A quick trip down memory lane…
Had a good buddy write up a short story in a matter of five minutes on my type-writer one night… I told him I was going to post it… so here it is…
Written by @Johnson_CT
I went to the store with my best friend to buy a gallon of milk so I could have a nice yummy bowl of cereal. I met this pretty old lady at the store with a snaggle tooth. It scared me at first but I looked past her deformity into her heart and saw a beautiful woman.
She took me home to her house to have a cup of coffee with her and her pug. After a lovely evening with Janet I let myself out and drove myself home. On the drive back I couldn’t stop thinking of her oversized ear lobes. They were fucking nasty… Like, I know she sees them, get that shit fixed. I decided to never go shopping at the Safeway where I met her ever again.
Months passed and I had sex with lots of hot women, and not a single thought of Janet crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I read in the newspaper that a woman by the name of Janet Homecomb had lost her pug, and was offering a $200 reward to anyone who returned her pug. That moment I was flooded with a monsoon of emotions. I began to think how happy I was during that short time I spent with Janet, some 4 months ago.
I found myself on a manhunt for this little pug, so I could return him to Janet. Not so I could receive the reward, but so I could see her face again. At that moment something from the corner of my eye caught my attention and caused me to swerve across the double lines and into oncoming traffic. It was as if time halted, and I was suspended in some sort of limbo. The feeling was quickly replaced with terror and panic, as the nose of the car lifted into the air, and I became weightless. Everything was surreal and I felt at peace again. Then the faint scream of an old woman leaked into my bleeding head as I climbed out of the wreckage.
My car no longer resembled a vehicle, only a pile of rubble in the middle of a cacophony of noises. I stumbled to the street to see a body laying in the road in a puddle of blood. I still did not know what had happend, until i heard her voice… It was Janet.
[Note: The first part of this post is a personal experience that then leads into the beginning of a short story. ~nlvogs]
I wish I could tell you this is a happy story. I wish I could tell you that it is a story of ‘the guy get’s the girl’, or ‘hero wins the battle’… but in earnest, I don’t know what this story means; perhaps because I am living it. I can say that just like any story, there is plenty of room for unspoken apologies, ungiven thanks, and unheard I love you’s. I think that it is grey that surrounds us. It is the little moments of short conversations that define us. They dictate our unfolding lives. Sure, right and wrong exist… but only to the individual. The truth exists in the moments of unspoken conversations.
They happen more often than many of us recognize. I first really noticed such moments on a boardwalk in Southern California. My dog and I sat at a pair of hard wood rocking chairs, against a table watching the people walking by. I was in awe of Linus’s attention to the crowd as they enjoyed the evening sunset. He sat calm and collect. He was at peace with everything. It wasn’t until he recognized my stare, that we spoke. I simply smiled at him. He smiled back at me and asked, what? With his eyes of course. I gently shook my head, humored by his questioning nature, saying nothing, but letting him know I was pleased with him. He looked at me curiously, and said “ok” with a cock of his head, and looked back to the sea and the passing crowd.
Dialogue with those dear to us can fill our souls. But it is peculiar how occasionally saying nothing is the best thing to say. Letting silence win over words. Allowing a moment to speak for itself. Hearing a breeze. Giving the stage to the rolling waves. Observing the solemn cry of a church bell.
I lose myself often. I get caught up in the day to day. But on occasion, my mind steps away. It happen once on a road trip along the coast, a friend and I took. We set a rule. One rule. We decided that we would not speak, except for the moments between the door bells of roadstops. Any door bell would do. Gas stations, diners, convenience stores… it didn’t matter; but there had to be a bell. The times between the bells, on the road, we would fall silent. Left to the conflicts of our selves.
It’s funny the things that bring people together. It had been years since either of us had time to get out of town. But truth be told, neither of us really had time for the roadtrip we were about to take. We both had jobs that ate every free waking moment. The demand for product analysis tied up his 9-5, and emails about inaccuracies in his numbers filled his nights. My day job as a bike courier had me running across the city all day, and a second gig as a bar keep at my corner dive filled my nights.
About my job… I don’t like it. I work for a giant old bastard. He is an old cyclist who rode the tour back in the 70’s. He smells like cardboard, and is about as grisled as an old Jewish man could be. Its not the work as a bike courier that gets me. Hell, its not even the un-godly time in the morning that I’m required to be up. Its the haggard old man. Never a moment to catch my breath. Every time the bell rings as I walk in, its a sure thing that I’m late from the last delivery, and late to the next. That damn bell.
I stick around because the money is good, and I love the bike. It may not sound like much of a job, but if you heard the list of clientele we work for, you would rethink. Big law firms always need signatures in a hurry. As a courier and a public notary, I am their answer. Its not often you run into a job where you get paid to weave thru traffic in a major metropolitan city. So I put up with the damn bell.
I am one of three riders. The other two, Matt and Brian, share days working part time. They are a younger couple of guys. Both students at the university. Having them around gives me the chance to sneak into a coffee shop a couple blocks down. I bring my bike in with me so the old bastard doesn’t catch a glance of it as he looks down the avenue during one of his day long cigar breaks. Its nothing fancy. Your typical dimly lit, wood floored, indie music playing coffee shop, with an attractive staff and an average cup of joe. But it is my refuge once a day.
About six months ago, I woke up on a Tuesday of no particular importance. I threw on a pair of biker shorts and a tee, filled my water bottle, picked up my bike, and head out the door.
As I sit here on Thanksgiving, missing my friends and family, I am thankful for the lessons I have been taught on seeing the bigger picture. I am thankful for the opportunity to be away from home today.
I am climbing. I am no longer looking up at the daunting task ahead. I am in it. The journey is not some ambiguous story of future endeavors. I wake up everyday and get to work. I am an Airman.
It is a small change in title, but the ultimate destination will find me in a world I could not have ever imagined as a child. Occasionally I get caught off guard by the magnificence of the things that are going on around me. I go in to work, walk past three mission ready helicopters with crews ready, to save lives. I walk into a hanger with men and women working tooth and nail, day in and day out.
Last week I got to refuel a helicopter that remained powered up because it was engaged in a mission. I got to sit in the cockpit as another was pulled out to the launch pad. All without really recognizing the immensity of what those small tasks were adding toward.
But really, this is all just the secondary part of my day. The true daily honor is the moment I stand before the heros who are training us. The Rescue Swimmers. The moment I get put in the leaning rest position, ready to do however many push-ups they deem appropriate. The moment I enter the pool in the morning and do a warmup 500. The moment when I hit exhaustion, and it is demanded that I sprint down, and underwater back. The honor is mine, to be molded. To become what I believe I can be. To become what they are training me to be.
It is far from easy. There are many moments when I don’t want to do what is asked of me. When I don’t want to do another push-up. When I dont want to get in the cold water. When I don’t want to hold my breath any longer… But then you do it anyway. You see the world from a different angle. From the future looking back, what do you want to say of yourself. From under the water looking up, what do you want to know of yourself. From inside the helicopter looking down, what can you do for the world.
I truly am sleepless in Seattle. So much ahead. So much keeping me restless…
Tonight for no reason an act of complete generosity caught me off guard. I was at a bowling ally unlike any I have ever been to before. It was bright, happy, smoke free and family filled. The owners were courteous and polite, an happy to have us as guests.
As I lined up on the lane, a man and his wife watched over their adorable kids, whom bowled with perfect bowling etiquette in the lane next to us… (Yes, there is an etiquette to bowling.) As I watched in awe, their 4 year old daughter picked up an 8lb ball and rolled a down the middle strike. I walked up and told the parents it was incredible to see kids with such manors. As I picked up the ball, I threw a meager 4 pin first frame. The father came up to me and handed me a ball, and said, “put this on for size… How’s that feel?”
The rubber center grips felt clean and sturdy. I said… “Great! Thanks.”
He said, “It’s yours… Have fun. It’s a great ball.”
I smiled and went to work on the ball… Learning it. Getting a feel for its cut. I have been rolling spin for years now, but I have never made the move to use a three finger roll… I forewent the extra step and left my thumb out. I rolled my first game in a similar fashion. I rolled a lousy 76. One of the worst games I’ve thrown since I was a 5 year old kid with the bumpers down…
I looked at the ball… Closely. It’s colors were deeply inlaid. It had a presence. As though it had a story. I heard the dad say again… “It’s a great ball.”
I looked up at him, and back down to the ball, whose thumb hole faced up at me… As I examined it, I noticed an etching next to the hole… A key. I put my thumb in, and presented the lane, prepared to throw the ball the way it was meant to be thrown. A three finger spinning strike filled the frame.
I looked up to see the gentleman smiling at me, as he left the lanes with his family in arm. I finished the second game with a 164. By no means my best scoring round, but without a doubt the best game I have thrown to date. At the end of the evening, as I returned my shoes, I asked the owner about the ball… Partially because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t the lanes’ ball.
He told me, “It’s a special ball. It’s a storm. It’s a great ball.”
I told him how the gentleman presented it to me, and he just stood and smiled. “What a generous man”, I said.
“He really is…” The owner replied. “He really is.”