“If you’re a religious person, I understand why you believe. It makes you feel better. But a lot of us do not have the patience or disposition to have faith or belief. Thank god there’s medication for those people because if you are properly medicated it will provide roughly the same effect as religion. If you’re on the right combination of antidepressants it will alleviate your ability to see the truth clearly and provide a false sense of hope.”—Marc Maron
“The knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up- many people feel small, cause their small and the universe is big. But I feel big because my atoms came from those stars.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”—Howard Zinn
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”—Neil Gaiman
“You can’t navigate me. I may do mean things, and I may hurt you, and I may run away without your permission, and you may hate me forever, and I know that scares the living shit outta you ‘cause you know I’m the only real thing you got.”—Troy Dyer, Reality Bites
My walls were booming. The bass was probably as high as it would go as she flew into my room, twirling a few times, and then beckoning me with her fingers to follow her into the hallway. I left my chair and danced out into the fresh light, my arms rising above my head, my hips swaying to the rhythms pounding from her room. It was our song. She looked me dead in the eyes and began mouthing the familiar words, and I responded back, leaning forward, tossing my whole body into our give-and-take, our push-and-pull. We twirled from end to end, and lifted up onto the tippy tips of our toes, stretched like cats while reaching for the sky, and then falling to the ground as gracefully as our limbs would allow us. We rolled, kicked into the air, pumped our fists with unwavering defiance, and then flew into the sky as the music reached its very heights. We grabbed each other’s hands and spun and spun and mouthed the words and laughed at it all. We tossed our hair without caution. We clapped and spanked and shimmied our souls. Our hips nestled into the closing rhythms, our hands clutching our bellies and arms, hugging our faces, and pulling our hair. We moved away from each other now, the music no more. We bowed silently in each other’s direction, and then we shut the doors.
He said he hated reading, and it’s not because he’s illiterate or that the pronunciations of words like euphoric, flibbertigibbit, and the really fluster his brain; he simply hates reading and chooses not to read, and, therefore, we can’t date. I had made up my mind that dating him would be impossible the minute he stated his disdain for the written word, that even a simple friendship was pushing it. However, in making my final decision I can’t help but feel a little snobbish, as if reading somehow catapults a guy’s chance with me into the stratosphere, that preferring to sit and indulge in the works of Rand and Didion and Steinbeck means that he is truely a golden god, a work of art to be sought after, the Judd Nelson to my Molly Ringwald existence. His lack of desire in reading came second in surprises that night: he asked me out on a second date. I puked on the man only a few hours prior, and he still wanted to see me. This dating thing only gets more confusing as I continue onward in this hormonal journey with lust disguised as love and love disguised as lust and broken hearts left here and there only to be tread upon and stomped and shattered over and over again. I feel incredibly tired, and it’s not because I only get five hours of sleep a night. When will I be able to stop and know that I don’t have to keep looking for him? Or will I continue on this path forever with guys running away left and right because they just can’t hack it, where in the end I’m the only one on that path with nothing but whatever lies ahead of me? Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, maybe we aren’t supposed to ever know.
I saw him again last night. He stands underneath the street light, always looking up into my window, waiting for me to look back. He wants me to look, to stare back, to sweat with fear. He can smell it. I never see his face, how amusing that must be for him. He is a thing of film noir and somewhere Alfred Hitchcock is narrating my every move, thought, emotion. For him. Everything is for him so he can get me, get me good. As Hitchcock will tell you, I sit frightened in my closet. My lips tremble with the thought of his eyes on my eyes, my hair a mess and crazed after my fingers have created trails of wavering frustration through it. My skin is cold, but I don’t shake. He can hear me shake. I must sit still.
An hour passes, or maybe more. I would focus on the seconds if I could. Hitchcock left awhile ago, I was too boring. My eyes are going in and out of focus, I need sleep, but I hear music playing. It’s Elvis, he sings to me when this happens. He tries to cheer me up, like I’m just what he wants and needs. I’m Ann Margaret, we go to clambakes, race cars in the Nevada desert. When we win the races, are crowned king and queen of the clambakes, he pulls me in real close and tells me to quit being so hard headed, that he’s got what I need, baby. He kisses me hard and good, gripping my waist, our shoulders tense with heated passion. I open my eyes to see him, but Hitchcock is back. I messed up, I left the scene and opened up the floodgates in my head. He slipped in, he saw me try to sneak away. He’s still staring at me.
Light is starting to spot the sky. The sun will be here soon, and maybe he will be gone. Just a few more hours. I can do this. But Hitchcock is a sneaky bastard, he has to be. I’m not in my closet anymore, he put me outside by the tree in the yard. I’m no more than a few hundred feet from that damned shadowed man. I think he is smiling, he must be smiling now. It’s cold, I’m thigh-deep in snow in a thin robe. I stand behind the tree, my fingers gripping at the wood, my back and head pressing deeper against the trunk. My knees are begging me to fall, they don’t want to do this anymore. My vision is blurry again, I think my eyes are icing over. It’s just so cold and it’s almost light again. Please, please make it go away.
He moves. He’s coming closer, very cautious of his steps. He wants me to hear every single footstep, inching nearer and nearer the tree. To me. He’s going to win, Hitchcock knows this. He’s telling him my every exhausted intake of air, my crumbling confidence, the tears that will soon fall from my eyes. The music is swelling now, filtering out my window and enveloping the tree. Elvis is singing to me again, he’s trying to reach me but he’s too late. The shadowed man is beside me now, he was so fast when I let go for just a second. This is it. I close my eyes, I don’t want to see the blood leave my body, I don’t want to see his eyes dance while mine scream out in pain. He takes my hand and demands that I open them. I shake my head quickly in fear. He won’t take my eyes. He’s screaming into my ears, he needs me to open them, he needs me to do this for him right now. I can’t breathe anymore, my knees are winning. I’m falling, he’s screaming, Hitchcock is narrating, Elvis is singing. Open your eyes, open your eyes.
It’s light again. I’m in my room, in my bed. Sweat dots my forehead and dampens my chest. I’m wheezing, the pressure in my lungs swelling with each breath. He didn’t get me. But that can’t be right, he was right there, his hand was on mine, his screams were in my ear. The window. Go look out the window. The wheezing is getting worse, the pressure is closing my lungs and my throat. I’m shaking.
And he’s there. He’s still there. Our eyes meet, just like he wanted. And I fall.
My sister pointed over to the two girls, in the direction we had seen them wander off to. There at the highpoint of a curve, the girl in yellow was giving her best “Look at me, I’m a badass standing in the middle of the road” pose. The girl in pink was adamantly taking her picture, no doubt to post on their Facebook pages later that evening. Earlier they had stopped by someone else’s Harley to do the same “badass” pose. Too bad they just looked more dumbass than badass.
I’m fairly certain these girls couldn’t point out Cuchara, Colorado on a map, let alone Colorado itself. Donning their AE cowgirl apparel (i.e. expensive “worn” jeans [more than likely Seven’s or Hydraulic’s], boots that were made for fashion, not comfort, tight fitting plaid button downs that were undoubtedly purchased outside of a Tractor Supply [they, I’m sure, have no idea what that is], and perfectly quaffed hair [on a windy, somewhat rainy, day]), these two girls (my guess is high school age) roamed the small town taking pictures next to “tourist-y” attractions, probably avoiding the family so that they could fill some sort of narcissistic pleasure that is posing in pseudo-model fashion and posting their attempts on a popular social networking site: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.
I’m seeing more and more of these ridiculous “sightseeing” or “traveling” ventures from my generation, the whole “Let’s go wander somewhere and take awesome pictures of ourselves, never mind the history behind a town, national forest, or what have you.” Let’s just get in our car and go. Because we are cool. Because we want to show off how cool we are later. We were in Cuchara, located on the eastern part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at about 8,500 feet. It is an unincorporated community, meaning that it is not part of a municipality and is not subject to being taxed by a municipal government. Highway 12 runs through the community, considered a scenic byway that winds through many forests including San Isabel National Forest, Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area, and Monument Park. It is also located near a ski resort, now shut down due to the poor economy. All of this history, not only found on signs throughout hiking points, but on Wikipedia as well, and these “cowgirls” feel the only enjoyment to be found at Cuchara is the potential for Facebook pictures, all involving one or the other in some pose next to something I’m sure they’ve deemed “cool” or “bitchin’.”
We saw them leaving the restaurant we were eating at, a small family-owned joint called DogBar, with their folks in tow. They looked bored, no doubt going to find their next stop. Perhaps they were going to go purchase some fudge at the souvenir stand, along with a 10% off wind chime, or maybe they were going to explore Cordova Pass, a 1.5 mile hike, complete with a 360 degree view of all the ranges. My money was on the fudge.