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monologue at 3 a.m.
I blew resolution number one on day four or five, procrastinating before the renewed semester's start. Then resolution number two resonated through my dreams like the firing of a gun – startling and feared, throwing my senses to the ground. You'd appear weekly, even daily, my heart turned inside out. Wake, escape, hands against frigid porcelain.
I fucked up resolution three with each passing month, blank pages between the clouds. It was a promise to myself, outside ties severed, but my chest convulsed, insides rejected.. purging my soul, or worse.
Cigarettes need not scorch my lungs; I stopped breathing months ago.
One arrival, then another – deadline unexpectedly met by (almost) all of us.
, she exclaims,
it's his fault!
Now I'm driving the wrong way.
I remain calm: Get here when you can.
My patience wears thin: Where are you?
, she replies, discontentment still apparent.
Is there anything we can order for you? We're going to do that now – don't want to be late.
Oh, it's okay; I don't eat breakfast.
My companions remain hopeful:
she'll apologize, then launch into her story.
I'm unconvinced, and sure enough –
This morning sucks.
School's greatest lesson:
I'd paint my face in crimson
hues, if only to depict the
words inexpressible by my
lips - because not every
verb requires an adverb,
nor sight a sound.
I welcomed Passion's arrival
before longevity, before pride
or prestige. His was the voice
to fill a cavernous void - to
seal holes with letters,
impulse with reason.
And with Passion came Satisfaction:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Four years of school ends simply: a few signatures across a single pink sheet of paper. I suppose I never expected a grand finale, but the process feels so.. detached, and too easy for an event marking the completion of such a significant part of my life.
Each class box is marked with a passing "P," accompanied by a scribble for verification. Past debts have been cleared. I reluctantly submit an impersonal response to a survey regarding my high school experience.
Few seem to realize the magnitude of this transition. They're too ready to escape, ignorant of a treasure chest.
"He proposed on a Valentine's day, although he didn't do it face to face—he did it in one of the little Valentine bits in the paper. I think he had to pay for it by the word, because it just said 'Lee love Dawn, marriage?' which, you know, I like, because it's not often you get to something that's both romantic.. and thrifty."
Love is being found in the most unusual places—and between the most unlikely people. Odd, too, considering graduation is edging closer every day. Why welcome a new beginning?
Sometimes I wonder where I went wrong.
I remember storming out of Tesco when I was maybe eight or nine, my emotions explosive after witnessing yet another bickering session between Ma and Gran. I was never quite able to pinpoint the part of Gran's personality that irked Ma so much – call it destined mother-in-law syndrome, I suppose. That and a certain-daughter-headache experience.
Since then, countless disagreements have taken place (on both sides of the Atlantic), and I've always played piggy in the middle, the hopeful balancing force between the two. I often wonder when the silence will descend – and if it will be accompanied by remorseful tears.
We spent six hours studying Physics last night – and I fuckin' aced my final. The selected free response problem was one that I had over-prepared for, desperate to understand the procedure; the multiple choice section was an eight-question delight, easily tackled with my assigned partner. It was the perfect end to a nightmare semester.
It's funny how I can depart with a satisfied smile on my face, my grin remaining even when surrounded by damp eyes and tear-stained faces. I want to leave with a bounce in my step, though – a celebration of good days always outweighing the sad hours.
I'm done—approved to close this academic chapter, and, in many ways, ready to move on from this entire period of my life.
Despite the fact that I won't be leaving town until the end of the year, I still find it bizarre to think that these few days will be the last time I follow a particular routine here. I'll have six months to be myself, stuck in that awkward place between my past and my future—still living with my folks, but attempting to become an independent individual.
The clock's ticking, but I'm unable to pinpoint its speed.
Memories from February (because I left on a Wednesday):
wind. clouds. smiles. london. thames. motorways. left. cadbury's. cobble stones. photographs. memory. spencer. heston. travelodge. rum. malibu. prospect. cap & stocking. floor. cushions. poncy. bon bon. charles. eyeliner. boots. hmv. pills. damien. sheep. love. camera phones. long distance. m1. m4. m25. m3. terry. eastenders. alex. laura. david. phone boxes. smoking. non smoking. little chef. tea rooms. homemade cakes. fish and chips. wing lee. laptops. postcards. moon. poetry. aeroplanes. heathrow. concorde. blister. tonsils. black eyed peas. friends. camp beds. hardwood floors. fourteen. twelve. ten. nottingham. capital fm. euston. cancel. go. reunion. goodbye.
Another beautiful day in the sunshine – just me, my gals, and a slew of future graduates. The scene could be labeled the meeting of the Class of 2004's nerdy clan, an umbrella term for the sporty brains and liberal arts misfit kids. We were living evidence of some sort of high school underground movement; almost all faces were at least vaguely familiar, but we somehow found ourselves connected via equally geeky mutual friends.
I took a moment to examine each face before acknowledging my most long withstanding bond – just me, my gals, a patch of open land, and a Frisbee.
Blue gowns, yellow tassels.
I will always remember June 11, 2004, as a bright, breezy day, much cooler than the blazing summer four years prior. Sitting between two of my favourite ladies, I scanned the crowd for my family. And there they were, waving and cheering, proud smiles from ear to ear.
I still remember the gut-wrenching fear I felt upon my first day at an American school; the paralyzing terror that consumed my body, left alone before a roomful of intimidating faces.
And there I was, optimistic and grinning in return, savoring the day I never thought would arrive.
I arrived home late from Grad Night, a flashing blue bug hat atop my head and several Kleenex in the left pocket of my jeans. (Almost immediately after I sat down on the Grad Night bus, I felt my nose begin to run. Just my luck.)
So this is what it feels like to close one chapter of my life. My final date with the Class of 2004 was hardly a memorable one, but I had no regrets about being there. I kept my loved ones close, bidding a grateful farewell to those who still managed to make it through.
"I don't look upon this like it's the end, I look upon it like it's moving on, you know. It's almost like my work here's done. I can't imagine Jesus going 'Oh, I've told a few people in Bethlehem I'm the son of God, can I just stay here with Mum and Dad now?' No. You gotta move on. You gotta spread the word. You gotta go to Nazareth. And that's very much like... me. My world does not end within these four walls — Slough's a big place."
Okay, perhaps not the same situation, but, you know — I'll be okay.
We've come full circle; these hours are about reliving and making memories.
Post-show, I listen as she pauses, reflecting upon something she was once told – that you can't hold a good thing back, no matter how hard you try.
I can't help thinking about all of us – of this journey's beauty, creating the opportunity to watch one friend (with a cast of friends behind him) touch so many people. We've all found success through one another, each of us living proof that there can never be too much of a good thing –
and that was worth traveling full circle for.
I used to say that we spoke volumes without the need for words, before bright lights stole you away and the distance was close enough to touch. In your eyes, I found more honesty than we ever dared to speak; words clung to each glance, timid upon a desert tongue. I've since found the true definition of solace: the passing years only nurture our truth.
I saw you give him a thumbs up during the concert. You guys must be really close friends, and thats great.
Our gazes eventually locked – unexpected, then familiar, and always a warm love never lost.
I e-mailed a birthday greeting to Mary, my first outstretched hand for contact in eighteen months. An unexpected catch-up e-mail pursued:
AND I'm going to be a mommy. Kristi is pregnant and due in November!!!!! We're excited and scrambling around trying to make household preparations. Oh, we hope to know the gender of the baby by the end of next week. We have a sonogram appt.
How's that for news!?
I last saw Mary during her lunch break at Borders. She looked weathered, overworked. All I can think of now is her white picket fence – funny how things work out.
I remember February: "They can change everything else, but they can never take away your memories," Gran suddenly announced.
She reminisced over her grandchildren (Adam nearly 26, newly wed; Ruth 23; Nick soon 21; myself months past 18), her favourite times always with us in the flat. Photos of our childhoods fill a five-picture frame above the fireplace: Adam grinning; Ruth on her birthday; me at a fairground, by the beach; Nick with his cat.
With each separation, I prepare for the goodbye to be our last. I wonder if she thinks likewise, carefully choosing her final impression upon me.
My dad's spiel is always the same, no matter what the initial topic may be:
"If you have a
, you'll make
. If you have
, you'll be able to
Truth be told, the constant reminders drive me crazy. I am well aware of the importance of my job hunt; I keep the figure of my future college debt in the forefront of my mind. I shouldn't house any feelings of resentment, yet I'm significantly less than enthusiastic about the prospect of having a job.
No matter what my age, I'll forever be unwilling to grow up.
During online go fish:
hey... r u a wild chick
when i want to be, sure.
do u want to be
do u have a cell fone… wanna have fone sex
i have a cell phone... but how old are you?
15... is that ok
age doesn't mean a thing to me
. . .
do u want me to call tonite
i can please u real good
no. but thanks for the offer. i don't doubt your great sexual knowledge.
I don't know what weight has to do with cholesterol, Paul said on Thursday night, but I've been obese for a long time and mine has never peaked above 200.
Pat looked at him, her expression somewhere between amusement and disbelief. It has a little, she replied with a small smile.
Well.. He continued: Then bam! There I was, in for a triple heart bypass. Immediate operation - said I'd die if they didn't do something soon.
Pain in the elbow, keeled over during dinner - on Father's Day, no less.
And to think I always questioned God's presence.
Flying over San Diego, I think of so many past road trips – of bathroom breaks at Casa de Fruta; cheap dining at Laval Road; that first glimpse of the Pacific shores before San Onofre. We've made the drive along the desert freeway at a leisurely 10-hour cruise or a fast-paced 6-hour race – grown so accustomed to the road's crevices that the journey feels natural by day or night. For years, San Diego was our only destination.
Soon, San Diego will be my nine-month home away from home. From the sky, the city appears too small for such a long-awaited reality.
Saw Darby tonight, our first meeting in over two years.
"I hear you'll be attending UCSD," she said, before adding a sarcastic, "What a surprise!"
. . .
Backstage at J's show, he brought up the subject of my big move. "I'm looking at houses in the San Diego area," he noted, raising an eyebrow with a grin. I uncontrollably smiled back, silently acknowledging our impending closer proximity.
Looking back, I realize that the location of my future school extends far beyond the ideal place for higher education – I'm closing the distance between me and my family.
It's about time.
Airports have become the bane of my existence, inevitable yet frequently unwelcome.
Heathrow's Terminal 3 departure ramp housed my first tearful crime scene, the beginning of month-long separations from Dad. Later, San Francisco International held my sadness, eyes unwilling to face the shrinking city, shrouded in jet fumes. San Jose eventually stuck, location of subdued final minutes beside Alicia and parking lot embraces with Jason and Noel.
Today brought a long awaited reunion, the happiest of recent airport experiences. I was late, our eyes instead meeting across a crowded baggage claim hall, smiles wide and familiar.
My soul mate returns.
The doctors found six blockages in his heart. They fixed four with a new type of surgery, involving mesh tubes to open up and support the vein walls. The other two remain blocked, an overshadowing cloud – too small, I assume, to be fixed, and not worth the risk of performing another bypass.
I saw him tonight. He's a little short of breath at times, and still under the rejection umbrella faced by 10-20% of all post-operation patients, but remains in his constant good spirits.
I can sense the family's shared sigh of relief, fingers crossed across our hearts in hope.
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
It's odd to see someone step so far out of their shell, all inhibitions discarded.
We bought a bottle of tequila and some margarita mix on a whim – a first for me. Sadly, I was reminded yet again of my ridiculously high tolerance for alcohol; after three drinks and one shot, Li was out for the night, my mind one drink behind and fully functional. The mix tasted like a haunting poison.
I inflated the mattress, tugging her tired body from my bed, my sobering thoughts bringing the evening to a quiet close.
Two weeks together is bound to bring about mini headlocks. We both have our fair share of tedious personality aspects, but with each day I gain a better insight into my capacity to love with no boundaries.
We've shared three days of dawn bedtimes, laughter, and unmatchable companionship. Everything fits - perfectly, incomparably. No drama, no unnecessary complications.. only an absolute understanding of one another. I couldn't ask for anything greater than the realization that I am never alone; I could never want more than this unspoken knowledge that we are two halves.
And I never thought that was possible.
Pride Parade in San Francisco, understandably including many memorable moments (as documented by Bunny):
Other notable event – Dove's future dreamboat of a husband made an appearance and marriage proclamation. Who knew he'd be a toothless black man with an empty cup asking for change.
Is tha ‘cho lady?
She ain' cho girfriend?
No... Just a friend.
Damn. She my lady.. She my wife! I'ma marry dat girl!
(coy smile) (holding back ambiguous laughter)
Come ‘ere Sugar... Sugar!... Baby, you my sugar!*
*Note: All "sugars" accompanied by a showering mouthful of saliva.
Nonchalantly came across another inane online quiz today: "Which Ivy League school are you meant to attend?"
Then I read one of the possible results –
University of Pennsylvania: You were a hard-working wannabe cool kid, and now you are at the Ivy League equivalent of a rich, suburban high school, and all of the kids used to be too hard-working to be cool, so now you all pretend to be cool together.
– and it fit you, perfectly. You'll always remain in my mind as a high school caricature, our past only recalled for a humourous storytelling beside a punch bowl.
Several months ago, I purchased three outrageously priced concert tickets for Fleetwood Mac's local show. I realized that the spending spree was perhaps a little irresponsible, but they were 17th row seats and I was eager to relive last summer's experience without binoculars.
The look on Dad's face was worth throwing my first semester of college into jeopardy. He spent the evening caught between an expression of complete joy and somewhere on the verge of tears, which perfectly summarized my spiraling mix of emotions.
On a personal note, embracing my parents during a rendition of
was worth every penny.
Some of my favourite funnies from Letterman's Top Ten List,
Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About "Fahrenheit 9/11"
- That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing
- It oversimplified the way I stole the election
- Too many of them fancy college-boy words
- If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported
- Of all Michael Moore's accusations, only 97% are true
- Not sure - I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe
Good propaganda; great movie. Thank you, Mr. Moore.
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