We had a great time together. Minimal were the disagreements…almost to the point of nonexistence. Of two, I remember. Perhaps, those were the only eruptions. I left with him in search of a party and stayed for more parties and girls that any kid could have imagined. While playing party-boy, I convinced myself for a long period of time that I was in control of my decisions and life experiences. I eventually burned out. Physically at first, then, seven months later, my mind shut down.
Someone told me on Friday that she is who she is because of what she lived through. "During the time you were married?" I asked, paying more attention to the spreadsheet in view than to what she was sharing.
"No," she quickly answered. "To the things I lived before I turned eighteen and thought I was in love and ready to marry him."
The spreadsheet wasn't as critical anymore. I had been impressed by an unlikely source. My fingers stopped striking keys; my mind had seized its' capitalist plunder. Reclining my chair back and seeing her sit there in my office, facing the east window, observing thin strips of clouds move north, I thought about how true her words were for both of us.
I woke up one day, walked to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, jumped in the shower, looked at my morning erection, pleasured myself into relaxation, stepped out and headed into the room. I threw on some clothes, as all kids my age tend to do before we are turned into men by bosses and women wanting more then headed to the backyard. Normally I'd change, walk outside and find my cousin with a day for us to plan and enjoy. One could always find him trimming trees, raking leaves (traits learned from his father) picking up empty beer and soda cans; all residual from the night before. At times playing with Nikita, a big but feminine looking white Akita, and always laughing at the thought of all the mischief and characters we had been collecting through our dealings. Routine was to stand in the middle of the yard with our arms crossed, sometimes because of the morning chill, sometimes because it was now custom and with our legs spread two feet apart, we'd watch as the sun's climbing presence hid the night.
When I walked out towards the yard that morning, I stopped by a patio chair and saw him kneeled down, kissing Nikita and baby-talking to her. Although for a long time I wished I were intelligent enough to explain what happened, I settled for knowing I had lived this moment.
Watching my colleague look out that window, I wondered what her experiences must have been like when she was seventeen. I found my imagination flowing, like the grey blue seals that migrate during seasons, cyclically advancing with purpose and instinct towards a temporary home, flowing past her brown hair, into her mind and long corridors where memories and functions all have doors. There, before a large white door, I stood. Knocking and asking to be allowed entrance.
He was tall, funny, smart, charming, handsome and very confident. He always knew what to do. He always knew how to help me see, by example, that anger was cancerous and that the humble were better allies. There, that morning, in his affection towards Nikita and his body posture, something inside me told me that he wouldn't always be there and that his time with me would be abrupt. I couldn't see him at my college graduation. I couldn't see him getting married. I couldn't see us as two laughing geriatrics.
My life, everything that was yet to come became clear and between the goose-bumps and melancholy that hit at me from within I turned and walked back into the house. I sat in the living room and saw as the trees and columns that lined the walkway towards the front door began to develop shadows.
I left a few days later. I went on many trips. He died not too long after that day. I can always see when someone will no longer be in my life. I try to prevent myself from seeing it but I can't stop myself. Seeing the future isn't great nor is it a power worth possessing. It does have one upside though; it signals the coming of a storm, as all change tends to be when we are forced into it. The closing dialogue to the movie Sex, Lies and Videotape is one that, like my grandfather during winter afternoons, sits outside one of the doors of my corridors; so goes the dialogue:
Ann: I think it's gonna rain.
Graham: It is raining.