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Tag Archives: the past

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1. Don’t stand still. Or do? You need a break from life sometimes, a nap, a vacation, a year off. Is that so terrible? Do we have to slave away, rush around with no path, with no finish line ahead? Sometimes it seems like society (and/or our mothers) demands this non-stop action from us, meaningful or not. Society doesn’t care. But I do! Stop. Breathe. Plan it out. I love you! Just don’t take too long.

2. 18-ish-year-old guy and his grandmother at the grocery store:

G-ma: “What do you want?”

Guy: “Let’s get pineapple. It tastes good. I drink the juice. It’s good for you.”

Um, ew. Don’t tell granny about that!

3. Don’t lose yourself in worthlessness.

4. Pluck it up.

5. Fuck marbles/shot glasses/tiny fancy spoons/posters/baseball, pokemon, whatever cards! Collect lovely people instead. (As in, meet them and get to know them and love them. Not in a creepy murder-y way. Felt I should add that.)

6. “I can’t go to that store again today because I wore these same pants yesterday!” – my life.

7. They are not real anymore.

8. We are growing up! I mean, everyone always said it was happening, but it’s really happening! My friends are getting married, and trying to have babies — actual babies — and building houses — like, on their own, like they’re real adults. Remember when that all terrified/disgusted us?? What happened?

9. So much can change in a year. You change so much in a year. But, is it for the better?! Or for the worse?! Ahhh!

10. Make something new.

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Sometimes it seems all of life is a series of footsteps, a trail of footprints. A step onto an airplane. A step away; forward. A step in the same annual circle. A smile, a nod. A slowly darkening, wrinkling mirror.

What if one of the footprints you left on that beach years ago is still there? Somehow, somehow. Left alone by waves and wind and other sandy, stomping tourists. Anyway, it still exists there, somewhere, if only in your mind. Footprints like memories, memories like eternal footprints on places.

A face in the mirror. A different face, one that doesn’t belong to you; never did, though you lied to yourself, said it was yours. Happiness replaced by nothingness replaced by sadness. Memories like the trails of footprints left by kisses on your body. You still see them, still visible, they still exist there on your shoulder, on your cheek; you feel them, they live with you, walk with you.

A dull gray morning. Smog covers what surely once was something beautiful. The sun has risen somewhere but you can’t see it. Men drag their feet to work and you follow, the hand of some clock, the minute of some hour. You sit in your chair, gulping coffee, dreaming about the pajama pants left in a puddle at the foot of your bed. Hours later, you step back out into the world, back to those pants: more footsteps, more circles.

I am a calendar. I am a footbridge. I am the shoes I wore when I was four. I am your silly laugh. I am your nervous tic. I am that midnight tear-filled dinner. I am that bad joke. I am your harsh words. I am your silence. I am the warmth of the sun from that day on the beach years ago.

Once upon a time — wait, no. This is real life. Let’s start again.

The one that got away. What a great catch. These sentences are fishing metaphors. They also, when girls I know tell me love stories that have these as the plot lines, seem to be magical, romantic, mysterious, beautiful. What could have been. If these phrases were movies we’d see soft sunny filtered images of smiling beautiful people in fields of flowers. But no story is one sentence long. Only distorted memories begin with Once upon a time

The one that got away is a complicated tale. Maybe “one” is actually many. Maybe this isn’t even a Rom-Com. Maybe the one is someone’s father. Maybe it’s someone’s dream.

I love people because they are so complicated. If you dig deep enough everyone has a story; everyone is still writing it as they go along, just like me. Just like you. Good stories are always complicated. Good stories are hard to tell. Good stories get sliced into tiny pieces and boiled down to What could have been so we can try to share our stories with other people. We use words and we use pictures. We have Instagram (that comes with the soft sunny filter), and we have Polaroids of our grandmothers when they were young.

Our stories will always be incomplete. Memories fade or change so that every morning we are remembering and living a slightly different life. The people we love die or fade out of our lives in different ways, and the houses and cities we grew up in get torn down or repainted, or they stay exactly the same and our memories of them change so they end up feeling different just the same.

I have a Polaroid picture of my grandmother. She is not young in the picture, but I am. We are sitting together on the steps of her back porch some sunny Spring day in the early ’90s, a bright green apple in my hand and a grin on my face. I do not remember this story. My grandmother died when I was four. But luckily there are more pictures, more sentences from the story of her life.

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Loving people and their stories is dangerous, of course. It’s not romantic or mysterious, though sometimes it seems magical, and often it is beautiful, at least for some of the time. People are like our memories, in a way. They change unexpectedly, they surprise you, they make you cry. The worst thing of all is when someone abruptly leaves your life when you were still writing your life stories together — cliffhanger forever. And if you don’t fully understand that person’s story, and your own story is still uncertain, how do you tell someone else about it, even if they care to listen?

The (other) one that got away. 

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The words are piling up again. They tend to do that, even when I type and type to set some of them free. But usually the only words that end up spilling out of my fingertips are meaningless, useless; just like the words I spoke to you.

What can I say? Should I say anything?

I saw you today. It was from a distance but not so far that I couldn’t have walked a bit faster or thrown your name into the wind to catch up to you. I was with my friend, so maybe that’s why I stayed quiet. Probably not. I wondered if you would remember me, after all these years, after all those other faces with names. I found that just watching you cross the street made me thoughtful, made me appreciate the world and the people in it. I still want to be like you when I grow up, but in my own way, of course. Quiet and loud and wonderful and appreciative and vulgar and thoughtful. I don’t think growing a beard would work on my face, though. But that’s ok. I was never a beard person.

The words keep spilling out. Is this what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it? Maybe. I don’t know.

Lately I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with the people I love. Sometimes I forget how much I appreciate certain people when a lot of time has passed since we last spent time together. And I can’t really say more than that, not in a way that would be meaningful and not cheesy. Maybe: I love you?

Is that it? Is that all? Is there more? Of course there is.

What are you doing right now? What did you do today? I have so many questions. There are so many answers. Slowly, slowly, we will find them. Together or apart. Acquaintances or friends. Words or no words. 

Today is the twelfth day of the twelfth month of twenty-twelve. 12-12-12. The last repeating date for quite some time – the last repeating date you or I will ever see. Today we’ll mark off the hours – especially at 12:12pm. We’ll talk about how cool this date is; we’ll see on the news all the people getting married; we’ll soon hear about the first baby born on this day. People will talk to strangers about it in grocery stores; friends will laugh about it via text message . It’s 12/12/12! A special day. Today maybe people will be happier – they’ll think about the date and smile. It makes us happy, to see patterns in time. To be able to experience things like this, to be able to celebrate it together.

It also makes us sad. It’s 12/12/12. The last repeating date of our lifetime. We won’t make it to see the next one. We’re going to die. We’re going to miss out on all the fun they’ll have 89 or 100 years from now. (In 2101 or 2112!)

It makes us question – where does the time go?

I can remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom, my teacher writing on the chalkboard: 02/02/02. We talked about the pattern in the date, and I can remember thinking about how the next few years would have patterns, too: 5/5/5, 10/10/10, 12/12/12. And now, I think about how I’ve lived all those dates. I’ve seen them, and they have passed. And this day will pass as well. We’ll all talk excitedly about it for a while – until tomorrow. 12/13/12. Not as exciting, eh?

The time just keeps going by, doesn’t it? Another day, another holiday – soon another new year.

People always say that time flies. Looking back, it seems like that day in 5th grade was not so long ago – but it was – ten years. Ten years. Time flew by.

Only, time didn’t fly by. No, time always passes at the same rate. Me sitting in that classroom happened ten years ago – and so much has happened to me since. Every day in between had its own moments. We just forget them.

Take summer vacation, for example. When you’re in school, you look forward to summer vacation all year. And then it hits, and you’re happy with doing nothing – for about two weeks. And then, it begins. The everyday loll… the passing of time, with nothing in particular to do in order to fill up those hours. The months stretch out in front of you – the next school year seems forever away.

Then, the first day of school comes, and everyone exclaims – Summer vacation is over, already? It went by so quickly! Really, it didn’t. Neither did these past ten years. We just forget all of the everyday  things we’ve done, all the little experiences we’ve had: the smiles, the tears, the learning of who we are.

Time passes. That’s just what it does. So we celebrate it. We celebrate being alive. It’s 12/12/12! Soon, sooner than you think, it’ll be 11/12/13. Should we start planning our party now? Or, what about 12/13/14? I can already tell that’ll be a good day! Those dates will arrive, and we’ll celebrate them together.

It will feel like time has flown by, but remember: every day is something to celebrate. Remember to watch out for those little moments.

Oh, and happy 12/12/12! Doing anything special to celebrate?