Musings, Short stories

Night and Day

A Short Story Written A Life Ago.

I loved it when Billie Holliday sang it. I loved it when Ella Fitzgerald sang it. But it was Sinatra’s rendition that made my heart swell, with an ache that beckoned a deep nostalgia, trailed almost immediately by a flustered panic.

What was her name again?

I could never pronounce those French words and suspect I would never come close to understanding what it means to be French. He always poked fun at his own people — one of his kneejerk phrases was Sacré Francaise!, which I would later recall frequently when I think of our time together.

Yes, Marci Deschamps – a jazz chanteuse from Dijon, the city in eastern France famous for its sharp mustard. She carried herself expectedly, with the grace of what you would expect from a jazz singer. Often in a slinky, sequined black dress – classy yet sensual – carrying an understated elegance in the mist of the night. Her voice – husky – added a tinge of sadness to the otherwise spirited classic.

“When the jungle shadows fall…
So a voice within me keeps repeating you, you, you…”

“Hmm. Keeps repeating you. You. You. Night and day, you are the… Oh, hi.”

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Taking the Plunge

How do you allow yourself to free fall into love, and possibly disappointment?

If I had to describe what falling in love feels like, I would say that those first days luxuriated in love seem like cool, sunny days at the beach, against a soundtrack by Paulinho Moska. You feel a little light-headed, a little sleepy, as if the warm rays of desire envelope you in a misty air of euphoria, full of hope for the boundless possibilities ahead of you. As the days float by, you inch, hand in hand, with the object of your affection toward the cliff of romance, at which point each of you must decide whether to take the “plunge” into the valley of love and that big scary “C” word — commitment. You must simultaneously decide whether to entrust this person with your most fragile organ — your heart. Because, once you give him the key to your heart, you open yourself to a world of unknowns, a place of possible joy and probable sorrow.

The spell of those first days intoxicates you and holds you captive to the persuasion of mutual attraction and need. You can simultaneously feel like you’re on top of the world and like you’re mired in poverty, deprived of the touch of the other. Encountering this other makes you aware of a deep void within you, a void that could only be filled by this person. Being in that state opens you up to vulnerabilities, which you may otherwise not subject yourself to when you are sober. Love has the ability to turn you into a bumbling fool. I have the unfortunate curse of being a fool when in love.


The Festering

I think I hate him. I do. I can’t be sure if it’s a pattern of my dysfunctional personality, but I feel a negative feeling toward him. He is crass, he is brute, he treats me like I’m invisible, and that I’m never good enough. I hate him – and once upon a time, I might have cared how he felt, but today, I don’t fucking give a shit.

I’ll freely talk to anyone I want. I’ll do what I want – who gives a fuck what he thinks. It’s not like he gives two hoots about what I think. You think he cares about me? Fuck him. Go to hell. All he cares about is himself. How did it come to this point? I don’t know, and don’t even fucking care anymore. The fact that I am starting to notice other guys is just my bodily reaction to how I’m quickly leaving the relationship and not really caring what the fuck he’s doing anymore.

Places, San Francisco

Forever Young

I spent the past day and a half watching the entire first season of Felicity – the DVD cover jumped out at me in my Netflix homepage. It was late Friday night and I recalled faint vignettes of the show. Something told me I should watch it – and I did. Memories of when I was 18, 19, came back to me – I really connected to the show’s protagonist, Felicity. She defied her parents and instead of going to Stanford, she followed a boy she liked to New York. I remembered at that time feeling the pangs of envy – how I wished I could switch places with her. How exciting it must be to travel thousands of miles away from your home and create adventures for yourself. I think I already had those pangs – for years, all I could think of was leaving to see the world, go beyond my comfort zone – because I was sure there was some place to which I belonged. The show merely was a catalyst that made the hole in my life seem bigger.

As I watched the characters talk about their new lives in New York – with the city figuring prominently almost like a character – I look out my window at the fog-capped view, and I smiled a wide, satisfied grin. I finally had my New York – I had a place where I belonged and love dearly.



Love is one of those words that changes its meaning throughout the course of your life, and possibly even throughout the course of your day. It’s just that fickle piecing of four letters that one moment can mean so much, and in another, so little. People say romantic love and platonic love are different, but give it enough time, they start to be indistinguishable. Like two blondes after a few drinks. Sometimes, as love runs its course, you may feel like platonic love is more valuable than romantic love. Because, so much significance is tagged onto the semantic field of romantic love. Puppy love, roses, rose-colored glasses, the One, that feeling in your belly. One day, if you wake up and there’s a feeling in your belly, it’s probably something you ate or didn’t eat. That’s all there is to it.

Romantic love, like its famous motif the rose, has an expiration date.