Category Archives: are you kidding me??

a week in the life of a debut author

My phone is ringing, loud and persistent. I’m asleep and bleary-eyed as I roll over to look at who is calling me this early?! I squint. Does that say radio? I reach for my glasses and let the phone go to voice mail. I pick up my cell phone and see missed calls and texts. I put on my prosthetic legs and shuffle downstairs to the kitchen. The phone rings again. My friend, Jenn. “CKNW wants to interview you! You have to call them!”

I call the producer and she answers. “We want to talk to you in 10 minutes about the article you wrote for The Province.” I look down. I am in my jammies and I haven’t had coffee yet. For those of you who live life with me you know that I am not a whole person until I’ve had coffee. I can hardly string a sentence together. In fact, I can be a little mean before that sweet caffeine is in my bloodstream. I wait downstairs in the dungeon that is the office for them to call me back. I have ‘morning voice’, but I answer questions. The host is wonderful and I manage not to sound like a robot.

On Saturday I am at a TV News studio and seconds before the show is about to air live I’m concentrating on the very hot lights above me wondering why everyone isn’t sweating profusely all the time. I’m fascinated by the green screen and the weather person. Sunny skies! My thoughts turn to me and I give myself a pep talk. Do not screw this up. Be coherent. Don’t talk too fast. It’s not an inspiring pep talk but it works. The segment went great. I didn’t wave my hands around too much and the host was lovely. Phew!

I have received the nicest, kindest texts, emails, tweets and FB posts about Fancy Feet. People have spotted the book in a bookstore. Yay! So, so exciting! I ask my kids if they would like to do a little book tour with me. “Do you guys want to go into a couple of stores and see the book?”

“No, that sounds boring. Let’s go swimming!”

I turn to Scott. “I wanted to make them hold up the book so I could take a picture. It would be kinda cute, right? My kids with my book?” Annie shakes her head.

My kids – keeping me humble.

Seeing my book in a bookstore for the first time is wild, almost scary. I am tempted to shout, “That’s my book!!” Instead I sidle up to it and stare until the sweet girl at the register asks if she can help me. I point and smile. “That’s my book.” She congratulates me. “We just sold one.” She moves my book to the middle of the counter where more people can see it. I’m thrilled and I want to throw up a little and I hope, hope, hope people will like it.

Not everything is about the book. One afternoon Ben waved a slide-whistle in front of my face. “I’m going to play this for people. Outside. On the street. For money. How much do you think I’ll get?” I’m afraid he will live in our basement forever. On the flip side I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my 10 year old daughter home. I was headed to UBC to do an interview and Annie was desperate to join me. “Are there rooms you can live in when you go to University? What are those rooms called? You can live alone, right? What do those rooms look like? Can we see one?”

Can we see one? Live alone? “No, I don’t think we can see a room today.”

My kids – keeping me tethered to the earth and scaring me every day.

Swept up
in our Sundance trampoline
I’m not jumping on it – are you kidding?! But my kids (and the neighborhood kids) love this incredible gift from their grandparents. Ben snapped this picture of Annie jumping. No net! We live dangerously around here. BRaT2EtCAAE2Hy3.jpg large

the post in which I ramble

It’s been forever. I had so many promising beginnings, so many on-the-cusp-of-genius posts and then a text popped up, a snack must be made, a floor needed to be swept. Urgent pleas to register for soccer filled up my inbox. Dance competitions and extra practices needed to be attended. A child wanted my computer, sometimes for homework, but mostly for minecraft. Speaking of minecraft, here is a must read for any parent whose children suffer from minecraft addiction. Good Lord, help us all.

I am working on book stuff, people. Book stuff! That means it’s so close. So close I can almost smell that new book smell. Hear the turn of the pages. I’ll have a sneak peek for you soon. My very first chapter of Fancy Feet, the book, coming your way!

I had great intentions of being around more, of writing more. Just a couple of months ago I made declarations of how I was back. Do you remember that post? It’s embarrassing now because I didn’t follow through. I meant to, I wanted to. What bothers me more is that I haven’t been to your spaces nearly enough; read your wise, soulful and funny words. Please don’t think I’ve forgotten or that I don’t care. I had no idea how consuming it would be to edit and edit and edit a manuscript or how weepy I would become after digging up my feelings surrounding the other driver or how exhausted I would be afterward when I was done, finally done, everything. When I read the email from my publisher that said “edits are accepted”, I joy-cried for 30 seconds and then, bleary-eyed, I binge-watched TV shows. I discovered Scandal. Scandal is super addictive. The Fitz and Olivia of it all, Defiance, the mole – I could not stop watching this show. In my TV fog, I had questions for my other shows like what is going on with Don Draper, the man with no redeeming values? Should I continue to watch The Killing? TV was a welcome distraction after being so in touch with my feelings for a very long time. What I’m trying to say is that I hadn’t counted on having to let some things go for a while because I can’t do it all.

It is almost the end of the school year and I feel the need to make a speech, thanking those around me who got me this far. To all the moms who understood and didn’t judge me or judged, but never to my face, when I forgot about a field trip or didn’t bring empty bottles, egg cartons or yogurt containers. To Scott for being the voice of un-crazy after I explained how I would be a total failure. To coffee for giving me a personality. To wine – cheers. To my friends who love me anyway. To Target where I can wander freely and aimlessly. To me for making lunches Monday to Friday from September to June…I am a marvel. To you guys, who have been here and are still here…thank you.

By the way, you can now subscribe to my blog by email. That’s for you, Julie Gardner!

 

50 shades of ordinary

At our friends’ home over diet coke we discussed writing, politics and books, not all in that order. My friend joked, “You know what your next book should be about? You should do your version of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I laughed, “Like how things really are. The other side of Fifty Shades of Grey. Like un-erotica.”

My husband Scott offers up, “Yeah, like how you go to bed at 9.”

I said, “Or how you fall asleep downstairs to the TV with all your clothes on.” I found him a few days ago at 7:31am on the couch in a dress shirt, jeans and socks, fast asleep under the blanket his Nana made. We cuddled a little on the couch at 7:32.

On the way home from our friends’ house I took stock of our married life, the many ways we differ from that book.

I don’t call him Sir. It’s either Scott or Dude.

There is no dungeon-esqe room where the lines of pain and pleasure are blurred, only a dimly lit basement with kids’ toys, Lego to trip you, and a closet that holds the secrets of bad hairdos and musical tastes.

We don’t have bodyguards or caretakers or cooks. Security is a key and an umbrella. We cook or order pizza from Jim’s. I do the laundry and then leave it in the basket at the foot of our bed for a week. No one buys clothes for me because it’s my cardio and creative outlet, and woe to the person who would try to take that away from me.

No one saunters in our house except maybe Ben, my seven year old. No one sashays either.

I don’t have an ‘inner goddess’. There is a voice that reminds me to calm down when I’m irate that Scott left me to empty the grounds container of the espresso machine. My soul leaps when he mows the lawn or buys me chocolate treats. My inner goddess dances around the fridge, twirls a fork and declares, “He is a good man!”

On a rare night out, I swoon when Scott opens the door for me to the passenger side of the Jetta (leaving the minivan behind) and he slides into the driver’s seat. When we are alone in an elevator we do not succumb to desire as elevators often smell of other people’s food and potpourri.

Scott doesn’t wash or comb or braid my hair. However, yesterday he swept my hair back, piled it on top of my head until it flopped over my face as he laughed, “You look like a scarecrow!”

There aren’t emails full of innuendo. I send texts that say ‘please pick up milk’ or ‘be home by 5’ or the occasional naughty text thanks to autocorrect. Occasionally I will peel off my cardigan and send this text from our bedroom, “Are you coming to bed or what?”

those people

I meet Scott at our back gate. “There are signs up on the mailboxes by our house.”

“What?”

“The neighbors. They put up signs saying the land is,” and I air quote at him, “starving for water.”

I whisper, “You know it’s about us.”

It got hot this summer and we let our grass go brown, although we prefer ‘golden’. It was mowed, just not watered. We live in a neighborhood where most people tend to their lawns and shrubs like it’s an extension of them, watering and pruning to perfection. While I appreciate lush green grass I also appreciate conserving water and not spending my summer creating the ideal lawn.

I overheard our neighbors talking about us. Retrieving their mail, shaking their heads. Tsk. Tsk. They need to water it every day. It’s the summer. What are they thinking? They will never get that back. Cluck. Cluck. Hose in hand, I watered our cedars (yes, there was some watering going on. I’m not completely cold. I even pruned the roses) as my face burned with shame and my head filled with everything I couldn’t say. I’m sorry I let the heather go. I know they’re kindling now, but we have plans. Big plans! We’re going to tear them out and put down rock. River rock. We are nice people! Also, grass is a weed. It will grow back. It rains here 80% of the year!

After my mental tirade I slunk back to the house. I was upset at being upset. I thought I was stronger, way past caring about what people thought of me or, rather, the state of the yard. It wasn’t personal, yet I felt attacked. Much to my dismay, I was 15 again. I still want people to like me. I want to fit in. I’m not a boat-rocker. We’re fairly new to the neighborhood and now our brown grass invited judgment. We were those people. Waving my hands at Scott, I said, “We have to fix it. People hate us.”

He said, “No. We’re going to make our own sign.”

On an 8×11 sheet of paper we crafted and typed our reasons. We placed our sign about the importance of conserving water in between the pleas about our starving land. Go golden to stay green. We took a small stand.

It was silly. My overreacting. All riled up over a yard, a few signs and some nosy neighbors. I get that I’m crazy. I need to let things go and I’m terrible at letting things go. I could use more so what and who cares. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the greatest illustrations. The lawn became a lesson. I don’t have to conform. I’m allowed to be different. And, at 37,  I still need to stick up for myself.

I’m linking up with the speakeasy at yeah write – a place where you can just be yourself.

swept up
in Homeland
I am hooked on this show I’ve been watching on DVD. Is anyone else out there watching?

the worst job ever

For seven summers, from the age of seven, I picked raspberries with my mom and two brothers. My mom cleaned houses and offices from September to June, and in the summer, family in tow, picked raspberries. Rows and rows of bushes that needed to be plucked clean for farmers. I hated picking raspberries.

My mom woke us each morning just as the sky began its transformation from night to sunrise, awash in orange and pink. Yawning and shivering in the misty dawn, we made our way to the field of farmers I only knew by last name; buckets tied around our waists, coolers of food and blankets in hand. We found our rows by the numbers on the posts and claimed our spots. My mom at the beginning of the row, me at the end, my brothers in the middle. My mom was quick, her hands lined by hard work, she was a machine. She led and loved us with her efficiency, her preparedness. If it rained she brought garbage bags and cut out holes for heads and hands. We slipped them on over our clothes and continued picking. She laid out a blanket for us in the shade where we took refuge when it was too hot, too much. She doled out food and warnings. “Just for a little while and then back to work.” “Okay, mom.” If we were quiet we could stretch out our reprieve. My brothers and I drank apple juice, dug out worms, ate homemade cookies and smashed raspberries between crackers.

The sun hot on my neck, I lifted branches and leaves to pick-pick berries. Fingers stained red, juice running down my arms, I created a game to amuse me. This cluster of berries to the right is a family. The isolated berry nestled in the bush is lonely and it’s pleased to join the others. Low, low on the bush they didn’t see me coming… Gotcha! A few berries begged, “Please, eat me!” “No!” I shout. “You’re too mushy!” Some are sad to be taken, not wanting to leave home. They’ve never been anywhere else! They scream and cry as I send them to the bucket. Once my bucket was full, straining the thick twine at my waist, I emptied the berries into a plastic flat which would be lifted and stacked with many flats, then loaded onto a truck. Roaring to life, the truck rumbled as it drove the unaware and ill-informed raspberries to be sorted and squished, their destinies fulfilled as they became juice and jam.

When I shut my eyes at the end of each day to sleep, dark green leaves holding red berries were all I could see, like they were stitched to the backs of my eyelids. My hands smelled sickly sweet even in my dreams. While others kids played at home, in yards and playgrounds, we were in the fields working. There were moments of freedom; of picnic lunches, and jumping on trampolines slippery with water and soap and no safety nets. We earned money. I learned diligence and discipline. I learned how to work all those summers with my mom and when the season was over we put our money into bank accounts. She said, “You’ll do this with your kids one day.” In my head I was emphatic I will not.

As my kids and I drove up to a farm today, the tires crunching on the gravel road, acres of berries in front of us and people pick-picking, my kids asked, “Can we pick?” I laughed, “No way! You and your dad can do that.”

I parked the car, shuddered at the rows and rows of raspberries and strawberries, walked into the cool store and bought my berries in neat, tidy baskets.

After being on a brief blog hiatus, I’m hanging out with yeahwrite this week, lounging and eating my picked-by-someone-else berries.

be generous

If we want a platform we have one. Twitter, FB, our blogs give us the space and freedom to say what we want and mean it. Within the week I move from those platforms to the others – school, ballet, soccer, work where I find more words, many sides which must be shared. After my day is done I am full, brimming over with opinions and attitudes. And, the truth is, I’m exhausted.

Right now I am deep-down-on-the-floor-of-the-cave revising and all I can see are the cracks, the faults of my book. Sloppy sentences and holes. Commas misplaced and chapters deserving better endings. I can’t see a poignant moment or heartfelt dialogue because I’m busy seeking the bad. Is this what we do with life? Wanting more, we’re overwhelmed with obstacles. We are burdened by flaws, blind to beauty. Insecurity lurks behind lofty words, a flippant response.

I don’t use this space to rant, but it’s been a few weeks of things that make me shake and I want to yell enough! I’m an advocate of boat-rocking and using our voices. I was born opinionated.  I’ve just grown weary of the know-it-alls, the interrupters. When did we stop choosing our words wisely? Why do we care so much about what others think and then why don’t we care more? How did we get so big behind our small screens? What happened to listening and being responsible with what we’re given? And sometimes, sometimes it’s not the words spoken; it’s what is unspoken, that something ‘off’, a brittle smile disguising true feelings.

I’m not better or less than anyone else – I’ve been guilty, an offender of doing both. I worry I’m too much and I worry I’m not enough. (I wasn’t going to get into specifics on my list of maddening, but I’ll allow myself one. When I’m playing the part of peacemaker to a disgruntled mother, I miss out on the wonder of my little girl. I’ll admit when that light turned on, it made me heartsick.) I admire honesty. I try to be honest. I am one of its biggest fans. But when it hurts people, isn’t it time to step back, to examine, to be quiet.

Sometimes we need to climb off our platforms, our high horses, and plant our feet on the ground. Cast off judgment, untangle from another thread of presumption and connect to what’s good. Notice the stars, the pink of blooming flowers. Cheer loudly. Laugh hard. Behold a beautiful story. Love your friend. Seek a soft heart.

Be generous.

In the spirit of generosity, I want to share a few posts that brought me perspective this week. To these writers, thank you, I really needed your words and your heart. Behold these beautiful stories.

Memories Captured by Galit Breen from her blog These Little Waves
On plates, my village, and hula hoops by Tara Pohlkotte from Pohlkotte Press
Monday Catch Up by Anna See from An Inch of Gray
Adventures with Cancer-Part 2
by Jennifer Liberts Weinberg from Kvetch Mom

I could go on and on linking more incredible posts, but I’ll end here. For now. And link up with Yeah Write on the Hangout Grid, where it’s cool, laid-back, and just the inspiration I need as I finish revising.

what not to say

When I wound up in a car crash followed by a long recovery I had incredible support. I also encountered people who didn’t always think before speaking. These people have good intentions, but it comes out all wrong. It happens to the best of us. Indulge me in some unsolicited advice on what not to say to those who have been given more than they can handle. (For those of you who are used to more serious posts from me this is more tongue-in-cheek with a side of serious)

When someone is relegated to a hospital bed and has been for months, don’t say, “You have so much time to rest now. Didn’t you say you wanted to be ‘less busy’?”
This isn’t what I meant when I said I needed rest. Being in and out of surgery brings its own brand of busy and I would gladly trade agony in the hospital for my active prior life.

Sometimes it’s best not to relate. An acquaintance said, “I totally thought of you today when I stubbed my big toe. It hurt like hell.”
Hell is toe loss, my friend.

Don’t ever say, “God can still use you.”
Um, what? Still?

Don’t offer up clichés.
It could have been worse.
I don’t know. Losing my limbs and a large portion of skin is pretty bad.
At least you’re alive.
Refer to previous answer.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even though I love that new Kelly Clarkson song it doesn’t quite…fit.
God won’t give you more than you can handle. Again, refer to first answer.

Don’t tell them in an outburst of love that he/she is an angel. We’re not. I’m not. For those of us who are going through trauma we are trying to get through. We do not have wings. We don’t possess superpowers, although we secretly wished and prayed for them. There are no rules for grief and we want to get to the other side in sometimes the only way we know how. By hanging on.

Give the person who is going through the worst time of her/his life grace.
We want to see our loved ones restored and return to their bright, shining selves. We want them to be okay. One afternoon, heart-deep in mourning, Scott asked me, “When will you stop being angry?” I said, “When I stop.”
Know they want to return. They want more than anything to feel good and whole again. In the 2 years after the crash I would often be in my wheelchair, my mind screaming, when? When? Because, my God, I just wanted to feel alive again. And not this half-person I’d become. Your beloved longs to be okay more than you want them to be okay.

Finally, don’t judge. No one is an expert on pain. Love, have patience, and be there.

I’m working on a guide for my book, something practical and helpful to add to the end of my story.  A little how-to with some step-by-step. So, this is something I’m trying out. I’ll write a post on what to say/do soon. For now, do you have any advice on what not to say?

my summer of bugs, books, and risky behavior – part 1

I slide along the bench to get closer to the music, to the chorus of this song. It’s Awake My Soul by Mumford and Sons. It’s what I want – for my soul to be awake.

I’m watching Ben swim and he’s getting it this time. His swimming teacher isn’t far behind. Kick your legs, face in the water, blow your bubbles.

“I did it! I did it!” Jumping into the deep end, floating on his back, and doing a front glide everyone has to hear about it. Benjamin’s enthusiasm is contagious, his smile so broad I smile and wave. “Good job, Ben!” He turns to the teacher. “My mom is watching me. Look! She’s watching me.” The teacher nods and smiles. Ben puffs out his small chest and stretches his hand out of the water to give me a thumbs-up.

I love days like this. Sunny and hazy, sentimental songs, beach towels strewn about, dark glasses, kids dripping with water and pride, the scent of chlorine and coconut in the air. Summer is part nostalgia and part spotlight. I’m in the sun and all its glory past and present. My favorite part of summer is that it keeps me present.

And this summer has definitely kept me in the here-and-now. We were given lice, a new house and Scott pursued his dream of becoming a professional skydiver. Okay, I can’t blame it on summer. It’s just what happened this summer.

On our way to art camp one chilly overcast (did I mention that July was this year’s winter?) day Annie was scratching her head, digging her nails in until her hair resembled Einstein’s and said, “It feels like I have lice.” I was in denial for 5 seconds (not my child) until I peered closely at her hair, saw the critters clinging to her hair and scalp, and began to go through all the stages of grief in 10 seconds. Outrage. Acceptance. Sad. Grim determination.

In crisis I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I can be calm and level-headed crossing that bridge when I come to it. But lice had me panicking, my face moving back and forth between alarmed – eyebrows up – and mad – eyebrows furrowed. The bugs in my daughter’s hair, my hair, and Ben’s hair did me in. Yup. All of us had lice. I’ll bet right now you’re all scratching your heads wondering if it can jump off the screen and on to you. Well, I learned lice can’t jump and I am pleased to say we are all lice free, thank God, but I still find myself picking through my kids’ hair outside where the light is best, in line-ups, and while they’re eating breakfast. I continue to comb through their hair even as they whine and swat my hands away, “Stop it. I don’t have lice. People are looking. Geez.”

While our house was zoned to battle lice it was also up for sale. So, I had to have the house ready at all times for prospective buyers to troop through and decide if this was the home for them. We had our eye on a house just five minutes away and thought we’d risk the blah, nearly dead market. Our attitude was if it worked out…great. If not, we’d be okay. We like where we live. We just need more space.

Do you know what happens when you don’t really care? Your house sells. It’s like when you’ve sworn off men you suddenly acquire a boyfriend. That’s how I got Scott. Don’t care and poof! Boyfriend! House! I’m going to apply the same wisdom to a lottery ticket. Poof! A million dollars! Thanks to the new house I will be getting a basement, walk-in closet and actual office/writing space instead off a small desk just off my kitchen with the most obnoxious eyesore of a printer beside it. We love our neighbors and are sad to leave them, so it’s with mixed up feelings that we move.

This is part 1 of 2. I’m sure I’ve left you with bated breath with that last sentence. Where could she go from here?? Really, it’s just too long of a post. In Part 2, coming soon, you’ll find out how books factor in to the title and how I became a skydiving widow (not literally. Scott isn’t dead. His parachute didn’t fail him.) this summer.

whole

I’ve been retooling a speech, putting together old and new material into one super speech for this weekend. I’m speaking in Merritt, BC and while I’m talking story I’m also explaining lessons I’ve learned through the story.

One of the topics I cover is ‘wholeness’. How physically I’m altered and logically I’m not whole, but I feel whole. If the state of my mind and heart are whole then I am, in fact, whole. Even though my crazy stitched-up body will always be my crazy stitched-up body I’ve made peace with it. Until summer comes around.

It’s far better than it used to be. I don’t intensely dislike girls who can pull off a tank top anymore and what I mean by ‘pull off’ is really anyone that doesn’t have scars running up and down their arms stopping and starting in neat lines making sleeves. I was envious of something I no longer had and I was a girl that wanted to feel pretty.

Everyone is allowed parts of the body they hate. I just hated almost all of my body. Except for my boobs. Miraculously, they escaped the fire. So, I had that. For the most part, I didn’t judge people’s nitpicking about themselves. Once in a while, though, I got uptight. When people would complain about the nick they have on their otherwise smooth tanned leg or the small scar on their arm from when they were poked with a fork or something equally as offensive I thought, oh yeah? I’ll show you. I wanted to rip off my clothes to show them what scars were all about, which was quickly rebuffed by sanity and my polite side returning to me. I’d murmur my agreement. “That sucks.” And shake my head knowingly. They knew I could sympathize. Years ago Someone-I-Knew said, “I sprained my toe and I thought of you right away. It is so painful. I knew you could relate.” I tried to stop my jaw from unhinging and said, “Oh?” What I should have added was uh, no, spraining your toe is not the same as having someone cut them off.

As I got distance from the crash I was less jealous of people with normal skin and more tolerant of the stupid things people say (also, people stopped saying stupid things). I grew comfortable in my new skin, in who I am. It’s just that summer is a trigger for what I lost.

As I’m reading the lessons I wrote down two years ago for one particular speech I’m reminded again of not just how horrific it all was, but what has happened since, what I’ve made of my life. All of the good that’s come, the joy I found, and I’m filled with gratitude.

The speech is called A Life Worth Living and this weekend on June 12th it will have been 13 years since the car crash and I think it’s kinda cool that I’m speaking on June 11th, the day before everything changed in the blink of an eye about love, hope and being whole.

the boyfriend who didn’t leave

A late Valentine’s Day-ish post. Hope everyone had a great day yesterday.

There were times, especially when I was in for long appointments, I was asked questions that I didn’t mind giving up answers for. It was easier to take from trained medical personnel. I didn’t feel like a freak sideshow. After we got ‘what happened’ out of the way, Scott came up, the boyfriend who didn’t leave. This was what grabbed people, that he was still here.

One morning I had returned to VGH to see the Occupational Therapist to have my pressure garments checked and to take a look at how my skin was faring underneath.

“So, you’d only been together six weeks?”

“Yup.”

She mouthed w-o-w.

I knew what was coming next. It was said a lot.

“It’s amazing he stuck with you. What a great guy!”

I nodded. “He’s a good guy.”

She shook her head. “Amazing! Does he have a brother?”

He didn’t. “Nope. He’s got an older sister.”

I laughed because I was supposed to. While she was struck by my good fortune I was irked by the picture her words created. I should be grateful for his sticking around because who would ever want me in my state?

I didn’t want to be with anyone that felt guilt-ed into being with me. It’s true – I would have been a tough sell to any guy in his right mind, but I was bothered that he was a hero in this scenario, like it had nothing to do with me. He swooped in, a knight on his horse, and rescued me, as if I didn’t live this every day.

I didn’t care for fairy tales very much, even as a girl, believing that girls were strong enough to get themselves out of their bad situations. Come on Cinderella, stop scrubbing the floors and leave your Stepmother and stepsisters. Drop your broom and walk out that door with your head held high! Snow White, you’re really going to take a bite out of that apple from a crazy, ugly old witch that appeared from nowhere? Really? Use your head.

I was still laughing when I said, “Actually, I’m pretty great. He’s lucky to have me.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that you weren’t…”

“I know you didn’t. It’s just that it gets said a lot and he is a great guy, but I’m a good person,” I offered as explanation, wanting for her to see it. I smiled with conviction.

I felt relieved at having said the words out loud. Scott liked me before this had happened. I was still that person. He was someone to point at and proclaim, now here is someone special. He deserved to be praised. He was my hero, not because he was my knight in shining armor saving me from disaster, but because he stepped into the disaster with me. He looked past what was ruined and saw me.

We were honest with each other and, luckily, not easily offended by it. If I asked Scott for his opinion I got it, uncensored. When I asked him about all the scars, my hands sweeping through the air over myself to emphasize all-the-scars, he said, sure, they’re there, but so are you. He wasn’t here out of obligation. He was here because he wanted to be and I was worth sticking around for.