The picture

Note: Found this in my drafts recently. It made me thankful for water under burned bridges. 

Deciding the pieces were not small enough, I picked up your picture from the gravel-covered ground and began to tear again — limb from limb, head from body, clothing from flesh.

It felt good to make you smaller, if only a paper you.

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Things he says to my cat

Note: I was digging through my drafts this week and came across this beauty that I wrote last fall and didn’t publish. The guy it was written about is no longer a boyfriend (and his sinuses are rejoicing), but he’s still a good friend. (And I told him I was posting this).

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What do you get when pair a self-proclaimed cat lady with a funny guy who claimed he’d never date a girl who owns cats? As it turns out, some pretty hilarious conversations between the boy and the cat. I have one orange cat named Frank (@hello_imfrank on Instagram) who can’t stand to be out of my presence, one gray one named Mouse who’s happy hiding from everyone and one boyfriend who’s allergic to them both.

Don’t let him fool you, he actually likes Mouse. More than once, I’ve heard him call her “Pretty girl.” He feels less than love for Frank, though, and it’s made for some pretty funny interactions. Here are some of my favorites recently:

“Are cats just scared all the time? What’s the deal with cats?”

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Him: “Why’s he vibrating?”

Me: “He’s purring.”

Him: “Oh, I though he was getting a text.”

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Me: (Picks up Frank as guy opens the front door): “You want a cat?”

Him: “I don’t even want you to have a cat. Write that f***ing down.”

Me: “OK, I will.”

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“F*** you, Frank.”

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“If it were up to me you’d be in a glue factory… Actually I don’t think they make cats into glue… Oh, by all means get on my lap.”

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“You’re meowing at the one person who hates you the most, how stupid is that?”

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(Whispering) “I don’t like you.”

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“Hey Frank, I’ll give you a peanut if you tell me you’re allergic.”

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“I wish you were nicer… and a dog.”

Area woman too flattered to report stalker

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CHARLESTON, W.Va — Calling his habit of following her and leaving gifts in the foyer of her East End apartment “sweet,” Charleston, W.Va. woman Lorithebrave told reporters Thursday she has not yet reported to police the stalking behavior of her ex-boyfriend. The two broke up three months ago when he insisted on naming their non-existent children. They had dated for three weeks.

“Last Friday he texted that he had left me a surprise at my door,” Lori, who was home at the time, said. “Once I got over the fear of it being him with a gun, I actually loved the roses he sent.”

Witnessed confirmed of the 12 pink, long-stemmed roses, one was plastic.

The roses came with a note that said “I’ll love you until the last flower dies.”

Note: This is satire. Inspired by The Onion.

You gotta be cruel to be kind

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For nearly a summer earlier in my 20s, I went out with a guy I met through my work. I was attracted to his sarcastic, dry sense of humor that mirrored mine, his light blue eyes  and his sandy blonde curls. Put simply, I was smitten.

It was maybe two months into the relationship when I could sense him pulling away. He didn’t text or call as much and I didn’t see him as often. At first I chalked it up to his hectic work schedule: summers were the busiest time for his job. But I think in my heart I knew what was really going on.

That didn’t stop me from pursuing him, from waiting around for his calls and texts.

One morning I sent him a text and he initially responded. Then he stopped communicating altogether. He stopped texting literally in the middle of the conversation. And, save for one work-related Facebook message months later, I never saw or heard from him again.

For a long time, I hated him for not having the courage to call and explain himself, for leaving me without any sense of closure.

Now that I’m (a whole three years) older and wiser, I still think what he did was cowardly, but I have more grace for him. Unless you’re a terrible person, dumping someone just sucks.

Especially when the person is perfectly nice and sweet and has few other faults besides not being compatible.

But there’s also a kindness to breaking up with a person, one that I hadn’t recognized until recently. It is a much kinder thing (in a dating relationship, at least)  to tell someone you’re not feeling it than to string them along for any period of time. It’s a kind thing to do for yourself, too. If you don’t stick up for what you want, no one else will do it for you.

There’s not much respect for that type of kindness. It’s easy to hate someone who can’t end a relationship gracefully, who chooses to stop responding to text messages rather than sitting down over a cup of coffee and saying how they feel.

Clearly, some ways of breaking up with someone are kinder than others. Sure, I would have much rather had a conversation. But I’ll tell you one thing, his silence sent a message. And while it may have broken my heart, I never had to wonder what he was trying to say.

And there’s something to be said for that.