faute de mieux

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein25 Comments

I’m with you, but I prefer him, especially now.  Now that you’ve revealed you, now that we’re past polite and I see and live with what lives behind door number two.  You weren’t my first choice; you were my downfall. We had a rhythm, a cadence between us; something you and I don’t have. Won’t have. I hid with him, under the lip of a sheet, and I could stare at him for days.  His perfect face, the crinkle of his eyes.  He sweats when he sleeps.  “You smell like sick,” I told him.  Or was it, “you smell like dead.”  It doesn’t matter.  I saw his flaws.  I could live with him.  Forever.  Vacuuming the floors of our house, the one we may never have because I chose wrong.  I’m here with you, instead of in bed with my likeness. Listening to his music, the stuff he played me on his iPod, and then kept asking if he’d ever played it for me.  I could listen to the way his mind works and want to drink it.  I loved his body.  I want you to hurt.  I can’t sleep.  He can’t either.  I have an unspoken insomnia with him, where we know, without speaking, we’re in each other’s thoughts.  I cheat on you with him in sleep. When you come to me, sleep marks still on my hands, impressions on my face, you can see him.  “Give me a kiss,” you say, your breath a rancid blanket, and I want to tell you, you’re not my husband.  I kiss you quickly and feign a smile. You’re not the life I should be living.


  1. Explain, explain! Who's who here?! I am dying! You'd better call me and let me know! Oh Geez! (How Fargo was that of me? Oh Geez?!)

  2. Linus has an iPod?

    (Sorry, it made me giggle).

    Sometimes I read your posts – like this one – and just PRAY that you are speaking of the past. I can't help hurting for someone so in touch with their emotions. Your connection to your feelings seems so direct. As someone who is sloooowly getting more in touch with her own, thinking of being able to feel everything, my god it frightens me.

  3. My favorite lines of this particular exercise are "a cadence between us" and "you're not the life I should be living." Expand this, Stephanie.

  4. This hit me as comparing the two sides of one person. The one you first knew, the first impression. And the truth of the inner person, flaws and all. I may be overthinking it (as I tend to do!!).

    "I could listen to the way his mind works and want to drink it." After 11 years and five kids, it's still the way I feel about my husband.
    A lovely post, Stephanie.

  5. I like this a LOT – – especially all the little details.
    where do you get ideas for your 'writing exercises'????

  6. I spent 35 years married to my second choice. (I was her first choice until she realized too late that I couldn't be to her what she needed for me to be – it just wasn't in me – maybe my weakness – and now my guilt.) It turned out that she married a man who married the wrong woman, and I married a woman who married the wrong man. We stuck it out, raised the children well, but neither of us ever achieved satisfaction (read that "happiness" whatever that is) in the relationship, though we did so in other aspects of our lives, particularly in the children, and later the grandchildren, and I in my career. She's been dead for years now, and I still feel guilty about having gone ahead with a marriage that made us both so unhappy for so long. If you're writing about your present situation, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.

  7. I'm glad Liz pointed out that this was filed under writing exercise. I was so confused!

    Do you have a particular book of writing exercises you like? I have The Writer's Idea Book but that's it.

  8. Some things just never go away. Once upon a time I had my own room. Gave it up to share with a Hoover. Was dragged and tangled by that canister. Bag burst. Finis. I now have that room of one's own. (Yes, Virginia, there is a reason). I'm unplugged to be me.

  9. One word that comes to mind is lamenting. It's a good read And you're a helluva writer. Do I even "get it" -really get it- I wonder?

  10. These are the good ones. More posts like this, please. From writer to writer, where do you get your exercises? PLease, do share the wealth.

  11. Heart of Klein-ness:

    Every night it comes to me while I sleep.

    I'm tired, hungry, on a trail in the Swiss Alps. In the distance is a village, and I can see that it offers food and lodging. But the path is blocked. It is blocked by a giant stag with a huge set of antlers. Each time I move forward toward it it snorts and paws at the ground and makes it clear I should come no closer. It stands between me and the village, and nightfall is fast approaching.

    Then suddenly, who appears, but Stephanie Klein? She's nude, and she shakes her ass in the direction of the deer and it flees in terror. Then she turns toward me, arches her back and thrusts her boobs in my direction, slowly extends her arm and beckons me with her index finger.

    This is my dream, this is my nightmare…

  12. Hi there Stephanie. So, tell me, how come the UK book cover is so MOR, the version over there is so much more interesting and different. Your writing is definitely not the lightweight type that this kind of cover would suggest. What is it that made the British distributer demand this? I'll be buying it either way though, as I am sure will squillions of others, girlie cover or no girlie cover. Looking forward to seeing it on sale, congrats.

  13. Hi Stephanie,

    I just wanted to let you know that I dreamed about you last night.
    I dreamed that you were doing a booksigning nearby, and I desperately had wanted to go. Unfortunately, to be able to get your autograph, you had to buy a meal for 80,- kroner (danish currency) and those 80,- would go to charity. But I didn't have the money, so I never got your autograph. :(


  14. Interesting writing exercise. I liked some of it (the sentence about hiding with him under the lip of the sheet) but overall I prefer character development through actions and words, rather than simple declarative sentences.

  15. Oh Stephanie, I know this is a writing excersise….but I have lived every word.

    Every. Single. Word.

    Thanks for making that feeling explainable.

  16. I read this with tears in my eyes.

    It's amazing how a simple writing exercise can bring forth such strong emotion.

    Beautifully written.

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