so i've been having a blast looking through and organizing the gazillion photos i have on my external hard drive. in the midst of all the photos, i found a journal i used to keep in a Word document on my computer. it was fun to rediscover 'me' by taking a closer look into my mind 4 years ago...
Monday, April 26, 2004
This is my first letter to you. I am reading a book titled The Perks of Being a Wallflower and was inspired to begin a record of letters. I wish everyone could read this book so they could experience what I’ve experienced thus far, but I guess I can’t guarantee that it will mean as much to everyone else as it has to me. In that case, maybe it’s best that the only people who stumble across this incredible book are those who react to it in a way that I have. I couldn’t wait to get home and begin my first letter to you. This book did that much to me.
I see a lot of myself in Charlie. Charlie is the author of the letters in the book. He’s the wallflower, poetically described as one who sees everything, says very little, and understands it all, in so many words. I would quote the book, but it’s sitting in the passenger seat of my car. I plan on spending my lunch break tomorrow reading more. I read almost half of the book tonight. It made me think and feel several things. I sat in my car, parked at the harbor, reminiscing much of my childhood and dreaming much of my future. Before I explain more about that, let me first describe this evening.
I spent the past few hours reading at the Dana Point Harbor. I guess it’s the perfect place to be while reading a book like this, a place of pure nostalgia. Our family, mostly credit my mother’s persuasion, visited here often for picnics, birthdays, ice cream, long walks, and everything you don’t quite treasure until you reach a moment in life when those picnics, birthdays, ice creams and long walks mean far more than you can imagine anything else in life ever will. This place has provided much of what I savor about my youth and has served as a place of escape throughout the years; even in those I wasn’t aware I needed an escape.
It is here you will find couples, young and old, walking, swiftly or slowly, wrapped up in conversation or silently delighting in one another’s company. It is here you will find two 47 year old women, best friends, sitting at the wooden tables painted in a dark brown that almost looks gray, discussing topics as light as the latest spinach quiche recipe in Family Circle or as heavy as the infidelity in either of their marriages. It is here that you will find a family of five sprawled out on a giant sheet of grass, unloading the contents of their Craftsman cooler, preparing to partake in a meal that reminds me much of what my family did roughly 13 years ago on our red and blue checkered blanket, at this very same place. It is here that I sat in my white Volkswagen Beetle tonight and read the first half of a book that may have just awakened a part of my soul that I never knew was sleeping.
I was completely focused on the words I was reading, while thoroughly captivated by all that surrounded me. Things like the smell of the salty, fishy water, the sound of the crashing waves, the stickiness of the moist ocean air, and the fading in and fading out of conversation through my half-opened car windows were all very familiar. But things like the passing of a bickering young husband and his pregnant wife, the middle-aged woman with droopy boobs, and the Howie Day CD in my disc changer introduced feelings I had never experienced before.
I caught myself wondering what sort of home the son or daughter of that bickering husband and wife would grow up in. I wondered if the husband was jealous of his wife because she had the privilege of carrying their unborn child. They parked in the space next to mine, got out of their car and headed towards the sidewalk to begin their evening stroll. Seconds later, the petite brown haired wife requested that her beloved grab her sweater from the back seat of their steel blue sedan. He snapped back, “You’re always cold!” I wondered when the moment was that the love that couple shared in the bedroom the moment they created the child living within her womb escaped their relationship only to be exchanged with moments like this.
I saw a beauty in the lady with droopy boobs that only a silver wedding anniversary could bring. She radiated years of motherhood and carried the stride of a woman completely confident in her skin, which she undoubtedly saturated with Pond’s Cold Cream every night. She was the type of woman who bought place mats for the dining room table because those are the things that make a house a home. Her Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook was propped open against the kitchen counter more than it was closed and on the shelf collecting dust. She spent her Monday evenings clipping coupons from Sunday’s paper. When asked what he loved most about his wife of 27 years, her husband would endearingly reply, “Her droopy boobs.” It made me sad to think that the young pregnant couple didn’t share this sort of love.
As I soaked in every word I was reading, I couldn’t help but realize that the music playing in the background of my tiny little car was, in a strange way, the soundtrack of my life at that moment. As I read about the songs that were shaping Charlie’s life at 16 years old, I was realizing that I too am being shaped by the musical poetry I introduce my ears to. I had the urge to create a mixed CD like the one Charlie created for Patrick to remind me of these moments in my life. I wanted to somehow bottle up those hours at the harbor tonight the way I wished I could have bottled up the picnics, birthdays, ice cream, and long walks years ago.
I didn’t even come close to sharing with you nearly as much as I wanted to tonight, but if I don’t go to sleep now, I’ll be disappointed in myself in the morning for sleeping in later than I hope to. I’m weird that way.
I don’t know what to say,