Tag Archives: iolani

you are particles too. (jenn)


you drive hundreds of miles by thousands of homes. (ohio. indiana. illinois. wisconsin.) you wonder how people do it. how they stay in one place, with one person. find enough room in cold basements to store all their dissatisfactions. distract themselves with soccer practices and bathroom renovations. you wonder if they dream. you wonder what makes them all choose the same templates. you genuinely want to know. you feel foreign with your short-attention span and impending sense of doom. also, you are a split lip victim of domestic dog-abuse.


where’s my ability to love someone longer than a few years? where’s my overpriced golden retriever who appreciates my affection?

i need someone to teach me the game of simple functioning–someone who’ll be a coach/father figure, who’ll cheer me on by saying go get ’em hee, play for life! tackle that lack of commitment to employment and/or men! go long! go long!

just kidding. really i just want a big sports mvp award for sitting on the bench with my favorite books, abnormal values, and pleasant expression.


you’re on a beach in milwaukee. you think about hawaii, your home. you wish you could be quantum-sized, in two places at once. why can’t you? you are particles too. but you exist here and only here, in milwaukee, on a beach. you wonder why there are no dogs running on the beach. you turn your head and see a sign that says no dogs allowed. you wished all your questions were answered just like that. why can’t i get a real job? why can’t i ask strangers for directions? why do i keep switching from second to first to third person? i turn my head but instead of signs with succinct answers, there is only ryan. and he’s doing that thing where he’s sleeping and makes noises like he’s choking on air about to die, but he doesn’t, and keeps breathing. i think it’s sleep apnea. he’s definitely dying this time.


this time.


and you wonder why you can’t turn off the iolani in you that wants to attack his brain with a red pen every time he defies all grammar rules known to keables in his blogs. you wish you too could embrace schizophrenic capitalization.


you’re in harmonie’s bedroom and you don’t know where to go next. head towards fargo, go and go and settle in california? isolate and write in small town canada? go home? finally. go home. or turn around. drive back to jersey. stay with a friend and wait until december 14th, when we have tickets from philly to amsterdam—the trip of a lifetime, a christmas present to ourselves before ryan got fired. you wish the computer was a fortune cookie. you want to be told something ambiguous such as “go to amsterdam” so that you can interpret it to mean exactly what you want it to, which is go to amsterdam and forget that you’re two unemployed bloggers with a dog mouth to feed and all your life possessions in a murano.

you do not make the best decisions. prom dresses, 7th glass of wine, bulgaria. you decide to pick up a book, turn to a random page, and read the first sentence you see. usually you prefer magic plath 8 ball, but harmonie only has the gulag archipelago on her floor. you grab. you open. you read:

“thus a person could disappear from the face of the earth with the help of the OSO even more reliably than under the terms of some primitive court sentence.”

amsterdam it is!


you can’t throw away the ramen! (jenn)


driving dazed from our last week in philly, for seven hours i am lulled by the neon GPS screen–we are driving in a video game, dark surrounds the windows, our route is highlighted in pink. ryan says he’s played this one before. the dips, the bridges.

(the GPS has already improved our relationship 5,000-fold. now if i cold only cut the wire between emotion and logic everything would be perfect! and i would be a sociopath!)

(i haven’t given up yet.)

we arrived in cambridge after midnight. first stop, new womb–melissa matsubara’s apartment.

melissa, my beloved friend from iolani–the girl who cooked my family full meals including mini-vase-and-flower adornments after my father had a stroke; who first braved NYC with me, 18 years old and from hawaii kai, we were so trusting; who drifted with me, down north shore streams, side-by-side through massachusetts college days, drifted apart eventually, melissa in turkey, italy, australia, chile. i’m always somewhere else. we don’t keep in touch well; there’s no guilt nesting beneath our friendship. we know who we are to each other, and to me, melissa will always have the same rank in my heart, even if we don’t speak for years. melissa, the girl who sent me her warmest sweater to survive my bulgarian winters. effortlessly thoughtful. she knows what matters, what doesn’t. i don’t deserve the people who love me.

so: when i see melissa, i know everything will be okay. melissa–the girl who gives us her bed. fully-clothed in our jeans and sweaters, we crawl into white feathered down heaven. finally somewhere. but mati–impossibly restless in this new room, without her place, having spent seven hours on my lap, front seat crammed, bags under my feet, $85 ergonomic pillow at my knees, books and ramen scattered across the dashboard. all this exhaustion, but mati can’t sleep, wants to jump out melissa’s high windows, burrows under her bed, pants, whines, yelps and shakes and i consider slipping an ambien up her ass because i am just that tired.

favorite frantic leaving scene:

realize most of our possessions will not fit in the car.

trash blankets, clothes, towels, food.

on the street, give away the television. the microwave. the printer. we are strangers’ new best friends.

after much deliberation, my spice collection goes to the mailman.

then, i throw away the ramen.

enter ryan:

“YOU CAN’T THROW AWAY THE RAMEN?!! Are you crazy?”

finally, here at melissa’s, mati calms, and we all drift. a handful of hours later, up again from our catatonic half-sleep, ryan, mati and i walk from lechmere to harvard along the charles river, discussing the best way to embrace our inner retard (answer: give it a helmet). there is something perfect about cold sun and leaves singing with yellow, sailboats and brick bridges. everything is always so much more beautiful than it used to be.

(ryan: “sometimes your writing is so writery and gay.”
jenn: “get out of my blog, asshole!”)

i share with ryan the joy of pinocchio’s subs in a sunny corner of steps across from weidner library.harvard students seem like children to me now, zigzagging on asphalt paths, class to library to dorm.i remembered when i thought i mattered too. i never thought i’d come back this way, with a bulgarian street dog and hawaiianryan in tow, homeless, getting closer and closer to centered as i get further and further away from everyone else’s map.

i am thankful for it all. it is november, and i am still warm.