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Ramps, Fuzz and Photos
Trevor lounged on the couch, blank-eyed and drool induced by the TV. His long brown dreadlocks fell from behind his ear, covering half his face. Lazy, he tucked them back behind his ear again. By looking at him and seeing him as he is now you could never guess at his comic personality, the struggles he has faced, or how much of an encourager he is. Truth be told he looks like someone who might want to growl at you to scare you off just so you’ll leave him alone; but really he would growl at you just to see your reaction, because he’s funny that way.
I remember when we were kids we used to do almost everything together. We had many of the same friends and liked the same sports and games. I guess you could say we were really good friends, but he has always been a better brother than a friend. He always encouraged me when things got hard or scary.
“Come on. It’s just a little hill, and that’s the smallest ramp. You can do it,” Trevor encouraged. He’s two years older than I, and almost a foot taller. Of course that mini mountain looks like a hill to him. I follow him half way up the hill and get onto my bike. All his friends are watching, and a few of mine, as I start down the hill towards the ramp. I sped down the hill, just barely getting some air when I launched off the ramp. Trevor ran down the hill after me, trying to keep up.
“See! I bet that wasn’t so bad. Was it? I mean you got maybe a couple inches of air,” he grins. He’s teasing me. “But you didn’t do too badly for your first time off a ramp. You didn‘t even crash.”
“Thanks.” I laugh, “no, it wasn’t so bad.” He looks back out at the street the way we had come.
“You ready to go?” he asks. We hadn’t been at the spot long, but it took us a good while to get here on our bikes.
We don’t talk about those days much any more, probably because it was almost ten years ago, maybe only eight or nine. I’m not sure, but he has always encouraged me in the things I want to do. That was just one of the times. He encourages me and others in less obvious ways, too, like how he makes us laugh with his silly antics when things look bad or down. He used to live with my dad down in Orem and Mom and I came up from California one winter to see him.
I brought with me two disposable cameras that mom had gotten for me at the store before we left. Over the visit I filled one of the cameras, but I didn’t know what else to take pictures of. Trevor sat at the edge of the hotel bed with an empty can of Pepsi in his hand. The room was dimly lit by the one table light by the bed and another ceiling light near the door. It had been snowing since we got here a day and a half ago, and we were leaving to go back home tomorrow. Thinking that mom and I were going home with out him made all of us sad, but Mom had run to the store to get some goodies for us to share. Suddenly, Trevor hops up from his seat on the corner of the bed and sits in the big arm chair in the corner of the room, and wraps his head in Mom’s fuzzy fake hood she neglected to put back on her coat.
“What are you doing?” I ask after he had been staring at me for a good minute, not moving and hidden behind the fuzz.
“Do I look like an animal with this on my head?” he asks, ignoring my question. I pause, taken back.
“You don’t think that the fur looks like the tail of an animal curled up?” he takes the hood off his head and arranges it on the chair. Stepping back, he folds his arms and waits for my response.
“Sure, it kind of does… in a way.” I tilt my head to the side, and from this angle it does look a bit like an animal’s tail. I chuckle, and get up off the bed, grabbing a camera. I turn on the flash and look through the lens. “Put it back on your head and make a face.” Trevor picks it up and puts it on his head. Getting down on all fours he bares his teeth and puts a claw-like hand beside his face. I click the button, and the flash momentarily blinds us both. I blink rapidly a few times to get the stars out of my eyes. My vision clears, allowing me to see the dim room again; but where did Trevor go? I hadn’t even heard him move. I turn around to find him with the Pepsi can, trying to angle it on its bottom rim on the desk.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Trying to get this can to stay so you can take a picture of it.”
“Because, it would look cool, like it was falling and you got a picture of it just before it spilled; except it’s an illusion.” This makes me laugh. Amused, I watch him struggle to balance the can. Eventually he gives up, leaving the can on its side.
“Shoot,” he says, discouraged, “I wanted tonight to be fun, since you are going back tomorrow.”
“He’s so nice,” I thought. “All he wants is to make sure we have fun on our last night here, when that is what we should be doing for him. What to do …” looking down I see the camera in my hand.
“Jump in the air like you’re excited, and I’ll try to get a picture.” I wind the camera up and get down low between the two beds where the light is good.
“Ready?” he asks.
“Ready,” I say. He leaps into the air, giving the most ridiculous smile and double thumbs up I have ever seen. I snap the picture, and we repeat the process a few times just for good measure. Then he picks up the can again, and brings it to the night stand. He tries again to balance it. He pulls his hand away. “Look!” he laughs. “Now you can take a picture of it and remember the awesome fun we had during this visit.” I snap some pictures of the can.
“Thanks Trevor,” I laugh. And, it was fun, and it was all because of him.
Now that he lives at home again, I often reflect on these memories fondly. As I watch him on the couch, just relaxing and passing the time, I know we will have many more; and eventually someone else will have the chance to see him for the kind and fun encourager he is, and to be lifted up by him.