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Onward: The Journals of Meghan McDonnell

Volume Seven


Meghan McDonnell


Copyright 2017 Meghan K. McDonnell



Discover other Titles by Meghan McDonnell:


Minor: Volume One

Novice: Volume Two

Limbo: Volume Three

Elsewhere: Volume Four

Faithful: Volume Five

Vespers: Volume Six

Onward: Volume Seven

Sojourn: Volume Eight

Ingress: Volume Nine


Note

All names and identifying characteristics have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. I have solely recorded my interpretations and opinions of all events. Certain place names have been changed. Aside from minor edits, all else is as I wrote it at the time. If you’re new to the journals, welcome. If you’re a veteran, thank you for coming back for more. You’ll find links to songs, books, films, and more throughout the text, and a playlist at the end.




Contents

July 2002

August 2002

September 2002

October 2002

November 2002

December 2002

January 2003

February 2003

March 2003

April 2003

Playlist




July 2002



Sunday, July 21, 2002

I am marrying Carson. I am in love and elated. I feel beautiful, graceful, light. Every inch of my body is electrified.

I worked last night and the hours passed like minutes because Carson and my friends were there. I can’t keep track of the days; they pass like water. I am with Carson all the time.

The night I last wrote was mayhem. We were all insane. I told Carson I wanted to smoke a cigarette, listen to a song, go home, and learn how it feels to kiss him.

Forgive the sporadic intervals at which I’ll relate what has happened. It blends into one realization: Carson Hall is my love, my soul.

Last night, I told Mom that he and I are getting married. She took it well. She repeated, “Okay,” but she didn’t sound critical.

Carson drove to see his parents today. He said they are excited and he told his dad, “I’m going to marry her.”

When I got off the phone with Mom, it was ridiculous and funny at the bar. All of us were there physically, but each a million miles away in mind. I was thinking of Carson; Rachel was out to lunch with her thoughts; Shelly was lusting after Chet the cook. Poor Derek (the bar back, for God’s sake) ran around like a mad man because he wanted to clock off early and get a drink with a cute gay guy he likes, and his co-workers were useless.

At one point, we stood around smoking cigarettes while Derek poured drinks, took tables, and punched in tickets, among other things. Jill smiled and said, “Good job, girls. You’ve got him trained.”

Yesterday, Carson and I sat in the Cabin Tavern after buying duds at Blue Moon and looking at the antique mall for wedding rings.

Carson’s mother’s health is in question. He cried and looked at me. He said, “I’m probably going to have a big breakdown when you get done with work.” He didn’t.

We had sex for the first time. I was going to have us wait until our wedding night. Our connection is a refutation of Anne Sexton’s When Man Enters Woman. Carson is like water, whisky, wine, and oxygen to me. I feel open and exposed to him and I give freely. I told him we are maps and territories. He makes me a beautiful vessel.

We are getting married in Las Vegas and then going to Burning Man. His brother Craig will be our witness.

Earlier this week, Carson, Angela, Corey, and I went to Angela’s and drank whisky on her deck until 7 a.m.

Everything is becoming “we” when before, it was always “I.”

Carson and I have considered talking to Prof. Pittman about our lackluster attendance in class. We think we should fill him in on why we are preoccupied.

Carson said he hopes we will always make people’s jaws drop, as we have been every time we tell someone we are getting married. They think we’re kidding and then realize we’re not.

Cassie had lunch with us yesterday. She gives her blessing. This time is indescribable: Cassidy’s pregnancy, Angela’s departure for grad school, me and Carson’s union. We owe thanks to the people in our lives. We ought to call Ryan Adams and thank him for providing the soundtrack to our falling in love.

I cried when I talked to Elizabeth about Carson. She knew I was being real.

Love, Meghan


Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Carson and skipped theory class so we could finish our papers. We walked in together near the end of class and Prof. Roberts looked calm, welcoming, and warm. We apologized for turning our papers in late and she said it’s okay because our attendance has been good. Carson told her we are invested in the class but personal things have distracted us.

We went to Shakespeare class and wrote notes back and forth. We went back to his place after class to nap. We ordered Thai food and ate at his work before I met Cass and Nina at the Beaver. Cassie and I are going through some major shit in our lives: a baby and marriage. I love her dearly and I can’t wait to meet her baby. She has a name for her: Sylvie. Carson is excited to meet her, too. We want Cassie to carry her down the aisle when we have an official wedding ceremony. I want to have it on February 3rd, my grandparents’ anniversary, but we’re focused on the Vegas wedding for now.

Carson and Angela came in while I worked last night. It was slow so Sue cut me loose and then of course it got busy.

When we got home, Carson said, “I want to show you something.” He showed me a picture of myself on a corner in New York, the Empire State Building behind me. Claire took it. I’m smiling and holding Claire’s and my coffees. Carson said he wants to be the one on that corner with me one day; he wants the other cup of coffee to be his.

We mushed and showered this morning and then walked to school. We got coffee and as we walked through campus, Carson said he’s glad he met his future wife in college, and that he didn’t expect to. I wrote notes to him all through theory class. We sat by the fountain after and ran into Cassie. She and I went to the Bagelry for lunch and I returned to campus for Shakespeare class.

Carson and I wrote more notes. Pittman wondered aloud why we were smiling. Near the end of class, we talked about ideal love vis a vis Shakespeare’s plays. Sadie shouted, “They’re getting married!” All eyes on us. We held hands and laughed and nodded.

Pittman talked to us after class. I went to Mambo Italiano with Cassie, Skyler, Nina, and Sadie. I called Mom and Elizabeth. Elizabeth cried and misunderstood what we had talked about on Saturday. She thought I was not including her, that I was inviting a few friends to Vegas and that was it. She didn’t realize we want to have a formal ceremony down the road for family and friends. Mom sounds happy. I’m driving down to see them on Friday.

Claire is coming home this weekend for a few weeks before she leaves for Italy. I want her to design my wedding dress and fly home to be in the wedding down the line. Carson and I want to visit her in Florence.

Carson is concerned about Charlie’s reaction when he catches wind of our engagement. The song “Movie Star Girl” by Ryan Adams sums it up.

It’s Angela’s last night in town. It makes me sad. She’s going to Eastern Washington, then coming back here for a couple days until she leaves for DC for good. Her departure will be difficult for me.

I struggle with change and the absence of people I love. But with Carson, I feel like that won’t affect me as much. He is my home and my safety now. I have Carson. I don’t need possessions or to be afraid. I have him. He came along when I’d given up on the prospect that he could exist.

Traveling, graduating, leaving Bellingham, moving on … all seemed sad and lonely. Now they seem illuminated because Carson will be with me. I give thanks for my renewed sense of purpose.

Love, Meghan


Thursday, July 25, 2002

Car and I missed classes yesterday and hit the road for Seattle. We had drinks and went to see Jeff’s film that I was in. I didn’t even cringe when I was onscreen. Sis came with Andrew, Sarah, and Hannah. It was thoughtful of them to come.

Carson and I told people of our plans. Jeff looked sad when he heard but everyone else was excited.

Sis gave me a blender as a belated birthday present. She told Mom and Dad about Vegas. They’re not mad. They want to go. That got Carson and me thinking. We’ll do the official ceremony in Vegas and have a celebration in Seattle when we get back.

After the film, Carson and I met Angela on the Ave. I can’t believe what is going and I wish Angela wasn’t leaving. Carson and I are getting married. Cassidy is pregnant. Sadie is a lesbian. Angela’s going to grad school.

This morning in the kitchen, Carson and I hugged and listened to “Movie Star Girl.” We sang to each other: “Trust is what to true love is about. To open up your house to the sun. Afraid but turning cold into warm.” I feel like crying when I hear it. Some serious crying impends but not yet. I’m reveling in awe for now.

Ryan Adams is coming to Seattle a few days before we leave for Vegas. I want to see the show. We discussed places we want to go on our road trips to and from Nevada. We want to visit Margo in Yellowstone. I can’t wait to roll through and tell her the news. I like that she can only communicate through hand-written letters, so old-fashioned. My soul is on its true path.

Angela told us about her parents’ divorce. Her dad cheated on her mom for 26 years. Carson and I talked about how stories like these make us feel more convicted about our choice to marry each other. We’ll be hermits and socialites at revolving intervals.

I was exhausted while we were at the pub last night. Car and I split one of Angela’s Adderalls. I told my landlord that Carson and I are getting married and asked if I can put him on the lease and renew it. He was cool about it.

On our drive home last night, Carson and I listened to The Boss and Ryan Adams and sang along. We talked about my past relationships. When we got home, we sat on the steps outside and smoked cigs and I cried because I can’t understand why I didn’t wait and watch and hold out for Carson. What does it mean that I was in other relationships?

Carson told me that he used to have a hang up about that sort of thing but with me, he doesn’t. He said we have arrived at this place with each other but have come through different paths. He hasn’t ever been in a serious relationship. It’s different from my experience. But here we are.

We got ready for bed and I read him excerpts from The Prophet. We fell to sleep and went to theory class this morning.

Carson’s friend Tanner approached us on campus. He found out about the wedding a couple days ago. He said, “I think it’s a terrible idea. It’s totally fucked up and you guys don’t know what you’re doing.” Thanks for the support, bro. He told Carson that he’s only saying this because he loves him and no one else will tell him what Tanner will. He got accusatory and judge-y with me and said, “Didn’t you just break up with someone?” I said, “You don’t know me and you don’t know the circumstances.” He said, “Well, it’s fucked up. Don’t give me this year and a half crap,” presumably referring to how long Carson and I have known each other.

Tanner said he loves Carson but he can’t support this because it doesn’t make sense. We thanked him for his input and said, “We’re happy. We’re not going to get defensive or make excuses.” Carson and I talked for a minute after Tanner walked away. We parted until Shakespeare class, where we wrote notes back and forth like grade-schoolers. We’ve got one week left of school and then it will solely be work, freedom, and the insanity that will be August.

We went to La Fiamma with Sadie and Stephen earlier. I love them. Sadie is seeing a girl and she’s happy. She seems to have found herself. We are close again. Carson and I are surrounded by good people. His friend Elliott cried when he found out about the wedding because he is happy for us. I talked to Scott yesterday and he is supportive of us.

I’m waiting for Skyler to show so we can chill before I have to work. I want to describe Carson as I am seeing him but I don’t have the words. He is warmth and light.

Love, Meghan


Saturday, July 27, 2002

I’m at the old hideout: Cap Hansen’s. I miss Angela. She is my darling. We sat in a booth here one day and read poems to each other.

I’m tired. I’m on my period and I feel like nutrients are draining out of my body. I woke up at Carson’s and we lay around until he had to go to work.

Craig, Carson’s brother, hung out with us and then I went to Mykonos, Sadie’s restaurant. Skyler and Cassie met me and we ate, drank, and played cards. I love them. They are supportive. I joked about Carson and me wanting to adopt Angela, Ryan Adams, and Lyle Lovett. I told Cass we’ll also adopt her and Sylvie so we can be one big family.

I talked to Mom and Dad yesterday. They sound … hesitant? Dad was cool and sounds great about it but I can tell Mom has reservations.

Car and I spent yesterday together. We did homework in the computer labs and then went to Old Fairhaven to do laundry and eat at the Black Cat. While we folded clothes, Car asked if there is a washer and dryer in my apartment building. I said yes and he said, “Well, let’s go to laundromats anyway.” I concurred. Laundromats and grocery stores - they make you feel better somehow.

We cried at dinner over wine and cigs. Carson has been here for me and I was distant for a long time. Charlie made me sad all the time and Carson was there, smiling, able to make me feel better. I didn’t know then that behind the smile was a well of tears that could break like a dam. Carson is selfless.

I know he looked at me sometimes and felt sad, not because he couldn’t be with me but because he knew I was sad. He said it was difficult because he likes Charlie but couldn’t see how Charlie and I were together when I often said things that conveyed to Carson that I didn’t know Charlie at all.

It pissed Carson off because, per him, not only was Charlie uncommunicative, cold, and uninterested, but he didn’t express any desire to be different. He didn’t engage when people around him were having fun, enjoying themselves, and opening up to each other.

Every day, I wake up and feel blessed for another day to know Carson.

We left the Cat and went to The Keg to meet Carson’s friends, Hudson and Stephanie, and Stephanie’s friend Liza. Craig, Scott, and a few more of their friends came by, too. Scott is one of the only members of that entourage whom I feel comfortable with. Elliott and Dodd are sweet to me but they have their doubts.

Tanner showed up with his girlfriend. Tension. I had to get to work and couldn’t find Carson. I waited for him to come back and it took a while so I went to find him because he was my ride. When I did, he was talking to Tanner. I put my hand on Carson’s arm so I wouldn’t interrupt their conversation. Tanner turned to me and said, “Could you give us a minute?” I said, “I’ll give you all the minutes you want. Carson is taking me to work and if we don’t leave now, I’m going to be late. And you don’t need to be short with me. While we’re at it, you don’t know me or my past. My life is none of your business. If you love Carson as much as you say you do, you’d stop being a judgmental prick.” He said, “Okay. I’m sorry.” He didn’t expect me to call him out.

Work was busy. Carson came with Craig, and their friends met him there. Tanner pisses me off. He has other beef with Carson (which is not my business) and he’s adding me to his ever-growing list of bones to pick and judgements to make. I hope I didn’t make Car uncomfortable with what I said to Tanner but he knows me well enough to know how I respond to people who are being assholes.

Dorothy, one of my favorite women who works in the diner, pulled me aside and told me she heard the news and she is happy for us. She said she knew Charlie wasn’t the one for me. She said that while still waters run deep, I am full of life and love and he didn’t want to share in either of those with me.

I clocked out 15 minutes before 2 and drove three drunk monkeys home: Shelly, Carson, and Craig. When Carson and I got into bed, he rambled nonsense and told me not to listen to anything he said. I asked why and he said he was afraid he was being an asshole. He wasn’t. He was just drunk.

Craig bought us Burning Man tickets for our wedding gift and told us he would plan our time there so we can focus on Vegas. We want to learn several musical instruments and start a band and name our first album The Vegas Aspect.

I love Carson and I want to marry him. I’m irritated by people’s reactions to us. It’s hectic. It matters because I care about family and friends but it doesn’t hinder my feelings for Carson or my conviction in marrying him. I feel like I’m not invited to speak when his friends bring it up.

Carson told me that he wasn’t very sexual until me. Skyler asked me about birth control. Maybe I’ll get an IUD.

People get nervous when people around them are being stupid. People get even more nervous when people around them fall in love. Sometimes being in love is confrontational to other people. And sometimes, people need to be taken aback.

Love, Meghan


Sunday, July 28, 2002

At the risk of sounding scientific, Carson is a perfect composite of all qualities that I value and respect. He holds none that I find repulsive or banal. My father called me at the bar earlier, which I find hilarious. He wants to drive up on Wednesday and take Carson out to discuss his intentions for marrying his youngest daughter. Old-fashioned. I like it. I can’t decide if it’s Dad’s style or not. I am aware again that I come from my mother and father. I am nervous and curious for my father to see what a great person my husband-to-be is. Will they get coffee? Will they go to a bar? They’ll probably want a drink, to cover such an intense topic, and meeting for the first time. Weird to know that my Dad and my love will be conferencing about me.

I left a message for Carson, telling him the deal. I can’t wait to hear his thoughts. I’ve been talking to Frank Bond at the bar for the last couple hours. I’m not getting down to business with my rough draft for Shakespeare class. I need at least five pages by tomorrow.

Last night, Carson waited for me to finish work. We went home and made Ryan Adams mix tapes for Cassie and Skyler. We met them and Sadie for breakfast at Arliss’s this morning. Skyler and I had to say goodbye but I hope she can come to Vegas.

Carson and I watched Othello and I blushed during a sex scene. I feel modest and shy with Carson sometimes but I also feel intimacy and abandon with him. We took a nap and he was irked when he woke up because he had to get to work and he didn’t do a few things that he needed to for school.

People have asked what we are doing for our honeymoon. Burning Man. Then I tell them the rest of our lives will be one long honeymoon and they laugh, not knowing that I mean it. I need to hand out complimentary barf bags to those who have a hard time seeing two young folks in obscene, exact love.

Love, Meghan


Monday, July 29, 2002

Carson came into work last night. When I got done, we drank White Russians with Carson’s friend Rob. We are bad kids; we stayed up too late talking last night and missed our classes today. Shakespeare class would have been futile because we didn’t write our rough drafts.

I’m at Grand Ave. to work on the paper now. Carson and I went downtown for breakfast at the Bagelry, got coffee, and walked through town. We got excited for our upcoming trip.

When I asked Carson about meeting with my Dad, he said, “I haven’t actually proposed so I can still ask his permission.”

I have this Shakespeare paper, one more theory paper, and then I can focus on our trip and the wedding. We are inviting our family and friends to Las Vegas.

Cassidy talked to Margo. Aidan told Margo about Carson and me getting married. I don’t care to talk to her about it. I haven’t talked to Claire yet but she is in town and she left a message on Carson’s phone.

Each day, Carson and I laugh and dance and listen to music. We kiss and talk and hold each other. I had a hard time leaving him when I had to go to work. He said, “We have the rest of our lives.”

I selected classes for the coming fall so I can graduate already. My life is fun. I have missions but I enjoy them. They aren’t stressful or burdensome. I know that for what I want in life to happen, all I have to do is ask. Enough. I must write a paper.

Love, Meghan


Wednesday, July 31, 2002

So much for going to every class my last week of the quarter. I’m having breakfast and doing homework until Shakespeare class this afternoon. I talked to Prof. Pittman about my paper yesterday.

Carson and I went to Lucci’s with Cassie and sat in the sun. The weather has felt autumnal. We went home to nap. Then Meredith came over.

The three of us sat my bed while she talked about how insane and depressed she feels. She’s been off her medication for a couple weeks. It’s better that she’s not taking meds. When people are medicated, they function but they suppress feelings that will come up to bite them in the ass in the long run.

Carson and I picked up ice cream and drove to Cassidy’s to watch The Man Who Knew Too Little. Oh, Bill Murray. Car and I put our hands on Cassie’s belly. I felt Sylvie kick. After the movie, we went to the Hitching Post to meet Carson’s friends, Cate and Bennett. They support our marriage and want to come to Las Vegas. I get more excited every day. We sat at the bar and drank whisky & ginger ales. I was tired and we went back to the mountain. That’s what I call Carson’s place: “The Mountain.”

We call his place the mountain because his building is tucked into trees on a hill. We call my place “The City” because I live downtown. We often ask each other, “City or mountain tonight?”

Car left this morning to work on school projects and I slept in. I love Cass and I hope Carson and I can be here for her. I want us to be a big part of Sylvie’s life. Cassie is strong and beautiful. She’s already a great mom.

Aidan is still being an asshole. He will regret his absence during this pregnancy for the rest of his life. Carson stands in stark contrast. He is intelligent and hilarious but also compassionate, loyal, and reliable. He and Dad are getting together after class today. Dad will be on the road soon.

Claire and I talked yesterday. Cassie’s baby shower is on Tuesday and we’ll see Claire there.

I have to go to the computer lab to write papers. After tomorrow, school will be over and I can focus on the wedding, go to the lake, relax, and prepare for marriage. I love Carson Hall.

Love, Meghan


August 2002


Thursday, August 1, 2002

I worked until 9 tonight. I just looked at photos of Carson. I’m so tired I can hardly hold this pen, or my head up. I am anxious to see Carson. We parted at Cap Hansen’s at 5, where we drank canned Rainier with Sadie. It’s almost midnight. We’re going to see a flick at the theatre.

Carson and I failed theory class. We got emails from Professor Roberts. Does being in love equal stupidity? People don’t realize that love makes you unable to worry or fear or be sensible. Let us float in bliss. We’ll wake up one day, bruised and tired and broke and bereft, but we’ll wake up next to each other.

I can’t get over what he said the night he told me how he felt: “I’m with her all the time.” I bathe in the afterglow when we part and I anticipate our next meeting. I couldn’t stop staring at him when we were at Casa yesterday. He understands my vision and heart. He is compassionate and honest.

I just looked up and saw a man put his hand on Rachel’s back and she cringed. She’s working. What the hell? That asshole doesn’t realize that when we are at work, we at our keenest and have no tolerance for someone touching us when we have not invited it.

Among friends, we are affectionate. Our mates can touch us. But for a stranger to do this, it is an offense, a violation, not a friendly gesture. For an odd man to feel our bodies, it undermines the meaning and beauty of touch from the people we love, the ones who are invited.

Love, Meghan


Friday, August 2, 2002

I talked to John. We talked about Carson and me getting married and it brought up underlying feelings I have toward my brother. He’s protective of me. It meant a lot to me to talk to him.

When Carson picked me up last night, he brought me a gift that his mom sent for me. It was a t-shirt with a photograph printed on it of Carson asleep on a couch when he was three. She wrote me a card. Carson and I cried. Her words moved me. She and Carson’s dad are coming up to have lunch with us tomorrow. I have wanted to meet them.

Carson and I watched Signs at the theatre last night to make sure the reels were sound for its opening today. We got home at 5:30 a.m. and snogged.

Cassie and I had lunch together earlier. She had driven to Seattle and received a letter from Aidan. I cannot describe my disgust for him. I shouldn’t write hate but I’m thinking it. I feel ire toward him. And Cassidy of all people. She’s loving, warm, kind, gracious, understanding, and powerful. His letter was rife with condescension and 50-cent words, excuses and bullshit. Cassidy rises above all but how does that account for the unadulterated bullshit from Aidan?

People need to value and recognize strength and determination. But what do you do with an asshole? How do you come to terms with someone awful and blind? I am beside myself with frustration toward him. I am filled with love, honor, and respect for Cassidy. She is my best friend. What can I say when she reads me his contrived and shallow words? He’s playing the martyr card. Oh, Aidan! We’re so compassionate to your plight. You poor thing. I don’t want to taint this page with his name. And from one writer to another, Aidan: You are one irredeemable fuck.

I won’t write any more degrading things about him because he is Sylvie’s father. He is the biological father, which impedes me from ripping him several new assholes, each of which he deserves.

Cassie is an angel. Sylvie is her child. I want to write Sylvie a letter and thank her for being with Cassidy.

Love, Meghan


Monday, August 5, 2002

Carson and I drove to Seattle yesterday and went to a Seafair party at Brandy’s parent’s house on the lake. Carson played croquet with Cass and the landscapers. We sat on the patio and drank beers. I saw Claire, Mary, Shelby, Tiffany, and Grant Moreland. Mary and Shelby are throwing a shower for Cassidy tomorrow. Mary and Grant are happy for Carson and me.

Mary lives in San Diego now and likes it. She said everyone there is young and beautiful and she said it’s weird because she’s single but casually dating. We talked about how we’re not “daters” and not good with casual when it comes to romantic relationships.

Brandy is a doll. She lives in New York and invited us to stay with her on our way to Europe next spring. I didn’t get to spend time with Claire, as she was out on a boat for most of the afternoon.

After the party, we drove to Fremont to meet John, Kim, Elizabeth, and Andrew. We talked about hotels, gambling, and chapels in Vegas. Carson had to work so we hit the road.

Nina came by when I got home. She had been at the Grand Ave. with Sadie and Meredith. She said Meredith was slamming alcohol and threw up in a pitcher while Stephen held it for her. Girl is out of control. I hope she’s okay, but ralphing into a pitcher at a bar after drinking recklessly does not indicate such.

I talked to Angela on the drive back to Bellingham. She is a badass and a great friend. I love getting sucked into the whirlwind that is her world. Carson and I looked at photos from spring and earlier this summer. In one, Angela is blurred, looking down, in motion, hair everywhere, and Carson said, “You know, that's kind of who Angela is to me: a mass and blur of crazy with wild hair, whirring through life.” She’s coming up on the 17th. It’s good for her to be away from here; she has baggage with certain guys. But selfishly, I want her here.

Nina and I sat on the roof and drank beer last night. Ryan came over. He and I got into an intense conversation about Cassidy and Aidan. I was not shy about my views and Ryan looked shaken. It’s hard for him. I cannot skate around issues even when they are uncomfortable or complicated. Carson told me he didn’t say anything when I talked to Ryan because he would have been merciless toward Aidan. Carson is aware that he is biased because he loves Cassidy and Sylvie, and doesn’t know Aidan.

We saw Nina at Tony’s Coffee toady. We got breakfast and did crosswords. We went shopping for Cassidy’s baby shower. Car and I took photos in a booth and got his oil changed. He has to work until 5 tomorrow so Nina and I will drive down for the shower and he’ll come later.

We want to meet Elizabeth at Goldie’s for trivia night. We’re visiting Mom and Dad in Gig Harbor on Wednesday before we come back up here.

Carson and I are happy to be with our friends and family. We are sensitive and empathetic to how they feel about our wedding and we feel convicted in our hearts. Mom and I talked yesterday. We laughed. She said she doesn’t know why we’re going to Vegas. I assured that it will be alright. She believed me.

Love, Meghan


Tuesday, August 6, 2002

I’m at Allegro. Cassie’s shower was at Shelby’s today. Mary and some old school high school kids came. Cass opened gifts and we all freaked about how little and precious the clothing is. Cass and I talked about Aidan on the porch. Mary made the point that something is not clicking with him in his head. He hasn’t come to terms with this happening. Cassidy is hurt and will be for a long time to come. She is meeting me here soon and bringing the letter Aidan wrote to her. It is rife with excuses and big words he probably doesn’t understand.

Someone broke into Nina’s car this morning and she didn’t make it to the shower but she’s coming down tonight with Carson and Stephen.

I got a snotty email from Prof. Roberts but I should count my blessings because she is letting me take the class again at no cost this coming winter. She stipulated that I must attend every class and rewrite the papers. Carson and I are planning a trip to Europe but it will have to wait until after winter quarter. He made a good point that the longer we stay in town, with its cheap rent and our decent-paying jobs, the more we can save for our Euro jaunt.

I cried on the drive to Seattle earlier because I am overloaded with emotions revolving around Cassidy, Carson, all the people we know, and the heavy conversations. I told Carson that our senses of humor freak people out sometimes. It feels rabid of late, like we cling to it, feeling a voracious need to laugh and make jokes. We have the freedom to do it because we have a foundation beneath us. Carson thinks we’ll always feel this way: a need and desire for humor.

I think I want to be a copyeditor. I saw a poster in Elliott and Dodd’s bathroom last night; incessantly was spelled incessently. The spelling seemed wrong and I looked it up in the dictionary. I have an instinct but I know where to look to make sure my instincts are right.

Love, Meghan


Saturday, August 10, 2002

I miss Angela. We talked on the phone and she’ll be here soon. She found an apartment in Georgetown. I woke up hung over and wanted so badly to go to Toad Lake with her and chain-smoke and pop Adderall and drink cheap beer. I did Carson’s dishes and took the garbage out instead.

Last night, we went to a wedding for Carson’s friends, Billy and Cara Bateman. I met more of Carson’s friends: Joe, Jackie, Mitch, Lindsey, Kylie, and Ben. Joe is rad. We got trashed and danced. After the reception, we drove to Cyclops and met Craig and Scott. I fell off the booth onto the floor and I’m embarrassed. Carson, you are not marrying a lush, I promise.

Carson and I saw Emma at Copacabana at the Market yesterday. I loved seeing her and I hope she can come to Vegas. We had a glass of wine with Elizabeth and Andrew before the wedding. After Cyclops, we drove home at 2 a.m. and Carson said I cried and kept saying, “I love you.” I love him so much it scares me. I’m overwhelmed by how fast I feel I’m changing.

I don’t know what to write for my vows. What words can possibly say our lives together? I think I’ll wear Mom’s wedding dress. We saw her and Dad on Tuesday in Gig Harbor. It was the best. Carson and I sat in Dad’s office and found our wedding chapel: Little Church of the West. We booked a room at Luxor. We want to stay at the Madonna Inn on our way.

We went to the Tides Tavern with Mom and Dad. We talked about her wedding dress and she remembered that she had it back at the house and that Grandma had had it cleaned and preserved after Mom and Dad’s wedding. How wild that Grandpa walked her down the aisle to Dad in it and Dad will walk me down to Carson in the same dress.

I feel psychotic today. Sometimes when I am hung over, I feel insane and I can’t stand it. My thoughts become scattered and strange. I feel like I have no control over my body or thoughts. It’s like when Shelly can tell someone is zoning out or trailing off, not listening to her anymore, and she says, “It’s aliens, isn’t it? They’ve gotten to you. They’re controlling your mind.” Then you come back into the conversation and go, “What?” and she’s like, “Exactly. Just like I thought.”

I love Carson. I knew it could be real but this is beyond my comprehension. It’s mysterious and beautiful. He transforms what used to be a hassle or frustration or nonsense into wonder. I love how much time we spend with friends and family. Carson and I are a unit and I can tell people enjoy being around us as a couple.

I have so much in my heart and mind and I can’t put it into words. I am soaking, marinating, in life. It feels beautiful and precious. Music is necessary for me. My tears are pure, my laughter deep and genuine. When you get down to brass tacks, you wonder what the meaning of life is. I have not pondered “deep” ideas and thoughts in a long time, and not to this degree. A current of underlying sense and purpose flows beneath the madness and intricacies of being alive. Beauty exists in everything. Love is the most powerful element.

I admire Carson’s friend Joe’s parents. I met them at Billy and Cara’s wedding. Carson knows amazing people who love each other and who want to celebrate and continue. I have this partner now. Nothing I do is alone anymore. It is exquisite. We are fortunate and full. It’s incredible. I’m speechless.

Love, Meghan


Sunday, August 11, 2002

I’ve been sleeping too much. Carson has to go into work in the mornings lately so I wake up and spend time with him and fall back to sleep after we kiss goodbye. I had weird dreams this morning. In one, I went to my parents’ house (on Thornhill, not Gig Harbor). The house was in the woods and the outdoors had taken over the inside. I felt disgusted and intrigued. Moss and mushrooms covered the walls and an oak piano. Everything was alive and fecund and pulsing. Cocoons and nests hung in one corner. I wanted to clean it all up and clear it out but I couldn’t find bleach. I didn’t know where to begin and I had this feeling that nothing was powerful enough to get rid of the growth.

Later, I dreamed that we were at a lake playing water sports. I told Carson about the dreams when I woke up. When I went back to sleep later in the morning, I dreamed of Jeff. He wanted me to marry him and I felt sick and trapped and I couldn’t find Carson. But Carson got a hold of me and it flooded me with relief. I felt overjoyed when Carson told me that he and I were getting married and I didn’t have to marry Jeff.

I am immersed in The Lovely Bones. Alice Sebold describes the family’s dynamics. She gives insight into the mother and father as individuals and as a unit. Sometimes female characters piss me off when they are too independent and are more concerned with the lives they had to give up for their children than they are with their kids. It’s a strange form of sexism on my part. It’s expected for men to be flakes and deadbeats to the point where it’s not looked down upon or even blatantly recognized. But for a woman to not embrace motherhood or resent foregoing lifelong plans for the sake of her family? It’s seen as selfish and audacious.

I want an option outside these boundaries and binaries. I want a lifelong love affair with Carson. I want to eventually start a family and continue writing. I want to travel and see friends and family while understanding that though you make sacrifices, you don’t have to create a life that leaves you trapped and suffocating. There must be a way to make your life what you want it to be, to be a mother and still be your own person, to still have a great relationship with your partner, and to include your own wants and aspirations along with your children’s.

Carson and I will be great parents together and it doesn’t have to mean abandoning our own intimate relationship. It’s silly to write about what it will be like because I don’t know. I’m not a sorceress.

The Lovely Bones is engrossing and I can’t help but apply every single thing I am exposed to these days to Carson and me. He excites me.

Work was busy last night. Boss man installed computers for us to ring up drinks on. I fear I will forget how to write and add. Not really, but it’s a different bar now. Carson came in at 1 a.m. after he finished work. He played a beautiful Lyle Lovett song called “North Dakota.” I love it when Carson sings. I like to watch and listen to him sing along with whoever we listen to. He looks alive and soulful and happy. I like it when he sings Lovett’s songs “Skinny Legs” and “If I Had a Boat.”

I can’t wait till Angela gets here on Thursday. I work for the next couple days and then I have a couple off. Carson’s been working a lot. He has a good work ethic.

I keep becoming more excited and conscious of the depth of what we are doing. I told Carson that my vows are not standard per se. He said his are abstract. I don’t know if I will get through the ceremony without blubbering. It will be madness down in Vegas.

Love, Meghan


(later) I like to think of all the people Carson and I come into contact with these days: individuals and couples. The night we saw Cate and Bennett at the Hitch, we talked about the wedding and our love and I imagined the two of them going home together at the end of the night. I like thinking about Carson’s parents, and my own. I like to think of Joe’s parents and Billy and Cara as newlyweds, and John and Kim, and my sister and Andrew. We see them and talk about our lives. We inadvertently cause other couples to take stock in their own relationships. I think of the intimacy that transpires at the end of the night between them - their own unique love affairs. And we have ours and we can bless others couples and hope to be a model to them and hope they do the same for us.

Love, Meghan


Monday, August 12, 2002

One more night of work and then Carson and I have a planned itinerary for Seattle tomorrow to see Cassie and Craig. We went through Carson’s CDs, books, and papers at his apartment earlier so we can downsize and consolidate before he moves in with me. It was emotionally overwhelming. I’ve felt vulnerable and exposed today and last night. I can’t put my finger on it. I talked to Cassidy.

Carson and I got lunch at Lucci’s. Cassidy left a message, telling me that she was going to see Aidan. Please, God, let him be decent and human. He is mixed up and I feel like Cassie and Sylvie are being fed to the wolves when they are with him. I can’t wait to see her tomorrow.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I feel tossed around. I am overwhelmed with how much we have to do. The Lovely Bones is under my skin. Sebold writes the mother character as a woman who has checked out, while the father becomes more dedicated to their children. He could use some loving from his wife. I can’t stand how people let each other down. I can’t imagine not wanting and needing to be close to Carson. He is home to me. He is everything.

We made arrangements with Little Church of the West. I like how people pull out their hair for over a year to plan their weddings. We just made a phone call and voila.

I’m on a roller coaster of emotions and in touch with so many people, having intense conversations. I told Cassie that I feel like the shy kid at the birthday party. She laughed and said, “Oh, hon, but it’s your birthday party!” I told her I know and that’s part of it. I like attention as much as anyone - usually individual attention from one person (read: family members, friends, Carson). But I have a hard time being the focus. I have to get over that when we get to Vegas. But knowing our loved ones, people will be just as into the gambling and booze as they will our union.

I like to work with Sue. As hesitant as I was, I like the new computers in the bar, too. It keeps me busier. I feel tossed around because the past month has been elation, excitement, and mystery: friends’ and families’ reactions to our choice, talks on the fire escape and roof, late-night lovin’, music, dancing, kissing in doorways, long drives.

It’s still this way but I am coming to the “sensible” side of things. I know it’s necessary and inevitable but I just want life to be exciting and wonderful all the time. The moments that are ho-hum are part of life, too, and I need to accept this. We are only beginning.

I don’t want old insecurities. I want to maintain my identity and learn how Carson morphs with it. I get silly and sad for a moment when we say goodbye. I want to keep kissing him and listen to him sing and I don’t want to leave him even when I know I’ll see him again. Work calls.

Love, Meghan


(intermission) I want to balance on the beams between no need and need. But don’t we? And who can say? Who’s to judge? These lives we lead in these moments. How to avoid what still is not straight but I don’t fear. Thank you for asking. You are not afraid. Needs. What have we got other than what can’t be said. We’ve got ideas, emotions, intellect. Substance. We only have what’s here: talk of Wolverine and the minutes we share on rooftops and that, even when I’m scared or sad, you’re here. You are here. And you’ve been here for so long I can’t think of days without you being here. You’ve embedded yourself within me and my days so what came before seems a film on old Super 8 but not even that romantic, just chapters I have read (perhaps enjoyed) but was ready to move on from.

I can’t stop thinking of my grandmothers and how I hope that faith is not delusion. You prove this and disprove. I feel like Angela. I miss her. I don’t mean to be silly. I just see how we embark and how short it all is and how, when you’re 80, I’ll wake next to you and touch your belly and smile at you, no matter what goes on in the in between.

It isn’t fair but it’s known. We’ve all got our own escapes, which turn into entryways. And please, only, always, eternally. How can I? But mustn’t I? Be specific. Didn’t I say that to myself for a thousand days? Along with be alive; relax; you are alive.

It doesn’t matter as long as you are here. You may expect me to write amazing and I will someday and I already do. I am tired of feeling dumb and inadequate, so don’t contribute to that ghastly parade. I know you but don’t. Be aware. I’ll do the same for you when it’s more important than you realize. We function. Conjunction. Too smart and sexy for your own good. I love you. Always.

Love, Meghan


Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Carson and I snorted Ritalin last night, hence the writing above. We drank and played Trivial Pursuit at Elliott’s until 6 a.m. We went home and talked and I cried and we fell asleep at 9. We woke up at noon to drive to Seattle. I’m listening to Lyle Lovett’s “Skinny Legs” and thinking of Carson.

We met Cassie at the Market and walked through antique shops. Carson met up with Craig and Joe Bedford while Cass and shopped. She got me a beautiful necklace that I’ll wear for the wedding. I don’t think I’ll wear Mom’s wedding dress in Vegas but I will if we have a Catholic ceremony in town. I found a pretty shirt and skirt that I want to wear instead, to keep it less formal.

Cassie and I talked about Aidan and it made me feel sick and sad. Cassie and I are so close, clinging to each other, saying, “I love you,” to each other all the time. We need each other. After shopping, we went to Linda’s Tavern and sat on the patio until the boys joined us. Then Carson and I hit the road. It was hot and gorgeous yesterday.

I talked to Mom and I am grateful for her and Dad’s support. My car is still in Seattle because Carson and I didn’t want to drive back to Bellingham separately. We went to the Hitch and played cards until last call.

I got my hair done and eyebrows waxed by Ashley. She quit smoking. Carson is on his way to meet me downtown. We are going to sort stuff at his apartment again. Angela and Cassidy will be here tomorrow night. Claire and Nina flaked out on us in Seattle and it bummed me out, especially considering the lectures they’ve given me on not “disappearing” or being a flake.

Love, Meghan


Thursday, August 15, 2002

Angela is home briefly. I was hung over today. I have had several moments today. I am bursting open. Carson and I had breakfast with Meredith this morning. We went antiquing and Carson found a gift for his mom. We drank beer and played cards in the afternoon. Carson lights me up. He enhances in me what is most important: compassion, gratitude, listening, and elation.

Mom and I talked. I feel a need for ritual between us as I prepare for the wedding. She can tell I’m happy.

Love, Meghan


Monday, August 19, 2002

I worked a double shift at work on Friday and Saturday on very little sleep. It’s great to have Angela in town. Sometimes it scares me that she is on so much medication.

Carson and I will be married one week from tomorrow. He is grace. He makes everything alive.

I saw Aidan on Friday night after work. People were hanging out on the roof of my building. We talked. I listened to him for most of the conversation. I understood some of what he said. The exchange took a turn when he said something about, “My daughter.”

I said, “Really? Your daughter? The one you have not spent any time with? No. You’re nothing more than a sperm donor, a biological contribution. I’m not going to guess at where you’ve been. I don’t know where you’ve been. I don’t need to know because it doesn’t matter. All I know is that you have not been there for Cassidy or your ‘daughter.’ How does it feel to know she won’t recognize your voice when she’s born? When you say ‘my daughter,’ are you referring to the one whose paternity you’ve been questioning all these months?”

Aidan flipped out and left. He needed to hear this from someone other than Cassidy. And yes, I am biased. You bet your ass I am. But I was speaking from a place beyond mere loyalty to Cassidy. I was calling it as it is. It made me sad. I was exhausted before our run-in. After that, I couldn’t sleep. Carson and I went to the Wagon Wheel and drank coffee with Bennett and Cate until dawn. We walked to the newsstand and talked shit about celebrities and sat on the street corner until the Bagelry opened. Then we slept for a few hours.

We’ve been going through Carson’s things and moving him into my apartment. I am anxious about finishing writing my vows to him. I’m at the Grand, to have alone time. I went tanning earlier and fell half asleep in the bed. I dreamed about our wedding. In a few days, we take off for camping, Vegas, the rest of our lives. I’ll be able to exhale when we get on the road.

I feel sadness amid the joy regarding people in our lives.

I have not talked to Elizabeth in a long time and I feel guilty. Carson gets to meet Grandpa tomorrow.

Love, Meghan


Thursday, August 22, 2002

Tomorrow we depart, and I will come back here a bride. I am beat. I moved Carson’s things into a U-Haul at breakneck speed. Now my muscles and mind are unwinding. I’m at Casa for food and a margarita. My wisdom tooth aches. I’m taking amoxicillin and I hope it doesn’t give me a yeast infection. That would be a pleasant surprise for a wedding night.

We leave tomorrow and I envision my stress flying out the window as we drive away. My tooth, cramps, moving Carson’s stuff, and the fact that I lost 80 much-needed dollars yesterday culminated in a freak out. I had a field day last night, kicking and punching inanimate objects. Carson let me. He is loving and patient.

We went to Mom and Dad’s on Tuesday night. Grandpa, Aunt Rebecca, Aunt Frances, Aunt Jane, Uncle Steve, and my cousins came, too. Rebecca and Dad got into it over politics. High comedy. Carson and I danced in the kitchen. Uncle Jim came over later on. I’m glad Carson got to meet more of my family. We drove back to Seattle and met Craig and Claire on Queen Anne. We slept at Craig’s after helping him load the car with Burning Man gear. Yesterday, Mom, Elizabeth, and I went shopping at Nordstrom for perfume, lingerie, and jewelry. Sis and I got into it and I cried. We talked and it’s better now.

The most vital elements of the ceremony are in order now. When I told Mom I felt stressed earlier, she said, “Are you ready to be married?” I said, “Yes.” I am. I love Carson. I want to be his wife more than anything I have ever wanted.

Carson and I took a long nap last night. We went for a drink and watched Waking the Dead. Carson has brought a new warmth to my apartment. My muscles and bones ache and I can’t wait to rest with him.

Love, Meghan


Tuesday, August 27, 2002

It’s my wedding day. I have had so little time to myself and none to write. We left Bellingham on Friday night after work and drove to Hudson’s cabin. We arrived at 3 a.m. and most people were asleep but Hudson and Scott were awake and sat by the fire with us until we went to sleep in our sleeping bags around the fire. We had breakfast with the troops in the morning. We went to the creek with Stephanie, Hudson, and Scott. We played Trivial Pursuit with a large group and drank wine in the afternoon. Carson and I sniffed coke with Scott. We drove to the Naches Tavern to have a beer with everyone before we hit the road. Annabelle, Carson’s mom, used to wait outside the Naches Tavern in a station wagon when she was a little girl, while her parents got drunk inside.

I drove us to Madras, Oregon. We stopped for the night because Carson had developed a fever and needed sleep. He fell to sleep and I left to get something to eat. We hit the road at noon the next day and drove into Reno. I was on a mission from God. We stopped at the Dillinger Tavern for food and then busted it to Vegas.

I couldn’t believe the lights and crazy of the desert town. We drove the Strip, gawking. We checked into a shady motel. Carson went to bed, still not feeling well, and I met my family at New York, New York. I got a late dinner with Elizabeth and Andrew before we said goodnight. When Carson and I woke up yesterday, we moved to Luxor.

We saw Carson’s dad Steve, Annabelle, and Craig after playing slots. We ran into Joe Bedford, his girlfriend Whitney, Scott, and a few others. We walked through the hotel and casino, got a drink, and went to the pool.


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