The Short Story of the Longhouse

She hadn’t texted back in over four hours. He was suicidal.

But freezing to death wasn’t as painless as he had hoped. Turns out there was no drifting off into some permanent numb. No, it happens from the inside out.

Arctic atmosphere entered his lungs one breath at a time. Blood freezing into atomic razor blades. Tiny cellular slices gradually reducing him to a pond of icy flesh.

He picked himself up off the -14-degree shoulder and got back in the Subaru. He had only lasted eight minutes away from it’s heated leather seats.

She wouldn’t let him take her out. Wouldn’t accept money. Wouldn’t let him rub her feet. This last offer a ploy to steal secret sniffs from between her toes whenever she looked away.

On occasion, stalking would pay off and he would ‘bump’ into her at the coffee shop. She would make him sit at a different table. Would buy her own coffee. Work diligently. Make him text her from two arm’s length away and wait until her submittals were complete to reply.

45 minutes later, ‘I’m just in my phone down era, what are you doing to better yourself?’ Thirteen seconds of eye contact then back to work.

She was an impenetrable fortress. Pussy locked up so tight prime Khan couldn’t penetrate.

Yet he had persisted. He was just interesting enough to get her response rates down from two days to under sixty minutes. He didn’t care how demeaning it felt. She was the last female on earth worth living for.

But now she was drifting away and he was at the edge of yet another mid-life crisis looking down into an abyss forty years deep. He had been here before.


He married young and had kids like you’re supposed to. They had bought a house together. A minivan. Maxed out 401ks and 501cs. Sam’s Club Sundays after church. In-laws close by for date night Thursdays to avoid the weekend rush.

In the begining even the sex was sublime. Her body count was two, he was three, and they took it to 1000. Lewis and Clark fucking and feeling their way west into the great unknown.

But not even his square jaw, chiseled abs, and full head of hair could overcome his lack of earning power. She came from money he didn’t understand. His $75k engineering salary not enough to keep her wet past menopause.

By the time their third child turned one she was fucking the resident physician between shifts at the NICU.

He knew but couldn’t bring himself to confront her. Felt too much like failure.

He entered into a secret competition with him. Read up on tantric techniques to up his dick game. Started writing poetry again. Would surprise her with home-cooked candle-lit dinners at the end of her work week.

She picked up extra shifts and came home with strange seamen inside her. Let him taste it before rolling over and turning out the lights.

But she didn’t leave him until his sister died. Seeing him weep was the last straw. She told him she had no choice that he made her do it. He signed the papers, gave her everything, and checked himself into a psych ward.

That was the last time he was suicidal, almost ten years ago.


But things were different now. He had hard fought wisdom on his side. He had braved the post-thirty dating wasteland, taken licks from his share of aged-out single moms, and learned to channel his desperation through his writing.

Nobody read him but he imagined future generations finding his hard drive in a post-apocalyptic rubble heap. A half starved blue eyed youth with bony fingers would hold it high above his head in front of circling savages.

‘We are not alone in our suffering, if he can find a way forward, so will we!’


And then, a ding. It was her. ‘How are you?’

Fuck it. What’s one more ride on the merry-go-round? He had a self to sacrifice to the furnace of the future.

Barred For Life

He had a PowerPoint to update but couldn’t because she was basting the sweet bread.

She must do this on purpose to prevent his deck from reaching the catsup overlords looking to optimize their warehouse footprint after an otherwise canceled market analyst had managed to make public a well-argued case for imminent recession.

She had her back turned, ignoring the impotent fact of his existence while serendipitously preserving livelihoods, one warehouse-closing presentation at a time.

The catsup commanders however, in exchange for temporary employment, knew as much about him as he did. For example, they knew that despite his current productivity lag, he would, ultimately, opt for the cold comfort of empty corporate platitudes over risking rejection at her hands.

Yet loaf after delicious loaf he lusted, eyes fixed just over the edge of his laptop screen, back slumped against the graffitied coffee shop wall.

Warm liquid fats applied evenly around the edges. Steady shoulders. Supple elbow rhythmically pivoting between butter and bread. Heels of her flats pressed firmly into the white linoleum at slightly more than shoulder width.

Slender frame saran-wrapped in olive leggings and a grey, over-starched baker’s smock dusted in gluten-free flour. Her top and bottom halves coming together to form a nostalgia-inducing earthy granite aesthetic.

He is 7 years old again. Running inside from a pogo-ball workout on the deck of grandma’s house sweaty with deep crimson running down his leg from a fresh knee scape.

He was crying softly.

The kitchen was to the left of the dining room as he entered through the sliding door from outside. Eunice had just taken the lemon bars out of the oven.

A violent passivity baked into her bones, Eunice, like her piping hot lemon bars, required sufficient time to set up before enjoying.

He had burst into the grizzly den hot with blood in early spring after a long winter.

She turned to face him sliding tulip print oven mitts from warm, combat-ready knuckles.

‘You’re bleeding,’ she whispered, beating him to the punch and anchoring his feet to hell itself.

The abrupt change in momentum carried his center of mass over his toes and created a sudden pressure on his bladder which released down his leg.

He was a pussy wet with tears, sweat, blood, and piss getting fucked by a 70-year-old woman with a 12″ spatula.

Later that night he would bury his terror under bar after bar of her tart treats charting an underground course towards certain virginity where, later in life, he would leave the sweet bread at the coffee shop returning home in time to masturbate before meeting deadline.


Despite the gloom I often blog about, my life is full of light. I document both because, from my perspective, the night is how we come to appreciate the dawn.

Last night was full of sunlight, but I’ll get to that later. First, some context.

My therapist Andre has often pointed out I tend to choose unavailable friends, coworkers, lovers, situations, etc. to rest my hopes on. White knight syndrome, I suppose. No matter the beginning, the outcome is the same – I get trapped in the Drama Triangle, taking turns playing both rescuer and perpetrator to my inner victim.

Image credit: Drama Triangle

For example, I married a rescuer and mostly played victim throughout the relationship. When, inevitably, she couldn’t save me, and often overcome with a toxic cocktail of resentment and despair, I might morph into perpetrator, giving her a chance at victim. Needless to say, that wasn’t a recipe for success.

Nonetheless, we have three beautiful children and a rich experience to draw from as we move forward. I’m grateful for all of it.

Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements, says that it is the false idea we have of ourselves – the ‘smoke’ between us and the mirror of reality – which causes all the suffering in the world. In that sense, although the divorce was painful, in the aftermath, there is now much less smoke between me and my true self.

Now, as the smoke dissipates and who I really am becomes more visible to me, my gratitude for what I’m learning deepens and my relationship to the law of attraction grows healthier. Said differently, it’s something like, the more sunlight I let in, the longer the days.

Which brings me to last night.

At 6:10 I met a girl again for the first time. After an eventful Uber ride from a recently widowed senior citizen, we took to throwing hatchets at a large wooden dart board in North Tulsa.

Image Credit:

Hiding behind her brilliant smile was a stockpile of anxiety built up over an afternoon spent watching axe throwing fails which had convinced her that our date was going to end in her untimely demise. But the host – who we named Karli – soon settled us in, partly thru helpful instruction, but mostly thru necessity as she left us in charge of the sound system while attending to work duties in the back office.

Axe throwing ended in a bullseye, literally, when my date landed the winning shot squarely in the center of the board as our hour expired. Anxiety now washed away and replaced by a shared appetite, we headed over to Duet for some amazing mac-n-cheese, less amazing hummus, and lots more laughs.


Dinner was wonderful. While sharing stories over appetizers, I noticed a surprising mixture of calm and excitement that hasn’t left me since. Covering Canada, careers and even canibalism, the conversation was the only thing better than the food. Three hours passed effortlessly. It felt good to just be myself and, when I asked her, she admitted to enjoying herself too. This I believe because I witnessed what a terrible liar she is when she tried to convince the waitress she enjoyed the hummus.

Walking out of Duet around 10:00 we decided to continue the evening at R-bar for a night cap but not before discovering this lovely present from a downtown meter maid:

OVER THE LINE!! I’ll be scrubbing that one off for a while lol

I told her I would almost rather have the ticket as it’s going to cost me much more time to get the superglue-residue cleaned from the drivers-side window. I think she’s still chuckling over it, but at least it wasn’t on the windshield!

R-bar = bizarro-world

at least last night, or maybe in the past I was participating in it too much to notice.

Regardless, on the patio and to our right, we witnessed what must have been the cross-fit convention after party. At one point the alpha of the pack, in a display of dominance, shook hands so hard with another man in the group that he pulled him out of his chair and onto the table.

Not long after (or was it before?) a young lady neck deep in martini’s, with lips strangely swollen and unevenly covered in bright pink lipstick, joined our table. As she sat, she simultaneously slung her 50 lb. ‘puppy’ directly in my lap. Fifteen minutes of unsolicited drunken doggie diaries ensued while my date politely concealed her mounting allergic reaction to the fuzzy canine.

As that episode wrapped up – allergies averted – we noticed what appeared to be a refreshingly normal table of three chatting quietly in the corner to our left, 180 degrees from the cross-fit clan. The normalcy didn’t last but a moment as, just then, a middle-aged, English professor-type fired up his flat black Harley. One of the two women at the ‘normal’ table, the one who appeared to be third wheel to the other two, burst into an obscenity laced tirade like a wound up jack in the box. Shouting for several minutes about how big of a d*** the motorcyclist must have and how excited she was about it, much to the chagrin of the couple at her table, who all but melted in an effort to hide their embarrassment. I assume the biker was enjoying the spectacle or didn’t notice over his roaring engine, because he was in no hurry to leave. Pure comedic gold, you can’t make this stuff up.

Did I mention the possum scare? Seriously, when a possum on the patio is the least exciting thing that happens you know you’re doing it right.

But I’m older than I used to be and, as much fun as I was having, it was well past my bedtime and I thought it best to call it a night before the next panel of Jerry Springer guests arrived.

And that’s it, that was my night of light. Paid for by the long, steady journey through the dark and smokey unknowing towards the crystal clarity of personal truth.

truth in action = happiness

(because everyone loves math)

Here’s to many more and longer days to come. You know who you are.

Image Credit:

Trouble Parking

Dating in your 30’s?

Any single, 30-somethings out there struggling in the relationship game? Raise your hand if you’re having fun. If you’re like me, you might find yourself looking back from time to time thinking – WTF happened?

For me, it all started according to ‘the plan’ – college degree, salaried job, met a beautiful girl, got married, had kids and bought our first home. Hoyle was proud.

But as it turns out, following ‘the plan’ isn’t enough – you gotta own it too. Bottom line – living someone else’s life won’t work, at least not well or for long.

Going deeper into my story you’ll find a mixture of tragedy and self induced hardship ultimately leading to ‘the plan’ falling to pieces, just not all at once. It was more like that rich guy that went bankrupt – it happened very slow, and then very fast. That was 4 years ago.

Fast forward thru a couple years of Family Court, on-and-off battles with depression, nearly 3 years of social hibernation and $10,000 in therapy before even the desire for a relationship re-emerged. And now, after nearly a year of trying, the stark reality is, I’m out of practice and out of touch in the wake of a decade-long marriage which saw the advent of digital dating. Joining my local monastery has started to become an increasingly appealing option.

But here I am, at one of Tulsa’s trendy new restaurants – alone – after waiting an hour to finally get the confirmation text that it wasn’t going to happen tonight:

‘I’m stressed out about parking and just downtown in general and super nervous. I’m not going to come there 😕’

It appears I’m not the only one out there with dating hangups – anyone who has ever been downtown Tulsa knows that parking is not the problem – the text was a cover story. Neither uncommon nor pleasant to be stood up, but on a positive note the tenderloin was superb.

I could be going about it wrong and I’m aware I have my fair share of baggage – but aren’t most single, 30-somethings in a similar position? Maybe it’s just me, but even my most promising relationship since the divorce went south after only six weeks.

That said, I’m not playing victim here – I’m just struggling with the question: ‘where do I go from here?’ I have three kids, good health and a promising career – maybe that’s enough.

For those of you out there who can feel my pain, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Perhaps we can help prevent one another from spending the rest of our lives like this guy: