Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Make it Awkward.

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Girl Warrior: Make it awkward, especially in sticky difficult situations. Or during those times when your first inclination would be to cut your losses and walk away. Sometimes your first thought is the right thought. But there are times when you need to think again.

Stop, take a deep expansive breath and ask yourself this. How often have you let someone off the hook because you were too afraid?

Too afraid of confrontation. Too afraid of offending. Too afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Too afraid of speaking the truth. Too afraid of making a scene. Too afraid of embarrassing yourself. Too afraid of making someone angry. Too afraid of your own anger. Too afraid of what others might think. And ultimately, too afraid of losing someone’s love or affection. Inevitably it all comes down to that.

Now stop again, take another deep expansive breath and ask yourself this. Is the answer yes?

If the answer is yes to even one of these questions, then it’s time to take a risk. Time to take a stand. Time to gamble and put all your cards on the table. Time to do what you’ve always wanted to do in previous compromising circumstances. And if you’re truly gutting the truth Girl Warrior, you’ve been here far too many times. Far too many times.

This is your triumphant do-over. This is your opportunity to speak up and speak your truth. Once and for all. Succinctly. Emphatically. Definitively. You will need to summon all the courage you possess because making it awkward isn’t easy. Walking away without making a peep is easy. Being a good girl who doesn’t make waves is easy. Playing nice is easy.

But don’t be a good girl in this situation. Instead go for the squirm. Make it downright uncomfortable and bloody inconvenient. Remind yourself that you are a bold and brave Girl Warrior. And remember, you aren’t taking this stand on your own. You have an entire Tribe of Girl Warriors behind you. Supporting and cheering you on.

So this time Girl Warrior, make it awkward.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: I Fell in Love.

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Decades ago

In another lifetime

I fell in love

With a beautiful young man.

 

We were barely adults

On the brink

Of becoming

All kinds of things

Beyond what we were

In that sliver of time

And he was my first big love.

 

All capital letters

BIG.

 

I fell hard and fast

I fell deep and wide

I fell

Hopelessly

Painfully

Tragically

In love with this boy-man.

 

When you fall like that

It can only end badly

And it did.

 

All capital letters

BAD.

 

Time and distance

The years pass quickly

But untold seconds

Slow the clock of the heart.

 

Still I think of him

Way more than

Reason or rationality

And good common sense

Dictate that I should.

 

Sometimes I think

It’s sweet that I do

But there are times

When I think it’s

Either bat-shit crazy

Or sadly heartbreaking.

 

All capital letters

SAD.

 

 

 

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Friday Night Dinner.

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This is a little fictional riff I wrote on routines and rituals, the dance of love, the intricacies of marriage and cooking Italian on Friday nights.

Pasta and Salad

They were back to back cooking Friday night dinner. The usual. Pasta and salad. He asked her what she was thinking. She told him the truth. He changed his mind about slicing the cherry tomato in half. Instead he turned to admire her lovely sensual back as she stirred the marinara sauce.

Basil and Oregano

His grip tightened. The sweetness of freshly plucked basil and oregano enveloped the kitchen. The spaghetti strap on her white cotton sundress slipped loosely over her tanned shoulder. Her hair scooped high in a messy tail exposed her delicate neck. He was no longer hungry. The truth had that affect on him.

Marinara Sauce

The sway to her hips as she grooved to Coldplay broke his heart. Nobody said it was easy. They got that right. Her sultry Italian lips kissed the wooden spoon smothered in steaming marinara. When they first started cooking together she would invite him to taste her sauce. But it was no longer his palate that she was seeking to please.

Steamy Sacred Ritual

She adjusted the seasoning and plunged the spoon back into the thick rich sauce. He noticed that one of her turquoise earrings was missing and this made him feel sad. God, it was hotter than hell outside and sizzling in their tiny kitchen. Yet she insisted on keeping this weekly culinary ritual. “Sacred,” she called it. Insane, was more like it.

Boiling Water

He was sweating bullets yet she was cool as a cucumber. Her full childbearing hips rotated in pulsing infinity circles. Round and round. Effortlessly sustaining the rhythm of the driving guitar riff, all the while stirring the marinara. Irony is cruel at times. Some voids were impossible to fill. The stainless steel pasta pot, a wedding gift from her parents, had come to a full boil. Spitting and splashing beads of water violently onto the stove top. Like angry tears. He could relate.

Fistfuls of Linguine.

As she reached for the pasta, he could see the thin translucent scar on the inside of her fragile wrist. Exposed and formidable. Skimming the surface of her veins. He longed to run his finger across it. Feel her vulnerability once more. He remembered how red and swollen it was at first. Like a lost river. But they were beyond that now. She measured the linguine by fistfuls. One for him. One for her. One for the pot. Just in case.

Forks and Other Kokkengrej.

She reached for the stainless steel fork that was stuffed in the pottery utensil jar next to the stove. It was the big one he used to remove the steaks from the BBQ. He knew it was bad form to pierce the meat like that. Releases their juices, she would chastise. Toughens the meat and makes it hard to chew. He knew this. But he couldn’t resist the urge to stab. Impale lifeless objects. It was in his blood. He was once an ancient warrior. She was the Goddess of basil and other fine herbs.

Al Dente.

He leaned back on the counter and watched as she stirred the pasta. He had difficulty breathing around her. There was a time when this was fun. And romantic. He closed his eyes and remembered. How she used to test the spaghetti. How she’d take a few strands and toss them across the room. How they giggled and applauded the sticky ones. How they carved their love in steam.

Breaking Bread

She insisted he cut the bread into perfectly polite little pieces. “It’s not rocket science,” he scoffed as he pulled out the scarred pine board and prepared the filone for cutting. It wasn’t all that different from sawing a piece of wood. A skill he had mastered at his father’s side by the time he was eight. She was all wrong about the bread though. It was made to be broken, torn and ripped apart. Stuffed into their mouths like savages.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: First Love.

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This is a bit I wrote for my beautiful daughter when she was seventeen. Bittersweet. 

 

Last night

I tried to explain

First Love Heartbreak

And why you hurt so much.

 

Love is complicated

Messy and not always fair

Happily ever after

Isn’t guaranteed

The odds aren’t in our favor.

 

I didn’t want you to learn about

These intricate feelings

While you were so young

I hoped you’d be

As old as dirt

Like me

Before this happened

Or better still I hoped

You’d beat the odds

And be one of the rare ones

Whose First Love

Was your Forever Love.

 

You are my beautiful girl

Who up until last night

Believed in the art

Of romantic gestures

The nuance of passion

And lyrical promises.

 

Right now

You’re not only mourning

The end of something

You thought would last forever

Or at least longer than it did

You’re mourning

The loss of The First.

 

The knowledge that

You’ll never have that again

Is the frustrating veracity

The slap of reality

The cold water

Splashed in your face

The agony and anguish

We all want to escape.

 

You cried and said

You would never love another

The way you loved him

And the truth is

You won’t.

 

You only get one

Like this.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Take What You Need.

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I found this note taped to a bank of mailboxes.

They are part of the scenery on the country road that I walk every day.

This is how I do lunch.

Take what you need, it said.

So I did.

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The next day I passed this same bank of mailboxes.

The note with the offer to ‘take what you need’ was gone.

Maybe it was just a one-day thing.

Like a sale at Walmart.

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For a second I was saddened by its sudden disappearance.

Then I smiled to myself and moved on.

Because I still have what I took.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: For the Love of Mary Passingham.

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Dear Love,

I wanted you to know that my great grandmother’s name was Mary Passingham and she was born on the Isle of Wight. And that some day I’m going to write a romance novel and use Mary Passingham as my pen name.

I wanted you to know that I have always had a passion for reading books and I think that was a gift from Mary Passingham.

I wanted you to know that when I was growing up and everyone else in my house was watching television, I read books. And that I dreamed about another life that had nothing to do with the one that I lived.

I wanted you to know that my mother was raised by Mary Passingham and that she died when my older brother was two months old.

And that my mother loved her dearly. I say my mother, “loved dearly” because Mary Passingham was the only person who ever called my mother “dear” while she was growing up.

And I wanted you to know that because Mary Passingham called my mother “dear”, my mother at age ten, would walk two miles to Eaton’s to buy Mary a spool of embroidery thread. Just to be her dear. And because Mary taught my mother how to embroider. And my mother taught me.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had no money but she loved my mother dearly and that once she gave my mother a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume for Christmas. My mother cherished that bottle of perfume. It didn’t matter that it cost only seventeen cents because it was a gift from Mary. And she received no others that year.

I wanted you to know that I never understood why I loved books so much until my mother told me that Mary Passingham spent her days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer. In the summer my mother and her sisters feasted on Mary’s garden.

And I wanted you to know that Mary taught my mother how to bake bread. And my mother taught me. And that my mother loved sandwiches made with Mary’s homemade bread and lettuce from her garden.

And that I love sandwiches made with my mother’s homemade bread and lettuce freshly picked from her garden.

I wanted you to know that I love to spend my days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had a china cabinet made of carved oak filled with knick-knacks and trinkets and that my mother polished it for her every Saturday morning.

And that my mother has a china cabinet made of Canadian maple filled with knick-knacks and trinkets but I never spent my Saturdays polishing it. Although I loved that china cabinet.

I don’t have a china cabinet but I have a house filled with knick-knacks and ornaments. And I love them dearly.

I wanted you to know about all these wonderful gifts that Marry Passingham gave to my mother. And my mother gave to me. I never knew Mary Passingham. Only my mother did.

But I wanted you to know that I love my mother dearly just as she did Mary. And even though I never met Mary I loved her dearly too.

Love,

Boo

Footnote: I came across this sweet little piece today while looking for an old story I had written called The Sixteen Jacket. I hadn’t seen it in years and thought it was lost. Both this piece and The Sixteen Jacket were written decades ago when I was a young woman, and long before my mother died. I don’t even remember who “Dear Love” was. I’ve decided to share it unedited, and exactly as I had written it back then, to honor with loving kindness the young blossoming writer that was just beginning to emerge from a veil of shy awkwardness.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.