I am listening to: Alvvays, Mean Girls, Otis Redding
What I’m pairing my Diet Coke with: Lady dates and lots of laundry
Blogger of the week: Writes Like a Girl http://www.writeslikeagirlblog.com/
WHEN IT RAINS
I saw black. I saw little dots that looked like LED lights from that old school game called Brite Lite. The dots sparkled, and faded in and out. Each individual round glow ephemeral, but continuous at the same time. My head was down on a 1980’s musty desk in a college library. I had been there for 6 hours writing the same paper for almost a week. You know, just a casual 20-page research paper. It wasn’t going too well.
Prior to moving to Boston, I had started taking graduate classes in Austin and I was really down in the dumps. More like the bottom of a landfill. I was at a time where I was unsure of everything. Who I was, what I was going to be, where I needed to be and well… just fucking lost man. I was depressed, uninspired, bored and facing some serious health concerns that I was keeping a secret. I lifted my stiff neck and heavy head from the desk. My head felt like a bowling ball as I rose and it hurt. I began to focus on a conversation with two girls. They were talking VERY loud (I HAVE MISOPHONIA. IT’S A THING. Google it.). I mean they might as well been eating an apple and carrots at the same time. One of the girls was talking about how excited she was to see her mom for the first time since moving into her dorm. Her mother would be meeting her boyfriend for the first time.
I wanted to hang out with my mom. I thought about us going to see an indie movie of my choice, picking up Starbucks, read trashy magazines, and she would tell me that everything was going to be okay. That is never something I am going to have. Actually, I never had it to begin with. Losing a parent, especially one you never had a real relationship with leaves an invisible hole in your body. You can’t see it, but oh how you can feel it. There are long periods of time where that hole is filled with sunshine, rainbows and kittens. However, the hole always seems to empty itself, especially when you are not in a good place emotionally. My domino effect thought process crashed and burned. My thought process went from that, to accepting I was about to fail this class, to how I was going to be a prostitute on the street, and then it circled back around to the disaster of a paper I was writing. I wouldn’t even call it a paper. I read thru one page to edit and I then put my head back down on the desk. With my hood now over my head, I could smell myself. I smelled like onions and stale cigarettes. I wasn’t sure when the last time I showered was. I took a bite out of a halfway done apple. I wasn’t sure when the last time I ate a meal. I immediately realized it tasted like mold and spit it out in the closest trashcan that happened to be right next to those Abercrombie/Coach/ Yoga Pants girls. The two girls scoffed, picked up their shit and moved. I shrugged. Like, I did this:
I decided I was going to turn in my shitty paper the way it was. It was time for another black coffee and a double cigarette smoke sesh. Right before I closed my laptop, my email doorbell rang. The subject line said IMPORTANT. I don’t have the email anymore, but it went something like this:
Someone who chose to be anonymous delivered a package to my office and it is addressed to you. Please come pick it today, as the holiday break is approaching.
I wasn’t too curious about the package. The pit of my stomach screamed because I was reminded that my paper was for Dr. Greenberg’s class. I decided to walk across campus to pick up the elusive package. It was cold and rainy, and the stem of my umbrella was bent. Poor thing was hanging on to dear life. I imagined my umbrella talking to me, it said:
Umbrella: CONNSSTTTAANNCEE. I was a two-dollar purchase from Wal-Mart. When are you going to learn? LOLOLOL JK, You never will.
I closed the umbrella and decided to just walk in the rain. I looked like a zombie; dark plum circles hugged the bottom of my eyes to match. I carried my “paper” in my left hand. I could see my paper sailing down the river of rain along the curb. Swirls of gray, black and white tie-dye appeared in the flow as my paper made it down to the land C’s, D’s, and F’s. I walked into the office. The woman at the front desk was wearing one of those light up Christmas necklaces over a red sweater. The lights twinkled and made a mini laser show up against her Rudolph pin below her collarbone. Damn girl! Get it. It was hard not to look at, so at this point it looked like I was checking out her chest. She gave me a puzzled look as she tried to figure out what kind of swamp monster walked into the door.
Me: Hi, I’m Constance; I’m here to—
Christmas enthusiast: Oh yes, it’s right over here.
Me: Okay, thank you.
She handed me a white box. The kind of flimsy box you get at an elephant swap and the contents are a mystery. The box was too big for whatever it was because I could feel the contents moving from side to side. There was a red balloon string tied into a bow. The ends were not curled.
I got to the door and turned my neck Exorcist style.
Me: And you have no idea what this is about?
Christmas enthusiast: No, it was someone who chose to be anonymous and that is all I can say at this time.
I walked about 7 yards west and decided to open the package. I took out my keys and tried to cut the ribbon. The rain made it quite difficult. It finally ripped and the contents spilled into a shallow puddle.
Me: HOLY SHIT
Group of students walking by: HOLY SHIT. Is she like a drug dealer???
A stack of money was right in front of my eyes. It must have been fresh from the bank because the yellow paper band was still around it. I shook the box to see if there was anything else. A small square piece of white paper laid flat in my hand. It said, “You make the world a better place”
I cried and then played Sherlock Holmes.
Dad: I don’t have that kind of money. Be careful it could have anthrax on it!!! Anthrax! Hello?
Asshole ex-boyfriend turned millionaire from New Jersey: I don’t even know where you go to school! Ha-ha I don’t listen, do I? But hey…come visit. I’ve changed I’m not the same. I’ll pay for everything. Stay perfect beautiful.
*Still waxes eyebrows*Still tans*Still from New Jersey* What. Was. I. Thinking.
To this day I don’t know who gave me that box. That note has been one of my prized possessions since that day. I would be lying if I said the money wasn’t important. If I hadn’t gotten that money, I would have never traveled to NYC that winter to find myself. It was then when I decided I needed to live in a big city. I would have never moved to Boston, done my fellowship at Harvard, write a book, or be my Aimee’s pen pal for 3 consecutive years and then her friend IRL. I would have never met Madeline, and Ruby Wolf would have never come to fruition.
So, I’m saying this right now out loud. Out loud right now. Look out for those shitty days. They may be unbearable at times, but you’ll get thru it. And have faith that your good deeds won’t go unnoticed. One gesture can catapult a person into self-discovery.