A bus full of prisoners and myself. (Huh?)

 

I may not have the giddy widget displayed on the face of my blog (currently, I don’t have the time to worry about such things), but nevertheless, I’m committing myself to the obligation (one to be enjoyed) of making a post here on wordpress *atleast once weekly.  To further enable that end, the “post-a-day/ post-a-week” enthusiasts have provided daily topics.. sentences, one-liners.. that prompt the noble writer to think creatively, remember with detail, and foresee with insight.  I’m pretty excited about it! Mainly because, while scrolling down the page (thought it curious, but wasn’t entirely sold on the idea yet), I saw that one of the “nudgers” read:

“Describe the strangest thing that ever happened to you on a bus.”

..and the memory it recalled, I felt an immediate sense of urgency to communicate and share.

So, at random, let me tell you about the WEIRDEST thing that has ever happened to me while I was traveling on a (Greyhound) bus.

First of all, it was a long-distance commute.  It wasn’t twenty minutes from the city of Hoover to 23rd Avenue South downtown.  I was traveling from Birmingham, Alabama (about 4 years ago – I was fifteen at the time) to sunny, central Florida.  It was a 10 hour drive.. and a 16 hour bus ride (you know.. the stops you sigh at, the breaks you don’t really need and the layovers that make it all last longer).   

Secondly, I was going on the first of my twice-annual trips to visit my best friends, Melissa and David (Melissa.. the best friend of eight years whom you’ve recently heard deserted me.. yeah, her).  In retrospect, it’s funny; during those eight years, I was always the one who made the effort — who saved up all of her cashier money to buy plane tickets, bus passes and (later, when I was “old enough,”) gas money.  I always left my family and stayed with hers.. I always had to pack my stuff so I could store it haphazardly somewhere in her room.  I always had to endure those 16-hour-long, smelly, dark, creepy-weird bus rides..

and while I got to know her side of the family most intimately, she scarcely knew two facts about mine.

Regardless, continuing..

My mom and I had stayed up the night before – all night.  I can remember eating a bunch of crappy junk food and watching some weird, petrifying children’s program around 2 am where a funny-looking baby creature whaled “booobahhhh.”  The psychedelic trauma has altered me as a person.  It was always my theory that, were one to deprive themself of sleep for a long period of time before traveling arrangements were carried out, they would be able to “sleep through” the boring travel time.  Sierra and I tested this out and..  I was wrong.  The 16 hour bus ride absolutely SUCKED, starting early that morning.

We left the house around 2:30 am, as the bus was scheduled to leave around 3:30 or so.. I can’t quite remember.  We drove down the long, obscure, absolutely deserted innerstate until we reached the long-awaited for exit.  After making it past the one-way streets, shattered windows and decaying buildings, we once again found the bus station (this wasn’t my first bus ride — it was one of many.  Periods of time, however, intervened between trips, so the exact location of the bus station was easily forgotten by the two of us.  Let it also be noted that Sierra always had me drive to the bus station; driving downtown terrified her, and driving at night was always something she sought to avoid).  We parked the car, lugged my guitar and singular duffle bag into the staging area and picked up my pre-purchased ticket from the attendant on duty.  Then, we waited.

Waiting always sucked.. the people around you are weird and creepy, the lighting is dim, it feels unnatural – to be so awake, lively and purposeful when it’s so dark and early.. it’s just awful.  Everything seems to take weeks and when the time for boarding does finally come, it feels like you should already be where you’re headed to.

I grabbed Charlie (my guitar) with one hand and let the weight of the duffle bag hang off my other arm.  “I love you sweetie,” Sierra would say.  “I’m going to miss you so much!.. make sure you don’t miss your second bus and please do call me during your layover — and please make sure that you’re kind, thoughtful and helpful when you’re staying at Barbara’s.  Go over to Grammy’s some days and spend time there and make sure-”

“Okay mom, I love you too,” I’d assure her.  “I will call you, it’s all good.”

And then, we would part.  I would cry on the bus – I always missed my mom – but she never knew.  Quickly thereafter, however, I became excited.  Finally!  After six months I get to see Melissa again!  It was always the highlight of my year and the very joy of my life, spending time with my best friend.  No other person was as close, dear or valuable to me (aside from my mother), other than Melissa.  She was my confidant, counselor, partner-in-crime, comedian, and biggest fan.  Anyways.

The ride was long.. and very EVENTFUL.

Here is where the “Oh my goodness it was soooo weird” nudger finds it’s accomplishment.   The setting has been established – you’re prepared. 

Well..

During the long ride of drudgery, somewhere along the way, I fell asleep.  Upon waking, a group of prisoners were staring at me, and smiling.

Yeah.. they were sitting in front of me, their heads turned – facing me – and they were smiling.  Upon seeing me stir, they shifted in their seats and removed their gaze.. but I knew where it had been and I was totally freaked.

“Why were the prisoners staring at me? and WHY are there prisoners on the BUS??”

I was horrified.  But, it was also an interesting occurence.. and one I planned on making memorable.  (Of a certainty, I knew they were prisoners, simply by virtue of their shaved heads and identical orange garb). 

After a period of silence between the two parties – the prisoners and myself – a gutsy inmate had the courage and audacity to remove himself from his seat (I appreciated the distance) and to place himself DIRECTLY beside me, arms almost touching (I didn’t approve of this, but didn’t reprove or deny him for fear of being hurt, molested, murdered, etc).  He began some small talk, to which I replied in Christian accents.  It turned him off immediately (this made me glad), and he soon picked himself up and found another seat – perhaps his first one.  (Praise God! The sword of the spirit indeed.)  This wasn’t the end, however; the flirty, mach0-man inspired some of the rest (his contemporaries) to present themselves to me — as dashing, marvelous, bad-boys of rock and roll.  Huh?

A group sitting behind me somehow caught my attention — I can’t remember if it was a cough, a question, or a laugh.  Regardless, the self-proclaimed leader of the pack began speaking.

“Yeah.. we’re a traveling rock band,” he began.

“..really?” I quieried in sudden amazement

At this time, you must understand that I was an amateur musician – a hopeful, floating in the clouds, dreaming of stages and lights and crowds and microphpones, idiot.  And so!, this being a bad-boy rock band, I was very amazed, full of admiration and ready to hear more!

“Tell me about your band!” I insisted.

It came out, eventually, that they weren’t really a rock band.  He explained that they had just gotten out of prison, at midnight, and were headed home.  One of them asked if I had a phone he could borrow.

Immediately, the workings of my silent thought-processor:

He’s a criminal, so he might steal my phone.. I should tell him I’m running out of minutes and spare mother the money.  Wait– he’s a criminal! He might know I have a phone with lots of minutes and kill me! Or, he might believe I don’t have the minutes and be angry that I don’t have them and kill me!  What do I do!

 

“Oh sure!  Use it as long as you’d like,” I smiled.

He grasped the phone and began making his phone calls. 

 Once he had dialed the number to every individual, I believed, whose number he had memorized, he handed the phone back to me.  I was pleasantly surprised, but didn’t let it show.  Then, of course, another jailbreaker requested the device.  Slowly, my phone made it’s way through who knows HOW many hands.. (and no, I hadn’t brought germ-x with me.  Now here, I am not implying that prisoners are any more germy than non-prisoners.. but come on; look at how much breathing and touching and lips and sweat my phone met with!  that bus wasn’t pumping sixty-degree air). 

But all that matters, is that I did get my phone back and they were all able to contact the individuals they needed or wanted to.  It was a service that I felt proud and glad to offer. 

The trip ended — some of the prisoners got off before my stop, others were still sitting on the bus when I finally jumped out of my seat, grabbed my belongings and headed out.  We exchanged smiles (I even hugged two of them) and said our goodbyes.. wished peace, blessings and prosperity to one another.

I descended the steps, listened to the engine carry the prisoners (and other travelers) away, and turned my eyes to the gas station.  Was the purple van there yet?

 

No; Melissa and her family hadn’t yet arrived.. (they had a knack for being late to everything), but when they did, they heard all of my (briefer than this) narrative in shock-horror (Melissa was very sheltered — a homeschooled Christian kid.  My story was about as thrilling and monumental as the account given of Germany, in 1941, in her history book). 

I will stop here – no need to recount the details of the trip (which I don’t remember clearly, as all the trips and visits of eight years have sort of meshed together in a pleasant but indistinctive mass), as that was not the focal point of the story.  But yes.  That was the most interesting experience I’ve ever had on the bus.  Well — there was that one time when the guy with scar marks (and dressed in all black) sat next to me and discussed his future plans to have fifty children and to either torture, sacrifice or train them to be evil world dictators.. (the which I tolerated the entire ride, gave a religious book to and let lean his head on my shoulder for weariness).  Different trip.  That was weird, too.. but not quite as strange.  I might have been sixteen then.

Really, come to think of it, I’ve had lots of creepy-weird encounters on the bus.. but, today, I wanted to share the story of the prisoners with you all.  I digress.

****

Presently, March 24th 2011, here’s what’s new:

The nominating committee, of which I am a part, is wrapping up their work of selecting officers for all church positions for this upcoming year.  We’re at the stage of making phone calls.. I’ve been only semi-successful, as, this being my first year on the committee, I’ve discovered that people don’t always answer their phones – and some people never answer their phones.

Christopher is still working full-time at Panera and, might I say, he is kicking butt.  His store is #1 for catering in the entire state of Alabama.. and that’s not my opinion; that’s based off of sales reports.  Every other store — doing half or not even the business — has a catering coordinator and atleast one (or multiple) assistants.  He’s flying solo and rocking it.  I’m very proud of him.  Additionally, let it be mentioned that he is the sweetest man in the whole entire world!  Chris is always stopping by my work after he’s finished working, and he’s always bringing me surprises.. cookies, my favorite smoothie, and – best of all – his gorgeous smile, and his heart-warming presence.

I planned on starting school this August, and in the process of getting everything ready, I’ve encountered some problems with college admission – not regarding residency (what I had expected to fret over).  No.. the high school I graduated with (an online program) is, I have been enlightened, nationally accredited — not regionally accredited.  And, the college I have planned on attending (due to it’s location and economic affordability) ONLY accepts regionally accredited degrees (ah, the paradox!).  So, as there were no other options, I went down to the school yesterday, paid my fifty dollars and have been scheduled to take the 7 and 1/2 hour GED test on April 19th.  Got a 600 page study guide at the library afew days ago and bought some index cards at Walmart last night.. I’ve never used the index card study method before, but, as you can probably tell – even in the very shortness of this blog – I’m an impulsive, vacillating, unsettled person who delights herself in trying new things.

So, I hope I pass.  We’ll see. 

I stopped by a thrift store in Hoover yesterday.  It’s eight weeks from closing, and the owner was very nice;  I’m pretty positive the discount she gave me, on the two purses and clay-metallic piano figurine I bought, was more than necessary. 

It’s Thursday – and what Chris said weeks ago is resounding in my ears, coming, again, to my mind,  and causing me, once more, to smile..
“Have a great day, Rose – and make sure that you smile.. because you’re the best thing ever, and it’s almost Friday.”

I’m loving my job, I am daily being taught, by my puppy, to have patience, I’m crazy about my husband, Christopher, and –

I’m actually, officially going to visit my family in Florida this June.

Life can’t seem to decide whether she wants to hate or adore me,

support or oppose me,

beautify, or destroy me..

Aun Aqui

Living for the Weekend.

A post about the drudgery and monotony of living this modern, technologically advanced, intellectually superior, sophisticated and charming

life.**

(note: in the following entry, no corporate/company names or titles shall be given, so that I won’t be found in a place of condemnation for recounting my life story)

So I was called into the office yesterday (3/3/2011), at my work, and asked to sit down.  I did so, gladly.  My hands were sweaty, and my body stiffened as I tried relaxing myself into the soft backing of a blue, padded chair.  The two managers present in the office with me both attempted weak smiles, but I could already tell.

I’m going to be rejected.

“Rose,” the gentleman began, “we’ve heard about your interest in the full-time position that has become available at your branch, and we are very grateful for your enthusiasm.”

Let me begin my saying, that this manager is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.  Truly.

It not only radiated from his voice and his bearing, but from his words and his tone of voice.  He was so empathetic, sincere, and gentle.  His calming presence made the entire rejection-meeting easier for me to process and handle (emotionally).

Continuing..

“Unfortunately, we’ve spoken with your manager, and she just doesn’t feel like you’re where you should be, at this point, with you’re training.. that you aren’t prepared to take on the responsibility that a full-time teller possesses, and that to promote you to such a position – at this time – would be unfair both to you and to our members.”

It hit me like a brick.. and yet, I seemed to feel nothing at all.  I was, by prayer, transported to another place, where I didn’t need to cry, or protest, or defend myself.  I simply knew that this was destined; that I had already been here before, in the chair, being rejected and delicately consoled.  I nodded my head and agreed with everything that was said.

And that was it.  5 minutes, in and out.  No, I don’t have any questions.  No, I won’t become discouraged.. yes, I’ll try applying for the next position that becomes available.  The decision was made and I was now able to start allowing my mind to adjust, settle, re-organize and re-strategizeWhere do I go from here.

Really, I kinda knew where they were coming from.

Having worked solely in the drive-thru for 3 months hurt my endeavor of mastering all MSR procedures.  There, in the “pit,” I was confined to the execution of three very basic transactions:  deposits, withdrawals, and loan payments.  When it came to opening or closing an account — opening or “cashing out” a cd — disbursing official checks, money orders and the like – I had been somewhat.. clueless.  Over time, by observation and minimal experience, I was able to fully understand how one produces money orders, official checks, cashier’s checks, and temporary checks (and was able to do the said transactions).  I also learned, during the short periods of time when one of the tellers had gone to lunch and the lobby was too busy for just the other to handle, how to do “cash advances” (payments with a credit or debit card) and how to make credit card payments.  I was told, two weeks back, that in order to enrich my training I would be given two weeks on the front line, and that one of the full-time tellers would take my place in the drive thru.  Resultant, in the past week and a half, I have opened several accounts, reinstated two, and closed two.  I also closed out a certificate of deposit  yesterday.  I feel much more competent, knowledgeable, independent in my decision making and ready to embrace the stresses and challenges of full-time teller work.  But.. when it comes to reporting my success and advancement to my manager, all courage and confidence flees.

I just wish I would have received opportunities to get the experience sooner, before it was too late.

Regardless, my beautiful and wonderful mother has been a source of strength.  I walked back into work following my lunch break today and after sitting down, unlocking my drawer and preparing myself to function for the public, I pulled up my email account and read beautiful words that she had typed out in a letter to me.. familiar words that I had heard before, forgotten, and needed to remember:

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.  But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalm 75:6,7

And so.. I figure..

why on earth do I need to worry, complain or fret?

God is all-wise, all-knowing, full of love and all-powerful!

If He has led me safely thus far.. why would He continue in any other way?  And why should I think or fear or believe that He would continue in any other way —  in a way that would destroy or harm me? Hasn’t He assured me, in His word, that “(He) knows the thoughts that (He) think towards (me)? Thoughts of peace, and NOT of evil?”

I digress.***

So I’ve realized, as a fully developed and (more) mature nineteen year old, that we, as humans, really do live for the weekends.  We work, labor and slave away all week to absolutely ensure that when our time for rest does come, we thoroughly enjoy, completely appreciate and entirely crave it.

I used to be very idealistic, optimistic and all that  -istic jazz.  “You should enjoy your job and working because you’re going to spend half of your life doing it!  Make the best of it!  Enjoy every moment! CarpefreakingDIEM.”

Now — the more seasoned, experienced, tired me realizes that those 40 hours a week I’d love to be spending with my husband and puppy are devoted to other people and (in the grand “scheme of things”) unimportant things.  And then the two-day weekend I’m blessed with finds me so overrun and worn out that the energy I wish I had is gone.  Instead of being my old, fun, care-free, energetic, spontaneous, crazy and life-loving self, I’m yawning.  I’m dreading Monday.  I’m slowly counting down and earnestly grasping every single hour and moment of freedom remaining to me.

I’m living for the weekend.

3/8/2011

This past weekend was unique.  Usually, our weekends are bright, sunny, event-packed, smile filled, go to fast and leave us satisfied and filled with happy memories.  This past weekend sort of.. sucked!

First of all, Saturday, went way too fast.  Church breakfast began at 8:30 and as Chris was asked to provide three dozen bagels from Panera for the event (the which he had bought the day before), he felt it his duty and responsibility (as the “bagel expert”) to arrive early enough to ensure that the bagels were cut “correctly.” Anyways, breakfast ended at 9:30 and sabbath school began.  I helped teach in the E-teens class.  Sabbath school ended at 10:30 and the thirty-minute intermission between sabbath school and church flew past us.  Church started at 11:00.. it ran until about 12:20.  The nominating committee (of which I am a part) met directly after, ate a lunch that was provided, and began the meeting itself around 1.  We were all there until 2:30.  Chris picked me up and in addition to being tired(Bruster had kept us up the night before and lengthy church services make me sleepy), my morning headache had returned.   We had made plans to take Bruster to the park that afternoon and.. alas, outside, it rained.  Our evening schedule read “Go to the Harriman’s first annual BONFIRE and have a blast!” and.. alas, it CONTINUED raining.

So, Saturday.. yeah.

Sunday:

We overbooked ourselves.

We got up, cleaned the house spotless, took Bruster to the park (since his Saturday “fun day!” fell through), came home and showered, went grocery shopping, headed over to his friends house for a sort of reunion/ cookout, and came home at about 5.  By that time, I was — again — yawning and tired, and Bruster (the puppy of perfect timing) ate my phone.

Yes, he ate it.

He didn’t ingest it (I prevented him), but he definitely would have forced it down his throat had he been given enough time and had he NOT caught Chris’s attention.

This is what happened. I had been laying, comfortably, on the couch, and decided to get down onto the floor where my puppy sat.. to hug him.  As a mother, I fully realize that despite my condition of weakness and personal fatigue I still have responsibility to nurture my pet and shower him with love, affection and etc.  So, as I hugged him and Chris stared, Bruster got up off of my lap and began walking away.

“ROSE!  He has your PHONE!”

..what?  BRUSTER!!!!!!

He did, and it was too late.  Razor-sharp puppy teeth marks littered the screen and the silver backing of the phone.. half of the screen was comprised of insane, bizarre lines and the other half somewhat maintained the image of the familiar, but vague background I had grown accustomed to.   “Oh no, Chrisss! What am I going to do? This SUCKS..”

I immediately entered “cry whine whine” mode and Christopher assumed the “super daddy” role.

“It’s okay, baby — let’s hurry, we might make it to the Sprint store before six!”

So we hopped into the car, put the pedal to the medal and made it there by about 5:52.  I walked in and consciously (it didn’t take too much effort) tried to look “upset.”  (Upset customers always get what they want, right?)

Long story made shorter, I explained my circumstances and was told that after paying a 50-dollar deductible, my phone would be shipped to me overnight.  “So I can’t just get a new phone now? here? in the store?”

“No, I’m sorry ma’m, but as soon as you call in, make your claim and pay us money we’ll be more than happy to inconveniently ship a new phone to you.”

So, we did.  It should be arriving today (Tuesday).

It’s almost time for me to “head off” to work: on the agenda for today, serving at OLIVE GARDEN from 11:30 until the “lunch business decline.”  Chris and I have been wanting to get haircuts, so if we can book a last-minute appointment with our regular stylist, we’ll be handling that today as well.

Life is busy, life is great –

the joy just never ends!

Money and time consume your mind

and force you to break or bend.

Life is busy, life is great!

Something new happens everyday

Like your doggy decides to eat your phone,

and thoughts of promotion vanish away –

And you’re left in your party array

with no joy, no phone, and no pay.

😀

Aun Aqui

Letters to Melissa, Overtime, and Serving on “the floor.”

February 19th, 2011.

Letters to Melissa.
Saturday, 6:32 am.

 

So Chris and I were supposed to sleep in this morning.
It’s Saturday, and we’re off of work for the weekend.

But I had a horrible dream last night and woke up around 5:30 (when Bruster had to go potty), thinking about it.  I continued laying in bed, Chris’s arms around me, and Bruster at my feet, until 6:20.  Then, I whispered to Chris that I needed to get up.

“Why?” he asked, stirring underneath the covers.

“I have a lot on my mind and I need to write it down.”

“Okay,” he replied, simply — and decided to get up himself.
And he didn’t probe me any further.  Chris knows me well enough to understand that writing, for me, is a necessity when it comes to expressing myself — my fears, concerns, happiness, stress and sadness.  So, I’ll continue.

I finally understand why I’ve been doing this for the past 9 months.

*** ** ** *

I dreamed last night that my grandfather (more intimately referred to as Grampy) passed away.  In my dream, I was devastated; all the visits and phone calls I never made, the “I love yous” and “I miss yous” I hadn’t given out, haunted me.  I regretted “keeping in” everything I needed to tell him, and withholding how much he meant to me from him when it mattered.

Anyways, I woke up (previously stated) around 5:30, hearing Bruster pace around the room and whine (his message to us that it’s “go outside, go potty” time).  Chris took him out quickly and returned in a moment.  We turned the light off and tried to “fall back asleep.”  I just layed there, consulting my memory, struggling to remember the dream that seemed significant and to last forever.. but I couldn’t.

Finally, I recalled it.  “Chris..”

“mmm?”

“I remember what I dreamt last night — Grampy had died!” I whispered.

“It’s okay, baby.. that didn’t happen.. everything is fine.”  He pulled me closer to him and we both continued trying to “fall back asleep.”

I layed there for thirty minutes just thinking about the impact of the dream.. of how much I could — or will — regret neglecting the people I love when it’s too late to (really) love them anymore.

Then, I thought of Melisa, and she is somehow the reason for all of this.

** * **

I finally understand why I’ve been doing what I have been doing for the past 9 months.  All of these “blog updates..” these long, lengthy, detailed entries, have been for her.
I’ve been secretly, desperately desiring that she would read them — that she would want to know about all that has been going on in my life; that she would miss me, and that old love, friendship and ever-present curiosity would drive her to my writings.  That it would, somehow, keep our friendship alive and maintain our connection.. that it would be a means of communicating, a start to bridging how far apart we’ve grown.

We all use the computer in different ways and for different purposes – sometimes, it’s to manipulate people.  Chain letters, ever-changing Facebook statuses, whatever — we have all tried, however directly or indirectly, to get people’s attention, push people’s buttons, charm, reveal secret feelings to or win back, people.  I am openly admitting that I have been using this blog as a crutch, as an underground tunnel, supposedly leading to Melissa’s ear, or heart, or whatever you’d want to imagine..

and I really didn’t even realize I was doing this.
I always knew that I was hoping she would stumble across (or seek out) my blog; I didn’t know for sure if she’d know how to find it, or if she’d WANT to.. but nevertheless, the hope remained.  I didn’t know that these crazy, detailed, uninteresting blog entries were really written, not for my aunt who lives in New Jersey, not for my dearly loved mother who lives in Florida, not for my husband and lives, works, and sleeps beside me every day and night,

but for my long-lost, best friend.. who I haven’t heard from in almost a year.
I’ve never openly expressed, in so many words and so honestly, how deeply I loved her and needed her.. but now I’m admitting it.
I need to publicly express it, because it will give some kind of closure.
It’s hard to just painlessly “move past” a wall you’ve painted on for years.  You scribbled, stenciled, white-washed, smeared, colored and beautified it.. it was something unique, original, and beautiful – something very “a part” of you, because it expressed so MUCH of you..

and that is who she was.

How can I walk away, without taking a picture?
And how can I leave with a picture, and not take a look at it every once and a while?
How can I look at that picture, and not still see it’s beauty..

and how can I see it’s beauty, and not want to return?

There are so, SO many memories that reoccur – in my mind – ALL the time.  We spent thousands of hours in each other’s company.. confiding in and comforting each other, having fun with whatever we found to do, growing up and learning how “to do” life together and supporting each other all along the way. It kills me; it’s a battle and a war — it’s beautiful, it’s hideous. I want to recall them, these memories, fondly, but I can’t — and it tears my apart to remember that everything that meant something to me is, essentially,

nothing.

It breaks my heart every day, not hearing her voice, reading her words, or seeing her smile as I used to be able to.

Melissa, tell me – how can a deep-seated love just die away, unless it was never real to begin with?
Melissa, please tell me – does love melt, and quickly disappear? Does it freeze over for indefinite periods of time, in a desperate effort to preserve itself?
or does it merely cease to exist, without any process of dying at all?

Can love really die?

**Note: AlthoughI realize my original, partial intention in writing for this blog has been recognized and – by myself – reproved, I will not cease keeping up with this e-journal.. only now, it will be for the mere, honest purpose of expressing myself, for those who care to know me — for describing what I see, for whoever is curious — and for teaching what I have learned, for whoever may benefit from it. -AA

** *

I’m calling my Grampy today.  Life has been notoriously busy since I left home, went to NY, got married and settled down into Birmingham Alabama.  I haven’t kept up with loved ones like I should have.. and I plan on changing that.  Instead of spending so much time writing, I am determining to spend more time making phone calls, personal emails, and – if possible – visits back home.

In addition to calling Grampy, I’m being honest today.

Melissa, if you ever do stumble across or seek out this blog,

I really miss you, I really love you, and I think of you every single day.

I just want to know that you’re happy, that you’re okay,
and that you really did love me once.

That we really were best friends once..

and that you don’t hate that we were.

-Aun Aqui

* ** *** *

2/25/2010  A week or so later.

I’ve been so busy that the entry prior to this one was never posted or shared.  It’s outdated, but, I still want it recorded.. I still need to express everything I wrote.

She is on my mind less now.. I feel more secure, healed-over and free to “move on.”  Free to accept myself, and free to embrace other friendships..

almost.

** *

2/28/2011  “Goodbye, February”

I’m at work, it’s about an hour until closing, and I have determined that I simply must finish and post this blog update.

There are a lot of beautiful things that I fail to mention.

Like..

Yesterday was Sunday.  Chris and I had spent the entire morning cleaning, because “keeping up with the house” is something we find difficult to do during the busy week hours.  Anyways, it was around 3:00 in the afternoon and I was cleaning/ cooking/ getting ready for my night shift at Olive Garden when his mom called.  “I guess my little helper is leaving me now,” I thought silently, and carried on, quietly, with my various tasks.  I didn’t mind doing the dishes, putting the clothes on hangers, straightening up the bathroom or any of that — but when the bed sheets came out of the dryer I thought to myself, “I wish he wasn’t so busy right now.”  I nevertheless began the work of stretching the fitted sheet onto the bed when Christopher walked into the room and said “Honey, let me help you with that.”

Wow.  It’s like.. how did he know?  Did he come to help me out of concern, because he was mindful of my need for help, or did he rush into the bedroom out of fear, because he was cognizant of the wrath to come should he not offer his assistance?  😛

Kidding.  The point is, my husband is better than yours.

Also! ~

Last Friday I was working at the Credit Union (no specific naming).  I had just finished performing a transaction for a member when, as the individual walked away, I saw the front door open and a familiar-looking, strikingly beautiful man stroll in.  “Hi, baby.”

“Christopher?!”

I was so happy.  He walked up to my little desk and handed me a box of chocolates (they were little, silver, individually wrapped Hershey bites and they were housed in a cardboard Panera bowl– his cute and personal interpretation of the romantic gift).  I was so happy and so proud that he was mine.  🙂  He fulfilled a sort of “dream” that day — a simple one.  I’ve always wanted to be surprised at work — to be visited, unexpectedly, by someone I love and care about, would hope to see, and miss all day.  I love Christopher.. and he proves his love for me in a thousand different ways, every day, all year -..and I know he will continue doing so for the rest of our lives.

We keep busy.  Our time together is limited, so, every moment is precious.   He’s been getting lots of overtime –working close to fifty hours a week and early, early shifts (like, he’s out the door by five am).  I guess it’s a good thing..  “early to bed, early to rise..” hopefully it will keep us, like our ancestors, healthy, wealthy and wise.

**

So this past week was busy and fun and great and memorable and allllllll of that.  Only thing is, serving at Olive Garden sucks.  The pay is cheap (I’m talking tips people — not the measly 2.13 an hour the restaurant hands over) — people walk out and stipp you ALL the time, and guiltlessly.

There are exceptions.  I had a lady get tipsy after three glasses of wine and she tipped very generously..  but it’s like – really?  Can I possibly enjoy, benefit from or be okay with seeing you this way – intoxicated and ridiculous?

My first Sunday (and second day serving) on the floor was absolutely terrible.  I was carrying a tray, fully loaded with a heaping salad bowl, two heavy and chilled salad plates, a bread basket, warm bread plates, a white and tricky cheese grater and..

a brim-full glass of Coca Cola.

This, was my second day.  I was not entirely comfortable with the pressure put on me to carry the tray so close to my head and, resultantly, the tray quivered, the glass tilted, fear caused me to jerk, the glass absolutely fell and

HIT the table,

SHATTERED to the floor,

a piece somehow CUT the gentleman sitting there at table 42–

He ended up wearing a bandaid, the manager bought the meal (and brought another Coke), I started crying and

they tipped me five bucks.

I gave away my whole three shifts for this week.  Just.. can’t handle it right now.

Anyways.. a full time position has opened up at the Credit Union (again, unnamed) I’ve been working at part-time.  This is most glorious — a wonderful opportunity for advancement — a cause for rejoicing and happiness and hope! ALL of that!  But, after putting my application in last Thursday, I haven’t heard anything, and the position is one that would, seemingly, be filled rather immediately.

I’m praying about it.  God knows I hate serving and love working at “the bank.”  I’ve always excelled at math, since 2nd grade, and I’ve also always been a people person and am perfectly ready, after spending a year on my feet, to sink down into that black swivel chair and use my mind more than my hands.

We’ll see.

Until then, I’m all “dressed to impress” 3 days out of the week and the other 3, I’m sweaty, tired looking and smell of pasta.  Your impression of me will depend on the day we meet, the time of day, and what you value and are looking for.  Who is “the real” me?  How do I view myself, on the inside, independent of circumstances and outfits and the company I’m in?

To me, I am (always)

The musician

The photographer

Chris’s wife

The “Woo!” mommy

The poet

The independent girl

The Christian

The artist

The dreamer

The writer

Aun Aqui.

(This blog update was officially finished March the 1st of 2011).