...eating pizza and drinking beer with my buddy Mister Chewthulhu...
...downing rum and cokes in the strip club, antsy; I promised Chewy we would but I really wanted to see... I can't break a promise to my friend but..I...oh, bollocks. Torn. Tap-tap-tap..nervous smile, eyebrows up, "Are we done yet?" implied..
...driving, the 2nd to last trip for the year of 2011... talking about meat...giddy, giggling, nervous, floating... percolated deep breaths, dense plumes of smoke floating out of my nostrils... electrified...quick sketches...fairwell hugs...wondering if will I see this person again in my lifetime... awkwardness and uncertainty abundant.
...driving home, Chewy comforts me. We laugh, make stupid jokes about cultural issues I may face. Anxiety nestles into my chest, my head buzzing.
...watching uncomfortably as my friend Nikki starts crying... guaranteed to see her again, we hug; she sniffles and puts on a brave smile. My dad looks profoundly sad. He's proud, nervous, worried; I'll be too far away for him to do anything if there's an emergency and that's nerve wracking for him.
...rushing around my dad's apartment, cramming things into shipping containers and others into my suitcase. double, triple, quadruple checked; time's running out! Do I have my passport? Will my boss meet me at the airport? Check, check...
...a bouquet of yellow flowers left to wither and rot on the chest of drawers. Unwanted mementos from an unwanted suitor...
...The final car ride, I'm a passenger. My dad helps me get my bags out of the car. I check them and myself in. Bags disappear down the ramp. Security. Clear...
...anxiously awaiting the boarding;Vegas to LAX, LAX to Narita... trying to read but end up listening to Black Sabbath instead....final text messages goodbye, the last time my phone will be connected to anything for half a year.
... Optimistic. Terrified. Confused. Excited. So many unanswered questions, so many untethered hopes and fragile feelings...ready to embrace whatever may come.
Well...here we are, in the now. How is your day, reader?
A lot has changed in a year...but even though everything changes, it hasn't changed all that much, I suppose.
My friends have more tattoos...more holes; some intentional and others not so much. Some have spent a lot of time in hospitals and some have died...some have new families...some have been so offended by my opinions and perspective that they won't speak to me online...no loss there.
The people who I wanted to see (and who wanted to see me) again, have. There was much drinking, more smoking, plenty hugging and emotionally catalyzing close encounters... Scintillating! Old friends; giddy- then gone. On with the show; it MUST go on, after all.
People I've never met know of me; there and here. "OH, so you're-?!"...yes, I am, I guess. WHO are YOU? *eyebrow raise* ...Always with the questions.
Many of my questions have been answered, my doubts soothed...
As I knew would happen, I have delved deeper into my reality; my self. I have this habit of self-psycho-analyzing; ripping my mental constructs wide open and pouring through the bleeding, fragile innards, reconstructing, reconnecting, repositioning... in the mean time, many of those people I hold tenuous threads of love towards have not abandoned me; much to my joyous surprise. This gives me more strength as I tear ever deeper inward, exploring further my reality, what it means to be me; what my concepts of self even mean and if they do any good. It's a form of meditation, a daily wakefulness, an awareness...It's like mindfulness, if it must be named, I suppose.
I am not alone, even though I often choose to be in solitude...that was the real question all along, I suppose.