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I was pulled out of school, confused. We were subject to “You must watch the first black man get elected president”, unknowing that it contradicted much of the past.
Only when I gladly watched his final speech, I remember back to the time that I hadn’t understood that I was watching history in the making.
His eyes bore into me from across the room, a casual glance following every step I take. When serving his table, I feel fingers brush my thighs.
Hot red seeps into my cheeks, but I stare back at him, holding his food.
Go on, I dare you.
It’s terrifying to watch, every stroke, every wave splashing over the rigger, could flip her into the water. You never realize how invested you can be in one person, in one race, in one moment, that you can’t hold your breath for eight and a half minutes-- waiting, watching, wishing.
So soccer is out, what are you going to do instead? Wait a year, just do school and see what happens?
It was a choice I made out of the need to do something, anything, to not let something else take over my life. I left something I loved and leaped into the unknown void.
A Quiet Trip Home
Wrapped in a dense fog we plod onward. My brother and I alone in the quiet, the silence upon occasion subtly prodded by the far off vibration of a fog horn. At our place on the bow we don’t speak, just gesture to anything my grandpa can’t see from behind the wheel of his boat.
The Force Awakens Generation
You spend month avoiding spoilers and trailers and then the night comes and the entire audience holds its breath when the theater fades to black. It’s a moment when history passes on to the next generation, and if it’s good enough past becomes the present, and future comes alive with possibility.
There is one feeling you get when you really love something. You always get caught in a moment where you’re speeding to the end because must have every single last ounce of it, but you want that moment to last forever, because it would be better if it never ended at all.
I don’t even try to stop the shaking, I just breath deeply and I hold my oar tightly. The warm sun doesn’t help the frantic butterflies escape my stomach. A montage of all the people I’m racing for, “when it hurts push harder”: a song in my head. I wait for a whistle to blow.
“Quick hands at the catch, accelerate the handle to the finish”. Focus. The boat picked up, pressing, focused on the girl in front of me. Skimming through the water rippling beneath us. Four rowers, a single shell, a single stroke, a single being. Ten strokes to make us fly.
I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget the wonderful things we did together. I don’t want to forget his smile, his laughter, his stories. I keep coming back to pictures of him, but the memories seem just out of reach. He can’t come back, so I hope his memory will live forever.
I joined crew and I never expected it to become than just a sport. In the beginning, it was just something to do to keep in shape. Instead, I learned how to face challenges, push beyond pain, create success, and through it all, my teammates became my best friends in the world.
We’re complicated. No, we can’t communicate telepathically, or feel pain when the other one does. At least not that I know of. Yes, we argue a lot. No, we’re not identical (Excuse me, he’s my brother, don’t you understand that doesn’t work?). He’s away right now. Of course I miss him, why wouldn’t I?