Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Diets, depression, texting, and Chuck Taylors


I got some great words today, so thought I'd use two groups of them. Let's see what Kacy and Dean get into today...

First section words:

Second section words:


Cold rain pounds against the kitchen window. A perfect fit to my mood. I stare into the refrigerator, my stomach grumbling and my mind a blur. I have no idea how I should be feeling after yesterday. Devastated is a bit much. For crying out loud, Dean and I have only been dating two months. But still, helping the guy you're dating pack, then waving at his beat up Jeep Cherokee as it heads to a state eight and a half hours away will leave a girl in search of something to accommodate her emotional eating habit.

But no. I am not going to turn into a dad-gum mope. Dean is gone, and life goes on. So this morning I got up, cleaned my room like a woman possessed, and went to the gym.

Which is how I know I must be losing it.

I open the bin in the bottom of the fridge. My roommate always keeps vegetables in the fridge. A bag of celery stares back at me. I grab it and can't help the grimace on my face. It's like eating cellulose covered in cardboard. Which maybe could be helpful. Celery is the one food that actually makes me want to starve myself. I throw the celery back in and slam the refrigerator door. 

What I really want is a plate of nachos covered in cheddar cheese.

And to know where I stand with this man I said goodbye to yesterday. 

Is he my boyfriend? We still haven’t said those words, and of course I have the timidity of a mouse and refuse to call him that until he calls me his girlfriend. The unknown grates against my type-A brain. I want it all figured out - all of life, from here to infinity. I want the happy ending where Dean and I get married and drive off in a horse drawn carriage while birds warble in the sky above us like in a Disney movie.

Enough of this. 

I rummage through the pantry and end up eating scrambled eggs and cottage cheese, while my brain concocts a plan. No moping. No living for the phone to ring. I will be a woman with goals, separate from Dean, because I cannot control us. But I can control my life. I grab an old journal, ideas and dreams coming together in bullet points. 

Travel to Italy
Learn karate
Take a painting class
Save up enough money for a new car

My list grows and energy surges through me, despite my workout and the rain that continues to pound against the roof. I turn on a movie, a woman reborn. And I keep my phone nearby, just in case Dean calls or texts later. 


11.15 pm

Hey lady, it's late I know.You still up?
                                                                       Yep. How are you?  

Had to unload stuff in the pouring rain. 
Less than ideal.
                                                                        Storming here, too. I'm surprised you 
                                                                          haven't crashed already.

Too wired. I got my internet 
hooked up today so am wasting time.
                                                                         Online shopping for new Converse
                                                                         or something?

They’re called Chuck Taylors Kace. ;) 
We're gonna have to work 
on your coolness.
I'm insulted. I spent all day today 
practicing Mario Kart and reciting 
Star Wars quotes. Cool enough for you?

Cooler than me. I spent the day 
unpacking like a mad man. Still 
need to go to the store tomorrow 
so I actually have something to cook.

No take out in Columbus? Weird city...

I gotta save my money.

Gambling habit?


She sounds high maintenance. Does she 
demand diamonds and fancy dinners?
Ha - nope. Easiest going girl ever.

I thought you were dating me?

You put up with me moving away.
I think you qualify as low maintenance. 
Not that i mind maintaining you 
or anything.

Is that why you're saving money? To put in 
a maintenance fund in case this girlfriend 
of yours gets out of control?....

Nope. I wanna save money so I can 
fly her up to see me over Valentine's 
weekend. Think she can pull herself 
away from Mario Kart long enough 
to do that?

Friday, October 23, 2015

A little hidden gem


Ya'll I was going through old files and I found this lovely gem below, from when I first started PS Girl and was contemplating turning her 5-word story into a book. Things turned out a tad different, but thought you might enjoy what I had written last year.



I swear, one more mention of pumpkin spice anything and I will lose my mind.
         I tap my keyboard and stare at my co-worker Jane as she swirls her Starbucks cup. She's more in love with pumpkin than with her husband I think. I hate this time of year.Leaves! Sweaters! Fires! Snuggling! Perfect for cute girls who have some hottie to snuggle with, and who can wear leggings with boots and have it not look like they need surgical tools to extract their flesh from them later. I look down at my cotton pants (with a hint of spandex, thank God) and sigh. Even if I liked pumpkin, how many calories are in those things? Probably just as many as my hot chocolate splurge (made with real milk and probably what amounts to a week's pay in Ghiradelli). Heaven help me, I need a life.
         I jump at my name and nearly knock over my (still full) water bottle. Dean stands in my cubicle doorway, and I'm sure I have a deer-in-the-headlights look on my face. Because of course my boss catches me daydreaming and not working. I plaster a smile on my face. "Yes?"
         Dean ambles over and leans against my desk, as if whatever he has to say is not insignificant but not urgent either. Figuring out Dean is like navigating a corn maze; seemingly simple, but harder than one would think. On one hand, he's Mr. Boss. Has it all together. Good at his job. On the other hand: his wardrobe. I glimpse now at his checkerboard Vans and wonder if they're against company dress code. He looks like a college kid, and not like he's thirty.
         "Working hard?" he asks me.
         "Or hardly working," I quip.
         He smiles at me. "You got any plans for this weekend?"
         As if. "Sadly, no."
         He glances at the mile high stack of papers on my desk and then back at me. "You want some?" Before I can even begin to wonder how to respond he speaks again. "I just poured over the company manual and interestingly enough, me taking you out doesn't violate anything." His brown eyes linger on my face and that is the only thing keeping me from peeing my pants. "Well," he says. "What do you say?"
Years of being the geek in middle and high school have made me cynical about any male interest, and instantly, distrusting Kacey roars to the surface. I study Dean’s face, nothing there but seeming honesty and a smile. I swallow down the rising nausea in my throat. “What did you have in mind?”
“Let’s start standard: dinner and a movie. I’ll pick you up at six.” He stands, as if he’s just confirmed that my weekly reports have been turned in. “Text me your address.”
Before I can nod he turns and leaves.
Did that really just happen? Dean Marsden just asked me out? For tonight? I swivel back to my keyboard, staring mindlessly at it while my heart tap taps out a too excited pace. My dead Nana could have shown up at my doorway and it would have surprised me less. Good gosh. I blink and stare at my computer. Get yourself together, Kacey. Dean could be watching. I tap out a few keystrokes, finishing the email I was starting before he stopped by. 
Six o'clock. I normally leave right at five. Then it takes twenty minutes to get home. What should I wear? Most girls would probably have their skinny jeans all laid out in a row. I don’t understand skinny jeans. As if jeans aren’t constricting enough, who would want to make them even tighter. I still wear bootcut. My mom swears that they’re classic and never go out of style. They’ll work, right? And what else? Should I curl my hair? I twirl a brown strand around my finger. Plain. Doesn’t hold curl. I wear it straight. Well, so what? Dean’s seen me every day for fourteen months. He knows what I look like.
And that’s just about all he knows.
I reach for the invoice on top of my stack, keying in account numbers almost without thinking. At this point, I nearly have all 200 of our company memorized. Luckily so, because my brain is instead thinking about Dean’s checkered Van’s. He wears a pair nearly every day. Loves them. Wears bright colored button downs that do not violate dress code. Shaves. Combs his mousy brown hair. He’s put together. Makes a good living as executive vp, here (I had to fill in for Jane when she had her baby and wrote his paycheck. Definitely makes a decent living.) He’s thirty. Single. Graduated from Alabama. Which could be a problem for our kids because I’m an Auburn girl.
Our kids. Oh Lord, Kacey, get a dad gum grip.
I fly through the invoices, piling them up neatly on the other side of my computer. My hand bumps against my water bottle, so (guiltily) I open it and take a swig. The email notification on my desktop pops up. I click through. An email. From Dean.
Did you get that third quarter report done? I need to give numbers to Graham.
Crap, I forgot. I glance at the purple sticky note on my desk. “Qtr Report” stares up at me. I know I’m losing it if I’ve abandoned my list. I shove the water bottle aside, and, fingers flying, generate the report and send it to print. The first page spits out from the printer as I rise from my chair. Grabbing it, I knock my water bottle, a deluge of liquid rushing toward my keyboard.
“Oh!” I shove the keyboard aside and use the first thing I can think of to stop the water. My leg. Water seeps into my pants. Eyeing the tissue box I keep on the far side of my desk I keep my knee in place and shove my other leg out, hooking the tissue box with my toe. I give a slight moment’s contemplation to how I must look. If only Dean could see me now.
I smirk. Then again, maybe he’d like the sight of his date spread eagle across her desk and half wet. Poor man. This is about as kinky as I could possibly get.
One jerk of my (underworked) leg muscle and the tissues fly across the desk. They are hardly what I need to sop up half a bottle of water, but they’ll suffice. Most of the liquid it seems is now absorbed into my cotton pants. Once my desk is halfway dry, I print another copy of the report and toss the water logged copy in my recycling bin.
I run my hands through my hair, smoothing it back. Gathering my dignity, I grab the report and head to Dean’s office down the hall. His door is open, so I knock on the doorway.
He looks up from his computer. “Hey”
I walk in, ignoring the slight arch of his eyebrow as he eyes the huge water stain on my leg.
“What happened?” he asks.
“I got in a fight with a water bottle.”
“Those things can be very violent”
“They’re known to jump out at unsuspecting women. I should have known it was coming.” My gosh, I’ve turned into a flirt.
“Did you win?”
“It was a long hard fight, but I prevailed. My karate instructor will be proud.”
Dean’s eyebrows arch. “You take karate?”
“Yoga, but close enough.” I step forward. “Here’s the third quarter report you needed.”
“Oh yeah.” Dean jumps to his feet and takes the papers, flipping through the pages, nodding as he does.
I didn’t even glance at them but they shouldn’t be bad. Sales are steady for us this time of year. We sell rash cream and pain meds for crying out loud. Those things are constant, like the tides. Or the muffin top I sport that no amount of time at the gym can change. Dean keeps his head buried in the report. I take a step back. I should stop by the women’s restroom on my way back to my desk and try to wring some water out of my pants.
“What about that other thing?” Dean asks.
I stop. Other thing? The only thing he needed today was third quarter reports. Did I miss an email from him? “Other thing?”
He pulls his phone out of his pocket, glancing at the screen before looking at me. “I have no unread texts. I really hope my date for tonight isn’t having second thoughts and blowing me off.”
I giggle.
Giggle? Like I’m twelve. Which evidently, I am. I clamp my lips shut, stopping myself. Death to the giggle! I nod my head. “I’ll get right on that.”
Dean smiles. “Good.”
I nod again, because at this point I can’t string together a coherent thought. Turning, I force myself to walk from the room. I swear, I hear my cotton pants chaffing my thighs as I leave.


My phone glares at me, and if it could laugh, it probably would be. Eighteen minutes. Three fourths of my closet is strewn across my bed and my floor. Lacy will have a fit. I glance at her bed pushed against the far wall. She’s more neat freak than I am. I make a mental note to text her before I leave. She’ll be forgiving. I have a date, something that rarely happens, and that never, ever turns out well.
I hold the blue sweater up to my chest and stare in the mirror. Sexy? Alluring? My reflection stares back at me. Nope. Definitely ‘Third grade teacher’. I toss it aside. The bootcut dark jeans are a definite go. They’re flattering. Comfortable. I don’t own a little black dress, and besides, we’re going to dinner and a movie for crying out loud. Should I wear a skirt?
I rummage through my closet for the denim skirt I own. Don’t I own a denim skirt? I may very well be losing my mind and making things up. Ah, there it is. I grab it, tearing it from its hanger and throw it on. I snag a pink cotton shirt as I bunny hop back to the mirror, tugging the skirt over my generous hips. Why do people call them generous hips anyway? My hips do not make donations to the United Way or anything. They are just big. “Baby birthing” my Aunt Kimmie says. Right. Because that’s what every single girl wants to know she has.
The skirt actually doesn’t look half bad I tug the shirt over my head. That will do, though good gosh, Kacey, put a cami underneath it. No use having my boobs fly out at dinner. At least on the first date. I remove the shirt, find a cami, find cute tights to layer under the skirt, and am yanking mismatched socks on my feet when my phone chimes.
Outside your door and knocking. Did you move in the past hour, or have you lost your hearing?
Be right down!
I make sure my shirt it on and covering my goods before bounding down the stairs. Amazing that none of my roommates are home. There are five of us that live here. Thought Lace and I are the only one that share a bedroom. It’s like college, only we all have bills and don’t get long breaks over Christmas anymore.
Continuous knocking comes from the front door. Jokester. I should have known. I reach the front door and barely pull it open. I do a quick assessment of his outfit. Dark jeans. T shirt. Fleece jacket. Vans. Of course. I narrow my brows. “Are you a Mormon?”
Dean raises an eyebrow. “I’m from Troop 405 ma’am. Would you like to buy some cookies?”
He flashes a smile. I’ve never felt attraction for Dean before. Not that he isn’t cute. He’s a decent looking guy. But two minutes of banter on my front porch and I have a sudden urge to rip his clothes off. I open the door, more to let the cold air calm down my lust than anything else. “Come in.”
Dean steps inside and glances around. “You live here alone?”
“Oh gosh no. There are five of us.”
“Cheap rent.” And it’s not an apartment. I glance around. There’s something endearing about living in a house, even if you do share it with nearly half a dozen people. I wonder if I should give him a tour of the house. Does he expect that? When I look at him he’s staring at my feet.
“Nice socks,” he says.
I glance down. Purple stripes on one foot. Penguins on another. Dear heavens. Then again, Dean wears Vans. Tonight's are black and neon green. I wiggle my toes. “Shh...the penguins are very sensitive.” I move past him, grabbing my boots and shoving my feet into them. I snag my coat from the hook by the door. It’s normal for October here, and not too cold. But am half amphibian and am cold everywhere, so figure I better be prepared. I turn back to Dean. “Should we go?”
Dean’s car is like him. Older than you would first think.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Does sweet follow bitter?

All right, after yesterday's heart-wrenching scene, let's see what happens now:




I somehow make it to five despite the foundation of my joy and happiness just being ripped out from under me. Dean never stopped by. No apology. No explanation. I finally stopped checking my emails obsessively around lunch.

All through the day I've battled in my mind whether or not to call him or not. I can't think of how to start talking to him that doesn't involve curse words and screaming. All that glitters does not glow, apparently. Or at least won't after two weeks. I jam the elevator button half a dozen times. My sadness has now morphed into absolute rage. What did he think this was, a way to waste time? My gosh, I was nothing more than a make out buddy these past few weeks.

A fierce December wind hit me as I plow out of the office, the cold breeze doing nothing to calm me. I just want to get the hell out of here and go home.

I walk up to my car, only to find Dean leaning against it. I'll give him five minutes, maximum.

He stands up when he sees me. "Can we talk?"

I unlock my car and throw my purse in the back seat. "I don't know. I'm sure you need to pack or something." I'm not even sorry for the snark in my voice. I try to open my front door.

"Hey." Dean's arm shoots out, shutting the door and grabbing my arm. "I just gave my two weeks on Friday. We were still ironing out details. And I didn't know Benning was going to call that meeting today. Kace, I swear, the last thing I wanted was for you to find out like that."

He looks at me, and I glance away, clamping down on my lip to keep from crying.

Dean drops his hand. "I submitted a resume to this company months ago and didn't hear anything. Then out of the blue, I get a phone call last week. It's a great job, and it's closer to my family."

My fire dies out a little. I can't blame him for taking it. Or for how fast it all came together. But that doesn't make this any better. He's leaving. Leaving me. And I wish we hadn't dated at all if it was just going to end like this.

He tips my chin up to look at him. My lip trembles. Dean opens his mouth, and a minivan passes. I bite my lip and turn my head. Here I am in the worst moment of my life, and my coworkers are driving by. The lights on the Christmas tree in our lobby blur with my tears. I blink, determined not to let him see them, then stare at his shirt. I am an adult, and will handle being dumped with some shred of dignity.

"Kace, I know - " He stops and glances away. "I know long distance is hard, and maybe you don't even want to try it, but, please Kace." He puts a hand on either side of my face. "Please tell me I didn't just take my dream job and lose the girl of my dreams at the same time."

My heart cracks open. "You still want to be with me?" I whisper.

Dean nods. "Yes." He rubs his finger over my cheekbone. "Oh Kacey, I'm so sorry you had to find out like this. I was going to tell you tonight, before anyone else at work knew. I'm sorry."

I nod. A terrible ache cinches around my heart. "I don't want you to go." Tears pour out of me now, and I hate myself for them. I'm no better than a thirteen year old girl.

Dean puts his arms around me and leans forward, his forehead touching mine. "I don't want to leave you either. But I can't pass this up." He pulls back and searches my face, his eyes boring into mine. "Please." Dean grabs my hand in his. "Please don't give up on me." His brown eyes are like liquid chocolate. "Will you try this with me?"

The thought of him moving away makes me want to throw up. The drive to Columbus from Atlanta is what, eight hours? Nine? I'll be with Dean, but not actually be with him. And that's not what I want. Not at all.

Stupid life. I finally find a guy, and he's leaving. I don't want nine-hours-away-Dean.

But if that's the only Dean I get...

It all slams into me. I tuck myself into Dean's arms and cry. I don't care who sees.

Dean presses me harder into him. "We'll figure it out, ok?"

More tears pour out of me. Because I don't know if we'll figure it out. I don't know anything. All I can think about is how he smells and feels and how for a terrible six hours today, I thought I'd never have him again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bitter Coffee


And the saga continues...

For this month, I'm doing installments to Kacey's (aka Pumpkin Spice Girl) story. If you're just now joining us, you can catch up on the story here.

Today's words:




I jump in my chair, my lip gloss nearly flying from my hand. I spin toward the door and hide a grimace. Janet hangs from my doorframe, her too-thin eyebrows arched. “Departmental wide meeting in five minutes. Did you not get the memo?”

I paste on a smile. “I did, thanks.” I turn back to my computer and hope she goes away without noticing the lip gloss in my hand. No way do I need Janet wondering who I’m getting dolled up for. She’s probably the one who snitches on people checking Facebook at work. Geez. I grab my coffee mug and head to the conference room.

“Kacey.” My co-worker Meg sidles up beside me, her own coffee in hand. “Any idea what this meeting is about?”

“Our big fat Christmas bonuses?”

As if there is such a thing. She smirks and leads us into the room. Others are gathering in the chairs on the far side. Dean leans against the table. He looks up when I enter, and I fight every instinct I have to smile. It’s like my heart gets electrocuted every time I see him. I haven’t changed because I’m dating Dean. But I feel different. Alive and vibrant, the way you do after a new hair cut (unless that hair cut involves heavy bangs as mine did in college, which left me in a stupor of sobs and regret for days on end).

Dean glances away from me. We’re so well practiced on hiding things. Even though that personnel manual he so carefully poured over doesn’t prevent us from dating, there’s no need to be the spotlight of office gossip.

The blue oxford shirt he has on today is plain but offset nicely by his dark eyes and checkered Vans. Gah, he’s so cute. The top button of his shirt is undone, exposing just a hint of his chest that I like to trace with my finger when we’re cuddled up watching a movie together. This past weekend when I did it, he’d eventually grabbed my hand and told me I couldn’t do that to him if I expected him to pay attention to the movie. 

Which I didn’t.

No need to get hasty, Kacey. I still haven’t met his parents or heard him call me his girlfriend or anything. And it’s not like we spend all weekends tangled up in some teenage make out session on his couch. I can count the kisses we’ve shared on one hand. But, I can also count the number of kids we’ll have that I’ll be soccer mom to one day.

Heaven help me.

I glance at Dean. His eyes are on me again. I hide my smile behind my coffee mug as he glances away, a nervous expression on his face like he’s embarrassed I caught him staring.

Mr. Benning walks in, and Meg elbows me in the ribs. Must be something big if he’s doing the meeting. I settle back in my chair. Mr. Benning can drone on and on about nothing; superfluous in speech but not in making a point at all. Good thing I grabbed my coffee. This could last all morning.

“Well, folks, I’ve got some bad news.”

Everyone leans forward, and I can practically smell the word layoff rising up above everyone’s heads.

“We’re losing one of our best people to the good folks in Ohio.” He motions to someone up front, who stands.


Dean stands.


Mr. Benning claps him on the shoulder. “Seems Dean here is wanted as the new Financial Director of a company in Columbus. He’ll be here the next two weeks getting things ready to transition.”

The air has somehow been sucked out of the room.

“Until we have a new hire, Janet will be managing Dean’s roles.”

Janet smiles, smug. I swivel my gaze back to Dean. His brown eyes are fixed everywhere but on me.

Chatter breaks out, but all I can hear is the sound of my own heart, pounding so loud against my head it's nearly deafening. Dean shakes Mr. Benning’s hand and people gather around him, offering congratulations.


He didn’t tell me.

I spent Saturday night pressed into his side, his hand like blazing fire where it rested on top of my knee. And he didn't tell me.

Two weeks.

“Well, no Christmas bonus," Meg stands and waves her coffee mug. “Let’s get refills while we have a chance.”

I stand, but don’t know how, and somehow follow her out on legs that seem to be operating apart from me. No one says anything as we walk out. Meg chatters on while we refill our coffee. Nausea churns up in my stomach. "I better get back to work." I turn and leave without another word. 

Breathe, Kacey. Just breathe. My hand shakes as I set my coffee down. I reach into the cabinet where I keep my purse and grasp my car keys. Just leave. Leave and don't cry until you get out of the parking lot.

I stand. Then sit back down. No.

I am an adult. A professional. 

And darnit, I will not let Dean see me run out. Or cry.

Three deep breaths, and I turn back to my computer screen and the spreadsheets I have pulled up. Minutes pass.



An hour.

Dean doesn't appear in my doorway. I check my emails. 


He's leaving. And didn't tell me. I click on my spreadsheet again as tears race down my face. 

It was all nothing.