Tuesday, June 24, 2008


in hindsight, there was something a little fishy going on, but i just didn't put two and two together soon enough. what's more, the clues were all clumped up closely to the culmination of events, too close for me to have seen the writing on the wall. the lightening fast response when i noticed a text on his phone from his boss, the excessive hours, the shower saturday evening after "work" even though he'd taken one that morning - but before we left to have dinner at her house with her husband. i'm an extraordinary snoop - and what's more, i didn't think he'd have the patience to tiptoe around my peering electronic presence.

and so it was, saturday night, when we walked into his boss' house, me dressed a bit more formally than i thought appropriate for a small dinner party. it's why i especially resembled the proverbial deer caught in headlights when the crowd of friends that under normal circumstances would not find themselves in the same room came into focus - their smiles and shouts rendering me completely disoriented. this man has never once successfully kept a secret from me, let alone a party to which 75 people were invited to celebrate the end of law school ... including countless friends that, i'm sure, have smirked a little and winked at him in my presence without my noticing, even listened to me complain about my disappointment over him spending all saturday at work. it's why even now, a few days later, i find myself smiling and shaking my head thinking about it - not quite believing he really pulled it off.

it's why, as i stood there in front of everyone, trying to remember when my birthday was, he had to lean in and whisper, it's for your graduation. that was right before i punched him in the arm and his grin stretched from ear to ear.

before saturday, the whole graduation experience (except for the actual walking across the stage and first putting my hot little hands on my JD) had been markedly underwhelming. for some reason, the heavens didn't open and angels didn't sing the praises of my intellect, i didn't grow four inches, i'm still spending all day at the law school, and i don't yet have a house where the windows actually open and i can sit outside and drink coffee in the morning. i had found myself cursing law school me, for all those days when i'd reassure myself under my breath, if i can just graduate, it will all be ok.

i know now that in a few months, when the bar and the months off before entering the real world like a big kid have faded much like the long days spent answering phones and shooting death stares at my boss, and for a long time afterwards, what i'll remember about graduation won't be the graduation eve fight with the parents, but the moment on saturday at which i realized that man had been making all those plans and doing all that cooking to bring all my friends together for me. i'll remember the smiles on everyone's faces - both because of the satisfaction from having duped me and because of my accomplishment. i'll remember a night full of congratulations and laughter and general merriment, which is really all i ever wanted.

i'll remember that i really do have the best husband ever. and that he can be a sneaky, sneaky bastard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

you leave big shoes

i have hit a bout of writer's block the size of montana of late - and i would apologize, but i honestly believe you are all probably better off without my less-than-sunny disposition taking up space. maybe there's a post a-brewing about the potential pitfalls of counting down to an event and thinking that then, then ... then things will be ok. but this is not that post.

this is a post about tim russert.

i did not know tim russert, though i spent many a sunday morning with him. maybe i felt like i knew him. maybe i just can't imagine the election without him and his whiteboard. maybe i related to his passion for seeing how current events mesh with the fabric of american history or his unbridled glee over this election. maybe seeing someone so many people loved and admired die reminds me of my own mortality and - more importantly - the mortality of the people i love and admire. whatever it is, i am sad. watching the commentary and memorials, interviews with his son - they've all left me in tears.

so this afternoon after my mom interrupted my bar study to yell at me for being a terrible daughter, i figured - what the hell? why not turn on msnbc? why not watch the memorial service? my studying was already shot to hell, and i was already in tears. i think i caught the second half of the memorial. it was lovely. luke russert's musings on a special edition of meet the press this sunday, with aaron burr and alexander hamilton - or JFK and goldwater made me smile, but as tom brokaw thanked the crowd at the end over the israel kamakawiwo version of "somewhere over the rainbow" playing in the background i was in tears again. (how can a song be so happy and sad at once?)

i sat on the couch watching msnbc fade out to the song, ignoring my stack of bar review notes to be summarized (and learned, whatever), and remembered i had to pick up some stuff from the cleaners before they closed. wiping my eyes, knowing full well (but not caring) that i was about to go out into public not only without make-up, but looking like i'd just spent an hour crying, i slipped on a pair of flip flops, grabbed my wallet and umbrella, and headed out the door.

one of those crazy late spring storms was passing, the kind where rain was coming down sideways - and then not at all - and then from the opposite direction. the umbrella was the perfect cover to lower over my bloodshot eyes, and i sort of enjoyed the rain on my toes.

i was walking back down columbia, hiding my face beyond the umbrella, eyes fixed on the sidewalk when the rain stopped. i turned to look over the adams morgan skyline, east, in the direction of the clouds. and there it was. a rainbow arching across the sky. i imagine it was about the time that most people - certainly, i hope luke russert and maureen orth - were filing out of the kennedy center.

i don't care what any of you say, i wholly believe it was tim russert, smiling over DC and thanking us all for mourning him more than i'm sure he'd ever have imagined. or maybe he had saint peter take care of it for him. he might have been busy preparing questions for hamilton and burr.

godspeed, tim russert. you leave big shoes.