10 November 2008

dinner. fiesta.

I don't have photos of that epic evening. Even though I definitely had two of my cameras with me.. somewhere. I'm being programmed to see the world in strings of images - colors - light qualities - audio on occasion - like I'll miss something if I don't have a Holga or a Nikon attached to my fingers.

But if I'm honest - really, truly honest - I need to be inside it all. Let it soak me all up and settle in the caverns of my chest where it'll live and grow and one day explode into letters and words and sentences and paragraphs inked on a page or blinked on a screen to be read in 2-D, in Times New Roman, in black and white.

My heart's not in the images but the stories.

And the story of dinner. fiesta. goes a little something like this:

The countertops couldn't hold another bag of chips or bucket of Margarita or slice of lime or shotglass of tequila or bottle of tequila or container of salt or forgotten cup-plate-knife-spoon or bowl of salsa or of guac. Twenty-something twenty-somethings filled the Fox Lodge to overwhelming capacity of smiles and hugs and kisses and teases and insiders from Freshman year on the oh-so-spectacular 8th floor of Middlebrook. Our aim: to be us again. Whatever that means. And quite possibly to "drink ourselves under the table" in a delightfully sickening tribute to the year that brought us all together and then spit us back out again into a world we hadn't really prepared ourselves for amidst the nirvana we'd created in our nesting grounds on the beloved West Bank.

Gatherings of all of us were all but uncommon back then (two years ago). Now they're just a happy novelty. And now they welcome not just us but those who love us. The ones who see us now, post-dormitory days, but still very much a product of those days. They didn't ask for it - but by default they are now a part of our whole. And the spaces between us all exists the Lexis and the Austins and the Lelas whom we'd swear were here just yesterday but we know won't be tomorrow. So we live through them as they live in us.

And though we've spent our days flirting and fighting and flailing and flying and falling in love - with or without one another - sometimes we'll find ourselves in a place where those things aren't about what we've done or said or felt but who we are and what we've learned. For me, dinner. fiesta. was such a place.

At one point during the night, Sarah came up to me and told me how spectacular our night was and how she thought everyone was there not because they felt they had to be but because they wanted to be. And that she was so glad we had this idea because she hadn't been happy like this for so long.

So it was for me as well. Cause the happiness I get from being in the presences of those who have loved me in a way I'll never really understand, who took that little girl from Texas and let her in and showed her that the whole world doesn't have to hurt like it did in junior high and high school and fuck anyone who tries to tell you any differently. It was they who gave me whatever that thing is that changes everything. That changes you.

And then there was what Sarah said later.

"Let's have an epic moment."

And we did. It was like having her read me New Moon and chat for hours about Edward or hogwarts or Lost and defend me after Padre and be my date to that nautical date party and dance with me in the rain sans t-shirts and drive me to anywhere when it's raining or cold and bring me Red Bull before we go out and fall asleep in my bed some nights and spend way too much money on good food and talk me out of - ahem - hallucinations and drink wine and listen to Amy Grant and sing every word to "Semi-Charmed Life" and Metro Station and go to every emo show we can and write the most epic and whimsical poems of our hearts and souls and lives.

And then Daniel reads that poem by hafiz and says "Thank you. That means a lot." And I can't look at him during "F&*% the Dealer" because we'll read eachother's minds and we don't talk about Rolly because it kills us both and we say everything through gazes and waves of energy and now we have all the time we lost when Summer swallowed us whole.

And I humiliate my cousin. Not on purpose. And then he humiliates himself by being that Freshman who drinks too much and throws up and passes out on the couch before midnight - that same Freshman who came out every weekend in each and every one of us on the 8th floor (save Kris and Shana) and who appeared once again to tell me to let Charlie go. Let him have that epic Freshman year that we had and loved and then lost when we shut our doors for the last time and went home for the Summer - only to come back to a different house in a different part of campus and oh so much more "grown up."

And "the man of the night?" - Was loved by all. Long after the beer pong table was pulled out from behind Granthony's famous - infamous? - couch and the lights had been turned out and the music had been turned up and the tequila had drenched our insides and made us blissfully hazy and so much more aware of the surreality of the evening, I stood in the kitchen with Daniel and Sarah and from across the room I saw him walk over to my cousin and check to see if he was indeed still breathing (he was).

That he did so meant everything.

My heart is too full for any more words.