Wednesday, November 19, 2003

What I've Learned So Far

by Sassy Student

1. Your reality is only limited by the boundaries of your imagination.

2. Unconditional love exists. The trick is to divest yourself of the inclination to compromise. Don't settle. Be ready, and it will find you.

3. Good luck is really the reward for good deeds. Kindness, compassion, and loving impulses are magnets for what others will dub "good luck".

4. There are others out there like me. I am not alone.

5. My truest compass is my instinct. It always points in the right direction.

6. Fear is learned. It can be unlearned, with the right teacher, and a willing pupil.

7. Ranger (my Beagle) really prefers Purina dog chow and will do anything for a piece of cheese. He also prefers Spiderman over Triple H, as far as chewing action figures goes.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Some Ben-isms

"Bad is just good in disguise."

"Even Jesus had a hobby."

He asks me if I think we're moving too fast. I reply that as far as I am concerned we're moving at the pace of a glacier. He says, "Thank God for global warming!"

Monday, October 06, 2003

I Quit My Job Today

I was taking a shower. Preparing for the trip to see Ben (I've lost count how many times he and I have made the Philly-Ft. Lauderdale commute). And I made the decision. It just came to me. Quit. Tender your resignation. Do it.

I was dripping wet, towel wrapped around my head. And I sent in an email.

Subject line: Notice of Resignation

The bosses were shocked, but supportive.

I get to Fort Lauderdale and Ben fixes us a couple of vodka cocktails. He kneels in front of me as I sit on the bar stool. I take a deep breath.

"Ben, I have something to tell you."


"I quit my job today."

Do you know what he does? He stands up, kisses me, walks away, and then jumps up and down and yells,


Friday, September 26, 2003

The English Light

by Sassy Poet

I would have never lit that candle
Opulent in its decor
Sitting alone in splendor
But asking all the while
Why not? Why me?

Let me shine and breathe and move
Let me flicker and pulse and groove

I am pretty but I burn.
The longer I burn, the prettier I get
She says with flirtatious pride
Her beauty trapped inside.

And even now, early on
I see her beauty and sense her song.
It's coming.

I'm glad I lit that candle.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

One Day, The Imps Were Out

An Short Imp Story
by Sassy Imp

I have these Imps in my head. There's a whole slew of them: Imp Pulsive; Imp Plausible; Imp Possible; Imp Pervious; Imp Perious; Imp Pede (and his cousin, Imp Pediment); Imp Plode; Imp Partial; Imp Penetrable; Imp Potent; Imp Portant; Imp Passive; Imp Passioned (she's a foreigner and her spelling isn't so good); Imp Pressed.

Sometimes they amuse me. Most of the time, though, they are a rowdy bunch and get on my nerves. They make me drink vodka cocktails.

Anyway, one day, the Imps were out.

"Don't you ever get tired of him missing his wife?" sniped Imp Perious.

Imp Possible: "Yeah! What's up with that?"

"Oddly no," replied Imp Passive. Imp Penetrable nodded in agreement. Imp Passioned wiped the mist from her eyes.

"Ha!" Imp Perious snorted. "You're a fool for love!"

"Yes, I am," said Imp Passive. And calmly and slowly walked away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I Said It First

by Sassy In Love

He said, "I love you." Just as we were hanging up the phone.

And I hung up.

And then I called him back.

"Did you just say you loved me?"

Laughter. "Yes, I did. And it just flowed out and I was just right now looking for my phone to call you back and tell you not to be scared cuz I said that."

"Why would I be afraid?" I ask.

"I don't know. I didn't know how you would react to me saying it."


"Well, it doesn't scare me," I offer.

"Well, there you have it then," he says. "I said it first."

Sunday, September 14, 2003

To Bea

Thank you for this gift, this time.
I know you. But I don't.
I will cherish him, I promise.
I don't think I'm worthy.
I could run. But I won't.

Thank you for his warmth, his light.
You could break him. But you don't.
You uplift him and nourish.
You let him shine and accept love.
He could run. But he won't.

Thank you for my tears, his tears
My fears brought to light
Succumbing to his energy
Loving his self and embracing his soul.
He is the one to make me whole.

I know that by loving him
I have entered into a marriage with you
And I love you and hold you. I do.
Close and tight in my heart
Thank you, Bea - from me.

Signed Your Sassy Soul Sister

Saturday, September 06, 2003

To Fort Lauderdale In Love

by Sassy Esquire

So, yeah. Ben called me that Sunday after the Bahamas. Awesome! You could have knocked me over with a fairy sneeze! We chatted for about an hour (I had to leave for the "Pirates" movie) and I was utterly and completely smitten.

Just as my feet were about to hit the ground again on Monday, he called again!


"Jo? It's Ben," he says, as if I didn't know.

"I was just thinking about you!" At this point, I don't yet realize how many times I will utter that statement in the next week.

"Good," he replies. "So we're on the same page then."

Our two hour long conversation takes my breath away. We talk about everything under the sun (and Mars). I feel like I called myself. He is awesome!

The phone calls become a daily habit - I say "habit" because I am addicted! He is like a drug that I can't get enough of - intoxicating, exhilarating, sedating and scintillating. Can Ben be bottled?

On Tuesday, we play with the Angel cards during our call. He says he always pulls the "playfulness" card when he thinks of me. He asks if I will, therefore, play with him. It sounds like a proposal. I accept.

His calls are like food. I need them; crave them; feast on them. I hope to get obese on them.

On Wednesday, he calls on his way back from dropping off the boss, at exactly the moment that I am typing his name into my Outlook contacts. Perfect! I listen to him telling me that he was overcome by an urge to pull over and call me. He asks about my arbitration. He is so gentle and sweet and loving. I am dying to be with him again.

We end the call with the now familiar, "Talk to you later." As soon as I hang up the phone, I receive an email from US Airways - the weekly e-savers. I close my eyes and say,

"If they are advertising a cheap flight to Fort Lauderdale, I am going."

So, here I am on that flight to Fort Lauderdale. It's Saturday. One week since I met Ben. I am exhausted - pulled an all nighter at the office; no sleep; jeans still wet from last minute laundry. Ranger (my Beagle) is at the sitter's. My carry on luggage is crammed in the overhead compartment, full of sh*t I probably won't need. I am listening to my music and drinking a vodka cocktail. (The stewardess, I mean flight attendant, seemed amused that I ordered two bottles of vodka at 7 o'clock in the morning. I resisted the urge to explain, "I've had a very long night!")

The flight is beautiful. We trace the eastern seaboard in the early light. I crane my neck to take it all in. It is so clear and crisp outside. I can't wait to get there but I am enjoying the ride.

I have told the girls where I am going and who I am going to see. They have all the details. I am sure they think I am insane.

"Holy crap!" Adria replied when I told her. "I thought you were joking! You're really going there this weekend? But you only just meet him like 4 days ago!"

Yeah well. You know me.

The plane is in final descent. I catch my first glimpse of Fort Lauderdale's beaches. Wow! I never knew. Beautiful. And now, my neighbor wants to talk. Perhaps she is nervous about landing? I indulge her. Chit chat. She is anxious to land, she says. You and me both, girl!

And we're down.

I go to the bathroom and check my hair and make up. Not too bad for a woman existing on caffeine, vodka, and the promise of love. I might be glowing.

I call him.

"Hello?" his husky voice soothes me.

"Ben? It's Jo." As if he didn't know. "I'm here."

Friday, August 29, 2003

From Port Lucaya With Love

The Story of Sassy and Ben

by Sassy Esquire

Sassy and Ben Posted by Hello

I met him on August 29, 2003 in Port Lucaya, Grand Bahama Island. Lala, Ed and I were out for kicks on our last vacation night. Jazzy was at the casino (I know, shocking). So the three of us are standing in the square with drinks in hand.

I'm talking to Lala, when a woman next to me announces, "You must be from Grenada or Trinidad." Michelle.

"No. I am actually from Barbados, but how could you...?"

"It's the way you say your 'r's," she replies.

Friendly chat. She tells me she is a crew mate on a private yacht.

"How do I get that job?" I ask.

She turns to her right, pointing. "You need to ask the Captain."

And there he was.

I remember setting my sights on him. Not really sure why. I just wanted to. His back was to the bay and he cast a quizzical look in my direction. He ponders me briefly and I make my pitch.

"How do I become your mate?" I don't believe those were my exact words but they could as well have been. "I can't swim," I add.

"Then you can't get the job," is all he says.

I pout. He is amused. Quietly amused. Reserved and observed. I think he knows I am interested but he thinks it's just a lark.

If I could have that moment to live over, what would I do differently? I probably would do something differently and that's the beauty of it....The result would be the same.

We all settle into a lively conversation: Michelle, Lala, Ben and me, and Christine. She's a dive master, she says. Stunning eyes. I assess her, dismiss her, and go back to my plotted course.

"So, Ben...."

He engages in some mindless banter with me. I wonder if anyone has noticed my primo physical positioning. Yeah. I squeezed Christine out, forcing her to talk to Lala. I just want to be closer to him. He intrigues me. He knows. Reserved and observed, he is.

I can't remember what prompts it but he tells me, by way of excuse almost, that he is "sorta on a date" with Christine. Oops! My bad! Then why in the hell did she even let me near you, I think. "Well, let me get out of your way so y'all can chat," I say with a laugh. He smiles. I move away, back to Lala. One of my better moves, I find out later.

The owner of the yacht and her boy toy arrive. We are all introduced. She has that graceful air about her that comes with financial security. She seems nice enough, holding onto her fading looks with both hands balled into fists. Not smiling too broadly, but showing perfect teeth.

I finally cop to being a lawyer, or maybe Lala told them.

"Do you know Freddie Smith then?" Michelle asks in all seriousness.

"Um. No." It is a myth that all lawyers know each other, you see.

So we go off to Shenanigan's Pub. It's a fairly big group now: yacht owner, boy toy, Lala, Michelle, Christine, Ben and me. We meet others in the pub, including Freddie Smith. Go figure. Boxing is on the television. Boy toy is talking about race cars; I am chatting with yacht owner lady and I have lost track of Ben. But I imagine he is leaning on the bar, listening with one ear to Christine and watching me intently. I can feel him.

Time warps. There is laughter and drinks and music and dancing and then, there is Ben. Standing next to me. Close. He just sorta appeared or floated over. He is here now and I am going to keep him near. I lean into him. He doesn't resist. I feel his warmth. I am feeling bold. I turn my face up to him and blurt out, "This is what it looks like when someone is flirting with you." That works.

There is no sequence to what follows. I remember dancing. Laughing. Swaying and grooving to the music in his arms and against his leanness. We move together well.

"You follow well," Ben remarks. Of course, I immediately stumble in my chunky Steve Maddens.

We dance some more. I think we kiss, but that first one would soon be rendered completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of marathon kissing that follows.

We spend what feels like eternity together. Back to my hotel. Apparently, I drag him into a sports bar and yell out at the patrons, "Who won the Steelers game?"

I am drunk. But I am stone cold sober.

And we go into the ocean. I would later learn that he thinks I am mad because bull sharks are difficult to see in the dark. But he follows me in anyway. I am clearly completely drunk or else I am overcome with trust and hope. He won't let me drown, right?

He tells me the planet I have been pondering all week is Mars. The closest it has ever been to Earth. I look up. Mars is our planet now. She is orange.

We search out hot tubs, take a dip in the pool. Back rubs. So much to talk about. And so much kissing to get caught up on. I think he is resisting the natural progression of physical intimacy, but that's ok. I am more than happy to just kiss him for the rest of my life.

We go to my room where Ed is sleeping (or so I thought). We tiptoe out onto the balcony and I draw the curtains. I go next door to check on Lala and get some libations. Oh for two. I settle for some warm Bombay Sapphire and a brief lecture on morality, both courtesy of Jazzy.

Back to Ben.

We take off our wet clothes and sit on the balcony, naked, talking. For hours. We engage in an intimacy like no other. We do not make love.

As the hours pass, and as we decide warm Bombay Sapphire really ain't so good, I am becoming more and more clear-headed. The clarity brings painful elation. This is really happening! And I am not afraid.

Into the frigid room! Crawl under the covers of the "Heavenly Bed" (thank you, Westin!) and we snuggle. Happy beyond my wildest nightmares. You don't dare to dream about this kind of happiness. You cast it to the river Hades and fantasize that it doesn't exist - like the bogeyman in the closet. Don't let it out! Because if it is real, your life was meaningless to this point. Or maybe the suffering is preparation for the searing stab of bright, light joy when love comes.

So we talk under the covers for a few more hours. Finally, he has to go back to the yacht. It's now about 5 in the morning. We exchange numbers on his business cards because I can't find mine.

And he leaves me.

But he never left me.

In the lobby of the hotel, waiting for a cab. I scribble out a note on hotel stationery, drop my recently discovered business card into an envelope. I don't feel desperate. I just want to hear from him and I want him to know.

"Dear Ben. It was great being with you. I hope to do it again. Jo."

(Turns out the address on his card was an old one. He doesn't get that note until 3 months later. By then, I had quit my job in Delaware and moved in with him in Fort Lauderdale.)

Back in Delaware. I sleep. And sleep. I don't unpack. I sleep. On Sunday, the day after I returned from Port Lucaya, I awaken. Back to reality. Maybe none of it happened.

Lala on the phone. I ask if I can join her and Kiki to see "Pirates of the Caribbean" - I am partial to sailors now, you see.

It's about an hour before show time. The phone rings. Caller ID toys with me, announcing only that I have an incoming call. I am not expecting anything or anyone, so I flip Caller ID the bird and grab the phone, just as it reveals a 954 area code....

"I'm calling to make sure you exist. Did I dream you?" His opening words.

"Hello, Ben."

It's on now.