Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The randomly generated word for today is: PERSNICKETY

Her nostrils twitched when she entered the room. They twitched, then twitched again until finally she wiggled the back of her hand against her nose in a Bewitched manner, like she was trying to charm herself to another place but didn’t have the witchery of Samantha to actually get herself there.

“Here”, I said, hurrying over to the chair, “Have a seat.” I was working in my study, hammering the keys of a small red laptop; still in my PJ’s, stomach growling from breakfast neglect. I lifted a stack of papers from one of the chairs opposite my desk; laid them on the mountaintop of the desk-pile, held my hand there on top of all of it until I was sure it was balanced enough to walk away.

“No, really, I can’t stay. I just wanted to return the things I borrowed.”

I struggled for the correct response. I knew she was uncomfortable. Persnickety as she was, I still loved her, and something in me wanted her to try to feel at ease with someone who was…well… was not.

She tried. She sat on the very edge of the chair; her knees pressed together, her hands in her lap. She tried to sort of lean her back into the chair, then thought better of it. I could tell she was trying to look relaxed. Trying to pretend she was enjoying it.

It reminded me of the day I tried parasailing over Lake Powell. The boat started up with me tied to its tail. The parachute lifted me into the air then dipped me down over the sandstone, dragging my legs across the rock before the chute found air again and lifted me up. I floated above the boat, high above the cliffs and reservoir. I remember the sounds in my head “Oh, this is so lovely, Ow, ow, ow. Enjoy this Cori, cuz you will never see it again.” I tried and tried to tell myself I was enjoying it, but the blood dripping into the water below me kept blurring the picture. So I knew how she felt. And it stung me in the center of my chest to think I would cause her pain. I looked at her across the miscellany on my desktop. Saw the glow of sunlight through the wisps of hair around her face. Dust specks swirled around her head forming a sort of divine nebula. I found it interesting that I could hold a conversation with her and myself at the same time. Trying to chat politely with the woman opposite me, while the gal who giggles in my head was considering the irony in the fact that the very thing my persnickety friend despised was creating a halo around her face.

Most of the time I don’t mind my desk so much. If it was clean, that would be nice, but I’m fine with it the way it is. I choose to write instead of clean when I’m in here. Most the time I’m ok with it all, until a persnickety friend stops by to return some of the stuff they borrowed. Some of the stuff I keep stuffed in my space. I keep it here because I don’t mind it being here so much, and someone might need it someday. And so many of my friends do mind their spaces being full.

It’s a good thing we have each other, I say as I shut the door behind her. I set the stack of plates and tablecloths at the top of the basement stairs, waiting for David to take them down when he goes to exercise in the morning. I walk instinctively over to the fridge, pull it open, glance to the left and to the right, the top then the bottom, decide its too much work to make something healthy. I shut the fridge, shuffle barefooted back to the study, and lay my fingers atop the computer keys.


  1. Great work mom. It felt like I was there feeling exactly the feelings that were there. Not the most comfortable feelings, but very real. It's amazing how you make people feel with your words.

  2. Thank you, Cori. I no longer have dust in my hust, just halos!

  3. That was supposed to be dust in my house. I think I will see if there is even such a word as hust. At least it rhymes with dust. Maybe I could have a rhyme for halo - I know dayglow.

    Well, I wish I hadn't looked up the definition. I actually wish it weren't a word. I don't really want to have it. I certainly hope there is no dust in it.

  4. well...i looked up "hust", glad you don't have that in your house sue. yuck.

    and cori. thanks for being you. you are so loved because you accept all, persnickety and grumpy old trolls included!

  5. I liked the part where you were talking to her and in your head at the same time.

  6. Yes.

    Something's got to give, and it's not going to be the interesting stuff. "Dust" is defined by social convention. I'm not.