Tuesday, November 23, 2010

happenings iv

Just for the hell of it, my two friends and I decide to lie on the ground in a triangle formation, in the middle of a shopping mall. A group of people come by, telling us that they're on vacation from out of town, and ask to take our picture.

I befriend a classmate with Down Syndrome and quickly suspect her to be the nicest, most genuine kid in the place.

Arguing over whether or not to leave the bedroom window open, I regretfully wonder what I was thinking inviting a veritable stranger to live with me.

One spring morning, at the beginning of a school day, I'm arrested outside my classroom as part of a city-wide drug bust. I quickly realize that the new friend I've had for the last couple of months is actually an undercover cop.

From my room, I cry out to my mother for help, after rolling off the bed in my sleep and getting lodged between my bed and the dresser.

With her high school reunion approaching, my maternal grandmother shows me pictures of her graduating class. When I'm shown a photograph of her first boyfriend, I stifle the urge to tell her how sexy I think he was.

After getting my stomach pumped, following an overdose of sleeping pills, one of the nurses scolds me for getting vomit on her uniform, especially with it being so early in the day.

Lying on my back in the private room of a salon, I listen to the exotic music lightly playing beside my head. I find the sensation of warm wax along my eyebrows and the subsequent tearing away of little stray hairs oddly delightful.

While eating at The Olive Garden, the waiter makes me feel so welcome and as if my dining needs are the most important thing in the world. I can't help but feel special. I write down his name and take note of his features, telling myself that if I ever win the lottery or am bestowed some grand inheritance, I will return to this restaurant and monetarily shower this man with my gratitude.

If the recorded voice on the other end of the line tells me that they appreciate my patience one more time, I'm certain I'll burst in to a ball of flames.

Gathered in a circle around a huge parachute, we each grab hold of an edge, and simultaneously thrust it in to the air and over our heads. We sit down inside and watch as the parachute temporarily domes above us all. I look at everyone around the circle and enjoy the haze of red, yellow, and blue.

My maternal grandmother and I are sitting in line at the bank, when we see a man in a business suit rushing from the office building next door to a nearby parking lot, we assume. She thinks the man must have forgotten an important document in his car. I wager that his wife's water just broke and is on his way to the hospital.

My best friend's mother tells me that she knows when her daughter is talking to me on the phone, because no one makes her laugh the way I do. I love it and believe it could be true.

Looking from the window during a windstorm, my relatives and I watch as the wind forces the decades-old sycamore tree on my family's land down to the ground. I laugh - but no one else does. The next day, a local news crew comes and interviews my paternal grandmother for having lost the oldest, tallest tree in the county. Once they've gone, my younger cousin and I walk and climb all over it, singing songs.

I hear a loud belch and immediately turn and see a woman walking past me, who I conclude must have been the source of the sound. A few steps later down the hall, I see a boy sitting against the wall and wonder if I mistook the culprit.

Waiting in the shuttle to be driven home from DFW airport, two young native Chinese men climb in with me. After finding out that they are on layover in Dallas for the day, in the US for a year to work at a Louisiana Sonic, I ask if I can hang out with them for the afternoon. We take the light rail downtown and wander around some kind of festival, spending quite a few hours together. The younger one, with the better English skills, asks me all kinds of things about America. And after my vague, ill-informed answers, we both agree that I am probably one of the worst representatives for my country that they could have crossed paths with.

I see the Lunesta commercial and am mesmerized by the glow-in-the-dark butterfly, wishing I had my very own.

I run down an empty grocery store aisle as fast as I can, pushing my paternal grandmother in a wheelchair.

At the peak of Haleakala in Hawaii, I'm impressed - but slightly disappointed that at that time, and on that day, the clouds forbade a clearer view.

Meeting my stepfather's grandfather for the first time, I'm put off by the unfamiliar and unidentifiable smell of his house. When I'm given a glass of suspiciously colored water, I decide once and for all that, no, I don't like this place.

In the very young morning, I lie on my bed and listen to my iPod. I sing to the lover I have yet to know.


  1. Aaaah, I like this format. It takes seemingly unrelated events of your life and weaves them into an over all gestalt that reveals aspects of your interior journey: where you find your joy, the ways you've suffered and how those bleed into and influence one another. Truly beautiful Jeff.

    Maybe some day I'll try this format. But alas, I have the soul of a philosopher, not a poet. I appreciate poetry, but can't seem to write it.

  2. Thanks, my friends. I'm glad you like them! They're fun for me to write and revisit. =)

  3. Jeff! You write so beautifully! I just love this post. And I loved playing parachute in kindergarten. I had forgotten how magical (and sort of weird) that was. Hope you're well!

  4. I really appreciate that, Elizabeth - thank you so much! And it was kind of weird, wasn't it? LOL