Wednesday, June 29, 2011

writing because...

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With you in my heart
It's up. It's done. There are moments when I wonder what I was thinking. I often wonder what exactly I have that gives me permission to write. About life, people, beliefs and love. These are complex concepts. Or perhaps they are just as complex as we make them. I tried to make them work for the characters in the book. Tried to make them human, with fears, yet with the hope of doing something significant.
I've used nature a lot here. Rivers and trees and sunrises. People lose themselves in it and try to recover. It's my personal belief that nature restores energies in the way no human contact can. Varun, the male protagonist often goes away to "deprogram himself", as he says. Roshani Das lives in the present, using the sea as an analogy in many ways. At times, I thought that the descriptions of love or grief were rather strong. On reading everything over many times, I see that was the best way. Anything else would dilute the message. Better strong than dilute! 
Names too play a big role here. Each name chosen for the effect that it has on characters. It's a belief, among many cultures, that names have power. That they influence lives, choices, personalities. I've used that to influence the characters actions and potential.
I just wanted to write a story that considered extremes, different characters and how much is open to us to change in this world. How we're a mix of many elements that may, in a black and white way, categorize us as hypocrites. But, perhaps in the grand scheme of things, every innate contradiction is perfect. That this is possibly the only way we can grow. That growth is as much about living a life as it is about giving up the world.
So in that sense, the story I want to tell and the reality of a great many brilliant authors who are miles ahead of me can co-exist. Perhaps I'm not being arrogant, but am simply offering my view of thoughts that I'm sure we all think of everyday!
If anyone does read the book, let me know what you think. While I am writing for my pleasure, I am also writing to be heard. So it matters to me what my readers think.

Carol from the ARTMUSEDOG website interviewed me. You can find the interview on her meaningful blog at

Saturday, June 25, 2011

With you in my heart is on sale

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With you in my heart is on sale at Smashwords and Amazon! The links on your right should take you to the book page.

Will be available in a couple of weeks on Sony, Apple, Kobo and Scrollmotion.

The link should take you to the smashwords book page - With you in my heart

A description -
A journey of love and self-discovery.
Roshani Das overcame tradition to find success as a fashion model. When her deepest fear comes true, she fights back, finding a way to overcome a terrible blow. Seen as an enigma, she continues to live life on her own terms.
Varun Dev, rebellious yet spiritual, is determined to chart his own life. Determined to live in a world of his own making, he too lives on his own terms.
When Roshani and Varun meet, they feel a strong attraction that ties them together forever. Roshani overcomes her apprehensions and they are to be married. Tragedy strikes when Varun is lost at sea, while on an adventure. Unable to accept that he could be dead, Roshani breaks down. The biggest shock for Roshani, however, is yet to come.
The characters journey toward love, fighting odds and living life. Whether they live with nature in the Himalayas or beautiful Belize, or in vibrant New York City or Arizona, their path to love is strewn with answers that they look for within. 

Have a restful weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kid compulsions

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So Mini-Him has been on vacation for about a week now. I was hugely excited for him, for me and for the many things that we still hope to accomplish. I suppose it's a human trait to be oblivious, emotionally I mean, to the challenges that will arise from having expectations. I know, in my brain, that nothing is ever easy. So when I discussed the goals I had set for Mini-Him and myself before the vacation, I said, "I know it won't be easy." It was with a sense of relish, bravado creeping in, with which I air-brushed my hopes. All the wise, older women around me had smiled, not as excited as I was. I put it down to them having lived their lives. Surely, it was hard to get worked up about a nine year old's art and science projects?!

Well, there is a monster and a blessing called TV. We're disconnecting the good and evil incarnate today. Just so Him and I don't give Mini-Him confusing signals. So far, we've tussled with setting TV limits. The free time between watching scheduled shows is spent with Mini-Him arguing about how much more he should be watching. There have been interesting observations he has made that shame me.

Some sound like this, "Well, Dad and you were paying the bills that day and made me watch TV while you were busy!!" True, only because puzzles were 'boring', a page of Math was 'not fair' and reading was 'too much'. He even said, "You take advantage of the TV Mom. It's hy-co-cry-tical (hypocritical). What does that mean? Hycocrytical?"

It means that I'm always speechless when it matters, I thought to myself and ignored him studiously.

But still, we plan to watch when he's asleep. At least there won't be confusing signals then!

Also, Mini-Him doesn't know to use a bicycle, which, I'll admit is our fault. But our fault through being over protective. He has an epilepsy diagnosis and we have gone overboard trying to protect his body from unnecessary trauma. The doctor advised that he stay off bikes too. Now that I believe the time is right, his opinion is necessarily different.

"Mini-Him, we're going to practice riding your bicycle today. We'll go in an hour," I tell him, putting on my best calm, unconcerned mom voice. I cannot possibly show him that I care about this. Any amount of concern from me brings an equal and opposite rebellion. So, I worked on my book cover as I sent sound bytes of intent.

"An hour? But...but I have Ben10 in an hour! Why do I HAVE to ride a bicycle Mom? It's not the end of the world if I don't. Let's go swimming instead." Of course, he has forgotten that he hated swimming too. It took a concerted effort on our part to pry him away from the safe life that we had to impose on him. But he's learned to love it. I hope that he'll learn to love this too. The world surely won't end, like he wisely said. But my motherly duty toward him will definitely be better done.

Half a painstaking hour of bicycle practice later, we're arguing again. He's famished...he says, for chips only. Bar-b-cue chips. Which we make the mistake of buying when people visit. "Why can't we be like other people?" Mini-Him grumbled already, "Everyone has chips. Why do I have to eat carrots and dip?"

I thought a great deal this morning. About why I have these compulsions that only make life more difficult. Why does he HAVE to ride a bike, do math, organize his little space or watch less TV? And why am I the "TV hycocrite"?

A few answers seem forthcoming now, as I wait for Him to arrive and take over. I am the TV hycocryte because I am definitely a hypocrite who needs absolute quiet time. It only happens with the TV blaring and him listening to the darned thing. That way, I get to stay quiet and he is quiet. Yes, this passes for quiet time in my household.

My compulsions stem from needing some aspects of growth dealt with before the teenage years set in. Before I'll be fighting a hormonal Mini-Him with a new set of arguments. And yes, there is something to be said for living a productive life. Which I don't expect him to understand at nine. But when he asks me, "Is it going to be the end of the world if I don't?" I have very few words left.

Did I ever mention that Him's family is full of lawyers? Him himself can't help jumping headlong into an argument. Only, it's yet to dawn on him that his voice, booming out the counter to every theory, makes everyone else fall silent. Before long, there is a monologue in place of an argument that used to be a discussion.

I guess my compulsion is really about Mini-Him having, in my humble, unasked opinion, a balanced outlook.

Even if that renders me unbalanced.

With you in my heart

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My second book, titled 'With you in my heart' will be on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and goodreads on June 25. I started this way back in'09, hoping to be done a lot sooner. Many changes later, I found that the story that I wanted to write had changed as well. If you do buy it, please feel free to leave me a note - be it a comment or a suggestion. Here's the Smashwords page link - With you in my heart
I have here a little excerpt of it. There are three central characters and the story goes from India to New York and Arizona (yes, I know. I'm serious)

"The waves crashed over him. It looked like the beginning of time. When there was no one to know or see. In some irreverent part of his mind, he thought of this and the next thought was of Roshani in the morning; in her sheer pink night gown, the outline of her breasts visible in the morning light as she drank coffee, holding the mug with both hands. The water fought him, fiercely pushed him under. The wall of water was as solid as a cement wall. He tried to stop his face from being the first to receive each blow. Each breath filled his lungs with more water than air. The events that led to this particular time in his life probably weighed on his mind. But all he could think or feel was despair. Not despair that he would die.
Dyaus! Dyaus who kept him alive through dark moments. Dyaus who waited as Roshani did. Dyaus who loved him as Roshani did.
He hit something hard. The shooting pain in his ankle forgotten in the next wave. His body, excellent warrior against people and dogma, allowed the ocean to have its way. His last thought before a blessed void became his only conscious, was that he had been true. True to being a feeling, thinking entity who was incidentally, also a man."

If I could describe my uncertainty right now, I would be a variably intonated but oft repeated, "I don't know...I don't knowwww....oh my goodness what was I thinking?!...I don't knowww..."

But I've gotta do this! So I'm doing it :-) 

Take care ...thank you for stopping by and reading the many things that I post! I love having a cyber-voice!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Travel, it's written!

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pic credit - Idea go;
I spent fourteen very solid travel-free years between my childhood and early teens. Before that, my parents had been married for a year. In which time, they moved across three states. When Dad finally left to go overseas, he assumed that it would be for two or three years. Only, Mom and I joined him. And for my parents, two or three years magically transformed into thirty full, happy years outside their home country. When I left at sixteen, I wondered if there would be a measure of stability at some point. I suppose that I still wonder about it.

I stayed in Place A for two years, Place B for four years, married Him, arrived in California and walked the piers of Redondo Beach for exactly four months before I moved again.

"You see," said Mom, reflecting on Him's wanderlust and my own fortune, "It's the way your horoscope's laid out."

"Ah. That." I said, gulping down the chocolate cake that she still baked for me, obliterating thought.

"Yes. Neither of you will ever put down roots.Or that's what this astrologer told me. You're going to keep moving nearly all your lives." It didn't seem to bother her, sitting in her kitchen of twenty years.

I don't like to stagnate in any way. But I do believe in that proverb "A rolling stone gathers no moss". Not that I need a moss coat, in addition to other questionable characteristics. But I certainly don't want to waste my life rolling away. Umm...that could sound wrong, no? I'll leave it be though. It's how I feel.

After Redondo, we lived in Walnut Creek for another five blessed months before moving to Hermosa Beach. A year in one apartment later, Mini-Him was born and we promptly moved to another one. Eight months later, it was Newport Beach where Mini-Him's loud giggles and cries gave our quiet neighbors sleepless nights. We must have been the only stressed people in that quiet community. Mini-Him's vocals sounded like a war cry.

By this time, I had serious issues with gathering no moss.

"Why can't we stay in one place?" I asked him, faking calm unconcern.

"I have to go where work takes me," he said, truly unconcerned.

"Well, how come everyone stays put and still moves ahead?" I asked, calm disappearing.

Him looked up from his computer, miracle!, but only briefly. "We're not like everyone," he declared.

That much I knew. By now. As I stomped off to clean another Mini-Him generated mess, my mother's words resounded again.

"My mom said that this would happen." I told him, when I returned, flinging stuff around just so I could keep my voice level.

"How does she know?" he asked, "no...wait...those horror-scopes?" he laughed. Him can laugh with such enjoyment, that it's seriously insulting when you're mad. How could anyone possibly have a good time then?

"Yes. The same so called horror-scopes that you can't resist asking about every time you talk to her. Stop making fun of my mother!" I said, flinging folded clothes into the closet, undoing some good, neat work.

"I'm not making fun of her. She's a good woman," he said, revealing yet another fact that I had always known.
"She did say though, that it's in BOTH of our horoscopes. That the most we'll ever stay in one place is for about five years."

That, I didn't know and was shocked to find, five years later, that it was true. Because not long after that conversation, we bought a house, for the dumbest reason on the planet. Mini-Him created such a racket in the Newport apartment, that our neighbor told me that she was considering calling child services.  We 'bought' a house, not 'rented' one, because we assumed that everyone would think the same. And that he needed a house to run around and scream as much as he wanted to. We bought a house and, oh! boy! what a house! Anyway, musty carpet, searing heat and hopeless roof aside, Mini-Him spent many happy, ear drum shattering, noisy days there. And we stayed for exactly five interminable years.

It must have been part of my horoscope to yearn to move out and move on too, because by then, I couldn't stand being in that house.

We're in Panama now and Him wonders about what's around the corner. Daily. I can see the fidget in his bones. He has that look on his face again, like he's expecting a magic portal to zoom us, and our belongings into yet another unfamiliar landscape.

In all of this, I never mentioned the many visits to the home country, my beloved Dubai and other mini trips.
Mini-Him also developed an overt fondness for the emergency room. That's his 'go to' spot, I suppose, to get in touch with his wild side.

Over a breakfast chat with Mom the other day, I asked, past static-y crackling, "So what's next?"

"I met this astrologer the other day," she said, as my antennae vibrated enough to knock themselves out, "he thinks that you're moving soon."

"To where?" I wailed.

"Oh, I don't know, he said ..." and she listed out places that made our old house seem want-able.

"Do they never talk about anything else?" I asked, bitterly, "like if I'll ever be a millionaire, if Mini-Him is going to do something great, or if maybe I'll have six more children?!"

"Three," she said, calmly, "he said you'll have three children."

"That CAN'T be!!!," I gasped in shock.

"It's all there," she said, potential for grandmotherly bliss making her smile, no doubt, "It's all there in your horoscope."

I stayed silent.

"It's all written down," she said, confident and peaceful.

I still said nothing. The visions of moving around with more Mini-Hims/Hers who have affinities for emergency rooms made my head spin very fast.

But, then, what do I have to worry about?

It's all written anyway.

pic link -

Monday, June 13, 2011

Never mind...

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pic credit - nuttakit;
Steaming kitchen, she chopped and mopped,
"He'll be here", she thought
Sprinting to dress, fragrant spritz,
she smiled as he stepped in to prepared bliss.

"I'm going out," he said, throwing down his coat.
Her eyes downcast, tremble he didn't note.
"See you soon," he said, dropping a kiss.
"Never mind," she told herself, "nothing's amiss."

"He's my husband," the mirror said to her,
"he understands, means well, no loss do I incur."
Dress off, now acquiescent plaid,
A love story she watched, lovers glad.

He walked in the frosty night,
There were no friends in the dying light,
Escape he had from her unhappy gaze
How would they leave this maze?

"Never mind," he told the cold wind,
"She's my wife, even if blame is pinned,
on me, night and day,
for hopes that'll never catch a light ray."

Her smile that faded at the sight
Of him, at the door that night
To him seemed a sign
that cross, he could not, a line.

"I meant to ask her to walk with me,"
to a scurrying gopher he said sadly.
"But she wanted solitude for a friend,
how will this marriage mend?"

Two vines he spied on a bough
reaching past crevasses, angry bark and furrow
meeting till leaves embraced,
indistinguishable, upward they raced.

She sat solitary in the night.
Wishing that she might,
leave and not return.
Let go of love for which she yearned.

How her face in his hands came to be,
through her fear and tears she didn't see
but he whispered what she could not believe,
"Never mind everything, for what's lost don't grieve."

"We'll start again, tell me,
what I did, set our love free."
Fingers reaching for stubbly face,
she tried to maintain grace.

"You care not that my heart hurts,
when your dislike you show in spurts,
indifference and anger the norm,
no matter that I try in every form."

In his arms, she felt small,
gladly he felt, break down of a wall
"I thought the same about you,
Didn't know what to try new."

"Never mind," they said together
"It'll now get better,"
"As long as we know more than silence
Know that underneath is love, in essence."

pic link -

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An award and passing it on

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Life with Karen's Karen Greenberg passed an award to me. I am honored to be called "A Stylish Blogger". I have never been called stylish and so am happy to accept this as a first :-) The title of this post is linked to her blog and you view her stories and many anecdotes through it :-D

I am passing this on to fellow bloggers whose blogs I follow. They have hilarious, profound, astonishing and flat out captivating posts. Do visit them!

radical ramblings and thoughts of a southern girl

As for seven things about me, well let's see -

I love the rain; it's terribly sad when it is accompanied by lightning because then I have to give in to practicality and avoid going outside.

I love the sun and humidity as well.

I listen to 70's music. Give me ABBA anyday!

I always wanted to be one of those anime characters in intergalactic wars as a child.

Then, I thought I was going to be a surgeon. Then I decided that I wanted to deliver babies. I sort of walked into physical therapy, looked around, and decided to stay on.

I will be staying home for up to a year. Am trying to enjoy everything possible before I fling myself back into work.

Love coconut water :-) Any time of day!

Thank you for visiting and sharing my thoughts.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Of leaving home and other healthy choices

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Sixteen is a good age I believe. To leave home. Not, most certainly, by force or necessity. But it is a lovely age to transition into the world. A lovely age that will allow resilience in ugly situations. Not too young and not at that age when teenagers are itching to run and forget their beginnings.

Ofcourse, I left home at exactly that age. While I lived with relatives for two years, my home, as I knew it, was going to undergo a transformation.

The biggest change happened internally, when I found not one person who could understand my weaknesses. Truly, why should they? I found myself floundering and completely unable to accept the anonymity. The family I stayed with were good to me. But, the sense of belonging had vanished. With it, my sense of self.

There was no one to sense my fright, my nervousness, my dislikes, or 'my' anything. It was a freezing splash into reality. In retrospect, I am glad that I was so young. While there were fixed ideas about many things, I was also angry enough to fight back. I remember moving from a sedate, organized environment into utter chaos. An environment where nothing could be taken for granted. Not the weather, not utilities and suddenly, not even myself.

pic credit - Sura Nualpradid;
I remember barely being able to comprehend what people said. Couldn't get used to the urgent efficiency of a big city. I'd always gone shopping with mom. Now, I didn't know where to go and wore the same torn shoes for months. It was when a bunch of students stared at my shoes in shock that I worked up the courage to ask for help; to buy shoes, yes.

It is not good to live a sheltered existence and yearn for adventure at the same time. I remember being unable to get on a train. Now, where I had moved, the trains are not carefully watched or guarded. They stop for barely a minute in which time, a gazillion people and their kids, baskets, bicycles and bags have to get in. I remember holding on to the railing tenaciously, determined to make it. The train began to move, slowly at first. I kept pace with it, running along the platform, imagining that I could do a jump. But suddenly it picked up speed , slicing a deep gash through my knee, leaving me sprawled on the platform, dazed and embarrassed.

I felt alone and apart there too. So I had to wonder. Had it been home? Was it the city? Was it the people I lived with? It couldn't be everyone else all the time. It had to be me.

Many positives became apparent only after a decade of being away from home. I realized that for one, my family was phenomenal. I just didn't know it. I realized that it took my parents a lot of strength to let go of a daughter. I had been utterly frustrated at home, when I made the momentous decision to leave. While I was in  the new place, I wondered, desperately, what I had been thinking. But now, it's obvious that it was truly not my family's responsibility to shoulder every kind of identity crisis that I weathered in my teens. The tantrums, the demands, the rudeness - families bear them all. But after a point, all conflicts point to only one solution. That is to go out and be a part of a world that teaches us about ourselves. Because in the end, that's what we are - individuals. Every family is as strong or as weak as each of it's members. If we're strong, 'sorted out' individuals, we have families that are the same. Not immune to flaws, just able to weather more with ease.

I had once declared being 'different' from my family. It became apparent later that they had influenced everything about me. It could be a formidable dislike of double-dipping utensils at meal times, always giving a small percentage of the monthly income to a charitable trust, a love of conversation over tea, or just the way we wave our hands when we talk. I adopted the only way that I had ever known. And inspite of exposure to other ways, accepting other roads of existence, my own way that came from strong, sometimes exasperating people, was part of my identity.

I left, trying to find myself. Wanting desperately to break free of the only environment that I had ever had. A loving, nurturing one. It was an excellent reference point for how things should be. It was an excellent source of contrast to many moments in my later life.

But, I had to leave first! Discussions with many others over the years stressed the same thought. It has very little to do with finances and a great deal to do with being effective in your own space, on your terms - space and terms defined by you; with lessons that you've gathered.

The thought for this post came up when Him and I talked about our respective forays into the world. Our experiences were very different. But both of us look upon our time at home as a blessing; an environment that may not have had the excitement of a theme park or every tailor made wish brought true, but one that had infinite love and security. They didn't want us messing around. What was so wrong about that anyway?

Watching Mini-Him (my son) brings issues into sharper focus. I hope, for all of the arguments and slamming doors that I foresee in his future, that as an adult, he still thinks of home with fondness and as a place that he wishes he had not left after all.

pic credit -

Sunday, June 5, 2011


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photo credit - prozac1;

Dragging resistance, rolling away
heart holds back, no! it will slay,
myself, fright and notions of might,
rocking, it will soothe me into the light.

Leaping waves, thousand arms in gentle embrace,
another face of death, takes without grace.
Powerful, subdued, nourishing it seems,
Eternity back and forth and dreams.

Meaning all this and much more,
incidental birth or creation brought afore.
Let me stay forever; stay close,
yearning, love, hope, soul’s song deep within arose.

Arose when born,
grew as the sun blessed every morn.
Ocean aeonian, gathers to shatter,
waves drench me in measures of love, terror, laughter.

Mansion, shed or frond roof,
matters not, I’ll stay aloof,
From beautiful humanity’s ephemeral love,
than humbling ocean’s treasure trove.

pic link -

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thank you Lindy Legend

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Thank you Lindy for "A Versatile Blogger" award!

Lindy's wonderful blogs and writing community on blog frog are exciting and for me, enlightening. Especially the numerous writing resources and information that she kindly shares!

The title should take you to her blog page.

I've promised to include seven things about myself -

Love calm mornings. Everyday!

The ocean is a special symbol for me. Eternal and uncontrolled...I live by the ocean now and hope that I'll always have the blessing. Even if the danger in that is more apparent with the disasters these days.

A piece of chocolate, I believe, can set many wrongs right!

I get uncomfortable when I'm too comfortable :-)

I've only recently begun writing again. After many years of stuffing thoughts away in the back of my mind for "later." It can be mighty confusing I tell ya! If you're the type who needs to put down your thoughts for clarity...believing that you can work through them without the metaphorical pen and paper can create a maze you'll never step out of!

I can't stand shopping.

I love lame know? The ones about the chicken crossing the road? And how do you stuff an elephant into a refrigerator? Or what did one strawberry say to the other?( got us into this jam...ROFL)

Thanks again Lindy and everyone who visits this blog and reads my thoughts and stories. I'm thankful that you come by!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Midnight Drunk Dial

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In all my life, I have never received a call such as the drunk dial that woke me at 3 am on a weekend two years ago. Everyone that I've narrated this tale to, ad nauseum, will roll their eyes that I should bring it up again on a public forum. But, let me tell you, it's better to have certain kinds of deviant nonsense occur when you're in your teens and twenties versus being over thirty. That's when life takes on a set pattern. At least, it is that way for me.

I remember the time because I woke gasping when my cell phone rang and grabbed it. It glowed 2:59 am. It said "Private Caller". My husband worked overseas at the time, my parents live overseas and middle of the night calls, in my nervous mind, never portend good tidings. It could've been any of them in trouble and that is why I answered, confused and a little afraid.

The man's first words have me laughing even today.

2:59 am and the man, we'll call him Sad Drunk, asked, "Were you sleeping?"

That alone made me want to strangle him. Surprised that he'd have to wonder about it, I got to the point.

"Who IS this?" I asked, sounding slightly crazy no doubt.

"Sad Drunk." he said, as if it should've been evident.

pic credit - Simon Howden;
"Sad Drunk?!" I was shocked. He sounded terrible! "Is everything alright?!" I rushed in.

"Yeah." he said.

"Is the family okay?" I asked.

"Yeah" he said.                                                                  

"What's wrong Sad Drunk?"

"I'm so lonely."

Now, Sad Drunk sounded like he was going to throw himself off a cliff. Honestly, in my sleep addled brain, I assumed that he was on the verge of committing hara-kiri or had done away with family. Those were the days when we heard about economically stressed families being wiped out. I thought it was something like that. My blood chilled. I thought he needed to talk to someone. The nuance escaped me totally.

"Do you need to talk?" I asked.

Sad Drunk having got his foot in the metaphorical door, happily answered,  "Yeah."

"Okay. Is something wrong at work?" I asked, still fixated on economy at 3am.

"No." he offered, expansively.

"Something wrong with your friends at volleyball?" I've been on mom mode for a long time. Sooner or later, it gets in the way.

"No." he answered, being crystal clear.

Now Him (my husband who does not like names being publicized) and Sad Drunk played volleyball with a whole bunch of guys on alternate Saturdays. Him gave up after he realized that playing on Saturday gave him aches and pains for a week that wiped out the potential for anything else. Sad Drunk continued. But they kept in touch and met up on the train to work. Him and Sad Drunk had known each other for about four years. While Him visited Sad Drunk at home with Mini-Him (my son), I never had and it was at a party in our home, ten days before the momentous call, that I saw Sad Drunk for the first time. At a party for Mini-Him. With Beautiful Wife and two gorgeous kids in tow. I orchestrated the whole party for Mini-Him complete with games and balloon fights and didn't really pay attention to any of the guests. So I might have exchanged two whole words with Sad Drunk and maybe six with his Beautiful Wife.

On with the call....

Once I had figured it wasn't the economy, family trouble, friendship issues and miscellaneous other things, I didn't know what else to think. This was my husband's friend. I couldn't hang up on him if he was going to kill himself, I thought. My brother, who was visiting for a bit was in another room, head phones on, living the night unlike me. I knocked on his door and whispered, "It's Sad Drunk!! I think he's going to do something to himself. Talk to him!!"

My brother put him on speaker phone and urged me to ask another question. I did, asking, "So what happened today?"

"Nothing. I don't know. I'm just...."

And my brother was doing his peculiar "upper body swinging this way and that" style of laughter. "He's p***** drunk!!" he said.

I stared at my phone, unable to believe it. So THAT's what it was?!

By then, Sad Drunk had broken the sound barrier. He asked, getting to the point in a way that left me speechless. He said, "Listen, can we meet?"

My brother's eyes were like golf balls. He had met this guy too.

Still not wanting to believe it, I went on, "Umm, sure!! Him will be back again, first week of October and we can ALL meet. Him and I and you and Beautiful Wife and the kids too! It'll be fun. I'll set up a date with Beautiful Wife!"

Sad Drunk chuckled to himself. In moments of useless hindsight, I interpreted the moment he chuckled as the time I knew that Sad Drunk might have been Sad but was "not quite drunk".

"That's nice. That's....nice." he said, not meaning it, "Can we meet alone? Just you and me?"

My brother fell off the exercise ball he persistently sat on, insisting that it was excellent for his back.

I stared at him, the phone and said, "Ah...I don't think that is a good idea. I don't think I should."

Sad Drunk suddenly persisted, "You don't think you should? But you would want to?"

"No. I don't want to." I said, scared now and asked, instead of hanging up, "Why are you doing this?"

"I don't know," he said. "I've been thinking about you a lot."

My question was stupid and immediate. "Why? Why were you thinking about me Sad Drunk?"

"I don't know. There's something about you."

At this point, I was rooted to the spot, thinking of what to use to arm myself, in case the loony was actually outside the house. I mean, here was my only child, Mini-Him, sleeping soundly in his room and my parents' only son, my brother, currently not being helpful. It was up to me to defend them. Yessir.

But first, I had to get to the bottom of what on earth he saw about me?! Call it vanity.

"What is it about me Sad Drunk?" I asked, voice now strident, daring him to come up with his best.

Sad Drunk shrank, I think. He receded behind the sound barrier again and said, after a short pause, "I don't know."

"Ok." I said.

Then I began the process of reminding him, gently, about what he was doing.

"Him would be really hurt if he knew you were doing this. He has a lot of respect for you." I said.

"Yeah." He returned.

"But your wife is such a wonderful woman." I said. In later moments, I imagine that it gave Sad "not quite" Drunk some laughs. Man, I must've sounded ridiculous.

"Yeah?!" he said, the "SO?" communicating itself, loud and clear in his tone.

"She's a wonderful woman, great with the kids and everything. How's she going to know you're lonely if you don't tell her?"

"I don't know." he said.

"Talk to her," I urged.

Yep. Therapy 101 at 3:10 am. I was going great guns.

He fell silent again.

"Did you have a bit too much to drink today?" I asked.

"A bit." he answered.

"Well, you go on then. Drive safely when you're better and we'll meet when Him gets back." I said. "Bye, I'm disconnecting now."

"Okay." he said.

I hung up, not believing it. My brother laughed saying something crass about it having been a "B**** Call"

It jarred my sensibilities. My phone rang again and I turned it off, scared and in a hurry.

We never did meet Sad Drunk. Him thought it was hilarious and laughed till he dropped, his booming guffaws no doubt taking over the apartment floor in Panama. I sat, confused in LA, wishing my husband had a jealous bone in his body.

After the initial indignation, I've gotta be honest, I was mildly flattered. Mildly because, the possibility that I was being propositioned was huge. I didn't want to be THAT type. Yes, I am that green in these matters.

Him completely vetoed my suggestion that I tell his wife. "No," he said, "What Beautiful Wife doesn't know can't hurt her."

While being somewhat uncomfortable with that take on matters, I let it drop.

But ever so often, the memory of that creeps up. I continue to wonder if he was Drunk, A Sad Drunk or A Not quite Drunk. I also wonder, whether he was reaching out to a human being, reaching for a female, reaching for something illicit or simply not aware of what he was doing.

Maybe it was nothing.

But I don't think Beautiful Wife and their kids would think so.

I will quote a good friends' advice on the matter. "She who knows this stuff", wisely said, "If a man calls you in the middle of the night and declares his loneliness, hang up. Do not offer him coffee and a therapy session."

Good point. Very good point.

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