A rainy juxtaposition

Lightning flashes. Rain hits my window, creating rivulets that slide down slow as molasses.

A peek at some raindrops.
A peek at some raindrops.

I’m safe in my room. My hotel room. My own bathroom in the back, my own king-sized bed in the front facing the window. I turn off the TV and my bedside table lamp to make it lighter outside, but sky blue sheer curtains interrupt my view slightly. The air conditioner hums to remind me I can’t open my window to smell the rain.

I’m under the covers, picking at the acne between my eyebrows and trying to string together the web of raindrops on my window to make something work. Anything work.

My parents and brothers have roofs over their heads, even though it isn’t raining where any of them are right now. There’s just one storm cloud over the palace –– yes, palace ––  I call “home.”

I can’t help but think about the man with the sign. He stands at several intersections around here. Yellow light.

Red light.

I have two bicycles, a car and a family that loves me, but no sir, I cannot spare any change.

I’m too busy buying myself smoothies, that extra bicycle, lunch and $100 worth of clothing I don’t even need. I have enough articles of clothing to last me a laundry-less month, for Christ’s sake, not to mention a backup computer just in case the one in my lap fails right now. And then a smartphone when both fail. (They won’t.)

But I won’t even look or read your sign when I pull up right next to you at that red light. There’s a $20 bill in my wallet that I don’t need, but it sure will come in handy when I want an overpriced sandwich later. Or panini. Or salted caramel ice cream from my favorite ice cream shop in town (that I’ve already been to seven times since moving back here five weeks ago). Whatever.

I’ll bop around to Katy Perry’s newest CD on one of the four iPods I own and pretend to be really interested in the license plate on the car in front of me. But I’m not.

My face gets hot, my cheeks turn red. I try to look at you using my peripherals. I want you to notice the rough condition the paint on my car’s hood is in. I want you to know that I have bills to pay, tuition to scramble around for and that I work hard for my money.

I tuck a lock of hair I paid $120 to get cut, colored and styled behind my diamond-earringed ear.

My parents don’t give me money; I provide for myself… but I can’t help but wonder who was supposed to provide for you.

You, bearded, homeless; swallowing enough pride to beg, beg for help. Admitting you need it. Not caring about the judgments and the little redheaded bitch in her Volkswagen Bug who drives by you nearly every. Single. Day.

 

Green light.

I’m safe in my room. My hotel room. My own bathroom in the back, my own king-sized bed in the front facing the window. But I wonder where you are tonight and hope you’re dry. I hope you’re safe. I hope I get the gall to hold out a couple dollars or even a coffee. Get everyone to do it. Start a chain reaction with the BMWs, Cadillacs and Audis around me.

But for now I’m just ashamed of myself. Ashamed of my ignorance. Ashamed because you deserve some respect, just like everyone else.

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Summer lovin’, happened so fast

He reached into his black backpack and pulled out a plain hemp bracelet. I wore it from that day on for several months. It was a reminder that, like the song in An American Tail, someone was thinking of me.

I'm the yellow one.
Professional. Plus the bracelet. : )

I wore it on my right wrist and never took it off. It went with me in the pool, in the shower. It switched wrists when, at my very corporate summer internship, I shook hands with a colleague and could feel the damp hemp against my wrist, meaning he probably could feel it on his, too. Whoops.

I wore it for the times he played guitar and sang to me, played soccer with me, went for walks with me and ran down the hill near his house with me. We had a wonderful summer together.

A couple of days before I was to leave for school, I noticed it wasn’t on my left wrist anymore. And I couldn’t find it anywhere. At that point, things in our relationship hadn’t been going the greatest. I took it as an omen.

While packing for school the next day, I found it in my laundry basket and breathed a sigh of relief. I eagerly put it back on my wrist and went on packing.

…he broke up with me on Labor Day. I sobbed and sobbed and he held me. But then we kissed and went our separate ways and I figured I’d never see him again.

But –– surprise! –– just like the bracelet situation where I found it the next day, he called me the next night and wanted to give it another go. So we did.

But, again, things didn’t go so well. So when he called me last week after I got home from Los Angeles (which I should probably write about on here at some point) and said he couldn’t let our relationship go any further, I let out a sigh, smiled and agreed with him. I knew it was only a matter of time before we broke up again.

We both hung up and I went to the bathroom to do my nightly routine.

After I had brushed my teeth and washed my face, I noticed that I didn’t feel a damp bracelet against my left wrist. The bracelet was already gone. I paused for a moment and tried to think. Where could it be? 

I looked at pictures from our L.A. trip and realized that, not only was it gone, it hadn’t been on my wrist for almost the entirety of our trip.

I never even noticed. And I’ll never find it.

I’m taking it as an omen.

Back to pre-teen summer days

Did I mention that I’m falling in love with the area?

I can’t wait to buy a knapsack, fill it with my camera(s), phone, poetry journal and a book or two and spend the day on my bike.

It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been able to set out on my bike and actually get somewhere. The “booming” downtown area is about three miles away from where I grew up and my Huffy and I didn’t always want to brave the hills. Heading downtown is easy; it’s coming back up the hill near the prison that burns.

I opted for the local library, instead. With my little black knapsack on my back, I used to cruise down Richardson Hill, ride up Ames Hill and latch my bike onto the rack in front of the local library. Then, laden with books, I’d cruise down Ames and inch up Richardson, little by little. While I’d be breathless at the top, at least I had the day’s catch on my back, ready to be devoured.

Exploring this area reminds me of those carefree, independent summer days during my pre-teens. I seem to have broken the need to constantly require companionship. Sometimes I’d just rather be alone and have adventures on my own.

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Welcome home

Home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Sure, the dogs greeted me and Weezie the cat made a few appearances, but it’s not my home.

My childhood bedroom with its lime green, sky blue, raspberry pink and orangey orange walls close me in after branching out too far.

I can’t relate to 13-year-old Emily anymore. She’s the one who picked those colors and the bedding. I’m still very colorful, but I shed experiences every time I walk through the doorway. I’m back to the beginning, making the glow-in-the-dark flowers on the ceiling into triangles of Mickey Mouse’s nose and ears. My drawers are full of abandoned poetry books, cellphones and hair accessories. My bedroom door took a beating during my “nobody understands me!”, braces-clad phase. Returning is a bit debilitating and a hit to my morale.

I’m so happy with where I am now.

It’s a new place I am making my own. I’m discovering the area’s quirks, little by little. Thirteen-year-old, metal-mouthed Emily used to gaze in wonder as her oldest brother, Jordan, showed the family around the Chautauqua Institution, an area unbeknownst to us. Now 19-year-old Emily is doing what Jordan did.

I run and check out the neighborhoods. I brought my bike back with me from home this past weekend and discovered a really neat park tonight where I plan to spend a lot of my summer. And you just can’t beat the main, bustling street full of family-owned shops and boutiques. I find something new every time I walk/run/bike down it.

I’m secure with being alone and doing things for me. Running for me. Biking for me. Finding new nooks and new swingsets to swing the evenings away on.

And then watching the sun set every night:

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It’s time

Some things take precedence over others.

For example, take my history class from this past semester. If it’s a requirement, chances are I don’t want to take the class (especially if it doesn’t apply to either of my majors). So, instead of paying attention, I sat in class with my laptop open, updating my cover letter(s) and redesigning my résumé. I still managed an A-. Landing a good internship for the summer meant more to me than getting an A.

This post is much like the one from a month ago regarding the end of my sophomore year, and yet it’s totally different. This time I’m on the edge of my childhood. While I haven’t acted or been treated like a child since maybe 15(?), this truly is it. It’s over.

It’s a pretty safe bet I won’t ever really live in this house ever again. A suitcase will replace the closet I used to pull outfits from.

And I think I’m ready.

These past few homework-free weeks have been good for me. I’ve lazed around, slept in, read and cooked a meal or two. But these carefree days can’t last. My days of rolling out of bed at noon and sipping coffee on the porch have met their end.

It’s time to get busy. It’s time to build my career and make connections. It’s time to utilize the degree I’m in the midst of earning.

I’m ready.