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I hesitated only briefly over the “Publish” button before deftly clicking it, thus bringing another piece of my brain to life on the screen, for tens of tens of people to read and enjoy. I’ve done something similar about three times a week for a little over two years now. But this time was different. This time I was met with a jaunty little note that informed me that I had just published my 399th post. Now I’m not terribly good at math, but by my reckoning, that meant that my very next post was going to be the big 4-O-O.

As such, I decided to do something I promised you all I would do quite some time ago. Something I promised myself I would do as well. And here it is. The 100 Word Song originally written for “Car Jamming,” now fleshed out, and ready to become (hopefully), a real-life honest-to goshicles short story.

Ready?

Here goes:

bebe

He had realized early on that any signs of kindness on their part, would be merely accidental. Or worse yet, intentionally cruel, under the guise of feigned affection

Wondering why they were so hellbent on being constantly brutal and mean, he carefully dabbed a stubborn tear away, smudging a bit of smoky eyeliner in the process. Rifling the tissue to the desktop, he muttered “Dammit!” while inspecting the mishap.

It wasn’t enough that he was abused for being true to himself, he now looked like a weepy rank amateur to boot. He knew, or understood at least, why they did what they did. He could see it himself sometimes, when he looked into the mirror. He would hear his mother’s final words, as she had hung up the phone on him for the very last time, “girls don’t shave their faces, and boys DON’T wear make-up. Grow out of it, Gabe!”

He was a child, and her words had seared right through him, as intended. It had hurt. And she knew exactly how to do that. She’d been practicing it for years, in fact. Some would say that she was the first bully he had ever had to contend with. It had hurt, but it was a hurt he eventually used to make himself stronger. Or so he hoped. It was a hurt, but just the first of many. And if he could survive that from the woman who birthed him, then what in the hell sort of power could some punk-ass borderline-barbaric classmates have over him?

He felt his fist hit the desk, much more than he heard it. Another “dammit!,” escaped his lips as he realized that that was going to bruise for sure. Quietly laughing despite the pain, he found himself thanking the angels that at least he wasn’t a hand model. Cradling the throbbing hand gently in the other, he took an unexpected moment to look at his natural nails. Finding them gnarled and bitten, he saw a deeper truth to that idea, based on how chewed upon they were, and he quickly began applying his Lee press-ons to cover his insecurity.

“Gabe? Err… Gabriella?” His father called out, concerned over the audible furniture abuse taking place. “Are you OK, honey?” Gabe smiled again. His father was never certain as to which name to call him, having not quite figured out the nuances of the scene just yet. That, and he always felt the need to yell through the apartment as if it were some sort of multi-winged expansive mansion, instead of the compact yet comfortable two-bedroom flat that it actually was.

Never one for needing a lot of space anyway, Gabe allowed his dad this second tendency without complaint, as he knew it was only done to accommodate for his feelings of inadequacy over not being able to provide “properly” for his son.  Gabe truly didn’t mind, and understood the strain of a man who was told by his wife that of all he was, and after all those years, the only thing of worth was his wallet and every penny she could bleed from it. And she had bled both it and he dry, even though there wasn’t that much blood to give in the first. As he had done during their marriage, throughout it all he simply kept his mouth shut and soldiered on, in the hopes that he wouldn’t inadvertently say something that would one day prevent Gabe from having a somewhat normal relationship with her. Gabe was certain that his dad’s efforts, on this front at least, were to be in vain.

Instead of voicing all this however, all that Gabe shouted back was, “I’m OK dad, I just banged my knee on the vanity!”

“Oh, alright then.” His dad responded somewhat skeptically, “Let me know if you need any ice!”

His dad may have been weak-willed, but was too smart as well. Gabe knew he that couldn’t keep this on-campus bullying hidden forever. Couldn’t keep the “strong silent treatment” up for too much longer. But his dad had enough to worry about already as it was, and he didn’t want to add to that burden. Still, he couldn’t not be true to himself either.

Sighing, he looked in the mirror again, coming to firm grips with the fact that the “smudge-proof” style of eyeliner was only different from the other brands in that it cost a hell of a lot more. He’d never make that mistake again. And he realized he’d have to come to grips with those borderline-barbarian boys as well.

He knew one thing. Lauren Bacall wouldn’t have ever let them get her down. And Nana had always said that it was this iconic star that he resembled most, when he was dressed “that way.”  Maybe it was high-time that he started acting like her as well.

Delicately clicking his freshly painted plastic nails against the vanity, to the beat of his favorite Waterboys tune that happened to be playing softly in the background, he sang along as he looked into the mirror one more time, and he smiled.

And then THIS happened…

Yesterday, I saw a new icon on my notification tab. Well; I thought it was a new icon at any rate. Clicking on it, I realized that I actually had seen it before, exactly one-year prior in fact, as the following popped into existence…

Picture 5

That’s right. As of the 27th of May, this lil blog of mine is now two years old. And to celebrate, I got it nothing.

Abso-freakin’-lutely nothing.

No special posts written, no photos taken, no quotes retrieved. No reviews readied, nor songs chosen. Nothing. Hell, I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

I mean, over the past two years, “As Long As…” has allowed me to share with you my father’s passing, my children’s growth, the struggles I’ve had with my faith, the recent and unexpected death of my 17 year marriage, the oft time battles I’ve had with depression, and of course the efforts that have stock-piled, resulting from my dreams of one day becoming a pretend writer of some sort.

Starting with just one follower – my bestest friend ever whom I’ve never met – this kid has grown slowly to a little over 230 more of you since. And I am as grateful to you all, as I am questioning of your literary taste… More importantly though, since its inception “As Long As…” has provided me with peace and solace during my dark hours. A place to scream, bitch, bemoan, play and flex my mental muscles and – to my albeit grateful surprise – it has brought me strong friendships that have only grown, as the challenges of life have become harder, though eventually overcome. In short, this blog has given me more than a lot of living, breathing people I know have.

And I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

Hey you, As Long As I’m Singing, thank you my friend. I appreciate it… all of it.

As I noted previously, I didn’t have an applicable quote, nor a song chosen for this event. You know, in part because I totally forgot that this event was even to be an event. But I figured the following two will work well enough. The quote, simply because it’s about the truest thing I’ve ever read, and something I am coming to believe. And the song because, as you are an apple that fell pretty close to its somewhat creative tree, I feel it’s a good choice to describe how I feel about us both.

Happy 2nd, As Long As I’m Singing. Here’s to year 3 =)

•••

“Bad things can happen,

and often do–

but they only take up a few pages of your story;

and anyone can survive a few pages.”

~ James A. Owen

Briefly…

My take on the political landscape in exactly 100 words.

Here’s this weeks 100 Word Song.

And here is the most random factoid that WP has ever decided I need to know:

Thank you BYB and the rest of oHIo for turning the tide. Today is a lot brighter as a result of the choice you made last night.

 

101

Although today is a very bad day for a wholly other reason, one that might be discussed later, this also did happen:

Sorry Teresa, but apparently WP doesn’t count “email followers.” A pure bunk move, if you ask me, for the accurate count of you who follow is actually 101. On the plus side, this now allows me to tap into some Depeche Mode at the end of this post (Marian claps her hands in anticipation), so at least there’s that.

Anywho, I just wanted to say thank you to all 101 of you. I know you don’t have to follow me, and I’m sure that quite often you find yourself asking why you did in the first place. No one could blame you if you did.

So, I’m sorry to bother you again today, and I’ll get out of your hair shortly. But again, I did want to thank you guys for being part of my blogging family – my tribe – I appreciate your willingness to join me on my ride. It continues to be a total pleasure.

Love,

t