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I was nine years old.
The Wild Thornberrys
was still on air and continued
to grace the TV’s of bored
or adventure-lusting Americans
every so often. I knew not
what lust was at such a young age,
but I had an internal push
like that of steam-engines
or dying animals that told me
that I had to get out and
explore and discover and
then to travel the world
finding out everything there was
to know and then to contract a
deadly jungle disease and
die a legend who’s infected blood
would save millions. I decided this
because a movie I once saw told
me that legends never die.
Then
There was a huge thunderstorm.
The thunder clapped and bashed
its head in against lampposts
and tree branches to get rid of
the frustrating humidity that
often plagued its mind during those
hot, misty months in the South.
Lightening tickled oceans and
pools, trying to find a friend.
And the clouds, they felt terribly
left out, so they began to cry
horrid, massive tear drops that
engulfed entire ant civilizations
without a thought but their own
selfish needs. This storm smelled
like adventure to me—musky,
warm, and alive like a newborn child
riddled with newborn colic. I
ventured out of the white-washed barrier
and into the Wild, armed with no shield
aside from lavender shorts and a white
tank top. Bushes sang sweet nothings to
me as the rain kissed their leaves; they
begged me to come over and make the
rain jealous, so I did. I narrated my own
findings of long lost cultures; the faucet
my brother and I had spray-painted
the summer before was a relic from
an ancient barbarian clan, and the
old tennis ball that was matted and
mauled by the malevolent rain was
actually an old medical tool
that the Aztecs used to sedate their
poor unfortunate sacrifices.
It was liberating.
I danced and sang in a tribal tongue
I had yet to decode, but felt like
longevity and mystery and
discovery and death and glory
and life and invitation just the same.
I reveled in my own success and
pictured myself beside the brightest
minds in the field once I was sixteen,
just like I had when I mistook cracking
concrete and old, garden variety
seashells for dinosaur bones when I
was five. The rain was torrential, but
I took it as a blessing of life
and happiness and thought it to be
dancing along with me. Eventually,
I snuck back into my house to
imagine my success being acclaimed
by the fictitious, and yet viscerally real
Nigel Thornberry. My mother saw me
and gaped with a mouth that threatened
to suck me in like the fascinating
paradox, a black hole, that I had eagerly
soaked up from the Discovery Channel.
I told her that I was dancing and
discovering and that I was going to
be an adventurer one day, and that I’d
become a legend. All she said was that
staying in the rain like that would
kill me.



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