I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends I’ve made in my ten years of blogging. I’ve pretty much said yes to everyone who’s ever reached out to me, wanting to meet up or connect. And, in turn, I’ve reached out to dozens of other people I first came to know virtually. It might even be safe to say that half of my friends these days are people I first met through the internet.
Today I want to introduce you to one of them, Tre Miller Rodriguez.
I first heard of Tre’s blog almost two years ago from my friend Amber. We were out having drinks and talking about this weird phenomena of online lives, of blogs and of putting ourselves out there for the world to see. Amber couldn’t gush enough about Tre’s blog, and the next morning I looked her up immediately.
And immediately I knew she was a kindred spirit. And somehow, within hours we were emailing, and that same day I set up a call between my agent and Tre to discuss Tre’s book.
Well, I couldn’t be more thrilled to tell you that today Tre’s beautiful memoir was published.
I’ve read several drafts of Splitting the Difference and I can’t recommend it highly enough. When she asked me to write a blurb for it this is what I had to say, and I meant every word: “No other book entangles romance and grief in such an urgent and beautiful way. Tré Miller Rodríguez writes as she lives: with breathless poise, unmatched style and fierce bravery.”
You can read an excerpt below.
At 18, Tré gave her newborn daughter up for adoption. At 19, her only sibling was killed in a car crash. At 34, her husband died of a sudden heart attack. But at 36, her teenage daughter found her on Facebook and began to reshape the course of my friend Tré’s life. In this excerpt from her just-released book, Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir, we get a glimpse of how losing a brother can impact a teenage life. (And enable her to stop a home invasion.)
It’s two days before Father’s Day and I’m behind the 8-ball.
Usually I have my Dad’s gift sorted two weeks in advance, but this year?
I’ve got no game.
Even the first Father’s Day after my brother died, I managed to go all out: homemade card, framed photos, brunch after church. I also remember that the whole day felt like a fake pep rally and we ended up at the cemetery before driving home in silence.
That evening, while I smoked cigarettes out my second-story window, I noticed two unfamiliar, well-dressed guys walking across the lawn. When they disappeared from view, I tossed my smoke and crept into my brother’s dark bedroom. I peered down from Phil’s window and saw the men set their bags down in front of our garage.
When they started lifting the corners of the garage door, I punched open the window with a fury.
What da fuck? I growled.
The voice that comes out of me is foreign.
It’s a voice that doesn’t know it belongs to a five-foot-four white girl.
The men look up, frozen.
I do not blink.
Yeah, I say, thrusting my chest out like I’d seen Phil do. The fuck.
They drop the garage door, grab their bags, and take off.
So do I.
I bolt down the stairs, past my parents watching TV.
Call the cops! I yell, running toward the front door. We almost just got robbed!
I’m sprinting at top speed when I see them throw their loot over the perimeter wall and scale it. I hear an engine start but by the time I hop up, I can only get a make and model—early ’90s BMW, 700 series, dark paint—but not a plate number.
My adrenaline’s still pumping when my dad rushes toward me with the portable phone.
They’re already gone, I say. You got the cops?
He nods. Good. I got a description.
After a few minutes, the officer says he has everything he needs.
We’ll be in touch if we need you to do an I.D.
I’m game, I say. I mean, what kind of asshats go thieving in a luxury car?
The kind that steal luxury cars to go thieving, he answers.
Touché, I say.
I give the phone to my dad, who wraps his arm around me.
Well, who needs a guard dog when we have you around? he smiles.
I kinda felt like Phil tonight, I say. Six-feet-tall. Gangster.
Father’s Day 1995 would be not the last time I channeled my brother.
Over the next decade, I would do things Phil had done and things he didn’t live long enough to do. I drove too fast on highways, jumped out of planes, took up rock-climbing, ate mushrooms, traipsed around Europe, and continued standing up to men twice my size.
His death gave me a strong sense of everyone else’s mortality, yet it somehow made me feel invincible.
No way would anything happen to me: my parents couldn’t have taken any more loss.
God must have agreed.
And added some extra muscle to my security detail.
You can find Tre’s book on Amazon.
You can find her website here.
(Tre, I’m so proud of you!!)