Are you still awake?


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by jenny downing

Last night, as I wobbled like a Weeble Wobble to the kitchen, the phone rang.

Glancing at the clock, I realized it was a little after midnight.

I had barely croaked a hoarse “hello” when screeches at inhuman decibels hit my ears.

“Are you awake? Tell me you’re awake cause nowadays with you, I never know. Bears in hibernation sleep less than you, Bella. Anyway, pull up a chair. This is going to take a while.”

Carefully replacing the moka pot in the cabinet, I reached for the leftover dinner wine. Something told me coffee wasn’t going to cut if for tonight’s tête-à-tête.

“Do you remember Diane, the woman who’s married to Henry, my next door neighbor’s son? You know, the one who was fat as a house? And notice how I say was and not is. I saw her this morning and I didn’t recognize her. The woman is 200 pounds thinner!”

I slowly inhaled what was left of the dinner wine’s bouquet.

“Turns out she had gastric bypass surgery. She tells me she’s been sick as a dog for the past three months but with all the weight she lost, who cares? And if the weight loss wasn’t enough, the bitch went and got a tummy tuck to get rid of the leftover skin. A tummy tuck! Do you know how long you and I have dreamed of getting one of those babies? But have we? No. And why not? Cause all of our money goes into paying for these kids’ education, that’s why!”

I took a long sip and let my head roll back.

“And for what, Bella? For what? Your kid still is still a work in progress and my two have been working toward a Bachelor’s Degree for the past six years. What a waste of money! We could have spent that cash in getting our stomachs stapled. And with what we’ve spent on books and other incidentals, we would have had enough for a tummy tuck, liposuction in our jaw, an eye lift, and four Botox treatments!”

I turned my neck to the side and heard it crack loudly.

“We would be skinny minnies shopping for bikinis at Target. In size 0! No more being on the defensive and saying 0 is not a size, because it would be our size! We’d be a double 00, you and I! No more fat pants, tunics, or those nasty sweatpants you’re so prone to wearing. We’d be sporting skinny jeans, mini skirts, and thigh high boots! We’d be a force to be reckoned with. We’d look younger, taller, and skinny! S-K-I-N-N-Y!”

I took another sip of wine and wobbled back to the kitchen.

“If we had better invested our money, you wouldn’t have knee troubles from being overweight and I wouldn’t have a double chin I have to hide with scarves in the summer and turtlenecks in the winter. We’d teeter on high heels, buy skinny lattes at Starbucks, and count calories using an app. Instead, those universities where our kids say they go to study are sucking what’s left of our meager savings dry. At this point, we’ll be lucky if we avoid living out the rest of our days in one of those nursing homes where they beat the elderly and starve them to death!”

I slowly moved the items in the kitchen cabinet, searching for a box of Carr’s crackers.

“Mom is right, you know. We’re a pair of enablers. Not only have those kids taken all our money, they’ve also done away with our taut stomachs, firm boobs, and perky derrieres. I never recovered from that 13 stitch episiotomy, you know. I go one day without consuming fiber and all hell breaks loose. You can hear my screams in the next county. And you, don’t get me started on how your desire to breastfeed left your girls, Thelma and Louise! One more month of breastfeeding the Son, and you’d be dragging them on the floor!

I rummaged in the refrigerator and searched for the brie.

“I wish I hadn’t seen that woman today. She’s the reason for this rant. Her and her new flat stomach. She used to weigh more than I did, you know. It makes me want to cry. When I think of the money we’ve wasted on useless pursuits, I want to scream! Where did we go wrong? We made bad choices, plain and simple. I should never have gone to the club that night and met you know who and you should have joined the Peace Corps like you wanted to. Who knows, you might now be married to a doctor and I wouldn’t have to wait until they put the granny pants on clearance at Target.”

Not having found the brie, I made do with the remains of what I hoped was Cheez Whiz.

“We were destined for glory, you and I. Remember how I was in the top ten percentile in college? You spoke French like a native. Dear Lord, now look at us. I bet you’re drinking stale wine and spreading something moldy on a cracker, aren’t you?”

I tried to chew the saltine I had just spread with some sort of mystery cheese without making noise.

“It’s too late to do anything about it now. Our lives suck. This is our reality and we have to deal with it. You and I. We’re in this crap hole together. No one’s digging us out. We’re going to be stuck in here till we die. Or till they send a pair of burly orderlies from the nursing home where our kids are sticking us. Because that’s what awaits us down the line, sister. Me, a woman who should have been dressed in Prada, wearing a straight jacket and you, a woman who was going to write a best seller, singing ‘Old McDonald had a farm’. Dear God, why do you hate us so?”

I took a final sip of wine and placed the wine goblet on the kitchen counter.

“The sound of an empty wine goblet scratching the surface of your old kitchen counter. My cue to put the soap box back in the corner.”

Smiling, I answered, “Yep. Do you feel better?”

“Maybe a tad. Same time next week?”

“Absolutely.”

Click.

Who do you call when you need to vent?

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42 thoughts on “Are you still awake?

  1. We all need to have someone to vent our frustration, I have my brother. I am glad your sister has you for her venting out her feelings, Enjoyed reading it as akways, my friend xoxo

  2. Love it! I am grateful that I can vent to hubby. He has come to understand that I don’t need him to fix anything…I just want to say what I need to say, cry if I need to, and be heard. What a great gift, to have someone we can do that with!

  3. I have friends I can call when I need to vent about anything from professional disasters to bad hair days. It works because they know they can call me, too. Love my girlfriends!

    1. Shary, how lovely to have friends like yours! Those are the kind of women I envision myself laughing and crying with. Alas, such is not my case. I live in a country where I barely speak the language and it’s been hard to make friends. Thank goodness for my sister’s telephone calls! They keep me sane! ha! :)

    2. Shary, you are so right! Struggling to speak a foreign language can be quite the challenge. My sister knows of all my woes! hee hee! :)

  4. Bella, this is a brilliant piece of writing!! Your cracking your neck and drinking wine and eating Cheese Whiz in total silence while your sister rants away–sooooo funny! Every conversation you’ve posted with a family member is priceless–I hope you consider putting them together in an anthology. Thanks for starting my morning with laughter. :)
    (Hope the worst of the pneumonia is over!) xxxxxxx

    1. Jann, good news–the worst of the pneumonia is over! I’m now on to the worst part–knee surgery! Sigh. I should put these conversations together! If not for us, for our kids to enjoy someday! hee hee! I’m delighted to have started your morning off with a laugh! Hugs! :)

  5. your conversations with sister and family are bites of reality, dear Bella, you write them with so much wit and sense of humor than it’s impossible don’t smile (or laugh!)
    I usually telephone my old friend S. to laugh about our ridiculous everyday anecdotes, we’ve done it during last twenty years and I would love to do it during forty years more!
    besos & amigos

    1. Mrs.Allnut, I am so pleased you like my writing! Your comment has made my day! Isn’t it wonderful to have that special friend you can chit chat with? I don’t have many friends and my sister has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I love her to bits! Besos y amigas! :)

  6. As always, Bella, your clever, creative vignettes bring a smile to my face! I’m fortunate to be able to vent to my most understanding husband when I need to, though these don’t come too often, thank goodness!
    Blessings to you!

    1. Martha, I am tickled pink you liked the post! How wonderful to have a husband that actually listens! I’ve never known what that is like! hee hee! Seriously speaking though, it is wonderful to have someone with whom we can discuss anything that’s on our mind, isn’t it? :)

  7. Dear God, how funny. I bow to you, Saint Bella. :-D

    I call Deb or Diane initially, dependent on the tone of the rant, as they each provide a different tone of feedback. I have a bi-weekly call with Compass, one of my two women’s groups, of which Deb and Diane are a part; the other is the Ya-Yas, with whom I gather every five to six weeks or so, and of which Deb and Diane are a part, as well.

    Timing is everything. If the cause of the need to rant is within hours, or at most a day, of a Compass call or a Ya-Ya gathering, I’ll save it. If not, I get on the phone and let it fly. :-D xoxoxo

    1. Ellen, you are so fortunate to have such a wide net of support! ha! How I would love to be a part of your Sisterhood of the Ya Ya! Good times, we would have! Yes, siree! xoxo :)

  8. Bella, once again, you’ve left me in stitches. STITCHES!! Where would we be without our sisters? I, too, call mine (especially when I need to vent!), and she does the same. Sure, girlfriends often serve the same purpose, but Sis is first choice. You’ve described a situation all of us are struggling with — rationalizing the expensive college educations we’re giving our kids with the fact that our bodies are no longer looking like we’re 20-something. Sigh. At least we can hope our kids will have decent enough jobs so as NOT to put us in lousy nursing homes, haha!

    1. Debbie, I knew you would be able to relate to this post! ha! I am indeed crossing my fingers that are boys earn enough to enroll us in one of those posh homes where they have specialized staff that give full body massage, aromatherapy, and organic food! hee hee! We must keep in touch so we can confirm that this really happens! ha! :)

    1. Diane, I’m so glad we’re friends! And really, we must never forget that our furry friends are the best listeners of all! Poor little Roxy will attest to the fact that I talk her ear off! hee hee! :)

  9. Ah Bella, you are a wonderful sister! Like you, I am often on the receiving end of the vent. But it’s not a bad place to be … we get more wine that way, no?

  10. HIS-TIER-ICK-CULL!! I loved this rant so much. I love how she calls putting kids through school “money we’ve wasted on useless pursuits” – you need to write a Book of Rants – I’d buy it! There were so many hysterical parts of this post – your calmness, her hysteria – I was sitting there with you because your words painted pictures. You are one excellent writer, my darlink! I rant to Alpha Hubby – he keeps me grounded in reality but is an excellent listener, too.

    1. Nan, I am so stoked that you found this post funny! Thank you, lady! You are doubly blessed to have in Alpha Hubby both a listener and a venting buddy! (Not that he vents, but that he’s there for you so you can! hee hee!) I’ve always told you–hang on to that man! :)

  11. Great conversation, Nena. I felt like I was there with you. I also really enjoyed the details you added about what you did while the venting was going on. Nice touch! Kisses for Roxy!

    1. Aw, Monica, I’m so pleased you like it! Now that you mention Roxy, I should say that she too is one of my ranting buddies! She’s the perfect listener and if she could talk…whew! hee hee! Kisses for Sir Henry and you from the two of us! :)

  12. I vent to hubby which probably isn’t the best idea. What I love about your post is how the newly thin woman drudged up so many emotions without anything being done or said really by her. I think we often have difficulty accepting big changes (or even little changes) in the people around us. It was priceless to read how you just let her vent. Good sister!

    1. Renee, thank you for the praise! I have discovered that when it comes to my sister’s rants, it’s best to let her vent freely, without interruptions. Fortunately, she knows how to deal with my rants in a similar effective manner. Win/win! hee hee! Would you believe that I’ve never been able to vent with any of my partners? Perhaps its because I don’t think they are capable of empathizing in the same fashion as my sister! :)

    1. so true! my sister and I are 1 yr apart and she still scares the jeepers out of me and still bosses me around…I wouldn’t trade her for the world

    1. Kim, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to not have Kay. I am so sorry. Fortunately, you have so many people that love and care about you–like Roxy and me! Much love to you! :)

  13. My sister woke me from a nap earlier today with similar results. Sadly, I’m out of wine. I was right there with you on the phone searching for cheese and crackers!

  14. When I’m in need of venting, I call my friend Luz in NYC (well she now lives in New Jersey like half of the NYC population). A co-worker and myself were talking about Miami and Ft Lauderdale people and their crazy obsession with plastic surgery and we were wondering if we were the last people in the area with real breast and with faces that move.
    This new race of “plastics” don’t even look human anymore!
    Since I’ve being in Fl, I known 10 people that had the gastric bypass surgery done and most of them have many health issues while the others have gain the weight back. For me is not natural and too much trouble to go in order to be able to just eat 3 peas!
    Besos,

    1. Ay Ofelia, esta gente y su obsesion por la belleza esta loca! I will never have gastric bypass surgery. I’m too afraid of the general anesthesia. I think we have to accept and embrace ourselves the way we are and strive to lose weight if it improves our health. I have to lose weight if this knee is ever going to work again. Easier said than done, amiga! hee hee! I’m glad you still have a real face that moves. ha! That one made me laugh! Besos! :)

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