I was having trouble walking. I distinctly remembered my Dad telling me that Bailey’s was a light drink. My tipsy body’s reaction told me it was not. I wasn’t acting like drunk people in movies, moving side to side only to collapse onto the floor and puke.. I was, however, swaying, and my eyes had a trouble focusing on anything.
You acted like I was a glass vase teetering on the edge of a table. Every few moments you would be holding my elbow, steading me into your side. The pain of living in NY was that cabs were hard to come by in the dead of night. Or maybe that was a phenomenon which occurred everywhere. I didn’t know. You probably did.
We kept walking slowly. Every five minutes or so you make me drink the water you bought at one of those street stands. I felt myself sobering up slightly. We didn’t talk, both of us too tired form the night’s events. You kept looking towards the street and around us. Whenever someone got too close, you would pull me into your side. It was a slow process.
When you finally managed to hail a cab, you placed me gently in the back seat, before moving beside me. You kept me close, I leaned my head on your shoulder as you told the driver our address.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
You just pulled me closer and wrapped you hand around me. Your kips ghosted over my forehead as you murmured. “Anytime.”
I sat in the middle of the class. It was the section for the leftovers. The overly studious sat in the front and the ‘I don’t give a fucks’ sat in the back. The middle was the least likely to be called on by the teacher.
Mr. Something (I never cared enough to remember a name) wore a green shirt that tucked into his tan pants because of his pot-belly. Mr. Something only had two teachings moods: get on with it or torture. If he wished to breeze by a lesson, he would call on the know-it-alls in the front. Some days, the studious ones were teaching the class all by themselves. Today was a torture day. Mr. Something would call on the sleeping ‘dunderheads’ in the back. I’m not sadistic, but it was funny to watch the idiots stumble over their answers. Either day, my lovely seat in the middle was attention free.
All of us had our textbooks open to page 239. Mr. Something was droning on about the Byzantine Empire, occasionally asking ludicrous questions to the kids in the back. Page 239 had a nice white space on the bottom. I twirled my pencil in my fingers. Then, I started writing. I made up a nice poem about how different voices inspired different feelings. It didn’t really matter what I wrote, as long as I filled up the space. It was the same with napkins, post-its, and walls. Writing there felt more relieving to the soul, knowing that at some point in time the writing would fade, be erased or thrown out with no one the wiser.
who told you that you could go
and let you leave me on your own
when did you ask for permission
or bid me farewell
you just left
made plans without me knowing
packed without me knowing
moved without me knowing
i waited in class that morning
i stared at your empty seat
i stared at where the sun would’ve highlighted your hair
i stared at where i would have poked your back
I wondered how much a difference a few inches could make. I didn’t think that it made such a difference. It would just result in more pain on my end, yet my mother was intent on getting me into these heels. They seem like the perfect addition to an afternoon of torture.
I had already sat through a two hour long wax session, which covered me from head to toe. My eyebrows, legs, arms, underarms, nothing was left untouched. Everything was sore and aching. Then I sat through three hours of hair and makeup and managed to squeeze myself into this unholy dress. I guess heels couldn’t hurt.
I wore them and stood patiently for photos. Everything for tonight wasn’t for me. It was for her. The one so eagerly taking my photos and capturing every moment forever. Her smile made it worth it. Well, not completely, but 50% maybe?
Now, looking at these photos. For once, I think I look beautiful. My hair and face were neatly done, not a sliver of the acne I usually sported showed. My skin was glowing, and my legs looked a lot longer. I guess a few inches did matter.
There’s always that dream person you have in your mind. The ideal for each of your relationships. The dream mom, the dream dad, the dream sister, the dream friend, the dream boss, the dream significant other. You have an ideal for each person you say “hello” to.
These people are so detailed that they are almost living. They have names and homes and addresses. Their behaviors are precisely manufactured by your mind, so much so that its like they are robots and their CPU’s have been programed by you, yet they never leave your brain. They never leave your subconscious or your unconscious. They are cerebral through and through, but still they manage to become alive. When something agitates you, this person is brought up to the surface. As a memory of a relationship, you didn’t really have but feels just as real. It’s accessed rarely but that doesn’t signify its obsolescence. It’s purpose is simply there to remind of perfections inconsideration to become a reality. I think my dream husband’s name is Jai.
When I watched documentaries, I always wondered, how these chefs and historians and others could talk for so long. How did they know everything they wanted to say? How were they able to talk about themselves for that long? I could barely talk about myself for more than a paragraph. It was impossible to comprehend.
Then, I noticed the pattern. A small distinction that changed where all the credit for these monologues belonged. See, documentaries rarely if ever show the question asked for the incredible story. The omission leads people to believe the story has more importance than the question. However, the right question asked always leads to the intriguing story. Wrong ones lead to flat answers. So, if the best stories are amazing, then the questions that inspired them should be revered.
He drove home, past middle-class homes and quiet streets. The summer sun was bathing the striped road, and the trees were swaying to a light rhythm. Everything felt peaceful, serene, and… and… empty. The sidewalks were home to stray leaves. The porches were littered with empty chairs. It didn’t feel like anything was moving. It didn’t feel like anything was breathing. Then, he made a left to his street. The park at the corner had empty see-saws and run-down slides. But the swings at the back rocked back and forth with one child. Her feet dug into the gravel with each downward swing, and her eyes were downcast.
He remembered when he was her age, how he would spend his summers, with the green grass under his feet as he ran with his friends; the blue sky as an audience. He remembered rainbow popsicles handed out at every porch, and each kid would have sticky messes around their mouths as they came home. The sidewalks would be filled with pastel chalk paintings and boys and girls playing hopscotch. The streets would be dominated by bicycles and skateboards.
He passed the little girl on the swings and pulled up into his driveway. He went in and kissed his husband. Then, he went upstairs to knock on his kid’s bedroom. He didn’t get a response, only the door being nudged slightly open. His daughter was in front of a screen. The navy curtains were drawn. He forgot to kiss her.
I never understood why anyone would delete pictures of their exes off of their phone. Maybe it’s because I have no exes, but I do have people I hate. People I thought I could trust and betrayed me. People I thought were my best friends, but we have now grown apart. I still have all their emails. I still have all their photos.
Reminiscing is always worth it. It helps you be grateful, reminds you of your growth, and teaches you things from your past. It changes living from a forward process only. You don’t have real life undo, but you can still travel back in time, with some imagination and the help of mementos. Maybe I’m a hoarder.
But at one time, those people you don’t care for anymore, meant a lot. Pictures are symbols of that. Because of current hate, doesn’t change the fact that you cared once. You shouldn’t remove symbols that represent that. Because they were important once. If you hate that part, then it serves as a growth. But don’t delete the past. The past was once the present, and holds the same value. You aren’t who are now without the past.
Sometimes I think four years seems like such a short time. I remember everything from the last four years: the weekends I spent watching movies with my dad, the cakes I baked with my mom, the evenings I spent stressing for tests and projects, the long chat conversations on school, the long chat conversations on life. I remember a lot of it, yet images blur out at the edges.
Other days, I feel like four years was so long. So many things were done. So many things were not done. So much time passed by. So much time wasted. What had I accomplished these past four years? What had I failed to notice these past four years?
The resumés of my peers seems to have grown impossibly long. They are filled with a life lived and used and ensured growth. Where was my growth? Where were my accomplishments? Where are the things I can fit into a 650 word essay? The experiences? The memories? Where did they all go? Did I forget them? Did I lose them?Or did I not make them?
Why does it feel like the next four years of my life are determined by the past four? As ridiculous as the notion sounds, four years seems to be a lot more significant than I originally thought. Much more significant.
The sun glared holes into the earth around me, so much so that the earth skirmished in its glare, thought of it as anger, and hid away. The lush green lost its allure and cowered away into the recesses of the earth until all that remained was crumbled, tan earth, splintered into infinitely small pieces and incoherent as a whole. And that’s how it was for miles. All around me.
The sun in its efforts to gain some attention burned brighter and ushered the clouds away. It didn’t realize that the earth wasn’t willing to give any to him.