You are always flitting from person to person, holding one, and dropping the other.  I stand here waiting, in momentary silence, waiting for your other friends to abandon you, so you will turn back to me.  I feel bad, knowing that you will always have to start over again every time.  I could be flitting too, like a bird, I could fly away, just like you, and maybe our flight would intersect at one point.  Or maybe it wouldn’t.  I would be able to be friends with everybody, making people hate me, and then love me again.

But I like being insistent, it frees me in it;s own way.  People count on me, they come to me, I don’t come to them.  I don’t have to spill my heart out to anyone, it isn’t a requirement for my kind of friendship.  I never have to win anyone over.  I can simply hold their hand forever, never letting them go.  But sometimes it isn’t easy, sometimes I get made, and then I let go.  I have let go of you too often, I have even pushed you away.  I feel like I owe you again and again.  I always complain about you, tell your secrets.  It is something that I friend never does.

I keep other people’s secrets.  I keep more important secrets, after bigger fights.  I don’t know why it is so hard for me to be a good friend to you.  Maybe if you were better to me it would reciprocated. People who I am worse friends with than you have more of a right to trust me.  When you look at me, what do you see, a back-up friend?  Whenever I spend time with you we are friends, but it isn’t the same as best friends.  You talk about your best friends, and I am never in that list, because I stand behind them, a just in case.

Maybe if you stopped and thought for a second about how luck y you are to have me always being there for you, you would treat me better, and I would treat you better.  Right now you only make me feel bad about myself.  You are my weakness.  You are the friend I don’t want people to know about.  I hide what I have done to you, hoping you will fly back to me, because I still have hope that you will stay.

Personal Styling Essay #1

THE CERTIANTY

I saw a religious bible camp.  It reminds me how every time we pass it on the way up to Mt. Baker Nicola always says, “Andrew, it is the religious bible camp”.  I don’t know whether Andrew needs to know it is there because he has attended it or if it is just because he happens to be religious.  I always have so much fun on the way up to Baker, and the camp is just another friendly reminder that we are on the right way.  Graham’s sign, with it’s bright ice cream cones, or Micheal D’s car that we always fight over whether it is green or blue.  There are always the rolling hills, either clouded over grey, or shiny in the morning sun.

We blast the music on the radio, or some old rock tapes in the truck.  Andrew and Nicola sit in the back, and I sit in the front with my dad.  The Grand Canyon sleeping bag lies on top of me, smothering me with warmth.  A book on my lap, my legs curled under.  This is the way that it always goes, leaving early, getting home late, with tired legs.  Then I consistently fall asleep on the way home.  The blanket, the setting sun, and the weaving of the cars make staying awake almost impossible.

It doesn’t matter if it was a powder day or a racing day.   They tire me out the same.  By three o’clock I can barely make one more carving turn, or jump another mogul.  I fight my burning legs all the way up until the end, trying to get in another run before the lifts close.  I try to see if I can get one more run down Pan, or one more racing run down five.  I think that maybe they will take pity on me if I am a poor little girl stuck in the middle of the mountain, when really all I want is one more run down Gobbles.  I usually decide that I won’t risk it, but every once in a while; when it is just too good to pass up I speed down, hoping that the lift wont be closed.

I love Sundays, the certainty of it, the way I always know what is coming, but there is also the surprise of what will happen, the knowing that no day is the same.  The conditions always change, leaving me adjusting, looking forward to the next day we pass the bible camp.

 

MY HANDS WERE TOO FULL

Lately I noticed that I don’t care about the little things. I am letting the things that are small enough to slip through my hands, slip through.  There is no need to catch those things.  They are so small, so insignificant.  I was never a detail-oriented person.  But I always hold into those small things, the things that happened years ago, the ones that don’t matter.  I could remember that look that some girl gave me, or those little words that an angry eight year old told me.  I held  the memory of my friend’s mom screaming me.  It always haunted me, leaving me scared of parents, not wanting to spend the night at anyone else’s house.

Then all of a sudden it was too much, I couldn’t hold  all of the things, my hands were too full, unable to catch the look the a girl threw me in the hallway.  And it started to slip, it all started to slip away, down into oblivion.  And that is where they should stay.  They don’t need to be brought back up, relived.  It was never my job to remember them, it was my job to forget them.

I have tried numerous techniques to try to live a more fulfilled life.  I have tried exercising every morning, I have tried writing every evening, I have tried doing yoga before I go exercising.  And from all of those things I have gotten more in shape, more flexible, and better at writing, but it never made the difference I was looking for.  It never stopped me from focusing on the small dark things in my life.  It didn’t change my outlook on life.

It was a look the girl gave me.  Maybe it is the small things, the things that happen in an instant that you don’t try to create that change who you are.  People try to change themselves without the mental ability to do so.  You wont be able to change until you realize there is no point to stay the same.  There are things that I want to change about myself, but some of them I cling to.  I want to desperately keep them, because they are who I am.  I cling to them because maybe I can use them to make myself a better person, but this time I changed because I knew there wasn’t a point to hold on anymore.

 

 

THE YELLOW ROSES

I always wait for the roses.  They come out in the summer.  There are yellow roses in my garden, my favorite kind.  I love the yellow roses, their petals are so thick and clean and strong.   The backyard doesn’t get very much sunlight, because it is behind my house, but it is in this patch that can still reach the sun’s rays even when it is setting.  I always loved to watch the roses reflect the sunset.  There was always a rose in my room.  I came home from French camp and it was their greeting me.  I loved watching it, not wanting to part with it.  I let the petals fall to my bedside table, not wanting the seasons of the roses to end.  It was always my favorite season.  It was the summer, filed with many surprises, many days of adventure.  I used to get bred in the summer, wasting away days rereading old books, too lazy to go to the library.

I know that a second shouldn’t be wasted; I go hiking playing with my dog, bot that I ever seem to have a moment to spare, even in the summer.  This summer I will go to Senegal and then to French camp, I can’t wait.  I love knowing what will spread out ahead of me will be fabulous.  I know that every moment will be lived to the max.

I wonder why I wait for the roses to come out to do that.  Why aren’t a living this moment to the max, why am I not seizing the moment as my dad would always lecture his soccer team.  Of course that was about soccer, reading the plays, knowing that within every play lies an opportunity to succeed.  But it does in life to, every moment, every single moment.  I should realize that, and I should take advantage of it.  Instead of walking by someone in the hallways awkwardly, start a conversation.

I always work hard for opportunities that will be later in my life, but I forget or ignore the ones that present themselves every day, every moment.  Every moment is an opportunity to do great things in.  I know I will always love the freedom of summer, the yellow roses, and the days that last forever.  I will always look forward to the long rays of light, but I wont wait for the buds of the roses to start enjoying every moment, I will start now, seizing this very moment.

 

THE SMELL OF THE DOCK

I remember the smell the dock the night we slept on it.  It was chilly night.  It was nice, to be able to be huddled in my sleeping bag without being uncomfortably hot.  I woke up with my face pressed up against the side of the dock, taking in the smell.  It smelled like a mixture of crab, and salt and dirt.  It had a trace of oil, and maybe a bit of wood, but it smelled of memories, good ones.  The night before we had all laughed together.  We had sung and danced, and we had smiled.  My friend had started to break dance in the middle of the gap between where the boys slept and where the girls slept.  My other friend had started to sing “every little thing is gonna be alright, don’t worry” and at the moment I truly believed her.

She was right, and she would always be right, because these memories were perfect, absolutely perfect, and nothing could change that.  I remember leaving only last year.  I remember watching my tears fall in between the grates of the dock, falling down with a plop, and rippling out into the still bay.  Then my parents had arrived with their kayak.

It was good they arrived, I had missed them, and there were perfect moments waiting for me on the inland, but I couldn’t help crying, leaving this entire world behind.  I could wondered if I smelled a bit of my tears from last year, but I knew it was the dark rippling seawater below that smelled like the salty tears I had cried.  When I woke up there were a few rays of sunlight bouncing off the water.  We would go sailing today, I could feel the wind, just right for a fast cruse over to Shaw and then back again.  The day would begin before I would know it; it always did, and when we went to bed it felt like another year had bonded us together as a family.  After the first day I felt like I knew more about them then I did anyone at my school.

Maybe that was what the dock smelled like, happy memories.  It was the mixture of the French cuisine, and burnt cakes, it smelled like the pie we smuggled into our tepee, and the water balloons we dropped on people’s head, it smelled like the clash of swords when we fenced, and the tightness of the string at the archery range.  It smelled like the sweat we shed during a whole island game of capture the flag, and the sparks that were lit on Bastille Day.  It smelled like all of these and much more, because they were combined, creating something that could never be recreated or described.

 

Assignment

The loneliness spread to all the parts in my body, it took over my toes, and up my arms, it hid inside of my neck, letting my head drop back onto the head rest in the seat.  It was over whelming, how big it was, how important.  I had to stop talking, stop moving.  The words flew over me “Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend, somewhere along in the bitterness, And I would’ve stayed up with you all night, Had I known how to save a life.”  I didn’t know what was special about them, when the song had first come on I had started to sing along, but now it got to the chorus I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t move.  Why all of a sudden, why now, why am I so lonely?

I was sitting with all of my soccer friends.  They were the ones I can be myself around, I can talk about my extreme love for Harry Potter, or cry in front of them when I pull a muscle, or get hit too hard in the head.  Why was I so lonely when I sat with them in the car?  We were all singing along, dancing, we were having fun.  It was the kind of fun that you can only have after extreme physical exercise at ten o’clock at night.  Why was that song special, and why now?  I couldn’t remember the last time I had listened to that song.  I had probably last heard it when I was in my room, and Nicola was in her room, blasting music.  Or maybe it was when we were all talking together, down on the faded red couch, with Pandora providing the continual soft background music.

Why was I so lonely?  I’m not going through a particularly bad time with any of my friends.  In fact, I had scheduled to go see the Hunger Games with Katrina, just a few minutes earlier, right when we had gotten in the car.  Who could possibly feel lonely after arranging to go see what should be the best movie in the world with a friend (I also happen to be a Hunger Games lover).  I hadn’t seen a movie with friends since fourth grade when I went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks with a friend that I haven’t seen for about two years.  I had never had a deep connection with her, and when she moved schools I lost any connection I had ever had with her.

So what was wrong, why was it that suddenly I couldn’t hold my head up.  Why was I fighting back tears, so that Meleri wouldn’t see me crying?  I remember staying a little bit too late at the meet the teachers night at Sehome High SchoolLizzie and I had talked about acting.  There was no way that she was doing drama.  I had secretly been hoping that she would do it, so that we could join it together.  I’m not brave enough to go act by myself.  I wasn’t brave enough to act out my monologues at the firehouse if it hadn’t been for my family, constantly saying that I was missing a great opportunity.  But secretly I had wanted to do that too.  I had wanted to stand up and say what I had written; it was pretty good, so why not be proud?  I knew that mine was the best.  I wanted to show everybody that it was, I wanted there to be no doubt in their mind that I was the best.  But she said that she wasn’t doing drama.  I told her that we should do it together.  I told her how much fun the monologue thing was.  She smiled and said, I loved yours.  How could you go up there and say something so sad and depressing.  When I act things have to be funny, but I guess that I am just a funny person.

I stood there wondering about that.  I knew that she must have had sad times too.  There must’ve been nights alone where she cried in her bed, wouldn’t there have been?  Who didn’t have those nights?  I was sure that everyone suffered through them.  There is only so long you can go without crying.  Something always goes wrong.  I wasn’t counting on another crying fit, because I had had one pretty recently while skiing.  I had gotten stuck on a cliff, and cried it all out.  It had felt good, until I realized that I was still stuck on a cliff, and that was when I started to think.  That was when I started to wonder if people didn’t have to go through the same thing as I did.  What if other people didn’t cry?  What if Lizzie had never felt the way I did, usually once every three weeks to two months.

Then she said, “I mean, I’m not saying that you are a sad and serious person, or anything, you are really funny too.”  That was nice of her, but I wondered if I gave off a sort of depressed air.  What if I wasn’t funny?   Maybe I couldn’t write anything funny because I was never happy and light hearted when I wrote.  When I am lonely and sad I write.  I get everything out on the page, and then there is no need to cry.  It is that easy.  When I had acted out my monologue I had taken my feeling inside of me, and I showed them on my, face in my body expressions.  I made the audience feel them too.  I felt them deeply, and I was sure that everyone knew what I was talking about.  Wasn’t everyone in search of a best friend?

Maybe people aren’t in search of a best friend, because they don’t need one.  Maybe thy have all the friends that they want, or maybe they want to get rid of some of their friends.  Maybe people don’t think about those things, maybe they keep living their lives, never once thinking how nice it would be to always have someone there for you, to always have someone you want to hang out with.  I think about it all the time.

That is one of the reasons why I love camp.  You can find this great friend, and you can pretend that if they had lived where you live you would be best friends.  You would know that your friendship, without a doubt would bond you forever if only you lived near each other.  It is easy to fool yourself.  They were interesting, funny, inventive, what could go wrong?

Up to the minute that Lizzie said that, I was sure that Lizzie wanted a best friend.  She was always searching for a best friend, dropping old ones left and right, when she got tired of them, or she just didn’t want to spend any more time with them.  Then she would put someone else in her sights and think, “them, they are perfect, they will be my new best friend” and then she would hone in, and make them her best friend until she got tired of them again.  I was positive until then that that was why she switched from friend to friend so fast. But maybe it was an unconscious decision, maybe her automatic voice in her brain just told her to drift, maybe she is just a drifter, leaving ripples everywhere, ripples that get so stretched thin you don’t even notice them.   I am not that kind of person.  I stand there forever,  I am always there, and if I relationship ends it is because the other person started to slowly drift.

If life were on a giant lake, then I would stay in the same place, with an anchor firmly attached to the bottom, hoping against all hope that someone would move towards me, anyone.  I have often spent whole afternoons making a list of all the things I would do I had a best friend.  Sometimes I conjure up the list and try to find one activity I could do with the person I am currently hanging out with, but some of them would be impossible to do with anyone but a best friend.  I couldn’t walk five hundred miles across Spain and France with someone who wasn’t my best friend, I doubt that I could do that with someone who was my best friend, but we could still dream about it together.

I have often wondered if maybe there is a reason that I don’t have a best friend.  What if I’m just not funny enough?  Would if I have a best friend, and it is right in front of me, in my face?  What if I don’t deserve a best friend?  What if people don’t like me?  Or worst of all, what if I am just too sad?  What if Lizzie was right, what if I have too much of feeling of sadness, and not enough happiness.

Realisticly I don’t think there is anything terribly wrong with me other than that I haven’t made a connection with anyone I have ever meet yet.  I can make friends pretty quickly, and people ask me to hang out and they laugh at my jokes.  I think that all of my friendship skills are working.

Because of my lack of best friend to watch the sunset with I love to walk my dog on the boardwalk on sunny days when the sunset will be beautiful.  The last time I was walking there I saw all of my friends walking on the boardwalk as well.  It was astonishing that they were there, and I was there, and we weren’t together.  I was always invited to those things, and then about a month ago I stopped getting texts asking to meet people at the village green.  One of the things that my friend group does is send out mass texts to everyone they can think of and ask them to meet them at the village green.  This is a great system for everyone because nearly everyone can walk there, everyone knows where it is, and then it isn’t as formal, and you no one needs to worry about having to be the host.  We walk around look at all the shops, and stop at Woods to get a coffee or tea, just so you can hang out in there on the couches next to the big fire.  I never particularly enjoyed these occasions.  Sometimes they were fun, depending on the people there.  Most of the time it was waste of money and time and it was usually at twelve on Sundays, and at the time I was skiing.  But I always received the texts.  It was important to me that I was part of my friend group, I had the option of coming and I sometimes I would.

When I stopped eating at their lunch table the texts stopped.  I always thought that people had stopped hanging out because we were playing volleyball now, or because it was too cold.  I had of course, forgotten about last year when I went when it was snowing, hailing, and raining.  The time that it was snowing none of us wanted to buy anything, so we walked around in the cold, until finally someone offered to buy a side of potato wedges at the colophon so we could get out of the cold.  By that time my nose had nearly fallen off from the cold, so it was silly of me to assume that they wouldn’t hang out if it were below sixty degrees.  I don’t know why I was so shocked when I saw them hanging out without me, but it was like part of me was ripped out, the part that had been in there from the time when I first met them in first grade.  Had the forgotten the last eight years in the last two months?  Was that possible?

Maybe that was why I couldn’t hold my head up last night, because I knew that my friends no longer thought about me, so tonight I am going to start again.  I’m not going to let their walks in Fairhaven stop me.  I will start over again, with a group of friends who wont forget me, alone, leaving me to cry on the way home from soccer.

It was around ten o’clock at night.  Our parents were upstairs talking.  We were both exhausted.  I had already played two soccer games, and you had played one.  It was snowing out of the dark blue sky that we could see from the small window near the ceiling.  We were in the basement.  It was hot, and we were hiding behind the overstuffed armchair with embroidered flowers.  We both held half loaded nerd guns.  The room around us looked like it had been blown up.  Ping pong paddles, Nerf bullets, and tennis balls were scattered around.  We were trying to get a shot at your younger brother.  This was our last life.

I don’t know if you were thinking this, but as I shot at him, I thought of how perfect of an opportunity it was to kiss.  We were crunched up, and my whole entire side of my body was touching you.  All I could think about was how I couldn’t think of a better moment.  I have always assumed that you like me.  I still think that you do.

I never notice people’s eye color.  I forget my best friends, the person I like, the kid who has the longest eyelashes in the whole entire freaking world, but there is no way on a million years that I could forget your eye color.  It is light blue, just like you North Carolina basketball shorts that you always wear when we are visiting.

I remember when I used to be better than you at everything.  The first thing that you beat me at was how high you could throw a rock at the sand dunes.  The second was who could win in a race across the field from the swing to the volleyball courts.  The third was who could throw the farthest into the gray-blue ocean.  Then you got taller.  Then you got more muscular.  Then you could pin me down.  I can still beat you when we swim across the inlet.  I don’t know how long that is going to last, but I don’t mind.

Next Post

I always have check list.  A list that tells me what to do this day.  First I have to exercise, then do my homework.  I need to reach out to reach out to Anne, get Mary’s phone number.  I have rubric in my mind.  I stand over myself grading everything I say.  I never get one hundred percent.  You can’t study for life.  You screw up, but I can’t.  I just can’t screw up, because I know instantly.  The person grading me isn’t like my other teachers.  It doesn’t take her years to hand back an assignment.  It is spontaneous.  The moment I say something there is feedback.

Immediate feedback.  The kind of feedback a student never wants to read.  It is handed over on a sticky pad, and it’s results are stuck to my face.  I trip over words, I get embarrassed.  I try to pretend that I am okay, I try to recover, but I can’t, because unlike a test I can’t leave and go home.  I can never relax, because my grader never relaxes.

What if we let ourselves be judged by other’s.  What if we don’t judge ourselves.  What if we don’t get a sticky pad.  Wouldn’t we be so much better off, knowing we don’t have to be perfect.  What if we opened up to the day.  What if we threw away the rubric, the check list?  What if I woke up tomorrow without any idea what I have to say, what I have to think.  Because rubrics and check lists don’t always apply.  People forgive you, people surprise you. You can’t fit everything in life onto a sticky pad.

we all used to be able to talk.  We could smile and laugh.  we would kiss each other when we were happy.  We would cry on each other’s shoulders when we were sad.  We would laugh and skip and wander away from where we were supposed to be. We would get mad at each other.  Yell, scream, and then we would laugh again.  we would brush each other’s hair.  We would laugh as the huge waves came rolling onto the beach.  We would rise and fall with every wave, fighting to stay on top.

Now we smile and laugh.  We compliment each other’s hair.  We hug each other, it easy to smile, to cover each other with another laugh.  But we are growing apart.  We all have our own separate grudges, out times.  We cry by ourselves, then we come up with a story to tell out friends.  it is something to talk about, to get of of your shoulder’s, but it isn’t real.  It covers up our cowardice.  We spend so much time layering ourselves with make-up and lies.  Instead of playing in the waves, we hang out, laugh at other people, secretly hoping we will always be the one laughing, never the one who is being talked about.

We can’t talk to each other.  We can’t tell each other things anymore.  Everything becomes our own issue.  We pack away our lies, our worries, our emotions into an over flowing shoe box, just like we did our birthday cards.  Trying to hold onto those younger years.  I was sorting through my shoe box, looking at the cards.  Maria’s perfect ones, Anna’s sloppy ones.  They all smelled like the chlorine at the pool, birthdays without worries.  There won’t be any cards this year.  I will be gone for the summer.  And anyways, how could I possibly handle a party.  I can’t invite all of my friends, because they can’t all laugh together.  They will talk and smile fake smiles.  I don’t want to be a part of that.  I don’t want to be a part of the long night that follows, the laughs, the dares, and then the fights.  The endless fights, and then the crying and whining.  And then it is a laughable memory.  A memory that leaves a scar.

So I won’t have a party.  I will keep those cards.  And I will add another shoe box to my closet, full of these words.