Sunday, July 31, 2011

Empty bed, lonely soul

When God created love, he created bodies that could perfectly accommodate this emotion. The idea, thought God, is that when two human beings fell in love, they would inevitably find that they fit each other like two long-lost puzzle pieces; pieces that, when placed together, would mesh naturally into one soul.
The top of my head was made to nuzzle underneath his chin. And my lips invite his lips which invite my lips. The two sets are inseparable at times. And the way a loving whisper slides so naturally into my ear proves that our secrets belong to each other.

Our eyes can interlock for long periods, mine taking in his brown and his taking in my blue... until they feel such a completeness of the other color that they slowly hide beneath eyelid blankets and drift to sleep.
There is the perfect amount of space between each of my fingers to accommodate each of his five. My hand has never felt so complete as when it's settled upon the foundation of his palm. And our arms in their different sizes are the perfect length to wrap around the other's torso with the most blissful ease.
Even our toes are the ideal size to rub the other's toes back and forth absentmindedly, like a fleshy washboard.

When we rest, we spoon. But it's more than that. To me it is evidence that God created everything to fit. I believe it is the way I was always meant to slumber.

Tonight I won't sleep well. Tonight I am missing the piece of me that makes me whole.
Good night, Kendon. I love you.

Some things I failed to mention

Once upon a time, on a blazing hot morning in the desert, there was matrimony.
And while we're on the topic of major life events, I recently realized I rarely include them when I'm writing about my life. So let's do this like a resume, shall we? Most recent first. List style. But with photos.
1. July 30, 2011. Scott (my brother) and Jayne (my new sister) were absolutely BEAMING yesterday. They couldn't keep their eyes (or hands) off each other. Totally legal, though, since it was their wedding day. I'm so happy to welcome this gorgeous, confident, loving, bargain-shopping woman into our family, to see my brother in such a blissful state, and to pass along the "grandkids question" to someone else.
2. June 2010. I graduated from college. I know, I know, all the kids are doing it. To me, however, this was a long time coming. It feels good to say I did it. I did it! I'm done! *Sigh of immense relief.

3. November 26, 2010. Once upon a time, on a humid morning on the islands, there was another matrimony. Mine. 'Twas the most unforgettable day of my life, though it came and went like a blur... Does that make sense? We rode away into the sunset (literally) on Kendon's yellow motorcycle (which died the next day... my parents had to pick us up from our honeymoon). Can it get any better than a tropical island wedding and a remote mountaintop cottage? Oh, yes. Every day.
P.S. The rumors about in-laws? All lies. These Bagleys are the bee's knees.
4. November 2010. Shortly before my big day, brother Neal had his own big day... and I don't mean with a woman. This commitment was to God, for two years, and he continues to commit on a daily basis, all the way over in Bolivia. Neal has white hair and blue eyes. Bolivians don't. I wish I could delight in this contrast by seeing it for myself. Instead I just daydream about it. I couldn't be prouder of my towhead Bolivian hermano.
5. September 10, 2010. Once upon a time, on a slightly chilly morning in Logan, Utah, there was also matrimony. Brother Alan made the wisest choice he's ever made by finding someone who will force him to make wise choices for the rest of his days. Heidi is the most organized, devoted, and domestic 20-year-old I've ever met. When I was her age I was still failing at tuna melts. I'm proud to call her my sister.
6. July 2010. I went to France on Bastille Day. Then to Lithuania for friendship purposes (see why in item 8), where my camera got stolen. So no photos here.
7. November 2009. I went to New Zealand with great friends and ate white bait with eggs.
8. October 2009. I also did a gig where I committed to God. It was for 18 months in the wee country of Lithuania (Labas visiems!), and it ended one sad, tear-filled October afternoon. I will never, ever, ever forget the beautiful people of this country. I will never stop loving them. And if I can't meet them again in this life, I hope to be a good enough girl to see them in the next, where I will give big, "thank-you" tackle-hugs to all the people who changed my life and perspective in this lush, resilient nation.
Note: I went to Ireland too. For six weeks. And gained memories to last a lifetime.
Yes. There. I'm glad to have gotten that all off my chest. Now perhaps, dear readers, you will know a deeper side of me. You will understand my reasons for loving the things I love (like family), and hating the things I hate (like bigotry), and not really caring about certain things (like white bait). Seriously. Don't try the white bait.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tasty Hasty

Attention all readers: I am eating my words. I’m eating them on a big fat silver platter, sautéed in butter and served with extra whipped cream. They’re delicious.

I wrote my last blog three days too hastily. A number of things happened in those days. First: I was given a second interview with another job. A good one. One that I decided would be an awesome replacement to the dream job. One that, in fact, could probably kick the dream job’s trash after school by the flagpole. Then I started training at the undream job and LIKED it. I liked the kind people. The atmosphere. The benefits. The great stuff I was learning. The free pizza on lunch breaks. Then I got called for a first interview with another company. Also a good one, though maybe not quite as unbridled at the flagpole. They liked me, it seemed. Threefold word-eating.

Then it happened. The FEAST. Thanksgiving dinner deep-fried with bacon and injected with Cajun spices. I got an email from the trash kickers. They hired me.

I cried. I cried because it was the best news of the summer, and because it meant I would have to go talk to the surprisingly cool undream job, and I would have to cancel my second interview with the not-quite-trashkickers, and most of all because I had realized just in time that life can be great even when things don’t always work out as planned. But gosh. When they do.

So here I am. A writer going on day 3 at a beautifully promising company. And I think it’s time for lunch.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A job? Thanks, I guess.

I got a job this week. It's not my dream job. The dream job e-mailed me thus: "You're a nice person and everything, but we're looking for NOT you. In fact we shall promptly forget you once we hit 'send.' Sincerely, your dream job." Then I got a cheerful call from the undream job thus: "You're exactly what we're looking for!" And then I said, "Oh. Thanks," like an angsty teenager getting K-mart shoes for Christmas instead of the 60-dollar All Stars . It's not been my finest hour where gratitude is concerned. So the following is a lesson to self. Continue if you wish.

The fact is, self, the last house we lived in had a grand total of two pieces of furniture, three appliances, and one room. Tidying the house meant making the bed. Now I have THREE rooms, which contain everything I could ever, ever need in life. This includes but is not limited to a cupcake tower. I OWN a disassembled CUPCAKE TOWER. And a pasta maker. It's like an Italian wedding around here.

Plus I have new running shoes. They nearly killed me today by carrying me further and further from home until I firmly told them to stop, but they've promised to help rid me of my protruding little gut.

Furthermore, there's this guy. He just came in to give me a back massage, and last night he played Phase 10 with me despite HATING the Phase 10 above all else in this world. Also, he lets me lick his nose whenever I feel like it. And go to Africa just for fun (the last two might be wishful thinking... but the first two are boy-scout promise TRUE).

There's a friendly woman at the Smith's down the road whose nails are always perfect and is always smiling, and our postman never fails to wish a passerby "Good morning." I wonder if they have their dream jobs? If not, they've probably figured out for themselves this good advice Joseph B. Wirthlin once gave me: “The abundant life is within our reach if only we will drink deeply of living water, fill our hearts with love, and create of our lives a masterpiece.”

Self, be grateful. Your life is your dream job.
Yours truly,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An oldie for the kids

I'm getting stupider. Can't. Think. Stuff. Write. So instead I'm posting an old story that I wrote months ago. It's mostly true. I submitted it to a thing. They hated it. Maybe you won't.

I woke up with a start to the most horrible smell on earth. I sat up, sniffed, and felt the night's collection of mucous jiggle loosely in my nostrils. Putting my hand up to my cotton-stuffed right ear, I grimaced and remembered. It was me.

The ibuprofen hadn't been sufficiently dulling my ear infection pain, and a woman from church had told me to press half an onion up to my ear. I don't eat vegetables, and I especially tend to avoid onions. I skip over them as ingredients entirely, in fact, on the rare occasions I open a recipe book. Still, something about the boy's locker room odor and the tear-jerking fumes made my friend's remedy almost logical. Pressing a disgusting vegetable against a disgustingly painful part of my body seemed completely natural. So I had called my husband and, for the first time in our marriage, added a vegetable to his list of things to pick up after work.

I had tried the magical cure last night, trying to ignore my watering eyes, the smirks from my husband, and the onion juice that ran down my neck. My mind had been taken off the ear pain and onto that awful smell momentarily, kind of like how biting bullets makes men in war movies think less on their legs being amputated. I buried my head in my pillow to escape the lingering odor pervading our small studio apartment. It was soaked in onion smell.

I looked over at my husband, still sleeping peacefully, then down at my slobber-soaked t-shirt and the pile of crinkled toilet paper on our nightstand. I had always thought newlywed women woke up in freshly ironed, silky lingerie, smelling like Coco Chanel, waking their husbands with a minty-fresh kiss and breakfast in bed. I grimaced again, then coughed, successfully stirring my husband and the phlegm that was stuck in my throat all night.

He opened his eyes. "Hey, onion girl," he said, sitting up. I had always thought newlywed men woke up and said, "Hey there, gorgeous woman of my dreams."

"Ha, ha," I replied. "Will you get me some pudding?"

"No pudding for you," he said, hopping out of bed and opening the fridge, which stood a foot away from our sleeping quarters. "Pudding is a dairy product. It will make your cold worse."

"It is not a dairy product!" I countered in my deep cold-induced rasp. "It's just a pudding product." I pointed at the snack pack of chocolate vanilla swirl on the top shelf of our refrigerator. "I'll have one of those, please."

He shut the fridge after downing half of our milk carton. "Nope."

Hm, I thought. Aren't newlywed men supposed to give their sick wives everything they ask for?

I blew my nose several times as I watched him get ready for work from my spot on the bed. He quickly ate two bowls of the Life cereal I had purchased a few days before but wasn't allowed to eat, threw his dishes in the sink, then slipped on his navy blue polo shirt with the Chem-Dry logo in the corner. "Bye, dear," he said, kissing my cheek. His breath smelled like cereal. "Have a good day at school."

"I don't have class on Tuesdays," I responded in my man voice. But he had already raced out the door.
I called in sick for work and spent the afternoon staring at class reading assignments and mindlessly surfing the Internet. I couldn't figure out the speakers on our desktop computer, so I watched several silent YouTube videos before deciding to knock back some Nyquil and get some sleep. At around four o'clock I was awakened by my phone ringing. "Hey, honey," said my husband's voice on the other end. "I'm on my way sleivlsal welfkwe..." My grogginess was making his voice more and more distant. He was on his way home, I guessed. "OK," I mumbled.

"See you in lodkobil faleivil," I could hear him saying from the top of a giant purple building. Must stay awake for 10 more seconds. I knew the drill. He was off work and would be home in an hour. For now I wanted to explore that purple skyscraper, which was starting to shoot giant onions from its rooftop like fireworks into the sky. "Love you, bye," I mustered, and rolled back over.

I woke up with a start. Our computer's screensaver was the only light in the room, the only sound the hum of our refrigerator. I reached for my cell phone, lying next to me on my onion-scented pillow. It was 8:30 p.m.

The laughing wallpaper photo of my husband and myself stared at me as I speed dialed his number. I took it five months ago, minutes after he proposed. Despite the threatening sound of thunder earlier that day, we had gone to our favorite spot up a Utah canyon, where he popped the question and we danced and kissed in the biggest rainstorm of the summer. We're both soaking wet in the photo, and mascara is smudged in odd places on my face. These details become invisible, however, against how in love we look and how big we're smiling.

I redialed his number once, twice, five times. Each time it went straight to the brassy recording of his professional voice: "Hi, this is Kendon with Great White Chem-Dry..." I stood up too quickly and dizzily wondered what to do next. In the darkness I started to wash my husband's breakfast bowl, then quickly changed my mind and started sorting laundry. The half onion from the night before still sat on our kitchen counter, mocking me, and in disgust I hurled it into the trash, glass plate and all. I heard the plate shatter as it hit the bottom of the bin, and redialed my husband's number.

I raced barefoot outside into the chilly night, across our empty driveway and into the street. It was completely void of any vehicles, most especially Chem-Dry utility vans. My stomach growled and my eyes began to water. This time, however, my tears came from fear and frustration, not fumes. I wanted chicken noodle soup with extra vegetables. I wanted my husband.

It was 9:13 p.m. and approximately 4,000 imagined scenarios later when he walked through the door. The smell of carpet cleaner and sweat that accompanied him was more beautiful than the finest 300-dollar bottle of Coco Chanel. "Where have you been?" I sobbed, and tried to wrap my arms around every inch of him. "I called you," he said, attempting to pat me on the back and balance four bags of groceries. "But my phone ran out of batteries on the way home. I had an extra job on the other side of the island tonight, and I stopped after work to buy us some food."

He pulled my chin up so he could look at me, then wiped at my now free-flowing tears with his thumb. "I was so scared!" I said, trying to sound angry, but knowing this misunderstanding was entirely my fault... and a little bit Nyquil's. I looked deeply into his half-laughing, half-sympathetic brown eyes, grateful that I wasn't a widow. Grateful to belong to this nearly-perfect man.

"Hey, onion girl." The way he said it made me feel sexy, even though I had just soaked his t-shirt in tears, day-old mascara, and a little bit of snot. "I bought you some chicken noodle soup." How do newlywed men always know exactly what their wives need? I got butterflies as he leaned down and kissed me, both of us soaking wet from my body fluids. I didn't smell onions anymore. Details had become invisible.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gold's Gym Special Needs

We’re fat, the husband and I. It’s this thing that happened when we got married. Calorie-burning activities like desperate flirting at parties were no longer necessary, and we found ourselves doing COUPLE activities all the time… you know… like eating lots of shave ice and reading Harry Potter.

So now we’re in Provo. The first day we got here, we got a doorknob brochure reading GOLD’S GYM SPECIAL with a really fit looking woman in a tanktop for emphasis. I thought, “Wow… I want to be a Gold’s Gym kind of special,” and Kendon agreed. I bet the Gold’s Gym doorknob brochure-disperser must have known that married housing is the place where people go to stop burning calories. They should probably give that guy a raise.

HOWEVER. As much as I wanted to look as sweaty and toned and summer-licious as the chick on the brochure, I was hesitant. Simply put, I hate gyms. I hate the muscle heads and the smell. I have always felt that if I want to get exercise, I can step out of my doors for FREE and go for a run in some fresh, friendly, unpolluted-by-muscle-head air. Most of all, though, I hate the salesmen. They pretend like you’re their friend, even though they don’t even know you, and even though there are dollar signs in their eyes, and even though if you don’t do what they say they will lock you in a room and use their tactics until you die of old age or give in to them. Not my idea of a very friendly friend, thank you.

But alas. My brother gets married in a month and I have a gut that must disappear before people start asking pregnancy questions when it protrudes like a watermelon in my tight new dress. So we went to inquire about the special.

When we stepped through the doors, the receptionist gave us papers to fill out with all our information, starting with our date of birth, social security number, disease history, pin numbers, deepest secrets, and expected cause of death. I’m still not sure what they do with those. Maybe it was just to give us something to do during the vast amount of time we spent waiting around for the sales guy…. in which case I probably should have just drawn some pictures.

Finally Adam, our salesman, arrived, unnecessarily wearing a windbreaker (I’ve noticed that buildings are generally windproof in the 21st century) and a smug expression. He didn’t have to lock us in a room. Luckily for him – and us – we knew as well as he did that we are a fat couple with Gold’s Gym Special Needs, so we patiently listened as he explained the pricing by writing numbers upside down from across the table (showoff!). At several points I nearly burst out, “NEVER MIND!!” Just to surprise him and make him feel less smug. But I looked down at my gut and it told me to behave.

After hearing the pricing, we did the part where we signed our souls away. I didn't take the time to read the 10-page contract, but I’m pretty sure I agreed to never hit a salesman, to donate my organs to exercise science, and to give Gold’s Gym my firstborn child if I ever stop making payments.

Once I’d signed my name 27 times and given 49 initials for small clauses, Adam handed us another sheet and said, “Part of the special is that you must refer at least three friends.” I looked at him, astounded, and said, “I don’t have friends.” (Seriously, what do they do about the sad people who have no one in life? Talk about rubbing it in). But Adam insisted, so I referred Ronald McDonald, Ronald Weasley, and Adam the sales guy. Ha! Who’s feeling smug now?

But my victory was short lived, for we were then immediately attacked by Cameron, the personal trainer. He was also wearing a windbreaker. He looked at us with a sappy smile, crouched down to our sitting level, and said in his I’m-talking-to-amateurs voice, “When can we get you guys in for some one-on-one training?” He had his pen ready against a big important calendar. Again, I nearly yelled “NEVER!!!!” Just to wipe that overly sympathetic smile off his face. But instead I said, “Friday at 10 looks good.” When we left, I felt as though my time could have been better spent going for a jog.

But never mind, now we are official Gold's Gym members with shiny official Gold's Gym barcodes that give us identity and a sense of belonging. And this morning at 10 a.m. we attended our first official Gold's Gym personal training session. It felt good. But I could just be saying that because Gold’s Gym owns my soul.