Yearbooks

***Update on the ant bite: My bicep still rocks, but the bite swelled and split open this morning, only to close up, turn green in the middle again, and start swelling again… we’ll see how it looks in the morning, now! (And the coach’s bites did not turn green, he said, but one was hurting a lot.)***

We now return to regular programming.

There is a guy working with me who graduated high school with my youngest brother.

I pulled out the yearbook from their senior year today, and had a brief look through the senior photos.

I enjoyed how much hair this guy and my brother both had in their photos, and how they both have almost none now, and both keep their heads shaved (though my brother uses a razor, and the other guy only seems to buzz it as short as possible).

One thing I noted was that their service work locations seemed almost stereotypical for each of them…. interesting, perhaps.

Something bigger, however, was the other people I found in the yearbook.

I crossed names of people whose faces I knew not, but whose names I knew well from my brother – how fun to put faces to the names, even almost two decades after the fact.

And then I realized that I finally had the opportunity to look up and remember my brother’s best friend’s full name – I forgot his middle name a few years back, and haven’t recalled it since…. I just always thought it was fascinating, because he was the fourth with the name, so he had a “, IV” at the end of his legal name.

And I use the past tense here, because he died at the start of their sophomore year of college.

It was drinking and a bit of drugs at a party, and everyone thought he’d simply fallen asleep, but, of course, he hadn’t… I’ve always remembered most that my brother was invited to that same party, but chose to work on his absurd amount of homework, instead (thank you, UT Architecture program [not for the first time]).

And so J—– died at the party, and my brother spoke at the funeral, at the request of J—-‘s family, and he did a wonderful job.

My mom and I also attended the funeral, along with a lot of people.

After the funeral, since J—- had always said that he wanted to go out with pinwheels and fireworks, we (a handful of select people that happened to include my mom and me) went to an open land area across from a movie theatre, and set off a bunch of little rockets and a few big shebang fireworks (the pinwheels had decorated the casket) – it was a true party and celebration to send off J—- and to say goodbye together.

When I came across his name today, I was delighted – I finally have it(!).

And then I gave his photo a good look.

And it was almost terrifying as an experience, though terrifying just is not quite the right word…

It suddenly occurred to me that this was the first time I’d seen a photo of J— since around the time of the funeral – I’d only had mental visions of him since then.

It was weird to think that, u like my brother and that other guy, J— had not aged from this photo… maybe two years’ worth of aging, but that was little different from the boy who sat in the frame that is in front of me now.

These were posed senior portraits for the yearbook, and so they each are looking directly at the camera…, directly at the viewer of the photograph… J—- was no exception…

And it was spooky, knowing that those eyes, so true and almost penetrating in this photo, were no longer here, no longer existed.

And then, it had me wonder how many people in this book, this yearbook are no longer around?

And that was perhaps even spookier…

I had to move on to other things then, both in terms of productivity and in terms of an emotional desire to step away from the increasing discomfort and potential sadness of what sat before me, visually and mentally, at that moment, and so I closed the book, put it back in its place, and walked away.

I soon had tears in my eyes, and the feeling of hollowness just behind the bottom of my ribs was growing.

Now, hours later and many tasks and conversations later, I feel less afraid, and more aware of the fleeting aspect of life, the circumstances that allow us a promise of a chance at everything, and at a chance of it all going away at any moment, in a moment’s time…

On my way up to the house where I am housesitting tonight, I passed their church, where J—-‘s funeral had been… I think of him every time I pass it (though that doesn’t happen too often), because it’s the only thing I’ve ever attended there…

……

I don’t have anything insightful about this… I just wanted to share…

Post-a-day 2019

Best Friends

When my best friend and I talk, even about the most serious or important of things in life, we never fail to be utterly ridiculous somewhere in there, and crack ourselves up to the point of tears.

Today was no exception, as our planned important and serious conversation had a solid beginning that included my pushing the laptop camera quickly backward, as a means of expressing a digital version of tackling someone, and then we even somehow used the phrase “like a butt flapping in the wind”.

Best friends are great.

Thanks for that, God. ūüėČ

Post-a-day 2018

my childhood bestie

I talked with my childhood best friend tonight.  It was wonderful.  We haven’t talked much in the past year, simply because she’s been busy as ever, and I’ve been over in Japan.  We still weren’t in the same place tonight (Facebook Messenger video chatting), but being in the same city really helps with the timing thing.

Talking with her always brings up loads of memories from my early childhood, most of them wonderful. There are only a handful of not-so-good ones, though they were all rather impactful.  Mostly, though, the good memories come to mind.,. Like the time she and I watched “Lake Placid”, shortly after seeing “Deep Blue Sea”, and we ended up jumping all around on her furniture after the film, somewhat joking, but also somewhat paranoid that a gator would pop out from under the sofas and eat our legs off… Or the time my mom was at work, and my friend invited me to come over, so I left my mom a message on her pager, telling her when and where I was going, and I very clearly stated the phone number of my friend’s house, and repeated it (even though she could look up the number in the school phone book once she was home, if needed), just as was desired if I were to go anywhere while she was gone…, even to be complimented on it later by my mom, but told that I unfortunately had given my mom my mom’s number, not my friend’s house.  Those might have even been from the same day…, though I really don’t remember for sure.

For my birthday one year, she and her mom decided to give me some money and a gift bag of macaroni and cheese boxes.  Almost every time I went to their house, I would end up eating mac ‘n’ cheese, so they decided it was a perfect present for me.  I loved it, of course, for the pure genius of it, as well as the love and attention that went into the present, despite its being quite simple.  I really did love mac ‘n’ cheese.

There are two sad memories that always come to mind regarding this best friend.  Though, one of them was actually kind of happy, because of what it meant to me.  The one memory, the more sad one, was when we were riding the bus for a field trip, and she and I were playing a hand game.  She was sitting by the window, back to the window/wall, and I the same for the aisle.  The game was this one:

That’s the way
Uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it.
Uh-huh, uh-huh
That’s the way
Uh-huh, uh-huh
I like it.
Uh-huh, uh-huh
I got the looks.
You got the books.
Splish, splash
In your face.
Brick wall, waterfall
Girl, you think you know it all.
You don’t.
I do.
So *poof* with the attitude.

On the *poof*, my friends and I usually made an effort to face palm the other person somewhat, pushing her head away as part of the “Talk to the hand” gesture.  However, not everyone did this, I discovered, so, shall we say, competitively as I did.  It wasn’t so much that I wanted to face palm someone else, as I wanted to do it first, so as to avoid having it done to me.  Well, when the *poof* came along, I was ready and prepared, and I pushed a little harder than necessary in my haste to be first, and my best friend’s head knocked backward against the window with a good noise.  I was instantly remorseful, and her immediate upset hurt like no physical pain can.  I still feel bad about that now, years and years later, though not in the same, sad way.

The other sad memory was the morning before school that she called me while I was showering. My mom came and brought me the phone while I was in the shower, telling me it was my best friend. I wondered why she was calling so early in the morning, it was even a little excited about the phone call. However, the news of the phone call was not good: angel, her dog, had died that morning. She was calling to let me know, because she knew that I loved Angel, too. Well I was incredibly sad about Angel, one of my favorite dogs, I was also incredibly grateful for the friendship I had ‚Äď for that is a powerful friendship to make a call so early in the morning about something that could have waited until we got to school.  But she wanted me to know before the rest of the world.  I was and still am honored.

Gosh, now I have loads of memories piled up with this friend, and memories keep diving into the piles, turning them into something more like a mountain range.  I used that only makes sense, when we’re talking about a childhood best friend – there’s so much time and joy and learning spent together as kids.  Now she has kids of her own, and almost all I want to do is everything I can to help them have the best possible upbringing in the world.

Post-a-day 2017

Yoga and Winter Blues

Right as I was heading through the rising action into the climax of a film I was watching before bed this evening, my best friend and I ended up texting one another over some e-mails and SNL (Saturday Night Live) sketches from earlier in the day, and, since we were already interacting, she invited me to do yoga with her.  Naturally, I knew she meant from some online video, and not something that required me to leave my living room or put on real clothes, because, as you might already know (click here to know how you might already know), we are living in different countries (England and Japan).  Since my life is totally normal and all, I had no hesitation in pausing the movie at 10pm to do a 30-minute yoga set for winter blues with my bestie.

We put up FaceTime on my laptop and her phone, so we could see one another and be together, and then we synchronized the youtube video on each of our computers (I then muted mine, having us both listening to her computer, but each watching on our own screens). ¬†It took us a bit to get started, as we went back and forth about whether or not to wear bras and pants (American pants, as we already had the British ones), but I finally gave up on trying to find either, and settled myself in front of the heater to keep my legs warm (since I wasn’t sitting underneath a super cozy blanket anymore). ¬†The only requirement was doing downward dog facing¬†one another, so we wouldn’t get a face full of bums on our screens…. except that we still discussed and tested doing downward dog from facing away from one another (I put on a scarf as a sort of half-loincloth in the back), so as to establish that we could, in fact, look at one another during the pose, delighting in one another’s faces (despite the legs and bums also noticeably visible).

And so we did a wonderful little yoga set from this great girl¬†in Austin, Texas (who happens to have a strong resemblance to a friend of ours from high school). ¬†We chuckled. ¬†I made all sorts of silly noises (thanks to my¬†It is freakin’ cold here, how on Earth do people function like¬†at all in this country in wintertime lack of outdoorsiness (and thereby exercise) these past two-ish months). ¬†And we never really flashed one another. ¬†(Though downward dog is quite funny when your own shirt is loose, and shivs down (up?) over your eyes as your put your head downward.) ¬†And it was great. ¬†Totally simple. ¬†Totally normal (for us, anyway, though I’m not sure we’ve ever done this together before). ¬†Totally great.

I love best friends.  I love being naturally silly.  I love yoga.  I love my best friend.  I love warm weather.

And I love that we’re still on FaceTime with one another, though I’m busy writing and she’s busy eating lunch and reading, and we aren’t even talking to one another right now – we’re just hanging out together, and I love it.

 

P.S. ¬†In case you, too, want to beat the winter blues (I really do love the music kind, though), here’s the video we used. ¬†Take special care to note her various comments throughout the set, as well as the dog that shows up in the final couple seconds of the video.

 

Post-a-day 2017

#yogawithadrienne #winterblues