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Later, as they were lying in bed eating yogurt and granola, Anna asked Brilliant why she always laughed when she reached for the dildo.
“I never told you that story?”
“Come on,” Anna said. “I want to hear it.”
Brilliant opened her mouth and Anna obliged by spooning some yogurt in. Clearing her throat, Brilliant straightened up a bit, stretching one long leg over Anna’s thigh. “Columbus Gay Pride, 1996. I was there with a hot butch mechanic.”
“I forgot you date butches, too,” Anna said, smiling. “Is that weird?”
“I like women, Anna. Butch or femme or, like me, something in between.”
“I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just strange to picture you with anyone that isn’t me,” Anna replied.
“Yeah, imagine how I feel,” Brilliant said.
“We made a pact that we wouldn’t talk about Megan,” Anna said, shifting slightly away from Brilliant.
“I’m sorry. I keep breaking the rules. First I fall in love with you. Then I start a dialogue about your partner. Next thing you know, I’ll be asking you to leave her.”
“That can’t happen,” Anna said. “And I don’t want to have a dialogue about it.”
“Everyone leaves me, Anna. Everyone. My parents, my grandparents, my brother. Why don’t you just promise to stay with me?”
Anna glared. “Why don’t you start dating women who are unattached?”
Brilliant sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe I would rather date someone I know is going to disappoint me than put my trust in someone and be let down again.”
“Are we going to process your bad relationship choices all day?” Anna asked.
“We’re lesbians, Anna.” Brilliant grinned. “We process everything.”
Anna leaned over and tweaked one of Brilliant’s nipples. “Process this,” she said.
“Ahem. Continuing my story,” Brilliant said, pulling Anna snugly against her. “Gay Pride. Some dude in a leather thong was walking around selling raffle tickets.”
“Okay.” Anna giggled. She dipped her finger into the yogurt and smeared a bit on Brilliant’s nipple. Leaning down to lick it off, she motioned for the rest of the story.
“Of course I bought a few. They were only a dollar. I had no idea what they were for, but I couldn’t resist a man in a leather thong selling raffle tickets for a dollar apiece. It was so stereotypical gay pride.”
“I can see that,” Anna said, releasing the nipple. “So, what happened?”
What happened? Pre-order Eating Life on Amazon or ask for it at your favorite local bookstore and find out
This year, I will not make any resolutions that imply I am anything other than perfectly wonderful just the way I am. I will not make any resolutions meant to make me feel bad about myself, nor will I make any sweeping pronouncements about how I want to be thinner, smarter, better, more.
This year, I won’t make any New Year’s resolutions that aren’t expressly intended to make me or my loved ones feel good about themselves.
This year, I resolve to practice self-care. This year, I’d like to treat my body with loving care. I want to spend more time at the farmer’s market and less time at big box stores. I would like to walk more, bike more, eat more vegetables. I would like to spend more time dancing. I want to save the money for a few pedicures. I want to make sure my sex life stays fresh and loving and invigorating. I want to sleep soundly. I resolve to hug my dog daily. I resolve to spend more time playing with my cat.
This year, I want to connect more. I resolve to send more paper letters. I want to reach out to someone who hasn’t heard from me in a long time. I would like to smile at more people. I want to compliment strangers. I want to tell my friends when they are wonderful and let it go when they are not. I want to appreciate the people who love me. I want to continue to be grateful for calling a partner into my life who loves me and shows me in a billion different ways. This year, I want to talk to my mother more often. I’d like to have more women come to my house for talks and coffee and shared breakfasts. I’d like to touch my friends more, hold their hands, hug them, ask them if they are lonely, or if they are living their dreams. I want to help people who need help.
This year, I want to spend time focusing on my career. I want to finish my fourth novel and start my fifth. I would like to submit at least one more short story this year than last. I want to find ways to market my self-love classes to a wider audience. I would like to network with other writers and teachers. I want to find a job teaching online with a college or university.
This year, I would like to stress less about paying bills. I don’t want to buy more stuff, but I would like to be able to pay the electric bill and my mortgage in the same week. I don’t want to be rich, but I want to be unafraid of where the next groceries are coming from. This year, I want to put some effort into making enough money that I can make decisions about spending, rather than reactions. This year, I’d like to make enough money that I can donate some of it to causes that touch my heart.
This year I want to stay informed about political decisions that can harm myself and my family without letting the news drag me into a depression. I want to act to protect myself and my loved ones without allowing myself to be silenced about that which is important to me.
This year, I want to be myself. I want to do what I want to do. I want to follow the calling of my own soul. This year, I resolve to be proud of myself. I resolve to follow my dreams. I want to love freely and live openly.
This year, I will cherish what I have, rather than pursue what I don’t.
Happy New Year.
I am on the worst date of my life. Okay, it probably isn’t the worst date of my life. I mean, it definitely isn’t worse than the date with the guy who poured ketchup over all of his food and snapped his gum throughout the entire meal. And it can’t compare to the one with the guy who brought his mother on our first date because he was sure we would all be the best of friends. It is definitely up there on the list of worst dates, though. See, I hate blind dates. They are just one more form of torture in an already humiliating activity. Dating just sucks anyway. I really hate dating. In fact, I haven’t dated in almost two years, but I got into this stupid challenge with my friends and I let my friend Steve set me up with this guy. There is no good reason to think that Steve would be good at setting me up. First of all, he’s gay, so he has an entirely different perspective on what makes a quality man. Secondly, I think he just assumes that as long as two people have orientation in common, they will be a perfect match. “Well, he’s straight, she’s straight. They’re made for each other!” I had never fallen for one of his schemes before, but I have seen the awkward short term matches that have come from his romantic meddling. Why do people in long term relationships always insist on setting up their single friends?
So, I am sitting across the table from a good looking man. He picked a good restaurant, I have to give him that. We are at a new place in downtown Cleveland, known for using only fresh, locally grown produce and, apparently, organic, local meat. My date is tall, blond and handsome. He’s pretty buff, too. I mean, let’s be fair, he is gorgeous. I told him that he kind of looks like a male version of my best friend Andy, but for some reason, he didn’t find that amusing. We’ve been trying to make small talk for an hour now and every time we launch into a new subject, I get more irritated with him. And, by default, Steve.
We started badly when we were ordering. I ordered a raw cashew stir fry. I’m a vegetarian, but I am trying hard to go fully vegan. So far, I haven’t quite gotten there, mostly because of the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at my favorite restaurant, Polly’s on Clifton. Anyway, when the waitress came to take our order, he ordered a steak.