The Crush, Part III

I can still hear the loud rumble of my heart as I read Joey’s response to my letter.  He wrote about how he was dumbfounded and had a hard time believing the sincerity behind my words.  He said throughout his life (all 17 years of it) he had only experienced crushes from his own broken-hearted and disappointed perspective.  He really thought someone was just fucking with him and that was his explanation for the hesitancy to write back and the three-day purgatory.  I too was dumbfounded when he said no girl had ever shown any interest in him but also realized how this could work to my advantage.  I was determined to make him see everything I saw in those 20 minutes I spent eavesdropping on his conversation with Tamela.

Our correspondence ricocheted back and forth with growing frequency and fervent intensity.  Tamela was gradually cut out as the mule and we brazenly left notes in preplanned locations throughout our high school.  Eventually we graduated to making mix-tapes for each other and communicating not only through our written words but also through moody melodies and gut-wrenching lyrics. Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” were my responses to his London Choir Boys’ “I Don’t Love You Anymore” and LA Guns’ “Ballad of Jayne.”  Listening to these songs 20+ years later still makes my eyes burn and my heart hurt just a little.

Weeks passed and eventually notebook paper and cassette tapes weren’t enough to convey our feelings.   The impending terror of having to reveal my identity was approaching and I scrambled to make this dance last just a little while longer.   Would this emerging fascination with each other dissipate once he knew my name and all of my awkwardness I tried so hard to hide from him?  Wouldn’t the fact that we were falling in love without ever having talked or touched one other be enough to sustain the fantasy?

I remember the day I decided I no longer wanted to be Cryptic Enigma…I wanted to be his.  This was the day friend became foe and I realized Pat Benatar was right…love is a battlefield.


A Man and his Squirrel


One of my friends from the local dive bar formed a bond with a squirrel a couple of months ago.  They had a unique relationship fueled mostly by whiskey and a mutual love of the patio/smoking area.  My friend hasn’t seen his squirrel friend he lovingly named Pitter Patter in several weeks and he has become distraught.  His concern for his furry little pal makes me sad because I’m fairly certain Pitter Patter has crossed the legendary rainbow bridge.  The reason I think he has moved on is because yesterday I was suddenly overcome and possessed with the ethereal spirit of this dodgy little Pitter Patter…and below are his final words to his beloved friend.  I feel compelled to share this heartwarming tale of a tail and his human companion.

For Derek

 I remember the day our love caught fire.  I was scurrying down the telephone wire.

You looked up, a cigarette dangling from your lips, I twitched my nose and wiggled my hips.

How quickly our two hearts blended into one, sitting on the back patio under the sun.

I gathered nuts while you hunted beers, and you were always there like the fleas in my ears.

You knew I would never go too far, I stayed close to you and even closer to the bar.

However the life of a squirrel is kind of shitty, especially for those of us who dwell in the city.

Cars whiz by aiming right for us. I was once tapped lightly on the ass by a blue Ford Taurus.

Our average lifespan is one to two years, so let this true Google fact dry your tears.

We had a good run, we had squirrely fun…but unfortunately my time here is done.

Frankly I wasn’t looking forward to summer, hot asphalt and rooftops are kind of a bummer.

I have tiny little hands and tiny little feet, they tend to burn quickly in this oppressive heat.

I’ll always be your furry ball of delight, watching over you from 3pm and into the night.

Please keep my legacy fresh and alive in that dirty ass bar which Yelp calls a dive.

You may come across eyes that twinkle like mine, I tapped a lot of squirrel ass and it was divine.

My seed is spread across the Boro. When it came to breeding I was very thorough.

I did this for you so you’d never be alone, but also because rodents really love to bone.

Oh sweet Derek, no need to look for me…my spirit still dances throughout the trees.

As for my fate, it really doesn’t matter. Stay golden Derek…Love, Pitter Patter


Please tell Dai his belly gets just a little bit fatter every time he refers to me as Splitter Splatter.



Tell Sparkles when in doubt to just flap those wings and let it all hang out.

Double Standards and Double Entendres

Walk down the street with head held high
but I know this confidence is just a lie
I’ve let too many strangers come inside
regret and shame makes me want to hide
They only see me as a revolving door
taking their turns and hoping to score
If I were a guy this would be another story
basking in a conquest and all its glory
I believed turning the tables would give me power
but for a girl this victory is nothing but sour
I dream of starting over in a new place
damaged reputations are hard to erase
Tales are exchanged behind the bar
all of those words forming a scar
Walk back home with head held high
denying them the satisfaction of seeing me cry


“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make other people happy.  Because they know what it feels like to be absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

– Robin Williams

But eventually we stop trying to fix the broken things around us and finally give up.

The Crush, Part II

Cryptic Enigma. That was my secret admirer pen name which in hindsight sounds ridiculous and redundant considering both of those words have the same meaning. It’s like that show Unsolved Mysteries which makes no sense either because a mystery is a mystery because it has the element of being unsolved. But Joey was a mystery. I was both intrigued and stumped by his striking intelligence, knowledge of pop culture and quick wit. I couldn’t piece together how these attributes lived comfortably inside of a 6’3” basketball player who wore Megadeath shirts and drove a black Mustang. He contradicted all of the preconceived notions  I had about him the moment he opened his mouth.  I needed to know every single detail about him.

But I was the fat friend who didn’t get the attention of boys, at least not the kind I wanted. I was the mousy girl the boy felt comfortable talking to when he needed help getting his foot in the door with one of my three attractive friends. I had this identity from the 5th grade all through high school, and slightly into college.  I’d like to think this lack of physical attention helped me cultivate my stunning personality and sharp sense of humor. This perhaps false conviction at the least makes me feel better about my entire adolescence and young adulthood, which was mostly spent in a Taco Bell drive-thru and writing bad poetry in my dark bedroom surrounded by The Cure and The Smiths posters.

I confessed my sudden and overwhelming infatuation to Tamela and asked for her assistance. I needed her to be my drug mule sans the drugs. Her role would be smuggling letters into Joey’s hands and hopefully smuggling his responses back to me. I made her promise not to unveil my identity because I feared instant rejection the moment he realized Cryptic Enigma was just code for Fat Brunette.

I spent hours crafting my first letter and had a pile of rough drafts by the time I finally felt comfortable with the end product.  25 years creates static between that time and this time so I’m unsure of the exact content, but I’m confident I did my best to be dark, brooding and mysterious…at least from the perspective of a teenage girl who couldn’t decide if she was punk, goth or grunge.  With hesitancy I handed what would be the first of many exchanges to my friend and once again made her promise to be discreet.  I went home that afternoon feeling nervous and excited about the prospect of hearing back from Joey, absolutely certain we would be communicating within 24 hours.

The following day passed by without a letter.  I was depressed and humiliated. I chastised myself for trying too hard and believing someone might actually be interested in what I had to say, so interested that he would stay awake all night writing as many rough drafts as I had in the hopes of wooing me back.  And then the second day went by without a letter. Death by an overdose of Benadryl was my only option.  Not even sure you can die from that but at 15 I didn’t have many choices.  The third day arrives and I trudge down the hall defeated and crushed but then I meet up with Tamela in our French class.  She hands me a small square of lined notebook paper covered in dark blue ink.  My attitude went from terribly sad to maniacally overjoyed within two seconds.  I don’t know what being electrocuted and dying but then being spirited back to life feels like, but I think that is kind of what happened.

Dear Cryptic Enigma,

And this starts a 10 year course eventually derailing our lives and pushing us both off the cliff.