6.29.2007

moving on

I want to write what I'm thinking right now. (I'm not speaking in universals, so don't think that I am.) I will not reread it. I will not do any extensive editing. I just want to write. And so I begin:

I understand that life cannot exist without movement, that stillness remains the only concept that can truly kill us, but what difference, I wonder, can one find between "moving" and "moving on?" To date, I seemed to have lived my life in stages, each step bringing me closer to adulthood, to my "real" life. Each phase possessed unique challenges, opportunities, people and places--interesting, boring and, at the same time, labeled, by various people, as "the best time of my life." Agreed, the steps intrigued me, often made me wonder, but never did I see any of my previous stages as "best." For instance, how could I believe my mother that high school, a time of confusion in my personal, professional and social realms, ought to be a romping good time. Around me I saw drinking, drugs, sex, bigotry, incompetence, depression. I never knew from one day to the next whether I had real friends--a product of both my utter lack of self confidence and the fact that my friend base changed from middle to high school. I was confused by women, my future and the possibility of those four years constituting the pinnacle of my life. How could I believe her? I didn't. I wouldn't. I would not belong. I once said, bluntly, "If these are the best years of my life, I should probably invest in some sturdy rope." So, as I accepted my high school diploma with my left hand, making sure to shake with the right, I reflected on what my grandfather said about college, "Oh, college. Those four years will be the best of your life." I doubted, prayed, doubted again. But reflecting on the past four years, I fear, for the first time, that those ~prophetic words are unabashedly true.

Being here, in the soy capital of the universe, with the people I can assuredly call my friends, I'm finally safe. I can finally breathe, rest, tell the truth, ... live. Together we earned our B.A. in Life, with nightly labs running early into the morning; pop quizzes on health: injured knees, pulled back muscles, broken hearts, and dry eyes; oral and written exams where we argued in circles, using elaborate metaphors and the bluntest of realities to make our points--often finding that we both adored and despised the conclusions; study sessions in Pepe, on the couch, at the dining room table on a Thursday in September, or over dinner and a shake; homework with friends and weird German diction; extracurricular board game nights with made up words and definitions and words that sound made up; and doing community service by frequenting local restaurants theatres. And though no one will ever hand me that degree and shake my right hand, I feel that, moreso than my traditional degree, it belongs framed on my wall for all to see and admire. After all of this: the life lessons and strengthened friendships, life demands that I leave it all behind, that I walk away and watch it shrink as the distance between me and these past four years becomes sizable enough that even the memory shrinks, eventually hiding itself behind a neuron in my left hemisphere, making friends with my other miniature memories, crying.

I am expected to believe this movement is a natural part of life. I am expected to do the same thing again in two years. Then again in another two. Then again. Bog only knows how many times in my life I am expected to repeat this movement until one day I am allowed to stop moving, in a sense, and settle down. And we wonder why there is depression, why humans are an unhappy lot. Our entire lives we're expected to befriend people. It is demanded of us by God, bog and the rest, by our innate evolutionary senses that we bridge close bonds with various people, people that we care for, people with whom we fall in love. And when we get comfortable. And when we feel as if we can finally be ourselves. And when we finally get enough courage to tell that person how we feel. Both of us have to go. We wouldn't want to be late to our next appointment. We wouldn't dare be a second tardy to the next time we have to leave. And when I finally want to belong. We can't.

Yet, I realize that the alternative is irrational. I understand that without this movement we are nothing more than pigs satisfied. And that's why I will continue to comply with these demands. I may march on a path of tears, but I will march nonetheless. Currently, I feel this view to be very nihilistic. I will, hopefully, look back on this post and realize the errors in my irrational thoughts. But for now, I'm in step with the cadence and the rhythm pains me.

6.27.2007

For once: a different kind of tears--happiness, excitement, a rewarding anxiety. Cherish these days, when the tears are for something more important than grief, bigger than loneliness, longer lasting than pity.

6.21.2007

As much as I hate the idea, it's going to take South Carolina. How pitiful is that? (Rhetorical?)

6.16.2007

"She has no idea. Not at all. And I don't know how to feel about that. For now, I'll think it's cute."

That's what I was thinking.

6.14.2007

continuation of a short story

He read the words a fourth time, the penultimate time, noting that he’d forgotten the ending punctuation—a mere period—on the most unrealistic and practical request ever readied for the “Daily Gazette-Democrat.” He leaned forward nearly pressing his nose against the illuminated pixels, squinting—more so out of habit than necessity—thoroughly disappointed. He didn’t notice any misspellings, a sure sign that the ad was riddled with them. He picked up a red pen—more so out of habit than necessity—and stuck it directly between incisor and canine as he examined his would be masterpiece for the last time:

Average man seeks female companion.
Must be perfect.
Must exist.

His first line, if judged as anything less than perfect, was true. Genetics, God and the rest left him an inexorable commonality found more often in forgotten, yellowed paper or freshly erased chalk than a man of reason and lust. His life denoted the mean of all existence, the exact average of looks, wealth, ambition and intelligence. If asked to identify him in a crowd of three any person would fail a vast majority of the time; he is the epitome of normal, the pinnacle of plain, a nameless male. Having numerous times been asked, “Have we met before,” he decided, one afternoon, to respond with a snide if honest remark, “If you’ve ever been to a baseball game and looked at the Jumbotron just as the star player hits a record setting homerun into the drooling crowd, I was that guy with the nosebleed seats in the home team jersey holding a generic beer, biting into an overpriced hotdog, mitt in my lap staring in horror as the minority gentlemen next to me catches the ball—not because he’s a minority mind you, but because it was supposed to be mine: the ball, the fame, the money on eBay—and hands it to the kid in a wheelchair three rows down. I’m that guy, the guy that secretly wants to push the kid down some stairs, screaming, ‘Wheels don’t entitle you to any better life than mine,’ as I grab the ball from his fanny pack just to throw it at him when he hits the bottom. If anywhere, that’s probably where you’ve seen me.” As expected, his answer achieved the desired result: people stopped asking him.

6.13.2007

I slammed the book on my nightstand harder than I expected, half wishing it would wake my mother and have her rescue me like she used to when I was younger, dashing in to ward off whatever demanded warding. She would sit next to me and hold my head against her chest, rocking back and forth, assuring me that could fix all of my problems. I waited to hear her footsteps.

There was nothing but white noise--bubbles of the fish tank, an air conditioner's motor, the whir of a box fan and my muffled sniffling. I took shallow breaths and bit my lower lip almost hard enough to draw blood, the pain stifling what wanted to be screams.

This was my first night at home after graduation. My first night sleeping in a foreign bed in a house that seemed much older than when I left it. I was sleeping in a guest bedroom, a room I used throughout high school, but I still preferred to think of it as a place for temporary rest, a bed in which I paused before moving on with more important matters.

It was also the night that I realized I would no longer be seeing my friends on a regular basis. I stared at the ceiling, reflecting on the past. I thought about her. I began to cry. I felt so weak. Pitiful. "Get over it. Move on." But I couldn't. I can't. "Get over it."

My tears thoroughly permeated my pillow and when I finally did fall asleep, my sadness followed me through my dreams. I couldn't stop thinking that there was something wrong with me. Every vivid sequence highlighted another flaw.

Every day I try to convince people that I'm confident, strong, unmovable, independent. If I had even a tenth of the confidence I portrayed, I would make a decent human being.

I thought of her smile, the way it highlights her eyes.

The next morning, long before anyone else's dreams had ended, I awoke with a knot in my stomach and a perpetual headache. I turned on my right side and noted the book on my night stand. The spine read:

"My Antonia" by Willa Cather.