Pst… Pst…

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“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”

Pema Chodron

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The Mix-Up

Brother: I read your blog about healthy eating. Those are my favorite kind, the ones that are short and relatable.

Me: Thanks for reading my blog. I don’t always know when you read it.

Brother: Yeah, the ones about swimming too, and the one about the beach.

Me: Beach? Which one are you talking about?

Brother: The one with the couple having sex on the beach.

Me: What? I didn’t write about that on my blog.

Brother: Yeah, yeah you did. And there were like Pokemon Go players too or something.

Me: Wait… Do you mean the story about the blind man and his wife at the marina, the one where she’s describing to him what she sees?

Brother: Yeah!!! That was the one.

Me: HAHAHAHA I can’t believe those were the two stories you mixed up.

Brother: Hahaha!

Me: I mean, I did tell you a story about seeing people having sex on the beach. And I guess both stories involve water and a couple.

Brother: I’m sure they were at two very different stages of their relationship.

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So yes, there was one time I saw a couple having sex on the beach. And no, I don’t mean the cocktail.

It happened about six months ago. They were on the side of a sand dune, right by the entrance to the beach. The audacity. It was a cold day. The beach wasn’t crowded, but people had still come out to see the sunset. Several people honked at them, others yelled, and a lucky few were oblivious to the live performance.

I had been a part of the few in ignorant bliss. That is, until my other brother told me, “Hey Evelyn, did you see that couple having sex over there?” Because that’s what you do when you see people having sex on a public beach:

You tell your little sister so she can be scarred for life.


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Manager’s Special

“‘Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?”

—J.K. Rowling

I always felt like if I didn’t mention it that maybe people wouldn’t notice. Or it could just be this sort of polite secret, like, open secret that we didn’t address, because it felt so shameful. It just felt impolite to talk about, like me not wanting to burden you with my failure. […] Yeah, and just give me a little more time. Let’s not talk about [my weight], and I promise I’ll fix it. […]

The way that we are taught to think about fatness is that fat is not a permanent state. You’re just a thin person who’s failing consistently for your whole life.

—Lindy West on This American Life “Tell Me I’m Fat” with Ira Glass

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A couple months ago, I stopped by a local gym to get membership prices. I had heard it wasn’t too expensive. Plus, the gym had an indoor pool, which was a big selling point for me since I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s crazy tan lines. (They were pretty bad, like random-people-stopping-and-staring bad.)

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Nightmare

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Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.

Every hour wounds. The last one kills. —Popular Latin inscription on sundials.


She woke up with a pounding headache, and slowly, the memories from her dreams the night before start trickling in.

A woman on her deathbed. Her eyes are bleak, and her skin clings to her bones. An eerie, gargle-like sound escapes her lips—the “death rattle,” they call it.

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Community Pool

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Warm-Up

It was a beautiful day for swimming, so naturally, the pool was packed.

While I waited for a lane to open up, I decided to do my warm up in the open area of the pool, where all the swim classes take place. As I would learn soon enough, sometimes it’s better to wait on the sidelines…

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A Motel, a Dollhouse, and College Dorm All in One

 

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You are graduating from college. That means that this is the first day of the last day of your life. No, that’s wrong. This is the last day of the first day of school. Nope, that’s worse. This is a day.

-Andy Samberg

Since I recently wrote about my college apartment by the cemetery and my current “noisy neighbor” (who is still singing every night, by the way), I thought of an infamous college dorm I lived in my junior spring. Enjoy!

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I arrived late at night. I pulled my luggage through the snow and ice, the cold air hurting my eyes. Spring break in New England—delightful.

I stood in front of the white, shabby two-story building that would be my home for the spring quarter. The dormitory resembled a two-star motel, the kind you might invest in bedsheets from a local Walmart before spending the night. As I stared in disapproval, I promised right at that moment, that if I ever became a rich alumna, I would donate a whole bunch of money to tear this building down, build a beautiful new dorm, and slap my name across the front.

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The Shortcut through the Cemetery

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New England in the fall, and also the quintessential Instagram picture. I’m so proud.

“You can see how this book has reached a great boundary that was called 1900. Another hundred years were ground up and churned, and what had happened was all muddied by the way folks wanted it to be—more rich and meaningful the farther back it was.”

John Steinbeck, East of Eden

“The years go by, and I’ve told the story so many times that I’m not sure anymore whether I actually remember it or whether I just remember the words I tell it with… At this point, what difference does it make whether it was me or some other man that saw Moreira killed.”

Jorge Luis Borges, “The Night of the Gifts” (Trans. Andrew Hurley)

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My senior year of college, I lived in an apartment next to an old cemetery. 

The cemetery had headstones and crypts that dated back to the 18th century. Several of them belonged to the college’s first students. I always wondered whether they willingly chose to be buried there out of devotion to the college, or whether academic rigor got to them before they could graduate. I typically assumed the latter.

The cemetery was mostly green and wooded. Parts of it were steep, and it even had a ravine dividing it down the middle. With its tall trees and eery voices, the graveyard was hauntingly beautiful. During the fall and spring, I used to take a shortcut through the cemetery. I was drawn to the tranquility and quiet, and of course, the dining hall on the other side. I told myself it was a shortcut, but I still doubt if it actually was. I had to climb down a sharp incline then up another hill to get across, usually taking about as much effort as just walking around the cemetery. I never dared to take the path during winter, lest I came across winter gnomes, shout in surprise, then slip, break a leg, and freeze to death.   Continue reading