Monday, March 29, 2010

and i'm young and i'm strong / but i feel old and tired / overfired

i told the guy i was there to pick up two records i'd ordered. a mountain goats record and bon iver. the guy went behind the counter and picked the records up, looked at them and said, "all right, we've got them, the mountain goats and slipknot." he didn't smile. i panicked. he laughed, "i've been working on that joke all week."

we parked outside of our apartment on friendship avenue. there were people with a uhaul moving van. the license plate was from arizona - i rolled down the window and asked if they were going to arizona - they said no, but the van was from arizona. laurie suggested i offer to drive the uhaul home to arizona.

we passed jeremy. or jason. he told my future one time at the brillobox when we were snowed in all weekend. he spoke to me for 2 hours as if he held all of the answers to my future - as if he was the only person who knew me, cared about me - like he saw me. laurie tried to interrupt him a few times, and he yelled at her, "DO YOU LOVE HER? DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS GIRL? BECAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU WILL STOP TALKING. SHE NEEDS TO HEAR WHAT I AM TELLING HER." we smiled at each other.

we parked. we saw damien. we also spent those nights at the brillobox with damien. he got stuck driving up penn the night the first snow came. this time he was having trouble with his rear bike wheel. we invited him in. he watered our plants. we offered him a ride home in exchange for a painting of his. he agreed.

we drove to graham street. laurie lived with damien above the quiet storm for a year. we entered the apartment building - the feeling of the railing in my hand, the feel of my shoes on the hardwood floors, the smell of the building, the contrast of the bright outside and the dark hallways all felt so familiar to me - even more familiar to laurie. we came inside to a kitchen we'd partied in, a fire escape we'd sat on, couches i'd slept on, floors we'd laid on - so much happens in the places we live. damien played us songs on the guitar, laurie played us songs on the guitar, damien cooked us food and made us screwdrivers, like old times.

we left. got into the car. listened to songs. stopped at the corner of penn and main. saw two middle aged black men in a van full of blue balloons. we waved to them and smiled. they smiled and waved back. when the light turned, we smiled and waved again. they laughed and waved. we parked outside of the cantina - it was jenn's birthday, we were meeting her and marissa to celebrate. we were early. we kept driving and drove to the river. we got out of the car and walked along the train tracks.

we went to the new amsterdam with jenn and marissa. we left and went to remedy. our friends were there. we took pictures in the bathrooms, we laughed a lot, laurie tried not to cry, steve was the best, paul and kystal and jon were there. we left and went to steve and jon's. we danced for a few songs to bad music.

steve put on banshee beat. laurie laid down. i laid down next to her. steve laid down next to me. he held my hand on his chest. and i held laurie's hand. and andres laid next to laurie. and then we listened to martha wainwright, "bloody motherfucking asshole."

Friday, March 26, 2010

to know that nothing ever will be completely lost

i'm not who i was anymore - again.

laurie is probably move to new york city in a few weeks. she might be gone for only a few months, she might be gone for 6 months, she might be gone forever. today i went to the red, white and blue and bought us silk scarfs. i took them to her work. piled them on the counter while her boss took the customer who came in. she picked the one i knew she'd like the most. i hadn't seen her for two days and i missed her - that's really the only reason i went to her work. i bought the scarfs, sort of, as an excuse to see her at work. we spent the night on the couch watching the wire. i felt sad and happy. and i don't think it's just about her leaving.

two years ago we were ripe with heartache. the same heartache. the kind of heartache that comes when you give everything you have to someone and then they just sort of don't want it anymore - or never really wanted it at all. laurie moved home from chicago and for the last two years we've spent nearly every day together. we were motivated, we were changing, we were free, we were becoming new, we were ready. we loved new boys, but loved them differently, we went to the museum a lot, and went to frick park, and had dinners with manny, drank in her studio and danced to lauryn hill, we fell in love with david gray, and made breakfasts on thursdays, we drove across the country, we did stupid things with a purpose, we wrote songs, we sat on hardwood floors - and it was all for something. we were rebels, i guess, fighting for a little thing called freedom.

lately, things have felt much less epic. relationships are more serious - i find myself sacrificing things and feeling okay about it, time isn't measured by semesters and years - it just seems to roll on endlessly, i'm not moving to arizona again any time soon, i'm not thinking of my "next" or "better" job, i fall asleep as soon as i lay down, i don't get depressed, i don't cry much anymore, i'm not really trying to be anything, or prove anything, or show somebody something - and mostly, i miss this person that i was for two years.

sometimes, though, i remember how good change is. and that i'm changing again. and that i'm not who i was anymore. those lessons were learned, those memories were made, those stories have been crafted. and so i find myself, again, waiting. waiting for who i'll become next. waiting, like i have been for seven years in a room lit by the same lamps, sitting on the same bed, my things stacked on the same bookshelf, looking out at the same city skyline, waiting for the same pittsburgh summer, waiting for the same God to find me, to be found by me - again - and again - and again.

and although the setting is the same - the person is not. i was talking to steve today, and i could tell that he sort of expected me to be upset, maybe even a little mad that laurie was leaving. i wanted to laugh at this. if i were to feel any resentment towards her would mean that the last two years were a waste - it would mean that i'd learned nothing, it would make me a hypocrite. is it possible that i've actually learned to love selflessly - that i've actually learned to love people without wanting to own them, or keep them? i've asked for selfless love, i've asked for love that makes me feel free, i've asked for relationships that don't feel like bondage - and i think, finally, i know that i can return this to the people who i love.

donald miller once wrote this : "i want to keep my soul fertile for the changes. so things keep getting born in me and things keep dying when it's time for things to die. i want to keep walking away from the person i was a moment ago because a mind was made to figure things out not read the same pages recurrently."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

beautiful places / smiling faces

this past weekend steve and i went to south carolina to visit our friend mark. we drank sweet tea, we played settlers of catan, we played botchiball, shot guns, went to bon jones university, ate hardees, walked, drank beer and went to church and it was a wonderful time, for a few reasons.

1. mark, steve and i have a great time together. the reason for this is kind of simple but it's also a mixture of the complicated intricacies that make each of us so very different from each other, but yet so similar. we're deep thinkers, and feelers - romantics. we're travelers who love experience. we're mid-twenty year olds, we're struggling with the ideas of family, commitment, and "settling down," we're talkers and listeners and readers, we're sentimental and nostalgic, we love the counting crows. and so that's how a southern boy who graduated from clemson, owns guns and reads poetry and an engineer pothead child of two missionaries who grew up in europe and me ended up being great friends. i love people who love people - despite our differences.

2. it feels really good to leave pittsburgh. i knew this already, but i was reminded of this. i also spend a lot of time missing the west - or wishing i was out west - but driving down to south carolina, there were so many beautiful things to see. sure, the blue ridge mountains aren't the rocky mountains, and the canyons aren't the grand canyon - but that doesn't make them any less beautiful. i need to see more of the east coast. i need to see more of south carolina and west virginia. i need to leave more.

down on cemetery street

in middle school, my best friend's step dad worked at wyep. we got to go to great concerts as a result of this - well, maybe "great' is an exaggeration. for a while, though, brad yoder lived in their basement. he had a song called "cemetery street" and i loved that song. sometimes now, when i see him out and about, i'll call out the song. he just sort of laughs and fumbles around trying to remember how to play the song.

these are pictures from the cemetery. i like the blue with the gray and white. i like dominic the best when he's blurry. i've started noticing shadow a lot more - especially with the snow and the bare trees.

also, laurie has a blog. she's great. so look at it.