What An Opportunity

Posts Tagged ‘stories’

Running

In Life, Sports on April 12, 2012 at 5:44 am

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He came to his senses, as if awakened by the sound of his own rubber soles on the asphalt.

The quiet neighborhood passed swiftly on both sides. How long had he been running? A long time, judging by his sweat-soaked T-shirt.

Not to mention his location. He shook his head, trying to shake the cobwebs loose, to get his bearings.

That was a common theme these days. It seemed as if he was always thrown off kilter, his usual pattern disturbed by some unknown force.

Not unknown as in unidentified… he knew exactly what it was. But it was mysterious, and unfamiliar. As if it was a magic too deep for him to understand.

And that magic drew him powerfully tonight, even as he ran with no fatigue; he had no conscious path determined, yet an unquestioned destination awaited.

He didn’t know why he was going there. He had told God that he was letting this go. Was tonight’s journey a step in the right direction, or the wrong?

Was he running to forget, or to remember? He didn’t know… he would let God take care of that. At least he was running.

Sitting still would make him go crazy. Or was he already crazy? Yup. The magic was going to his head again.

No sane person would be doing this, especially at 1 a.m. But it felt so good, so freeing. At the core, he just wanted to be free.

Free from these doubts and insecurities, free from the fear of squandered potential, free to pour out, unrestrained, all that lay within his heart.

He sat down on the grass and pondered these things. Just thinking about them made him feel better.

And, of course, so did running. So he got up and began the trek back home.

Barton Hollow.

In Life on April 12, 2012 at 4:51 am

Barton Hollow sits in a mild valley between two modest peaks.

A soft fog rolls down from the southern mount as the day quiets down.

The cloud settles on the grass, gently resting on the gravestones.

A rusted swingset creaks as the wind plays on the playground.

There is the faint laughter of children nearby.

The courthouse stands in the center of town, the timeless instrument still telling the hour.

The institution that embodies man’s condemnation to be free.

The marble stands erect but everyone has gone home for the day.

The old mill still runs.

There is smoke coming from the furnace somewhere in the north.

Not one soul has entered or left but the old mill still runs.

Best Ford axle rods this side of the mississippi.

The local tavern sits on the western edge of town.

Bottles cling as the working man lets his drink choice do all the talking.

Everyone knows everyone. and their kids. and that one cousin from the big city.

It’s a little colder now.

Something about this fog.

The bank, the post office, the mayor’s house, it’s all here.

But nothing seems right.

Maybe it’s the weather.

Or the feeling you get when you know you should say something and you don’t.

But something seems wrong.

The schoolhouse rests near the house of justice and men.

The teacher sits at her desk with her life’s achievement being the understanding of the many minds that enter her room.

She looks out the window, eyes a soft gray like the marble of the courthouse.

A blink and shes gone. the schoolhouse screams in its silence.

It is then that your feet move.

You hear footsteps behind you but your eyes cannot corroborate what your ears are saying.

Your gasps for breath are caught in your throat as the lowly cloud veils you eyes.

At last.

A place to rest.

The fence lends itself as a calming place.

Doubled-over, you raise your head from between your knees.

The fence holds the souls of those six feet under.

The gravestones tell of an inevitability that will endure when you are done with time.

The stoneworks call and your feet follow.

A deep weight befalls your eyes.

As you lay down beneath the warmth of the stone, a calm crashes over you as the waves on a beach.

Slowly, the grass grows longer than the height of your body.

The vines creep effortlessly over the knees and arms.

The ground slowly takes you as you slumber.

As the world becomes darker, a wry smile finds itself on your lips.

The schoolteacher smiles five feet up and blinks over her grey eyes.

Barton hollow sits in a mild valley between two modest peaks.

Those who visit never want to leave.

Keep you right.

In Life on April 12, 2012 at 4:45 am

Remember that day.

You wore a yellow sundress under a powder blue sky.

You smiled like you found your favorite childhood toy after cleaning your room

And you were looking at me.

And I knew that there wasn’t a lot I could do about how I felt about you.

I was gonna love you regardless.

Remember those times.

When i deserved much less than what you gave.

When we chose to be apart even when it hurt to do so.

We promised that this would not be it.

That we would fight tooth and nail.

I guess I say all this because it’s all a little different now.

I feel lost without you here.

The rain falls a little slower now.

You were a comet.

A brilliant flash of phenomena.

You left traces of joy, happiness, and contentment behind the wonderful person that you are.

So these flowers are for you.

The moss is starting to grow across your name.

And this never gets any easier.

But I promised that i would be here.

If this cancer took you from me, i promised i would be there regardless.

Because I love you regardless of whether my eyes can see you.

And I’ll be back next week to keep you company.

Because I promised to always keep you right.

Fit.

In Life on April 12, 2012 at 4:24 am

The day had come.

He was shipping out.

It was a Tuesday like any other.

There was early talk radio.

There was construction.

There was traffic on the early morning express.

But the driver cutting off the car with his family in it didn’t know how much those extra seconds meant.

When they arrived at the naval base, he hugged each family member one by one.

First his dad. Then his little siblings. His longtime girlfriend. And then his mom.

Maybe it’s because there isn’t supposed to be emotion, but as slowly as they had arrived, he was gone that quickly.

In a blink of an eye, all of their hopes and dreams for him were in the hands of Fate

(not that they aren’t at all times… but we would like to think that we can somehow influence the occurrences of those we care the most about. And maybe we can).

As the family settled back in the car, there was silence.

Quiet prayers left the van as the gravity of this moment stayed upon them.

His father turned from the front seat,

“He wanted me to read this after he was gone…”

His dad unfurled a nicely folded piece of paper.

Tears fell as his dad began the first words.

His mother squeezed his father’s hand.

The note read:

To you little guys,

Thanks for helping me laugh.

As i leave this beach dock, remember the seagulls.

Like “Finding Nemo”, everything’s mine but you guys always make me laugh.

Thank you for being my seagulls.

To you, Mom and Dad:

It was you who said that this was going to be more than just a dream.

That this was more than I could see right now.

And that this would be something great.

You said that I would fit where He put me.

And grow where He planted me.

And you never stopped praying.

As I leave, thank you for being my rock.

To you baby:

You said that I was stubborn.

Unabashedly stubborn.

Ambitious. Driven.

And I would say the same for you.

But that would only prove that you’re right.

And I have too much pride for that.

But you always understood the words I never said.

And pushed me to see why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger.

So as long as there is a moon, thank you for being my sea.

I guess that life is a continuous search for where we fit.

Maybe not so much fitting in.

But where we are supposed to be.

Not that we won’t mess that up.

Or try to be something we aren’t. try to fit where we aren’t supposed to.

But that’s the beauty in the whole thing.

You get an entire lifetime to find where you fit.

To find the entities in life that best exhibit how amazingly original and irreplaceable you are.

So finally, please remember the sand.

For sand, under the most trying flame, becomes glass.

And for us, we have been through it all.

But in all of it, you have have been the mirror that showed my true reflection.

And helped me find where I fit.

And for that, I love you so much.

Thank you for being my sand.

The quiet never left.

They watched the ship leave.

And wondered what change the next 6 months would bring.

So much could be different. Would be different.

And so they waited. and prayed.

(In the most trying times, sometimes the best remedy is patience and prayer.)

In his house, there are odd anecdotes that accent each room.

Each child has a “Finding Nemo” lunch box.

His parents have a rock carved with the family name sitting on the dresser in their bedroom.

His girlfriend has a coke bottle full of seawater on her table.

And on the front porch, under the American flag,

there is a another glass coke bottle full of sand.

Momentarily gone.

Never forgotten.

Clear as day.

In Life on April 12, 2012 at 4:10 am

Pink littered the kindergarten room.

Hearts hung from the ceiling.

It was valentine’s day.

 

And even the little kids knew that this made up holiday meant something.

The teacher had all the little kids make a card for their valentine.

There was a lot of “I luv you”.

Words that would mean so much more when they could actually spell them correctly.

 

But now came the fun part as they were all going around the room giving them out.

As the teacher walked around the room, she stopped by him.

He wasn’t drawing anything.

He didn’t have a piece of paper out.

He quietly sat at his desk, waiting.

The teacher inquired,

“”Where’s your card?””

 

He got up and walked over to a little girl’s desk.

The little girl looked up with a smile waiting for a card or some chocolate or a hug.

He stood there for a little bit.

Everyone started to notice.

 

Finally, perhaps feeling all the little eyes on him,

He stuttered,

‘I…I can’t…draw. or write real good.

So I got you this.’

He handed her a postcard from Arizona of the Grand Canyon.

 

‘My mommy and daddy got this for me when they went there.

and I want you to have it.

I know this isn’t as cool as your other stuff and i know it doesn’t say it on there but…’

He paused,

And pointing to the great schism said,

‘I…I love you this big.’

Goodbye.

In Life on April 12, 2012 at 3:52 am

He awoke with the same thought

Of  how to tell her.

He sat up.

Rubbed his eyes.

And picked up the phone.

Voicemail.

He left a platonic message.

She would call back.

He hoped.

 

He packed for the airport.

Moving your entire life in one flight seemed dramatic

But how else can you move across the country?

No call.

He checked again to ensure his hearing hadn’t suspiciously vanished.

Nothing.

Fine.

At least that was less person to care about.

 

Sitting in the airport with his life in luggage,

He remembered the first time he saw her.

And how quickly that thought left his mind

As his phone went off.

Not her. Friends.

We’ll miss you. We love you.

Have a nice trip.

Pleasantries.

But he loved them.

 

A short nap was interrupted.

Family this time.

Pleasantries.

But he loved them.

 

[Sorry but all flights to california will be delayed an hour]

 

Well that was fortunate.

We didn’t want to miss out on the evening cuisine at the airport sushi bar.

Nothing Robert Frost and weathervanes could not fix.

 

However, less than a quarter through said hour and our hero’s head lay against the back of his chair

in a deep sleep.

Too deep to hear the baby crying and the mother trying desperately to quiet her.

Too deep to hear the elderly couple whisper “I love you” to each other just like the first time, so long ago.

Too deep to feel his phone vibrate.

Her.

 

He awoke as the hour was up to the someone gently shaking him.

“Young man i think they’re going to leave without you.”

He thanked the kind woman and sat up.

He thought about her.

And how he should have done more.

Maybe he should have dropped by.

But it was for the best.

So he stood up.

And as he gathered himself, he saw her.

 

At first, shock.

Then…happiness.

He hugged her.

Something fell in her pocket.

Reality.

He backed away.

 

“So you were just going to leave? With a voicemail?”

‘Well, when you didn’t call me back i figured…’

“I called you like ten minutes ago.”

He checked his phone.

And she was right.

‘Sorry.’

 

“So i guess this is it then?

You promise you’ll come back and visit?”

‘I promise.’

They embraced again.

 

[This is the final boarding call for the flight to california]

 

He let go.

‘Well, i guess I’ll see you soon.

I’ll call when I land. I’ll miss you.’

“I’ll miss you too.”

 

And that was the end of it.

He walked as briskly as one with carry-on luggage can.

She watched and waited for him to leave her view.

And a tear came down.

She took her sleeve to her cheek and sat down to watch the plane leave.

 

She reached in her pockets for a tissue

and fumbled with a foreign item.

Retrieving it, she read the frail piece of paper.

She couldn’t help crying at the message in ink.

Of love lost. Requited. But lost. Until time saw fit for it to return.

In a familiar handwriting, it read

‘I was always yours.’

 

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