“Do you remember when you were successful?” she asked me, turning her face to look at my hair separately out of each eye. I looked at the ceiling. Sometimes it’s easier to disappear with my eyes open, I thought. “Of course I do,” I whispered back, eternally obligated to answer even when I felt like turning over, wrapping myself in my fluffy cotton blanket and kicking her off the bed with my legs.

They’re strong enough to do it, too, even if I never could make them.


I dislike it when my ‘hello, good morning’ is met with “I AM SO BUSY OH MY GOD LOLA YOU HAVE NO IDEA.”

I watch the back turned towards me and briefly superimpose a cartoon bullseye. You know the sort – one of the ones that’s always on the receiving end of arrows with big rubber suction cups for tips.


This week I’ve been told that I need to be more quiet/more assertive/more patient/less patient – and you get it; contradictions without end.

I’m so tired of being told who I am, should be, even when it’s well intentioned. I feel like dying my hair violet and wearing a shirt printed clearly and in block letters with ‘Fuck Off’.


“Sometimes I get so stressed I think I might take up drinking,” I told her, looking at the ice cubes packed into my water. Who even does that in the winter?

“Well I know I could never ever do that! I mean, I wish I could but I just can’t, you know?” Amy sighed, shook her head. “I’m just one of those people who can’t ever drink.”

“Really?” I tried sipping the edges of the glass. Very cold. “Like, glass of wine at the end of the day? Seems kind of nice.”

“Oh.” She sat up straight, eyed me. “Oh that. Well. I mean, that’s not really drinking, is it? I mean, everyone has some wine at the end of the day. Or when you’re starting a bad shift at work. That isn’t really considered drinking.”


“I hate you,” I said, before I could stop myself. “Do you, Lola?” he asked me. “Of course I do! I hate you so much I feel my pulse rise when I look at you and my stomach tightens and – ” I looked down at my arm “and the hairs on my arms stand up, and – ” I bit my lip. He came over to me and looked at my arm, turning it slightly in the light. I don’t have much arm hair and what I do have is thin and blonde and not really visible. But it felt like it stood up, visible or no. He sat down and smiled faintly, and I noticed for the first time that he’s beginning to get lines around his eyes, not smile creases or crinkles but fine little lines. Wrinkles.

And suddenly he looked old, and tired, and lonely.

loving Lola

I think that the guys I know – and this isn’t so much a well-formed thought as a sort of hazy notion – really like me so long as they think they can save me. Or buy me. The latter is easier to tackle because it’s a transaction, something nearly everyone can understand. Can you get a human through a transaction? It would appear so. Lola? No. Not only ‘no’, but ‘of course and obviously no’, right? I mean, don’t all of you, my dearly beloved readers, feel the same way? Can’t I assume we’re like-minded to a certain extent? After all, you’re blogging, and last time I checked, it wasn’t on ‘swag’.

Maybe that’s too broad and simple. Everyone I know and have known laughs at the non-protaganists in stories like ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Look at those money-grubbing wenches. Ha. Then I find myself telling a story about clear-cut asshole-ness – when I say clear-cut I mean it: take, say, a lawyer, and say he was, well, doing work with your company but he preferred to do all his business with you, and you think innocuous, and then suddenly he’s asking you to bend over his desk so he can look down your shirt. And there’s a humming sound in your head, and probably the blood is rushing to it, and probably I looked red as a lobster because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. “Are you going to cry?” he asked me. No, I thought. I am deciding between using the stapler that is closer to me than to you or – no, I’ve been a pacifist all my life. Why did I even think that?

Then I tell this story, which I find simple, which the director found simple, to the girls, the women I know, and they’re horrified, outraged, until I get to the heir-to-vast-wealth part. And they make a little sound in the back of their throats that sounds like ‘oh,’ and they tell me that maybe he didn’t mean it. Maybe he didn’t know better? Maybe the progeny of the very wealthy grew up differently, see the world differently.

And how is that okay? How is it charming or cute in the least?

Or is this one of those things that somewhere along the line everyone else seems to have learned? Everyone else but me.


There is always at least one moment in time in which people are happy with their babies. At least one moment that they can hold them up to a mirror and smile at each other’s reflections and agree this is a good thing. The dissatisfaction sets in later if it does.

Everyone was someone’s baby once, even if no one likes to think about it much. Babies are babies after all, not humans but proto-humans.

I was someone’s baby once, even though I know nobody thinks about it at all. I must have been held up to mirrors too like all the babies I see are held up to the big plasticky mirror in the main classroom.

There must have been hopes and dreams for me, maybe even wishes too. No one could have known what the future held.

No one could have even guessed.