Okay….here is as close as I come to a juicy part…..

Once again, I was feeling the fool. I had thoroughly expected that Jake would join me when we arrived at my room, and I was completely thrown when he chastely kissed me and wished me goodnight. What the hell was that? It only occurred to me after I closed the door, that he might have been under the impression that I was drunk. He was a gentleman in that respect- always had been. But that left me in a conundrum. Did I suck it up and call? Or did I leave my pride intact and spend the night alone -although, if he was only acting on my behalf, then my pride wasn’t in jeopardy at all.

“Screw it. I’m calling,” I said aloud to no one.

I grabbed my phone and dialed before the fear could overwhelm me. It took a while for Jake to answer and I began to panic. He finally picked up, just as I was about to close my phone in fact, and I dispensed with the pleasantries, heading straight to the point.

“Umm, I have to be frank. This isn’t exactly the way I anticipated the evening would end. Can you, I mean will you, or rather, would you like to come down? To my room?” I asked, stumbling through my words, practically hyperventilating.

“Are you sure?” Thank god, he was being a gentleman after all.

“Yeah, positively.”

I hung up the phone swiftly and raced around the room grabbing my silky black chemise and peignoir and heading off to the bathroom. It wasn’t my standard bedtime attire, by any stretch of the imagination, but I had come prepared. And anyway, it was a nice change from the flannel pants I wore at home with the boys. Along the way, I managed to place my ipod on its docking station and set it to shuffle. I needed music now, if only to calm my nerves. I figured I had about 5 good minutes before he would arrive at my door. By the time I heard his knock, I had managed to change out of my clothes, brush my teeth and fix my hair once more, the curls falling somewhat haphazardly around my shoulders. It wasn’t quite as put together as I would have liked, but it would have to do. I knew a moment of doubt as I reached out and grasped the handle of the door. I was well aware that I looked absurd.  Well, it felt that way to me anyway. I briefly considered grabbing my flannels, but realized that there was no time to change, so, I turned the handle and waited for Jake to enter. He stood there on the threshold, staring down at me in surprise, as if I hadn’t seen him in ages, apparently neglecting to recall that he had just deposited me in my room mere minutes ago.

“Would you like to come in, Jake?” I asked, smiling meekly, twisting the door handle as I spoke. But he just continued to stand there, staring. I could hear the last strains of Grieg’s Solveig’s Song fading in the background and wished I had taken the damn thing off shuffle. Apparently, I need not have worried. The first few bars of the Cure’s “The Same Deep Water as You” began to play and suddenly I was transported. I literally needed to pinch myself in an effort to recognize that this wasn’t my old room and we weren’t twenty years old anymore. It was almost as if time had stopped all those years ago, and I had only just now noticed.

Evidently, Jake was moved by the music as well, because I suddenly found him propelled forward as he reached out to take my face in his hands. This time his kiss was not so chaste and his lips lingered over mine afterward. He pulled back slightly, so that our eyes could meet, my face still in his hands. “Are you planning to come in or was that enough for tonight?” I joked. He just smiled as he entered the room and shut the door behind him. My bravado began to fade, as once more, I felt panic set in. It suddenly occurred to me that there is a vast difference between knowing what you want and actually getting it. So, I just stood there, like a deer caught in headlights, unmoving as he turned toward me. The fear must have shown on my face because he gently took me in his arms and whispered, “Are you alright?” And suddenly, I was. “I am,” I said simply, as this time my lips went in search of his. At first they found his neck, so I kissed it, feeling the gratifying warmth of his hot skin. And then his lips were on mine again as we stood there by the bed, clinging to one another like two lost souls in sight of sanctuary. It seemed to me that we stood there for an eternity, as we sought to learn again the nuances of the other, but at last, I felt Jake’s hands pulling me down, as the bed and the room and the world fell away.

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In The Spirit of Protesting Getting Old…

A friend was recently bemoaning the fact that middle age is creeping up and it inspired me to post this little snippet. It’s not exactly a protest as she suggested, but rather confirmation that we all feel it. Hope you enjoy!

 

I ate my food quickly, inhaled it to be precise and nestled back on the couch to stare at the blank screen once more. Just do it, Jenny. Just do it. I took a deep breath, rested my hands on the keyboard, began to type and then jabbed at the backspace key with a slight sense of panic. I quickly rose again from the sofa to adjust the shade in the window directly across from me as if some passerby might suspect my covert activity and then decided I might as well use the lavatory while I was up. I shuffled off down the hall to the momentary reprieve the bathroom would provide and giggled at the word lavatory. God, I was close to losing it.  I didn’t actually have to go, but I made an exaggerated effort of washing my hands and throwing on pajamas, and then decided to brush my teeth and wash my face as well. I stared into the mirror as I finished up with the moisturizer, diligently covering all the contours of my face and neck and wondering whether I needed to touch up the color of my hair. I was an expert in the area since I began playing with my hair color at the tender age of fifteen. My natural hue was something akin to a mousy brown and my sister tormented me about it relentlessly when I was a child. Throughout the years I had been a honey blonde, ashy blonde, brunette, auburn, plum, red. My hair had run the gamut of colors from racy to edgy to prim. Over the last few years I stuck with shoulder length light brown locks that complimented my pale skin decently. It’s true my skin was pale, but I never had that rosy glow that I admired on so many other women. I was all for diversity, but no one ever talked about the beauty issues that arise when parents of say, British and Mediterranean heritage procreated. You wound up with pale skin and lots of dark hair in places like eyebrows, lip, chin, hell, arms for that matter- places that required diligent upkeep. But I did it all conscientiously, with each passing year becoming more and more a slave to the beauty rituals that would somehow slow the changes that inevitably come with aging. I knew the local Sephora like the back of my hand and had been a fan of StriVectin for over a year now. Well, my grey eyes looked the same all these years later and that was a small comfort. I glanced down at my nightgown and sighed. Not much I could do with these besides a bra with a super lethal underwire. Nursing two babies had seen to that.

I switched off the light and left the room unsure whether my dance with procrastination had done more to rally my spirit or undermine my resolve. For what seemed like the millionth time this evening, I snuggled up on the couch, grabbed the computer and began to type.

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A Little Something

I haven’t written since June…just not talented enough to write when the kids are home. Tonight, I decided to revisit the last thing I worked on and thought I might share it. 

 

           The doorbell rang as I left the bathroom, tugging a t-shirt over my head in the process. My pajama bottoms were plaid and I silently prayed they would pass for pants as I ran down the stairs to answer the door. I was expecting a package of art supplies and I stood anxiously on tip toes to peer through the small peep hole before throwing open the door to grab my box. My heart seemed to flip as my eye met the little circle, but I pulled on the handle anyway and opened the door wide. I stood there for a moment, motionless, unsure if I was hallucinating.

            “Jenny,” Jake said in greeting, though I was too shocked to respond appropriately.  My mouth refused to cooperate so I just continued to stand there staring up into his face. 

           “When are you getting married?” He asked the question casually, as if we were no more than acquaintances. 

            “What?” My eyes swam at the sight before me- Jake standing on my front porch. Jake, who I had imagined countless times, standing before me, but who I had never thought to actually see standing before me again… much less a week after I had become engaged.
            “When are you getting married?” he asked again.

            “How do you know I’m getting married?” I replied suspiciously. How did he know?

            “Your hands,” he said softly, “there behind your back.”

            “Oh,” I whispered. I wasn’t even cognizant of the fact that I had put them there. I would have said it was instinct, but that would have implied some sense of awareness on my part. And at the moment I wasn’t aware of much at all besides the man standing before me…and the fact that in the space of a year he had indeed become a man.

            “May I come in?”

            It was a simple request, but I seemed incapable of even the simplest conversation. “Come in?” I parroted.  It wasn’t an invitation so much as it was a question.

            “Is this a bad time?” he questioned next. “I’m sorry to surprise-”

            “I am surprised,” I said cutting him off, “Very surprised, I-”

            It was his turn to interrupt, “-you like this. I was in the neighborhood.”

            “You were in my neighborhood?” Now I was puzzled. Jake lived hundreds of miles away.

            I was in Philadelphia looking at medical schools. It seemed a good idea… coming to see you that is.”

            I was somewhat recovered, at least as far as my manners were concerned, so I gestured to invite him in. “Please,” I added as I motioned with my hand toward the living room.

            He paused at the door. “Would you like to get some coffee? Do you have a little time?”

            “I’m expecting a package, actually. Would you mind if we stayed here. I have coffee.” Personally I could have used something a little stronger.

            “Sure, Jen, that sounds good,” he answered walking over the threshold and into my mother’s house.  It took forever to brew our drinks as I set water to boil and then pulled out the French Press and scooped in coffee. We were silent as I worked, but my mind was racing. I couldn’t imagine what had brought him to New Jersey, though he had mentioned medical schools. I handed him a steaming mug and then led him to the back porch; it seemed safer than staying inside.

            “So, medical school?” I quizzed as we took seats across from one another at the wicker dining table.

            “So, marriage?” he replied.

            

 

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About the Title

This isn’t a particularly exciting bit, but I thought it might clarify the title. Sorry if the formatting is off.

 

‘Well,” he responded with a little smirk as he gestured lightly to the building behind me, “guess Pop’s is out of the question?” 

“Yeah, it’s been out of the question for quite a few years now,” I laughed in reply. “I’m surprised you remember.”

“Of course I remember. Why wouldn’t I?” He asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. I imagine you might have tried hard to forget this place.” I smiled up at him, hoping that he wouldn’t think I was being hostile. I wasn’t, as a matter of fact.

“Why would I want to forget?”

“It’s just that-. ” I struggled for a minute. ” I mean there were times when you seemed happy here. But I guess it never felt as though you wanted to belong. When we would talk about the future, you were always arguing passionately the merits of leaving. I remember that you once referred to me as “some kind of Jersey girl.” I laughed again, feeling a sense of pride in the title.

“I didn’t.” He disagreed.

“You did. And you were right, Jake. I know, I’ve always known, that no matter where my travels take me, at heart I will always be some kind of Jersey girl.”

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I Have A Title!

Some Kind of Jersey Girl

 

What do you think? Would you read it?

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Okay, so, here’s a little more.

I thought I would share this piece because it doesn’t spoil the rest of the story. It’s just a little glimpse into the past. Most of the story takes place in the present, but I like this bit and I hope you do too.

Untitled

I had been working that evening, as an usher in the concert hall, when Jake snuck in to ask me out. We had developed an increasingly friendly relationship during the first semester of school, but it wasn’t until after spring break that he singled me out for a date. I was taken by surprise when I found him standing next to me in the back of the music center, lights dimmed; a concert in full progress. He slipped in noiselessly, asked if I would be interested in a trip to the beach, and then slipped out again as soon as I responded. I felt compelled to pinch myself; seeking reassurance that this was not an imagined encounter. I was completely befuddled by the question, unsure whether this was a date or just a platonic night out between two friends. It wasn’t until the next evening, in the middle of our trip, standing on the pier while rain poured down around us that I finally discovered it was indeed a date.

We met outside of the parking garage on College Avenue and chatted amiably as we rode down the parkway. For the moment, I had decided to put aside the question of the status of the evening. I wanted to enjoy myself without regard to where our relationship was headed, if indeed it was headed anywhere new at all. We laughed along the way, recalling something funny from Art History. I have no idea now what it could have been that made us laugh so hard, but I only remember that we did laugh, so violently, that I chastised Jake about his driving. I also recollect that we argued about music, alternately defending the merits of The Red Hot Chili Peppers versus The Cure. By this time, I had all but banished any thought of romance to the back of my mind. We grabbed some dinner at Pop’s and then strolled along the midway stopping in various stores as we walked; playing the odd game or two and then purchasing some candy before heading out to the beach. It started to mist but neither of us really seemed to mind. Despite the weather, the moon was visible and we followed its path back over to the boardwalk and out onto the jetty. We sat quietly for a while on what would eventually be our bench letting the light rain wash over us. It was becoming late now and I tucked my legs up under me, relishing the quiet of the silent boardwalk behind us and the gentle lapping of the waves. Jake seemed lost in thought as well, though I couldn’t see his face. I remember that I sat away from him with my back leaning against his shoulder, a strictly friendly gesture I was sure. I felt a little frustration at that, at my inability to articulate all that I was feeling; all that I seemed unable to repress. I quietly stood and made my way over to the railing seeking distraction in the water below me. I don’t know how long I stood there, rain still light, but falling more steadily now. I pulled a rubber band from my wrist and tugged my hair up and off my neck securing it in a twist with the little black ring. I didn’t notice at first, when he approached, placing his hands on me, one lightly against the nape of my neck the other on my waist. I should have sensed it, later we always seemed to be so attuned to each other, at least physically anyway. But that night I didn’t perceive anything at all. Perhaps it was my insecurity that blinded me, maybe it was just surprise, but I gasped a little as he turned my body, easily moving my face to meet his. He held me there for a while like that; simply staring down at me. I could smell his breath; it was sweet like the candy we had shared earlier that evening. His eyes were a few inches from mine now and I felt a little embarrassed; I could feel the hot sting of my tears and I knew that he could see them. Yet, there was nothing I could do except let them fall as I felt relief wash over me; the relief of no longer needing to wonder whether it was my heart only that seemed in a state of constant ache. He took his hand from my waist for a moment to gently wipe the water from my eyes then secured it to my side once more. The moon illuminated his face as I saw him bend at the neck and place his lips on my mine. They were soft, softer than I had ever imagined, yet firm as he held them there. His lips, like his breath, were sweet and he was still at first, lightly placing kisses on my lips until they were no longer soft but demanding instead, insisting that I answer his unspoken questions with my own kiss. I wasn’t crying anymore; too intent on meeting his demands with my own. I could feel it now, the unspoken hunger that rose up out of the night daring us to share with our bodies what we had been feeling in our hearts.

 Now, here we stood once more, children in tow. I couldn’t help but remember how afraid I had been back then; afraid to let go; afraid to believe that this was more than physical need, than simple biology; afraid to give way to the pleas of my heart. I looked down at Katie and the boys who were huddled close together taking in the music and then turned to Jake. He, too, was engrossed in the sounds of the choir and I couldn’t help but admire the curves of his face, the line of his shoulder, the strength in his hand as he reached out for mine. He was a good man that much I knew. And too, I knew I loved him. I had no doubt of that. So why did I hesitate to give him my whole heart? That, it seemed, was the only thing of which I remained uncertain.

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Inspiration

So I thought I would talk for a second about inspiration with regard to my novel. I find it funny that people are surprised when I tell them that I listen to music when I write. It’s true that at times I need absolute silence. However, I can say with certainty that the very best passages were written while listening to either The Scientist by Coldplay or Listen to Your Heart as performed by DHT. I can also say that the story itself, while inspired by many things, was in part born out of my love for the song, Butterfly on a Wheel by The Mission.
My other non-musical inspiration is the wonderful state in which I live. As others have done, I wanted the chance to portray where I live in a more benevolent light. There is a reason why New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country and it has nothing to do with reality TV.
So that’s me for the moment. Now, what inspires you?

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