Momentary Bliss – by: Odette

Monday Morning

Distraction rustles in a breeze that takes my eyes from her golden leaves.

Shattering and shivers under covers, dark like a  tent,

Under salty droplets and shimmering beads.

Papers rustle at my feet, a surprise and I brush them off the bed with my toes.

They float down as though time doesn’t affect them.

Freedom whispers in my ear that happiness is near,

And the papers settle to the ground as I pull a strand of my long, light hair from his prickly chin.

A Diagnosis

We got the diagnosis today.  Zoe has HFA, or high functioning autism. Supposedly that is why she crashes into the couch, she needs extra “input”. Supposedly that is why she chews through a pacifier in 3 days, and why she is a little genius but can’t put her enormous vocabulary together in sentences.

I’ve been reading the Generation Rescue website and also all the latest articles about the causes of autism and it looks like I’m on a lot of lists.

1.I had a virus during my first trimester with a fever, that alone can raise the probability of autism.

2. I ate a ton of tuna fish which is packed with mercury.

3. I took Zoloft which is now associated with autism.

4. Zoe did a catch up immunization session of 5 shots at once just 2 weeks before I made the appointment to have Zoe evaluated. Supposedly this is fine for most kids but if Zoe has a mitochondria disorder, which is common with kids with autism, the “overdose” might have sped her regression.

My “friend” told me that all the toxins from mom and dad get dumped into the first child and can cause neurological damage. I find that hard to believe.

But it looks like Zoe’s autism is is pretty much my fault. I read an article that the newest information is that autism is associated with auto-immune issues passed down from guess who?…Mommy. I suppose that would explain why “spectrum kids” have a harder time shedding toxins which contribute to neurological damage. I also read though that autism might be reversible because the “switches” are not missing or damaged just flipped to the off position. So I wonder if perhaps they can be turned back on again someday?

I just wish I knew all this stuff before…before I got pregnant. What else am I missing? How else am I hurting my baby? I need to find out about this GFCF diet business. Generation Rescue is so sure about how much it can help but our pediatrician simply says it isn’t “proven. I need to talk to someone who studies and knows about nutrition. This article seems a little over the top.But if it is valid, it would mean a total and complete lifestyle change for our family…which I am completely prepared to do if I need to.

Everything I Had Imagined…Almost

It has been easier to stay away from Jake now that Chris is being nice again. But this morning when Chris was at the music shop and Zoe was at camp, Jake just came and sat on the sidewalk in front of my house with his dog, Milo. I went out there and sat next to him. He was quiet then he took my hand and I pulled it away but smiled at him. He rested his elbows on his knees and looked at the ground. Milo sat there with his tounge hanging out, panting in the summer heat. I thought about what I wrote yesterday and said to him,

“I have a new theory of heaven.”

“What’s that?” he said, still looking at the ground.

“Well, it has to do with combining science and spirituality.”

“That already has a name; Scientology.”

“No, not Scientology.” I said and pushed him so that he had to catch himself from falling over.

“What? I wouldn’t hold that against you.”

“Anyway,” I said. “Do you want to hear it?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“It has to do with the String Theory and alternate universes.”

“Have you been watching Phineus and Ferb movies?” He pointed at me.

“I don’t know what that is. But I’ve been watching Nova.”

“OK, so, go on.”

“You keep interrupting me.”

“I’ll be quiet I promise. You were saying something about your scientific heaven.” He grinned and pet Milo’s head.

“My idea is that heaven is actually an alternate universe where we understand time in a way that we don’t have the intellectual ability to understand it now. So when we die and move on, this new universe gives us the new ability to understand what we could never comprehend before, allowing us to now experience time as the past, present and future. Because of this, we get to be with our loved ones from the past, the present and the future.”

“You mean like the people who died a long time ago and people you haven’t met yet are there?”

“Yes. And you know, with a traditional heaven, you leave everyone behind and join loved ones from the past there. But with this alternate universe, time theory, we get to also be with the people who we just left a second ago when we died. We get to be with everyone. Grief is obsolete. That is my idea of heaven.”

“That’s freaky. Are you all together in one room?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how that would work. In this universe now, we don’t have the ability to comprehend that.”

“That’ for sure” He laughed. “There are some people from my past that I don’t want to see. And what about Hitler, is he there? Cause I don’t want to see him.”

“I sighed. I don’t know.”

“I’m just kidding with you.”

“‘I know” I said.

“I had no idea you were such a nerd,” he said rubbing my arm. “Why are you making up new religeons in your spare time? Is there someone you are missing?”

“Pretty much.”

“Who’s that?”

Now our conversation was at that point that I had fantasized about since I met him. He would be the one who would listen to me about my grief, who wouldn’t be tired of it. He  never knew Meliah so I would’t feel bad telling him the gory details.

“My sister. She died in a car accident last year when she was 9 months pregnant.”

“Did the baby die?”


“Was there anyone else in the car with her?”

“No. No one else was hurt. She was hit by a truck and the driver walked away unscathed”

We sat there, quiet for a few minutes. I wondered if I had just completely alienated him. I was no longer fun. I was suddenly loaded with baggage. I had been thinking of him as a way do deal with my grief and that grief would make me mysterious and deep. But perhaps it doesn’t work that way. People don’t want to embrace sadness into their lives. They want excitement and positive newness to discover. Perhaps now discovering me wasn’t so much fun.

“That sucks” he said.

I nodded.

He got up and Milo did too, his tale wagging.
“I’m gonna go,” he said.

I just looked up at him, feeling really stupid.
“OK” I said, my face burning.

He turned around and walked off down the street with Milo at his heels. I guess I deserved that, I thought. This whole thing was bound to blow up in my face at some point. But that conversation certainly didn’t go how I imagined it would. So much for finding someone to  help me through my grief. Maybe a year is too long, I thought. Maybe I needed to be getting over this and not be spreading misery everywhere.

I put my head in my knees there on the sidewalk and let some tears slip down my face. I thought about how a wormhole time machine would be good right now, and that I probably had two big red marks on my forehead from pressing it on my knees. A drop of salty water dripped on my flip-flop.


I looked up and there was Jake again.”This time tomorrow?” he said.

I nodded.

He walked off again down the street and I smiled through my tears…big circle red marks on my head and all.

GFCF? Jake Will Know

I got the diagnosis on the phone earlier that day, high functoning autism, and I had been on the computer ever since.

Autism, therapy, spectrum, reversable, irreversable, life long, curable, no cure, caused by shots, nothing to do with shots…it was dizzying. I read about how a stomach is a second brain and eating the right foods and cutting out the wrong foods can make amazing changes.

I sat there and looked at the screen. Gluten free, casein free diet…wasn’t Miley Cirus gluten free? Wasn’t that because she had celiac disease? Why do this diet if  Zoe didn’t have anything wrong with her stomach? Then I read that gluten can be an “intolerance” and wouldn’t be detected as an allergy when tested. It all seemed like grasping at straws. It was so much to sift through. I wondered where the truth was. I wished I could just press a button to highlight all the parts that were right so I could delete the wrong information and know what to do.

Jake was a health and nutrition major. Perhaps he knew what I should do. I suddenly really wanted to talk to him really badly. It was late, 11pm. Zoe was asleep and Chris was asleep on the couch. He had fallen asleep there watching TV while I was on the computer in our bedroom.

I had never wanted to se Jake so badly. I stood up and looked at Chris on the couch. I looked at the front door. Chris let out a loud snore. I quietly took a front door key from a hook next to the door and opened the door. I shut it very gently and locked it quietly. I stood outside and listened. The crickets were chirping. I could hear Chris still snoring inside. I looked up and the sky was almost purple with clouds floating by all lit up by the moonlight. What was I going to do now, just walk down the street to Jake’s house and knock on the door?  Hadn’t he had enough of my baggage today with me telling him about my sister dying? Now I was going to go and tell him my daughter had autism? I was going to completely scare him off.  But he was a health and nutrition major, which meant he was learning all the new cutting edge information about what Zoe should and shouldn’t be eating. If the stomach really was like a second brain, he would probably be studying that too.

I walked down the three steps and the pathway to my front gate at the sidewalk and looked at where Jake and I had sat that morning. He had walked away when things got too heavy. Why was I going to lay more on him now? Was this some kind of a test? Was I trying to get rid of him? I walked down the street. The college students were in their houses, lights on with music coming from them. I got closer to Jake’s house. His living room light was on behind the partially closed curtains but his yard was dark. There was his hammock. I smiled. Then I walked up to the front door and stood there. I could hear the TV and guys voices. His roommates were in there. I got nervous. What would they think if I was at the door? What if Jake wasn’t there and I just knocked on the door of the house of some college students that I didn’t know?

I took a breath and knocked. I heard someone say, “Is that the door?”A second later someone opened the door. He had red hair and bright blue eyes. He looked at me in utter amazement. I flushed. But I didn’t have to say anything.

“Jake!” He yelled through the house. “Hot mom is here!”

I looked out at the yard. An escape route. I could just walk away right now. When I looked back at the door Jake was walking up and there was a girl behind him. Of course he was with a girl. I was so stupid. I started to stammer that I could go but the girl turned and hugged Jake, “bye!” she said, giving him some weird knowing smile.

Then she brushed past me, but not too quickly to give me a wink and off she went to her car parked in the yard. I looked at Chris.

“This is a nice surprise” he said, grabbing my elbow and leading me off to his room.

“I’m just here to talk” I said.

He shut the door and we sat on his bed.

“I have a question”

“What’s up?”

“Well, you are a health and nutrition major right?”

He held up a text book that a picture of two pears on the front and it said, ‘Nutirition, Concepts and Controversies’.

“Perfect” I smiled.

“What do you need to know?”

“Well, my little one has autism and I have been reading how food affects kids with autism and I was wondering if you know anything about that because I don’t know anything about it.”

He smiled. “I can help you with that. Listen, tomorrow morning, why don’t I come over and look in your fridge. I can tell you what she should eat and what she shouldn’t eat and why.”

“Ok. That sounds good. I’m gonna go now.”

“Now? Don’t you want to stay for a little while?”

“I can’t.”

I jumped up to go but before I could grab the door handle he wrapped his arms around me.

I shook my head. “I can’t do this.”

“Not one kiss?”

“Um,” before I could say yes or no he kissed me and I let him. Then I slipped out of his grasp and grabbed the door handle. He grinned at me and my heart started to thump so I turned the handle quickly and hurried out of his room. He walked after me to the door and I opened it and looked around his living room. There were two guys on the couch playing video games but they were not looking at the screen. They were both staring at me.

“Um, bye” I said. “Thanks Chris for that information.”

“Anytime” he smiled.

I slipped out of the door and shut it behind me. The crickets chirped and my heart pounded just as loud. I hurried through his yard then started to jog down the street to my house and stopped at my front door. I listened. I didn’t hear snoring. I stood outside for a few minutes until I started to get a chill from the breeze blowing on my sweat. Then I reached to get my key out of my pocket. It wasn’t there. I checked my other pocket. Not there either. I turned and looked back down the street. Perhaps it fell out of my pocket when I was jogging.  Suddenly the door opened and Chris was standing there.

“What are you dong out here?” he said. “I heard someone out here. I thought you were in bed.” He had a baseball bat in his hand.

“I went for a walk.”

“Why are you just standing out here?”

“Look at the sky” I said. “It is beautiful.” We looked up and the clouds had a silver lining from the moon behind them. The trees were black silhouettes against the glowing clouds.”

“Are you coming in now?” he said.

“OK.” I walked inside and wondered if I smelled like Jake’s cologne. “I am going to take a shower” I said and hurried off to the bathroom. Why did I let him kiss me again? OK, that was the last time. Never again. And when I saw him tomorrow, it was going to be strictly plutonic.

Easy – by Astrid

I feel the warm steam on my face as the door opens.

Fall asleep. Look asleep. Don’t breathe like you’re awake.

“Hey babe?” he says as he sits at the edge of the bed wrapped loosely in a towel.

I say nothing.

“I’m sorry about last night.”


“When you left, I ended up meeting up with Banks and we went to Chelsea. I guess I fell asleep at his place and when I came home this morning, you were gone.”

“What?” I manage as I opened my eyes slowly. He drops his towel and prances around the room putting on his pants.

“Well, I thought you were over it all. When I got back you were out.”

I look at him confused. Where did he say he went?

“I’m surprised you’re back and I’m happy to see you here in our bed,” he says suggestively as he slowly buttons up his crisp chino pants.

“Oh,” his confidence is nauseating sometimes.

“Babe, I’ve got to go,“ pulling the polo over his head. “ I’ve got to catch my flight, its Boston this week. Can we fix this when I get back? You and me, no one else, I promise.”


“Love you,” he says as he checks his cell phone. He quickly grabs his bag and he’s gone.

Staring at the ceiling I try to sort out what just happened. Who is Banks? Did I know he was going to Boston? I drift from questioning Jonathan’s story to committing last night in the park to memory. I stretch out the sheets over my head and pull his shirt over my knees. It feels easy. I close my eyes to dream of trees.

No Show

Jake didn’t come over today. He just didn’t show up. Oh well. I don’t know what I expected.  I also got up early and cleaned out the fridge. I had Chris take the car to work instead of riding his bike so I could hear the car pull up if he decided to come home early for some reason. Isn’t that awful?

I put on a cute outfit and even mopped the floors.

All morning, Jake just didn’t show. Then it was time to get Zoe from camp in the early afternoon. Chris brought me the van, took his bike back to work, and I went to pick up Zoe. I cried in the car on the way there. I brought a bottled water with me and splashed it on my face before I went in to get her. Her teachers probably could tell I had been crying.

Then when we got home, and after I put Zoe down for her nap, I saw online that Kristin Stewart cheated on her man, and how awful it looked. The comments under the article were frighteningly scathing about how the director she cheated with was a family man and ‘how could he do this to his wife and kids?’

I just sat there and looked at the screen. She kissed that guy? She had everything in the whole world and she totally made out with that director, who also had everything in the world. I wasn’t the only horrible, horrible person out there. I wasn’t alone. They too were cursed with ungrateful bliss. I looked at the picture and thought…she is so young. You do stupid things when you are young. But the guy, he knew better. Then I realized, I am not the Kristen Stewart. I am the older married one with the child. I am the true villain here.

But I don’t feel like a villain, I thought to myself as I sat cross-legged on my chair, with my elbows resting on my bare, freshly shaved knees slathered with yummy-smelling lotion. Am I a villain?

Tonight – by Astrid


It’s 9 o’clock at night, Jonathan is in Boston for “business” and I feel energetic. I wish Odette were here. I wish I could tell her about Adam and the park. She must remember him. We used to call him “sweater guy” in college until I got to know him better than everyone else.

My sister Odette still lives in that warm college town with her husband and daughter. Odette is one of the lucky ones. Chris gets up early to watch Zoe so she can sleep in. He makes her breakfast. He lets her go out dancing by herself.

I know I should catch you up on what happened yesterday but it will have to wait. I’ve decided I’m in the mood for a one woman dance party.

Friday – An Explanation

This morning when I drove Zoe to camp, Jake was out in his front-yard hammock. When I passed him again on the way back we made eye-contact and I shot him a death-glance and then drove past the 3 houses between his and mine and pulled into my driveway.

I shut off the engine and leaned over to the passenger side to get my purse, phone and flip-flops from the floor (I drive with bare feet). I slowly sat back up then almost jumped out of my skin. There was Jake at my window.

I rolled down my window and looked at him, scowling.

“What’s wrong?” he exclaimed. He acted like he hadn’t even stood me up. He smiled and it was so annoying. I slipped my flip flops back on to my seat and gathered my purse on to my lap. He was such a jerk acting like everything was OK.

“You know what? It really doesn’t matter.” I could feel my cheeks getting pink.

“It does though!” He was laughing at me.

I slowly closed my window, still scowling but utterly delighted he was here, my whole body tingling with excitement. I pulled the keys out and then opened my door, practically hitting him with it and he jumped back. I hopped out with my stuff and looked at his face. He was still grinning at me.

“Dont’ be mad” he said, almost gleefully.

“I am not mad. I do, however, think it is quite rude to tell someone you are going to come over and then just not come over.”

“There is a simple explanation, Odette.”

“OK.” I looked at him and raised my eyebrows. The tree branches behind him were blowing in a light breeze and a car sped down the street too quickly for our small neighborhood.

“Well,” he said, “When I started to walk over here yesterday morning I noticed that your van was not in your driveway. So I figured you weren’t there.”

OK, that made sense I suppose. We didn’t have each others phone numbers so he couldn’t exactly text me. I nodded. He was wearing a white T-shirt and some longish shorts. His eyelashes were so weirdly long and it almost irritated me how pretty his eyes were. I could only think of others girls looking at them when I noticed them. I wanted him to come inside and help me with figuring out the right autism diet for Zoe. “OK, are you coming over, well, in, now?” I said.

“If you’ll have me.”

Gosh he smiled a lot. It was almost like he thought this whole thing was a fantastic joke. I ignored that sentimentand lead that boy right to my front door; heart pounding, palms sweating, consciously controlling my breath as I carefully unlocked my door with him standing deliberately close.

I turned and looked at him. “Remember, all we are going to do in my house is have you look in my fridge so you can help me figure out the best food for Zoe.”

“Right.” He said, raising his eyebrows with a sly smile.

Ugh. Through my excitement I had a bad feeling about this. It was too unplanned and the morning felt, disorganized. We walked inside and I put my stuff on the couch and walked right over to the fridge.

“Lets get to work.” I said. He followed me to the fridge.

“OK, but first, do you have any beer?”

Bad Morning

“Did you read about Kristen Stewart and that director?” I said as we headed to the kitchen.

“Who is Kristen Steward?” he said.

“Oh come on, Twilight?”

“Is she that vampire actress? One of the many?”

“Did you read about how she cheated on her boyfriend with a married director?”

“I don’t keep up with that stuff. I read about sports.”


As I went to open the fridge he intercepted my hand, pulled me in and wrapped his arms around me.

“Did you really ask me to come over to look in your fridge?” he said. He pushed some hair behind my ear and smiled.

“Yes, actually. I’m really worried about Zoe and everything I read was conflicting and I thought, you know, with your Nutrition major, that you could help…remember?”

“We have all morning though, right?” he said, eyeing the guest room from the open kitchen.

“Well, there is a chance that Chris could come home and he is very stealth on his bike.”

“Why would he come home?”

“I don’t know. He just does sometimes.”

Jake furrowed his brow. He stepped back from me. “I’m gonna go then.”

“But you said you were going to do this.”

“Not if I’m going to get my ass kicked in the process.”

“Can you just look in the fridge really fast and tell me what is good for Zoe and what isn’t?”

He shook his head and ran his hands through his hair with frustration. Then he yanked open the fridge door and said, “OK, let’s see what you are doing to this kid.”

He took out the milk. “This has casein in it. You don’t want to give her cows milk, organic or not. You should give her almond milk.” He slammed it back in the fridge door. I jumped a little. Then he took out the organic apple juice. “This is like drinking sugar. All the nutrients are lost in the juicing process. Sugar feeds candida…bad for spectrum kids.  Just give her water.” He stuck that back in the fridge with a thunk and took out some cheese from the dairy drawer. “This has casein in it and it isn’t organic. Dairy doesn’t leave the body for two weeks. Get rid of this.”

He stuck the cheese back in then took out some eggs. “Not organic.” He shook his head, then stuck them back in and slammed the dairy drawer shut. I was starting to get angry.

He took out some blueberries. “Not organic again.” He said. “You are pretty much feeding her poison. Don’t even give her berries if they are not organic. Spectrum kids can’t shed toxins as well as the rest of us. Feeding her pesticides is a terrible idea.”

“But I wash them” I said, but he cut me off with,”Doesn’t matter. The pesticides seep into the berries.” He slammed them back into the fridge.

I thought about asking him to leave but i realized that I was both a little afraid to and also quite astonished at his knowledge.

He grabbed some tofu. “This is nasty,” he said. “A major allergen. If you must give her soy it has to be organic. Same thing with these potatoes. Don’t ever buy potatoes or even potato chips that are not organic. They are the number one thing that are soaked with pesticides.” He tossed the potatoes back in the crisper bin, closed the fridge and yanked open the freezer. He took out some popsicles. “These are full of artificial color, which is so bad for kids it is banned in all civilized countries except for the United States.” Then he tossed them back in and slammed the freezer door shut.

I didn’t know weather to thank him or tell him to get the hell out.

“Is that what you wanted?” he said, then he tried to grab my hand. I yanked it away and stared at him angrily. ”

“Why did you have to be so rude about it?”

Then he simply turned and left, banging the screen door behind him. I walked over to the window and watched him breeze down the path, out of the gate and off behind the trees lining the sidewalk.

I sank down on the couch and buried my head in my hands, tears spilling through them. My brain scanned his sudden change in demeanor, my slight fear of having him in the house, how terrible the food is that I am feeding Zoe. This was too much. He was too much.

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