Tuesday, January 01, 2008



On Sunday nights, during high school, I felt like I was gently floating on a raft, slowly headed toward a towering, rocky waterfall. I enjoyed every moment, absorbed every second, and loved every minute of those nights, usually spent watching TV or playing games with my brothers, until it was time to be alone in my room with my music and books, for I knew Monday was coming, and I would be crashing into my oblivion, at dawn. Well, every night felt like that, but the sting of the carefree weekend ending was harder to bear.
High school was pretty dismal.
I was always there to greet the dawn, alone, after my dad went to work, and before everyone else got up, as it rose over the farm and the giant old trees that lined the train tracks, across the street. I would often pretend I was titled, in nineteenth century France or England, and made an elaborate breakfast for myself: eggs and sausage and oj and french toast and tea, using the good china our grandparents gave us, careful not to chip anything, as I quietly washed it and put it away, as I watched Underdog or Mission: Magic on the little black and white TV in the kitchen. I miss being ten... I would sigh to myself.
Winter time was always the worst, because I would have to give up the peaceful isolation of my bicycle, and ride the torturous bus to school. I worked doubly hard making the Sunday nights of winter back then feel special, by being with my brothers or neighborhood friends, or walking my dog in the backyard snow for hours, til he whined to go back inside, while listening to the newly imported magical sounds of Culture Club, The English Beat, or Scary Monsters on my Walkman. George's first sigh in Do You Really Want to Hurt Me carried me a million miles away, every time. But try as I might to keep it away, the heaviness of Monday morning's coming shadow lay dark upon me, and on the Wisconsin snow, like the night it's self.

I offer these memories up to you now, for our latest snow storm has stirred up a bunch of these memories, as they usually do. Not any winter night will unlock those memories for me, only a bone-chilling, snow covered night in January or February can thaw them.
I saw the circumstances of my life as a teenager as inevitable and unalterable, like a mountain that had to be climbed everyday, and carried the 'Sunday night' habits of my boyhood into my young adulthood. It is only now I realise I unconsciously created good memories around the bad ones I was forced to endure. Maybe we all do that to some degree. My time with my friends became my respite from the pain and confusion in my life, and I lived for them.
In the mid-eighties, when I moved to Chicago, Erin, Scot, Jody, Brad, Danny, and everyone else gave me a reason to keep on going, for I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could. I would not be here without them, or my brothers, for at times their unconditional love felt like the only thing flowing in my veins. I wanted to solve the mysteries of their lives, and use those secrets in my own. I tried to keep the worlds of my joy and pain away from each other, for I felt if they knew each other, my world of joy would be forever tainted, or worse yet, cease to exist.
But, as I learned, you can't do that forever. There came a time when I told the people I loved all there was to know about me, for only they could help me find a way to understand and solve the mysteries of my own life.
That is my new year wish for you. Happy oh-eight.

Link: Television, Culture Club, English Beat, Bowie


Anonymous said...

Hi Bri,
Happy New Year! I wish you lots of happiness and love in 2008! We need to get together soon. Ill give you a call next time I plan to come up to Chicago. Love, your old roomie from Pine Grove.

David said...

I used to sing the Mission: Magic theme song.

Aaron said...

I think you're right about creating worlds of joy and pain and keeping them separate. I was exactly the same when I was young. I realize now that that was NEVER possible--there was always pain mingled with the joy, although I was too young or naive to recognize it. Now, I intentionally create a "pillow" of good memories while I'm surrounded by drawn-out bad ones. It does make it more bearable...that way, even the bad memories will have some good to them.

I used to do the early morning thing, too. For me, it was "Bullwinkle," since that was what was on our local stations (no cable back then). I used to pretend I lived in the English countryside, too! (It was easy because all the flat fields, which stretched for miles and miles, sort of looked like moors--except not as green.)

BC said...

Aaron, I knew we were soul sisters...