Love Rejected

It’s late. I’ve been in a deep, refreshing sleep for hours – completely uninterrupted which is close to a miracle for a middle-aged man. I don’t know exactly what time this started, but at some point I feel her scootch close to me. Even though I am asleep I feel her touch as if she has invaded my dream. It is a good touch – soft and gentle, yet unrelenting. But I can’t focus. I am too caught up in the spidery web of slumber and cannot will myself awake to take part in this late night liaison. Part of me wants to though, I admit.

So what should I do? Should I be honest and say, “No, thank you”? To speak would give away cogitation letting on that I was awake. So I do nothing. I feign sleep. I may as well be dead for all of the affection I return.

Only she doesn’t accept my complacency. She forces herself on me and digs her claws into my chest – not too hard, but enough that I feel their sharp tips penetrate the first layer of skin. I wonder if I’m bleeding. I wonder if my blood will stain the opulent 800 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

Then, to offset the roughness of her claws, I feel the gentle pull of her tongue on my nose. I feel the hotness of her breath. Many times I would court this kind of behavior yet at this moment I can’t bring myself to wipe the haze from my mind and accept the love I am receiving.

“Get off me, Liza!” I cry as I push the kitten off of my chest and roll over.

It only takes a second until she is once again snuggled against my sleeping better half. I’ve probably blown it now. The sweet kitten won’t try to nuzzle me again for weeks. Rejection stings.


We’ve all been rejected.

I remember first time my love was spurned like it was yesterday. Her name was Jenny. It was Mrs. Lampton’s second grade class at Cochrane Elementary. Most of my days were spent in the “special chair” next to the teacher facing the other students. I may have been put there for disciplinary reasons, but I like to think I was a kind of a teacher’s assistant. My behavior must have been better this particular day because I was actually facing the teacher in the same row as Jenny. When she went to the front to sharpen her pencil, I opened my desk and found the profound piece of literature I had crafted to woo her. Woo her for what purpose I had no idea, but this was what a man does when he feels this way. Things would work out after the wooing was done. At least that was the scenario my seven year-old mind had constructed.

When she sashayed back down the row, I summoned the courage to hand her my note. It was done! We were practically engaged now. Two lovebirds, ready to do whatever lovebirds do. I smiled smugly and felt total zen-like peace wondering when the love would begin to bloom.

Only it didn’t. I never got a response. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Over the ensuing weeks, I recounted the words I had painstakingly written:

Do you like me?

Check a box    YES  []         NO []


What could go wrong? That tried and true note is what Jeff told me to write and he got it from his older brothers and they were in middle school! At the very least she could have checked NO and returned it! Then I would know. Now it is 41 years later and I’m stuck wondering what happened to the love I had offered. I don’t remember anything else from second grade except for Trey, the clairvoyant kid who somehow knew exactly when Mrs. Lampton was about to walk back into the room.

I wonder if Jenny is a wife and mother now. Or a high powered attorney with a cold, analytical persona. If they still make old spinsters she’s probably one of those because she spent her life rejecting love. I would stalk her online only I don’t remember her last name and Facebook profiles don’t usually list elementary schools.

Rejected love is still love, regardless of whether it is ill-timed, somewhat demented, or aggressive. If love must be rejected, one should have the courtesy to explain why – even if they are seven!

I don’t want to be like Jenny.

So Liza, I’m sorry. I check YES [] and will make every attempt to accept your love as you can provide it. But since only one of us is nocturnal, let’s shoot for daylight hours.

Playing Doctor

When you were a kid, did you ever play the doctor game? Just a few friends together in a quiet room. It is one of the few games boys and girls could play together. Before your mind goes a-wandering, I’m talking about the electric board game that buzzes when you touch the sides. Operation – “the whacky doctors game, batteries not included.” I used to love that game. I don’t think I ever owned it, but a neighborhood pal did.


We aren’t allowed to have it in this home. When she was little, the concept freaked one of my daughters out so badly that she wouldn’t have slept had it resided under the same roof as her.

Although I have no medical training whatsoever, I would like to operate someday. I wouldn’t bluff my way into an operating room ala Frankie in Catch Me if You Can. I’m thinking more like a right place, right time scenario where I have to do an emergency tracheotomy while being given instructions by a tense doctor over the phone. Or does that only happen on television?

Seventeen years ago, I thought my surgery had arrived. Labor came quickly for daughter # 2. I pushed our little mini-van to its limit getting to the hospital and barely made it. She was born eighteen minutes from the time I wheeled momma through the door. Rats! Well, maybe that would have been a poor choice of first operations. Those stakes were very high and that patient was pretty surly – made even angrier by the fact that an unnamed person didn’t get her to the hospital in time for an epidural.

I totally could have done it, though.

I now have an app on my phone from the Red Cross to guide me. It’s a decision tree that asks questions to diagnose basic maladies. If you answer “yes” to more than one it almost always tells you to call 911. When I read the questions to someone, I don’t panic and my voice remains very calm and assuring – which makes feel like I’m pretty much a doctor.

A second opportunity presented itself recently. My brother-in-law started having pain in his abdomen. Rather than come to me, he went the traditional medicine route and was told he needed his gallbladder removed. Disappointing. After scouring the internet for the actual location of the organ, I decided this was my chance.

He seemed very dismissive of my offer at first. In fact, he barely paid attention. I chalked this up to pain. He just couldn’t think clearly. When the date of the surgery came, the so-called “professionals” had a little trouble and couldn’t perform the operation arthroscopically. So they had to cut him open, which led to complications and a ten day stint in the hospital.

Serves him right. I could have done it. I even ordered a new Ginsu knife and everything. While a full recovery was not guaranteed, the billing rate was substantially less than the one he got and he would have been able to stay at home. Besides, just think of the joy he would have brought me.

So if healthcare costs have got you down and you are looking for a cheap, extremely dubious alternative, look me up. Unlike most docs, I will be waiting for you instead of making you wait.