One of my first compliments on Sunday came from Ben. On Monday, he told me he was flying to Birmingham this May to meet me. Early Tuesday morning, we talked for three hours on the phone. And today, he’s writing my journal entry.

Dear diary,

Today, I…wait. What if someone gets ahold of this? What if they use it against me?! Why do I feel a compulsion to write this? Are there aliens in my mind? Agh!

Until tomorrow, Ben

Okay, not really, but I had you going a moment there.


how do you do that? i thought i was something special that we connected so quickly, but no … you’re just immediately close to every tony, ben, and karawynn
okay, to clarify. connecting for me is special, and dependent on each person. you and i connected a hell of a lot faster than tony and i did. it’s been over a month since tony and i started emailing each other regularly. a month and six days, i think.

ben’s different. not as close as you or tony are to me, but perhaps approaching. he’s super-easy to talk to, very dynamic, and we have a shitload of similarities and differences that are either REALLY similar or REALLY different. so it’s just easy to pop off emails and go all over the conversational radar screen with him.

and he just likes to pick up and go places. so within 24 hours he was pricing flights to birmingham. that part of it was all him….


Lightning doesn’t strike me the same place twice. I don’t care what the songs say; I don’t care what anyone says. It never does. These close-and-fast friends are lightning-strikes for me, but each one of them sears through a unique part of me, some of those parts I hadn’t even known existed.

Sometimes I get advance warning, a low rumble of thunder that spreads out and underneath me slowly, like living on a subwoofer. And sometimes it just strikes, and I blink … blink blink … rub my eyes … okay, where the hell did that smoking tree branch come from.


My life has been so far from the mean for so long that I forget Things Don’t Usually Happen This Way. Within two days of meeting Chad online, he asked me to apologize to Greg, whom I was currently dating, because “you’re going to dump him and go out with me.”

I thought Chad was the most arrogant, egotistical, self-serving, undignified jerk I’d ever met.

So I married him.


She must be really needy. She must just befriend anyone who comes within arm’s-reach of her. She must change friends like some people change underwear. I duck the hailstones but I’ve never escaped without a few bruises. And when the next rumble comes, or the next flash behind the greenish sky, I look up to find myself huddled underneath the only tree on a desolate plateau.

Counting: one, one-thousand … two, one-thousand … thr– CRACK!


Here is my secret:

Sometimes people find me. They wait, or tap insistently at the window, or just barge in. And then, they grab hold and refuse to let go, because I’ll try to shake them off with everything I’ve got at first.

Even after Chad and I started living together, I kept shaking like a soggy dog. One instance in particular stands out; after a major argument one night, I dragged an old egg-crate mattress cover and my feather pillow into what is now the laundry room and slammed the door, declaring that tiny space as “my room” and sulking until Chad came to talk to me.

It’s simply a matter of how hard I can push, and how sturdy the branch is, once it falls in my path.


I wander up, hands in pockets, and try to walk around the tree branch, but it shifts parallel to the horizon no matter where I turn, and it’s too slick with rain for me to scramble over. So I kick it.

“Nope, not going anywhere.”

Scowling, I push at it, try to pull its leaves off, strip whole sections of bark from its length.

“Nice try, but no.”

Another clumsy kick.

The branch sighs at me. “No, again.”

My jaw sets. I mumble something about chainsaws, about firewood, about just how much devastation I could cause to this poor, defenseless tree branch.

“You’re going to have to do better than that,” the branch smirks.

“Fuck it!” I growl, plopping down on the marshy grass beside it. “Fine. You will be SORRY.”

The branch smiles at me amiably. “Let me be the judge of that.” I give it one last bump with my back and then lean against it, pretending it would take more effort than this sorry piece of wood is worth to get up again.


Ben doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, although I’ve kicked and pushed and scowled at him a lot in the past four days. He insists I could have done more to terrify him, and perhaps that’s true, although from inside this hail-battered noggin I’ve put up a pretty good fight.

And he also insists I’m not leaning on him; I’m watering him.

The thought hadn’t even occurred to me.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.