I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what to say because I never thought it would come to this between you and I. Brenna and Tayler was a duo that I never questioned. I never once asked whether you would be in my future. I never once doubted that you were my right hand man. But now it seems as though, tomorrow is completely out of the question. that a response from a simple text is a pleasant surprise. it seems as though “biffie” initiating a conversation will happen when Haley’s comet soars again. But i am not the type of person who can just fade someone out of my life. i need closure. i need to know if there is a possibility of celebrating our college graduations as we have celebrated our preschool and high school graduations. i need to know if there is a chance of birthdays spent on the beach, of first row AVS games, of Miley Cyrus concerts, and free ice cream out the back door. i need to know if there are going to be more trips up the stairs at red rocks, of runs down the platte river, of drives to wherever blasting rap songs we have no business singing the lyrics to. of travelling across the country to see one another. of sarcastic filled, wine drinking, shark video watching Saturday nights in pajamas. in binge drinking, and downtown walks. of opposing political conversations. of feelings like we are each others’ family. Because if not Tayler Rae. if i am the only person in this relationship willing to call the other out on being honest. if i am the only person in the relationship willing to text you first, call you first, wish you the best, make sure you are happy, make sure you are okay, i have to let go. i have to determine and reach that closure on my own terms. i have watched many friends fall by the wayside, i have been hurt many times. but never by you. and it kills me, breaks me down to an unexplainable level that a cup of coffee is what has destroyed the most beautiful relationship i have ever known. i love you Tayler rae. i miss you. i have never been so genuine about wishing someone the best but i cannot hold onto the idea that you and i will be in each other’s life in the same way ever again if you are unable to put forth the effort to make this work.
My story. It’s not one of dramatics or climactic events. It’s the story of simplicity and a rather stereotypical suburban home life. My dad- a truck driver. Long ass hair, high blood pressure, and a lack of communication skills. His Camaro sits in the garage collecting dust as does his dream of a professional racing career. A tough exterior but a sad interior. A firm hatred of drunk drivers and the idea of giving up. Heavy metal enthusiast and kool-aid drinker. He’s a simple man who had the world at his fingertips with the Friday night lights turned on. But when they turned off, so did a little bit of his happiness. Newspaper clippings are what remain of a life my dad once loved. Now, he drives cross country weeks at a time to hide the sadness and avoid the three mouths he has to feed.
My mom- a stay at home caretaker who dreams of a career. The same hair and makeup since ’87. Her comfort level is where she lives and where she plans on staying for the rest of her life. This comfort level is one of laundry on Saturday mornings and taking the dog on a walk. A life of regret and complacency. The loss of an unborn son consumes her sadness and even her laughter is hesitant. She hides her fear of living her life to the fullest by making crafts and a cozy house. She excels at masking her tears with a veil of strength. A desire for independence but a housewife status that limits her freedom. A past that was taken too fast by her future. A future of mothering and protecting herself and her daughters from the mistakes she made and her own unhappiness.
My story started with two individuals who were unprepared for the stubborn ass that the stork dropped off. It started with two people who were unaware that their past regrets meant nothing to me. It was their unconditional respect, empowerment, discipline, and love that made me who I am. Amongst all that, was a place I called home. A place where unpleasant thoughts and happenings were brushed under the rug that I wiped my feet on everyday after school. A place where tears are shed behind closed doors and parents fighting could be heard through the vents that led to the basement. Secrecy is common. A place where dad still doesn’t know about STDs and Mary Jane. Home is a place with past pets buried in the backyard and prayers are said before home style funerals. A place where fish are flushed down the toilet and never spoken of again.
Home is a place of a once inspirational Uncle whose past of drugs and alcohol haunted him as he fathered me. An uncle who came to every basketball game, taught me the word fuck and that the best brownies have nuts in them. An uncle who would rather inject white powder and hang a noose in the bathroom than attend his daughter’s high school graduation. An uncle who fought the demons for too long and fell victim to the devil’s power once again. A role model who fell short but whose scent of Dr. Pepper and Camel reds is engraved in my sensory memory.
Home is a place with a half drug addict, half prostitute aunt who was one hundred percent absentee. An aunt we drove by on the street corner as she begged for money. An aunt who would rather swallow STD’s than her own pride. An aunt in only one Christmas picture.
Home is a place of a sarcastic Grandpa who sat on the blue chair and rocked the combover. A grandpa with a blue rain jacket and the cologne ordered from Avon. A grandpa who said trampolines were too dangerous but basketball was a girl sport. A grandpa who I knew as Pete but who everyone else called Jerry. I still am unsure of which his real name is although I know there were two parts of within the strength of that man. A part that would rather tell his granddaughter that a shingle fell off a roof and hit him than admit he has a virus. And a side who slips from this world with such grace, I know he is still here somehow, somewhere in Blackhawk.
Home is a place where Grandma has only been known through photos and Christmas cookie recipes.
Home is a place where dad’s side of the family is only a myth that has been introduced by words like “assholes” and warnings “we don’t talk to them anymore.” A side with skeletons and memories never being created.
Home is a place of Girl Scout cookie sales, of birthday parties and croquet tournies on summer weekends. Home is a place of jumping on a snow covered trampoline and into a backyard standup pool. A place of sunscreen and popsicle breaks. A place of summer book reports and playing school in the basement. A place where family board game nights were weekly and physical activity was seemingly nonexistent. A place where staying busy is a lifestyle. Home is a place where the dining room table holds souvenirs of the life it is lived. with engraved safety pins and permanent glitter. A place where the pullout bed in the couch is where friends slept over and popcorn was lost forever. A place where riding down the street on my purple bike became unbelievably fulfilling as soon as I could turn the corner and around the block to the park. Home is a place of white Christmas lights and a Bah Humbug tshirt on. A place where Christmas day was split in two because a united family couldn’t be considered. But a Christmas day when my sister and I could count on matching gifts from Aunt Patti in Indiana. Those were the only two matching presents.
Home is a place where sister sisters could not be more different than one another. A sister who is beautiful and afraid. A sister who is analytical and intelligent beyond her years. A sister who once knew so much joy in playing dress up and drinking imaginary tea with a tiara on. A sister with a smile that resembled SpongeBob’s goofy ass buck teeth and long blonde hair braided each and every day. A sister who’s kind hearted and happy spirit was crushed by her sister’s competitiveness. Where her older sister’s basketball skills sparked a false recognition of what she had to offer the world. And rather than rising above the expectations held for her and creating her own-she fell short of them. And she deemed her self-worth from those failures. A sister who chose a life of complacency to match her mother’s fear of the world rather than making her own path. A sister who has adopted the habit of secrecy and pushing unpleasant thoughts but even more so, emotions under the rug. A sister who has a comfort zone smaller than her mom’s and one that may not ever be broken out of it. A sister who has followed suit of fear consuming her entire life. A sister I would die for.
Home is a place with a cousin. Her name is rarely used even with close friends because I simply don’t know her. I wish I did, she’s probably fucking awesome and could teach me the ways of this world. Like an older sister who lived in my basement but was never really part of the family. A black sheep. An orphan to a prostitute mom and overdosing dad. A cousin who was dealt unbelievably bullshit life cards and yet still puts on a persona of strength at annual meetings at the Thanksgiving table and around the Christmas tree. A cousin who I rarely recognize as a human being but a girl who I know is somehow blood related to me. A cousin I am determined to get to know better.
Home is a half sister. A lovechild of my dad and some Mexican woman. A girl who took part of my dad’s paycheck for eighteen years but who never showed her face. A half sister who is just another mystery-another strand of blood I will never know.
Home is memories of when dad’s paycheck took on us roadtrips to national landmarks of Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Home is hotel rooms with a bathtub because mom is luxurious and trips to Disneyland. Home is the white Tahoe with the backward seats so we could wave at those driving behind us. Home is getting sick on every one of those trips.
Home is a bun on the top of my head for seven straight years-frizzy ends popping out as I played kickball and freeze tag with the boys on the playground, leaving the girls to their small talk. Home is not wearing a uniform skirt until sixth grade. Home is a place of no math programs and a bald guy who clipped his fingernails while we took a test. Home is the family of 20 kindergarteners who grew into teenagers together. Home is wondering how they are all doing now.
Home is French toast on Saturday mornings before loading dad’s truck-another week long goodbye.
Home is being horrified of the face looking back at me in the mirror covered in welts, swollen red scars, and acne that consumed my every thought for years. Home is trying to erase that time of my life from memory, only a few photos left to represent the unhappiness that defined those years. Scars still remaining today.
Home is the carving of pumpkins on the kitchen floor every October-sometimes from the garden out back, sometimes store bought. Home is a Mother’s Day spent in the backyard planting flowers and laughing. Home is Christmas decorations going up after all the Thanksgiving dishes have been cleaned. Home is dad hanging the lights after a rock paper scissors game to determine who has to hold the ladder. Home is Bruce Springsteen and Slayer albums. Humming and head-banging. Home is a calendar in everyone’s Christmas pile. Home is a New Year’s Eve only lasting till 9’oclock. The innocent deception of a ball drop and two exhausted parents. Home is a fourth of July barbeque in the backyard and fireworks in the park. Home is holidays.
Home is beautiful. Home is flawed. Home is a place I would not trade for the world. Not the swamp cooler, the dog in the backyard, the deception and secrets. Home is a place that shaped who I am and helped me decide who I want to become. There is no place like home.
His shoes are scuffed from endless adventuring, the soles nearly falling apart from dancing nights turned into mornings. His fingers eternally calloused from making melodies as he refills your drink. His smile assures everything will be okay while his laugh brings a sense of nostalgic bliss. Passion is left to flourish on whatever he touches, as if visible fingerprints of his soul. His heart beats out of his chest, too big for his own good. He has a young soul but never mistake that for a weakness. One underestimation of his abilities and proven wrong will be you. The world is unprepared for his energy. His voice will ring for generations as he brings forth messages that others are afraid to say. His music will bring together different walks of life and allow for freedom to love one another. His ability to see the constellations connect will place him amongst the stars eternally. Just as a shooting star, he will soar across the sky as a flash of light, unmistakable for anything but magic. His presence will make you long for more. Despite his intergalactic qualities, he’s human-he has fears, concerns, love to give, hardships experienced- its what makes him, as powerful as his. The touch of his hand-firm yet soft can guide even a lost soul toward sunrises and brighter days. His kiss evaporates burdens while his head on the pillow to your right erases the rest of the world. Few will experience the magic he has offer on an intimate level-for those who have, the world will never be the same. I’m lucky enough to have experienced that electricity.
You were like a handful of sand resting in the palm of my hand, dancing with the breezes but never flying away. You rested there peacefully with room to grow. I was the same sand only in your palm, always gentle and spacious. Until a gust of wind, stronger than any we’ve ever felt before blew in our direction. The sand in your palm could hold on no longer and most was lost leaving only a few grains in the wrinkles of your hand. The sand in mine, so light and beautiful, it could not hold up against the dark reality of the atmosphere around us. I closed my hand so tightly trying to keep every grain, every dust particle of sand left in my hand, and never opened it again in fear of a second gusty day. You looked down at your palm, saddened by your loss but recognizing the hopelessness of keeping what remained. There was no way to retrieve what had blown away, and there was so little left, it felt nearly impossible for you to nurture what you still had. I watched as you turned your hand over, unsteady, and uncertain, as the final sand grains fell to the ground. You watched as I flew away, my pieces of sand landing amongst different crevices on the ground. You walked away,wiping your hands on your pants to get rid of the dust on your hands. You never looked back. My hand still close-fisted. I do everything with one hand, hindering in my life so as not to lose what is left of you. My body is exhausted, you are heavier than I remember, more dense. But I push on, I deny any other gusts of wind, I pretend the world has no idea that I am still carrying you even though they know you have left me. I spend days, weeks, months, even years in denial. You must have a piece of me somewhere. There is no way that you turned your hand over, washed your hands clean of me forever. And then I open my hand. My heart becomes as heavy as what is left of you is in my palm. What is left is less than I remember, you are practically gone. I can’t even find a trace of you in the dust left in between my fingers. You saw my hand closing tight so long ago, and flew away then. The sand left in my hand, the hinderance for the last two years has not been you at all. It has been only a memory of the light, flexible sand I had with you once before. It is my turn to flip my hand over and let everything I was holding onto be taken by the wind. It is my turn to wash the dust off my hands and begin to use all ten of my fingers for my own good. Giving you the freedom from my palm is giving myself the freedom I need. Fly where you want now, I no longer take possession. Your sand belongs to you now and mine to me. We are two separate entities, our lives no longer intertwined.
As I sit here in the waiting room for what seems like the billionth time this year, begging for yet another answer and a solution , I have realized how truly blessed I am. My health has taken some questionable turns, my body has put itself through more than it should ever have to but I still have it. I am able to clear my head by running miles a day. I am able to eat what I choose and carry myself throughout the day. I have weaknesses and there are aspects of myself I wish could be better. So I have a little pain. I also have so much more. I have the ability to wake up every morning in a clean, safe house filled with so much love. I have a handful of people that I can rely on in any situation. I have food on my plate at every meal and plenty in between. I have a job that I love and the ability to influence so many young kiddos. I have a dream to chase and the resources to do so. I have so many opportunities and experiences to learn from. And yet I sit here in this faux leather chair where people whose lives may be in jeopardy have sat. This same chair has held expectant mothers, transplant receivers, nervous loved ones, and everyone in between. But right this very second, this is my chair. A frustrated twenty year old who has spent so much time being angry that I have pain and no answer. Maybe it was this seat that provided the realization. Do I believe that a chair has the ability of passing on wisdom? No. But I do believe that it does take time to understand the journey God has put us on. I am on this road because I am strong enough to excel on it. It isn’t about finding the exact reason behind the pain you have but rather about realizing that pain is only one part of life. So much more of it is knowing that being thankful for all the amazing pieces of life make the pain seem not so important. I have spent so much time trying to find the right pill. The right medication to make the pain go away. All I really needed was a dose of reality and a new outlook on life.
The moon is empowering. It is constantly changing having to adjust to the movement of the universe. But it is nonetheless in charge of its own existence and everything else must succumb to her pressure. The waves that beat at the earth are controlled by the changes of the moon while the hands of the clock moved based on her schedule. The sun may control her light but she controls the way of the world. She moves across the sky with grace and as the stars cloud the black night, it is still her beauty that takes my breath away. I am greeted by her every morning and kiss her goodbye each night but most importantly, when the worries written on the inside of my mind are too strong to close out, it is her friendship I long for while the rest of the world sleeps. She is the one that whispers secrets of the night and promises of a better tomorrow. She is the messenger of the light at the darkest hour and her beauty is undeniable. There are holes, crevices and dimples on her outer layer but nonetheless, she rises high into the sky each and every night. It is not the overwhelming brightness of the sun most inspiring, but the subtleness of the moon that reaches my soul deepest.
I change my own world with each sunrise. I begin each horizon with aspirations and cloud nines. The sun rests on my face and a smile appears. I create my own challenges and am my biggest obstacle. I’m stubborn and I’m passionate. I’m giddy and calm. Wild at heart and content at home. Nearly everything I have is because I earned it. I have to learn the hard way, and trust me, I have. and I have been humbled by it all. Every journey taken is because my heart took me down that road and it has been a blessing for my eyes to experience so many beauties and hardships of the world. Every one of my desires is fueled by a fire in my heart. The fire is unpredictable and spastic. I want what I want and that is okay. I fear what I fear and my world continues to spin. My world, which can be filled with doubts and hardship, doesn’t have just a silver lining. It has a gold border. I take so many things for granted that I am learning not to. My world has pink and orange clouds to greet me in the morning and the same ones to wish me a good nights sleep. My world has grass in between my toes and freckled lemonade in my fingertips. My world has snowflakes in my hair and rain boots on my feet. My world has conversations with strangers and hugs from lovers. My world is beautiful. My dreams light up the sky like the Christmas lights in my room. My fears have begun seeping into the ground like raindrops. I have reached a place beyond contentment. I have reached a place of happiness and although not a destination, I like this part of the journey. The part that lets the smile rest on my lips for no reason and where my heart is happy for hours after the sun says goodnight. I like where I am right this second. Happy.