Tag Archives: decisions

Twenty one is just another barrier standing between her and the rest of the world.

Someone was looking out for me when they threw the hypochondriac four rooms down from the girl for whom “personal pharmacy” was a serious understatement.

the hangover hospital

via weheartit.com

It’s no wonder I want to take the Red Cross emblem from outside the Emergicare Center next to Hardee’s and tack it above her bedroom door.

I wish I could say there’s some other image I picture when I think of her, something sweet and welcoming like a smile or a handshake, but no.

No, it’s the hospital, the rescues, the always-here-when-you-need-me-and-even-if-you-think-you-don’t moments that stick with me for four years and threaten to pull me back to reality if ever my feet lift too far off the ground.

She found us on Facebook. And no, I did not change my name to Girl With An Endless Sea of Problems. She walked right into that door, my friend.

Walked right into our open oak bedroom door, too. Inserted herself into our lives, demanding those four years of us in just four seconds.

I have never, well not since kindergarten, met someone with such boldness when it comes to making friends. Few of us are daring enough to plunge into icy water and break back through the surface, refreshed and almost comfortable already, even though we know it’s going to be OK.

Brooke did that. And I needed that sort of reckless confidence lying around. I needed someone to waltz into my life, promising to stick by me when the going got rough.

And oh, how rough it got. How many times she had to talk me down from cliffs when I was sure I was dying. Sure death was lurking just around the next corner, ready to grab me with its greedy little hands and pull a bed sheet over my head.

The only time I’ve ended up in the ER since my freshman year, she was fortunate enough to escape the phone call that came when I woke up disoriented and wondering how, when someone takes you in an ambulance, you get back home.

Do you walk? Do you crawl? Do you sit down on the cold concrete outside the waiting room drop-out pull-through overhang of that empty, brand-spanking-new parking lot and pray someone channels your inner being to find you?

No. You call your roommate and when she asks where you are, when she asks where the hospital is, you tell her the truth: All you remember is seeing a Sheetz somewhere out the back window of a moving vehicle. And then nothing. Nothing except that absolute terror when you come to and realize someone is wheeling you in on a gurney. Like you really are on the brink of dying.

I am so glad I never put her through that, so thankful because I know she will travel – has traveled – leaps and bounds to help me when I’ve fallen.

I know all about those people, the ones for whom a phone call or a text message is not enough. Oh no, she has to trudge across campus in the middle of a hot afternoon when she has no time, really, to stop what she’s doing. She has to find the girl in the middle of a breakdown, any breakdown, and calm her down.

She is the youngest, if we’re going by birth dates. Turned the big 21 yesterday.

But something tells me that 21 is just another number, just another barrier standing between her and the rest of the world. And she’s conquered it already, moved on to something more urgent.

We trust a blindfolded 5-year-old with a Louisville slugger not to knock someone out; so why don't we trust a 21-year-old walking barefoot outside?

My roommates yell at me if I go outside without shoes on. There’s always a reason. Someone had a house party last night and smashed beer bottles now litter the front lawn. There’s rocks and twigs and ice and — yeah, I know.

my cousin running along the shore, into the waves

The world is full of patches of black ice. We can’t see them, but then we’re spinning and we wonder how we could’ve been so oblivious in the first place. Because we cannot know what’s in front of us. Only that right now, we’re passionate about this one thing.

It’s not that I want to step on a shard of glass. Nobody does. But I want to be trusted. I want to walk barefoot.

Simple enough, right?

We trust five-year-olds to spin around blindfolded and not knock into the piñata or smack someone in the head with the Louisville slugger. So why can’t we trust a 21-year-old to walk into the street without shoes on?

A large part of me worries I won’t fit into the world. Because I would rather spend my Easter Sunday in a room with no air conditioning for 13 hours, coming home at 10 p.m. with dirty black feet and tired eyes. Because I would rather skip winter altogether and sit in an Adirondack chair, reading a novel with the ocean foam kissing my toes.

“Some days I want to live alone on the beach with a pad of paper and a pen,” I wrote three years ago. “I’d find the perfect spot, right where high tide hits. Not too far from the water so I could still hear it. And I’d write forever. There’s a lifetime of things to talk about.”

I went on.

“But then I have days like today when I just want 3 kids, maybe 4, and that chaotic life where I’m driving all over creation. Something where I wouldn’t have any time to think about what’s going on in my life, just that it’s happening,” I wrote. “I think that’s what would keep me happy.”

I won’t fit in. I’ll run in circles, undecided between wanting it all and none of it. I lose my roommates’ trust and I’ll accidentally step into the street without looking both ways. I can’t help but wondering if my transparency has worked in my favor.

No one should make you question yourself. No one should make you worry that you don’t have it figured it. Because nobody else does.

We’re all stepping into oncoming traffic, just in different ways. The black ice sneaks up on even the most cautious driver. There are an infinite number of moving pieces in the puzzle of the world, and we think we know the outline and where the one piece goes, so we try to shove it in. But it’s wrong. All wrong.

And so I’ll walk through the cool grass in the summer heat without shoes on. I’ll let the pavement blacken and callous the soles of my feet. Let the sun kiss the back of my neck. And time will wind down. Nothing bad will happen.

Trust yourself. Trust to know what you love and what you want and trust that nobody in this world ever really knows who they are or where they’re headed. All they really know, right now, is that they want to be where they are. That’s all we can know, isn’t it?

Maybe it's a collection of small moments. And an active decision to save certain ones.

letter 29 – someone you want to tell everything to, but too afraid

via weheartit.com

Dear Mike,

Sometimes, I wonder what I ever saw in MySpace. It’s such a mess of a site.

Sometimes, I wonder what I ever saw in cross-country. It’s such a lonely sport. But then I wonder what would’ve happened if I never joined MySpace or ran cross-country. If our paths had never crossed.

I wrote ten different letters in my head before I settled on this one, but maybe that’s what this whole thing’s about. I knew that when I started this challenge, you deserved a letter. I just didn’t know what it would say.

This is a thank you for never judging me when you found out where I’d been. Who I’d been. For seeing me the same way you’ve seen me for the last five years. For reminding me why I like being friends with guys. For being in my life for these last six years, however sparse at times.

That’s my fault—not yours.

Thank you for arguing with me about who had a better boy’s varsity team well past midnight all those years ago on AIM when I should’ve been doing homework. Thank you for keeping me up until two a.m. and always telling me to have sweet dreams when I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

You’re one of only a handful of consistencies in my life. And I don’t think I ever tell you that, but you deserve to know. You deserve the truth.

For some reason, whenever I listen to Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional, I think of you. And sometimes, I want to call you and tell you how many songs I imported into iTunes (just so you know, it’s 5526 songs).

Sometimes, I feel like I’m back in your red Jeep on the way to the King of Prussia mall and you’re making fun of me for playing 3 Doors Down because it’s the first artist I recognize when I scroll through your iPod.

It’s funny, knowing someone for five years and only having a handful of tangible, face-to-face memories. But each one is stuck in my memory. You’d be surprised by the details I remember. I’m surprised by the details I remember.

But maybe that’s life. Maybe it’s a collection of small moments and an active decision to save certain ones.

I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you for giving me memories worth remembering. Thank you for being the kind of friend that sticks around for five years, stringing together conversations from 300 miles away. Thank you for knowing me better than I probably know myself and for always driving me crazy with your incessant debating and god awful nine-minute instrumental metal songs.

That’s what’s real. Driving someone crazy until you’re stuck in her life.


Slices of pie and shards of glass: relics of the past.

day 14 – someone you’ve drifted away from

Dear Christine,

I don’t know if drifted is the right word. It’s more like if you leave something really good out on the counter, like a slice of pie, but you forget to cover it, and when you come back a few days later the pie’s still there but it’s not quite as good. What’s ironic is that in our own haste to be exactly the same sort of driven and busy person, we often run out of time for each other.

I don’t want to point fingers and place blame, because its not one of our faults more than another. What hurts is always calling, never getting a phone call back for weeks. But persistence is a word I seemed to have let slip away too easily. A word that found solace in my heart for so long, but for some reason ran off at the first opportunity.

We used to joke that together, we had enough diversity in talents and interests to put together a film. Me, the writer. You, the cinematographer. Em, the actor. Juan, the director. Vanessa, the animator. Julie, the editor. That’s half a film right there. Instead of worrying about missteps and who said what to who or who should have reached for the phone first, we should have been creating something. Something bigger than us.

It’s a shame we don’t talk as much, because we could sit in a room and bounce ideas off each other. We could talk about just about anything and make the other person feel less lost or worried or anxious. You and me, we understand each other. And sometimes, we lose sight of that. We trudge over boundaries and cross into new territory and try to make the leap to the New World without holding onto any small fragment of the Old World.

And that’s all I’m asking. To be that small fragment, a shard of glass or a charm that you can stick deep down in your pocket, pulling it out whenever you start losing yourself because you think the rest of the world will always hold something better. The past grounds us, but it doesn’t have to hold us back. We’re better for it.

There are times for pressing forward and times for turning back. There are times for comfort in the warmth of a familiar face and times for chills and excitement as we race to the finish line. As we propel ourselves to be the first, the greatest, the next best thing, don’t we want that assurance that if we feel like we’re drowning, someone’s standing on shore with the life preserver?