Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bigger Picture



We made it to the other side and I was just happy to have the sun behind me. I sighed. The day was still young and I felt as though I had accomplished so much. It was a nice feeling for a change.

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The winter break following the start of my junior year of high school was met with a trip to Blue Ridge--the beautiful mountains and rich folk of northern Georgia. The trip included my two youth leaders, my best friend Melody and Mikey. We were all excited to make ourselves comfortable in the cozy cabin our leaders had provided for us and just spend some time away from everything. I was all about the search, discovery and relief of cathartic things back then. (I have sense turned to merely napping.)

Once there, we built a fire, laughed, played games, watched movies, explored the town and hiked many trails. And aside from the disadvantages Mikey's clumsiness would leave us with during our hikes--which was mostly do to losing his phone in the stream beds or tripping over himself in the middle of the woods--our small group made the time together worthwhile.

Even our stop at a Country and Bluegrass entertainment aisle was as its appropriate adjective implies. There, we also watched Mikey do the Cha-Cha Slide to a banjo and drum kit. Inside the smoky building, I was able to see something I had not since I was young: snake-skin boots and leather vests. It had been awhile since I had been near the more interesting branches of my mother's family tree--all of which lived by these wardrobe items, and these alone, everyday of their life despite none of them having ever lived in the Wild West other than vicariously through John Wayne. Jacob and Melody knew all the words to most of the country songs that night. It had also been awhile since I even heard the name Shania Twain. But what I remember most was the distinct smell of the crisp mountain air at night when blended with a lovely fire.

All I wanted was to stay there forever--whether alone or with someone, I just wanted to be there, in that moment. The stars seemed brighter and I was more at peace than I had been for years--it was only a little more than a year before that my mother had passed and as tired as I was of the subject, it, like the reality I would be coming home to eventually, was something I could not escape. I would soon, before this night, give up trying, anyway.

Our group made one last trip through a hiking trail and it was more tedious than I imagined it would be. My feet were sore and my throat was dry. I can remember going to a stream and, one-by-one, we filled our small bottles with the fresh water. I had never tasted anything so sweet. The bottled water we previously bought seemed tainted and wrong. For a moment in time I felt like I understood Yule Gibbons, and I was a bit terrified of admitting it.

We made it to the other side and I was just happy to have the sun behind me. I sighed. The day was still young and I felt as though I had accomplished so much. It was a nice feeling for a change. It never did occur to me the oddity of doing more on a vacation than I typically did during a usual week of work. But that journey did not just take me through woods and past rivers and streams--it showed me what I miss everyday: life.

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Whilst talking with Trey, he began lamenting why he wants to move north. I knew his reasons. I told him leaving Georgia was not something I had ever considered; this is home. That is probably not what he wanted to hear, but he continued on telling me my opinion matters. "You're part of my bigger picture," he said. I can honestly say no one has said that to me before and meant it.

Six months ago, if someone had told me the future I imagined for myself was going to alter drastically, I would not have believed them. But I had not taken the steps yet to see it all--to be able to breathe it in and see it with new eyes. There was never anyone else by my side when I pictured possible escapades to Europe or future, cozy dwellings. Now I never want anyone but him there. Adjusting myself to someone else has been a harder journey than I thought it would be, but words will never be able to describe how better off I am for doing it.

I guess a lot of things have changed. I am not entirely like the dorky teenager hiking through the mountains of north Georgia anymore, and I have finally found something here on Earth that is beyond any words I could ever compose. It is breathtaking. Brighter than any stars in the sky. It is the man who calls me his "pretty baby." It is Trey and I.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Break



He kept talking, and I just wanted to sleep. Any forethought of the week ahead was nonexistent; I felt trapped in the "now" of then, and I am still unsure of how I got here. His suit was enough to make me cringe--then again, his fashion choices are nothing to be admired. In the middle of a blur of lectures and dates on a calendar, he once walked into class with a white suit and pink button-up shirt. And while one woman was shouting Miami Vice from the sidelines, I felt as if Hostess was using this man to send subliminal messages, and in a more innocent manner than it may perversely imply, I began craving a Sno Ball.

This is a typical Tuesday and Thursday for me--every week since January. If it has not become apparent yet, I will make the obvious obvious: this semester has been trying on a minuscule scale that makes a large difference in my mood week-to-week. But whatever complaints and pessimism I may be able to record via diary or pointless online status messages, a break is in my near future, and the man in the gaudy suit with the annoying accent that does not come from the southern state he swore he was raised, and the other countless lectures I have endured just in the week that make little impact on my long-term knowledge and only serve to bury me deeper in debt, will not stop me from enjoying my time.

The best part of this week was the gracious words escaping the strange man's lips: "I'm canceling class for Thursday." After rambling--as he usually does--for a few minutes on why he would not elaborate on this cancelation, he finally said he wanted to start his spring break early. Two things came to mind, and I was not alone: Must your character be so ironically pitiful? and So, your early break means you'll prolong grading our papers for yet another week, right?. Both frustrating. Both predictable.

The library, despite the loud buzz released from an emergency exit being propped open, was quiet. Many students had either already began their breaks or were hastily finishing up their last-minute assignments so they can skip out on whatever classes they hated just as much as I. My ability to terrify myself into properly attending courses and not skipping even the least nourishing of subjects, has left me envious of those who are willing to drop everything and actually catch up on their sleep whether it be at "home" or on the coast of some beach. I decided on the former, if anyone was wondering. The idea of sleeping in my own bed and seeing my pets for the first time since Christmas was more appealing to me than going topless in a beach or nightclub and ending up in some recording detrimental to any reputation I might acquire outside of these hallowed halls one day. (I am still a bit worried of my chances of making anything of myself, to be honest.) And news that Girls Gone Wild was banned from one town in Florida meant there is less of a chance for any of my peers to lose all respect due to liquid courage and a false sense of what happens on the beach stays there.

Friday made itself known in the morning as I woke to the sounds of more construction and screaming--screams of happiness, [somewhat] thankfully. With only one class for the day (and even it getting eventually cancelled), the day was turning out better than I expected. Trey made it to his class fine and when he got out, I met him outside of the door to eat a large lunch with him. He told me about his class--which is always far more interesting than mine--and when we made it out of the dining hall, having eaten a large meal, we found a private sitting area to relax. The benches were just stone, backless benches, but they were something. The gazebo-like shelter with trees and pink blossoms surrounding the area, letting in a little light, set the perfect mood to rest off all of the food we ambitiously devoured. Trey looked at me, and as the breeze carelessly whipped my hair completely from its carefully worked part, and kept me from being able to even see him, he took my hands and ensued an unfair game of slaps with me--the object being he would smack my hands with the advantage that my temporary blindness disabled my (already) slow reflexes, but I was fine with this. I just wanted to be close for as long as I could.

It would not be so for too long.

On the way to meet my dad so I could make it back to my hometown for the week break, I took Trey's hand and told him how I was happy for the break, and happy it was a week, in which his reply was solemn and concerning. I squeezed his hand and asked him if he was okay. He smiled his usual, sweet smile and just said "yes." Whether he was telling the truth or not was neither here nor there. He said it because he loves me, and we both know leaving each other on a sad note is never how one should leave. Next weekend, we will reconvene, and it will be beautiful. Just like him.