Sunday, June 11, 2006

Paper Swans

When I was engaged a million years ago, there were two places to register in Mineral Wells -- Tru-Value Hardware and Davidson's. Davidson's was upscale -- it had china and candlestick holders and all sorts of scary things that said gracious home, Martha Stewart, loveliness. It intimidated me. So Tru-Value it was with the intoxicating smell of ant insecticide wafting through the aisles. I registered for many things, things like a Snackster, which would make grilled sandwiches almost instantly, a salad shooter (nevermind that I have never made a salad a day in my life), and a juicer (ditto for glasses of juice), a dish rack. These sad tokens of domesticity were what I clung to as I hoped for a new life. My soon-to-be betrothed and I lived in a one bedroom apartment filled with roaches that wouldn't leave no matter how many times we bombed it with Raid, an older Russian man next door that sat in his underpants and watched porno movies with his door open, and walls so thin that a person could feel the wind through them. I decorated and redecorated the space with the concentration of a rabbi studying the Torah. The dinky apartment had so much shit in it that I could have spent hours dusting if my little heart desired. I thought, no knew, that I could make it seem bigger and more beautiful by force of will, by the right things, by enough flowers and candles and troll dolls (okay, I only had one troll doll, dressed as a bride with bright yellow hair). My betrothed said, Give up, Michelle, we live in a shithole, it's always going to be this way. It's like a piece of paper -- you can fold it, but it's still the same. (He was more right than he knew, of course.) He had a bonsai tree and trimmed it every day as his contribution to the space -- at least it was small. I countered his logic by saying that something could either be a wadded up piece of paper or a beautiful paper swan. Our place was going to be the latter, right? Wrong. We picked the place because it was cheap and convenient and cost us almost nothing and no matter how many things we picked out at Tru-Value, that was the truth of our lives couldn't be changed, no matter how we folded it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"You need to sober up or get a whole lot more drunk." The Ice Harvest

Wedding Vows

1 shot of vodka
1 crushed passion fruit (use the juice only)
1 glass of gingerale

Serve over crushed ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions

For Cindy's question about my feelings about gay marriage:

I completely agree that everyone should have the right to be married, gay or straight, if only because I believe that everyone should have access to the legal rights that marriage offers. In reference to the latter post, I'm not a big fan of marriage in general, but I believe when it's good, there's nothing better. I'd have to go with Sam the Lion in Larry McMurtry's Last Picture Show when he says about eighty percent of marriages are miserable. But even misery has its uses.


Cindy said...


thank you SO much -- you don't know how much this means to me, coming from you!

Adoringly yours, always


Paul said...

Hey my Cajun Queen,

Loved today's post -- having been married a couple of times my own damn self back in the day. Cool shot with dead flowers. R2C2, Paul

Nonfiction writer from New Mexico said...

I agree with Cindy and Paul--an amazing post!!!

What I admire most is the heart you put into your marriage, ill-fated as it was to be. That's what breaks my heart.

Anonymous said...

Dept. of famous last words: On his deathbed in a Paris hotel room, Oscar Wilde said: "Either this wallpaper goes or I go." And then he died.

Bonnie said...

Hey honey,

Another question -- What's the best part about being a Texan in your opinion? xoxo, Bonnie

Sheila said...

great post as always! I agree with you, I believe anyone should have the right to be married. The ups, the downs, the joy and the misery. I want to get married one day.... just not anytime soon!


Anonymous said...

"Duck and Cover" has been updated to "While standing, bend over as far as you can with your head betweeen your legs, then raise your head and kiss your butt goodbye."