf neighbor threatened to call the police if he ever sang again. Listen to your mother when she says, "He won't buy the cow if he can get the milk for free." Wonder if you should be insulted when your mother compares you to a cow.



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     Stay in the dead-end relationship for three years. Worry that you’ll be alone forever if you leave. Keep hoping that one day he’ll get down on one knee with a diamond ring. Realize that the only way you’ll get a ring is if you buy it yourself.
     Decide to not bail your boyfriend out of jail. He claimed that he had nothing to do with the llama and eggplant, but the video contains all the gritty details. Anonymously send the video to the D.A.’s office. Move to a new house and change your phone number.


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     Go through a series of random, meaningless relationships. Freak out if a guy shows any signs of commitment.
      Go to the doctor after vomiting for three weeks straight. Get angry when she suggests the possibility of pregnancy. Refuse to believe the doctor, even after the test comes back positive. Take two more tests. Wonder who the father is.
      Go out to a bar to try and drink away the problem. Feel guilty when the beer bottle brushes against your lips. Put it down and order a soda. Meet a man with the perfect shade of blue-green eyes. Choose not to tell him about the baby. Fall in love. Get your hopes up when he starts talking about marriage and family. Finally tell him about the pregnancy. Try not to be too disappointed when he walks out the door and tells you to never call him again.


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     Hide from your mother for the next four months. Ignore her phone calls, even when she resorts to leaving guilt-ridden voice messages. “Patty, sweetie, this is your mother. Normally I wouldn’t identify myself on the phone but I was worried that you might have forgotten what my voice sounds like. My voice. Your mother’s voice.” Hit delete. “Patty, honey, are you there? I wanted to come see you but you moved again and forgot to tell me. At least, I hope you moved. I met a woman with spiked purple hair at your apartment yesterday. Patty, are you a lesbian now? It’s ok if you are. You just need to tell me so we can fix it.” Hit delete.


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     Accidentally run into your sister at the grocery store. Try to convince her that you’ve just put on some extra weight. Bribe her when she threatens to tell your mom.
     Go home and find your mother sitting on your front porch. Mentally plan how to get back at your sister for giving her your address. Distract your mother with cute baby clothes when she asks who fathered the child.


     Give birth. Give your daughter your last name. Do everything you possibly can to avoid being like your mother. Swear never to compare your daughter to a cow.


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     Console your sister when she discovers that her husband has been cheating with your best friend. Console your best friend’s husband after your sister tells him about the affair. Fend off his advances when he swears that he is going to get back at his slut wife by sleeping with you.
     Do everything possible to keep your sister from self-destructing during a desperate attempt to recapture her youth. Avoid spending time with your sister and friend together. Wonder why your best friend’s ex-husband and your brother-in-law are now living together. Decide that you are better off not knowing.


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     Watch your daughter grow older. Record her first steps, first words, and first date. Attend her high school graduation. Drive over five hundred miles to take her to college. Insist that she call home three times a day. Settle her into the dorms and slowly walk away. Let loose the tears that you’ve been holding inside for years.
     Drive home. Unplug the telephone. Lock the door. Enjoy the quiet. Finally understand that alone really doesn’t necessarily mean lonely.


The End.
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2 comments:

John Wiswell said...

Wow. I haven't seen this approach in a while, and you made it ruthlessly effective. Emotional without being sappy or forcing it. It all hangs there. Lovely work, Trisha. I hope you never feel lonely.

Lauren Cude said...

Incredibly well written. I wasn't convinced about the technique at first, but you pulled it off :) Thanks for sharing!

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