~Saturday, December 31, 2011


Christmas came and went quietly. There was no snow, no Christmas miracles like last year. My family has shrunk so much that there are no traditions anymore. We each exchange a single present. Christmas takes about seven minutes. It's times like these that the thought occurs to me that it's time to start my own family and my own traditions. Circle of life and all of that messy mess. Easier said than done.

Abraham had spent most of Hanukkah with his own family up North. I had wondered if returning to his family would create some sort of distance between us. Perhaps he would be reminded of his quest for a nice, Jewish girl as opposed to generic me. But he faithfully appeared in my text inbox daily. He sent me pictures of his excursions and things that made him think of me. That's the point: he was thinking about me.

As soon as his plane landed and he was able to turn his phone back on, he asked me to meet him. After my party had died down, I drove to his place. We collapsed on his couch together, and, I swear, he held me a little tighter.

"Did you miss me?" I asked him.

"Mmm hmm. A seven."

I understand things better in degrees. Abraham has learned this. Instead of a placating "maybe," he has learned to give me Vegas odds: There is an 80% chance I'll make it.

I looked up at him, "A seven out of what?"

"You decide."

"Ten. Seven out of ten." I pressed into the space between his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around me until I could no longer see the TV and squeezed. My fear was unfounded. If anything, he was more present.

"Did you miss me?" he asked.

Suddenly I felt awkward and embarrassed. Of course I missed him. I told him before he got on the plane that I was going to spend my time wailing, gnashing my teeth and other general unpleasantries until he returned. But to answer him seriously made me feel vulnerable.

I shifted uncomfortably, "You know I did. I told you so."

I put him through the wringer all the time, but the one time he asked me and I failed him.

We climbed into bed. The night was spent in constant contact, not letting the other person go. As he rolled from his side to his back, he obediently lifted his arm so I could lie on his shoulder.

"I missed you," I murmured sincerely.

I don't know that he heard me.


Abraham returned to work the next morning, but I had another week off to putter about the city. I did not waste my time. I had my carpets cleaned. Harvey's husband met me and helped me lug a mattress to my apartment. I met my brother and father for lunch, twice. I attended a baby shower. I manned up and ran a 5k. I was invited to lunch at Chick-fil-A headquarters, and I met friends at a brewery for a tasting. I was busier than if I had been at work.

This time it was my turn to take pictures of things I saw and send them to Abraham. The things I did, I was not alone. Abraham saw them. I was reminded of a line from Shall We Dance: "Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness."

Last week I was his, and this week he was mine. We were each other's witnesses.

~Thursday, December 22, 2011


Things with Abraham have been great. He's been gentler in recent weeks, a sign I take as letting his guard down. I see it in a look he'll give me or how he'll press his head against mine while watching TV.

At first when I asked the girly questions (like, "Were you happy that I came home early?"), he responded with "I'm not playing your games." Now he'll play along. When I asked what physical qualities he was attracted to, he answered, "Brunettes" and continued to describe me. He's loosening up.

We were lying in his bed one night. I had asked for pictures of him, so he held up his phone as he scrolled through his Facebook profile and narrated for me. As he scrolled down I saw those little three words:

Abraham is single.

It's been there. It was there when I Facebook stalked him months ago. But seeing it again with the way I felt about him now sat uneasy with me. He is single. We haven't had the conversation. But he wasn't single in my heart.

He put the phone down and we switched into sleeping positions. I rolled over and pulled up the covers to my shoulder. Abraham grabbed my hips and pulled them to spoon me.

"Your butt isn't as cold as it used to be," he murmured.

"That's because it's 70 degrees outside despite it being December," I answered.

"No, I mean your butt was colder this summer."

I laid in silence for a moment. So he knew. He was wrong about the summer part—we had been doing this since September—but he knew that it's been a spell.

I wanted to open my mouth and tell him to delete the damn single status from his profile, but I knew it wasn't the time for it. December is a funky month for us. He's going out of town to spend all of Hanukkah with his family. I'll be here. Then he'll be home for a few days, and then it's New Years... schedules will be really inconsistent for the next few weeks. It's not the time to commit to consistency.


A few days later and we're repeating the routine, only we're in my bed now. We had both been drinking at our respective parties and had met up afterward. I Love You, Man was on TV.

"Who's your best friend?" I inquired.

Abraham said a name. To my shock, it was a name I had never heard. And because I had been drinking and Wednesday's uneasiness was still in me, I couldn't let it go.

"Does he know about me?"

"He knows I have a special friend, but that was two months ago."

There's that timeline again. He knows! Then my brain stopped. Special friend? What is a special friend? At the time, I was convinced it meant bed buddy.

Abraham was not going to call me his bed buddy, even if it was two months ago! I went from uneasy to agitated.

"But I'm not anymore, right?"

Abraham squirmed. He squirmed the exact same way he squirmed when I asked if we were going to go on a proper date back in September. "I'm drunk and tired," he attempted.

"Good. Then you'll be honest. I'm not anymore, right?"

"Drunk!" he moaned.

"I never do the girl thing, so let me do it now."

"I like you because you never do the girl thing."

"What am I to you?"

"I don't like labels." He paused, "Do you need a label?"

I didn't. I wanted to wait and get through the holidays with no pressure. This wasn't the right time. I was happy with the status of our relationship, label or not. "No," I admitted. "I'm just wildly offended by the term 'special friend.'"

"I didn't mean it offensively," he said genuinely. Maybe "special friend" meant just that, not bed buddy. "I'm sorry," he repeated. "I didn't mean it in a bad way."

"I feel like I'm your girl," I said. "How do you feel?"

"I agree with that."

I paused, "You know labels are going to happen eventually?"

"Yeah, I'm just trying to put it off as long as possible," he laughed. "I'm not going to make this easy on you," he teased.

I smiled. He already admitted future defeat. It was enough for me.

Guys think they have all the power with the label, but they don't. Abraham's already in a relationship. We talk every day. We see each other several times a week. We keep medications for the other person at our places. These are the things that boyfriends and girlfriends do. I laugh at his attempt to control things with a label. As we say in the South, bless his heart.

Abraham isn't a commitment-phobe. He doesn't look down on women. He's just immature. Green. I don't think he's done this too many times before. His last relationship was years ago, probably in his mid-twenties. He's made a lot of comments along the way that things are new for him.

He isn't hesitating in being with me, that's the difference. And as much as he squirmed through the mini-DTR, I know he was secretly pleased with the result. For the rest time we were awake, he kept referring to me as his girl.

"I'm happy," I said.


~Friday, December 16, 2011

On Being Jewish

We haven't talked about religion, not in a way that matters.

When Abraham and I first got together, I was very sensitive about our differences. I didn't want to sound stupid or, more importantly, offensive. I know the basics about the religion itself—got an A in the class in college—but when it comes to traditions and customs and practices, I am an unwritten slate. I know nothing about being Jewish.

Lawyered predictably was zero help to me. Instead of answering my questions, he taunted my naivete by emphasizing his own Jewish heritage. And then when he saw Abraham with me one night, he called to him across the bar patio and joked to him about their shared upbringing.

I was horrified. Abraham, understandably, was confused. He didn't know who Lawyered was or why this guy was being chummy with him over religion. I stopped going to Lawyered.

After drinking at the bar one night, I finally had the courage to ask Abraham whether he was Kosher. He answered that he was. He was patient and kind in his explanation and went on to qualify to what degree he was Kosher. Only I got hammered so I could even ask the question, and I couldn't remember the answer.

A reader and a fellow blogger took me under her wing. She answered all the questions I had that I was too embarrassed to ask the new boy I liked:

"Can I say 'Jew' or is that offensive?"

"You can say 'Jew' in the context you're using."

I wrote to her the details of how I remembered Abraham was Kosher. She was able to fill in the gaps for me, but with more information comes more questions. And more worries.

A couple of weeks later as we left the bar and crawled into Abraham's bed, I nudged him. "I have a stupid question for you," I meekly whispered.

He saw my embarrassment. I didn't mention it was a question about being Jewish, but he sensed it.

"You can't ask me a stupid question. My roommate in college once asked me when I stopped believing in Santa Claus," he rolled his eyes.

I opened my mouth and closed it. This, addressing our differences, was scary. I was afraid that by asking him questions, all I would be doing was reminding him that I'm not Jewish.

"Do you have two sets of dishes?" I blurted. "One for meat and one for milk?"

He laughed softly. "I don't, but my grandmother does. She's called 'Bubbie.'"

"It's just that you've never eaten or drank at my apartment, and I didn't know if it's because my dishes are tainted," I nervously whined.

"No, that was just me being easy going."

"Because I don't want to offend you."

He saw my earnestness and my sincerity. "You can't offend me," he comforted.


The nights at the bar have long since stopped. So has the alcohol that accompanied it.

"What's your Hebrew name?" I asked one day.

He told it to me. It had the Hebrew "ch" sound in it. In English "ch" is a hard sound with the force of air lying behind the teeth. Cha! In Hebrew "ch" is a soft sound with the force of air in the back of the throat by the uvula. It's punctuated with a bit of guttural grit. It sounds like the beginnings of hocking a loogie. Ach.

I had him repeat his Hebrew name over and over as I tried to mimic the pronunciation. I never could do it correctly. When Abraham said it, the sound was beautiful and consistent; the "ch" had the guttural rumblings in his voice at the exact same spot every time. Me, I sounded like I was garbling spit.

"No," he corrected. "Ach."


I kept asking him to speak his name, but I was no longer trying to replicate it. I was listening to him say the words that I couldn't train my mouth to form. There was a melody in his voice that I have never heard.



This week I appeared on his doorstep for our standing night together. I had a plate wrapped in tinfoil in my hands.

Abraham answered the door and I beamed as I shoved the plate towards him.

"Look!" I announced.

He carried the plate to his kitchen.

"Look at it!" I called as I fluttered around him. "Look what I did!"

He set the plate down and peeled back the tinfoil. There were two tacos with refried beans and Mexican rice.

"It's Kosher!" I clapped. By the scene I made, you would have thought I made latkes. "Kosher!"

I danced. He watched me. My smile was contagious. He grinned.

"You're really proud of yourself, aren't you?" he asked.

"I am!"

He looked at the plate again and wrinkled his nose, "You know I like cheese on my tacos."

I kept dancing but jabbed a finger at him. "You sin up your food on your own time! I'm not doing it for you! Eat it."

"But I'm not hungry," he whined. "I'll save it for later."

I stopped dancing. "I BROUGHT YOU KOSHER FOOD. LET ME SEE YOU EAT IT!" I hollered at him.

He turned his back to me as he picked up a taco off the plate and muttered, but I heard what he said:

"You have the Jewish mother role down."

~Thursday, December 15, 2011

Abraham's Unwitting Rebuttal

I had my head on Abraham's stomach as he laid in my bed.

"Tell me the story again about how you threw up in front of your mom," I pleaded. It was one of the first stories he ever told me. He had told it to me the night we first kissed, weeks before I had my drunken night in front of him.

He chuckled and told me the story.

"...And as I'm puking into the Gulf of Mexico, my mom was saying something to me. I like to think it was, 'I'm so proud of you.'"

"Is your mom the kind of person who would say 'I'm so proud of you' while you're drunk and throwing up in the ocean?"


I laughed softly and closed my eyes and waved my hand across his stomach. The one puking story had jogged his memory and he remembered another one, and another one, and another one.

Abraham ran his hand through his hair. "I never thought of myself as a person who pukes, but I guess I am," he laughed.

"Well these stories span 13 years," I comforted.

With my head facing his toes, I told him about my annual trip to Florida. I had drank my weight in hunch punch before entering Jacksonville's EverBank Field. I had passed out cold during the second quarter and halftime of the football game. “Who does that? Who sleeps in a sold-out football stadium?”

"When it was me, it was halftime and third quarter. Different football game. Same stadium," he smiled.

Abraham was not judgmental of the first night I spent at his place because it's been him numerous times. He understood. More importantly, he was empathetic of the pain I was in.

He laid his hand on the back of my head and brushed my hair down. He wasn't Government Mule. And this was a good thing.

~Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Government Ass

At a football tailgate, a girlfriend from out of town asked how I met Abraham. I skipped all the boring details and went right to the punchline. I am nothing if not a good story teller. She shuddered. She laughed.

Government Mule was sitting in front of us, eavesdropping. He turned around. "You need to aim higher," he said.

"Excuse me?"

"How low are this guy's standards to be with a girl who did that? You need to be with someone who wouldn't put up with that."

"You mean, put up with me," I said slowly.

I was stunned. Government Mule had cut me off at the knees. In a very roundabout way I was able to vaguely acknowledge his point: perhaps he thought the guy was preying on a drunk woman.

However, I couldn't separate my actions from me. I mean, if there were a kingdom called Get Drunk and Do Stupid Shit, I would be queen. Government Mule knows this. He also knows that there is more depth to me outside of the occasional bad decision.

To me, his statement smacked of Anyone who wants to be with you has low standards. It felt devastating. Abraham knew me as well. Prior to me dying in his bathroom, Abraham spent months talking to me at the bar. He didn’t know me well at the time, but he at least  knew this wasn't weekly behavior.

And because I couldn’t separate my actions from me, I couldn’t separate whatever Government Mule meant by his statement. I felt worthless in a single sentence: a guy who likes me isn’t good enough, because he likes me.

~Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Others

For a hot minute this fall, the entire group of friends was dating someone.

Katie found a new boyfriend that she described as her most passionate relationship.

Swayze met a girl through Match that he had been quietly seeing during the week.

Mel had met a boy that engaged in long conversations with her and made her feel beautiful.

And I had Abraham.

We were at an away football game, sitting under the comfort of a tailgating tent and sipping hunch punch. We were all a little smug about it. Five years together and this is the very first time we all had someone. We took turns describing how we met our significant others while cooing at the others' stories.

All of our relationships are radically different. Katie met the guy and they hadn't been out of each other's sight yet. Swayze would post on Facebook about going apple picking with his girl. Mel's beau didn't contact her every day, but when he did, he'd pick up the phone for an hour-long conversation. Abraham and I communicate daily, but it's in short bursts through text.

I think we all had envy of the others' relationships. As much as the idea of leaving the city to drive to a farm to pick apples makes me want to gag, it sounds like an adorable couple-y thing to do. That is Pinterest material. Mel had a boy who liked to talk on the phone, raising him to mythical status. They both sound so nice. On the other hand, I think Mel appreciated my constant contact with Abraham. I think Swayze appreciated the comfortable nature of my relationship; we don't have to spend the time and energy on adorable, couple-y things.

Katie's relationship was the first to erupt. Her boyfriend fell out of favor with the group. They're still together, but he's no longer invited around us. Swayze and his girl mysteriously "mutually decided to not see each other anymore," whatever that means. Mel's boy didn't call one week for his famous phone chat and is now wanted by authorities on the grounds of fading away.

Relationships are different. They're different from your friends' relationships and they're even different among partners. You are more or less the same person but each relationship you engage in is unique.

I was with Valdosta this time last year. Valdosta, who never let the current date end without planning the next date. Valdosta, who always said the right things. Valdosta, who never gave himself to me. And I'm looking to the right of this web page and seeing the posts labeled "Abraham" slowly outnumber the posts labeled "Valdosta." Days spent with Abraham have already outnumbered days spent with Valdosta.

Who's to say what's right or wrong in relationships? That there is certain way for them to be conducted?

A coworker of mine recently met a boy who properly asked her out on a second date. He gave her three options to choose from. She refused to choose among them, stating that he's the boy and it's his job to impress her. She never made a decision and he never made a decision and the second date never happened.

I kept my mouth shut, but I thought loudly. Was it worth it? Was it worth it to be right instead of happy? I'd choose happy any day. And I am.

~Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Season's Greetings

I opened the door to my apartment and greeted Abraham.

"Congrats on your win!" I told him.

"Congrats on your win!" he replied as he entered my foyer and kissed me.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day that state rivalries face off in college football. Both of our alma maters had won.

He sat on my couch and sighed, "I can't believe football season is over."

"Well it is for you," I teased. "We're going to the conference championship next week. But I know what you mean. It was like the last three months have been a rush of adrenaline and now... nothing. Nothing to look forward to. Especially now that kickball is over for the next four months."


"But I have been making plans now that we have all this free time," I said.

"Oh yeah? Like what?"

"Well I want to go to a hockey game and a brewery tour."

He paused, "Is that it?"


Dating during football season is hard. Especially in the South, college ball takes first priority. A girl I know dumped the guy she was seeing because she couldn't date someone during football season who didn't root for her team. I remember Statham's intense hatred for my team back in April when it didn't even matter and knowing it would be a problem if we ever got that far. Thankfully we didn't.

I remember when I was only flirting with Abraham at the bar back before football season, I stumbled over his university's name. The University of and State University can get confusing, especially after a few drinks. He corrected me.

"No, the other one. We're on the same side," he told me.

I remember him assuring me that, and I remember finding that so comforting. We are on the same side. I will root for you and you will root for me and we will hate our rivals together. We were on the same side before we even kissed. We were only talking football, but it was the perfect metaphor for relationships.

Since then we had evolved to keeping each other's football scores in our phones and congratulating university wins with kisses. It's Southern dating at its finest.

Abraham and I only saw each other about every other weekend as we were always traveling to our respective games. Our time together was during the weeks. Saying, "I can't this weekend; I have a game," was usually responded to with "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize." Or "My game is at 3 and your game is at 7. Why don't we try for 11?" It was understood that college football is number one for 12 Saturdays a year.


"Is that it? Abraham asked me, shocked that there were only two things on my list.

"Yeah," I shrugged. "They're the only things I really want to do." I too was shocked. I was shocked I told this boy that I had been making plans for us and not only did he not protest, but he expected more.

I leaned into the crook of his shoulder and laid my head on his chest, my arm extending across the soft curve of his belly. He lifted his arm and settled it around me, "I'm sure we can think of other things to do.”

~Monday, December 05, 2011

Intimate Bodies

Are you awake?

I am.

I don’t normally do this. I don’t text boys late at night. And I certainly don’t do it when they cancel on me. I was supposed to be in his bed right now, but I wasn’t. Abraham and I had plans for this evening, but he canceled saying he was still sick. We had been talking about him being sick for the past four days, so I know he really did just want a good night’s sleep. Which made me feel even weirder about contacting him.

My university just announced that they have tickets to Saturday’s football game. They are going on sale on a first-come basis tomorrow at 9 a.m. You said you wanted to go to one of my games... do you want to go this weekend?

Normally I would love to, but I can’t. I’m heading out of town to my own football game. I thought I told you. :(

So then and there we made plans for as soon as he got back and before I went out of town.


I followed Abraham into his bedroom and he shut the door. It was a random weekday night. I headed to his place after I cooked dinner and spent time with the dog.

We had never done this: hanging out at his place without first going to the bar. We sat Indian-style on the end of his bed facing each other. We looked at each other and sighed. After polite how are yous, he kissed me. I still love the first kiss of each day.

"I need extra hugs and kisses tonight," I said. "It's been a bullshit-y week."

"What about me?" he whined. His trip out of town did not go as planned. As soon as he got back, he told me that he wished he had stayed and gone to my game instead.

“That’s right. Tell me about your trip.”

We sat there facing each other Indian-style at the end of his bed talking. He told me about his trip and all of its disappointments. As he told me about his flight, I extended my hand to his thigh to comfort him. He reciprocated with his hand on my knee. As he reached to scratch his neck, he laid his left hand on my knee so we were always in constant contact. It was endearing.

He finished his story and sighed. I sighed as well.

“So tell me about your week,” he said.

“It’s just so... bullshit-y. I’m sorry there’s not a better word for it. Nothing bad has happened, just a lot of little grievances that added up. The work thing I told you about, it’s been three weeks now and I feel like nothing is resolved. Ugh.” I leaned forward from my spot on the bed and stuck my face in his shoulder.

He patted my head. Then he fingered my hair. “I like your pigtails,” he said.

My face was still buried in his shoulder. “You do?” I said muffled.

“Yeah,” he twisted one of my pigtails and flipped it around. I don’t know what it is about pigtails that boys love so much, but every time I wear them, they always comment on them.

Outside of his bedroom we heard laughter. Abraham explained that it was his roommate and his neighbor. I’m not used to being at his place while his roommate is awake. I’m used to stealthily tiptoeing on his tiled entryway so my heels won’t clack and wake her. But it was 9 o’clock and we were sitting on his bed talking. His bedroom door was closed—separating us from the outside world—and his TV was off.

It was closest I’ve ever been to sex without having sex; facing each other and talking in the manner that we were was perhaps the most intimate thing I’ve ever done with my clothes on. Pillow talk is different. With pillow talk, it’s usually late at night and there are no other distractions. You’re usually post-coital and naked and vulnerable to a degree. The darkness of the bedroom feels like a safe veil to disclose your secrets. This, this was lights-on, fully clothed, plain-view, conscious talk. It was an act of intimacy without the usual gimmicks that compose the situation, which, in itself, made it even more special. The act of intimacy, without being physically intimate, can be so much more.


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