Despite not being around the blogoshphere lately, I did manage to make it to round two in the NYC Midnight writing contest, which is not really any big feat considering everybody made it to round two, but I placed in the top 15, which not everybody did, so I’m kind of proud of that. The first story I wrote was The Blue Mouthpiece. It was a ghost story. The rules for the second story were it had to be a drama, the location had to include a petting zoo and the prop that had to be included was banana bread. So this is how that little diddy turned out:
All my life, I grew up watching fairy tales on television. The girl meets the guy and they know immediately that they will be together and live happily ever after. That’s not how it was for us. We melted into each other like a snowman into the grass when the sun comes out. It was slow and steady, but the day I knew I loved Corey, I really knew it. We were at the fair. We had just gotten off the Ferris wheel, which was one of my least favorite rides because I am deathly afraid of heights, but Corey always thought that doing things that scared you was a good thing. For some reason, he had an unnatural fear of goats. So to pay him back for the traumatic ride on the wheel of death, I told him we should go to the petting zoo so he could get over his fear.
Petting zoos at the fair are a little different from the ones at an actual zoo. The one at the fair is made up of mostly goats and on occasion they will throw in a lamb or a chicken or a miniature horse for variety. We walked the length of the fairgrounds to the fenced in corral where they gave us a hairbrush and a handful of food pellets. Corey was hesitant to go in, but he said he would follow me anywhere, even to pet a goat. He hesitated before approaching a little grey goat. As he started to pet it, I could see the worry and fear melt from his face. It was replaced with what looked like adoration. He started talking to the Gabby the goat, that’s the name he gave her. I heard him say, “Well, maybe you aren’t so bad” and “I don’t know why I gave ya’ll such a bad rap.” As he ran the comb down Gabby’s back, a small fire stirred in me and I knew he was the one I would spend the rest of my life with. I think Gabby was thinking the same thing at that moment.
As fall turned into winter, so did our love. I found myself in a seasonal slump. The cold weather and the grey days made me feel like the sun might never shine again. Corey tried to cheer me up with flowers, candy, comedy shows, and affection, but nothing seemed to work. I was lost in my seasonal sadness and even a tanning bed full of fake sunshine couldn’t fix it. I tried to fake it. I tried to tell him that it was just the way I was in the winter, but he couldn’t understand and felt like a failure for not being able to fix me. I told him it would pass and tried my best to put on a smiling face when he was around, but he knew I wasn’t sincere. Slowly, he came less and less until spring came. Like the newly growing flowers, my happiness began to sprout again.
Corey could see the shift from my seasonal affective mood to my renewed love of life and he was ready to enjoy that part of the ride again. We had quite a few great months before the seasons would start to change me again. After that first year, he knew what to expect and how to deal or not deal with me when my darkness crept in. I never knew someone could understand me so completely. Even the crazy parts of me. I knew I was lucky to have someone like him and when winter was over, I would always tell him how appreciative I was for the way he was able to sense what I needed when I needed it.
When he saw me spiraling to the depths of my own personal winter, he came up with this crazy idea that I needed comfort food. Something that would remind me that he loved me. Something that was just ours. He started baking me banana bread. He didn’t get carried away with it, but over the years, when I would start pulling away, he would come over with a bag full of overripe bananas and a schoolboy grin. He would grab me by the hand and pull me into the kitchen with him. He always said, “You don’t have to help if you don’t want to, but you know you want to.” Then he would hand me a bowl of bananas and a potato masher.
It’s been a year to the day that we made our last pan of banana bread together. I’ve been sitting at this counter staring at this bowl of bananas and this potato masher for an hour. I want to hear Corey’s voice saying, “You don’t have to help, but you know you want to,” but I know that’s not going to happen. She’s hearing his voice now. She’s probably sharing some “thing” that he made up for her that is just their own. He said my winters were too much for him to handle. She was light and easy to be with all the time like a beach vacation with no rain. I don’t blame him for leaving. If I could leave my own head sometimes, I’m sure that I would.
I know I need to get over him and stop thinking about the what-ifs. I know I should be mad that he spent the last three winters with her when he wasn’t exhausting himself trying to make me a happy person, but I can’t. I just want to go back to the days when I didn’t know she existed and when I loved the smell of fresh baked banana bread and petting zoos.