Kiss Your Own Fingertips

peppers.jpg

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to love myself.

To look at myself in the mirror and see beauty instead of flaws.

I’ve forgotten how to love myself.

To touch my flabby and cellulite covered skin and not hate it.

To rub my own feet with thick lotion and not wish that the heels were softer.

To hold my hips and wish I could remove all of the fat inside of them.

To trace my wrinkled hands across my ample breasts and hope that someday a man will behold their beauty again.

To gaze at my face in the mirror and not see wrinkles, but amaze at the brightness of my blue eyes and the perfect symmetry of my lips.

I’ve forgotten how to love myself.

To find that little girl that resides inside and tell her that she’s going to be okay.

That she is loved.

That she is free.

That she is important.

I’ve forgotten how to love myself, but I do hope in time I’ll be able to again.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Surgery

Renee and Heidi JoThat’s me and my Heidi Jo. She knew I wasn’t feeling well last night, so she stuck to me like Velcro. She laid on my tummy to keep it warm. Must be she knew exactly where I hurt.

I decided to become a comedian!

I should have known what I was in for when the nurse asked me to pee in a cup before she could prep me for surgery. I looked at her and said, “Seriously. I had a sterilization procedure over a year ago. I’m not pregnant.” She laughed and replied, “Honey, just give me three drops.” She left and I locked the door. I sat there for about five minutes willing myself to go. I gave her nothing, nada, zip and zilch.

I headed back to Amy with my empty cup. She just laughed at me. She said, “Let’s get you prepped and then try again. I told her, “I’ve got nothing left in me. I swear.” I proceeded to hold up my fingers in a Girl Scout salute. Our conversation went to hell from there. I took off my clothes and put on my gown. I could only reach the draw string around my neck, so that’s the only one I tied. Yes, my ass was hanging out, but I was going to be lying down so I didn’t care.

Amy brought blankets that had been warmed in an oven. I told her, “Bless you honey, cuz I’m freezing my ass off!” I put my hands underneath the blanket to warm my veins. I wanted them to be ready for the IV Amy was going to shove in my hand. As she’s doing her thing, Dr. P the anesthesiologist introduced himself. He was sweet and friendly. He harassed Amy in a loving way as she flitted around the room. I told him “Thank you, you’re very nice.” The nurse said “I’d like that comment in writing please.” I told Dr. P, “Come back and I’ll gladly write it down.” I gave him a bright smile. He said to Amy, “See, she has good taste.” Amy replied, “She’s being nice because you’re going to give her good drugs.” I laughed uproariously. The whole damn room could hear me.

There were more nurses to greet me, an intern working with Dr. K and the doctor herself. I love that woman. She’s about 5’1″. She’s energy, light and fire. I love her matter of factness. She’s a dream. She signs off on my surgery band and heads to her locker to take off her coat and hat.

Amy comes back and sticks my hand with a light dose of Lidocain, then inserts the IV. I told her not to go digging around in my vein or I might have to slap her. She giggled at me. I told her I was serious. As she was taping the IV down her nose started to run. I said, “Oh honey let it drip. It’s not the worst thing I’ve had on my hand.” She replied, “Just don’t go digging around, right?” I said, “Amy, if you start digging in your nose, I’ll throw up.” She told me, “Stop making me laugh so hard or my nose will start running all over your hand.” I answered back, “Ewwwwwww you’re gross!”
She hooked me up to the IV bag and let the fluids run fast. I still needed to pee. I grabbed my cup and asked Amy to tie up my gown. She called me a brazen hussy. I replied, “How did you know!?” She said she needed to get me an IV pole. I yelled across the room, “Be careful now I might have to dance around it.” The woman across from me laughed. I’m glad she did too, because two minutes before that she had the most distraught look on her face. She was talking to her daughter that was going to have surgery. I could see she was putting on a brave face, but she was nervous as hell.

I took my pole and cup with me to the bathroom. Finally peed, washed my hands and headed back to my bed. Sitting in the chair next my bed was my rock. My Roger Darling. Amy helped me with my IV and covered me back up. I looked at RD and said, “My nurse had the nerve to call me a brazen hussy because I told her I was going to dance on my IV pole.” He laughed and shook his head. Said, “Babe even before surgery, you can be a nut. He heard the other patients and care givers laughing at me and he gave me the warmest smile. He asked, “Are you okay?” I replied, “Yep, I’m ready for good drugs and good night.”

Dr. K stopped by and said she was ready. She chatted with Roger, he kissed my lips, and headed out to the waiting area. Dr. K said, “He’s so chill. So calm.” I told her, “Yes, he is my rock. My other half. My friend.” They wheeled me to OR 1. As we entered the room they said they would draw the shades. I told Dr. K, “Good. I don’t need everyone seeing my hoo hoo.” She laughed at me and said, “You’re a funny woman.” I replied, “Yep, now give me drugs.” They did and I was gone.

I woke up an hour later to the sweet sound of my nurse, Molly telling me it was time to wake up. I didn’t want to though. I was dreaming. Of what I don’t remember, but it was good. I think it was anyway. Now I’m home and resting. Taking care to write and read. Nothing more. Results will be in by the end of the week. Here’s hoping it’s not the big C. And if it is, it’s only a little c.

Fancy a Brew?

Thank you my dear friend The Reclining Gentleman for the tag. I love coffee. It is a necessary evil in my life. It works to keep me focused because of ADHD. If I didn’t drink it, I’d be even more crazy than I already am. 🙂

1) How many cups of coffee per day? At least three cups. Starbucks dark roast preferably.

2) What is your favourite caffeine delivery system? Coffee of course. I’ll drink Coke Zero though. Yum!

3) What was your best cup of coffee? My favorite coffee is Komodo Dragon dark roast from Starbucks. It is bitter and earthy. Add a little ground cinnamon and I’m in Heaven.

4) What was your worst cup of coffee? Oh hell, I don’t know. Probably the gas station we stopped at a few years ago when we were driving to Florida to go to Disney World. It looked like old bathwater and tasted like burnt bacon. Sure, I’d love to drink the bathwater of Ryan Gosling or Johnny Depp, but not in my coffee. GROSS!!!

5) What does your favourite mug say? LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE. What else would you expect from a fiery wench such as moi?

Live Laugh Love

At work, I use a mug that’s covered in flowers, because I’m such a dainty maiden. I need one that’s animal print though. I’m sure  it would go better with my goofy personality. Or maybe I can find one that has the F word repeated all over it. Roger Darling would love that I’m sure.

6) How do you take your coffee? Caramel syrup, real cream, and two Sweet and Low. My dear husband tells me I’m high maintenance. Even with my coffee. I do believe he is right.

7) When was your first cup? I was a latchkey kid, so probably when I was 8 or 9. I was always sneaky and doing things I shouldn’t. Hell, I started smoking when I was 13.

8) Have you ever gone on a coffee tea date? Yes, with Roger Darling of course. And a few of my girlfriends. Starbucks is a favorite place to hang out. It’s nice to sit and chat with a dark roast, Venti.

Now who will I bring into the clatch, hmmmmm? Carolyn, Sheri, Benjamin, CharlieZero1, Ajay and Seyi. Happy Monday to all of you. Now go out there and enjoy a cup. Then write, write, write!!!!!

BLOW ME (One Last Kiss)

Just when I think it can’t get worse, I had a shit day (no!)
You had a shit day (no!), we’ve had a shit day (no!)
I think that life’s too short for this
I’ll pack my ignorance and bliss
I think I’ve had enough of shit, Blow me one last kiss.

As David from Lead.Learn.Live. has said about my blog, strap in for the ride. Because darlin’s here we go. Feeling a bit like a snarky bitch today. I’ve just about had it. These last few months have SUCKED! Fucking sucked!!!!!! I’ve gained 20 lbs because I haven’t been able to run. I’ve been drinking because I’m a whiny dumb ass. I’ve been obsessing over shit I can’t fix. I’m pissed off at myself for not being able to hold onto friendships and relationships. I’ve changed. It’s what I’ve done. I can’t go back. I won’t. I have to get up and run. Every damn time I want to go back to the gym something happens. There’s some road block. Some obstacle that gets in my way and fucks everything up. But no more!!!!!!!

As I was helping my Adam Boy move tonight, he had me laughing my ass off. At one point in the evening, he looked at me and asked me how we could be related. I told him, I was there and I know I gave birth to him. He’s such a cynical shit. Then I started singing and Meggie bitched at me to shut up, because my voice sucks. I have to say even though they are shit heads, I love them immensely. I looked at them after we repainted a bedroom in the apartment and said come hell or high water, I was going back to the gym tomorrow night.

I’m tired of feeling anxious and being a cranky cunt. I need to get fucking moving!!!!! I’ve worked too damn hard to go back. I can’t backslide. As I was driving home tonight, one of my new favorite songs came on the radio. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) by P!nk. I idolize her. She is the epitome of what I want to be. She doesn’t give a fuck and she says what’s on her mind. She sings what’s on MY mind.

I cranked up the radio, banged on the roof of my car and sang my ass off. I made the decision that enough is enough. I’m done whining and making excuses. It’s time to get back in the gym and get this crazy aggression out of me. As I was telling Rory today, instead of self-destruction, I need to focus on self-preservation. Not only of my body, but my heart and soul too.

I’ve made a lot of connections here in this lovely blogosphere. While some have been good and healthy. Some have been self-defeating and taken me into a downward spiral. It’s time to look up. To move on.

Tonight when I got home, I turned on some P!nk and danced in the living room in my tank shirt and undies. This Sparkly Girl is heading back to the gym and starting the long way back to being able to run 3.5 miles again. Sometimes the best revenge is living well. It’s what I plan to do. Every damn day of my life. I’m going to live well.

I will do what I please, anything that I want
I will breathe, I won’t breathe, I won’t worry at all
You will pay for your sins, you’ll be sorry my dear
All the lies, all the wise, will be crystal clear

Sweet Child O’ Mine, A Meeting with an Old Friend

She was drunk. She had hoped it would help her sleep. She had hoped it would help her to be able to finally climb into the bed that she had shared with her husband of over 20 years with. She was so tired. So fucking tired. Her husband had been convicted of hurting a child. Her youngest son had run off in response, while her oldest stayed by her side. She’d been barely holding it together for too long. Living in a little cocoon. But at that moment of trying to get into bed, she finally broke down. Finally, she laid on the floor and wailed. Her oldest son, her child, her baby, had to see her in her weakest state. Drunk, and sobbing uncontrollably because she couldn’t get into the bed she had shared with a man who was now in jail, as he would be for years to come. She begged her son to call her mother. He did, while taking care of her as well. He waited for his grandma to get there and put his mother to bed, so she could get some rest after living a nightmare that actually came true.

She walks into the bar and I see her as she once was, when we were just teens. Striding towards me, she is statuesque, blonde, violet blue eyes, and wearing a huge smile. As she zips to the table, so many men turn their heads to look at her. Some of them appear to get whiplash as a result. She’s a ravishing beauty after all that she’s been through. We hug for what seems like forever. We haven’t seen each other in 26 years, but you’d never know it, by the sounds of our laughter and the constant exchanges of “I love you.” I think to myself, “Oh my God how did I ever let this light out of my life?” We were best friends at one time. But life pulls us in different directions. Even though we lived just a few towns away from each other, our lives were busy. She was married, and so was I. We’d each had two children. We were part of our community, and our kids kept us plenty busy.

I’ve already ordered her a Bud Light. I’m sipping white zinfandel and water, because I have to drive home after our meeting. We sit down and start talking. She goes first because she has a story to tell. One that is difficult to hold in. I let her have the floor. I let her go, and let go she does.

But this story is not about her ex-husband. This story is not about her sons. This story is about her. A beautiful woman, that was my best friend during our teenage years. She and I fell away as high school friends often do. We find lovers that we marry and plan on staying with for the rest of our lives. We have children that mean everything to us, that make us better somehow. That we in turn make better by raising them up right. We become involved in the places that we live, in our communities, in our children’s activities, in our lives. It becomes our lives and nothing else matters. But then the unthinkable happens: your husband is accused of taking advantage of a young woman.

She told me that she knew that the light had switched in his brain somehow. They’d been married for 20 years and he started becoming abusive – mentally at first, and then physically. But she had been living with the mental abuse, or as she called it, “passive-aggressiveness” for so long she knew how to diffuse it. For some reason though, this time she no longer could. He started hitting her. Why after so long? She has no idea. But he did hit her. He made her feel small, like she was inadequate. He turned into a stranger. Someone she didn’t even know. She stayed though, for her kids, for the idea that they were “pillars” of the community. They took good care of their kids and the kids of their friends.

When her husband eventually went to prison, she hid herself away. Her youngest son started his senior year of high school shortly thereafter. He told her that he was dealing with some aggression at a home football game. That was what brought her out of her funk. She said to her self, “no one is going to make my child pay for the sins of my husband.” So the next football game, she went. She dealt with the animosity, so that her son didn’t have to. She is one tough momma bear and she loves her boy immensely. While she was there she saw a good friend of the family who, taking her hand said, “If you need anything, anything at all, call me.” She looked at him and knew that he meant every word he said.

She did eventually call him, and they became inseparable. He brought her back to life. He helped her figure out her way, helped her figure out how to continue to take care of her boys, even though she was damaged. He helped her to realize that the man she had married all those years ago was no long the same man. He helped her figure out that the men that were contacting her with offers of help, were only wanting to take advantage of her. To fuck her, own her, hurt her even more, and then disregard her like yesterday’s trash. If she didn’t have this wonderful, flawed man in his own right by her side during this time, who knows what mistakes she might have made.

She finalized her divorce as quickly as possible. She lived in utter poverty for two years. Sometimes, without even electricity, warm water, heat, or food. In short, all the damn things that we normally take for granted. She had nothing. Every time she went to an interview, they would uncover her history and the job offer would disappear. She would think to her self, “They have no reason to judge me. I am NOT the sins of my husband. I am ME!”

Taking a break, we both look at the crucifixes around our necks. As our conversations have progressed, we keep touching them throughout. This recognition turns our conversation towards the topic of faith, and therapy, but mostly faith. We realize as we hold hands across the table and cry, that our faith is what’s gets us through. I told her I haven’t taken my crucifix off for 14 years. When I had to have an MRI recently, it killed me to remove it for even that hour. She told me that her original crucifix broke, and she found herself lost without it. She then acquired the one that she wears now, and she finds herself touching it daily. It’s her center, as it is mine. She says that without her boyfriend, her faith and her therapist, she would have never made it through this part of her life.

She’s grown. She’s changed. Yet she’s still the wonderful and fun girl she always was. With a twinge of jealousy, she looks at me and says, “You are so lucky. You get to grow old with the man that loves you. My ex-husband stole that from me.” She does tell me though that she has been redeemed with her new love. The man who simply took her hand at a football game, and said if you ever need me, call. God, she is so glad that she did.

I think she’ll make it, I do. I think she has found her happiness. She’s found it in her children and in this new man that accepts her for what she is – good woman, with a tough past. But then again, who doesn’t have a tough past? Who doesn’t have a broken road? Isn’t it astonishing when that broken road leads us to the right one?

As I leave her, we hug some more. We once again exchange our “I love you’s.” We promise to not leave 26 years between us again. And we haven’t. We talk almost daily. She is of my heart and one of the strongest women I know. I love her now and forever. What her husband did, doesn’t define her, or her grown up babies. I admire her strength and the ferocity of her love. She is a good woman, a strong woman. And she always will be.

***Edited by t from aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com. Read him. The man rocks my world, and makes my pretty words more beautiful with his touch. This may be my last post for awhile. I promise to come back. Just not sure when. Take care my dear readers and followers.***

I’m Not Sure Where I End and She Begins

Meggie said, “Momma, you’re cray cray.”

I told her, “I know that baby girl, but you are just like me, so watch what you say.”

She smiled and said, “I’m glad I’m like you.”

It’s eerie how alike Meggie and I are. She used to loathe it when friends and family would tell her that. Now she embraces it.

Friday, I got the joy of spending  24 hours with her. We took a road trip to Lansing/Charlotte for  Cato, her Husky pup to compete in his first dog show. We turned on Pandora Radio and sang the whole way there. Sara Barielles radio first and then Garth Brooks’ radio. The first lines of Gravity came on:

Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do I’ll still feel you here ’til the moment I’m gone.

Meg and I sing it together while we’re driving down I-96 in the rain. We’re feeding Cato pieces of Twizzlers strawberry licorice. I don’t know why, but the song by Sara Barielles always makes me cry. Meggie tells me I’m a sap, and then we harmonized for the rest of the song. I love singing with her. I miss her, but we get along so much better now that we don’t live together anymore.

She switches to Garth radio and I’m transported back in time to when she was young. Whenever we were on a road trip, didn’t matter the length of time or distance, we always played a Garth cd. The song Unanswered Prayers comes on and she says it reminds her of Daddy. I tell her it does me too, and then I tell her about the time he and I sang it at some bar on karaoke night. She laughed.

Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.

We talked about life. About her upcoming wedding, school, and work. She also told me that she didn’t want to hear about my writing all the time. She knew it made me happy, that I was good at it, that it was my passion, but it got annoying to hear about it all the time. I said, excuse me? You’re the one that has to tell me all about the stupid raw food diet that you give your dogs. And you have to tell me about how smart your dogs are. And the fact that you’re going to learn everything there is about showing Cato because you want him to be a champion. That’s the thing about us, when we’re passionate about something, we talk about it incessantly. It annoys the fuck out of everyone around us. But we really don’t care.

We grabbed food at the Cracker Barrel before heading to our hotel. We figured what the hell, we might as well eat good food that was bad for us. Take out of course because of Cato Potato. We couldn’t leave him in the car. Meg was like a worried momma, she had to keep looking out the window of the restaurant to make sure he was okay. We had fun shopping while waiting for our food to be prepared. Finally with the food packaged up and paid for we headed to the car. I said look Cato is sitting there being a good boy. As I opened the car door I realized why Cato was being so good. He had opened the bucket of Twizzlers and was chowing down. Meg and I laughed hysterically. It was so fun to be with my girl and laugh about her silly dog.

We didn’t get much sleep because Cato was anxious and wouldn’t settle down. Me being the good momma, got out of bed and took him outside every half hour while Meggie slept. He finally settled and cuddled up with me on my bed. I got about four hours of sleep but figured I’d sleep when I’m dead. It was a big day for Meg and Cato.

She and I got ready without killing each other. It was nothing like when she was a teenager. It’s a wonder we didn’t beat the shit out of each other when she was a kid.

All in all we had a great day. Cato did well and I got to see Megan feeding her passion. She did great and so did he. A friend of mine from high school is mentoring her and teaching everything she knows about showing dogs. I hadn’t seen Linda in 28 years. It was good to reconnect and see her interacting so well with Megan. Linda treated Meg like a daughter. That made me so very proud.

Meg told me thank you for all the help and that she loved me. Said it was so great to spend time with me. She missed her “Mommy” time because now she’s so damn busy. We loaded up the car and the exhausted Cato dog and headed home. We turned on Pandora and listened to Garth radio again. Sang songs all the way home and then laughed our asses off when I picked up my ice tea and proceeded to spill then entire cup into my purse. I spilled it on my pants too. She looked at me, laughed and said I look like peed on myself. I was laughing so hard I told her I might have, but I couldn’t be sure because of all the fucking ice tea everywhere.

Cato slept the whole way back to Livonia, Meggie and I sang and talked. She told me to stop drinking so much coffee because it was going to give me wrinkles, and that I had to re-hydrate my skin every day. I told her to shut the fuck up. She then got on Google found an article about it and gave me hell. I told her I would only drink 40 oz. of coffee a day instead of 80 oz. She just shook her head at me and told me to wear moisturizer. The she said, Mom you’re beautiful and you have no wrinkles, you want to stay wrinkle free for as long as you can. I looked at her and asked, how the hell did you get so smart? She said, Google Mom. Google is Goodle. I told her she was a dork.

We got back to Livonia in record time. Unpacked, hugged, kissed and said our goodbyes. Had to give hugs and kisses to Cato and Delilah the Wonder Huskies too.

After I dropped her off and headed back to Tecumseh I realized that she was one of the best things I’d ever done in my life. I thought back to the day she was born and was laid on my stomach. I was scared to death of what kind of mother I would be, but by God I was going to do my very best to love and raise her up right. I remember the feel of her in my arms that first time I held her. I remember Roger Darling carrying her around the delivery room and calling her his little girl. And then I snapped back to the present and realized that I got my wish. That I did raise her up right. That she may be quite a bit like me but she ultimately is her own woman.

You Were Always my Prayer, and My Promise

Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves”
― Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate

As we set up our chairs on the beach, I hear the roar of the Atlantic at our backs. It’s full dark, the end of the summer season, and there’s a chill in the air. We decide to take advantage of the crisp, and brisk night and have friends over. You and the guys build a blazing fire on our little section of beach. We women sit and drink sweet red wine. Watching you interact with the guys makes me smile. You’re so confident in your fire making skills. You laugh easily. I love to see your easy smile light up your entire face.

We’ve known some of these people for years. Others, we  met at the beginning of the summer. There’s wine and conversation. So much laughter. We sit in our short beach chairs around the fire. The flames are high and twist in the gentle breeze caused by the surf. Their colors are copper, crimson and sapphire. The wood is dry and cracks at the intensity of the heat. I lean up against your chest. You hold me close and I’ve never felt more free. More happy. More alive.

I contribute to the conversation. Say something sarcastic and snarky, because it’s what I do. I hear you laugh and it’s music to my ears. I sit up and grab a bottle of wine. I drink right from it, and hand it to you. You take a long pull on the bottle and pass it back to me.  I bury it half way in the sand next to me, so it won’t tip over. I tell it to sit and stay, like it’s a dog. You and our friends laugh.

As the conversation continues, you put your hands in mine. I look down at them and notice that they are like mine. Soft, yet strong. Yours are strong enough to hold a girl that likes to run, but needs a home. A safe place to land. You’ve given me all of that. I’ve given you unconditional love. Something you’ve longed for, but never found. You’ve always loved too hard and gotten hurt. Until me. Until you. Until us, we merely existed. Now we live. For each other. For this, simple little life. On a beach. On the Atlantic.

You ease your grip and I caress your palms with my fingertips. I look into your eyes, and see the blazing fire reflected in them. Along with every emotion you feel for me. I smile at you and my pulse quickens. My body reacts with want, and I blush. You always make me blush. Still. Our friends stop and look at us. Some smile, while others are wistful. There we are on the beach with our friends around a campfire and we’re holding hands. But we’re doing more than that. Our love emanates and flows to those around us. Then I laugh my silly horse laugh and the spell is broken.

I turn to our circle of friends and say something with the word fuck in it, and everyone laughs uproariously. We unclasp our hands, I turn around and settle back into your chest. You put your arms around me, kiss the top of my head and whisper that you love me. I feel the warmth of flames on the front of my body, and the warmth of your inner flame in my back.  I lean my head up, kiss your chin and whisper that I love you. Then I say your name. It slips easily from my lips, like a prayer. Like a promise. You were always my prayer, and my promise.

Sundays in the Grooming Salon-Revisited

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. -Ben Williams

Today I’m quite emotional, but when am I not? I have to say goodbye to my second home. To a job I love. And to people that I think of as my children.  They are my confidants, and my friends too. But they are ultimately my “other” children. They complete me. I know this post is lengthy, but it has to be to explain how I feel for each one of salon bitches.

Lucy: She was the first one I fell in love with. She was cranky, snarky and dramatic. Such a brat, but so damn funny. I found the more I got to know her the more I loved her. She is a lovely Goth girl. Her hair color changes with the phases of the moon. Her dark eyebrows made darker with kohl pencil. Her lips red and full. A Medusa piercing above her lip and one in her nose. Her ears are gauged, but I don’t really notice the holes anymore, because all I see when I look at her are her eyes. Her eyes are the color of midnight. Her laugh is a symphony and her dirty whorish mouth, music to my ears. We have often said to each other we wish we could find a time machine. One that would take me back to her age, or bring her forward to mine. She is me and I am her. We’re twins even though we look nothing alike and we have a 20 year age difference. If I was her age, I would be exactly like her. I AM her but older and blonder.

Marlena: She is my Goth goddess. Her painted on eyebrows and curvy body are to die for. She has a wicked laugh and an arch to her eyebrow that would make you melt. She is provocative and wickedly funny. She and I have issues with ourselves. With our fears, passions and emotions. For some reason we get each other, even when no one else understands us. The first time I met her, her hair was the color of a Beta Fish, vibrant blue, and a shocking magenta. I commented on it immediately. We barely knew each other then but I liked her instantly. We have become close like sisters. She told me recently I am like a mother to her. I replied, Honey, here, I am your mother. She smiled and said, Yes, yes you are. I love her and I know that she will find her way in this life. Though I may not be right beside her every step of the way, she will make sure to keep in contact to share her joys and sadness with me.

Betty: She is like a young child when you see her. You think she is all of 17. She is tiny but full of life. A beauty. Slender, with gorgeous blue eyes. A smile that lights up a room. I love to watch her groom a dog. The loving care she gives to each one of her dogs amazes me. She told me she loved me as she was finishing her shift last Thursday and I burst into tears. She is the one that I’ve most recently gotten to know. I still want to know more about her. Talk to her about her writing. She’s a poet, and she has carried life inside of her too. She is a good momma. Her baby boy goes with her everywhere. Says her life wasn’t complete until he was born. I will miss her smiling eyes and wicked grin. The way she loves animals and focuses solely on them when she’s in the “zone”.  I will miss her so.

Clara: She’s the happiest, earthiest little hippie Goth I know. She’s a little bit of German dynamite. I’ve told her on more than one occasion to come live with me. I’d be happy to take care of her. Her eyes are like that of a cat. Their color I can’t even describe. They are more yellow than hazel. Her hair is the color of wheat ready for harvest. She talks a mile a minute but you understand every word. She is tatted and gorgeous. She wears her art with pride. She is an artist in her own right. She is designing a spine piece for me. I can’t wait to see it! She and I sang the Making Christmas song from that movie during the holidays. La, la, la, la. She is an earth girl and loves to camp. I look at her like she’s crazy. I ask her, why the hell do you want to sleep outside. She said, there is no better peace than lying on the ground, looking up and seeing the stars. Plus her boyfriend is probably in the sleeping bag with her so that makes it even better. I’m sure we’ll go see Joey our tattoo artist sometime. Hang out and flirt with him. Or go to Factory Night at Necto.

Rock: What to say about Rock. He’s a tall blonde god, with blue eyes I could swim in. His hugs are beyond compare. He’s funny and makes me laugh so hard I become weak and I ache all over. He was one of the first employees I took a shine to. He let me in and we became fast friends. I screamed when he showed me an old picture of me on his phone recently. It was from before I started my weight loss program. He says he looked at it and was shocked. Said he never thought of me as overweight. He just saw my beautiful face. I love him like he’s my own. He is, essentially. He really is one of mine. I love that he gets me, even though I’m old enough to be his mother. He never lets me get away with doing all the work. Oh and he calls me a whore all the damn time. Some would say that’s disrespectful, but for me I find it fucking hilarious! I make sure to say something filthy to prove to him that I kinda am. I miss him already.

Renaissance Girl: When my husband first saw her, he said she was a cutie. He wasn’t lying. She is a gor-geous! After some of our conversations, I tell her she is just like me when I was young. I told her, see you don’t have to change as you get older. You can still be a potty mouth. You can still be loud, gregarious, outgoing, smiley and funny. She and I have shared some wild stories. We’ve motivated each other to take of our bodies. To get healthy and nurture ourselves positively. She is young, exuberant and kinda jaded. I will miss her smile, and the fact that she makes me feel young.

Holly: How do I describe Holly? She’s a firecracker. Smart, loud, funny. We are so much alike. We are the same age. Born days apart. Adopted. We love the same music. Have a propensity to be a bit mouthy and say the word, fuck. We have past loves that still devastate us when we recall and share the memories. We love our lives but strive for more. More life, more time, more love. She is tough. I believe she could kick my ass. I don’t ever want to chance finding out if she can. I love her and I will miss her. She was the one that wanted me to work with her. She’s proud of the work I do. I’m proud to call her my friend.

Today as I leave, I will take with me the scent of dirty dog, their hair, their slobber on my chin from kisses and maybe even a bite or scratch. I will also take with me love, hugs, kisses, and terrific memories of those that I’ve worked with and come to love. Though I walk out that door, I know I will see them all again. They will still be a part of my life. I will miss my Sundays in the salon though. My Sundays will never be the same. I will miss them them with all my heart.