Life, sans explosion

It would be so easy to die.

To stumble into something you shouldn’t have, cross the street in front of a driver who either doesn’t respect pedestrians in a crosswalk or just didn’t see you, firmly grip the wheel yourself and slowly inch into the other lane…

That’s what I thought on Tuesday while driving. Turn the steering wheel a bit, Emily, and everything you’re looking forward to, all your plans… they’re gone.

Let me be clear: I am by no means suicidal. I may have been back during early teenage years, but I never would have had the nerve to actually do something really harmful to myself. These thoughts merely cross my mind from time to time.

While filling up at the pump on the same day, I spilled a little gasoline on my hands and onto my car keys. I had the brief thought of, What if my car blows up when I put the key into the ignition? 

Silly, I know. But it made me pause and reflect as I hit a perfect $36 on the meter. What if?

Would that be okay?

How would the people around me react, namely the creepy old guy checking me out right now?

What would my family do?

What would my friends do? 

I squirted hand sanitizer onto my key and my hands and scrubbed a little bit. I closed my eyes when I turned the key, but Bubbles merely sprang to life, sans explosion. I sighed, opened my eyes, pressed the brake with my right foot and shifted into “Drive.”

Seeing lights in my rearview mirror scares me more than death does. I’d have to deal with the consequences of getting a speeding ticket; if I were to die, that’d be it. Only those I leave behind have to deal with the grief and suffering.

I’m not ready to swerve into the other lane, I’m not ready for this to end… but would it be okay if, by chance, it did? Yeah. I mean, I guess I wouldn’t have a choice; it would have to be okay.

I’ve been on a lot of adventures, I’ve seen a lot of things, I’ve learned more lessons than I can count. I’ve stumbled into love, been forced out of it by my own ambition and life plans and then obsessed over people and ideas I thought were real. I’ve been struck down, tossed around, taken advantage of and then, through careful character rebuilding, been able to bounce back.

The girl who once tried to control everything and fought everything has become a woman who knows her limits, knows when there is no use, knows when to let it be.

A lot can happen in a day. So let it –– whatever it is –– happen. The end could happen at any second.

Cheers to my friend named Emily

So this year I  met a girl named Emily and she completely changed my life.

I found Emily in January. She had picked up a job at an Olympia Sports store near her school to show her parents she was well aware of her financial situation based on the decisions she’d made.

She donned the athletic pants and company tee shirt every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday night. We ate dinner together at 9:30 p.m. in the dining hall, but sometimes she didn’t have time to eat anything at all. I watched her type texts to her Ex boyfriend when she got lonely and kissed someone else just to feel something.

Emily avoided talking to her parents, avoided going home. Waking up and having the motivation to get out of bed became a struggle. But I kept her company.

I helped her squeeze into her senior-year prom dress, and then we drove to the venue for the 2013 Military Ball and met up with Ex, even though she had told him beforehand that, should he want to take someone else as his date, it was perfectly okay. He responded with, “I promised I would take you,” and avoided the question.

They talked during dinner and discovered they were both “seeing” different people. Then he introduced Emily to his new girl because –– of course –– she just happened to be at the ball, too. New girl squeezed the absolute shit out of Emily’s hand.

I think she was trying to prove a point.

When you're watching the  Rose Bowl tomorrow, picture me standing on the field!
When you’re watching the Rose Bowl tomorrow, picture me standing on the field!

And just as everyone else kicked off their heels to dance, Emily kissed Ex on the cheek one last time and left alone, wishing the windshield wipers on her car could work for her eyes as I drove her home.

I get it. She broke his heart, he returned the favor. They’re even now.

That night, she ran from what had been instead of running from what could be like Cinderella did. Then, unlike Cinderella again, we drank together to forget. Unless Cinderella did get belligerently drunk after losing her slipper and riding back in a carriage-turned-pumpkin.

I know I’d need a drink after that.

But that breakup –– which happened over a year ago, now –– was the best thing Emily ever did. It’s taken nearly a year, but she has FINALLY realized just how much Ex hindered her.

Held her back.

Pumped her up with too many empty compliments.

Accepted her behavior when he damn well shouldn’t have.

Emily scored the right internship, the right scholarships and the right connections. She lived on her own over the summer and learned what personalities the group she fits in with consists of. Her baby-blue Schwinn helped her escape an air-conditioned hotel room and explore a new place, a new city.

The other four Murray Scholars and me
The other four Murray Scholars and me

She opened up so many doors her 17-year-old self was all too content on keeping closed. She’s ready to open more.

I’m ready to open more.

In October, she cried over a childhood friend’s open casket.

Later that same night, those tears helped her reconnect with colleagues from high school she hadn’t spoken to in years.

She traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to accept a $5,000 scholarship she’d won by entering the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s annual sportswriting contest.

…Emily doesn’t have trouble getting out of bed anymore.

I don’t have trouble getting out of bed anymore.

So I met this girl named Emily. She’d been sheltered and smothered and I helped her live again. I helped her find her independence again. She ditched her pessimistic thoughts and began seeing the future’s many possibilities.

Together, we plan on opening more doors.

__________________________________________

I submitted an application to the Los Angeles Times today because, in 2014, I will remain open to possibilities and seek out exciting opportunities. I won’t let anything –– or anyone –– hold me back. Cheers.

Constantly laughing-out-loud

I’m on chapter two, now. The more I read, the more I fall for this book. We’ve been spending a lot of time together lately and I find myself smiling and laughing constantly. The shelf where he resides is so close by and perfect; I still cannot believe that I never knew this before. We walk and meet each other every time we hang out (and by now, reader, you know that I am done using the book metaphor and am speaking of a special boy).

We watched Paranormal Activity almost a week ago. It wasn’t even scary. The part where she gets dragged out of bed by the “thing” made us laugh-out-loud. There were some creepy spots, but he warned me before they arrived by squeezing my hand. We watched The Eye two days ago, and again, it wasn’t scary. Scary movies suddenly aren’t scary to me anymore. At least, not when he’s around. He makes every day that I live brighter, and that’s what I’ve been looking for.

I can’t stop gushing about this boy. As I read on, I’m sure that more parts on pages will be dog-eared and highlighted and noted for future reference. I can’t wait to keep reading.

This coming week halts our adventures, but as soon as I get back from Disney, we will resume and I will pick up the book and start reading again. I don’t want to Disney to be over, but at least there’s something I can look forward afterward so as to not make the ride home a letdown.