Tag Archives: memoir

Oct
10
2011
The A.D. (After Dave) Years

Dave and I got married 12 years ago today. We kept it simple and got married as close to our dating anniversary as possible. So on Wednesday, we will have been together 19 years.

Nineteen years sounds like a long time to me. It’s exactly half my life. And it’s gone by at an alarming speed.

In addition to random chance, there were three possible ways I could have met Dave. I guess there was no escaping him.

I told him I loved him the first time we met. He lived with some friends of mine his senior year and I met him at a party. I felt giddy and decided to flirt by telling all the guys I loved them. I told everyone I loved them and I’d never said that to another man before. I inserted each person’s name so I wasn’t lying. I’ve always been big on the truth. Obnoxious, sure. Liar, no.

Thank god my friend Dave had a nickname everyone used, so when I met the Dave I was able to truthfully say, “I love you, Dave, and I’ve never said that to another man before.” That got his attention.

So we’ve just established that I loved him right away (see this post for the plethora of reasons I love him) and luckily he was smitten with me too. We only had about seven months to build something before we’d live in different cities for six years. Those six long-distance years were the only ones that felt like they passed slowly to me.

Somehow our relationship lasted even as the long-distance relationships of all my friends did not. I’m still not sure I know why.

We like each other. Maybe it’s just as simple as that.

I often find it hard to think of things to say to people, depending on my mood, even close friends and family. It’s funny, I can go out with friends and not say very much, but I always come home to Dave and chatter without taking a breath for 20 minutes. He is my home.

I can pinpoint the first moment I thought Dave was the one for me. We’d only been dating for about a month and he took me in his arms for a goodbye hug after a date. We could not extract ourselves and we stood with our arms wrapped around each other for a really long time. I felt such warmth and peace and comfort and love. I felt I could have stayed that way forever. I still do.

Now that I’ve learned how to create a video from pictures (see Chuck’s birthday video and Dave’s birthday video), I had to make an anniversary video too. Don’t worry, I’m running out of occasions/unused pictures.

Sep
19
2011
Sweetness and Light

A narrow staircase led to the loft floating hidden above the rest of the room. Sparsely furnished with only a mattress and air, it still held the two of us comfortably.

Laced together, we drifted in and out of sleep with the clicking of the tape player reversing sides. Swirling guitars and ethereal vocals drifted up from below.

“You are the sweetness in my eyes…”

Right outside the open windows was a slice of brilliant blue sky, dotted with cottony clouds. Partially covered by a light sheet, a breeze scented with promise glided over our bare skin, adding its cool caress to our embrace.

I stirred and tightened my arms around his strong, yet yielding body. I could not quite fully envelop him as he could me. Burrowing deeper into him, his warmth radiated over me as I lightly slid my hands over his smooth skin. Resting my head on his chest, his rhythmic heartbeat calmed my own.

I breathed in his dewy scent. I felt the rise and fall of his breathing under me. As the gentle movement lulled me back to sleep, I saw spring green warmed by slanted beams of late afternoon sunlight.

“You are the juice I need for life
You are the sweetness in my eyes…”

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This week’s RemembeRED memoir prompt: “We’re going to let narrative take a backseat. Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.”

Rich description is not one of my strengths, in writing or other communication so I decided to challenge myself by participating in this prompt. The title and the quoted song lyrics are from the following Lush song.

Sep
15
2011
Toxic

I stake out the far corner of the dressing room, but there is nowhere to hide since I’m sharing the room with two friends. Crouching over to shield myself from view, I feel naked before I even undress. I wish I hadn’t grabbed an outfit to try.

My friends chatter away and their preoccupation allows me to change. I assess the skirt and blouse in silence. Under no illusion about how I look with these 15 extra pounds, the mirror tells me the truth. The outfit does not perform any miracles. But it fits. It is comfortable. I would actually wear it. It’s passable.

As I start to change back into my own clothes, one friend asks for feedback on her outfit. When I turn my attention to them, I realize she is trying on the same blouse as me.

My other friend answers before I can. Looking at both of us, she tells my friend, “It looks good on you,” before turning back to me to say, “but Tracy, it makes you look pregnant.”

I involuntarily bristle and can feel my face contort into a grimace of pain. Stung, my instinct is to flee, but where would I go? My feet are stuck to the floor anyway. All I can do is stare at her. I’m speechless. What seems like a flicker of regret passes over her face, so I wait for an apology.

Instead, she lets out a little laugh and adds, “Maybe it’s the skirt, the blouse might look better with something else?”

An uncomfortable silence falls over the dressing room. They both look at me expectantly. It’s my turn to say something.

I turn back to the mirror and study my appearance again. Still the same. I look the same in this outfit as I do in most others. Half-formed tears tickling my eyes and throat, I gesture to myself and manage a weak, “this is what I look like.” I try and fail to keep the hurt out of my voice.

She stares back at me blankly and says nothing. The room is now stifling, the air stale and warm. I desperately want out. When our other friend says she needs a different size for something, I grab the item from her hand and am out the door before she finishes saying, “are you sure?”

When I step into the cool air of the store, I can breathe again. I shake my arms as if the hurt and anger were rain drops I could fling off of me. Tears blur my vision as I look for my friend’s item. A beam of sunlight shines through the store’s doors. A fantasy of walking out, of being done, overtakes me.

My car isn’t here. My purse is still in the dressing room. I am not wearing my own clothes.

I squeeze my eyes shut to stop the flow of tears. I find my friend’s item and start walking back to the dressing room. I take a deep breath. I have a long day ahead of me. I stay, but I’m no longer really there. 

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I’m linking this to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, in response to the prompt: “Write about a time you wanted to disappear.”

Mama’s Losin’ It

A (very) few of you might find this post familiar. I had originally written about this for a prompt to write about a fight, but the original post never felt right because a.) there was no fight and writing about what I could but didn’t say in anger didn’t make me feel any better and b.) the person I’m most angry with is myself. When I saw the Mama Kat prompt, I finally understood what was wrong with the original. To pretend I have a sense of humor about this:


Sep
5
2011
Along For The Ride

Do I miss my childhood? I miss four things about being a kid: my Gram, the close relationship I had with my older brother, summers being something special, and the excitement of Christmas. And maybe MTV playing music videos.

I’m not secretive about not being a kid person. Not a very popular opinion, I know, but at least I’m consistent. I didn’t like kids even when I was a kid. I didn’t like being a kid.

Kids have no control over most of what happens to them.

Other people made my choices. My room was painted pink. I hated pink. I wanted my hair long. My Mom insisted on keeping it short. I cried every time she had it cut.

My older brother would babysit me during the summers. Mike wanted to play tennis with his buddy one day. He wouldn’t let babysitting cramp his style. Guess who had to go with them?

I couldn’t think of anything less fun than walking two miles in the blazing sun to watch sub-amateur tennis. Mike suggested I ride my bike. Did I mention the route was uphill? Huffing and puffing within a few blocks, my little legs couldn’t keep the pedals turning. So I had to walk two miles uphill in the blazing sun while pushing my bike.

Once at the courts, guess whose job it was to retrieve every unforced error (and there were many)? We still talk about that little outing.

On the other hand, I couldn’t think of anything more fun than baking (and eating) cookies. I asked to bake all the time and Mom rarely agreed.

“Why not,” I would whine.

“Because I don’t want to make cookies,” she would say.

“But I’ll do it,” I would insist.

“No, you’re too little. I’d have to help you and I don’t feel like making cookies right now.” Mom clearly identified with Hillary Clinton on making cookies.

Even as a preteen, I still wasn’t allowed. Although, I did almost set our house on fire twice during high school, so maybe she was right to keep me away from the oven.

Kids are annoying.

Kids have no self-control. Maybe because they have no say in anything else, they figure they might as well make everyone else miserable too.

I remember refusing to go to bed one night for my Gram. I danced around, sang at the top of my lungs, jumped on the couch, and generally acted like an escaped mental patient. Gram’s look said, “I’m too old for this shit.” Although she probably thought it in Polish.

I felt exhilarated and terrified. You see, I knew I was tired. I could barely stand up. But I had wired crazy kid brain. My misbehavior felt like something I watched happen rather than something I chose to do. I felt sorry for my Gram and I actually annoyed myself. I was powerless.

I can look back on my childhood fondly now. But I don’t really miss it.

This little uplifting piece was inspired by the memoir writing prompt at Write on Edge. The prompt asked us to use the image of the crayon for inspiration and to begin the post with the words… “I miss my childhood…” I feel the need to point out I wouldn’t have colored in pink even if that crayon were the only one left in the box.

Aug
30
2011
Don’t Be The Tiger

This week’s memoir assignment at Write on Edge was to write about a memory of yourself with someone else, as other people help shape who we are through their words to us, their actions, or their lack of action.

I wrote this to stand on its own, but it’s also a continuation of a previous memoir piece (the first RemembeRED prompt I ever responded to), which can be found here. I decided to write more of this story even though U2’s “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” tells it better.

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My boyfriend, if you could call him that, sat on my bed. When we weren’t “doing shit,” as my friend from across the hall so colorfully called making out, it was painfully obvious this relationship of convenience was neither a relationship nor convenient.

I willed him to kiss me so I wouldn’t have to think about it, but he started talking instead.

“I don’t understand why you hang out with me,” he began tentatively.

Huh, that’s not a question… I held my breath and waited.

He went on, “Say you’re hanging out with a tiger…,” he paused to see if I was following.

“Uh, yeah?,” I already knew where this was going, so I nodded, urging him to get to the point.

“You say you want the tiger to stay, but it’s sort of awkward with a lot of silences.”

I gave him more silence, so he continued, “Then a cheetah comes around. You come alive. You’re friendlier and happier. You talk and smile and laugh. So why do you bother with the tiger at all?”

There wasn’t going to be any doing shit tonight.

Apart from that, it was hard to decide what annoyed me most about this conversation: how dead on he was, how stupid I felt for not breaking up with him after his girlfriend had visited weeks earlier, his hypocrisy, or his unnecessary use of metaphor.

Ironically, if I hadn’t been the most inhibited version of myself with him, I would have called him out on the last two. Are you saying you think I like Mark and Ron better than you? Are you aware of the irony here?

Instead I continued his metaphor, “No cheetah has ever been interested in me.”

I’d overcome my overpowering inhibition when with him and gave voice to my most embarrassing truth. And it didn’t seem to hurt him, or make him angry, or even make him pity me, because he simply didn’t buy it.

“I find that hard to believe. Am I just someone to be with until a good cheetah comes along?”

You really don’t get it. I don’t believe anyone else will ever be interested in me. Your attention intoxicates me.

But I had to force myself to speak again, so all I could get out was, “I don’t know, but isn’t that pretty much what I am to you?”

Only a week before, he’d said he didn’t know the real me. He expressed surprise I hadn’t told him I loved him yet. Before the big cat discussion, I think he told himself I loved him but just couldn’t say it. Or that I was holding back emotionally and if I would just let go…but now he was visibly upset whenever I smiled at, laughed with, or talked to a cheetah.

While he was surprised I didn’t love him, I didn’t see how anyone could fall in love under these conditions.

I was looking for a sign this relationship was good for anything beyond taking my mind off the cheetah. But now he wasn’t even doing that anymore. He actively reminded me of the damn cheetah.

He always insisted I wasn’t a substitute for the long-distance girlfriend who had reportedly agreed to see other people. Something about his vehemence about this and the way he wouldn’t give up working on me suggested he was auditioning me to replace her. Or just trying to get in my pants. But his motivation wasn’t important. Either way, he was right, I wasn’t my best self with him.

I don’t know what he needed, but I needed a cheetah.

Aug
16
2011
Deprived

We sat in silence in the back of the cab. The driver wanted to share one of his poems. Oh God, I didn’t think this ride could get any worse. The driver probably thought we were flying to a funeral. No, we were going on vacation.

Six months earlier I had broached the subject of a “big trip” to celebrate our tenth anniversary. We earn a good living, we don’t have kids tying us down, why don’t we ever go anywhere, do anything exciting? We settled on Belgium. Exotic enough to mark the occasion, but comfortable since I had lived there for a semester in college.

At first, excitement fueled marathon internet research. There was so much to do. After much mental hand-ringing, I booked an apartment and a flight and was too overwhelmed to do more.

A few weeks before our departure, I started to panic. I would never be ready in time. I asked Dave for ideas. I rejected his suggestions as not sufficiently informed by our books or my inflexible idea of what it meant to be ready.

I read the travel guides cover to cover. I spent hours searching the internet, printing custom maps, creating spreadsheets with sight-seeing and restaurant ideas (sorted by location). All while worrying about being ready.

I became fixated on the perfunctory section in the travel guide about security. Somehow “be aware of your surroundings” turned into an internet search that uncovered a murder over a MP3 player on the Brussels metro.

Dave used his iPod all the time. He was trusting and not very observant. I became convinced something bad could happen to him on this trip. Rationally I knew this was extremely unlikely, but my mind kept conjuring up terrifying scenarios, including death, anyway. No trip was worth any of these scenarios. 

I started to dread my looming…vacation.

When we arrived in Brussels, I was horrified to find my French had deteriorated so badly I couldn’t communicate. I hadn’t prepared enough, I wasn’t ready. The first morning, I couldn’t finish my breakfast. Worse, I could feel my body about to reject what I’d already eaten. Even though I was exhausted, my insomnia the first night didn’t surprise me. Rick Steves had warned me about that.

Surely I would sleep the second night. I got comfortable and tried to clear my mind. After hours of lying still without sleep, I tucked deeper into the fetal position and stuck my hands under my chin. My fingers rested lightly on my neck and I felt my heart pound at double my resting heart rate. Images and thoughts raced through my mind, unintelligible but disturbing. I did not sleep for one minute.

The nausea didn’t let up. In a country we had selected in large part for the food, I ate only to avoid passing out. Walking around the city, I felt weighed down by my brand new pants dragging on the ground.

Midway through the week, we sat at the small kitchen table in the dreary apartment. I choked down tiny bites of takeout. I worried about getting sick on our trip to Bruges the next day. I felt guilty Dave wasn’t getting to eat any real food, that I was ruining this trip for him.

I wanted to tell him I’d been counting down the days until it was over and how worried I was that I couldn’t even enjoy a vacation. All I could say was “I just want to go home.” The words caught in my throat and I sobbed.

I made a deal with whoever might be listening. If I got through this vacation, I would figure out why I made everything so difficult and fix it.

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This post is in response to this week’s RemembeRED writing prompt.

“This week we’d like you to write about a moment in your life when you knew something had to change drastically. Really explore the moment.”

I decided the word limit should be 619 words. I managed to hit the mark exactly!

“How was your trip” was never such an unwelcome question. I do have some pleasant memories of the trip, like the way Dave held my hand. He was steady and comforting and wonderful.

Dave told me after the trip that all my rules (no iPod!) freaked him out so much he was afraid of the little old ladies who’d tried to strike up a conversation with us on the train to Bruges. I’m sure they planned to stab him for his iPod, then sell me into slavery.

This was really hard to share. I’m telling myself everyone has things they want (need) to change. And that being open about it can only help.

Jul
20
2011
Law and Order: Birthday Party Unit

There should be a special place in hell for people who commit the especially heinous offense of ruining your birthday party.

My earliest birthday memory is the party during which my cousin Craig pushed me down our back stairs.

I don’t remember ever speaking to him again. Cousin Craig and his family moved away a few years later, so he crystallized in my memory as the little demon who pushed me down the stairs at my own birthday party. He is nothing more, nothing less.

My Mom sometimes tries to tell me what the adult cousin Craig is doing now, but adult, wife-marrying, kid-fathering cousin Craig is a phantom. Whenever she brings him up, I just say: “you mean, the kid who pushed me down the stairs at my birthday party?”

Then she argues with me about the veracity of my memory.

Mom may have said adult cousin Craig is a lawyer, but I can’t be sure since I don’t give a shit. But it figures he’d be a lawyer.

Because he’s a jerk.

Who pushes little girls down stairs.

At their own birthday parties.

My Mom claims ignorance of this incident. She might have a vague recollection of my falling down the stairs at one of my parties, clumsy me, but doesn’t remember that cousin Craig clearly “helped” me down to the hard concrete.

All I know is this:

One minute I was a step away from grabbing the back door handle to go inside, the next minute cousin Craig was crowding me on the stairs, and I ended up unceremoniously deposited onto the concrete slab three stairs down. Cousin Craig was smiling. Cousin Craig is the epitome of evil.

Open and shut case, he had means, motive and opportunity. He had been standing inches from me, trying to get to the same place I was going and pushing past me to get there first. And he was clearly jealous because it was my party.

But even with my sharp eye-witness testimony, and my brilliant summation of the facts, the perp got off scot-free.

What else happened at this party? Was this the year the “Dream Whip” frosting finally switched from a pink tint to my beloved green? What did I get? Hell if I know. What is burned into my brain is cousin Craig’s feigned innocence, his smug lack of remorse, the very literal pain in my ass, and the angry tears about crashing down the stairs to the pavement.

Just look at him…

Clearly a criminal master mind.

My Mom will likely have a cow when she read this. “What if he finds this?”

I say let him find it. This is my own brand of vigilante justice, just like the resolution of every episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (elite squad my ass, they’re always letting the victim commit suicide or missing the clear signs that the victim or one of their loved ones is going to shoot the perp, often at the police station) in which they can’t get the bad guy.

Maybe he’ll apologize, the twerp.

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I wrote this post in response to this week’s writing prompt from Studio 30 Plus, which was: “Your earliest memory of your own birthday party.”

Jul
11
2011
Why It is Important to Know Your Family Tree

When I answered our rotary phone, the voice on the other end of the line was unfamiliar. I didn’t want to tell him I was alone in the house.

But this guy was persistent. He peppered me with questions about my parents’ whereabouts, when I expected them back.

“Wait, who are you again?”

“I’m your cousin Joe.”

Yeah right, buddy.

My Mom was an only child. My Dad’s brother never married. I don’t have any cousins.

But Mom did. I quickly checked my mental list of Gram’s siblings and their children. And came up empty. Nope, no idea who this guy on the phone was. All I knew is he was creeping me out.

I can’t remember if I bothered to apologize first or if I just hung up. But I definitely hung up on “cousin” Joe. Then I checked the locks on all the doors and huddled up in a corner of the couch looking around in paranoia waiting for my parents to get home. At which time I told them the story about how a strange guy claiming to be cousin Joe called.

My Mom didn’t miss a beat, “Yeah, Joe…did he say why he was calling?”

Oh crap.

My grandfather died before I was born. I wasn’t very familiar with that side of Mom’s family. But there was most certainly a cousin Joe.

So Mom had to call her cousin Joe to explain that her daughter was a moron. She made me get on the phone to apologize. I muttered an apology, but Joe took care of most of the talking. He looked forward to meeting me…at his father’s funeral.

Shit, shit, shit.

He mentioned a spanking might be in order for hanging up on him. I would find out soon enough he was only kidding, but not knowing Joe at all (obviously), I worried about the possibility anyway. At best, I knew I would be teased mercilessly. I would be introduced to each and every long-lost family member as the girl who hung up on Joe. As I wrote in my diary, “UGH!!!!!!!!!!”

As if this funeral would not be special enough, my Dad was nowhere to be found that morning. As much as we wished he had just skipped town, we all knew that wasn’t likely. We sat on the couch all dressed up and ready to go and worried he would make us late. Until he finally used his one phone call to let us know he was indisposed. “Say hi to Mom, from JAIL.”

We went to the funeral without Dad. Cousin Joe did not spank me. He did tell the story of my hanging up on him to anyone who would listen. I did shrink in horror, which of course triggered the obligatory game of “let’s tease the shy preteen girl for being shy” that well-meaning but overbearing family members inexplicably like to play.

But the day wasn’t about me and soon the teasing was over. Now I mostly remember this day as a glorious break from Dad. “Minus one,” Mom, my brother, and I felt a little lighter. We might have looked just a bit too happy to be at a funeral.

This post is in response to this week’s memoir prompt at the Red Dress Club.

Take us back to an embarrassing moment in your life.

Did someone embarrass you, your parents perhaps? Or did you bring it upon yourself?

Are you still embarrassed or can you laugh at it now?

Jul
5
2011
Way Past My Bedtime

I have written about my sleep issues before, but I haven’t fully explained I have always been a night owl.

This has never been a convenient trait, and it drove my parents crazy. They would put me to bed and we all knew this was a silly game we were playing, that I was not going to sleep.

Whatever I did, I couldn’t make much noise and I couldn’t use much light or they would notice and yell at me to go to sleep. I would usually read with a flashlight or strain to see the words by the light from the hallway. When I heard my parents coming upstairs for bed after local news and Carson’s monologue, I’d quickly close the book and pretend to be asleep.

Then at 12:30am, I would quietly switch on my tiny 5 inch black and white TV and tune in Late Night with David Letterman. All I had to eliminate the sound was a cheap plastic earphone, yes, earphone in the singular. As often as I could get away with, I would huddle up in my bed and watch Letterman, which I could only hear through one ear, and try to stifle my laughter. I was nine. I was so sleep deprived at school, it’s a miracle I passed fourth grade. Luckily for my academic career, we got a VCR when I was in fifth grade.

I loved Dave’s quirky and irreverent sense of humor. He did silly things. He made fun of his employers mercilessly. He didn’t pander to his famous guests. He would often run a joke into the ground, yet somehow it would continue to be funny in spite of, or perhaps because of, the repetition.

When I started high school, I guessed my homeroom teacher was a Letterman fan before we ever talked about it. The first day, he had us go around the room and introduce ourselves and say something we enjoyed doing. I can’t remember what I said, but so many of the other girls said they liked to ski it started to become almost creepy. He started joking about this and would not let it go. At one point, he broke in and called out for a show of hands: “OK, who skies?” Some of the others groaned, but I just laughed. He was funny, like Dave.

I still have some of my favorite episodes of Late Night on tape in my basement. There was the crazy suit series, like when Dave dressed up in a suit of magnets and attached himself to a giant (GE!) refrigerator, the episode where Dave got Sonny and Cher to sing “I Got You Babe,” and my personal favorite segment ever, when Dave tried to take a fruit basket to General Electric as a gesture of goodwill after they bought NBC and basically got told to talk to the hand.

This very blog owes its title to David Letterman. Dave would try to start new catch phrases (“I can’t stand the itching, but I don’t mind the swelling.”), and he introduced me to the word logy.  Logy refers to feeling sluggish and Dave would often say he felt a little logy. Perhaps because watching his show made me so sleep deprived, the concept of logyness resonated with me. It became one of my signature words.

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This post is in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club. This week, the prompt was “to think about a TV show from your past. What feelings does the show evoke? What memories does it trigger?”

Jun
28
2011
French In Action

Ah, the sounds of France. The sea crashing onto the beaches at Normandy mixed with the respectful hushed voices at the World War II cemetery, the rapid fire native French speakers I strained to understand, the clank of the manual metal elevator doors in the charming small hotels, and the beat of the techno music at the discotheque our teacher allowed us to go to one evening.

However, of all the sounds I heard during my junior year trip to France, none is more vivid in my memory than slurping. The good old-fashioned slurping of an American girl reunited with chocolate after a long Lenten promise. At first, I was charmed. After 40-odd days without chocolate, and the last few with the added bonus of jet lag, my friend was getting pretty fucking grumpy. So at the strike of midnight on Easter Sunday, I was happy for her as she pulled out her stash of Cadbury Creme Eggs and prepared to shut the door right on Lent’s ass.

I believe this was the same evening I’d called my Mom collect to check in. When the French operator asked for my name, I cringed as I said “Tracy,” since I knew he was going to have trouble with my super American name. But to my surprise, he excitedly said “like Tracy Shapman?” (French-ifying the hard “Ch” sound of the semi-popular singer of the time’s last name). I toyed with the idea of breaking out into “Fast Car,” but just said “Yes, like Tracy Shapman,” and that seemed to satisfy him.

Do you know how long it takes to finish a Cadbury Creme Egg if consumed by sucking out all the fondant through a tiny hole in the tip? A long time. The sound attacked a nerve in my brain. Oh my God, the slurping. She was like a crazed junkie getting a fix. But because we were celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the next morning (at Notre Dame, no less!), I decided to let my friend live.

Good thing too, otherwise I would have been in a French jail instead of at the discotheque in my super hot periwinkle skort outfit with mock turtleneck and white tights. Amazingly, a French guy asked me to dance that night in spite of my outfit. For some reason, I’m more popular in France. I believe I’m three for three on dance requests at French discos/dances. Let’s just say the figure here in the U.S. is…lower. My friend titled this photo “Tracy at the piano bar.” It looks like I’m ready to begin my lounge singing career. Thank you!

My friend and I went back to France two years later, accompanying our high school French teacher and his students on their next trip. Being graduates, but not yet 21, the trip was a weird mix of independence and stifling. On that trip, we hung out with the chaperones just as much as with the students. We sang while walking back to our hotel in Nimes late one evening and I did Paul’s harmony on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and felt free (mostly of this). On this trip, it was hard to maintain the respectful silence required at the World War II memorial because my friend and I spied the ridiculous sign below. How the French expect school groups (and ahem, mature college students) to avoid giggling over wild boar warnings is beyond me. Especially when my friend posed on all fours and acted like a wild boar (the photographic evidence of which I’m kindly not publishing here).

This is in response to this week’s memoir prompt at the Red Dress Club. The prompt was to write about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.