First things first, I want you to know that when I say I’ll do something, I will do it. Especially when I pinky promise you I’ll eat more ice cream. I don’t mess around with stuff like that.
Now that we’ve gotten the important things out of the way, we can talk Life. Big things have been in the works, and luckily for you, I am the sort of person who writes my life across the Internet. Well, the first thing you should know is that I’m officially a corn-shucker. No, seriously, I have the pictorial evidence to prove it. (Perhaps you can pick up on how often I shuck corn, since when I do do it, I yell, “Somebody better get a picture of this!”)
In an effort to broaden my horizons (because staying in place is boring, and also because most of my sidekicks have planted themselves elsewhere this July), I’ve been all around the world this week. Well, actually, I’ve just been all around my world, which stretches to Lake Martin, out to my parents’ street, and back to Tuscaloosa. But those, streets, man—I know them. And when my (three! [This is new! Another occupation!]) jobs part to create that glorious breath of fresh air called weekend, I start hightailing it to my people. (Alternatively, I Skype them, which is convenient because it does not require driving, but less wonderful because it does not include the true in-personness we people people like.) So, I spent some time driving. First, to the lake.
Have you guys ever been to yoga? Or have you ever lost your cool really extravagantly? What I’m asking is have you ever needed to get some place perfect really quickly, so you conjure up some space of tranquility? This is mine—my true blue happy place. It has something to do with the hammock, and the copious amounts of watermelon, and the dock. It has everything to do with the people and the way you can feel God when you’re riding the water (on the boat. I don’t engage in crazy activities.) As I’ve grown into this me who’s almost adult, it’s been a constant place of refuge. It has the same kind of comfort as my faded purple pajama pants (which I’m never giving away.) As soon as I pull up, I feel all of the world’s strings snap and I’m free again. And if you’ve got an ache of the head or the belly or the heart, there are hands waiting to fix you. My own “Tintern Abbey,” I think. I suppose it goes without saying that I go there every chance I get (I’m not alone in this.) This particular weekend, we had equal amounts of sunbathing and Charades-playing with quite the cast of characters.
Now here’s where I guess I’ll admit that spent a whole 30 minutes on my way back to Tuscaloosa Monday morning searching in the rain for a Starbucks, because once you get the idea of a latte in your head, it is really difficult to wrap your heart around gas station coffee (I tried. I really did.) Actually, I could see the Starbucks from the other side of the six-lane highway amidst 8 a.m. traffic, and I’d like to call that half hour, “Perseverance.” And I guess I should admit here that the latte was completely worth the gas, time, wet hair, and $3.87 that I sacrificed for it. Coffee forever.
The very next day I was entreated back to the lake for the night, mostly for my own little self, who wasn’t really hyped up on an empty apartment. This part is important because I had this moment. (You with me, Joanna?) Here’s what happened: I was driving along that same highway, in the dark, feeling fairly content. My mind was tumbling with all sorts of new thoughts, and driving is just the thing to get them all in line, am I right? Anyway, I’m straightening these things out and listening to music, and during the climax of this song, fireworks began to explode in the distance. I wasn’t close enough to hear them, though, so it was as if I was watching this happen from much farther away and it was as if—bear with me—I was in a movie. Watching my own life, I mean. It was as if I had a soundtrack. Did I ever tell you that I wanted to be a movie star when I was eight years old? This satisfied that dream in this strange, magical way. Like Kurt Vonnegut says, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'”
The next day was actually the ice-cream eating and corn-shucking, and the life-regaling to my parents, who took me along to the store with them and probably regretted that decision. I felt a little bit six years old as I followed them around while they chose tomatoes asking, “And did I tell you about. . .? And the other day at work. . .” We celebrated ‘Merica in the best way (in my opinion, but then again, I’m not partial to baseball-playing, which is also a good way to celebrate America, I’ve heard): cheeseburgers, peach cobbler, fireworks, and bug spray. Red, white, and blue forever. (Texas, too.)
I got home on the fifth day of the seventh month to an email inbox screaming my name (seriously, I’m getting a major in journalism with minors in coffee-drinking and emailing.) I got home to so. much. laundry. (I’m in the bad habit of emptying my bag on the floor, so I could look at a pile and reminisce: “Oh, Tuesday’s clothes! Tuesday was fun!”) I got home, and I thought, “It’s not really home without them.” So I’m going back (tomorrow.) And the rest of them are coming home (next month.)
And until then, we can use our words.
“I got your letter.”
“I miss you.”
“See you soon.”