a (rainy) Saturday morning run: a haiku

unavoidable
puddles — socks and sneakers soaked
on our morning run.

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The grass is always greener (for competitive people).

The elevator ride up to my office isn’t long. Our firm is on the second floor of a large tower, so it’s typically a minute or two ride. As I was walking into the building last week, I got stuck behind a pair of pretty, thin girls a few years older than me. They wore four inch Christian Louboutin pumps, so they were walking slowly. Plus, it was Monday, so no one was in a hurry to get to work.

In the short walk from the front door to the elevator and the ride up to the office, I was privy to their woes about life and love. One was a blonde and the other was a brunette, so I’ll call them Betty and Veronica since I don’t know their real names.

Betty tossed her waist-length blonde hair as she pushed through the revolving doors. Veronica followed, slinging her enormous Louis Vuitton handbag over her shoulder. Another elevator never arrived, so I squeezed into theirs.

“Can you believe Shelly?”

“I know. I hate her.”

“Her wedding was perfect. Bitch has gotten everything she’s ever wanted since high school.”

“Which designer did she decide on for her dress?”

“Vera Wang.”

Of course.”

“Everyone from high school seemed surprised by how Mark looked.”

“I mean, it’s kinda like Lance and me. You wouldn’t think he was my type, but –”

“Are y’all engaged?”

Veronica sighed exasperatedly. “No, we just live together.”

Betty nodded sympathetically. “How long have y’all been together?”

“Since 2005.”

“Wow. That’s –”

“A long time.”

“Beau and I have been dating since 2004, so I know how that is.”

“I just don’t know how much longer I can wait.”

“Seriously. I’m almost thirty.”

“Me too. I do not want to be a thirty-five-year-old bride.”

“Ew, me neither. Then what? You have kids at like, forty? Hell no!”

“Maybe we should have brunch with Shelly and Mark.”

“Why?”

“Y’know, so Mark could talk about how great married life is –”

“That’s an awesome idea! I’ll text that lucky bitch now.”

I cleared my throat. “Excuse me. This is my floor.”

Betty and Veronica jumped, horrified that I was standing in the other corner of the elevator the entire time. As I exited the elevator, I made a mental note. Must tell Ceddy that I’m grateful that we’re together and refuse to compete in a race to complete life’s supposed milestones.

Fatherly advice

“Never trust a boy’s words. Words are bullshit.”

There were only a few times throughout my adolescence that my dad discussed boys or dating. Prior to the handful of instances, he joked that as soon as I hit puberty, he would inject me with fat cells so no boys would think I was pretty. When I was twelve, he warned me of a (supposedly) universal truth.

“Boys lie.”

People lie, Dad.”

“That’s not what I mean, anak.”

“Then what do you mean?”

“All I’m saying is, you should never trust boys. Especially at this age. In fact, you can’t trust them until you’re in your late twenties. Even then, I’m skeptical.”

“Why?”

“Because boys will lie to take advantage of you.”

“Like, take my money or…?”

“Maybe in some cases. But mostly, they lie to take advantage of your virtue.”

“Oh. But what if –”

“No what if’s. It’s a fact.”

That sentiment resonated for years, resulting in my inability to take any guy (liars and genuine ones alike) seriously.

“The only lasting trend is good taste. Dress accordingly.”

My dad has worked in corporate retail since I was in elementary school. He’s disdainful of all things trendy and favors classic pieces and designers. In high school, I had a collection of pink shoes — flip-flops, ballet flats, hightop Chucks, and regular Chucks. My dad was appalled.

“How old are you, anak?”

“Sixteen.”

“Don’t you think it’s time to stop wearing pink shoes?”

“It’s one of my favorite colors, Dad.”

“But those in particular –”

“What about them? They’re ballet flats.”

“Where did you get them?”

“Target.”

“Looks like it.”

A few months later, I returned from going to the movies with friends to find that a certain pair of shoes were missing.

“Dad, have you seen my pink ballet flats?”

“Which ones, anak?”

“The ones you hate so much.”

“I don’t know which ones you’re referring to — ask your mom.”

I didn’t bother asking my mom. The ballet flats were buried under potato peels and egg shells in the bottom of the trashcan. I bought more sensibly colored shoes after that.

“A boy’s actions are a reflection of how he feels about you.”

During college, my dad realized that I would (at some point) meet a guy that I would date (for real). Resigned, he offered an amendment to our last conversation about boys.

“Anak, remember when I told you that boys’ words are bullshit?”

“It was a long time ago, but yeah.”

“Well, it’s still true, for the most part. But what I also meant was that you can gauge how a boy feels about you by evaluating how he treats you.”

“Actions speak louder than words.”

“Exactly.”

Years later, I told my boyfriend three words. Before he said the same back, I had fleeting moments of insecurity. Every day then, (and every day since) he made me feel cherished. That was just as important as (possibly more important than) three words.