Thursday, February 9, 2012


As we continue our guest posting series on love and intimacy, The Writer Currently Known as Rory from Scraps of Literacy puts his special brand on the topic.

I love Rory's blog. It's so well written, so smooth and soothing. I love knowing that Rory and Mom and Dad and Meridith are out there going to work and running errands and Rory is reading and watching DVD and organizing his DVDs.

Rory and Meridith and Mom and Dad make this world a better place for me.

Now here's Rory:

It’s Saturday, January 22nd, the day after we’ve gotten back from Henderson, Nevada. I would like to continue reading Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline to see if I can drum up any interest in it that doesn’t seem to be there, despite a legal setting. Or catching up on episodes of Jeopardy! I Tivo’d while we were away, or watching the 100th episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Instead, I’m sitting weakly in front of an open toilet in the bathroom near my room, after spending an hour and a half lying on my bed, resting, trying to take a nap, and finding yet again that I can’t nap. Not when light pours into my room in the afternoon, not with a concentrated headache in the top left section of my head, not ever. I only sleep at night.

Meridith’s gone into the kitchen to warm up the tea that I couldn’t drink earlier. I also couldn’t eat much lunch. I opened a can of tuna, which I usually always have for lunch, but couldn’t manage even one small piece. That was around the time I rushed into the bathroom, quickly raised the lid and the seat, and hurled breakfast and remnants of what I ate in the previous two days.

What did I eat in the previous two days? I think about this while I hear the microwave warming up the rest of the tea in Meridith’s Miami Seaquarium mug with whales on it, a fond memory of growing up in Florida.

Before we left the Santa Clarita Valley early Wednesday evening, we stopped at Wienerschnitzel, where I had a pastrami sandwich and ultimate chili cheese fries, which include diced onions and sour cream in addition to the expected chili and cheese. At 1:15 in the morning, an hour and five minutes after checking in at Fiesta Henderson and going to our 8th floor room, we went downstairs to the food court, to Fatburger, open 24/7, from which I had a sausage and egg sandwich, onion rings, and a strawberry shake with ice cream that I can confirm was real because halfway down, it started melting, making it taste thinner. Mom only had a Sprite since anything else would have been too heavy for her at that hour, and Dad had a Baby Fatburger, which I wish other burger joints would consider because that’s a good size for when you want a burger, but don’t want to spend more money than your stomach can handle.

That Thursday, our first full day in Henderson, started with a very late breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel, where I had a “Morning Wrap-Up,” a wheat wrap with three scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese. And I also had hot chocolate. In the same shopping center in the evening, we had dinner at Ohana Hawaiian BBQ, chicken katsu for me (breaded and fried chicken strips), with a scoop of macaroni salad and two scoops of white rice. Then at Regal Fiesta Henderson 12 for the 9:30 showing of Beauty and the Beast 3D, the final showing of the day, a large bucket of popcorn between Meridith and I, and a medium Hi-C fruit punch for me, which is actually a large. They call it medium. I don’t know why. If our theater had flooded, I probably could have cleared out some of the water with that cup.

Friday morning, after checking out of Fiesta Henderson, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts, where I had a croissant sandwich with sausage, egg, and cheese, and another hot chocolate. Then Mom, Meridith and I spent hours at the Galleria at Sunset mall, also in Henderson, while Dad went on his job interview at the Clark County School District offices. From the McDonald’s in the food court there, I had a fruit and maple oatmeal, and then a caramel hot chocolate after finding that I liked the iced version Meridith got. Then on the way back to the Santa Clarita Valley, in the middle of the evening, we stopped at the Grewal Travel Center in Baker to eat, and I had a footlong chipotle chicken and cheddar flatbread from Subway. If you’re coming back from wherever your vacation is, and you stop at a Subway, do not get anything chipotle-related. You end up with large chipotle-flavored burps for hours after, and even the next day. But if you’re smart, you don’t eat all the fried, greasy matter I ate on this vacation. Some of the grease was subtle, but combined, I wonder yet again about the paradox of food being so good when it’s at its unhealthiest.

I lean my head against the wall behind me, not wanting to look into that domestic reflecting pool. I don’t feel as nauseous as before, just very weak. I don’t want to go back to my room and lie down again. I don’t want this headache anymore. Maybe I could sit up on the couch and watch a bit of TV. I used the computer in the morning to check e-mail and catch up on the latest news of the Costa Concordia disaster, but I can’t do it now. That requires concentration that left me when when the nausea produced a heavy cloud over me after I ate breakfast. I’m lucky I was even able to shower and pick up our dogs from the kennel in Canyon Country with Dad. I still don’t know how I did that. Do they have medals for accomplishing Herculean tasks while a body begins to rebel?

Meridith comes in with the warmed-up tea and sits on the floor with me. I go over with her what I’d been thinking about in the time it took for the tea in the microwave. She agrees that it was probably all that because I’m a very conscientious eater. Spinach, shredded carrots, and bananas are mainstays for me, along with rice cakes, generally low-calorie frozen meals, peanut butter, and soy milk. When we do go out to eat, I always see if there’s nutritional information online so I don’t go overboard. I never like to go overboard. I prefer to continue to keep off the 60 pounds I lost two years ago.

Then I also remember that there wasn’t much in the way of sleep on this trip. I sleep regularly, but it had been two years since we last went to Henderson, and it wasn’t so much excitement that kept me going on the casino floor at Fiesta Henderson, but curiosity. I wanted to see all the slot machines they offered, which turned out not to be much in quality. Plus, I apparently don’t do well in the back seat on long car trips. Happened when I was a kid, too, getting sick on four-hour trips from South Florida to Orlando.

You have to have someone with you when you’re sick, someone who knows you intimately or is at least helpful enough to take some of the weight off of you, because the world goes wrong in so many ways. It feels like it’s closing in, and you just want to curl up and be erased by a cartoon pencil so the headache will go away. Far away.

A few minutes after I’ve sipped most of the tea in the mug, I feel like I should sit up on the couch. I’m not ready yet, but I have to push myself. I can’t sit here anymore, looking at the one appliance that connects us all. Where my shit goes, your shit goes.

Meridith takes the mug back to the kitchen and I try to psych myself up. Let’s do this. Let’s get up, slowly, walk out of the bathroom, and go to the couch. Come on! You’re not as nauseous now as you were earlier. Up! Up! UP!

I walk slowly to the couch, where I see that Meridith has put one couch pillow in front of another. I’m grateful for the effort, but I don’t want to sit ramrod straight. I want to sink into the couch to be comfortable enough to forget that the headache is still there, to forget how I’m still feeling.

A little while after I settle in, minus one pillow, Meridith comes to me with a paper cup with warm Coca-Cola at the bottom, generally a cure-all method in our family for what I’m going through. Mom, resting in her bedroom, also recovering from the trip but not feeling as badly, advised her to do this. In fact, Meridith tells me later that Mom coached her on what to do, such as with the tea, the two Bayer aspirins and Pepto-Bismol tablet she gave me while I was lying down, and checking up on me every few minutes. Of course, she didn’t have to be coached on the last part. We’ve been doing that for each other for the 22 years she’s been here, five years apart in age.

When Meridith was little, she wanted to catch up to me and tried to speak as fast as I did, tried to do things as fast as I did. Mom and Dad couldn’t understand it for a time, but there it was: She felt that connected to me.

We’ve had a few arguments over the years, but none long lasting, and mostly when we were younger. We’ve never engaged in psychological games of one-upmanship, never tried to curry favor with our parents over the other. We’ve been close since the start, to the extent that the only differences between us are our respective genders. I have no trouble putting her laundry in the wash when she needs it, as she requested while she was at work the other day. Before this trip to Henderson, I packed the travel bag we both used, putting everything in that we needed, yes, including delicates. I’m not squeamish and I see no big deal in it. Clothes are clothes. Plus, she was at work on the day of departure and had laid out all her clothes the night before.

We’re the kind of siblings that if one needs the other to do something, it’s done. No questions asked, no hemming, no hawing. Nothing’s too hard, nothing takes too much time. And if one of us is sick, well, you see the result. We’ve had this emotional intimacy for all this time and it will always remain.

Applause for Rory! If you don't have tears in your eyes, then please read this post again. A brother and sister with such a close relationship is special, unusual, perhaps even unique. Mom and Dad must have fostered this in some way. Rory and Meridith have something we all want for our children.

And I hope you appreciated Rory's prose. His descriptions! The toilet is "that domestic reflecting pool." He wants a cartoon pencil to erase him and make his headache go away.

Rory, as usual, is amusing, even though barfy, and his writing reflects his love for him family. Because of Rory, I imagine Mom, Dad, Meridith, and Rory as the ideal family. The Cleavers or Ozzy and Harriet and David and Ricky, except Rory and family are far more interesting. Rory always has a good book to discuss, unlike Beaver Cleaver.

And when Rory decides to let loose, he's unbelievably funny. I hope you'll leave comments for him, and I hope you'll visit his blog. He's not the sort of blogger who seeks attention and followers, but he deserves the attention and more people would be happy if they followed Rory.

He's a good leader.


  1. Thank you Rory. I always regard my two boys as "they have each other" and I am grateful for that. Hello Janie, I am enjoying your series. Thank you for bringing them to us.

  2. Wonderful post. I'll check out his blog. I grew up in Kendall, Florida (near Miami), so I remember the car trips to Disney, the beach, and The Miami Seaquarium.

  3. Awesome post! You are right. I love Rory already and will check out his blog just as soon as I am done writing this comment.

    I wish my kids were as close as Rory and his sister. Instead, they fight a lot. Ugh. Wish I knew how to change that dynamic.

  4. What a beautiful example of love and amazing siblings :0)

  5. Great story.

    After bad chicken salad I used the toilet as a reflecting pool. Sadly I could barely see my reflection since the water always had ripples in it from my non-stop barfing.

  6. I'm so happy to see Rory getting the appreciation he deserves. He's an exceptional writer and, obviously, a great young man. Right after I started following his blog, I asked him to marry me. He turned me down, but he was very polite and pleasant about it. Rory is always polite and pleasant. How can I not adore him?

  7. Thanks everyone, and thank you, Janie, for hosting my guest post. I'm usually publicity-averse, but I'm learning to seek it out (though not whorishly) because in doing research for my second book and gathering many important names related to it for interviews, I see that I need to play them up as well as myself when it comes time to write a proposal to agents and publishers. Not that I wouldn't want to publicize what I'm offering since I'm really psyched about this, but I'm not used to it. It's time to get used to it and take part in it.

    oceangirl, my sister's always been a natural part of my life. My mom wanted two kids because she was an only child. I've known nothing else and nothing finer, because I have the finest.

    LegalMist, I'll seek more insight from you on my blog, but I imagine in your situation, it might take time. I don't think it can be forced, but it should be encouraged gradually, though in your case, probably at supersonic speed. If they have things in common that they don't see because they're so at odds, promote those to them.

    Stephanie, for me, living in Coral Springs and then Pembroke Pines, always 25 minutes to Fort Lauderdale, no matter the traffic.

  8. Wow, I never even thought that siblings could be this close! What a wonderful image of that incredible family bond.

  9. Princess, Don'tcha just love my Rory? Not that he's really mine, but I like to claim him anyway. He's exactly the right age to be my third child, in between Favorite Young Man and The Hurricane.

  10. I'll go and check him out in a bit, right now I'm catching up here :)

  11. Now, Jane, don't get any crazy ideas about hooking up with Rory. He refused my marriage proposal so I'm not letting anyone else have him unless I approve.


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