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You and I both know that he is much better at his art than I am at mine, which is why he can rely on his skill for a living and I cannot. It happens to be the same art, too. The words he has slapped up there on his website-blog aren’t just there for show. I’m sure he wants to make some kind of impact on some stranger. With that in mind, I absorbed his words about the black portfolio he found laying in his basement and dove into the second drawer down on the left side of my desk.
I haven’t looked there in such a long time that I can no longer remember exactly what it contains.
There’s a big, bloated white envelope, bloated because I fed it all the scraps sitting in the same drawer as I was packing for my third and last move of that year. It was never supposed to hold so much, be so fat. It was supposed to be nothing more than a protective folder for my Poetry Slam participation certificate.
I didn’t like that poem very much. It had an okay message boggled up with bland language. I made the second and fourth lines rhyme so maybe it would be easier to slam. What a dumb assumption. But my movements made up for it, I guess. People complimented me. They didn’t sound like they were only being polite. I wonder where I’ve kept her.
Two empty envelopes. I don’t remember why they are here, but I feel the need to put something in them. They want me to write a letter to someone, the kind that I should never actually send. I can do that, soon.
After that, I am absolutely discouraged. The next envelope contains my standardized test grades. There is also a manila envelope, resembling the one where I stored all my report cards, from Kindergarten onward. I don’t even look at how I did. I don’t look at what grade it was from, probably a recent one. I’m afraid, if this reflects nothing more than my scholastic achievements, all those read-and-regurgitate motions I’ve completed, then it can interest me no further. Those super-brainiacs that are envied and frowned upon are not as intelligent as they portray themselves to be. They might be able to solve a trigonometric equation, but they would never be able to give an analytic argument on the healthcare bill.
Well. The manila envelope actually didn’t have any report cards. It’s bloated with stickers and posters and other band paraphernalia. Stickers from every show I have ever attended. I keep them attached to their sticker sheet because I can’t settle with where I’d like to put them. I change my mind a lot. Today, I may think this little ramble is neatly written, but tomorrow I will think it’s crap. Today, if I put a sticker somewhere, I might regret it tomorrow.
Then there are smaller empty envelopes. And I wonder why I keep so many empty envelopes around until I move them around and find a few blank cards that I purchased from one of my artist-friends a very long time ago. I used them as Thank You cards after my birthday, all except two. Would it be a terrible idea to write another letter, one that I could and should send, back to the artist? We aren’t quite friends anymore, and I don’t like that. There are two of them; I would keep the last one for myself. I could send myself a letter, so that maybe when I open it in five years or so, I could have a good cry.
Yup. There’s my freshman year report card. There are also many kids in my grade who wish these grades were theirs.
No, you don’t.
You’re fine on the path where you’re going, you probably do much more productive things than I do in the free time that I don’t have. So let’s not talk about it.
I am listening to Buddy Wakefield’s phrasing as I write this. My iPod is out of battery and hooked up to my laptop like a vegetable in a hospital. Somebody asked me, if vegetables could talk, would you still eat them? My iPod talks to me, but I would never eat her.
There are a lot of used iTunes cards, in an assortment of colors. I think I wanted to make art with them, somehow, but I have even less pride in my visual art than in my writing. It’s probably better to do something with them, even if it’s bad, than let them sit at the bottom of this envelope as a set of pretty souvenirs. Let me try to find some free time that I don’t have for that…
The used-up cards are mixed in with some violin strings, in case I broke any. I never did, and I no longer play. Sometimes I wish I played the cello just so I could sing whale songs, and God no, they wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful as the whales themselves, but I don’t get to hear them often.
There’s the one Valentine’s Day card that meant something to me. It doesn’t smell as good as it did when you first gave it to me. I forgot to ask you what you put on it, but that probably would have made the relationship more awkward than it already was. That was a good day.
My ticket from Bamboozle! We stood out in the rain for hours and I ate a $12 soggy chicken nugget/fries lunch. And I cried because I felt so miserable but I didn’t tell anybody, I just asked you for hugs. But then the afternoon lightened up and there were some good bands.
Most notable about Bamboozle was standing beside you, and you had your arms wrapped around me so that I wouldn’t lose you. At the same time, you were shouting out the lyrics, jumping as much as you could, and I thought to myself, “This beautiful boy loves me.”
I never told you how much I have admired your passion for music and many other things. No, of course you weren’t perfect. I remember many nights at the dinner table, my parents asking me if I had discovered anything negative about you, but I never wanted to admit anything because I loved you so much. I can admit them now, and they come in numbers, but they balance out with the parts, mostly your morals, which I look up to.
Even though we are only awkward friends now.
Now I have to clean up this mess. But I don’t really want to. So I’m just going to go to bed.
I think I want to meet Augusten Burroughs.