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Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary

Morale at the Meyer’s house became almost non-existent. Emmaline had received a settlement from the divorce and the kids stayed with Edward. Emmaline had shown no signs of unhappiness, gave no clues to her eventual departure leaving the kids blindsided, and shocked. Topped off with Edward’s new penchant for brandy.

The day I got my license, I drove straight over to the Meyer’s. I ran into the house excitedly only to find no one there. It was as if no one wanted to be in that house anymore, gas lines of hypocrisy seeping through the vents and floorboards, and memories of a dream overrun by a nightmare. I heard voices coming from the other room, lo-fi voices, from a television set.

I opened a door to find Craig sitting on the floor watching a tiny television. I had no idea the Meyer’s even owned a television set, but there it was, on the floor in front of my screen-fixated boyfriend. He was watching his parents’ wedding tape. ‘Poor baby,’ I thought, ‘he misses his family as a unit.’ I held off on telling him about my drivers license and sat beside him with my head on his shoulder. When I looked at his face, I realized it wasn’t a face of lore, sadness, or nostalgia. It was a face of anger. Without facing me he said, “I’m trying to find the black guy who ruined my family. My dad said he was at their wedding.”

Emmaline had always had an obsession for black men. African American, to be specific, because she had no interest in the black men back in her home country of England. She’d often follow them for a distance while driving her car, unbeknownst even to those, also, in the car with her. She even walked down grocery aisles, any aisle, that had a black man in it. After the divorce, she relocated to Alta Dena, a city highly populated by African Americans. She was infatuated with them and had been caught with black men on two occasions by Craig’s father himself, only to be kept quiet due to the embarrassment that would ensue. The main culprit, the Dracula of black men, was said to be in the Meyer’s wedding tape.

A few months after the divorce, Edward gathered the remaining family members for another announcement. This time, with a small Mexican woman next to him.

“This is Gabriella. She’s going to be your new mom. Gabriella, these are going to be your mihos. Except that one.” Edward pointed at me. I waved. I wasn’t offended by his outbursts anymore, nor was I shocked. Craig put his arm around me.

“Dad! What’re you talking about?! She is NOT moving in here!” Yelled Vincent.

“Yes she is. She’s my wife and your new mother.”

“She isn’t going to be my mother! Besides, mom is just the next town over, have you even talked about it with her?” Vincent said as Gabriella stood there with her hands clasped in front like a child being introduced to a new playmate by their parents.

“I don’t have to talk to your mother about squat. Look at this one,” he pointed at Gabriella with his glass, “she’s not pretty, and her English isn’t very good. She’s going to make a wonderful wife and mother. She cleans too! I’m not sure if she cooks, but hey, I don’t have anything against burritos.” the former-Furor said, then took a sip from his two thirds full glass of brandy. Vincent rolled his eyes.

“Hi Gabriella, I’m Diane.” said Diane.

“No! Stop right now Di.” Vincent yelled.

“Both of you guys, stop,” said Craig, “dad, are you really going through with this?”

“Show them the ring sweetheart,” Edward said to Gabriella as he gestured toward us. She stood there. “Ringo, El Ringo. Show.” She nodded and stuck out her left hand. She had it easy with a language barrier, it protected her.

“FUCK! I’m out of here if she’s moving in.” Shouted Vincent as he stormed off to his room.

“Vinnie, come back! Jeeze dad, when are you doing this.” asked Craig.

Ola, Diane.” Interrupted Gabriella. Diane smiled.

“I got an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at City Hall.” said Edward, taking another swig.

“FUCK!” echoed Vincent through the hall. Followed by the slam of his door.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Donnie said suddenly. He tuned out often.

“New mom, Donnie.” Edward said as he motioned his head toward Gabriella.

“Oh, okay. Ola, mi amo Donnie. Estas divirtiendote?” said Donnie. Everyone looked at him. Surprised.

“Ha ha. Eso es divertido. Yo quiero vino.” replied Gabriella.

Ah, esta bien. No te preocupes.” said Donnie. Then he walked off to the kitchen without a word. We looked at each other, then at Edward who shrugged his shoulders and mouthing the words, ‘I don’t know.’ Edward took another sip, as we all stood around until Donnie came back with a glass of wine in his hand. He handed it to Gabriella.

Muchos gracias, Donnie.” said Gabriella who took a gulp out of the glass.

De nada.” Donnie then walked back to stand where he was next to Diane.

“Since when did you learn how to speak Spanish?” asked Diane. Donnie thought about it for a moment.

“I don’t know.” he said sincerely. Then he walked to his room.

The next morning, Donnie went to City Hall with Edward and Gabriella as a witness. That was also the morning Craig discovered his younger brother Vincent had run away in the middle of the night. The note he left on his bed read, ‘LIVING WITH MOM.’ Emmaline called the house and spoke to Craig. She wanted to let us know Vincent was safe with her, and that he refused to go back for the time being. I didn’t see Vincent for a couple of years.

Things weren’t actually as strange as we thought it would be with Gabriella in the house. She was just like a maid, and we had doubts Edward had even slept with her, seeing as how he considered half a fifth of brandy as his nightcap, every night. Any familial advantages Edward thought would be achieved by marrying Gabriella passed under the radar, and nothing was ever said about it. It was the equivalent of getting a tattoo of the Los Angeles Angels symbol on your foot after a night of ferocious drinking. Craig disliked the way his father now threw the act of marriage around whimsically, and was determined to do it correctly. So he signed himself up for the U.S. Army.

“Do you love me?” asked Craig one night sitting on the couch with me on the front porch.

“What the fuck are you talking about? You know I do.” I said.

“Katie, seriously, even if I had to leave for a long time, and you wouldn’t see me?” Craig said in a sterner tone.

“Why would you be gone? You’re tripping me out now. What the fuck is going on?” I turned towards him. Craig got up off the couch and reached into his pocket for a little white box and proceeded to his knee. ‘Holy shit,’ was my first thought. Then my eyes started to water.

“You had to know this was coming, but you might not have known that I had signed up for the army today. I know I should’ve said something, but you couldn’t have stopped me,” I covered my mouth my with hands, “Katie, I love you, and I don’t want us to end up like my parents, or your parents for that matter, and ever since you came into my life, with that mouth of yours, your eccentricities, your shortcomings, all of which makes you seem imperfect to the world, but to me, and my shortcomings, and my eccentricities, you make up for it all just by being… well, Katherine, the right shape of the puzzle piece that fits snugly next to me in my life. You’re the squeak in my bedroom door, the corner of the desk my big toe likes to hit, the line at the grocery store, the car keys I can never find, the pineapple on my pizza. These things are so normal in my life, and if any one of these things were to disappear, I’d be lost, but if you were to disappear, I’d crumble completely. I not only love you, but I know, for a fact, that I need you, Katherine. Will you marry …” I tackled him.

“Yes! Cheeseball! Fuck! Yes!” I shouted and cried, kissing him between every one of my words.

“And the army thing?” Craig said after he stopped me for a second.

“We’ll figure it out, I’m sure.” We kissed again, slow this time, for reassurance, and he placed the ring on my finger.

His father didn’t like the idea as expected, but everyone else was happy. I called to tell daddy.

“Are you sure sweetie?” said daddy over the phone. Craig was standing at the door as we exchanged smiles.

“Of course, it’s Craig!” I said in a reminding tone.

“Well, I know my little girl, and if Craig thinks he can handle you, and you do too, I’m one hundred percent behind you.”

“Dad! You’re making me sound like a basket case!”

“Ha-Ha, I’m not saying that, I’m saying I’ve always been proud of you, princess, that also means no matter what decision you make, I’ll always believe in you, I’ve been and always will be proud of you.”

“I love you, daddy.” I smiled warmly.

“I love you too. Tell Craig I said congratulations for me okay?”

“I will. Tell Jenifer I said Hi.” Jenifer was daddy’s new girlfriend. “Bye daddy.” I hung up the phone and smiled at Craig.

“So that looks like a go? We’ve got McClane’s blessing! May I?” Craig gestured for the phone. The kids had pointed out daddy’s resemblance to Bruce Willis’ character John McClane from the movie, Die Hard, more than once.

“Yup! Who’re you gonna call?”

Craig took a breath, “Mom.” and he started dialing. I walked around the door where he stood, almost hiding behind it, waiting for an answer.

“Hello?” asked Craig. “Who am I speaking with? …Well is Emmaline in? …She’s my mother. …Sure.” He looked at me briefly then back at the desk. “Mom, it’s Craig. …I’m fine, who was that? …Jef… with one f? …your fiance!?” Craig raised his voice. “Why didn’t you tell us anything?! …I don’t know, maybe because it is important! …I’m fine, look, I guess I called to tell you Katherine and I are engaged too. …He  hasn’t said anything but we can tell he’s not big on it. …Before I ship out to the military. …Yeah, that was the other thing I was going to tell you. …I’d say that makes us even. Love you, bye.” Craig hung up, then looked at me. I walked over without a word and put my arms around his neck.

A few weeks later, I went over to the Meyer’s to pick up Craig for a night out at the movies. Inside the house, I heard Craig talking in the kitchen with a man in a suit. Edward sat on the other side of the man, glass in hand. I walked in.


“Hey babe. Give me one second.” said Craig.

“And all she has to do is sign these pages, and everything will be set.” said the man.

“Okay then.” Craig picked up the papers.

“Is this the young woman now?” asked the man, looking at me.

“Yes this is Katherine Harvey. Katie, this is my dad’s attorney, Kenneth Silverstein.”

“Hello.” I said.

“Hello, and congratulations to you, young lady. Well, I better be on my way. Edward, always a pleasure. Craig, again, congratulations, and should you have any questions, you have my card.” With that, Mr. Silverstein shook our hands and left. Edward got up and did a mildly tipsy walk into the living room.

“Craig, what’s going on?”

“Um, my dad… well, he just gave you one of his stores.”


“Yeah, you gotta fill these out, and you get it as soon as the next day after our wedding.”

“Is this a joke?” I asked suspiciously.

“No, babe, it’s legit!” Craig said. I stood there, dumbfounded, by the fact Edward would even do such a thing. Especially for me.

“I don’t know what to say. I should thank him.” I started walking to the living room, but Craig stopped me.

“No no no no no, not yet, he was fighting his conscience when he decided, I think he needs some alone time right now. We can thank him later.”


“Stop babe, we’re gonna be late for the movie.”

The smoothness of the entire situation was a change from the usual hectic instability. It not only felt relaxing, but at the same time, made me feel even more suspicious. The way my life had been going in the last 4 years surrounding this family, didn’t exactly allow me to let terms like easy and simple waltz into my life, not without an X-Ray scan and cavity search. It felt like I was borrowing someone’s four-leaf clover, and it had to be returned sooner or later.

Craig called me one day to cancel on a date we had planned. I was fucking pissed whenever he cancelled on me, but he explained saying his mother had invited him over to meet Jef with one f. He and Emmaline were to get married before Craig and I were, and Emmaline thought it best if Jef with one f and Craig met.

Later that night, a rapid and terrified knock rapped at my window. I jumped out of bed, scared, and saw it was Craig. I opened the window and his 6’4 frame tumbled in. He laid flat on the ground breathing fast and heavy. I handed him a glass of water I kept on my nightstand, and he gulped it down.

“What the fuck happened?” I asked rubbing his chest. He waited for his breath to calm before told me what happened.

Craig had driven to his mother’s new place in Alta Dena earlier that night. Emmaline opened the door.

“Hello, Craig!” she opened her arms for a hug.

“Hi, mom.” they hugged awkwardly. But Emmaline pulled him closer anyway, not letting go until he hugged her back. He did after a moment.

“Nice place. It’s smaller than I thought.” Craig said as he looked around, taking a few steps in.

“It’s all the space I need, dear. Jef is in the loo, he’ll be out in a moment.”

“Okay. Is Vinnie here?”

“Oh no, he stays with his girlfriends these days.”

“Girl-friends? How many does he have?”

“I’m not sure, he’s quite the heartbreaker.” Emmaline said it as if it were normal. Craig didn’t respond. “Tea, dear?”

“No, thank you. I don’t think I’ll be here long, Katie and I are going to have a late dinner later.”

“You should have brought her along!”

“I don’t think that would have been appropriate.”

“Why’s that?” just then toilet flushed. The sink wasn’t used, but the door opened. Out walked a six foot black man with a husky build. The famous Jef with one f. He was wearing a red t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, gray sweatpants, and brand new sneakers. Jef with one f breathed through his mouth, never through his nostrils, and Craig could hear it getting louder as Jef walked closer. This was the bloke that was shagging his mum, this was the man his mother was going to marry.

“Sweetheart, this is my son, Craig. Craig, Jef.”

“S’up?” Jef said as he reached his hand out. Craig remembered he didn’t wash, but didn’t want to seem rude. He reluctantly reached out and shook Jef with one f‘s hand.

“Hi, nice to finally meet you.” said Craig, in full composure. Jef shook his hand hard.

“Baby, did you offer him some tea yet?” Jef said to Emmaline.

“I did, he didn’t want any.” replied Emmaline.

“You don’t want no tea? Whatchu want then? We got everythang, you know wha’m sayin’?”

“Oh, it’s alright, I’m good.” Craig assured him.

“Nah y’ain’t. You want a beer? Whatchu drink?”

“I’m only 18…” Craig said informatively.

“Oh-Whaaaat?! You 18? You’s a big fella fo an 18 year old, shit,” he looked at Emmaline, “girl, whatchu been feedin’ him?” Emmaline smiled. “Okay, first order of bi’ness, you gonna have yo first beer wit me, you know wha’m sayin’? No buts. Baby, two beers.” Jef put his arm around Craig and walked to the couch with him. Emmaline went to refrigerator.

“I really don’t think I should drink. I have to drive later.” Craig reiterated.

“Boy, listen, just one beer is all I’m askin’, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to have anymore. But you gots to have that one beer, know wha’m sayin’?” Emmaline came back with two beers and handed them to Jef with one f and one to Craig. Craig looked at the can, then his mother, wondering why she allowed it. “Now, the thing is, if you gon’ drink just that one, you have to drink it fast, I mean chug that mu’fucka down, know wha’m sayin’? Like a race, you know what a shotgun is?”

“Uh… Besides the gun, I don’t think so.” Craig said almost nervously now.

“There it is. We gon’ do some shotguns. Gimme that.” He grabbed Craig’s beer and made a small incision to the side corner of the can with a key on the coffee table, then widened the hole to the size of a quarter. He handed it back to Craig and did the same to his can. “Okay, now, this is how you do a shotgun, son. You put yo’ mouf over the hole, then you turn the can upright while turnin’ yo’ head at he same time while poppin’ the top open, you know wha’m sayin’? The beer will shotgun in yo mouf and you swallow that sucka down. Got it?”

“Umm… I think so, but…” Craig said nervously.

“It’s quite simple, once you do it Craig.” said Emmaline from the kitchen.

“You’ve done this? But you don’t drink, mom.” Craig said with the can by his face, Jef with one f, doing the same.

“You kiddin’ boy, yo’ mom is the best at doin’ shotguns.” said Jef. Craig was flabbergasted but distracted by the cans to question. “A’ight, 1,2, and 3, go!” Jef with one f and Craig popped the top and tilted their heads. Craig didn’t like the taste of beer. What was worse was the coldness of the beer masking the taste and gliding icily and sharp down his throat. Craig finished first with three and a half gulps.

Craig belched. “Oh my god.” Craig belched again. Jef with one f did one long belch.

“Damn boy, you almost as fast as yo’ mama. It’s gotta be in the family, know wha’m sayin’? You play sports, Craig?”

“Yeah, Baseball and Football.” Craig said after a moment. He belched once more, his stomach finally settling.

“Damn, you prob’ly on the varsity team, right?”


“Whas the matter? You okay? You a big guy, one beer ain’t gon’ kill ya.” Just then, Craig felt the effects of a shotgun, he got a head-change, and grinned. A slight sense of euphoria came over him.

“…Can I have another one?” asked Craig.

“Ha-HA! Yo’ Baby, get me and your boy two mo’ cold ones!”

Craig and Jef with one f drank and talked with each other the rest of the night. Craig drank 3 beers and Jef was on his 6th, however, Jef with one f wasn’t tipsy at all while Craig’s eyes started to blink separately. They kept talking.

“Wait, hold up. If you lookin’ for speakers, I got ’em! Yeah, my son is tryin’ to sell his, and come to think of it, he’s gon’ yo’ brother too! Let’s go get you some speakers and meet yo’ brotha!”

“Really? Now?”

“Yeah, it’s only what, 10 o’clock? He’ll be home. You got a car right?”

“Uh, sure I do. I just don’t think I should drive right now.”

“It’s a’ight, I’ll drive, I’m a great driver. Baby! Ain’t I a great driver?” Jef yelled towards the kitchen.

“He’s a great driver, Craig.”

“See?” said Jef.

“Well… if my mama says so, I guess it’s true.” Craig gave Jef his keys and they both got up and walked out the door.

“Baby, we’ll be right back.” Jef said to Emmaline.

“Alright, you two be safe.” My mother said while going back to the newspaper.

Jef with one f was now driving his car north, further into Alta Dena. Craig was starting to sober up, becoming more aware of the situation. He was going to buy speakers from his brother-in-law-to-be, in Alta Dena, and was being driven there by a husky black man, who was his father-in-law-to-be.

When they arrived, they both got out of the car and started walking toward an apartment complex. Just before they entered the gate, Jef with one f stopped and turned to Craig.

“A’ight, we gon’ have to be quiet. Kids be sleeping, know wha’m sayin’? So just follow me.” Craig nodded his head in compliance, but was slightly confused because they were just standing at the front gate, the complex itself was 30 feet beyond that. Jef then wiggled the handle a certain way and propped the door open. He walked in and Craig followed. They turned a corner and went up a flight of stairs. Then Jef with one f stopped at a window and wiggled the screen off. Then started on the glass window itself.

“Whoa, what are you doing, Jef?”

“Oh, I always forget my key, so I have to get in this way. It’s a’ight, I do it all the time.” Craig didn’t understand why he couldn’t just remember the spare instead, because Jef wasn’t exactly a small guy. Jef was still breathing heavily with his mouth.

Jef finally wiggled the locking mechanism on the window loose, and slid it open. He climbed in and waved Craig to follow. Against all better judgement, he followed. The room they climbed into was tiny and had scraps of paper and candy wrappers everywhere. There was a mattress without covers in the corner on the floor. A moment later, the door opened and in walked a young black boy in his teens.

“What the fuck are you doing here dad!? You’re not supposed to be here!” Yelled the boy.

“It’s coo, look, aye, I got someone to buy those speakers from you. And he’s gon’ be yo’ new brotha!”

“Hi…” said Craig nervously.

“S’up.” said the boy.

“You still got the speakers, Junior? I told him you was sellin’ ’em for a hundred.”

“I’m not, they’re 250, and they’re my speakers.”

“Nah, I told Craig a hundred.”

“They’re my speakers.”

“Well, where they at? Can we, at least, see ’em?”

“They in Shawna’s room.”

“Oh shit, Craig, you gon’ meet yo’ new lil’ sista too!” He then walked over to another door while Craig followed. Jef pounded on the door. “Shawna, open the door, you gon’ meet yo’ new brotha!” a tiny voice came from the other side.

“I don’t have any clothes on yet.” It sounded like an 8 year old girl. Jef with one f suddenly kicked the door open. “Daddy, stop! I don’t have any clothes on!” Shawna screamed.

“You do what I tell you! Now come out and meet yo’ brotha!” Jef had Shawna lifted in mid-air, dangling by one arm. Craig froze in place, terrified and thinking, ‘Holy shit! What is happening!?’ Just then Junior ran into the room.

“Let my sister go!” He shouted then started flailing his fists at Jef with one f. “Let her GO!” Jef, then, dropped Shawna, grabbed Junior by the side of his head, and slammed it into the wall, making a crater twice its size. Shawna started crying, and Junior fell to the ground, unconscious. Craig’s mouth dropped, his eyes widened, now thinking, ‘Holy FUUUCK!’

“Aye, we gotta bounce, Craig. NOW!” Jef started running out the front door. Craig wasn’t sure what to do, he looked at Shawna crying, the hole in the wall, Junior’s lifeless body. He couldn’t say a word, and ran outside following Jef. They jumped into the car and sped off into the night.

“What the FUCK was that!?” Craig shouted.

“It’s a’ight, I’m gon’ call the cops later.”

“What?! On yourself?! Is Junior even alive?! Are you listening!?” Jef didn’t answer.

“Listen to me,” said Jef in a calm tone, “something’s wrong. Fuck. FUCK! Somethings wrong.” Craig just looked at him, infuriated, and at a loss for words. Jef sped around the corner Emmaline’s street was on and came to a screeching halt. “I’m sorry about yo’ speakers, we’ll get ’em next time, a’ight?” He then popped out of the car, ran into the apartment and shut off the lights, leaving Craig’s car door open and running.

“I can’t fucking believe this is happening. This is the guy my mom is going to marry.” Craig said under his breath as he switched into the driver seat. He started driving, when suddenly, he heard police sirens in the distance. He then sped off to my grandparents house in Pasadena, where I was staying. He left his car in a store parking lot, and ran the rest of the way, and eventually through my window. Craig did not attend his mother’s wedding to Jef with one f.

Graduation finally came along, which meant Craig and I were about to be married soon. He was finalizing his paperwork with the U.S. Army and had just finished the paperwork for my ownership of the grocery store. I was working out a deal with Edward to by a Mustang GT from him. It was a fucking amazing car, and I’d worked on it with Craig a few times. Growing up with two boys, I held my own in terms of mechanics. Edward kept raising the price, then lowering it slightly, so it was sure to be a long negotiation.

By that time, daddy had also remarried to a sweet woman named Jenifer. She was quiet, but not in a shy way, she understood daddy’s sense of humor, and basically dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. She was simple. As long as daddy was happy with her, I would be too.

Craig stressed often over the wedding. He tried to get his mother, Emmaline to go to our wedding, but she kept saying how she’d have to ask Jef with one f. Then remind Craig of his absence to her wedding. In which, Craig’s retort would be because he did not condone her marriage to Jef with one f and declined to further state what had happened that one evening he went over. After a conversation with her, he often started drinking alcohol. I started drinking with him soon after. There was plenty in the house, and when Edward was out and about, Gabriella would join us, teaching us a bit of Spanish. Donnie never noticed, Diane, was never home, and Vinnie had moved back in. Vinnie couldn’t stand Jef with one f just as much as Craig couldn’t, but he didn’t drink. Vincent took to marijuana instead, and was stoned much of the time.

At our wedding, Emmaline surprised us all by attending. Then surprised us all again when she left after only half an hour. During the father and bride, mother and groom dance, daddy and I were the only ones on the floor, while Craig sat and watched. The guests didn’t say anything, but everyone knew. Then Jenifer grabbed Craig and forced him to dance with her. My brother Jack came up to me later in the day and said to me, ‘good job, Katie,’ and walked back to the table where daddy was. Daddy gave him a pat on the back, and Jenifer smiled. My husband, Craig, shipped out two days later for basic training.

The Meyer’s kids switched off manning a camcorder that day. Watching the tape, I discovered my father-in-law, Edward had already sold the Mustang, for much cheaper than what I had offered. I can hear Vincent arguing with Edward about it. Then towards the end of the tape, Craig and I were holding each other on the front porch while the kids filmed from the inside, through the window blinds. We were both crying because he and I knew we were going to miss the fuck out of each other.

“Craig and Katie are shiny, a majestic translucence.” said Donnie.

“Yeah, they deserve each other.” agreed Vincent.

“Oh my god, look how in love they are.” said Diane.

“Oh yeah? Just wait twenty-five years when she divorces your brother and runs off with a black guy, we’ll see how in love they are.” slurred Edward.

“Dad, shut up.” said Diane and Vincent.

A few years later, I was living on the base with Craig. We threw parties, I got myself a military I.D., and the drinking continued. Most nights filled with belligerence accompanied by hoots and hollers. I often made out with other girls, at the encouragement of Craig. He in turn, slept with some of them, without my encouragement, or knowledge for that matter. We had become alcoholics by then. Hangovers 5 days out of the week. I’d often hide whiskey inside coffee cups and watch movies at the local theater alone, and when I’d wake up, I wouldn’t be able to remember what movie I had seen the night before, let alone, how I even got home. Our lives adopted a one-day-at-a-time basis with a complete bleakness and nonchalance towards the future. It went on like this until one day Craig disappeared.

He had gone to his father Edward. Craig had noticed the downward spiral and sought advice from his father, who in turn, convinced Craig to divorce me. I then went into a state of bottomless depression, broken and nurtured only through the teet of a bottle. Tons o’ fucking fun, when I moved back home with daddy as a complete mess. I stayed that way for months until one day, I got a call from Vincent. He told me my ex-husband, Craig, remarried. She was legally a midget and former stripper, who later became a typical bible mother. After that, I decided I had two choices. One was to either, remain in the grave, drinking a haze around me to keep me from seeing the reality of the world I inhabited, never to confront it. I chose the second. I checked myself into a rehabilitation center.

I don’t regret that period of my life, neither Craig nor I were the same people we once were. Those two had died long ago, and we became something like ghosts, floating through a fog we called life without our bodies. I was fortunate enough to find mine, and I don’t regret having to go through the grueling and tedious process to earn it, not one bit. The way I see it, Craig and I had good seats to the show. The solace was in knowing it wasn’t going to be the last show.

The Wine-Stained Diary series (A Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, Another Note from a Wine-Stained Diary, The Last Note from a Wine-Stained Diary) is based on a true story. Character names have been changed to protect the individuals identities and any similarities amongst the names are purely coincidental. Any reproduction of the work must provide full acknowledgements to the author, as well as a trackback to the site.

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Filed under non-fiction rambling, stories

Another Note from a Wine-Stained Diary

My body was unusually tense, elbows locked in, looking with my eyes first before safely turning my head in any direction, as I walked through the Meyer’s house. Craig stayed outside. He was a pussy for not going in, but that didn’t make me feel better. I walked towards the kitchen where I was supposed to see the Furor. I really hoped to not hear any cupboards being slammed. The Furor was sitting at the table ahead. He looked calm, blank, and silent, as he always was. I tried to convince myself I was just paranoid and over-analyzing the situation. “Katherine Harvey, calm down. He just wants to have a talk with you.” I told myself. Then I started thinking, “Katherine Harvey, that man is going to stab you in the throat with a salad fork.” I always did that, assumed people had the worst intentions if I didn’t have a clue to any of their intentions. No matter what I did or told myself, seeing Craig’s dad sitting so composed, so placidly made me feel like a freshly cooked meal, walking itself to the kitchen table.

“Have a seat Katherine.” said Edward as he stood up, directing his hand to the chair next to him.

“Thank you, Mr. Meyer.” I said as I hung my purse on the chair’s backrest. The kids were in the living room doing their own things. Donnie was watching Vincent, who was cutting the seams off stuffed animals, then neatly pulling out the internal cotton with a plastic fork. Diane was having a conversation on the phone. Edward’s wife, Emmaline, was having tea and was immersed in a biography on Fredrick Douglass, the African American speaker and slave abolitionist. The scene was as normal as usual, except it seemed like I was watching them through a glass, and not one of them noticed me in the kitchen next to their father. Edward, the Furor. I was overwhelmed with questions.

He looked deeply at me and nodded slightly, as if he had decided to ask me a question. “Can I, ask you, a question, Katherine?” he said as he looked at me whilst making small gestures with his hands like a politician giving a speech. Edwards hands were clenched as if his hands were handing out business cards.

“O… Okay. Sure.” I gave a little cough to clear my throat which suddenly dried.

“You’re too pretty.” he said. No movement. I began feeling more confused, waiting for a question. “You’re too pretty. Okay?” The skin on my forehead crinkled in befuddlement. I had deduced he was referring to me when he kept using the word pretty. I’d always been passive about that word being directed towards me. I was a tomboy growing up with two males, spitting contests, surprise farts. Fuck, shit, cunt, and bitch, were regulars in my vocabulary. I had only started wearing make-up a year before. Was, ‘Okay?’ his question? I thought to myself, ‘This can’t be the first fucking conversation I have with this man.’

“Too pretty? Are you talking about me, Mr. Meyer?” I asked in the most courteous way I knew. Edward nodded his head, and did nothing else. I might have had a slight ugly duckling syndrome, but I couldn’t believe that this momentous occasion was initiated because the Furor thought I was pretty. The was like humans and aliens making contact because Earth, intergalactically, had the best surf spots. If he was trying to make a point, then I was miles away. It annoyed me terribly when people didn’t get straight to the point. Their A.D.D. clashed with my own A.D.D. The worst part was; after I figured out what he’s saying, I’d probably have to figure out why he said it.

“I don’t think I’m too pretty,” as I said that, I realized the only logical explanation had to be this: he was paying me a compliment! Over-analysis never did help, “but thank you very…”

“You’re too pretty for my son. You know he’s been in love with you for an entire year right?” interrupted Edward. His business card hands were really distracting.

“Which son?” I cleared my throat again, drier than before.

“Don’t pull that with me, I can see that you’re pretty, but the fact is, you’re too pretty, Katherine. P-R-E-T-T-Y. Too.” he sternly said. Emmaline and the kids turned towards us. I couldn’t understand why he kept saying I was too pretty, and as if wasn’t already lost, he’s made me sound like I was a criminal for the crime of being pretty, which, made no sense because I was fairly sure I’d be found not guilty. I’d been in weird situations before, but the conversation was getting out of hand. I waited patiently for him to talk to me for so long, clenching my fists when he’d walk by, biting my lip shut to to prevent a sudden outburst, pistons in my heart on all 8 cylinders, and he’d just keep walking by, until the next time I see Mr. Meyer. Him talking to me would’ve felt like winning the lottery. But now that he had, I felt like I was being taxed for it. I became so mystified with the direction of the conversation that I didn’t realize my jaw just dangled off my face.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying to me. What are you saying? Are you talking about Craig?”

“He has to pretend not to be in love when he’s around you. You’re always here forcing my son to lie.”

“We’re just friends, Mr. Meyer. Craig knows that.”

“You’re too pretty.”

“What? Why do you keep saying that?”

“It’s the truth. You also come from a broken home.”

“What?!” I was more shocked than I was angry he said that. My family had nothing to do with this situation, but he’s attacking them.

“Your family,” he paused, “is broken. Statistically, people from those homes will go on to break other homes. And you’re too pretty.”

“Wha…” I had no idea what to say. I thought the Furor thought I was going to destroy his home, I wasn’t sure. I also wasn’t sure why the pretty part was such a fucking big deal. However, I did know one thing; it hurt so much to watch Mr. Meyer, my best friend’s dad, someone I waited so long to befriend, vilify my entire family without any reason other than I was too pretty. I felt exhausted, I wanted to leave, my chest got tighter, my eyes started to water. I didn’t want to talk anymore. I wanted to go home. Out of this kitchen.

“Katherine, do you know where your mother is?” my heart stopped. Ravaged with a powered chainsaw, I didn’t stand a chance. Why are you saying this, what did I do? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know! The pain was excruciating, then exacerbated because I didn’t know why it was happening. My face crinkled into a frown, but the last and only thing I could humanly do with the little bit of dignity not stripped of me, was to try not to cry. Not in front of the Furor. I stared outside the window, incapable of responding, I couldn’t even summon the strength to stand. Why? I was so exhausted, every cell, every atom, fighting a single teardrop. If words could hurt this much, inside out, I’d rather the sticks and stones.

“Do you know why she left?” asked Edward. Every cell and atom within my being, simultaneously exhaled in defeat.

“…SHE… DOESN’T … WANT …ME…” I felt the teardrop making a run for it down my cheek, its friends following after. An alarm sounded in a mixture of whale and seal noises. “WHY…ARE…YOU…DOING…THIS!?” I whimpered out, having to inhale a pocket of air before each syllable.

“You’re. Too. Pretty,” the Furor said, one syllable at a time, while stamping those syllables with gestures of his fucking business card hands, “and what level-headed person would live on the beach, I can only imagine what kind of person your father is.” His derision of my father ushered the last bit of strength I had into defense.

“MY FATHER IS A GOOD MAN!!” I roared back at him with the viciousness of a lion. Or an asshole not caring about flaring a hemorrhoid.

“Mr. Harvey is a good man, dad!” yelled Vincent as he ran through the back door.  Donnie and Diane joined in to defend daddy. Craig had taken them all down to my house a few times for a beach outing. Daddy knew how to have a good time and more importantly, he knew how to bring it out in others. I started crying again, though this time, it was because everyone in the Meyer family helped defend me against the fucking Furor.

Just then Vincent burst through the door and pointed at me, behind him was Craig. He took one look at me, and bolted towards the kitchen without any hesitation, leaping over obstacles. Why did he look so… majestic? What was he going to do? Why was he running in slow motion? I could watch his cheeks jiggle with each step all day. It felt weird during the last few seconds, but as it turned out, I was blacking out and eventually fainted.

Was I really hurting Craig? Did the Furor let this build up an entire year before finally firing a cannon at me? This fucking sucks, I thought  to myself. It only does after discovering someone so close to you had been harboring a repulsion towards you, while you simply enjoyed yourself. It seemed like there there was one of those in everyone’s circle.

I remember the day my mother left. My daddy, my anchor, was hurt. After that day, I told myself I won’t let anyone I love, hurt like that ever again. It was idealistic at the time, but I really hadn’t cared about anyone who wasn’t in my family. Not until Craig. I had forgotten what I told myself, but here he was. I did love Craig, and I was the one who hurt him.

I had written him off so many times, that I never realized he never quit. He  was always doing these little things to make me feel like royalty, and I had never even noticed. And I was supposed to know, more than anyone, that it was the little things in life that mattered, nothing could ever be bigger.

When I came to, I was in the passenger seat of a moving car. It was Donnie’s car, but Craig was driving. No Surprises by Radiohead was playing and the sun was setting over the pacific coast highway. ‘What the fuck is going on? Waaas it a dream?’ I said to myself. ‘Such a pretty house and such a pretty garden. No alarms and no surprises.’  said Thom Yorke over the radio.

“Hey, what the fuck is going on?”

“We’re going to Canada, don’t tell me you forgot.” said Craig. I punched him in the arm.

“Stop joking around.” I took a breath, “Did that really just happen at your house right now?” he didn’t respond immediately.

“Yeah.” he said after taking a deep breath. “I’m taking you to your dad’s.” I nodded, because I already knew. The car was silent as the rest of the song played. I looked out the passenger window at the ocean leaning against the headrest. I had plenty of questions, but I didn’t want any answers. I just wanted to grab the steering wheel and steer the whole debacle back home into the sea. Maybe a bath, or a shower to wash it off. I gulped down Craig’s water bottle without a word, but he didn’t seem to mind.

“I always feel relaxed when I see the ocean. Like jumping into my own bed after a long day at school then practice. Just looking at the water was instant satisfaction. You know what, Mick Jagger could finally get some satisfaction, he just needs to go to Orange County.” said Craig suddenly. I wanted to respond. I wanted to tell him I agreed. I wanted to laugh, despite the joke not being particularly funny. I wanted to laugh because I realized how happy I was to be exactly where I was. The ocean, the random car I’ve never been in, Thom Yorke, the hijacked water bottle, the ordeal, me, and Craig. No alarms and no surprises. The joy burst through my tightened lips into full blown laughter.

“Geeze, for a second there I really thought it was a stupid joke, crickets.” Craig exhaled. I kept laughing. “Katie, it wasn’t that funny… Was it?” The laughing dimmed with bits of aftershock chuckles then a smile as I looked at him. I just stared as he looked forward. Then I caught his eye. He smiled. I felt so relieved to see that smile. No Surprises ended. I wanted one more.

“Pull over here!” I shouted.

“What? Why?”

“Do it! NOW, BITCH!”

“Okay. OKAY!” he pulled over in a state of panic.

“Get out of the car. Quick!” I shouted as I unbuckled and hopped out. He left the radio on and the car running and ran after me. “I gotta show you this, I haven’t shown anyone this in a long time.”

“What is it?” Craig asked as we neared the edge of the highway that peered over the beach, fifteen feet below. He looked over the edge and saw shattered glass, fast food cups, and other crap atop the beach sand. I watched him as he stared at the California shore. “I’m so… so… OH! It’s just too darn beautiful for words!”

When he turned towards me, I leaped into his arms, and he caught me as I knew he would. We stared each other in the eye, dissipating every molecule of doubt, then shipped it all away with a first class kiss. Expensive, but it’s a guaranteed satisfaction. The rest of the world kept spinning, but in our world, it didn’t matter. The pacific ocean cheered louder than the ocean of cars passing by, the orange mango smoothie sky with scattered clouds of whipped cream, stopped to take our picture. I didn’t know what song was playing on the radio in the car, but it sounded like Maple Leaves by Jens Lekman. The ocean of applause, the random car I’ve never been in, Thom Yorke, the hijacked water bottle, the California smoothie sunset, the ordeal, me, and Craig. No alarms and no surprises. Maybe one more.

“Katie.” Craig said, looking at me. “I gotta tell ya something.”

“Shh… don’t fucking ruin this, I already know.” I leaned forward on my tiptoes to kiss him but he pulled his head back.

“I don’t think you do.”

“What is it?”

“When I got you out of my kitchen and into Donnie’s car to drive here, I didn’t exactly have time… well… here.” Craig reached to the ground and picked up a piece of a mirror and showed me my reflection.

“You fucking asshole! I look like a fucking coal miner! …Mining for crack! Why didn’t you say anything?!” I grabbed the piece of mirror from his hand and pushed him. The eyeliner had dribbled down my entire face, some of it had smudged and smeared. “I can’t believe you didn’t say anything. But I’m too pretty!” I mocked the Furor. Craig kept laughing, then walked over, and shut me up when he held me. Then kissed me slow.

We started dating after that for a couple of years and I still went to the Meyer’s house. The Furor had rescinded his radio silence and started giving a simple ‘hi‘. Only every now and then though, but it’s still pretty good improvement. It wasn’t until I was much older, before I finally understood what he meant that day he kept saying I was too pretty. Nevertheless, everything seemed pretty good until one fatefully ironic day, Edward had all the kids in the living room, including me. His hair was uncombed, which never happens, and he looked terrible, distraught, wearing the same clothes for days, and might have been drinking a little.

“Here ye. Here ye! Attention ladies and gentlemen, gather ’round! I, Edward Meyer, have an announcement to make on this unfair day on September the 10th, 2001!” he said as he held up a glass of something. He definitely was drinking. “You’re mother, Emmaline Meyer, and I, drum roll please,” he mimicked the drum roll by blowing raspberries, “are getting a divorce! …Cheers!” Everyone was confused and shocked.

“What?! Why?!” Shouted Diana.

Becaaaaaause, your mother doesn’t love me anymore, and insteeeeead, she wants to fuck black people!”

“Dad! What are you talking about?!” Shouted Craig.

“I have love letters and documentational-izing…? Eh? Proof! Of your mother’s new hobby, which wasn’t so new after all! Just get ready for the party tonight.”

“Dad, what party are you talking about? Where’s mom?” asked Vincent

“She’s prooooobably in the ghetto looking for her knight in sweaty and slash or shiny black armor. But thank you Vinnie, attention, your brotha just reminded me of the party being held tonight! Bring your friends, buuuuut,” the Furor whispered, “not the dark ones.”

“Stop dad! There isn’t going to be a party, and stop saying those things!” shouted Diane, “David  is half black.”

“Oh that’s right, I’m sorry sweety, tweety bird, I didn’t mean to make you go… BANANAS!” Edward proceeded to laugh uncontrollably. Then he started coughing and flung half his drink on his pant leg and carpet. “Yo mama loved this carpet, but boy did I love these pants too.” His face was flushed, his eyes couldn’t focus, he then suddenly erected his posture straight and froze there. We all watched in horror and disbelief. This man, the Furor, has never been like this. His body slowly tilted backwards but he regained his balance, but suddenly fell down. Faced down in to the stain on Emmaline’s beloved carpet. The boys dragged him to the couch and tossed him on top of it. I never pictured the Furor making an exit like that. That day turned out to only be a prelude…

Final Intermission

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52nd Street Theme


Sometimes, there's no time to sit and eat. Take the plate and silverware with you.

I live rather comfortably. Perhaps more comfortably than deserved. It’s not a pessimistic observation or view, it just presents itself in a more logical light that life shouldn’t be played on the novice level. Sure they would  lack a bit in the stress department, but when they double-take a look at their lives They’d notice the things the things that surmised their lives were bland and comfortable. Bleakness befalls blatantly, burdened by the general comprehension  over the brevity of life. They “didn’t dance enough when they were young,” but this life isn’t a video game, they only had one life left, and will probably have to start from level 1 (if their faith grants them reincarnation). If you’ve ever beaten a game on easy mode and felt you could’ve done better with a more challenging mode, you can’t. That’s virtually the essence of having it easy. (No pun intended, not too much, anyway.)

Henceforth, uncertainty pervades any ideals I may have had in regards to this post. It isn’t a call-to-arms because that intention would connote a pro-bullshit dogma consequentially instigating mentally adverse (fucked up) people into performing adverse things. Then placing the blame on me, and that’s adverse. That said, leaves a kind of epiphany/philosophy because A.) I’m fortunate enough to unravel this knowledge at a young age enabling the possibility to deter an ensuing fate of regret. Especially in old age; how much more helpless can that feel? Also, B.) My newly discovery of a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology; the value of stress. Shit. Both A and B sound pretty adverse don’t they? Or do you understand what I mean? Argh!!

Then again, maybe this was what I was talking about? The trials of life; the bonus levels.

How full doth thine chalice looketh?

If it's too easy, try a tougher difficulty.

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