The difference between alone and lonely, and also, trying not to hate John, but he makes it very difficult sometimes #cherrypiecure

posted by susan-oh-susan / april 16 at 9:00 am / uncategorized / 20 comments

It’s Easter Sunday, and I’m alone, but I don’t feel alone.


I guess what I mean is, I’m alone but I don’t feel lonely.

Make sense?

One, because Easter—oh-god, you might remember, in my drunken post, I blathered about Easter? Yeah. Easter is not a big holiday for me. It just is…

And… well, alone but not lonely.

Because… Marcella. ❤

And all you guys.

And, yeah, Reza.

Even though—he’s not here right now.

He’s been gone a few days—he’s gone to Seattle to visit his sister over Easter, even though they’re Muslim and so they don’t celebrate Easter—but anyway, that’s not the point. Have I told you he has a sister in Seattle? Or that he is one of seven siblings? Isn’t that insane? Seven. I can’t even imagine.

Five alive.

God, I didn’t mean to make that rhyme. That is the truth. Five alive. His eldest brother is dead, but I don’t know why or how. Also, a little sister who died when they were both children. I think maybe one day he will tell me, how? Other things? Right now, the things he tells me… it is so very strange, you know. Some of him is so open and free. Unreserved. With the compliments and the affection. And his feelings—the things he tells me he thinks and feels about me… are just so… and I become tongue-tied and stupid because I don’t know how to reciprocate.

So I just kiss him.

But then some things, it’s… not even a wall, that’s not right. And evasion isn’t right. Privacy? I was going to write, he is very private about his family. But that’s not true. Because some things he will talk about freely and happily—like his older sister in Seattle, his little sister in Tehran, and how much he loves his mother and how she spoils them all. And then other things, when I ask, instead of answering, he makes a joke and starts reciting poetry in Farsi.

I can’t think of an example, of course.

Anyway. Reza is gone for a few days and I have more time to think and so, John.

I don’t want to hate John. You know? I really, really don’t want to hate John.

I mean, there’s a part of me that does.

And you know, not even because of the cheating and Jewel of the Not-So-Spectacular Boobs.

(By the way, Nika, every time I think that, I cheer up. At least for a while. So thank you.)

(Also, isn’t boobs a funny word? It’s just weird.)

Mostly, right now, the part of me that wants to hate him wants to hate him because of the way he has acted over the last three and a half months.

Like… well. All the things, right? Moving out without fighting to stay. Not apologizing? Not reaching out? Not…

I’m going to swear:

Not giving a fuck about me and our marriage.

That’s what it feels like.

How do you do that? Let go of twenty-two years of marriage—and we’ve know each other for twenty-five!—without a fight?

Anyway—so yes, there’s this part of me that does want to hate him.

But most of me doesn’t, because hate is an awful, poisonous feeling and when I hate him, I hate myself, and I don’t want to hate myself. You know?

God, I sound as if I’ve been reading Marcella’s self-help and empowerment “Women Goddess Warrior” books.

Which I have, because she’s been lending them to me for years, and I’m actually reading a couple of them now. Because I’ve run out of regency romances.

(Which, by the way, rock. I remember reading romances years ago, you know, and thinking all the stuff in them was so fake. Thinking, “Real men don’t act like that.” “Real men don’t think like that.” And the sex? So. Fake. Well. Now I know… I’m having romance novel sex. And it is amazing. And it is real. And it is even better than what’s happening in the novels between the dukes and the maids and the countesses and the heirs. And now when I read about the dukes and damsels in distress and what-not getting it on, I don’t think, “This is so overtop and unreal.” I think, “Mmmmm, Reza kisses my throat just like that.)

(John never kissed my throat. Not once.)

But I still don’t want to hate him, you know.

Except—ok, I’m starting to think he’s an ass.

(John. Not Reza.)

Because… God, I’m such a terrible writer. I can’t tell a story straight to save my life.

Well, I’m not trying to save my life. So it’s not that important.

Ok—so, see, this all started—Reza’s away. But even before he went away—I haven’t been blogging, because of all the sex (I just like writing that)—but I haven’t just been staying in the house either. I’ve been going to Marcella’s store most days, kind of pretending to work. Because I don’t want to work for her, but I want her to give me a reference when I start applying for real jobs. Because I should—I will—look for a job. Anyway, I’ll write about that another time. Point: I’ve been going to Beautiful Things, and trying to not get in the way and helping clean and learning how to work the cash and things like that.

It’s been less boring, but it’s definitely not… well, it’s hard, actually. And I’m not being—I’m not being down on myself. I watch Marcella interact with customers or decide how to change the set up of a window or a shelf, and it’s clearly her thing. You know? She… it sounds stupid and cliché, but it’s true: she comes alive. Sparkles.

Me? When a customer asks me a question, I flush and stammer and say, “Let me get the owner for you.”

But the other day I brought in a plate of cookies—so good, these orange-ginger-chocolate mini-bites, I tried a new recipe and it rocked—and I’d say, “Here, have a cookie while I go ask the owner,” and that was easier.

I’m so sorry, this post is so scattered. I think I’m doing that avoidance thing again. You know. Taking every detour because the thing I really need to write about I don’t want to write about?

(That’s hating John, by the way.)

Ok. Reza’s gone. Marcella’s store.

I’ve been going in more this past week, because Reza’s gone. And also, the cookie strategy has been working and making me feel like I was actually being useful.

And I’ve been feeling happy about it. You know? Happy to be helping Marcella, and happy to have a thing to do that’s not cleaning the house (or thinking about Reza), and…

So John has to ruin it.

Today, I get this text.

“I have been told you are working in Marcella’s store. Stop it.”


Seriously, what do you say to that?

I texted: “What??”

“I have been ensuring there is enough money in our joint account to pay all the bills. Including the visa, which you are free to continue to use as you need to. There is no need for you to work for minimum wage at that ridiculous thneed boutique.”

So, for the record, I’m not actually working for minimum wage, I’m working for… well, I suppose that’s private between me and Marcella. I didn’t want her to pay me at all, and first she agreed, and then she disagreed, and then we had a fight about it, and now we have an arrangement. Anyway.

John has been paying the bills, absolutely. And I have been so lucky—I know. I haven’t had to stress about money at all. Marcella and the lawyer both were freaked and concerned, “because women always get screwed financially, Susan,” Marcella said, and “you need to know your rights,” the lawyer said, but except for taking those maybe-valuable books and that painting the lawyer said was valued at $25,000, John’s been… he hasn’t in any way made me feel financially vulnerable.

Marcella and the lawyer have, and I suppose that’s part of the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing—working for Marcella, learning things, getting experience, so that I can have a proper job, but I’m not…


I know I don’t need to work right now.

But I need to work right now, if you know what I mean.

“I like it,” I texted him back.

“I’m telling you to stop,” he wrote back immediately. “It’s making people think I’m not supporting you.”


“My team lead’s wife saw you in the store yesterday.”

What was I supposed to say to that?

“Joanne?” I asked.

Because, a couple of days ago, a woman who looked familiar—“Joanne?” I asked her as I offered her a cookie, and “Susan?” she said as she took it—came into the store. She was looking for a Tibetan meditation cushion. I showed her a few, and she thought they were too expensive, so she bought some $0.20 incense sticks instead.

She didn’t ask me anything about… John or what I was doing there or anything. And I didn’t offer anything. And what does it matter? What business of anyone’s is it what I’m doing or not? Suppose John and I were still married, and I decided I wanted to work in Marcella’s store or in the chocolaterie down the street or in the goddamn Safeway in my neighbourhood—whose concern is that?

Honestly, I don’t think she cared. Why would she say anything to her husband? And why would he say anything to John?

And why would John tell me to stop working at Marcella’s store? Why would… me working make him look bad? Why would he be concerned about… Who would think that?


I wish Reza was here.

Because I’d rather lay in his arms than think about all this stuff.

Because I’m not just thinking about today’s text… I’m thinking about all the things John has said or done over the years to me to make me feel… “People are watching, Susan.” “What will people think, Susan?” “You’re not really going to wear that tonight, are you, Susan? Isn’t it a little loud?”

I wear all these boring grey and beige and white and navy clothes. Because, “What will people think, Susan?”

This, from the man who dyed his hair orange!

Morale of this post: I’m trying hard not to hate John.

But some days—like today—it’s tough.


20 comments on The difference between alone and lonely, and also, trying not to hate John, but he makes it very difficult sometimes:

BeautifulThingsEveryday: Susan’s being modest, but her initiative of stuffing my customers with cookies and things has led to an average twenty per cent increase in sales on the days that she’s there. Which is fucking incredible, Sue. And John’s a total dick—you know I’ve hated him even before this Jewel of the Not-So-Spectacular Boobs incident (kudos, Nika, love that that handle too)—and you’re allowed to hate him.

sugar&spice76: Honey, honey, I want to say a hundred things. First, I bet you that woman—Joanne?—didn’t say anything more to her hubs than “I saw John’s wife in that store today, fancy that.” And maybe she added that you fed her cookies. And then all he said to John at work was, “My wife saw your wife…” while they were making conversation at the urinal or something. Everything else—in John’s head.

mommyshidinginthebathroom3: Yes, what Sugar said! Because he has a guilty conscience, and he thinks everyone is looking at him and judging him.

FemmeFataleFun: Which they probably are, actually. Right, girlfriends? Because, cheating bastard.

sugar&spice76: And the other thing, honey, I think you need to read more of those “Woman Warrior Goddess” books Marcella is giving you and stop being so hard on yourself. You tell a great story. You are apparently a kick-ass shop assistant. You are Susan! Hear your roar!

Caspian00XO: You bake the world’s best cherry pie, Susan—I have one slice left that I’ve put in the freezer and I may never eat, because I need to know it’s there.

susan-oh-susan: Eat it, Caz. I will make you another one.

ilikeherbooty-full: Susan, I take your cherry pie to bed. Shut up, you fucking cougar—that’s Marcella, not you, Susan—don’t you dare make that dirty. Please make me another one too.

BeautifulThingsEveryday: I did not need to do anything to make that dirty.

sugar&spice76: And another thing, honey. Go shopping for clothes. Marcella, take her shopping for clothes. Hot pinks or bright reds or…

ilikeherbooty-full: Yellow. Susan’s breasts would look great in a yellow sundress.

BeautifulThingsEveryday: Susan, have you been sending pervert pictures?

susan-oh-susan: No! Just pie.

ilikeherbooty-full: I have such a vivid picture of Susan in my heart, I don’t need pictures. You too, Cougar. Want me to describe yourself to you?

BeautifulThingsEveryday: Fuck you.

ilikeherbooty-full: One day.

Caspian00XO: I think you’d look real pretty in red, Susan. It’s my favourite colour.

mommyshidinginthebathroom3: What’s Reza’s favourite colour?

goddessofvictory: Who cares? This is about Susan, not Reza. Susan, go shopping!

susan-oh-susan: You know what? I think I will.

Find out more: Cherry Pie Cure: Cast of Characters and More

(including fabulous paper)


PS A Table of Contents of the Cherry Pie Cure/Susan’s Writing Cure Blog posts can be found at the Cherry Pie Cure landing page.

(Note to blog: In 2017, when Cherry Pie Cure was written and published, April 16 was Easter Sunday. In case you’re wondering. 😉

Feature image source:

About mjanecolette

Writer. Reader. Angster. Reformed Bohemian (not). Author of the erotic romance TELL ME, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) CONSEQUENCES (of defensive adultery), the award-winning rom-com (she's versatile) CHERRY PIE CURE, and TEXT ME, CUPID--a (slightly dirty) love story for 21st century adults who don't believe in love... but want it anyway. A sought-after speaker and presenter, Colette is also the author of the Dirty Writing Secrets Series, which includes the non-fiction collection of essays ROUGH DRAFT CONFESSIONS: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside inside anyway, 101 FLIRTY WRITING PROMPTS TO SEDUCE YOUR MUSE, and ORGANIZED CREATIVE. She's also the curator of the fab YYC Queer Writers anthologies Queer Christmas in Cowtown, Screw Chocolate, and A Queer Summer Night's in Cowtown. Releasing Spring 2020: CUPID IN MONTE CARLO.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Cherry Pie Cure–the real time Blog Edition | m jane colette

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