The RV Stalks At Noon

motorhome-820593_1920

 

Hey Gang!

 

I admit that I have an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I have been creating these overt, elaborate plots of nothingness for no reason. For example, I once went for a walk on a trail in the back woods with some friends. Along the way, we found barrettes, a small pillow, and a blanket. As a precursor to my revelation, this is adjacent to a campground and fishing; well-travelled it is, as Yoda would say (did you read that in his voice? J). What then unraveled in my mind was that there was a serial killer on the loose in the woods, killing people while they sleep and burying them along the trail…and we were next! Completely true story! Not the murders, the imagination.

Another instance is that, on a date,   we sat and made up stories of all the people around us. We sat next to kings and queens, spies, and everything under the sun. It was a fun night and rare that you meet someone who shares that imagination with you. I understand that my imagination is ridiculous but it is fun and makes the mundane seem like a festival. However, it does get to me. I get uber-paranoid because I let my imagination run. For instance, I was driving through town and the car behind me mirrored every turn that I made. It was unnerving because I thought of every Creepypasta and episode of Alfred Hitchcock that was even remotely similar and it made me freak out. I started going faster, and they matched my speed, I slowed down thinking they would go around but nope, they stayed behind me. I finally whipped into my parking lot to see them speed past and into the distant night. I let out a long exhale and contemplated my sanity.

Fast forward to now. I come to work and every day there is an RV camped out in our lot. We share a rather large parking lot with a couple other corporate buildings. This isn’t your average RV; this is the watch-the-back-windows-for-someone-mouthing-“help” type of RV. It has not moved in 2 months and I have to say, it is a bit creepy but it is bringing out my inner sleuth. I have seen a balding man come out of it once and walk up to the building. The next time I saw him place something on the back bumper and then hop in a little S10 with filing cabinets in it and drive away. Below are the theories I have come up with:

  1. He works there and is having an unfortunate circumstance where he cannot afford a house
  2. He may be in the movement of not planting roots.
  3. He is a murderer that is on the move and needs to be mobile to finish his awful deeds
  4. He is using the RV as a kidnap shack in the open because he secretly wants to get caught
  5. It broke down after he was traveling the world, making it by ship from Russia and is too attached to just leave it
  6. He is a member of a secret society that only live in RVs used in ‘80s horror movies
  7. He is Illuminati….
  8. He may or may not be a vampire, which means I am living the real version of Fright Night
  9. He is a meth dealer who used to be a chemistry teacher and now has cancer but this is his way of paying for the bills and not leaving his family in debt (followed closely by his sidekick, Jessie).
  10. I need to get a life.

It’s definitely one of these!

-Chris

Advertisements

The D.C. Diaries

Image

The DC Diaries

Day 1- November 21, 3:30 a.m.

              Sleep evades me. It is so quiet and still here on the lounge deck where people lay on the ground, sprawling out wherever they can. I spelt for a few moments but it was not nearly enough. Every blink of the eye feels as if sand is within it. I can’t help but remember the events of today. It was actually somewhat unremarkable. We got on the train to go to the conference in DC at around noon. My telling partner and I met a woman who was very wise and calculated when she spoke about the past in a voice that signified years of smoking. I enjoyed speaking with her right up until we got on the train. It was much more cramped than I expected but still enjoyable as my friend and I talked aimlessly. Joked about coworkers and girls. Things of that simple nature.

              We got to Union Station at about 3 pm and we waited in a terminal gate for our next train that would come at around 640.

As you know, I love people watching and this did not disappoint. There were Pennsylvania Dutch men and women that sat not too far away. Their black clothing with just hints of color beneath were interesting. I saw women with blue hair and piercing in their dimples which was actually kind of attractive if I do say so. I loved seeing individuals and meeting people just for a few sentences or a complete conversation. That one moment shared is a treasure to me. How lucky am I to share a few words with this random person, out of everyone in the world I am among a few.

              We finally board and I remember the hilarious saying that a woman said at the tiny convenience shop on the main hall: I will put two pieces of bread around her hate and make a sandwich. It cracked me up.

              The train is a monolithic superfine and I ascend the small spiral staircase to my seat. This would be home for the next 17 hours.

              Time. Time is a terrible thing when you dode over it. Which is what I have done, what I do. I nodded off for an hour or so but that was all. Now I am in that awkward twilight phase when I am not sure if sleep is worth it. Maybe I should just read and wait until the sun rises in an hour or two.

Only time will tell.

DAY 3 November 24, Midnight

My trip comes to an end as I sit here on this train with all of these sleeping bodies around me. The weekend was full of panels of people saying the mosþ interesting things. I was fascinated by the research thaþ is out there and how illuminating it was. There was something I realized though, I am not a creature that likes to mingle. I love having long conversations with friends and enjoying talks about existentialism, women, and other things of lesserorgreaterimportance. However, there are those conversations in a room full of people, static voices around you that drown out your own thoughts, this place is where you are supposed to go up to people and begin inane chatter about this or that and then move on to the next person when you realize you just don’t have much in common. I stood there with my friends in that room full of people and the two nights prior had caught up to me. Nights soaked in alcohol and beer, laughing and dancing; it was beautiful and perfect and exhausting. I drank the rest of my 7 dollar bottle of Sam Adam’s Boston Lager and made leave. I did not say good bye to everyone because, honestly, I knew I would see them soon. I went down the large escalator and out into the cold night.

I used my phone as a GPS and decided to walk back to the hotel. The sky was beautiful and clear that night. Stardust was visible as I began the three mile hike that put an end to my trip. The buildings towered over me. Monoliths lit up in the darkened sky by orange city loghts and car headlights that made their shadows move as if by themselves.

It was quiet for the first time in days. I walked over the bridge where stone lions guarded the entry way and I noticed clouds began rolling in. I walked beneath large scaffolding and when I came out, I came to a stoplight where I waited for the orange hand to turn into the white walking man. Then, I felt something cold hit my face, a speck of icy coolness. I looked up and it had begun to snow. It was somewhat refreshing to know that these white specks falling down signaled the end of the fall.

We left the next day and I must admit that I grew from the experience where my naïve nature was put to the test. I learned of the holocaust and those that suffered, I learned of good beer, better friends, and the simple, yawning quiet that befalls a city at night, even if for a moment.

-Chris

The Fall

https://i0.wp.com/www.get-frenched.com/images/fall_leaves.jpg

 

Hey Gang!

It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon. This came into direct opposition o the few hours that preceded when tornadoes whipped around the state leaving dozens homeless and thousands without power. I was walking in the large grassy backyard at my mother’s house. My dog ran back and forth enjoying the sun about as much as me. I recently got a Canon t3 and was using it feverously. I looked all around and saw everything as a potential subject. I found piles of leaves that were densely packed against the fence as wind held them there.

Sticks jammed into the ground during the storm.

Rain dripping from evergreen needles.

Sofie looking into the distance as the sun shined through her calico fur.

My mother as she took no notice to me and my antics.

All these things surrounded me and I was in awe of it all. These beautiful moments that fade with the click of a shutter. It was all so beautiful but never meant for me. It just happened. It made me think about a person I work with who could not understand me. He needs concrete and data to understand things. To understand life, he needs directions. He could not understand the way I am and I believe he judges me for that. He does not take me a sincere because I refuse to see the world in one solid plane.

He asked me once why I was so calm about a situation. Why was I not freaking out? How am I able to travel alone and so. I looked at him and I said, “I don’t know. I just am.”

I wonder about that exchange some times. Why do I look at things and see them as they are. My interpretation of the event is met with the ideology of, “This is how it is. How do I adapt?”

This idea of living life came to me that day while taking pictures. I suppose it began a few years ago when I read this book. It was insanely disgusting and I had to pretend like I had not read it but there was one line that makes me think about life and all that comes with it every time I bring the verbiage to the forefront of my thoughts.

“Like the rain, I was born to fall.”

This ominous passage is more grave in the story than what I intend it for. For me, it reminds me of life. Oscar Wild once said that youth is wasted on the young but I believe that is false based on the simple fact that our bodies are perpetually falling. Youth is a state of my and we are never young. From the moment of conception, or whenever you believe a being is created, we begin to deteriorate. We grow up and hit puberty but we are aging. We are all in a different stage of the fall but still falling.

I think there is some sort of tragic beauty in that thought. Once you realize that you are falling and always have been, it becomes easy to accept everything.

What is it that makes it easier for a calculated person to handle life? Is it the routine? The belief that stability is tangible?

Is it the idea that life is something you build? These bricks you lay with mortar slathered around them. Mortar made of reason and caution. Knowledge of peripheral concepts. Knowledge of the fringe of what it means to be.

I talk a lot about life because it means a lot to me. I always thought the way I think is how everyone does but it is not. I love to question things. I love the idea of something new and foreign.

I look at that and I look away because it is something so scary to think about. To believe that I know everything or that I have life figured out is an insult to myself.

If a child says that they are as tall as they ever will be at age 5 and never measures themselves gain is missing out on all that growth until they realize that they are taller than they thought. Then there is the surprise that comes with this acceptance of the new you.

Us. The Immortal Jellyfish drifting somewhere far away from the certainty of land. We reinvent ourselves because we go back to our youth. That feeling of being younger but never attaining that because it was never meant to be attained.

Live long.

Live well.

That day I was taking pictures. I saw something extraordinary. Things happen. They are either about to happen, happening or happen.

One person may see the wind blowing a road sign, the next may see the road sign blow down, and the last may see the blown down sign. Rarely do we see all three. Those events, much like seeing people reunite in an airport after a long time and their tearful reunion, were never meant for us. Somehow, we see it in its entirety and we know it is special.

I looked up at a branch and I watched a leaf break away from the branch as the wind blew furiously. All other leaves fell directly to the ground and tumbled along as the wind blew, this one was different. It slowly drifted and turned, flipping over and over as I saw vibrant orange and earth brown flickering at me. It hovered and dropped quickly then rose again as it continued the show. I watched in fascination.

Finally, the show stopped. The leaf came to rest on the ground and was blown along with all the other leaves but for a moment it danced in the air despite the wind or maybe because of it.

Just like the leaves, we too dance in the winds of change. That is what he does not see. He does not see the wind for something that can be used to dance and to sing praises of. He does not see that the wind is meant for us. The fall is natural and the winds are constant but fluctuate.

When you realize that you cannot get back to the branch, you begin to understand the fall and how beautiful it can be.

-Chris

A Life Less Ordinary Part I: The Shadowboxer

Dim lights hang in the large gymnasium. Shadows creep in the corners of the darkened building where boxing bags and a boxing ring are the only things that occupy the space between the light and darkness. A man walks slowly through the open space and heads toward a wall. The light reveals, against the wall, a darkened figure. The individual’s dark doppelganger stands before him. The shadow faces him, waiting to mock his movements.

The man rounds out his shoulders and lifts his arms; fists clenched.

He reflects on what has been going on his life as everything around him fades.

His feet begin to shift from heel to toe as he bounces from left foot to right.

He thinks of how powerless he has felt as the winds of life sweep through his concrete platform which he builds up.

Jab.

He thinks of what was, what is, and the uncertainty of what will be.

Uppercut.

His doppelganger mocks every movement.

He thinks about the loss of the support system he had and what will come. What will come?

He dips below as his shadow throws a right cross, mirroring his.

He thinks about his own isolation as he begins to curl up in an all too familiar cocoon of solitude. The quiet depths of solitude that echo strange sounds of the living person high above. The person who calls out for the one who journeyed so deep into the canyon as not to be seen. The search exhausts him.

He begins a flurry of uppercuts at his opponent who reflects his.

He thinks of his mother as she suffers from physical and emotion pain. He hears her cries of exasperation as she regrets not doing more and seeing more. He hears her worries of the future. He hears her. It seeps into his thoughts and changes his view as it skews to where her pain flows.

Jab.

Left.

Left.

Right.

Uppercut.

Uppercut.

Left.

Left.

Right.

Left.

Right.

He lets those thoughts fade away as he comes to the realization that this is not something he can control. He realizes that there is only one way that this will all fade. It is the combination of time and faith. It is a time of waiting for movement. Waiting for the chance to live a life that is the one he shapes and not the one he is thrust into by the ever changing winds of fate. The chance to live a life less ordinary. Waiting for chance.

He stops his assault on his doppelganger as he breaths the stinging needles from his lungs and his chest rises and falls rapidly. He looks at the shadow figure and realizes that his opponent is what he always feared it was.

The inevitable.

-Chris

The Day John Henry Died

Image

 

Hey Gang!

 

What is strength?

Is strength something that comes from within you? Some sort of primal trait we have hidden within us that bursts forth in times of need. Is it something summoned willingly? What is its potential? Where is it coming from? What is strength?

There is this really great old story that I love. It’s the tall tale of John Henry. An American legend who was up there with the tall tales of Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickock. In folk lore, John Henry was a steel-driver who would hammer spikes into the ground and then a drill setter would come behind him and drill the hole to finish it out. This was the process a couple hundred years ago to begin clearing the way for railroad tracks. John Henry was the best at what he did and the hero of his peers. One day a salesman came through with a machine that was said to be able to be any man at steel-driving. John Henry challenged that notion and was pitted against the machine. They both hammered and drove and drilled for an entire night before the machine stopped, in some stories it broke. John Henry had won by at least 6 feet but, in the end, the amount of strength and prowess he showed killed him. He and his two twenty pound hammers fell to the ground but no one forgot about John Henry.

 

I was out with my friend a few weeks ago. We hadn’t been downtown together in a long time and even longer since we’d been to the downtown back home. So, we bar hopped and it seemed like we were the only ones there. We drank in so many different bars that I can’t quite remember them all. We came to a bar that was firefighter themed and I decided that naturally I would put my head into the lamp shades fashioned from old firefighter helmets. We roamed around to more bars and became too intoxicated to drive. He wanted to take a cab but I wanted to get money from the ATM. As we stumbled there and I put in my card in, he overheard a girl say to her friend, “I would not fu** either of those guys.”

This offended him so much that he said to me, “Did you hear that? She said she wouldn’t have sex with either of us.”

“What? No way. We were the least hood fabulous guys in there,” I said as I drunkenly tried to use the ATM.

The rest of the night was filled with me trying to get cash from ATMs and us stumbling through the city. We screamed at the top of our lungs things like, “Why are we so ugly!” or “There is no way they were talking to us, we have master’s degrees!”

He even suggested we begin wearing signs around our necks that had our college education credentials on them. I liked the idea at the time.

We eventually get a cab and go to Steak n Shake where I proceed to ask some young ladies on a scale of one to “elephant man” we lay. I don’t remember if they answered and I remember not really caring as my delicious sandwich arrived soon after.

We walked back to my apartment, or stumbled back I should say, as we still lamented about how we need to go to the gym and start doing crunches, we cried out, “why were so hideous!” I began to realize that the sun was rising and it had been an incredibly long, fun and ego-crushing night.

The next day we arose from our blackout slumber and I took him to his car. Then I remembered what the girls were talking about. The one girl was being hit on by two very thugalicious gentlemen. They followed her all over the bar and she even had her friends boyfriend act like her boyfriend to get away from them. The first part of the convo that he didn’t hear was her friend asking why she didn’t hook up with one of those guys at the bar. So, my ego wasn’t quite as fractured as before but it made for a memorable last night out for he and I. We may have thought we were ugly for a bit but we were ugly together, damn it!

You see, my friend will be moving hundreds of miles away soon and my other best friend is out west. We have all been friends for almost twelve years. Hard to believe.

When I think about how much strength John Henry had that day, I admire him but I also feel bad for him. I don’t summon all of my strength from within nor do I have some primal switch that flips. I gather my strength from two guys whom I met in high school. One guy hated me at first but now we have each other on Facebook as ‘brother’ and the other I was jealous of because he got to sleep in class with his hoodie up.

If not for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. They inspired me to lose weight and realize what a healthy lifestyle really meant. Not just losing weight but the amount of happiness you gather from that weight loss. Confidence, resilience and so much more.

If not for my friends, I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t be writing. My friends have been my biggest fans, even when I wasn’t.

I have my own strength but I know that if it weren’t for those two, my hopes and my dreams and my life as I know it would be right beside John Henry and his hammers.

For all this, to Skober and The Jett, I just want to say, thanks.

 

-Chris

My Dating Constitution

Hello friends!

I apologize for my absence but it was for good reason! I took the GRE with excellent results might I add (Thank You Kaplan). So, I studied all last week and really focused on the test, which paid off. I was surprised I did well as I was frazzled because I forgot to eat breakfast before taking the four hour test. We had to lock everything we had on us into a locker and when I returned with my watch and no key from the lock I realized I had locked the key in the locker. These were bad things to happen when I was already on the verge of pulling my hair out from stress. Then Quantitative Reasoning sections of the test made me reevaluate my existence. I read the first question and looked around me at the other people taking different tests and I thought “This isn’t a real question, right? Like, the answer doesn’t exist!” At the end though, I did better than I had hoped and now I can get back to my first love, writing!

A bit of back story.

When i was younger we moved a lot. My mother hated staying one spot for a large amount of time so we would move constantly to avoid life fatigue. This means that utilities would have to be transferred but that takes time. Cable would usually take the longest to get hooked up, so we would always watch movies (VHS, it was a while back). The one movie that became ritual to watch at the new house was Animal House. I love that movie and my mother does as well. So, we would camp out on the living room floor, eat air pop popcorn and watch the shenanigans on screen that made me want to go to college as a kid.

Years later, i was admitted to college and my mother thought it would be cool of me to keep a journal of my stay in college (prior to the blog explosion). I thought it was a great idea as well and that is when she gave me the book pictured above. She doesn’t know but at the time I was given this, I had been on a string of bad dates. So, one night after a severely unfortunate incident on a date I wrote it down in this journal as a reminder and ever since I have done just that. What is contained in this book is what I call my Dating Constitution. It is the guideline to which I abide on a date. I always keep them in mind so that i may learn from them.

What follows are select constitutional ideologies. I know some of them are funny but they all aren’t. I made a promise when I started this blog to be honest and I have to say that right now, I want to break it but I won’t. There is one aspect that is paramount in the journal but which still makes me cringe at the thought by saying “Why?” So, here are some embarrassing, sentimental and lamenting types of constitutional precedents that I hold true. I hope you enjoy and if you have any constitutional bills of your own, please tell!

#1- DO NOT DATE GIRLS THAT ARE CLOSE TO THEIR SISTERS

– This may seem dramatic but it is the inciting event. I was 19 and dating a woman who was 18. She was very outgoing and a lot of fun. I was in my “try to be cool at all times” phase so I listened to the hardcore music and even talked in a different way, just playing it cool. So, due to this, I don’t think she ever took me seriously, I mean this was in the early 00’s; I would wear baggy pants (not gangsta style but they definitely had a bit of room in them) and I was somehow claiming to be an anarchist but it just wasn’t me….I even died my hair green! Anyway, as I said, she wasn’t serious, I was. So, I meet her younger sister, 14 may I add, who was really cool and they were very close due to rough family life. As the weeks went on, I slowly noticed that her younger sister was texting me a lot and she was texting me less. Then, we were hanging out in a Hardees parking lot (oh the charm of small towns) when she decides to break up. I was not shocked really but I wanted to know why. It turned out that her little sister want to go out with me and there was a big dance at her school and she wanted me to go. Since they were so close she didn’t want to upset her sister by going out with me so she dumped me and tried to get me to go out with her sister. I believe I blossomed into maturity right then because I immediately exclaimed, “No way, she is 14. Do you know what would happen to me in jail!” She tried to rationalize with me but I ignored her. I took her home and promptly deleted her number. She called back once in a while but I never answered. I was extremely weirded out and confused that she thought the only thing keeping me from dating her RECENTLY turned age 14 sister was her. So, no more.

-AMENDMENT: Same for friends (same thing happened with these two girls that were friends. I’m not even cool!)

#7- PLACE THE WATER ON YOUR RIGHT SIDE

– I gesticulate a lot. It’s kind of embarrassing but yes, in fact, I am a “hand talker”. This rule comes from the night I was on a group date and I was severely attracted to this woman. We were deep in flirtatious conversation when the hostess walked up and said in a high squeak “HI EVERYONE, WHAT CAN I GET YOU TODAY!” It caused me to jolt and, water being on my LEFT side, my left arm flicked hard launching my large glass of water all over the lower body of our very pretty waitress. I was mortified, as was the woman I was talking to. It killed the conversation and our table got the worst service I had ever seen. I tried to explain myself but it made no difference. Never talked to the woman again and I never went into that restaurant again.

#11 MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS SAY YOU ARE ON A DATE

– This one is making me smile as I say it. I was under the impression that I had been dating this girl for a while. We went to movies, talked, went to dinner. It was great. We laughed and had an awesome vibe together. Then, I went in for the kiss, finally, and she recoiled extremely fast. Much like a mongoose. I think we were both shocked by what had just happened. I was shocked because I had never been rejected of a kiss in a manner that made me feel like the Elephant Man and she told me this soon after, which explains her response:

“I can’t do that. I thought we were just friends, ya know? Like you are so much fun but you know I have a boyfriend right?”

This conversation went on and my face was burning with embarrassment. I wanted to jump out of my window just to avoid how awkward it was. I also believed she was letting me down easy. Giving excuses, etc. So,afterward, she called and texted and, due to my utter humiliation, I ignored her (see a pattern here?). Until, I went to see a movie with my friends “Mike” and “Morgan”. I look down in front of me and she is turned around in her seat giving me a small wave and a half smile; her boyfriend’s arm wrapped around her shoulders. At least she wasn’t lying, I guess. I remember it vividly because I remember his enormous, triumphant, purple Mohawk. Mike and Morgan teased me about that for months. I still wondered if they are together sometimes.

#22 NEVER SAY NO

– This one is a bit harder to talk about. We all have the one that got away but this is the one that I almost had that I let go away. I write this sincerely but maybe vaguely as who knows who reads this. Maybe SHE would read this. As I said, at some point I wonder when this honesty thing will get me in trouble. Here is the reason for this:

I met her years ago. She was dating a man who was treating her like crap. We worked together and we were both very young. Kindred spirits I think sums up everything here. So, whenever I was at work I would do as much as possible to cheer her up on those days when her boyfriend was less than courteous to her. I wasn’t trying to steal her away, I just wanted to be in her presence. I am not the same person I was back then. I used to be almost bored in life. i am sure there is a better word for it but I was just bored. My position was just not fitting at the time but her….She was the only person that, to this day, was comfortable with being her. She had that lust for life that i wanted so badly and we just talked a lot. About anything. We would debate and joke around. We had a contest for at least a month about who could find the dirtiest joke, she would always win. So, eventually they break up and I am extremely happy by this but…I do nothing. We talk for months later, I even help her move. She was great and one day, she says she is going to Paris for New Years and wanted me to go with her and her friend. I look back now and want to slap myself for saying what I did…”No”. I gave some big diatribe about how I just couldn’t. Then she went and when she came back she had met the person she is with to this day. I hear things are going well and they moved in together. So, I wonder now, did I miss something or would I have stood in the way of someone else’s something? That’s why now, I never say no.

Well, that was long but thanks for sticking with me! I still write in that little book of do’s and don’ts, adding amendments and such but, after writing this, I wonder if it is a good thing or a bad thing that these exist? Sometime you have to close your eyes and leap over the gap instead of measuring the distance. Sometimes.

-Chris

PS- Now that I told you some inner-layer stuff, do you guys have any constitutional dating ideologies?

We Got Our Fireworks.

Image

Hello again! Happy belated fourth of July friends!

So, I am months away from graduating from my nominally esteemed college and I must admit that there is a bit of something in me that is stirred by this. Not fear but not elation. Something else. I talk a lot about my roommate and he has actually been my best friend for over a decade (I just felt weird saying that! Friends for a decade! That’s two fifths of my age that I have called him my best friend. Wild.). Where was I?…Oh yeah, so we have been friends and roommates and his girlfriend is a friend of mine as well. We hang out a lot, third-wheel is implied there, and it’s always fun.

They were going to go see fireworks but I was just going to sit around and study for the GRE. I said this only to sound productive for, in reality, I was going to workout and re-watch Arrested Development. I wanted to go though! Just not as a third-wheel…again. I love fireworks but more on that later.

I guess it’s funny how things work out though. The day before the fourth I tore my calf muscle (medial gastrowidfuwuefh strain i believe. Sorry but medical terms aren’t my forte. It hurts that’s about it.*). This tear kind of limited my mobility so I was stuck in the house for pretty much the entire day Tuesday and then all of Wednesday morning and afternoon. I am by no means an “inside” person. I love being outdoors, so this little set-back was not appealing to me. I became severely bored. The kind of bored where you are too bored to do anything so it makes you lazy. I couldn’t watch AD because my attention span was gone, I could only listen to about a minute of a song before changing it, which annoyed me. I was non complaisant. Then, later in the evening, my roommate and his girlfriend asked if I wanted to get ice cream. They had decided not to see fireworks because of the heat and crowds. I didn’t miss a beat. After his girlfriend asked me if I wanted to go, I hobbled to a stand and said, “where to?!” probably a bit too eagerly but I was just happy to get out of the house.

I never noticed just how much I used my calf muscles until everything I did mobility wise was affected by searing pain when I did the wrong movement. I had to walk with my right foot cocked almost completely sideways, my roommate saying, “I didn’t know you were half pirate” or “Look at Chris with his pimp walk”. Love you too, bro…

We have our ice cream and talk about relationships. They talk about how they’ve been dating a year and people keep hinting they should get married which sends palpitations through my heart. Not that I don’t want them to get married it’s just, the idea is too foreign for me, especially considering our age but that’s a whole other blog post. Then I remark on how that’s better than people questioning your sexuality because you don’t have a girlfriend. I think that’s funny. Most people are serial monogamists, jumping from one relationship to another. I’m a romantic at heart. I like to date but I won’t be in a relationship with someone just to BE with someone. I want it to mean something. So, I walk the dusty trail alone, sometimes. I’m okay with it but some just think it’s because I like boys. Go figure.

So, after ice cream we went to a video store and rented Chronicle (see it), and as we were leaving we heard a BOOM! The first firework went off. Then another BOOM! I poked my head out of the car window and into the humid night air. Those beautiful neon green lights that faded to orange and finally dissipated. The smell of gun powder hung in the air and I took it all in. I could hear her saying she couldn’t see them. My roommate doesn’t love nor hate fireworks. He just doesn’t see the point of them but he would have gone for her. She said she didn’t want to go but in this moment with all of those lights hanging over head as we drove through the shadow shrouded streets, she wanted to and he knew it. So they squabbled a bit about why she didn’t say she really wanted to go but I took no notice.

We ended up in the parking lot of Schnuck’s and as we pulled up, we saw that there were fireworks going off in the distance. She got out first and stood in front of the car. It was funny seeing her face light up at the spectacle in front of us. It was like she was a kid again. My roommate and I sat in the car for a moment and then I convinced him to get out of the car. The three of us stood in the empty parking lot and saw fireworks going off on our left. The lights lit up the clear night sky.

Boom! Boom!Boom!

Then more in the distance to our right. They were on either side of us. Then a single BOOM! and a POP just in front of us. We had come to a point where we could see three shows going off at once.

I reveled in this. It took me back to being a kid and wanting to get as close as I could to the fireworks. I loved it when they went off almost above your head and later little bits of ash fell on you. The smell of the gunpowder will always stick with me. After those long shows as a child, I would run through the open, grass field, barefoot of course, and it would be covered in smoke. It was almost like fog hanging in the air.

BOOM!

The three of us stand at the foot of the car in silence. The three fireworks shows going off one after another. I look over at them embracing and I find I am troubled. In this moment there is lament. He is graduating in May and has plans to move to Florida and she may possibly go with him. So, I am looking at these two people whom I genuinely love and I think about how in one years time the likelihood that we will do this again is not there. This singular event is all that we have. Time runs out. I look back at the fireworks and I am content because now I enjoy the fireworks for a different reason. I enjoy them for what they stand for in that moment and I am happy again.

So, even though I may not see them for years after May or possibly never see them again, I get to know that they are friends that I never took for granted. We may have all wanted something different that day but somehow, in the end, we got our fireworks.

-Chris

*FOOT NOTE: So, if you read this far, kudos! it was a long one! This is a small story about the calf pull. My roommate “Mike” is really into fitness and stuff. So he wanted me to do agility training with him out in a park. It was fine at first but then we did this hill running drill. You have to sprint up the hill then walk down. Do that 10 times each. ten up, ten down. It is really hard. So I am on my tenth one going up when I hear a pop and a feeling of pain that made me want to pee myself. Glad I didn’t because there were a lot of people around. I get home and look up my injury. It says it happens commonly to tennis athletes. It listed the causes of the injury. Guess what the first one was….Hill Running.