Monday, November 12, 2012

And then I called the Cowardly Lion...

...because I somehow knew he'd understand.

I haven't had this blog long, but I realized something. I'm avoiding. I'm able to realize this because I know myself. I've had several things that I could write about. Things in my life and the dates on the calendar have provided me that. But I haven't. Because I get scared. And I avoid when I get scared. Don't get me wrong, I get lazy, too, but with some things I just get scared.

And I still am.

That's why I'm writing about the calendar. Because the past is sometimes easier to face than the present. Because it's already happened and you can't change it. And facing it takes a different kind of courage than the courage it takes to talk about what's really happening. The things your decisions can still change. True, sometimes the lines get blurred between the two, but right now, in this moment, I have more courage to face this.

Maybe because what I have to say comes with happiness. It's memories. It's good times and the scariness factor in it is only that I don't know what my takeaway will be from it. I don't know if today will be one of those where I find the strength to focus on the good or let the bad grab hold of me for awhile.

The truth is that right now, I'm letting you in to another part of me. A part that I'm still working through. And today will only be a touch because I'm not ready to share it all. No details. Not the ones that really hurt. Today you can have more of the good.

I could start with the memory of a year ago, but it won't be easy to understand without going back almost two. January 9, 2011, I lost a dear friend and one of the loves of my life. He passed away. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

The repercussions of losing someone you love and care about are great. They cut you to the core. They sting and burn and tear and rip at you body, mind and soul. It takes a long time to face them and I don't think you're ever fully healed. But I'm not ready to go into that. I wanna talk about the good memories. Even if you have to sift through a little of the bad to get there.

A week in November, one year ago that stretched from a Wednesday to a Saturday were hard for me. It started with the 9th.

It was the 10 month anniversary of my friend's death. It was 10 months that day that so many of us had had to go without him. His laughter, his wit. His smile and his hugs. It was a rough one. I remember driving home that night from a part time job I had just crying. I was so upset.

I had spent part of the night and most of the day thinking about something a mutual friend told me after he passed away. She said that she knew he loved me because of the way that he looked at me. That she could see it. This was the single best and worst thing someone could have told me. I knew he loved me. He told me all the time. We had a friendship and conversation that came easy. I felt happy when I was around him. But to be told that he loved me with a look? It built me up and broke me down in one fell swoop. And then it did it again and again in a horrible and wonderful loop that I had to force to a stop. And most times I stopped on the good of it. On the fact that his love for me shone through. Because I am the eternal optimist. And deep down, I know that I am made of stronger stuff than despair. But sometimes, you just find yourself in a bad place. Like that night.

I was driving home in the dark, and I remember thinking, "What am I supposed to do?", "How do you go on when you lose someone who loved you with a look?" And then there was proof to a sneaking suspicion I had that God let my friend control my ipod. Because the thing was hooked up to my radio, and on shuffle, and then it started playing "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion. And I laughed. It was one of those grateful, breathless, incredulous half-laughs. Where you laugh almost in spite of yourself.

Because my friend is the type of person that would do that for me. He would never want me to be where I was. He would never want me to hurt like that. He would want to remind me that he was in a better place and that I would be okay. And he would do it in a way that made me laugh. With an absolutely cheesy song that we both could appreciate.

And somehow that night, in between Toy Story on the tv with two wonderful roommates when I got home, a text conversation with a friend that is a true rock even 24-hours away, and a song that was heaven-sent, I made it through the first of that week's trials.

The next night I faced a second demon. My friend Maria came into town. She is not the demon. Truth is she is an angel. But she came into town and she wanted to go out. We were going to have a double freshman year roommate night. She was mine, and my friend/current roommate Geese was going to bring her's, mutual friend and awesome person, Kelli. Unfortunately, Kelli was off being an adult, and in New York interviewing for a job, so she couldn't come, but the three of us decided to make a go of it anyway. The only thing was that Maria wanted to go to The Hall.

I hadn't been there since October 21, 2010. OAK officers decided to have a night out. We were gonna go dancing and bond. But through a series of events, it somehow became only half of us. My friend was one of them. (I'm not ready to share his name, I'm sorry. I don't know why, but I can't do it right now.) Well, I remember the feeling in my stomach upon showing up. It was a little out of whack. I hate showing up to places on my own, and I hadn't been able to get a hold of anyone about details of where exactly to meet up. When I finally did reach someone, he came to find me. It was a double blessing. I was relieved to be found and happy to see him.

I remember we were still trying to get some of the other officers to join us, so I had my phone out. I remember him urging me to do what I could to make them get there. And I remember him almost immediately afterwards telling me to put up my phone and dance. Moments like that were his only flaws. The silly, unthinking, laughable and forgivable ones. I was slightly annoyed because it's not like I was attached to my phone and I was only doing what he asked, but then I forgot about it. Because you can't stay annoyed with someone like him. And it was much more fun to dance.

The Hall used to play a good mix of country and contemporary music, but mainly country because after all, this is Aggieland we're talking about folks. This is Texas, y'all. And you don't want to anger the natives because that would be a bad choice. But the contemporary dance music was a good break in between couple dancing and we enjoyed it. And I enjoyed watching him dance. There was a point when Enrique Iglesias' "I Like It" came on and I swear people stopped just to see him white-boy break it down on the floor. And I laughed. And I adapted some of his dance moves as mine for whenever I hear that song.

And I remember dancing with him. Two-stepping around the room as he tried with all his heart to remember how to "thread-the-needle", stopping us in the middle of the dance floor in the way of everyone else and eventually pulling me off to the side so he could try it again because he "had just done it" and then needing to go find Lauren to show him again. I remember when he dipped me and I freaked a little only to have him remind me to trust him because he was not gonna drop me. It was fun being there that night.

Afterwards we went to Whataburger - home of the drunken food that none of us were actually consuming because we were drunk. He and I didn't drink and the other two we were with don't get drunk. We just happen to like Whataburger. Again, Texas, y'all. There were fun times had there, too, but I won't go into detail.

The thing is that it was a wonderful night. It was a lot of fun, and I was holding it in my memory as that. The Hall had become that night for me. And to be asked to go again scared me a little bit. But we did it.

We went to The Hall. And though it wasn't the same kind of night I had with him, it was still good. We danced. We wobbled. I held it together. And then we left for Northgate (the main CS bar scene) and laughed at ourselves for striking out at almost every typically reliable dance place. Daisy Dukes was having a bikini contest. No, thanks. Martini Street turned The Drink turned some-name-I-can't-even-remember was no longer a dance place. And a bunch of the little clubs along College Main were just not happening that night. But Maria scared some guys away in Spanish, and then we laughed at ourselves again for running to our car in the cold as that was the price for our awesomely sketchy parking job that saved us from having to pay. And I made it through the second test.

But I think now I have to stop before I write about the third thing. Because I need to. I know I once promised to be honest here. And I will be, and I am, but you gotta give me time. I'll be honest bit by bit. I'm still avoiding, but I've given you the start of a big piece of me. I hope that's enough right now.

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