Sometimes i listen to Dashboard confessional and wish I was back in college, watching The Hills for the first time in my home I shared with two girls that shared age, experience, and goals of occupying the weekend with time in libraries and parked cars. It was so much simpler back then. When the earth spun faster than it does now, but each minute was a blissful wisp of smoke that we made with our own breath. The world was smaller and kinder then. The rest of the world was as lost as we were, but we felt found. So close to a resolution that even the dizziest dances felt like a showcase on the grandest of stages.
I never smoked a cigarette. I never touched weed. But I drank a fifth of vodka and wished I was anywhere but a bathroom floor. I let boys in just close enough so I could smell their breath, stale with lies and empty promises. They never touched me. Well, that is, I never touched them. Helping empty hearts and filling jars with sand, while water rushed from my flower pots sitting in the windowsill beside the neighbors’ white cat.
A french man with a beard kissed me and made me feel like I could conquer the sea. He was older and wiser…and I was taller. I hugged him tight that night he dropped me off at my little house by the beach. He told me he loved sitting next to me. He told me he’d buy me a drink every night for the rest of my life if it meant he could sit next to me and listen to the banjo and bass player strum some love song meant for us in some time other than our own. I sure do miss him. He sent me a French Press. I made coffee in it this morning and hungrily chewed on a few misplaced coffee grounds floating in my mug.
I remember sitting on the gold and turquoise rug in a good friend’s home and hearing my father’s whisper on the phone as he told me my mom had a stroke. I was 500 miles away. She wasn’t supposed to make it. I cried only an hour, the rest of the night I sat behind a locked door and wrote over the ink in my textbooks- “I can’t lose my mom now. I can’t lose my mom now.” I thought about the empty chair at my wedding where she wouldn’t sit. I thought about the empty car seat my dad would drive beside all the way down to my college graduation.
I flew home the next day, not eating anything for 24 hours and not realizing it until my brother tried to make me eat stale cheezits. I ate two and wished I hadn’t. I saw my mom forget who I was. I saw her start to remember. I still see her trying to remember who she was before this happened to her. But she swallows her pills and says her prayers and we play cards with a cup of coffee and something sweet to nibble on while the afternoon sun sets. Normalcy is no longer a curse.
I think about how scared I was to stay in one place, to love one person, to be who I was in that moment without working towards something. I always thought about what I could be and what I wanted to do. All while wishing, I was living too. I see now… it’s ok to be a dreamer. To look forward, as long as we never forget to live a life worth looking back at. A life we can look back at and say- I remember those little times, like when I would listen to Dashboard Confessional in college in my home with two girls that shared drunken stories, late night pizza runs, and goals of occupying our lives with memories that prove it was all worth it.