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All posts for the month September, 2012

Kissing

Published September 26, 2012 by Kim

Trashy books (which I adore) and movies (ditto) seem to consistently indicate that kissing is this all-consuming, mind-blowing, thought-derailing, earth-shattering experience–first kisses and tense-moment kisses, at least.

What I’d like to know is whether I’m a freak for not feeling that way.

Permit me to explain–

My entire adult life, from very-first-kiss onward, through different men, right up until my wedding (and beyond), I’ve typically been thinking during kisses. I might’ve thought about the boy kissing me, about how it felt. I might’ve thought about the taste, particularly in comparison to other kisses. If it wasn’t a good kiss, I might think about how I wished he’d hurry up, or how bored I was, or how I hoped the date would end soon.

I’ve made lists (grocery, to-do, plot bunnies) in my head during kisses. I still do. It’s not that I don’t enjoy kissing, or that I’ve never had good kisses–I’ve just never had one that left me reeling, or just forced other inputs from my mind and said This is Amazing.

~*~

So, are we all like this–capable, even in the most intimate of moments (not just kissing), of putting our brains somewhere else and being completely disassociated from what we’re doing physically? Is this another one of those Unrealistic Expectations we stumble into?

Or am I really…odd? It’s not like anyone talks about it, after all.

Match #1

Published September 17, 2012 by Kim

I hated coming to my mother’s. It was always something about my divorce from David. She didn’t fail me, today, either.

“I’m not saying it would’ve made everything better, but he might’ve been happier if you’d agreed to have a baby.”

“Oh, my god, mom. Can you please drop it? He knew from the get-go that I wasn’t planning on kids. He agreed with me, for Christ’s sake.”

She sat down her coffee cup and leaned against the counter. “He wanted to marry you, of course he said that.”

“Then he was an idiot. He knows I don’t change my mind.”

“You don’t change your mind easily. You’ve changed it lots of times, before. Like about getting married.”

“That was different.”

She turned her back to me. “You were never right for that young man.”

“Excuse me? I wasn’t right for him?”

My mother turned around, angry. “No, you weren’t. He was a good man, very laid back and easygoing. All he wanted in the world was to be with you and make you happy.” She threw her finger in my face. “But that was his problem–sometimes you need to be told no. Sometimes you have to be made to see that what other people want matters, too. If you’d have stopped for five minutes and listened to him, you’d have seen he was willing to do anything to be with you, to have a child with you. You know he called me? He told me he was trying to get a position at home. He was going to be a work at home, stay at home dad, just so you could get back to your career. But you never even gave him a chance to try.” She sat down hard in the chair beside me. “He and April have a little girl. She’s beautiful.”

“I heard. Before their their first anniversary.”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, hush. There’s nothing wrong with that. They wanted a baby. Why should they wait because you think it’s a bad idea?”

“To each their own, mom.”

She glared at me. “Don’t you think I don’t know what you’re doing. I know your game, missy.” She sighed, and it sounded resigned. “This is our fault. Your dad and I…we wanted you to be independent, to find your own way and not follow along with everyone else. I guess I should’ve known you’d buck everyone, even me.”

“What do you want me to do, mom? Compromise until I’m not even me, anymore?”

“No, and you should know better than to ask that. I’m just saying you need to temper it a little. There’s no need to reject an idea the moment somebody mentions it. You could try to at least pretend to entertain the thought.”

She patted my hand. “Meanwhile, I’ll just wait for you to meet someone who turns your world upside down and inside out. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do, then.” She laughed, sounding more herself. “What will you do with a man as stubborn as you?”

Candy man

Published September 5, 2012 by Kim

A man of means, she’d said. He runs the candy store because he wants to, not because he has to.

I’d laughed at her. Man of means? As if.

I’m serious. She was insistent. He goes all out–you have to see it. He shut down the first of October, papered all the windows, and started making Halloween candy. He does it every year. He can afford to. He’ll reopen mid-month, and it’ll blow your mind.

So I came.

((`))

It was a small store, two doors down from the corner of 3rd and Main. Filmore’s Sweets and Novelties, in looping gold script across the glass. The display inside was a classic Halloween night, with a twist: a gnarled tree arching across the window, an owl peeping from a hollow near the top; bats (suspended on filament); and a parade of catrinas, each dressed richly in flowered or jeweled gowns, carrying bouquets. A small, hand-lettered sign at front read: All you see is sweet. I looked again at the decorations, unabashedly pressing my face against the cold glass. I squinted, and saw the bones of the catrinas were molded sugar, their attire and flowers sculpted of chocolate and sugar. A disc of golden-hued melted sugar formed the moon, and a blanket of feathery candy floss imitated mist along the ground. And the tree, to my amazement, was entirely chocolate. No wonder the glass was so cold. He was keeping it all from melting.

I pulled away and rushed inside.

It was a dream. A marble-topped counter, the dark wood lustrous from years of polish and wear. Shelves stretching to the ceiling, laden with jars filled with all manner of penny candies and other treats. Open drawers lined with colorful wrappers containing every bar of chocolate, nougat, nuts, or caramel I could have imagined. The glass case held more intricate delights–colorful and elaborate sugar skulls; bats cast in deep, dark chocolate, flocked with chocolate shavings; white chocolate bones with raspberry filling; licorice witches’ brooms. I was crouched in the floor, staring at a jar of eyeballs when a voice startled me.

“They’re white chocolate, with a fondant center.”

I glanced up, not really taking him in. “The runny kind?”

He nodded.

“That’s disgusting.”

“They’re especially popular with the boys.” I could hear him smiling around the words.

I grinned at the jar and stood. “I can imagine. The grosser, the better.”

He stepped back, going behind the counter. When I really looked at him, I paused. He wasn’t what I’d expected (older, gray-headed, with deep lines etched into a kind face)…he was middle-aged, tall and lean, with a thick head of dark hair (only a tinge of gray at the temples). His eyes were hidden behind small, strange-looking blue lenses. He smiled at me, and his eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Can I help you with something?”

“Thanks, but no. I just came in to look.”

He frowned, tilting his head and studying me. “What’s your name?”

“Leigh.”

His lips puckered a bit, then, “Do you like candy, Leigh?”

I smiled, deeply and broadly. “To my detriment, yes.”

He leaned forward, suddenly, and rested his hands on the counter. “Wait here.”

He disappeared through a door. Through the crackled glass, I could faintly make out his shape passing by.

I waited.

When he returned, he practically burst through the door, almost breathless, and hurriedly crossed to me.

“Try this.”

He held out a pumpkin. It was small, no wider than a fifty-cent piece, with a tiny leaf and short, curled vine still attached. I looked up.

“It’s chocolate. But the filling is what I want you to experience.”

I took it, biting it in half. Pumpkin puree, with a burst of spices–cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, a sharp bite of ginger–made me hmmm in pleasure. I swallowed it, hesitating only a second before downing the other portion. “That is fabulous.”

“You liked it?”

“I’d marry you for it. I love pumpkin pie.”

He quirked another smile. “I’ll make some for you. Can you come back?”

“I–yeah. How much?”

He pulled his hands away, stepping back, again. “No charge.”

“I can’t do that. This is art. The work involved…”

“Is my business. I want you to have them. My treat.”

I looked at him.

He met my gaze, unwaveringly, and pulled off his glasses. Behind the blue had been hidden dark brown, rich like the chocolate he molded so beautifully. He smiled, again, slow and sweet. “Absolutely my treat.”

I blushed.

He reached out. “Tomorrow–around four?”

I nodded, taking his hand. It was firm, his fingers long where they clasped mine. His grasp held on longer than it should have.

“I’ll be here with bells on.”