I hate the word, the feeling, the taste of jealousy, envy, to covet, gimme, you don't deserve that, where's mine? I can taste the bitter sadness of it, the sense that you've been forgotten, the terrible sadness of not being fast enough, smart enough, pretty enough, the unchosen. Envy makes your stomach ache and your throat dry, your jaw get tight and your breath short. It cripples.

When I was a little kid, a really little kid, I can remember, briefly, feeling perfect. I was not at all the sort of girl featured in ads or TV as perfect. They were clean, wore their long silky hair in ribbons, wore nicely white socks and shoes, dresses or sweet short sets that matched. I was of another sort altogether, I was the MEMBER OF THE WEDDING sort, the dirty, tom boy, barefoot, crooked hair cut sort. I was also smart and argumentative and I wouldn't let anyone boss me around except my oldest sister Catherine. Most of my days were spent alone or in the company of another kid as we wandered around building dams in the brooks, climbing trees, or exploring our barns.

I remember when jealousy entered this paradise. Cindy Polaro got very pretty in sixth grade and Jeff Kramer asked her to skate at the Lawrenceville Skating Rink where we all went to skate and grab one another and throw each other against the wall. But then they paired off. One day the rest of us stood there and watched as they glided past, Cindy all tiny, brunette, cute and neat with her tiny skates and her tiny hand being held by Jeff who suddenly seemed like the most desirable boy in the Universe rather then a rather goofy, inarticulate boy for-gods-sake! I mean, I was madly in love with the Phantom from the comic. I was going to get old enough to travel to deepest, darkest Africa and rent a canoe and paddle up some deep, dark African river and he would swoop down from the place he lived (Tree house) and take me out of my canoe and we'd live in that tree house and I'd help him solve crimes and make him lemon pudding, my specialty.

Now, there were boys that liked me. There was a fat boy who lived across the street and stared at me on the school bus and sometimes sat by the mailbox and stared. For hours. And there was this other really smart kid, George Gagliardi who sometimes tried to have semi-adult conversations with me, "How do you feel about space exploration?" We were ten. George was already pedantic. It wasn't so much the boy you understand? It was the choosing, it was the election to Prom Queen, it was being the favorite.

Here's the real problem-I'm no good at being in the in-crowd. I've been there and I always drop the ladder and tell everyone to climb up. When I was little, I invited all the special needs kids to my birthday parties. When I grew older I found it impossible to take on the persona of someone who felt entitled. So, I usually blew it. Instead of dating the famous movie star I dated his unsuccessful brother. Instead of sleeping with the director, I slept with the guy who hung the lights, He had better pot and he was nice.

These days, it's not about men so much. I have the best husband in the world. Seriously. He's gorgeous, kind, smart, funny and he's an Iron Worker which almost makes him the Phantom. He loves me more than anyone has ever loved me and he gets me. These days it's about things like real-estate. I am sitting here on my sister's deck of her gorgeous house on Cape Cod and trying to accept I'm happy for her and I don't want this. Do I want this? Not really. Truro is too far away, I have so many good things going on in my life in Chicago and if I was her I wouldn't be me which would suck. And I love her and I want her to be happy. And Cape Cod is hers and she can have it. With my blessing. Because envy is about fear and it's about sadness and it's about people forgetting about you but now I have someone who never forgets about me.

And then there are the cats. two gray tiny kitttens who spend all their time trying to get into bags. One of them loves me so much his eyes glaze over and he moans and kneads and falls over and rolls around and I touch him and he looks at me as if I invented his entire Universe. So that's pretty damn amazing. Oh, my Luke. Sixteen plus and working all the time and making fun of me the rest but the heart of an angel warrior and completely and utterly himself except there is a tiny part of me there. And my parents. They are beyond compare. 85 and Daddy broke his neck a month ago. Yesterday my mother said he looked like "a poet coming out of drain" because his hair is so long and he has a neck brace.

Who needs anything else? It can't be about the house or the man or the job or the body.


  1. What I "needed" today was to read this post. I stumbled upon it thru a number of random keystrokes (i.e. six degrees of separation) and your message resonates with me. Thank you.......

    My best to you and Timo,


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