Stepping on to the elevator to go up to find my gate, I began to feel the butterflies of being lost among the sea of people in the airport I was about to venture into by myself. But I forgot about that as soon as I saw his scruffy chin lift to show his green eyes smiling at me as I wiggled my way to fit both me and my two bags into the already overfilled space. Then as we slowly un boarded the moving box I locked eyes as long as I could until the mass of people took him to far away to see anymore. And as if reality was still reminding me it existed, I was thrust into a crowded Orlando airport to fend for myself among the millions a Disney Parks tourists carrying bags upon bags with no intention other then to get all of the tigger and dumbo stuff animals on the plane, along with their children of course. I wandered aimlessly for awhile after stopping by my gate to see that every seat was already occupied. After choosing a book, some fruit snacks and a last minute addition of rainbow mentos to my bill, I headed back to my gate to wait along with my fellow travelers. With just my luck we incurred an hour delay, which even though everyone knows it's not, seems somewhat like a punishment, making each traveler silently contemplate what act led karma to curse them with this inconvenience. After finishing half of my fruit snacks and reaching the cherry flavor in my mentos stick, the same overly excited stewardess who had blessed us with another hour in Orlando came on to tell us that we now had to lift our annoyed butts off of the ground to walk over to a different gate which resonated as well with people as you're probably assuming it did. So I did as my father had prepared me so many flights before to do, I lifted myself and headed immediately to my new gate even though I knew we would not begin boarding for another hour. I found another gate full of people and again found myself finding a nice hard ground to make into my little nest until I was told my next direction by the blessed woman on the PA system. Another 4 pages into my book and I felt a thud on the ground, when I looked over I saw none other then mr. green eyes from the elevator himself sitting next to me. I sat there trying to regain my composure and do a quick run of the tongue over my teeth to ensure none of my lunch was about to introduce itself. I then looked out of my peripheral vision at just the right time to see him ever so slightly slide a half inch closer and remove the headphones he previously had blocking his hearing. Then after we both did the ever so cliche and predictable outfit readjustment and hair fidgeting, we sat their to still to be considered natural. Then I did the unthinkable. I asked him what bowl game Kansas City was playing in and as soon as it escaped my lips I could feel the color rising to fast to be contained in my cheeks. I had broken my own golden rule. "Always know your football, so you don't look like a dumb bimbo in front of guys!" I was ashamed, even though I know it was a mistake brought about by the nerves he was causing me to have. He laughed and said "no, this is the NFL, not college." Then he gave me a big smile because he probably saw the word "embarrassed" burned into my forehead at that point. I laughed it off and in the end it was successful because we began to talk about where we had been and why we had been their. I couldn't help but notice the stuffed Pooh Bear that he was carrying, in way to plain of sight for a teenage boy, so I gave him a little smart ass remark about how it was cute and he laughed and told me about the friend he was bringing it home for. Which I followed up by saying "of course you are!". That comment won me another one of his great smiles and his contagious laugh. We joked about how it was just our luck to both have delayed flights on our first times flying alone, which again was an interesting coincidence. I asked if he was going Kansas City as well and he gave me a cautious look and then told me no, that Chicago was home for him. Then reality called once more soundly a lot like, you guessed it, my favorite preppy and overly excited stewardess informing me I had to move to another gate, luckily it was just across the way, but in his attempt to not look like a stalker, he didn't offer to accompany me. I slowly put my nest back in my bag and rose to my feet so incredibly slow he probably though I was doing some weird slow motion thing, but in all actuality I was just stalling to get a couple more seconds of those green eyes. When I had finally reached my original and upright position (see what I did their, tray tables...flying, I know I know, it was lame, whatever) he wished me a safe flight and I returned the gesture and I made my way tediously across the main walkway, trying to avoid being run down by rushing travelers. When I reached the other side I decided to stand because I didn't feel it was worthy of finding a new spot to nest since my plane was set to board in only 5 minutes. I of course made sure I could still make occasional eye contact with my green eyed crush as I stood awaiting my departure. Ever so often I would glance back and look just long enough so that he saw I was, but not long enough for it to look like I was staring (it's a very meticulous process, flirting with your eyes and all). It was then time for me to get in line to board and as I moved to find my place he began gathering his stuff, which confused me because he had said he had another three hours of waiting. Either way I began slowly walking toward to point of no return and he stood their watching me walk and since our seconds were few, I made the executive decision that is was ok to hold eye contact. So that's what we did, we looked at each other like maybe in another life our souls knew one another, or maybe even loved one another. I got one last look at him and he smile that great smile and I waved and then he waved and finally I turned toward reality and handed my boarding pass to my new best friend who's name I leaned wasn't actually overly excited stewardess, it was Jenny. As I began my walk down the gate to find my place on the plane I heard them say that the flight to Chicago had found a new plane and that if you weren't already at your gate, gate 125, you needed to make your way their. And then I realized why he had packed his stuff up as I was leaving, that was never his gate to begin with, and I smiled filled with a new spark of confidence some teenage boy with green eyes had given me. I kinda wish I would of caught his name, then again I don't think you really need names for something that only could of been in another life.
There is a quote that has to be the beginning of this story in my opinion and it says, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. It has to be the beginning because it’s the reason for the story I’m about to tell. I vowed that this summer I was going to try and catch these moments, not try to hold on to them, but be able to realize them in their entirety, so that I could appreciate them at all of their stages. And he was a moment of greatness. As soon as he opened his mouth and that Georgia accent began to sink into my brain I knew that this was the beginning of a moment. Try talking to a true southerner and focusing, I tell you, it has to be the hardest thing because you very quickly fall in love with the way they sound. This case was an even bigger challenge because his bright blue eyes were piercing my heart and every time he smiled I felt like melting (plus I was in a hot tub, so melting was a real possibility). I caught the important things; college, baseball, family, his name, but the whole time I felt like I was looking at him without my contacts in, it was fuzzy and I was buzzing with that feeling you get at the beginning of these illusive moments. I wanted everyone to fade away, I felt like if it was just the two of us I would be able to see him so much clearer, but they didn’t fade and time marched on and before I knew it I was saying goodnight for what I thought would be the first and last time. The next day carried on as they usually do on vacation, quickly with the zooming of new experiences and a world wind of family and laughter and I almost forgot about my hazy experience with the cute Georgia boy. But this moment surprised me, as they usually do. The second day after our first brief encounter I found him waist deep in the ocean about 20 ft. in front of me. Thank god he is out going because I was (as usual) to shy and bashful to say anything. But talking was his forte I was figuring out, and he handled all of the scary things I didn’t like about meeting new people. We rose and fell with the waves and our conversation shifted and changed with the tide, never ending like the view down the beach. It was never dull, he was so very full of life, full to the brim, and I don’t think I have ever met anyone like him. We tried to tell time by the amount of tiny wrinkles forming on the pads of our fingers and as they increased and became more defined we figured it time to give our skin a break. I didn’t want to say goodbye again, I wanted to know that there would be a next time, but I held my tongue, afraid of causing someone to feel obligated to do something they didn’t want to. But I got lucky, he asked me to meet him on the beach for the sunset (a real southern gentleman I’m telling you). This time I got to just say “see ya later”, and let me tell ya, words have never tasted sweeter then those that meant I would get more time with him. Dinner seemed to drag on, and the world slowed while I was forced to wait. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking as I sat their anticipating (I never did ask him what was on his mind during that time). I found myself tapping my foot, silently begging the elevator to hurry up before he disappeared along with my moment. But as I swung the wooden gate open and ran onto the walkway leading to the sea he turned around and smiled and once again I began to buzz and I buzzed as we walked three miles down the beach and three miles back, talking about everything under the stars, from the future, to the past, to mermen. We never ran out of things to talk about, but every once in a while it would get quiet so we could stare out at the seemingly never ending ocean or look up at the sky hoping for a glimpse of a shooting star. It was effortlessly perfect; it was homey and safe feeling. The buzzing turned into a soft warmth I began to feel in my heart, usually the feeling at the middle of a moment like this. We found ourselves sitting in the loose sand, digging our toes mindlessly into the earth still talking about anything and everything. He surprised me by loving the same books that I love, which to some people might not be a big deal, but to me it was like saying he found truth in the same things I do, and that is a big deal. He also mentioned something that punched me right In the gut, he said he used “20 second of insane courage” and, sitting here in the South Carolina airport typing this, it still gives me the chills and makes me smile to think of his beautiful accent saying something that has meant so much to me. Those words were the reason for my first moment of greatness. In a moment of silence after I got over the shock of his reminder of my forgotten truth, I wanted so badly to kiss him. To kiss him for the most honest of reasons, in attraction and joy, it just felt like the kind of moment that would of invented the kiss, because words just wouldn’t of explained how I was feeling, but I wanted him to know. I didn’t kiss him though, and that was ok, sometimes feelings need to be told to wait. I let him pull me to my feet so we could walk back to my room and say goodnight, but again I felt myself wanting to know that I had another second, if that be all I could have. I just wanted more time, and as he began telling me what time sunrise was, I could feel the smile rising, unable to be contained. He hugged me goodnight and I told him I would meet him in the same spot at 6 O’clock the next morning. I tossed and turned all night, whether it was butterflies or the fact I was sleeping on an uncomfortable couch we will never know. But either way I jumped up when my alarm went off, unsure if I ever even fell asleep. I put myself together and headed out the door, before the rest of the world was even awake. I heard the creaking of the same wooden boards as the night before. I found him sitting on the handrail, feet swung out over the grassy dunes looking out over the pastel sky. I wish I took a picture so you could see how perfect it all looked, he turned and his blue eyes we glazed over with this look of peaceful joy. It’s the kind of sight that makes you want to live, to just live so fully you die remembering a million moments like that one. He jumped down and asked if I was ready to walk, and off we went. It felt like we were the only people in the world and for those moments before eyes opened and bare feet hit the floor, as the rest of the world rubbed their eyes and reached for their morning coffee I got to pretend that we were. We walked for what seemed like forever with just the imagine of a pier becoming slowly larger in front of us. Eventually the pier towered over us and we found a spot in the sand underneath it shaded from the quickly rising sun. And the time clock started, knowing he had to be back at 10 to check out and head home, to pack before leaving for school in the next couple of days. I was still grasping it, trying to take in every word he said to make sure I lived this moment to its fullest. And as he placed small shells on my leg making me laugh and lean into him, I wanted again for this perfect moment to be remembered because the view of the pier and the ocean and his tan legs next to mine, it was something out of a movie. Something someone experienced one summer and realized its perfection, causing it to be a scene in millions of movies forcing those who actually live it, to compare it to something that could only possibly exist in fictitious tales, when in all actuality it happens every day. People fall for each other, they fall in and out of love, friendships are formed and evolved and lost, life happens and in those moments we were of the few lucky enough to experience it. Time was the last thing on our minds but when he asked me to check my phone I was reminded that time still existed and when I saw that it was 10 already I knew we were in trouble. He on the other hand didn’t see it as such a big deal and just sat their looking at me, so I decided to not care with him and I let his blue eyes stare at me and I enjoyed every second of looking into them. And then he kissed me and I felt the burst of emotion as my moment hit its peak. It was pure bliss as our salty lips intertwined for those fleeting seconds, I felt his lips lifting into a smile and mine did the same and we slowly drifted apart, two dumb smiles stuck on our faces and I leaned to my feet and grabbed his hands to pull him up because as much as I didn’t want him to leave, I knew he had to. We walked down the beach once more, this time surrounded by the undeniable fact that there were still millions of people in the world. Which I was ok with this time because as they all ran screaming around me, I could only hear the pounding of my own heart ringing through my ears and pulsing throughout my body. Now this is the hardest part of these moments to explain because it’s the part where you want to be sad. You want to beg it to continue, but if you do, you ruin it. You cause it to no longer bring joy and that’s not what you want, so you have to accept this bitter sweet feeling of joy for its happening and sadness for its ending. So as we rode the elevator together up to my room I knew there would not be another second to be had, this was truly the final goodbye. We hugged and it was peaceful being so tiny wrapped up in this strong guy I had come to know a good amount about in the last day and a half. Maybe we even knew a little bit more about each other because we knew it was going to end, you don’t have to be anyone but yourself in situations like this. He probably knows me more then some of the people I see on a daily basis. I wasn’t any of the things, true or untrue, people thought I was and neither was he. He knew only what I was in that moment, he knew me in my simplest of forms and I knew him in his, and to me, that is really knowing someone. We separated from our hug and as I thought he was going to turn away and leave, he reached forward and took my face in his hands and gave me just a few more moments of perfect bliss. The surprise took away my breath and I wanted to just hang in that moment, in its simple and effortless perfection, but again we both broke into a smile and slowly fell away, he stepped backwards and I did the same. We said goodbye and I slid into my room still high on those blue eyes and that southern draw. I stepped into my swim suit and got on the elevator to rejoin my family, as my door opened so did the one across and their he stood smiling, we locked eyes one last time and then the doors slid closed and the moment was over, I smiled knowing this moment of greatness would always be with me, it would always be tucked away in my heart, and so I walked off toward the ocean.
There was a boy I once knew, he reminded me of Peter Pan. If you’ve never thought deeper into the well known Disney character then you live on the surface of life, I don’t blame you though; it’s easier up there, but I’ve already dove under so I guess I will help you out. See Peter Pan, he knew a great deal, he knew that childhood was and will always be the best part of life. He understood that childhood is the time where people just let you be, they just wait for you to figure out who you are and if your aren’t what they think you should be, they say it’s just a phase and let you continue on in peace. But when you grow up, they stop making excuses for you, they expect you to have figured it all out, at 16 or 17 you’re too old be lost in their eyes. I think that’s why Wendy fell for Peter, that’s why she trusted him, because he was so simply brilliant. He was no rocket scientist, he was keenly aware of the simple truths of life that so many people have stopped taking the time to try and grasp. I fell for this boy the way Wendy did with Peter. At first he was a shadow, dancing around my life, there but unnoticed. And then he jumped out and caught my attention. I sat and marveled and wondered about this boy who seemed to live a much different life, and I wanted to understand it, maybe even had the urge to be a part of it. Two years later and it finally worked out, finally was the right place at the right time. He picked me up in a bright red convertible, and I laughed from the beginning about how unreal it was from the moment I set eyes on him that night. And all of a sudden we were driving, and my hair was everywhere and I was smiling, and there was music in the background and in my mind it was all in slow motion, his words and the world were just slowed down. And it continued like that, through dinner and looking over art, it was all slow motion and I was fine with it, because it felt so good to be a part of. Then we were in the car again and we were driving down town and for a night I felt connected to a city that wasn’t and will never really be mine. But it was his, and he showed me what it felt like to be a piece of where you live, to be a part of the history of a place and not just someone who rides through, but someone who’s roots are so deeply planted. He worked on cars in this old warehouse and from the outside it looked like nothing much, like the tree the lost boys lived in. And then he opened the door and another door and an elevator gate and we went down and then up again and each room was filled with some odd sense of lost fortune, of dreams left for someone else to pick up and finish, and him and his group of lost boys came there to just be. I was so very envious of him that night, to have somewhere so expansive to escape to, somewhere to go and be. I was Wendy trapped in a sort of reality, with only my imagination to escape to, But I was getting to an age where people began to tell me that I couldn’t live in my imagination. They were telling me that the only place I felt safe, I was supposed to vacate. Then we went inside history, in a house built many years ago, but you would have thought was built yesterday. By the way it was persevered is what I meant, the quality and craftsmanship were way to impressive to have been built in this day and age. I laughed at him as we left his second escape. He at first thought it was in mockery, but I explained that it was more in disbelief. He was living the kind of life that they write stories about. It isn’t that Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up; he just didn’t see the need to, just as this boy didn't. When you have your home and your friends, and you are who you are, why would you ever want to change? You wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t. He is childish, but not in the negative and condescending way that society uses the word. He is childish in the fact that every thing he did was because it made him happy, he feared no limits and tried to make his imagination a reality and in many ways he did just that. But as Peter did with Wendy, he returned me home at the end of the night. I was forced back into my reality and he flew away back into my dreams. I let him go because as much as I wanted to be apart of the beautiful reality he had made for himself, I like Wendy knew that I would never truly be able to feel home. Because it wasn’t my home the way it was his, I had to create my own splendid reality.
There was a spot in the town I grew up in where kids would park there cars when they were meeting up with friends to do things they didn’t want their parents to know about. If you didn’t already know this about the world, then I’m going to be letting you in on a secret. Every town is the same; same mean girls, same jocks, same stoners, just different faces. So in accordance, every town has one of these spots. Maybe they have been there for a little bit or for generations, a place where your grandparents and parents or older siblings went to make decisions they couldn’t take back. These places are always in obvious spots because nothing conceals better then hiding in plain sight. A gas stations or secret hill, maybe an abandoned building; its cliché really. I’m sure everyone can think of at least to references to a place like this and I’m damn sure you could name the one in your town. Mine was next to the local grocery store and I drove by this sport almost every night. I knew what it was, but it meant nothing to me until I saw his car there. Sure, we were freshman when we really knew each other but I like to think that we did really know each other. Maybe you stopped caring what I think or what I feel when we stopped knowing each other but I didn’t. I know you are not some bored stoner like the rest of them, you are desperately trying to escape and none of them care enough or are brave enough to tell you that you can’t. You can forget yourself but you can never escape. When I drive past that spot and see your car, I wonder if I will ever see you again, the you that I know you are, the guy who loves music and laughing, the guy who fought with me about the pronunciation of Oregon. Where did he go? I know he must be screaming inside your head. He must be begging to be set free. Whatever it is that has taken you over is too afraid to let him see the truth. You are strong enough to see the truth. I hope to see you again, the you that I will always be in love with.
She has her phone in one hand
And mine in the other
She is screaming for everyone to forget their coats and shoes
She just wants them to come upstairs
You can smell the sweet Champaign still on her breath
Lingering from our toast to the East Coast’s new year just an hour before
She looks at her phone again and then out my glass door
Her eyes in a childlike manner seem to beg the question
And with five seconds to spare, we all burst through the door
Stumbling into the cold snowy night
And through clouds of our now visible breath we cheered “Happy New Year!”
Then we are running
Running down my long abandoned street screaming and laughing
Gasping for air as the cold fills our lungs
Seeping its way through the threads of our clothes
But my heart is beating so fast that I can’t feel it
Maybe it was the Champaign fizzling in my stomach
Or the fact that my friends were there with me
But I felt so happy to be alive
And to be where I was, with the people I was with
After a while our screams died down
We helped each other stumble back through the doors
And as everyone else went back down the stairs
I turned back around to face the glass door
I felt like I could watch us
Like I could see from a third person view what just happened
Man, did we look beautiful and young and stupid
And happy, we looked so very happy
Do you remember the first time you cared about how a swimsuit fit?
The first time you asked to go shopping for new clothes because the ones you had weren't good enough?
The first time you asked to see what you looked like in a picture after it was taken?
Could you put a finger on the first time your eyelashes weren't long enough or your skin perfect enough?
The first time your hair wasn't pretty enough the way it naturally was?
Do you remember the moment you started looking at the opposite sex in a different way?
The first time you wondered what a kiss would be like?
The first time you didn't say something because you were worried about what other people would think?
The moment you stopped singing so loudly, stopped imagining things that weren't real, stopped dreaming so big?
Do you remember the first time you weren't a kid anymore?
She walks into the sterile room, remembering the last time, when he promised he could make her better, promised he could save her, promises that he broke. But she shakes off the memories and undresses, leaving herself standing in the form God intended her to always be. She lifts herself onto the cold metal table and lays back. It is uncomfortable but she knows it is supposed to help her, so she tries to relax. She hears footsteps and then she sees his face, now she is relaxed. She sees so much promise and hope in his eyes. He takes her hand, explains what is going to happen and she drifts off slowly to the sound of his voice as the drug takes over. The image of his face is the last thing she remembers and it sooths her. He looks over her, seeing all the flaws this world has left her with, but he still calls her beautiful, as he should. Then he opens her chest, he sees her heart for what it is, he sees the beauty and pain, the fear, the joy, he sees it all in an instant and it scares him. There is beauty, he knows that, but there is pain, a lot of it. He knows he can leave, the first guy did. He knows she will come to and realize she is alone, he knows her pain will be unbearable and she will have to stich herself back up from memory. She will never be able to put herself back together to be the person she once was, but she would survive. Or, he could stay; he could let her flaws become mere factors of her beautiful picture. He could let her in and they could be two people who see each other’s flaws and still love one another. He has a decision to make. The bright lights blind her as she opens her eyes, she blinks twice and sits up and she realizes he is…
This is the one day I allow myself to believe that you will be there,
Unlike the other 364 days in the year.
I think this is because we are made to believe,
Ever since we are old enough to grasp the concept,
That this is the one day that is ours,
The one day we get to believe belongs to us.
So every year I fool myself into thinking
That you owe me something,
On this day I call my own.
And every year, you show me how utterly naive I am to still believe in something so impossible
I will wake and hope, I will go through the day wondering,
And I will go to bed disappointed by you all over again
and yet, this is the one day I allow myself to believe that you will be there
"How did it feel at its beginning?"
Like you had never been whole before.
"And at its end?"
Like you would never be whole again.
The lights strung from the ceiling give the room a soft glow
You stand in the back and I look at you
For a moment I can see two ghosts
They look like younger versions of you and I tonight
Both dressed up with hair perfected
The difference is that she runs to him
Grabs his hands, and begs him to dance
He smile but does not move
She dances around him giggling uncontrollably
He smiles watching her smile
Which only causes her to smile more
They are so in love, so fearless for the night
They kiss and stand together
She is glowing just knowing he is there with her, there for her
The song changes and the beautiful ghosts vanish
And I realize you and I are standing on opposite sides of the room
With a million mistakes separating us
I try to bring back the happy ghosts
But they are gone
And all I'm left with,
Is the longing to read you this