|the1sttrooper:||I got my first handjob in grade 10 while bonding with a girl over how much we loved the song "The Middle".|
If you don’t give inspiration an opportunity, it will never arrive.
I am just a kid. Her eyes cut through me like a hot knife through butter. I am all at once nervous, sweating, and paralyzed. She comes right up to me, no fear in her. She tells me she likes me and that I should do something about it. Then she smiles and walks away. God, her smile! That thing should have to stay in a holster when it’s around me it causes so much damage to me.
I bring her home from school almost every day. She tells me stories about her mother and her hopes for the future….. damn those pretty eyes of hers! I miss half the things she says because all I want to do is get lost in them. We spend what seems like every day together. After a few months of this, I am ready to tell her how I feel. All that comes out is hot air. I walk away with my feelings left in my heart and tears in the corners of my eyes.
I get out of school and travel the world. I see the wonders the world has to offer, try new food (and a few women), dance and drink many nights away. When I sit down to write all I think of is her. While home I catch up with her. She is in college now, all grown up. She is even more striking than the first time I ever saw her. We start spending lots of time with each other. One drunken night even ended with me (barely conscious) actually professing my love to her, only to have her laugh it off as drunken tomfoolery. Embarrassed, I disappear into the woodwork yet again.
Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.
A few more years pass. Disease, broken relationships, and hope have all come and left. Somehow she comes back into my life again. My excitement is only matched by my anxiety this time. I profess loving her from the first time I saw her. I tell her all the years I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I tell her about the poems, the songs, the long nights dreaming about her. She is so overwhelmed by her own life and my feelings that I might have pushed her away….
The future is never written ahead of time, but sometimes we get so lost in our own lives that we preordain everything we think about instead of going for it. I have accomplished a lot in my life, and I have a lot more to accomplish still, but if I lose this love, it will be my fault and mine alone.
With that said, I love a good suspenseful story in which you don’t know what happens next…….
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
|Maria (my sister):||This is my ultrasound.|
|Me:||It is so small. It looks like someone pooped in your stomach.|
|Maria:||It looks like someone pooped on your face.|
For a while this morning, I just sat in my shower, water beading down my scalp, curled up, just letting last night wash over me. I recalled a very special young woman in my life. I was twenty; we had met while I was working at a department store. She had struck up a conversation with me, and she apparently had become so smitten with me so quickly that her mother gave me her phone number and told me I should call her sometime! I found this too intriguing to resist, so I called her and met her for a date. We had so much chemistry that I recall kissing her, passionately, within 15 minutes of that date starting. Everything from there was amazing. No matter what we did, we enjoyed each other’s company. We often stayed in and watched Spanish language soap operas, often adding our own hilarious dialogue and laughing the nights away.
The only sad times came when one of two things would happen. The first involved her hands. When she was a child, she had to get a series of painful surgeries in her hands to fix them up. These procedures left large, identical scars on the back of each of her hands. She thought she was hideous because of this. Every time I was with her I would spend time kissing her hands and scars, telling her how beautiful I thought they were. She slowly but surely became comfortable with her hands and with me, that is until the other sad thing would happen.
I was nineteen, and although I can say that I genuinely loved this girl, I was completely scared of what that meant. What do I do next? How do I make her happy? What if I’m not good enough for her? What if I say or do something she doesn’t like? These types of questions persisted every minute of every day I was with her. So when the first time she looked me square in my eyes and said, “Michael, I am falling head over heels in love with you. I honestly cannot see myself loving another person as much or the way I do you”, it made my heart sing! It reaffirmed everything I had hoped and wanted! So I told her that I felt the same, and that I promised to love her and be by her side through everything. We made love for the first time that night, and it was amazing.
But there was still a matter of those questions. Even after we had professed our love to each other, they didn’t go away. In fact they got worse. Much worse. All I could think about is that I couldn’t make her as happy as she deserved. All I wanted was these voices and questions and doubts to go away. But they never did. Fast forward a few months later and we were set to go to a big gala. I had bought a nice suit for the occasion, got a haircut, and bought an engagement ring. It wasn’t big or fancy or very nice, but it was what I could afford, and I knew she would love it no matter what. I drive over to go pick her up… and she is breathtaking! Her gown is an angelic blue, with small rhinestones glistening all around it. Her hair falls to the side effortlessly, like she had come straight from a magazine. She smelled like fresh flowers, and her coy smile made my knees weak and my heart skip a few beats!
The gala was fantastic, with lights hanging from beautiful columns of gold, with beautiful music lightly tickling your ears in a way that was just right. We ate great food, met wonderful knew people, and danced the night away. She had a twinkle in her eye all night that made me want to kiss her and never stop. But all of a sudden, my stomach started killing me. It was like I was being stabbed there, and my whole body started aching. She recognizes something is wrong and checks on me. I immediately rush to the bathroom. I throw up in the first stall I can make it to. I get up to splash some cold water in my face. Why is this happening now? My mind is racing, palms sweating… then it hits me: I’m scared. I am about to ask someone to marry me! To spend the rest of their life with me! I don’t deserve such a great thing! The next part felt like an out-of-body experience. I come out and make up this terrible lie, and tell her I have to leave right now. She knows I am lying, and I could see her heart breaking in her eyes. I run away, into my car, and leave the beautiful girl I was going to ask to marry me all alone at the gala…
Almost a whole year has passed. I haven’t talked to her since that terrible day. But it consumes my thoughts every minute of every day. So I show up at her mother’s front door, flowers in hand, begging her for forgiveness, and I am met with a door slammed in my face. This continues to happen for almost an entire month, until she finally tells me we can meet for coffee the next day. We meet, and she gets right to the point. She wants to know what happened, why I left her that day. Why I lied to her. Why I didn’t contact her for a year. I’m too big of a coward to tell her about the ring, the proposal, that I was scared and didn’t think she would do it. All I can muster is that I have always cared for her and that I am sorry and would do anything for another chance, even if it took me the rest of my life to earn it. She slaps me, hard. Then she pulls me close and kisses me, pushes me away, grabs my head, and starts crying. She has missed me, and all she wants is for me to promise I won’t do that again, which I do. For the first time in a year I can hear my heart beating again.
We date for a few weeks, and the feelings all come back, good and bad, the love and the worry. She tells me she loves me again. I left the next day and never saw or heard from her again other than a letter she wrote me a few weeks after. It said that I broke her heart and it can never be fixed by anyone else. That was almost nine years ago, and I remember it all like it was yesterday. A few years ago I had a bad accident that left me with a scar on my left foot. Whenever my heart aches, I close my eye and rub the scar and tell myself that it is beautiful, just like the ones on her hands.
You are probably wondering why I don’t use her name in this story, and the answer hurts to even tell. My heart and mind still ache so much from what happened and what I did, that it has blocked her name from the part of my memory that I can access. It is my punishment for ruining love and someone’s heart, something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have always been a person who tries to never live in the past, but when I close my eyes and rub my fingers together slowly, I can still feel her beautiful scars…
I just want to be the kid with the headphones again. I want to be able to listen to every track with hope of encouraging something better out of me, like a better outlook or an impromptu sing-a-long. I want people to be able to look into my eyes and see the youthful, never say die kid who was never scared to tackle anything head-on. I want to be the kid who wrote short stories and snuck out his window at night to steal lawn flamingos and depict them doing sex acts to each other on a neighbor’s lawn. I want there to be life back in my speaking voice, like I give a damn again. I wish I never heard that news 5 years ago, and all the pain and suffering I’ve endured since. I will never forget the slow and cold feeling of death creeping over me the first time I ever went through chemotherapy. I remember my eyes sinking to the back of my head and hoping that it was all over. That’s when the music in my head died.
All that was left were echoes of things that were. My heart sank into my stomach, which not-so-coincidentally looked a lot like what downtown New York City on 9/11 (which is not an overstatement in the least). Everything started tasting like aluminum foil, and I lost faith in everyone and everything.
Music started coming back, but it was different. It was like The National were scoring the dreariest of Tom Waits songs in my head, all while leaving me perpetually cold and empty on the inside. People began to sound like the cadences from a Peanut’s feature, and I began to remove myself from anything that ever resembled me…..
The Hold Steady’s lead singer embarks on his first ever solo album with his signature storytelling and candor in tow.
Maybe it’s me, but it seems like Craig Finn is worried about getting old. Having spent his 20’s with the superb post-punk band Lifter Puller and his 30’s with indie bar rock heroes The Hold Steady, Finn seems to be at a bit of a personal (and possibly musical) crossroads. Lifter Puller focused on stories of drug-addled coeds, cash-strapped nightclub proprietors, and murdered ravers. The Hold Steady continued these stories, but grew up with him and expanded to the ideas of religion and redemption among some of his newer themes. But recent albums (namely Heaven Is Whenever and Stay Positive) have seen Finn touch on the ideas of aging (albeit gracefully) and learning from your mistakes all while retaining the ideals of one’s youth while applying life lessons to help you move forward.
Dylan Baldi’s ascension as a musician continues in this moody journey into garage punk madness.
With guitars and lyrical barbs tightly coiled and ready to strike like a cobra, Cloud Nothings come at you with their newest release. Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, PJ Harvey) Attack on Memory embraces most of the lo-fi sound from previous albums,while creating a raucous, yet somehow fantastical journey into the inner workings of do-everything man Dylan Baldi.
The album opens with the dark, ominous, and angry "No Future/No Past," which spends roughly four and a half minutes building up an angsty musical and lyrical steam before crashing right into the next track. "Wasted Days" unfurls Baldi’s aggression and shows him at his finest, singing and wailing away in some sort of musical train wreck one minute, then beautifully flowing into the next piece of the song with whimsy and bravado. I am not always a fan of long songs, but this was almost nine minutes of pure unadulterated musical fun; you just can’t help finding yourself admiring it. The middle tracks "Fall In" and “Stay Useless” treat you to a Wavves-like surf/noise punk trip, with tightened-up vocals and harmonies that show what spending some time in the studio has done to help Baldi improve his vocals and sound.