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Two Years Gone

I keep little notes in my phone of outfits I see on folks that look particularly nice. I write them down in a hurry.  Like this one:

  •   brown khaki jeans, white shirt, white nike runners with a blue swipe and gum soles

He was a student getting on the bus. Some people look nice in the easiest of ways, and he was one of them. I think he could wear anything and turn it into a note on my phone. Or this one:

  • worn black jeans, olive flats, beige sweater

I liked the way this girl walked around. She made her flats look cozy. She made her sweater look like it meant something to her. And:

  • dark blue dress, thin, light, with shiny mustard flats

Some folks have a confidence about them, and they radiate it right through the clothes wrapped around their body tight.

I ate eggs benedict on a sunday morning with avocado and black beans. I drank three mugs of coffee and scratched my ruffled hair and paid the tip. The lady who served us last time had a spiffy set of curls that bounced around and a sliver hoop in her nose that flickered under the diner lights. I spot her from afar, and she’s smiling all the same, just at a different booth.

We ordered a strawberry pancake and split it 70/30. It was too dry, so the syrup went on twice. The couple next to us kept threatening to leave: she stood up, fixed her shirt, crossed her arms, then sat down again. I’m no longer interested in keeping the black beans separate from the benedict so I throw it all together in some lazy casserole. It tastes good.

I think about the way people bond better over breakfast. I think about sweatpants and hangover teeth and the way lethargy makes your shoulders slouch. The way that stress won’t let you just sit down and take it easy for a minute. But breakfast at the diner doesn’t let you stress your shoulders up.

Across the glossy floor, at the table snug against the wall, I spot another note:

  • gray pants, light red shirt, white shoes

My head is down as I type it into my phone and the waitress snags the plates away. My arms fall over my belly and I grin. It’s good to eat. It’s good to be a human and eat a real nice meal. Two bright red credit cards hold down the receipt, keep it from floating off the table and onto the sticky floor.

I think about all the love I’ve shared over orange juice and waffles with whipped cream. I think about my heavy heart and the way the diners blend together. I feel it in my skeleton. Sometimes your smiling, naked cheeks, dimpled and full across the table shine right into my head, and I miss you. I miss all of you.

The sun blasts through the windows as we weave through the waiting crowd.

Into your apartment and onto the unmade sheets we wander. Our heads fall into the pillows and you toss your leg over onto me. Open your phone. Chuckle. I stare at the ceiling and wonder where the day will go. If our lazy will just keep moving through the moments. If we will lay here until monday. Your roommates aren’t home and the dusty air blankets the room. I play with your hair. You don’t notice.

There’s nothing to it, really. We’re just here, and it feels good.

Soon, I’ll be gone again, and I’ll leave you here, and I’ll do my best to remember all of this. I’ll make a note in my phone. The scent of your sweater nestled into my chest, the way it follows me home, all the way up the mountain and into my room. I’ll text you.

We’re awake, into the day. I notice you’re wearing the same thing you wore when we did this the first time:

  • black leggings, pink hoodie, canvas flats, big hair

I still see them now, two years gone, all those breakfasts.

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January

I’m nostalgic and I just wanna write.

It’s funny just how quickly it all moves. I read my favorite post from last year, called “July ” and it inspired me to write the follow-up, which is this one. I remember that summer day so well, because it was my favorite one…and somehow it’s all completely changed. It wasn’t even six months ago.

I just ordered some Thai food. I’ll probably go get that once I’m done writing. I like that when you order Thai, or Chinese, you have to speak really clearly. Well, you don’t have to, but you sort of automatically start speaking really clearly, like you’re giving a presentation to an old folk’s home, because you know that the other little voice on the end of the line didn’t grow up where you did. They come from somewhere else, and they probably miss someone there, someone who rides a bicycle in the summer and has hair that gets messy in the wind. I think that’s a really nice gesture.

I’ve been having these really vivid dreams. For months, I’ve just been seeing all sorts of folks from my past. And they’re warm and they smile, and we’re in a town or on an airplane or in the basement of a nice home back east. Last night, you were in my dream, and you kissed my forehead, and I remembered what it was like when you still looked at me with fire in your eyes. And I had to cross some sort of busy highway just to get to the bus that would take us both away. I didn’t get all the way across, though, because cars were zooming past me like lightning, and suddenly I just woke up. I didn’t want to wake up, but I did. Dreams like those, they’ll wake you up.

I’m sitting here and it’s really quiet, but it’s not the nice kind of quiet. I think that January always brings some sort of void. Maybe it’s because everything happens so fast during the fall, and this is just the echo of a very huge bang! like smoke from the firecrackers at midnight. I think everyone feels it, because when I walk on a busy street, people are looking at their feet. I wonder sometimes if men know the importance of a good shoe. I don’t think that’s what they’re thinking about, though, when they walk around downtown in January.

I overheard some students today at the coffee shop and all they could talk about was people on television. They could only talk about people that they know on campus. They kept talking about changing their majors by using abbreviations like “comp” and “polysci” and “soc-“. And somehow they all looked the same, and they all sounded the same, like a battalion marching in cadence. They just sounded the exact same. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t believe them. I couldn’t believe anything they were saying to be real, honest thoughts. Why do we fill the air with such empty blabber? I felt sorry for these young people that could only talk about television.

I read a perfect book recently. It’s called “The Little Prince”. Have you read it before? I went to a bookstore and I found it on the very bottom of the shelf, nestled right next to my favorite book, which is called “The Catcher in the Rye” (and actually I forgot to tell you: I had to sit down cross-legged to find this book, and the carpet left a funny pattern on my leg, which I noticed later when I started reading the book). (Oh, and I also forgot to tell you: I bought this book because someone told me it was their favorite book, and when someone says that, I think it’s important to read that book, so that you know what that person’s soul is like). (Oh, and please remember one more thing: all grown-ups were once children, although few of them remember it. That’s from “The Little Prince”). (I think I’m going to read a lot more books now).

Recently, I decided I wanted to become better at drawing human faces. I think that a lot of people are really beautiful, and the best way you could make them believe that is by showing them their own face. Except it’s their face made by your hands, the way you see them. I admire people that can draw faces really well because they’re quite difficult! If you ever try, you will notice that people have two differently shaped eyes. Most of the time, one of these eyes is just slightly more closed than the other, like the person is almost ready to wink at you. You will also notice that girls are much more difficult to draw, and that is because they are much more beautiful. It’s quite hard to draw beautiful things. It’s quite easy to draw ugly things.

I think that nobody comes from one place in particular. I think that you actually come from a hundred places, because you’re always moving around. For example, I think that I come from a city in west Texas, but I also come from the corner of “University” and “Broadway”, and that’s because I spent quite a lot of time there, thinking about myself, and drinking coffee, and talking with strangers. You come from almost everywhere. I think that’s why we get nostalgic, like the way I feel right now. We get nostalgic because we can remember things, and people, and places where we used to be. It feels strange to remember them, because they feel closer to your heart when you think about them, even though they’re very far away.

Anyway.

I think that it’s probably time to go get my Thai food. I ordered the “Stir-fry Veggie Noodles”, in case you were wondering, with medium hotness. When I get to the restaurant, there will be a man there who wears a wedding ring and smiles all the time. He always calls me “sir”, even though I’m much younger! I think he comes from a country called “Nepal”, which I understand is near India, and I think is also where Mt. Everest sits. I wonder who…well, I just got a really really scary phone call, and that leads me to this:

I think that being alive is really something else, and that remembering things is why we love to live so much. I wonder what it would be like if we couldn’t remember anything. I think that would be very frightening, and I don’t want to think about it. I would rather be alive, exactly like this, and remember everything.

I’m nostalgic and I just wanna write.

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The Troubled Dissembler

define: past

Gone by in time and no longer existing.

define: nostalgia

 A sentimental longing for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

define: grudge

A persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.

It’s that time of year again.  The peak of my loneliness.  The most self-reflective stretch of sixteen weeks out of my 365 day year.  Shit’s crazy right now between work and school and little life errands that eat away the extra minutes, and before I know it I’m asleep and awake again just in time to start over until Friday, which blurs right into Monday and then without a moment’s rest I find myself off to race the marathon of another work week. You know the feeling.  Momma would say ‘swamped’.  I like that.  Granted, I do all this to myself.  It’s the mess of interests I have the keep me from ever standing still.  Yet, at the same time, I wonder what it would be like to have some breathing room.  Anyway, I can promise I’ll elaborate on my middle-man workaholic complex soon.  Until then, it’s time to let go of some demons.

A couple weeks ago in my Anthropology lecture my professor was discussing the relationship between sickle cell and malaria when he stumbled on his words and quite suddenly stopped talking completely.   As the room fell to a deadly silence his focus shifted to a girl near the front row.  Instead of following the presentation, she found it a better idea to sit inattentively and text.  The professor approached the girl with rage, staring through broken and wounded eyes.  The girl looked up, embarassed and terrified. He then said:

“Have you ever told somebody that you loved them, only to watch them respond with silence?”

A few seconds passed.  The girl understood.  The pain fell from his face, and he slowly returned to continue his teachings.

I held onto his words for the rest of the day, countlessly referring to the situation in my head. Yes, I’ve been there.  Yes, I know the kind of disappointment when worlds collide, when the fantasy has been shredded by the biting edge of reality.  Yes, sir, I have suffered this before.  And I continue to suffer this, not knowing if it will ever completely heal. Reciprocation is rare.  The feelings are hardly ever mutual.  The temptation lies in the gamble, even in the lowest of odds, but that glimmer of hope inside of you pushes you to throw the dice.  Yet, even after ten rolls, there’s always the chance that this could be snake eyes.  This could be jackpot.  This could be worth the suffering of all past losses.

So many of my rolls have left me without chips.

And how do I react?  Like a child of course!  In 2009, after single-handedly wrecking the potential of a girlfriend by playing the Hare instead of the Tortoise, I sent late-night novels full of blame and self-pity.  A year later, after resisting so many urges to hurry things up, I decided to ‘take things slow’.  Except I realized I wasn’t moving at all, and she falsely sensed a lack of interest.  So I blamed again.  I felt sorry for myself.  I was the 2 year old in the grocery store that wasn’t getting what he wants.  Temper.  Tantrums. Kicking & screaming.  All of these pity stories of being lead on are in the dozens.

Hell, it doesn’t apply solely to relationships.  Upon coming to college, I lost a really close friend in the transition.  We slowly became gossip, indirect insults, passive aggression. And of course, more blaming.  “But always their fault”, said I, the eternal victim.

What happens when kids call other kids ‘stupid’?  They go and tell, of course!  I’m on the playground at least three times a day.  Do you know how many little scuffles I’ve settled between a couple of young’ns that for the moment can’t seem to get along?  Shit, I wish I got my bonuses from swing-set counseling.  Here comes little Jimmy again.  I bet Roger shoved him too hard, and now he’s pushing tears.  Let’s have a talk.  So I do what any other adult does that can see the bigger picture:  I take little Jimmy and raging Roger off to the side, I kneel down (to always equalize the eye levels!) and I say these words:

“Now Jimmy, did you really mean what you said to Roger?”
“Well, no, but I just got mad!”
“That’s okay buddy, that happens a lot.  It’s normal!”
Yeah but he pushed me! ”
That’s normal too!  I bet he just got a little mad himself.  Now, are you still friends with Roger?”
I guess so.”
“And since you both didn’t mean what you did, let’s settle this right now.  Tell him you’re sorry, buddy. Okay, now your turn. Perfect. Shake hands, boys.  Now you’re alright, go back and play.”

Assuming we’re not on the goddamned Prarie anymore, little Jimmy and raging Roger will probably get in another scrim before the day’s out.  And another at the end of the week.  And they’ll both be crying again, because they’re boys and they get pissed off at each other.  But that’s not the point!  One of the most beautiful gifts that kids posses and somehow lose throughout their development is the ability to forgive (and I’m not going to sit here and glorify kids like everybody else does…that rant is also for another writing).  They fight, they cry, then it’s done.  Moving on.

Fuck, if my ego wasn’t so big, I’d probably be able to do the same!  After all, Sam, shouldn’t you practice what you preach?  If there’s anything I’ve learned from working with kids, it’s realizing how much of a hypocrite I can be.  Who am I to say “just let it go” when I’m still holding onto silly minimal things from freshman year of high school.  Who am I to say “don’t exclude anybody” when I purposely erase numbers from a mass text just because I refuse to blend two conflicting groups of friends.  And who do I think I am when I tell Matthew to apologize when I’ve never been the first to take the fault. These fucked up standards are pushed upon the little ones every day, and frankly, it’s time I take some accountability.

Cliché alert: on top of a cloudy mountain, one wise monk once mentally communicated to another wise monk “We must forgive and we must forget, for that is how we grow as lovers” (and I bet you just read that in an ancient faux-asian voice.  haHA, I strike again! PS: that saying? I just made that shit up right now).  The idea’s there, though.  Forgive and forget, that’s what we’re told.  But I shouldn’t really forget, right?  I mean, wouldn’t it be naive to assume it won’t happen again?  And if it does, it would be wise to remember how you settled it the first time, right?

Yeah.  For the most part.

One of my closet friends once said to me “I know who you are, Sam.  I don’t know what you’re up to, I don’t know what you did last week, but I know you.”  And before this semester, Matt and I had only seen each other a total of six to eight times within the past 5 years.  It’s one of those genuine friendships that don’t need upkeep, something I am so lucky to have in more than one person.  Here’s the thing: we have a choice in what we ‘forget’ (or better said, ‘let go’).  If I continue to hold onto the ugly memories of arguing, deception and feeling abandoned, I can assure you that will only spoil my attempts to reconcile.  And guess what?  This is what I, for the past three years, have chosen to carry with me as memories of once beloved friendships.  I’ve cast away the smiles, the bonds, the happiness.  I’ve forgotten the way Matty saw me.

But it’s time I let it out.

Deep breath.

Okay, here we go:

To all the girls with whom I saw a future, yet for one reason or another it didn’t go as planned:  Thank you.  I have learned so many things from these failed relationships that have given me such a stronger grip on being a better ‘me’.  You know you’ve made progress when you look back and laugh at yourself; ‘did I actually say that?!”

To all the girls that saw a future with me, yet I chose otherwise: I’m infinitely sorry.  I was the one who sat in silence in your confession of love.  I crushed those dreams and chose to leave you behind.  I know that nothing I can really say will help the cause, for it’s me you want after all.  With that, my only hope is that I’ve been able to show you something that you never saw in yourself.

To the few friends that I’ve kept at bay:  I’ve missed you, sincerely.  If there’s anything that continually comes back to me, it’s the laughs.  It’s your company.  It’s your love.  I’d be damned if I said I don’t think about you all the time.  And to be honest, I’ve forgotten what pushed all of us away in the first place.  So this is my invitation to patch the seams. You mean more to me than you know.

Exhale.

I was jamming to Kanye on my way to work a few weeks ago.  Nostalgia seems to especially accompany that music, and upon arriving in the parking lot I sat and thought. And I was taken back to so many places.  Those five minutes of musical meditation will be a memory I’ll keep alongside those that flooded me.  It was time I said sorry.  I knew I needed those that were missing from my life.  It was time I get off my high horse, because you can’t give hugs from atop a saddle.  I killed the ignition and walked into school.

Since then, I’m happy to say that I’ve mended old scrapes that were bleeding for far too long.  A few days ago, an old friend of mine came out as bisexual.  I was so happy to have been apart of that moment, and to at least send my two cents of support in his direction. And a couple of weekends ago I was ‘Iced’ for the first time in my life.  I would have not wished that experience to have been with anybody else.  Then a brief moment of ‘catch-up’ happened later that night from a friend that always showed so much support in me. With the unpredictability of life and death always in mind (just look at the school shooting earlier this week), why would I choose to lose these people before I’m forced to? Regret lies in the things you’ve never done.  I don’t want to look back and think ‘it’s too late to save’.  I don’t want to look back at a premature end.  So I remembered who these people are.  I remembered all of the beauty that I once chose to forget.  I remembered the humility of being the first to say “I’m sorry”

and the joy of yelling “I’ve missed you!”

So what now?

Well, we’re back to the Tortoise.  After all, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a night.  Time is again at play.  But damn, it feels good to be with my gangsters again.  If there’s anything I’m willing to work at, it’s this.  And despite the fact that I don’t have enough time these days to trim my own nosehairs, I’ll make time to trim yours.  I mean, that could be one hell of a re-bonding experience.  All shits aside, I feel I’m on the right path.

define: future

The time or a period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come.

Let’s make it count.  Cheers, my friends.

~

And with that, I conclude with my tacky-yet-honest catch-phrase.  But in all reality, I think it especially pertains to this topic, wouldn’t you say?  Even if you would say, I’m the damn writer here.  Go make your own blog and end it with some goofy shit like mine.  No seriously, do it.  I want to read it.

Oh man, here it comes…

Keep on loving,

Sam G

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