The trees whirled past, punctuated by patterns created alongside the rows of crops that played optical illusions on fifth grade me. I rewarded myself with the comfort of the backseat of our Honda Odyssey, letting my legs sprawl across the length of the back seat . Kanye West’s College Dropout spun through my Sony CD player as Family Business and Last Call played on constant repeat-two tracks that constituted 16 minutes of muse-laced music goodness. And I thought of her, elated-ecstatic-by the news that the girl I had had a crush on for so long did indeed feel similarly to me. It was me and my thoughts, me and my CD player- me and my puppy love ridden heart. The trip up the 5 freeway could not feel any shorter.
And with one hundred Christmas dollars in hand, my Mom took me to Best Buy and I browsed through the music section, eager to expand my music collection. Bands named Good Charlotte, Blink-182, and Ludacris adorned my shopping cart. I discovered the angst of Good Charlotte’s Hold On, Blink’s I Miss You, and the humor of Ludacris’ Splash Waterfall. Inevitably followed the days of making mixes for the girls I had crushes on-a compilation of my favorite love songs, including but not limited to Andre’s Prototype, or Brett Dennen’s Desert Sunrise. I would sit in my dark room illuminated by the blue glow of our old Panasonic stereo system as I untirelessly let tracks play on repeat. Sixth grade me would lay on my bed, blinds drawn only so slightly as to welcome a few slivers of light through the window from the light post outside, cooled by intermittent summer breezes- thinking about a girl.
I would watch MTV’s TRL to discover new artists and would always be tuned in before school and before I slept, hoping to find new inspiration for the next CD I would buy. This is how the past existed, operating under moderately less convenient circumstance. A part of me yearns for these processes, a part of me hopes to be consumed by something other than existential sentiment.
His book was dedicated to a reckless, impassioned youth. A thin ray of light shone through the four paned cafe window, casting a soft shadow upon the strands of his slowing thinning hair. Glowing under the reflection of the cool overcast skies, passerby’s strolled leisurely in and out of the coffee shop while Bach’s Cello Suite number one reverberated from the deep brown body of the street musician’s oak cello. He was a foreigner here, and the warm buzz filled the cafe with a welcoming persona. Absent was the deliberate tone of hurriedness that masked his perception of home, a place the locals understood as absurd and aloof, consumed by dispassion and constructed notions of happiness. He scrawled a note across the edge of his barely kept notebook. He would look up every now and them, observing the crowds of people that filled the confines of this Renaissance-age establishment. He would watch their lips move, deciphering the nuances of each shared exchange. The language barrier provided a comfortable disconnect, privileging him a sense of intimacy previously unknown.
He focused again on the recycled, coffee stained page that awaited his next move. Not much separates you from me, he wrote. Different words drift past the edges of our tongues, its cadence and melody reminding me of the expanse of the world and all that is to be explored. He continued to write as the ambient hymn of conversations bounced off the beige tiled floor. I understand that you yearn not for a life absent of consequence, but rather one consumed by it. Chances await, opportunities un-mined. The delirium set in, caused partially by a sense of hatred, partially by a sense of remorse. He wanted to feel sorry for her, but he knew that he was just as lost as she was. Who was he to judge her? He knew no better. An air of confusion lay ahead, obstructing her from the rhythm of the tides below. The wind blew gently through the air, pausing only to accentuate the emptiness of the cool November evening. She wanted to jump, and he wanted so desperately to arrest himself to the forces of gravity that chained them together. A tear rolled down her face as she allowed him to consume her. He stepped outside, lit a cigarette, and rolled up his sleeves. The rain poured down the back of his neck, just as it used to. He remembered the days they would saunter off, veiled by the temptation of the playful winter rains. A group of schoolchildren passed hurriedly by as if being lured by the auspice of untainted optimism. Who was he kidding? They were. He reveled in his pseudo intellectualism and his capacity to recollect and refurbish lies from the past. Unlike most young men his age, he was able to distinguish the bad from the good. Droplets of rain flowed from his brow, his thin hair now drenched with precipitation. He focused his attention again on those inside and wondered why he wasn’t privileged the luxury of floating through life under the circumstance of ignorant satisfaction.
She let him in, an experiment of sorts. Abandoned was the notion of the mysterious outlier, the outsider looking in.