House of Hawthorne

Lately

We sway side by side, head cheek to cheek. He stops. I look up, frowning. He says, “It’s almost like we’re dancing!” I don’t respond. “Smile, motherfucker,” he says, trying to lighten my mood and failing today. He kisses me on my forehead.

Everything’s good and I’m miserable. I force myself through the motions of preparing our lunches. I throw as much as possible in his lunch box and leave little for myself, pretending that I’m not going to eat so much today. He reminds me to walk the dog before we leave for the day, and I do. The best days are when we wake up and he reaches for me or when I don’t spill or drop something. It also helps if I leave myself a little time to scratch the dog’s ears and tell her to have a good day. She looks up at me and I try to imagine that she is telling me, “I love you, Mom.”

A Year Ago

This morning, Austin comes to give me his “I’m going to work” kiss. I reach up and grab his neck like I do. He’s been flash-burned from welding yesterday, says so, and tears immediately come to my eyes because I hate the idea of causing him pain, and he just keeps repeating, “It’s okay! It’s okay.” Not frustrated, even though he’s gotta be in terrible pain. Ruby flops over on her back next to me and he rubs her belly, saying, “Ruby wants her belly rubbed, doesn’t she?”

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I went to the store today and got all of these for free. Do I take aspirin? No. I guess I might start. It’s good for your heart or something, right?

It doesn’t matter, because they were free. And nothing tastes better than free aspirin. Besides free pizza. Or free any actual food, I guess. Free actual food would definitely taste better than free aspirin.

You feel kinda crazy when you coupon. You remember that movie Pi? I don’t really, but it’s like that. If I just keep searching and poring over the coupon websites, I will surely find the perfect combination to unlock enlightenment. Or stock up on ever-precious laundry detergent.

When couponing doesn’t go well, your day is ruined. You probably messed up on the quantity or weight of the item you are buying and you are awkwardly standing at the register saying, “No, that’s not right. Can I return everything? I don’t want these items if they aren’t a quarter.” Which cashiers just love to pieces, obviously. Then you nervously ask for your coupons back and have officially become the world’s most annoying customer. A line forms behind you, she can’t find one of the coupons you used, and you fight back inexplicable tears. So what if five people you don’t know now hate you? I need that coupon back.

I have a coupon master friend who taught me the ways, and we text back and forth about the deals we’ve found. She is going without Internet right now and I can read her panic over possibly missing deals through her texts. It’s an addiction where you possibly mis-spend time. But that’s the only bad side effect, besides maybe almost crying in front of a crowd of people in Dollar General. When it works, you feel like pointing and shouting “In your face, you suckers!” at everyone paying full price for toothpaste.

But you don’t, because you don’t want to be banned from CVS. It would be unseemly. And jeopardize so many couponing opportunities.

“I tried not to make so many dishes, I swear,” my boyfriend said last night while grilling our dinner. We discuss the need to buy better quality aluminum foil going forward. He’s cooked our puppy her own little pork chop, and asks if that is so cute that it will make me cry. Perhaps it is. I really should have taken a picture of it, it was adorable. He’s so very secretly kind.

I ask, “Do you need anything?” And he says, “You mean, where’s the booze? You forget how well I know you.” And it’s both amazing and frightening to be known like that. When someone knows you so well, they see all the bad as well as the good. But he stays. That’s all I need to know.

These days we go down to the river at least every other day with the dog, scoping out the potential for shooting fish. Ruby grabs sticks out of the water and takes them back to land, and he teaches me how to shoot the bow. Unlike shooting pool and throwing disc golf, I am somehow good at this.

Last week we talked about being together as long as the puppy lives to grow old and how great that could be. We fist bumped in agreement.

I am happy.

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I came to a conclusion today after a year of worrying about something. I know, you’re thinking, wow, Virginia, you must be incredibly sane. Like, the sanest ever. You deal with things super healthily!

I was cleaning out this ditch full of leaves in front of our yard and I realized I had something like that in my brain, clogging up my worry drainage system. (Actually, as far as I can tell, we don’t have a drainage system in our yard, so now all we have is standing muddy water. Maybe featuring aquatic life? Should I get a very large bucket? Or perhaps embrace it as a moat? A worry for another day.)

I finished getting all the leaves together, dusted myself off a bit, and came in and blocked someone on Facebook. A weight was immediately lifted. Facebook spring cleaning, check. I need to remove the temptation to check in on this person I barely know, for absolutely no reason, who I decided a year ago, under completely crazy circumstances, was my enemy and my complete opposite. I don’t need to worry about this person being everything I’m not anymore, because the traits that make me this person’s opposite are traits I cherish about myself.

Mainly, I’m not a bad ass chick. I’m never going to be one. It’s something I’ve got to own up to. I’ve got to stop apologizing and scurrying around this fact. Worrying about that makes me whiny, scared and insecure, instead of embracing it, which keeps me laughing at myself, fun, and easygoing. People like that about me, and I forget that. My friends aren’t mad at me because I wouldn’t be able to defend them in a fight. That’s not what you sign up for in a friendship with Virginia Hawthorne. You sign up for a great sense of humor, trustworthiness and kindness, and that’s that.

I’ve started to write about this grudge for months, and haven’t been able to, and my writing has slowed to a crawl because of that. I’m ready to let this one go, shake it out, and write again. Thank those strange possibly paleolithic creatures swimming in my yard.

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I just tried to walk into this church because I feel like I’m going a little crazy lately. All the doors were locked so I’m  walking around trying everyone and starting to cry a little because I’m getting so frustrated. I’m just craving some peace and quiet for my mind for even a moment. All of a sudden, right behind me, a huge chunk of ice fell from three stories above. Like if I was walking any slower I would have been laid out flat on the ground. I laughed, not a loud burst, but enough to stop crying, and looked up into the sky. “What, dude?” I asked.

I for sure don’t know the answer to the question but sometimes you gotta remember that you’re still conscious and breathing and in this world and that’s a blessing in itself.

My friend from college just asked me in response to my recent post why I moved to Kentucky. And I need to remember because it’s one of those weeks, you know. I need to count my blessings for a moment. Bear with me if you hate my “relationship” posts.

The reason I moved to Kentucky is because my boyfriend and I stole his best friend’s four-wheeler one day.

As soon as we got to Kentucky we started drinking what may or may not have been moonshine, and mornings after nights like that are when my boyfriend and I have the most fun, I figure. Do we have drinking problems? Sure. Do we have a blast? Constantly. Sorry, everybody that knows us well and worries about that aspect of our lives. It is what it is, as he would say.

So anyway, we wake up and there’s another gallon of alcohol and four-wheeler keys on the counter. How nice of Blake, we thought and just went. As is typical in our relationship, it was my first time on a four-wheeler and his 87,000th. We rode through a field of cows, visited old family friends of his, went to revel on the pebbly coast of the lake. He showed me where he grew up, he told me his stories, and I fell in love with him all over again. He has such a command and sense of presence everywhere he goes, but we were in the place he knew better than any other on a vehicle he could drive like a professional. Let me tell you, that kind of deep-seeded competence is as hot as hell.

It wasn’t a perfect day, of course. It’s us. We drove deep into the forest and broke the four-wheeler. Up we walked, a couple miles, for tools. Back we walked, and had a super hard time finding it. He fixed it, as he does (I don’t worry about things breaking anymore, at all), and started it up. Out of gas. Back and forth we went, exhausted and thirsty. (I wonder if alcohol de-hydrates you or something. Nah.) We almost got ran over by a pick-up truck. I wasn’t holding on well enough for a particular wheelie and fell off the back. And it turned out Blake hadn’t left the keys as an invitation for a joyride, so he got pretty mad. For a few months.

But at the end of that day, as I know at the end of every one still, there is no one else I’d rather be clinging on for dear life. That makes me sound kinda bad actually. Let’s say, be next to. So when he told his uncle the reason we were down was he was trying to get me to move to Kentucky with him, I was stars in my eyes, head-over-heels, ready to go wherever he asked.

That and rent is super cheap. Move to the South, people. You can still make art and music and work jobs and whatever.

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Tuesday February 3rd at one a.m. I will be turning myself into the McCracken County Jail for a day because of a Contempt of Court on a Failure to Appear because of a seat belt ticket. The legal fees on this $25 ticket have grown into roughly 500 dollars and this will be my third night in jail. The second night I was in jail because of this ticket I literally kept saying “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” No one really caught the Zoolander reference and the jailers would say, “There’s plenty of people in here for seat belt tickets.” Like, why, though? When I moved to Kentucky I was under the impression you wouldn’t even be pulled over for it. Unbridled spirit, right? A seat belt is totally a bridle. And I swear I wear them 999 times out of 1000. 1000 out of 1000 now.

It’s my fault, it’s a series of missed steps on my part. I probably shouldn’t post this lest you all think I’m a hardened criminal now that I’ve moved to Kentucky. And jail isn’t that bad besides the food. Oh yeah, I paid a 20 fee for that today. I’m so sure that piece of cheese I didn’t eat and the for some reason dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets were worth 20 dollars. Like I kept saying when I was in jail, I just wish I had done something cool.

Legal fund. Seriously, anything would help:


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