When my parents moved back from Texas, it was to a small town in New Jersey along the Delaware River, the two family house was bought for no money down by the twenty somethings; ten years earlier than Robert Allen had first published his book called Nothing Down.
I remember a blow up pool and puppies. Later in that year I had met my first friend, Susan. I had aptly named her, “Susan What Bites”. As a child I was always changing my words because I had a reverse swallow and a pretty bad lisp. Speech therapy came in second grade and a lot of dental work followed in fourth grade. But I digress.
“Susan What Bites”, used to lure me to the fence that divided our yards, with bank lollipops and bubbles. She would innocently play with my fingers through the chain-link fence and then proceed to bite me when I would trust her enough to trace her face with my hand.
Perhaps that is why I chose a life with very few intimate friendships. I was afraid to take anything offered as there would surely be a painful consequence. And then again, maybe that is why I like hard candy, bubbles and have a secret obsession with Vampires.
American children go to school and are graded initially on working and playing well with others. We encourage sharing and our classmates often follow us alphabetically through the school years. We form a history and often friendships. After we finish High School many attend University and our sentimental relationships find a new place in our hearts and memories. By Thanksgiving of Freshman year in College you have pared down and formed a new set of friends. With careers come more daily faces, happy hour and complaining about the boss. And then there is Motherhood and Parenting with children’s play dates where women and men alike begin spending time drinking coffee and passing time as the next generation establishes their new friendships. Parenting allows the adults to share the subtle nuances of commonality.
What doesn’t happen often enough though is that connection where two people float comfortably as adults into one another’s lives completely by coincidence. Or as some suggest through fate. Adults don’t typically find the kind of friendship and companionship that is based souly on the loving reciprocity of comfort, listening, dreaming and a powerful energy that brings joy and hope for the other. A meeting place where there is no judgment. And ideas and moments are shared.
When I was Thirty Four I moved to Massachusetts. I moved for love. I moved to the beaches of the South Shore and I continued my career in Advertising as a Creative Services Professional.
I had enjoyed success before I had hit the age of thirty and found myself becoming almost paralyzed by the amorously familiar place I had with my ideas and designs constantly challenging my coworkers and clients to the hostile environment I called my mind.
Using my words properly, I was a Bitch.
My communication skills grew tiresome for all involved as I tired of feeling the need to over explain and motivate people to just produce what was asked of them and to just meet the deadlines as required. I spent the next set of years trying to make my Creativity hold her breath while I delved into managing timelines and the shared expectation of Clients and Project Managers.
I also decided that yes, I would get married. And so I married a Baker, we opened up an online baking business, and I continued working in Creative Services. I would work twelve-hour days. My drive to work always included traffic and a large coffee with room. My coffee always included a nip or two. Alcohol and functioning in the creative workplace often go hand in hand, and unnoticed. And I had learned how to manage my days as I often arrived before everyone and left much later than them too. Sometimes I would go out after work for drinks other times I would have my drinks alone before bed. I don’t use mixers. I drink straight Vodka.
This was the career I called life as I knew it–for nearly nineteen years. I call it Finnegan begin again. Rinse and repeat.
A day finally came when I decided I wanted to be the Artist again and I wanted to breathe and fall in love with my process. The patterns in my mind that allegorically form tiny building blocks of pixels and punctuation, line and equations within each drop of blood dripping from my head. And so I quietly quit my job and told no one, I worked with until ten minutes before I was scheduled for my exit interview with the Human Resources Department of the Fortune 200 Company I worked for.
The plan of my early retirement was to turn our budding online baking business into a bakery. I would do the daily dotting of I’s and crossing of T’s and in my free time find myself again and who knows; maybe fall in love within my creative side. Research and planning for the new venture, along with some relaxation carried my first year of freedom along.
It was nearly a year to date since my departure from Corporate that I was on a neighborhood drive in my In-laws golf cart; having just finished passing out the Annual Invite to the Pyrotechnic Orgy known as Battle of the Beaches. I was riding around and looking down when I passed the Cottage. A shriek of a voice that sounded almost Fran Drescheresque beckoned me to stop and asked for a copy of whatever it was I was putting in everyone’s mailbox. I remember smiling on the inside when I first looked into her brown eyes; they sparkled with gold flecks of either really happy or really sad. I couldn’t tell. Either way, I was polite and said I was sorry but I had run out of copies.
It’s in my nature to keep things short and quickly leave when a new face enters. This time was different; I was hooked and kept my foot on the brake. Introductions were made and a little black, white and brown puppy came over to me and licked my face.
I promised that I would print out another copy and deliver it to them the next day. I did.
Earlier that year the neighborhood seawall had been compromised with a crack and was being repaired at the tune of a new town deficit and higher taxes. Our street full of neighbors took a pilgrimage and migrated two roads north to a place we now refer to as Billy Goat Hill. The tides manage nicely in this cove and the rocks stay warm long after the sun begins to reside in the west.
It was there that we spent several weeks playing a flirtatious game of which one of us would go to the water first so we could talk. Eventually our towels, sand chairs and beach camps grew closer in proximity and by July 3rd we managed to meet on a street named for the stars and the words were first spoken to me that I will forever hold close to my heart.
And so we smoked and talked for hours at the picnic table behind her Cottage. She told me that she had seen me for a couple of years and waved; and that I always seemed distracted and never noticed. That day we figured out that over the course of ten years we had lived and worked and vacationed no less than two doors down and no more than five miles from one another at all times and frequented the same Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Tedeschi’s. I am convinced we were always grazing by one another and we were waiting for the precise moment to be.
Our friendship continued to grow as we spent nearly every day together that summer. As summer was coming to an end I was getting ready for a move to Surry Maine. It was the equivalent to meeting the coolest girl at camp and packing to go home. The last weeks of summer we spent every moment apart texting. I was back and forth between Surry and Marshfield. She was in Florida for six days with her daughter, Sister and niece. The night before she left for Florida, I was in a Farm House in Blue Hill, Maine and she sat in her driveway in Waltham. We talked on the phone until just before Sunrise.
While in Florida we continued to text daily and talked on the phone every night. I arranged to send her a package via Next Day Air UPS containing a ¼ ounce of Afghani Goo. The night following the day the Goo had arrived; she hid in the bathroom smoking herself out. Neither of us drank at the time and we started telling stories to one another about our previous selves. Our first six months together were nothing shy of two onions peeling back layers and with every layer we realized more and more that each was sweet and divine.
On that fateful gooey night we were both stoned and giggly. We swapped story after story about the girls we never knew. It was then that the laughter took a turn and my new friend told me a horrifying story of rape and abuse. It came to me like a punch in the lower abs and I could only take a deep breath. When I exhaled I threw up. And then I cried.
I cannot ever remember being so close to someone yet physically being so far. I already knew I loved her. And there had never been any doubt that she loved me back. We had never said the words. We didn’t need words. We lived in a world of no judgment or expectations. We lived in what her sister had coined, LaLa land. We lived. Together. And together is what I knew she needed at that moment.
I texted her to reassure her that is was ok what she had shared and that her words were safe with me; I reassured her that it wasn’t her fault and that I was sorry we were so far apart. She knew. I knew.
We said good night and agreed to talk the next morning. I got a text soon after that simply read.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” -Rumi
The inception of Eggs.Smoke.Sex. came the following morning when I told her that while her story was disturbing, her story telling was amazing and I believe that there are eyes and ears and a heart or two out there that needed to read her story.
And so it was born. Storytelling. Essays. A blog and soon to follow two books, Eggs.Smoke.Sex. and Eggs.Smokes.Ex.
Eggs.Smoke.Sex. is Leigh’s story. I am known on here as Miss Carry or The One Accessory. I have created a platform for her story telling. Using more than twenty years of experience creating compelling communications and consistently producing new ideas, concepts and designs I merge, manage and maintain the blog that is her story. I have created and catalogued all of the images that assist in chronicling the last several years of Leigh’s life as she bravely moves forward each day.
Eggs.Smoke.Sex. is a story about coping. And, in many ways meeting Leigh and working so closely on the most important project in my personal and professional lifetime has granted me both the serenity to accept and cope myself.
I will always remember that first summer spent on the rocks at Billy Goat Hill and how our sand chairs would face one another. The strength and energy between us, and literally wanting to climb inside one another to just drink everything the other had to offer. Finding any excuse and walking two doors down to be with, the girl next door.
So often she still knows what I am feeling or thinking; because we are connected. This is the kind of friendship we had to have known before the first time our eyes touched and our hands and fingers first met. Only this woman won’t bite me, unless I ask. She doesn’t want anything from me except my truth.
Is she my Muse? Often yes. My Soul Mate? Possibly.
I just know the she shops frequently within the catacombs of my brain and she lives and continues to grow in my heart. We are best friends and in many ways I believe she is indeed the part of my soul that feeds me life and allows me growth. I have been blessed.
Accessory1 a : a person not actually present but contributing as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense —called also accessory before the fact b : a person who knowing-leigh aids or shelters the offender with intent to defeat justice —called also accessory after the fact2 a : an object or device adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else ie: clothing
Examples of THE EGGS ONE ACCESSORY
- The one accessory needed to complete the look and feel of Eggs.Smoke.Sex.
- Fashion accessories such as a friend, scarves, handkerchiefs, bracelets, and ring