I Can’t Hate You Though I Have Tried

Sometimes I read my posts and I think “Oh, just shut UP already.”

I think that’s a useful response.

Little things bring me pleasure, like figuring out how to set up my CD player so that I wake up to music now. I’m reminded of my senior year in high school, when I had an alarm function on my record player. For a long time I woke every morning to Sade’s “Stronger than Pride” (yes, I was a big queer). The soft scratch of the needle on the record, in the instant before her low voice murmured;

I won’t pretend
that I intend to stop living

Much better than any alarm. All year I had left white christmas lights strung up around the windows of my room. I’d climb out of bed, cross the cold wooden floor and plug them in. Their dim light, like her voice, providing a soft greeting to the day, especially those cold, dark winter mornings in Minneapolis. They’re good memories, cut through slightly by all the fights my mother and I had that year. Looking back I’m pretty sure she had started drinking again, and was trying to keep it a secret. That was the first year I realized how much bigger I was than her. One particularly nasty fight she came in close, hand raised to slap me, and I just stepped towards her. She flinched, backed away, in her eyes I saw fear. I remember her eyes clearly.

I don’t have Sade, so instead I wake up to Roberta Flack singing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” By the time I’m out of the shower she’s signing “Where is the Love” with Donny Hathaway. That’s right, I’m a bad ass. You know you’re jealous.

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