31 August 2008

like winning in the last 40 seconds

"I miss you."

I miss you too, Mom.

(That we say all the time.)

"Are you happy?"

.. That's a new one.

On September 13th, the Gophers will be playing Montana State.

Montana State.

Daddy just got offered a job in Montana. In Bozeman. The place that showed me the meaning of soul-worming. It was my mom who said it, actually.

"You know, there's some people and some places that just dig their way deep into your soul."

Bozeman is one of those places. The wacky neighbors, the mountains

My first love.

The place just grabbed us both - my mom and I. And now my family may go back? It's funny that the very afternoon of the next big game is so close to the day daddy's new job would begin.

But will it be the same?

The thing about that soulful place is that it has eaten parts of us alive. It breaks my heart to remember most days. The pages of my junior high diary read like a Nicholas Sparks novel - only less eloquent and much more humiliating.

But the raw, soul-wrenching emotion? It was never like that in Texas. And Minnesota is different now that I'm older. A young soul - like mine was in Bozeman - takes to things so much differently.

I'm an old soul

It feels so kooky and obnoxiously philosophical to put it like that. But things that go as deep as Bozeman tend to do that to you. And my mom's soul must be even older.

I cried all of Christmas Day last year.

"I know why you cry," she said. "You're just like me."

Just like her.

"You don't like change. It doesn't feel right. It's not right - Christmas in a hotel."

She was nothing short of spot-on. We both know that stuff shouldn't matter. That being with your family should make Christmas a happy holiday.

But she wasn't with the rest of her family.

Was it too much to ask for a home and a tree and maybe some snow?

In Texas it is.

Photographing a Big Ten football game is terrifying.

How can turf be at once squishy and scratchy? It's unnatural. And the light? artificial. And the crowd? distracting.

But I have the best job in the world.

And the best friends in the world. Because even though my pictures were shit, Sarah's still proud. And Charlie and Rolly and Sam.

Sarah called me her "little world class photog."

world class.



The change did bring me Sarah.

And Bozeman will be back the 13th.

Will I feel it in the air the players expel from their lungs? In the scent that hangs from their skin? If my family goes back, will it be ok?

Yes, mom, I am happy.

Blissfully and divinely

25 August 2008

Freshman year everything

What a shame, they’d say, those bridges burned

Such time wasted on intricacies

The ash and smoke of which would linger long after the smoldering heap had cooled

And vanished,

Choking with invisible hands the throats which breathed together

The scent of books and sweat and old brick buildings

With a twinge of alcohol on most nights

Making us feel sleepy and fuzzy and so much more sure

Even though we knew next year would come

And you knew decay was inevitable

But we told ourselves anyways we were resistant to flames

It’s not your fault, they’d say, that she turned out to be

So different than you’d expected

That she’d lit the proverbial match and made worthless all your efforts

And we’d believe them for awhile

Maybe even enjoy watching the dazzling flames

And inhaling their scent

The buzz of which would remind us so much of how things were that we could almost believe

They still were

Even after we screamed and I cried and you felt sick at heart

Maybe it still was

Maybe that – with time – was all we needed to begin to rebuild and re-carve and relive

But on the eve of my departure

Not too long before your greatest adventure, perhaps

Scenes sputtered and danced across the old T.V.

That sang you to sleep oh so many times that year

And I felt somewhere within my being

These words I now stammer to you in verse

The words that fan away the choking smoke that only served to burn our eyes

And cloud the cavities of the hearts

That would have, if we’d asked, told us all along

The beloved bridge had only concealed the spot where, briefly and beautifully, our paths entwine

Carrying us safely ahead

22 August 2008

Pirates and Princesses

I do not speak French.

Lexi speaks French, and she teaches me completely useless words and phrases whenever we're on one of our infamous adventures.

Last summer, I learned I was "maladroit mais charmant." La princesse. Even though it was she who started a fire in the kitchen at Cafe Paris (microwaving a metal basket can have that effect), and even though it was I who cooked for her every day (due to obvious reasons, perhaps. But still.), so were my Parisian descriptors.

And she? My summer sister. Le pirate. She swallowed my summer whole. Or maybe the summer swallowed us whole. In South Texas, the heat is unbearable. Even now as I sit in my new room at Alpha Chi Omega, the creases of my knees and elbows drenched in sweat due to the houses' lack of air conditioning, I know that summer in Minnepolis is nothing in comparison. On some nights, when my parents had fallen asleep, we would sit on my front porch and smoke djarums, reveling in the stickiness of the air around us and the sweet scent of cloves. It was easier to ignore our creeping anxieties when we were in it together.

Then the night of the party came. My worlds collided - Allyson, Rolly, Marco, Danny, Jer-Bear, Megan, Miles, Jeramie and her entourage. Some people worm their way into your soul. Like every wrong in the world is nothing when theirs, like every pounding of their chests matters more than your own. They're your limbs, your tears, your raison d'etre. Your soul-worms. My soul-worms. And they made Lexi their own. And when the alcohol and cigarettes had clouded me and I made mistakes that everyone knew were stupid, they were still mine.

"Vous puez, chien," Lexi and I would tell my puppy Timber as we cleaned up the morning's mess. I would be all apologies, Marco and Miles and Jeramie and Danny would be gone, and Rolly would make my parents' bed and laugh that laugh as Jerry tried to explain to Lexi and I how he just couldn't figure out how he ended up next to Lexi after she had passed out. And Ally would kiss us all on the cheeks and say how much fun that disaster had been, and together we'd gather the djarum butts from all over the back and front porches so as to leave everything the same as it was before.

The beginning of our first summer in Minneapolis would come, and Lexi and I would drive to the run-down computer repair shop in Frogtown that only accepted cash. Lexi would call it a "c'est un magasin de merde," and Huy would roll his eyes at our tragic selves for not knowing a thing about laptops.

That first adventure of the summer would bring everything back that we had locked away when the school year had stolen our focus. But we, le pirate et la princesse, would be ready.