I remember summer days when I would ride my bike for hours and hours around the block.
I remember the smell of oil on our gravel road. The smell reminds me of summer.
I remember the big mud puddle in front of our house, filled by the sprinkler. We would concoct worlds in that puddle.
I remember Star Wars.
I remember Star Wars cards.
I remember the school across the street, through the field and over the fence. It was our world away from home where we could have contained adventures.
I remember the sweet scent of grass in the summer heat. Picking dandelions. Looking for four leaf clovers.
Last night I dreamt of a brass door.
It keeps playing on the edge of my memory.
Asking me to open it.
But when I look at it it goes away.
All I can do is stare at it
In my mind.
I am powerless.
The orange robe of the
Tibetan monk sits firmly
In my mind.
Standing there in the ancient field
Naked except for the robe.
He stands there by himself
When I was a teenager I worked at Baskin and Robbins. Like any minimum wage job, it was thankless, despite being surrounded by all of the ice cream I could ever want to eat.
One night as we getting ready to close a woman came into the shop. She was pregnant and she wanted an ice cream sundae. We were out of hot fudge. I had to tell this pregnant lady that we were out of hot fudge. I told her and she flipped out. She couldn’t believe a Baskin and Robbins was out of hot fudge. But we were. I couldn’t change this fact. I couldn’t magically make hot fudge appear out of nowhere. I was not the Jesus of Baskin and Robbins. So I had to just keep telling her that we were out of hot fudge and she kept becoming disappointed and angry with me. She couldn’t accept the situation. She left feeling very disappointed and I felt horrible for denying a pregnant lady her hot fudge sundae.
Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
Sometimes fear grips me at the most inopportune time. In these moments I freeze, which is unfortunate. I had this reaction this past weekend when I was at a workshop and was suddenly face to face with my old friend, glossophobia (fear of public speaking). I was called upon to give an elevator speech. I waited to go and listened to others first. After hearing a few others I felt brave and stood up. I started speaking and started out well, but then I froze and I couldn’t finish. I sat down and felt completely deflated.
It reminded me of the time I was hiking with Rafael at Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We reached a point on the path where the trail on one side was a sheer drop down the side of the mountain. On the other side of the trail were cables one could hold on to to help them across the trail. I saw the cables and the cliff and said, “Fuck. No.” I sat there for a long time while Rafael talked me into crossing. He even demonstrated how safe it was by walking in the middle of the path and jumping up and down without the use of the cables. After several minutes of cheering me on, I finally gathered my courage and started across. Palms sweating profusely, I grabbed the cables and walked slowly. I got halfway across and the panic started. I froze. I couldn’t go any further. I cried because I just could not move and fear completely engulfed me. Rafael helped me across but, again, I was deflated. I felt bad for letting fear get the better of me.
I hear the sound of the computer fan. The sound of it is incessant and the heat from it warms up my hands as I type. I can hear cars outside in the distance driving by. I hear the typing of the keys. I am staring at this computer screen and I am seeing the words on the page being typed out. I swallow hard. It hurts my throat. And again, it goes, with the incessant fan and the car. Fan and car. Fan and car. And a door closing in the distance. I sit in this chair and there is a pain in the back of my head radiating toward the front of my head. Not a terrible pain. I wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t “notice” it. I can feel my feet inside my shoes. I breathe and I can feel the air fill up my lungs and my diaphragm. The air feels cool as it goes down. My eyes are tired. My head is tired. I feel sleepy.