The sun had finally set. The day was finally over. All was quiet – until that fateful knock at the door…I froze in the middle of doing the dishes and Mom looked up. Two women were standing on our front porch and they were the kind of women not welcome inside our home, the Belle Watlings of the world. We were perturbed, for there really was no reason for these kinds of women to be coming to our house. Who could they be?
All we knew was they drove a white van and they were looking for something. Or someone…We didn’t answer the door and in a few boring minutes, they walked back to their van, pulled out some paper which I’m assuming has directions, then pulled away.
I finished the dishes and kept thinking about where these women came from and where they were headed. A dinner party? No, that can’t be right. Unless it was Great Gatsby style, there’s no way they were going to a dinner party dressed like that. Were they looking for people to convert? Ha! Unless it was some Magic Mike religion, there’s no way they were evangelists.
Whatever these women were up to, they were long gone now and on their way to the Right Place. For their sakes, I hoped they got there.
You died today. I know nothing about you except that your mother must have accompanied you to every lesson and written down everything you were doing wrong. She smiled at your teacher and then as soon as you were alone with her at home the stern look would make an appearance and everything written down would fly off the page and onto your face, leaving you wondering why someone who doesn’t even know how to hold the bow right could believe she’s good at everything, including this. I know you must have practiced ten hours a day or maybe it was two hours every night after school and then work before joining such a prestigious orchestra. That must have been the most nerve-wracking audition of your life, but at least one where you didn’t feel like you had to tell anyone what they wanted to hear about how your audition went because it was all the truth. Your truth. And you were finally ready to tell it. That’s why LA Phil let you in. Your father must have never supported your dream which only made you practice harder, not so much to prove him wrong as so much not wanting to end up like him, skeptical of anything and anyone that didn’t have to do with his immediate family. LA Phil headlines are still here. You died, but your dream stays alive.
The lady at orientation made it sound so good, like it would be so much fun and fun was as far as I could look as a recent high school senior. So here I am, a month, not planning the future like everybody else. They all are fast-forwarding to attending. Eating good food and sleeping in the most comfortable mattress and watching Disney movies because I got time to grow up. First semester didn’t go so well, but at least I didn’t fail out, not that I think it’s funny someone failed out due to a video game addiction. WOW is it? I know nothing about video games, only everything about every shade of snow. The ‘rents are away at work and I have the whole house to myself. It’s a lot of room for my thoughts to get out of control. The snow is beautiful and so are the robins hanging out on the bare branches, but that doesn’t change the fact up to this point I had been training for the Olympics and once I got in, the Olympics was over and I’m on my butt trying to figure out what my next move should be. Except I have no idea. All I want to do is be a Sheryl Crow song. At the end of this month it’s back to another semester of I don’t know. Another semester of stress beyond any freshman can imagine. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m not, but the only ones who get it are the undergraduates of this school. They say I’m at the age where my whole life is ahead of me. I’ve heard my whole life “life is short.” So why does it feel so long?
I walked by a dandelion and picked up a walnut so that I could give it to you through the TV. It was a sunny day and I saw a robin swallow a worm. It was the kind of jean jacket meant to be left behind in a car to be sniffed later. Yellow teeth and roses are the perfect combo for that. Don’t you think so?
They say thirdhand smoke ruins children’s lives and I’m wondering how we got to thirdhand. Carrie Bradshaw would wonder with me. I’m over here, the robin whisperer, trying to make one stop tapping on a windshield while its cousin Earl taps on a window.
Relatives from far away can be more annoying than helpful. And even a body roll can’t dress this sick beat. But still I keep reading, hoping to jump through the time machine to the land before I was born because the robins there actually speak to me like I’m Mary Poppins.
You are a workaholic. You have no patience for malfunctioning computers and loquacious women. I’m over here like a dog listening to the sound of its master. I can hear how hard you work, but I’m always afraid to look. I’m afraid to either look into your eyes and give away some secret of mine or look at you and get nothing in return. I don’t know which one is worse. A dog always wants something from its master. And yet, you surprise me every time you scare me with declarations and questions. Because they are always the right ones, the ones that get to me. I don’t know how you do it.
I can feel the anorexia setting in again. With a side effect of depression, no matter what I’m doing I feel stuck. I just stare at something, anything, frozen in place wherever I am. Because right now absolutely nothing makes sense except for what I eat or not eat. I’m in full hunting mode, taking care of the immediate problem in front of me and not thinking beyond that. Thinking beyond takes too much energy and it’s too foggy so like a true perfectionist, I don’t know where to begin. So I’m stuck in Groundhog Day, solving the same old problems I’ve always had like it’s my passion, proficiency, and profitability all rolled into one. I’m that horse circling round and round, getting thirsty, but instead of drinking the water like the logical thing to do would be, I keep circling. Like a hawk about to make a kill, only I never do.
Down by Serenity Creek there’s a raspberry bush where a fish called Hooky swims by. The birds get first dibs on the raspberries. Hooky used to eat crickets, earthworms, and Rold Gold pretzels. Hooky used to splash water at strangers until he learned to trust. Trust came in the form of crickets, earthworms, and Rold Gold pretzels. Let the birds.