Tag Archives: memories

Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home

I have this slight inkling of what you’re going through.

All you want to do is run off the plane–you’ve been cramped in that space for hours (Thank God it was a direct flight)–but you know that the process of returning to your homeland is nothing but “hurry up and wait.”  On the other side of those doors, only a few hundred meters away (heck, this is America, let’s say “yards”) is your home: in the arms of people you love.  Yet, all these damn lines and paperwork prevent you from seeing those faces, despite the obvious proximity after so many months away.  All you can do is try to be patient.  Perhaps pray a few decades with Mary as you watch the passports ahead of you being stamped with an abrupt “thunk” every few seconds.

Oh, that stamp.  Some day you’ll look back on it–“Admitted.  United States Customs. September 30, 2008”–and think about this day.  The waiting in line.  The ability to listen to conversations around you and comprehend the language fully.  One day the sight of that stamp will cause the past months to come flooding back–the smells, the letters, and tears, and the blissful nights with wine.

Next you’re on to the baggage claim.  You hardly even care about it at this point.  Material goods don’t mean as much as the people on the other side of that door…which is now closer, but still blocked by those men in Mylar vests.  Wait…still no bag.  Everyone else is looking over-tired too.

Eventually it makes its way around the baggage carrel (that looks like it might be fun to ride.  Part of you wants to be 5 again so you can and it wouldn’t be weird.)  You mount that oh-so-familiar bag on your back.  Perhaps for the last time for a good while.  Wait in yet another line to had the Mylar men a form that promises you aren’t going to poison the country.

And then comes that corridor.  The doors are at the end.  So are the crowds of people.  Amid which are two faces you cannot–will not–live without.


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at the end of the day you’re another day older

Do you remember the 6 o’clock sun?  Just after dinner.  A drum pushing down on my shoulders and against my full stomach.  We were running sets for the 8th hour that day.  That sun was like a knife–piercing as it set, going to bed for the night.  Me.  Longing to go to bed with it.  But when there was light there was drill.  And drumming.  And you standing there, always ready to catch me if I fell…or needed a hand up after an additional ten pushups.

I was thinking about it today as I watched the sun set over the soccer field–the men out there without their shirts enjoying the last few days of warmth.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they felt the piercing too.


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Melissa only liked them green

In Belgium there are about 4 different types of garbage cans.  After we had to get rid of our backyard chickens due to the looming bird flu, the house actually had to start using the small green-ish garbage bag for compost materials.  It was always rather gross to be around, and worse to be the one who’s job was to take it our for the week.  Flies usually hung out a lot in that corner of the kitchen.

Drew, dressed in overly-warn thrift store pajama bottoms and hemp flip-flops,  went to throw out the remnants of his toast one morning when he noticed a banana.  It was seemingly unharmed and unguarded, lying on the top of the heap in the green-ish trash bag.  He looked around.  No one else was in the kitchen.  He bent over from the waist and picked up the banana gently with his thumb and index finger, careful not to touch anything else in the bag.  He held it up, inspected it.  Nothing unusual…just a bright yellow banana with a few small brown spots.  He peeled it and took a bite.

“Hun?”  Sara Rae said.  “Did you just eat that banana from the garbage?”
“It was totally fine.  And its got its own natural wrapper!”  He showed her the half-eaten fruit.  “See.  Still good.”

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stolen quotes

My grandpa owns a tavern.  Did I ever tell you that?  In a few weeks it is closing and is probably going to end up being something really depressing…like a Baby Gap.  Or perhaps someone will think it is a tribute to this town–the way keeps changing.

I used to go there when I was little and sneak behind the counter and grandpa would lift me up, my eyes peering into the candy drawer, and I would pick a Clark Bar every time.  Last weekend I went to that bar and had my first ever drink within its walls.  It is also my last ever.  And despite all the familiar faces and smiles I was overcome by sadness.

I don’t think about John everyday.  But I think about him often.  My Uncle John passed away unexpectedly a number of years ago, but despite his death he was there.  Despite our aching hearts he was there as if he’d never left his place behind that counter.

“You never get over it.
You just get used to the idea.”


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one small snippet in an epic story that needs to be told

We laugh about it now, and to be honest we even laughed about it then. I cannot help but believe, though, that most of the laughter comes because we cannot stand to be sad about it. Though the pain was, and is, very deep. We’re recovering. All scars heal. Life goes on, and eventually we thrive again. But that night still. makes. me laugh.

We finally decided that it was no use waiting around to be taken out on nice dates, so we, the two strong and beautiful women that we were (are) decided to make a girls’ night of it–we’d take each other out. It was brilliant, really, I mean, there you were some 3 months out of a powerful relationship that had ended abruptly and poorly; and I, newly invigorated by a man that would eventually leave me with much the same result some three months later. At this strange fulcrum in our love lives a night just for us–two dear friends–seemed like it could not have been more perfectly placed. The date had finally been set. We would go out for a posh dinner, followed by a play at the local community college. There really is nothing like getting dressed to the nines for a night out with your dear friend.

Shortly after we took our seats in the playhouse I looked up and saw him across the room. I silently panicked and my body abruptly grew heavy in my faux-velvet chair. I looked away. And then back again. It was him alright–the man that only a few months earlier would have stopped the world for you–walking in with some girl I’d never seen before. They came closer to us, having spotted seats only a few rows directly behind ours. “What?” You asked.

“Jamie. He’s here.”

The smile on your face dropped. “Where?”

“There is a girl with him.”


I quickly opened the program, pointed at something–anything–and started laughing. We were having a good time, right? Laugh, Jamie. Anything. He’s right behind us. You laughed, probably out of confusion more than anything.

The room darkened and the play began. You held my hand for a bit and at intermission we discussed who Agatha Cristie had made the murder this time. You kept your face forward and I turned to talk with you, secretly looking out the corner of my eye to update on the girl he’d brought. “I can hear his voice,” you said. “I haven’t heard his voice in so long.”

At the conclusion of the play we laughed all the way back to my car. Once we were in, doors shut and locked, off in a far corner of the parking lot, we began screaming. We screamed for some 10 minutes, stopping only to catch our breath and put words to noise: “HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?” “I didn’t even think he KNEW that the community college HAD plays!” “WHO goes to plays for fun other than us?!” “HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!”

After our hearts stopped racing we went to the adoration chapel for a long time. I was so angry couldn’t do anything but yell inside my head. You were quiet. And calm. Though obviously shaken. “How does that even happen?”

We ate a roll of cookie dough and went to bed. I was honored that I could be the one to be there with you–even if it pains my heart to laugh about it then, and now.

But life goes on. And genuine laughter comes back, even if he never does.

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The Trapeze Swinger

This song–the words you so sweetly sang to me each night–got me through a lot.  Admittedly I was miserable and I knew it.  But there was something about lying there on that foam matress,  curtains tightly closed, curled up in my white duvet, earbuds streaming a constant reminder that somewhere people loved me dearly.  They might be on the other side of the world, but this song kept my confidence they would “please, remember me, happily.”

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Are you cold?

I went to Fever Formal last night and I have to commend the men of the Fever House on their efforts and amazing ability to throw a party.

The truth is that I was not feeling so well. I started to come down with a stupid cold late on Thursday and by Friday I began stocking up on immunity vitamins. Come party time Saturday night I tried to pretend like I was fine. The night ended in me being loopy (not because of alcohol), hardly able to swallow, and nearly in tears because of all the muscle aches. Of course, I didn’t want to admit any of this because the party was so great. But it was more than apparent from my body language and near the end Mr. Hay forced me to sit down (thanks).

The last time I remember feeling this way was on tour 03. After our first show I started to feel it coming on but pushed through rehearsal the next day believing I was simply dehydrated and sore from sleeping on the floor. When I awoke in the morning I got up to take the ramps off the truck and admitted to Ryan that I couldn’t swallow and (surprise surprise) started crying. They took me to the hospital in Racine and I was told I only had a cold. ONLY? AND that I should stop marching. STOP MARCHING!? eff that. I did not take the doctor’s advice but I did sleep it off and missed rehearsal for a few days–not of my own will.

By the way, I’m sitting in Espresso in Champaign and someone has some serious perfume on, and if I can smell it despite my stuffed-up nose you KNOW it is strong.


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