2) free bowl of noodles from an off-duty passerby worker because i was screaming “NOODLES AND COMPANY” in the food court
3) up a bra size
4) moving into my apartment in less than 24 hours
5) omigod $130+ textbook and they didn’t even give us enough freaking time to buy them off amazon. bastards.
When I was much younger, every day over the course of a week I climbed a tree to watch for a few hours the growth of a nest of baby robins. Within seven days they had grown from frail little pink blobs of blindness and squalling… to rowdy, huge teenagers who jumped ship into a very, very unforgiving world. One was run over by a lawnmower within the hour, and another was mauled by a beloved cat right between my toes. I like to think the other two had kinder fates.
If what took me thirteen years took them a week, and what took me four years took them, I dunno, maybe the weekend, then I wonder how they could have possibly handled even an hour of madness within their little pin-feathered worlds. Within an afternoon they might have fallen in and out of deep, maddening love with other local fledglings; by sunset they might have made hundreds of new little friends to tease and love and keep close and throw away, and in one minute learned how to make all of their own meals, and within one second might have gone through countless, countless heartbreaks.
I feel like my robins experienced life with an unfathomable quickness. And even though I might have led my life hundreds of times more slowly, I feel like mine has been filled with an equal-ratio amount of experience and feeling.
I literally spent a solid first-half of my teenage years madly in young love with one boy who ended up growing into a very different man. Even though it was crazy and we were more than a little foolish, I am thankful to know firsthand that a love that deep does exist. Faith in love blossomed out of that time. What also blossomed out of that time were friendships that dug their roots deep into the core of my soul- tied me down but fed me heartily. The first two years of high school bring back many flickers of holding hands tightly, happy hugs, tears concerning the future, and very, very good high school dances. The memories are fuzzy, colorful, blissfully emotional.
Cue junior year. Left to face the hometown while my first love and two other best friends set off to continue their lives without us, me and another deeply-rooted, best of bests-friend clenched hands and pummeled through what seemed like a very, very slow time. We were starving for adventure, life and experience and no matter how much we were lucky enough to consume, there was always that pit in our stomachs. We worked together with all our might to push the boundaries of our too-small lives. And by the time my first relationship ran its course, I had fallen in love with East Lansing, Basement 414, the high school theatre, snail mail, blacklights, pink-walled arcades, jerking, Ann Arbor, dealing with awkward friend circles, Luther house, classroom acquaintances, planking everything, days lounging around kitchen counters, appreciated holidays from colleges, and documenting all the memories. There was a group of boys who had as much drama as you might expect from a girl’s group, there were a lot of destructive decisions, and a lot of weekend bus and train trips. Yet, life couldn’t go fast enough.
By senior year, messy, messy things had happened in our race for adventure involving a very sleazy guy who taught me that what I desire most might not be good for me in the least. Feelings were denied, feelings were hurt, and when the situation had become too muddled to repair, I ripped out what felt like half of my heart and left it in storage where I thought it would settle in my mind as all the other memories have. It didn’t for a very, very long time. In the process, though, I had fallen into friendship with another girl who cut things off only when there was surely another girl to fall onto. I was introduced to the year’s companions (who were boys even more dramatic than last year’s) as well as a boy who also found himself trapped in this town, and we naturally escaped with each other under tent forts, paper stars and pretty dreams. I went to prom with a guy who ended up being my rock all year but didn’t seem to even know his own feelings for me. I had fun at dances I had refused to like, I did what I wanted to do in my classes, and I left a giant, remarkable, hated, awesome, and absurd mark on that dreaded high school in its courtyard hallway.
Yes, high school. I was cruel to the sweetest- if a bit unbearable- girl and never apologized. I gave away kisses to way too many boys and threw my heart at the feet of way too many men. I photographed people who were only pretending to enjoy their lives. I became sad over silly things and got mad at my cockatiel too much. I cared with all my being for one ridiculous boy, but not in the way he wanted me to. I watched people drink their lives away while I pounded my little fists on their backs to stop. I cared too much about what other people thought of me. I almost thought I’d never get my relationship with my mother on track.
But I also danced hours and hours of my life away. I explored places hand-in-hand with many beautiful people. I made a surprising amount of true best friends. I created things on paper and out of clay that made people gasp. I brought tears to audiences’ eyes onstage through my own emotional fueling. I photographed countless amazing, happy, genuine moments. I found hidden places and small, secret treasures. I embarrassed myself and didn’t care. I made friends with teachers. I felt completely accepted and loved in unexpected places. I touched lives in wonderful ways, opened up a handful of minds, loved my pets as much as I could, mailed my creations to total strangers, sent my heart out to never-enough people through the mail and words and pictures, and lived and lived and lived and lived and lived.
And finally, in less than 36 hours, it will be time to jump out of the nest, (try to avoid lawnmowers and cats,) and live life fast, fast, fast.
“The best thing, though, in that museum was that everything always stayed right where it was. Nobody’d move. You could go there a hundred thousand times, and that Eskimo would still be just finished catching those two fish, the birds would still be on their way south, the deers would still be drinking out of that water hole, with their pretty antlers and they’re pretty, skinny legs, and that squaw with the naked bosom would still be weaving that same blanket. Nobody’s be different. The only thing that would be different would be you. Not that you’d be so much older or anything. It wouldn’t be that, exactly. You’d just be different, that’s all. You’d have an overcoat this time. Or the kid that was your partner in line the last time had got scarlet fever and you’d have a new partner. Or you’d have a substitute taking the class, instead of Miss Aigletinger. Or you’d heard your mother and father having a terrific fight in the bathroom. Or you’d just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them. I mean you’d be different in some way—I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it.”—J.D. Salinger (via atomos)