Tell me a story. Your words still echo in my head. They pound it with every step when I jog. The exact moment when you told me is lost amongst a night where all I wanted was to be with you longer than was possible. No matter what would come with the future, we had become something more than neither of us fully anticipated.
Time was just not on our side. Law school was coming for me that night, slowly inching forth with each day. It would be difficult for us to continue whatever we were becoming. It wasn’t just you that I would be losing. All the friends I made at Carrabba’s and all my old friends at Borders will become a distant memory, and the same could be said for all the friends I made along the way no matter if it was a teacher or friend from UT. Even contact with my family would not be the same. My mother who explicitly told me to call her more often years ago whenever I first started college would not get calls at the same interval. I would not be able to see any of them as I once did.
Yet, you are different. As I told you over text, phone and in person, you’re all I ever wanted for so long and never dared to ask for. I think back to that year in high school were we became so close. You drove my mother’s Lexus around when you didn’t have a car, and when my mother asked me about this girl supposedly driving around her Lexus, I just smiled. We played on the Brown Elementary School playground several times. One night after leaving the playground, we stopped outside of my car in the parking lot. We sat and talked listening to the storm grow overhead. I did rain dance for you. Water poured from the heavens and drenched us. That famous line comes back to me, all those moments will be lost like tears in the rain.
I don’t want to miss the chance to be with you. I know I won’t and can’t miss the opportunity of law school. I know that it is worth going to no matter how much I may dislike it at first. I know that it is a means-to-an-end. I know that an older couple at Carrabba’s told me how their son was dumped by his girlfriend in his first semester of law school and how that very day that I was waiting on them, he was about to proposing to that old girlfriend on the beach and the parents were giddy with anticipation of receiving a phone call or text letting them know she said yes.
But I still want you now, no matter how it might affect law school, and no matter how it would be for us to maintain the relationship with you Chattanooga and me in Atlanta. Sure, we could have weekends here and there, and talk on the phone and see each other over Skype. I want to do all those things. It could an overture to what could be. Then I think about how life is so unpredictable. I think maybe it would be best that we didn’t try so neither of us could get hurt. Then I think what would happen if you met someone else, or if I met someone else. Would things still end up with us together. Maybe it would be best for us to try now, or maybe we’re meant to try to be something down the road after we sort out our lives. Maybe we’re not meant to be together at all. That isn’t a story I wish to tell.
Tell me a story. I remember a few things from my youth. One of the first things I recall is preschool at the Baptist church near the Broad Street Elementary School. Alex was my best friend during those formative years. I don’t know if it was because he lived right next to me, basically, that made our friendship develop or if that was only a happy coincidence. There were many times I went over to his house to play, and I not-so-fondly remember his dog that was huge back then to a five year-old. Together, we would build a wall of Jenga blocks during playtime at preschool and crash a car into it, thinking for some reason of Back to the Future.
Besides crashing cars into blocks, the truly memorable event of that time was the accident I was involved in at pre-school leaving me with a permanent scar. It had rain that day so we couldn’t play on the playground with its soggy wood chips, and someone decided the blacktop would be more suitable. I don’t know who thought children running around on wet pavement was a good idea, but I proved them it wasn’t. Memories from that specific moment are scarce, I was five or so after all. It is mostly feelings or images that I know from that accident now. My arms were up in the air as I led the planes behind me in formation. We twisted and turned in the air above the blacktop performing various stunts for those who happened to be nearby. The problem was that no air traffic control-man on duty, and I slammed into another kid. We both went to the ground, yet I think I was the only one seriously hurt. I remember holding a white towel against my bloody right eyebrow where the skin had been ripped apart to the point where my mother would tell me, dramatically, one piece was on my cheek and the other my forehead. I ended up with five or so stitches to piece together my eyebrow, couldn’t say if it was just coincidence or fate that I was around five years old and had the pleasure of getting five stitches.
Like all children, I eventually moved on from preschool and in Sweetwater that meant just going across the road to the previously mentioned Broad Street Elementary School. I cannot remember many things of those early years. I know that I hated the English homework from Mrs. Stein in the second grade, and that in the third grade, I had a Space Jam backpack with a little basketball goal and ball that my friends and I played many times at break. I remember the smell of the lunch room and how it seemed so large, but whenever I returned to it years later for Honor’s Night or when Emily was in school, it is so small. Speaking of Emily, my parents love to tell me how when she was born and finally made the trip with my mother to pick me from school, I yelled at all the other children to “Come, see my new baby!”
It was also during some point at that school that I had a little boy crush on Mary Katherine. I don’t know why it happened, but I recall chasing her and other girls around the playground back with there was still a color map of the United States on the pavement. We would zip in and out of jungle gyms then up and down the wooden playhouses. This was, of course, back when I was thin and fast and energetic and had yet to play videogames much. Eventually, her parents took her out of school for a time, and I lost my crush. She’s actually getting married soon to some guy. I hope it works out well for her.
Tell me a story. Those were not your exact words. It is never as simple as we remember, not that simplicity or complexity are better or worse. We were together in my parents’ basement at some point late in the night, though time did not have meaning until everyone starting waking above us.
I was sitting on the sofa watching as you slowly walked towards me in my clothes with a bottle of Jack Daniels in hand. It’s your favorite drink, and I love how you have to take a moment to prepare yourself to take a slip. You’ll hold the handle of Jack in your hands, breath in and out deeply, and then drink. If I look into your eyes at certain moments, you laugh and tell me you cannot drink while someone watches. I’m glad I told you how I drank grappa in Italy. That to truly enjoy a hard liquor, one should not only drink it straight, but one should breath it out to feel the burn. Such a lovely feeling and taste.
You had a simple question for me sitting down. We had just had a serious conversation about what we were that left us speechless for a few moments and then you asked me: “If we were together, would you be willing to tell me a story if I asked you to?”
I looked straight into your big brown eyes with only one thing to say, “Of course. I would do anything for you.”
Then you asked for a story.
“What kind of story?”
“Anything. Real. Fake. Just tell me a story.”
“In the story, should I be a knight coming to rescue you?”
I edged closer and wrapped my arms around you while you found the spot your head likes on my chest. “I don’t know if I can wear a knight’s armor, but I could surely wear some chain mail for you.” You laughed, and I began a story from my life.
I told you how once while walking back from parking my car during freshman year at UT three, drunk girls walked pass me. One called out how I looked like Eminem while the other two bickered if she was right. I told them to have a goodnight. Damn, I was too shy for too long.
I don’t actually believe I look like him. My father has said I look like him a few times, especially when I wear a toboggan (which I was wearing that night the girls made the comment). But, my parents have also said that I looked like Bruce Banner when my hair was long after see The Hulk. Crazy parents. Love them and all, but crazy parents sometimes.
Over the years, I’ve been told that I look like many people such as Harry Potter and Christian Bale, but those are simple stories. When I went to interview for a position at Borders near West Town Mall, the general manager DJ said I looked like Clay Aiken when I smiled. Given that this GM was a big blond lady who decided if I was hired or not, I just smiled at her and said, “No.”
It is amazing what you can remember and others can remember about you. I remember walking into my first screenwriting class and sitting towards the front. The room was one in the library of UT, 252 if I remember correctly. People filled into the classroom slowly, and there are people in that class that I still talk to on Facebook from time to time and it is remarkable to notice where we’ve all gone since then. Eventually, the professor came, a shorter New Yorker with white hair that he combs back that I would be fine with having someday and penchant for wearing blue. And it would be wrong of me not to mention his Mickey Mouse watch, and if Mickey wasn’t pointing to the time that class ended, you better damn well not start to leave.
Anyways, he walked into the room, and once he got to the front of the room, we stared at each other for a moment.
“You,” I said remembering serving him a large latte in a mug at the Borders Cafe that I worked at then.
“You,” he groaned out.
“I didn’t know you were my teacher.”
“And I didn’t know you’d be my student.” He looked towards one of the girls nearby, “Here’s one of the barrista’s of a cafe I go to. He constantly talks and everyone is forced to hear him.”
“That is true. But you. William Larsen. I know you’re name now.” It was procedure at the Cafe to take down the names of the customers and call them out. The good ole professor never really gave his name out. “You, of course, know of William the Conqueror?”
“Well, you do know that your possibly namesake was originally called William the Bastard?”
“Yeah, well at least I don’t look like Clay Aiken.”
“Yeah, I was there that day. When you were being interviewed.”
“Huh. Well, then. I still don’t believe her.” Larsen smiled, and it looked like we started a beautiful friendship.
Tell me a story. The day I decided to write this I went jogging after learning that my uncle had died. I think I’ll never know how to exactly feel about it. We talked plenty that day. I told you that I didn’t want us to have another connection between us, like our birthdays being two years and one day apart, since your great-grandfather was also sick at this point, and you were driving out to see him. I wish I could have been there for you in Alabama. I wish I could have been there when he died. Life doesn’t always give us want we want though.
But that day, I went jogging and kept a nice steady pace throughout the first leg of it. thinking of the various stories I could tell you. On the way back I stopped and began to walk up the hill before the left curve into the woods that hid my parents’ home.
Then I saw this older man walking down that incline. He wore a blue shirt and dark shorts, bald and slightly over weight. I couldn’t say why, but I started to jog again. I’ve always tried to be my best in front of other people, not letting my guard down save for moments where I’m really disturbed. That could be the reason, but I still don’t know.
We finally crossed paths, him walking and me jogging. He called out to me: “You’re really going to make be look bad with that jogging?”
I didn’t take a moment to think. I don’t most times, and some beautiful young lady told me once that I always have something to say as I rubbed her feet. You’re right, and I’ll always have something to say to you.
I responded to his question quickly with, “Well, I’ve walked up this hill too many times before not to jog it now.”
He laughed. I laughed. And we passed each other. And I kept jogging. I don’t know if he kept walking, but I hope to always keep jogging. I’ve done things too many times one way and need to change.
Tell me a story. At some point in that night together at my parents’, you tried to say all my names.
“Robert. Tyler. Michael? No! Don’t tell me. Michael Robert Tyler? No. Robert Michael Tyler. Yes, that is it.”
“You’re right, dear.”
“And you probably don’t even remember my middle name.”
“No, it’s ok.”
“Brittany. I remember.”
“You do?” She pulled away from me on the couch. “How?”
“Because, dear. I always used to make fun of you for your middle name. I would always tease you that your middle name should be Anna-Nicole after Anna-Nicole Smith.”
“Yeah, your middle name is Ann ... Ann Nicole.”
“No, its ... wait, yes that is it.”
Then we laughed.
Tell me a story. From Carrabba’s, I know of three Corey’s. Two are spelled like that and are male, the other is female and spelled Cori. She is quite attractive. During the time I’ve known her, she got engaged to one of the two other Corey’s who goes to school at Auburn that I’ve never actually met. It looked like they are in love from the pictures of them she has placed onto her Facebook, and I’m happy for her. I don’t necessarily agree with marriages at such young ages, but that is just an ideal that cannot always be upheld.
The other Corey who worked at Carrabba’s was this tall, thin-haired blond guy who was hilarious to be around, for me at least, and who dated this girl that also works at Carrabba’s named Crystal. I was often told how their relationship was a terrible one but that they had been together for so long, it didn’t seem like they would separate.
One night that is of particularly remembrance concerning Corey and my Carrabbamico’s (should be Carrabbamici, but whatever, I didn’t start the restaurant) was Maples’ birthday party last year. Now, a thing should be said about Maples. He is one pretty, cool guy. I cannot vouch for him beyond the friendship that we had, but he was good guy and always helped me whenever he could at work, and I tried to do the same. I will proudly say that I went to every one of his going away events whenever he moved back to Johnson City.
Anyways, the party was being held at Mikal’s house, a tall redheaded guy who is a little bit strange. I was the first to arrive like I often am, and, like most parties, I came with some of my own alcohol in the form of a 750 ml bottle of Ketel One that would take me a few months to finish off what was left over. It took a while for the others to come, during which time I awkwardly watched baseball with Mikal. I’m not the biggest baseball fan and didn’t care for the game at all. Thankfully, Maples and his girlfriend came soon, and then Katie and her husband Daniel and then Corey and Crystal. The night mostly consisted of us standing in the kitchen drinking and talking.
Two funny things happen in the night before it got real strange. The first was a coup put on by Maples and I. He placed a rubber band around the faucet’s sprayer in the kitchen, and we were quite motivated to get Mikal to turn it on and get doused in water. Someone tried and failed to get him to turn on the faucet, but I pulled through. Something happened, and I asked Mikal to get me a glass down for my vodka. I think it was that the glasses were high or something, but he did. The beautiful thing was that he dropped the glass (plastic glass, so it didn’t break) on the floor.
“You’re not going to give me a dirty glass, now are you?” I don’t think a more perfect line could’ve been delivered in the situation. Hell, give me an Oscar for that.
He said, “Sure,” and went to the faucet to clean it off. Everyone laughed as the water sprayed him in the chest and as he held his hands in front of the water instead of trying to turn it off. He called out, “You think this is funny,” before grabbing the sprayer and letting loose with the water on everyone else. I hid as the others did and he mostly hit Corey. Assuredly, Mikal was quite pissed about the event and never liked when we brought it up at work.
The second funny thing to happen that night came way of cops and Maples’ sense of humor. To set this up, Maples and Crystal went on a beer run. When they returned, they got stopped by some cops who were called into the area because he parked at an abandoned house. Being Maples, when they said put your hands up he did, and when they asked if he had anything on him, he said nothing save for his heroin needle in his front pocket. The cop quickly asked a follow up question to which Maples said he was just joking. They didn’t find it funny. We did.
What finished off the night was during that interlude where Maples and Crystal were gone, Corey started to feel the effects of the bottle of Tequila he asked me to buy for him that he had almost finished in the time span of no more than four hours. He was going on about his crazy upbringing and how his mother forced him to pay rent when he was sixteen and how he was on his own soon after. Then he started to ask everyone else about their lives and if they had any bad experiences. Most shied away form him, but I was fine talking briefly with him. But when Maples and Crystal got back and she said something about his drinking and how he had too much, he went off on her and the night was over. Katy and Daniel left first and then I left shortly after.
Tell me a story. Truthfully, there was a story I wanted to tell you once and hoped that it would come true. The story involves our birthday weekend and how you would have come down to spend it with me in Atlanta. You would’ve had the entire weekend off, and I would have already been moved into my apartment with everything ready.
As you would’ve arrived to the complex on my birthday that Friday, I’d be waiting on the steps with the phone next to my ear counting those red lights with you and guiding you through those last little turns. I’d rush to you and pick you into the air like I did when I first saw you that Monday after years of not being with you. I might spend you around for a moment and cover your lower back since you get self-conscious, and then lean in for a kiss. You’d repay me with two more little kisses before I set you down and pick up your bag. On the way up, I would joke how it was good that you didn’t help me move in for it was hell getting everything up the small staircase.
Inside my apartment, the first things you would notice are the large photograph of Elvis over the fireplace and the handle of Jack on my coffee table. I’d give a mini-tour before or after we take our first swigs of the Jack, maybe we would take a sip before and after. The sights to see in the apartment would be the swag from Carrabba’s, any new sketches or other art I had time to work on your finish since seeing you last, the various suits we bought together when I stayed at your apartment and my color coordinated closet.
The night of my birthday we would find some little bar with pool tables nearby and once the clock struck midnight, you would buy your first legal drink and I would buy your second. We would joke over billiards of how just a few short weeks before you had your first drink in public that night that it took so long for me to reach you. I still believe that drink with its high caffeine content helped to keep us up that night, though I’m certain that us being together again and able to share thoughts in person was the base reason.
The next day would come upon us quicker than either of us could believe. We might do a little shopping for my apartment, but we would eventually head to my sister’s abode where you could meet my brother-in-law, who is definitely one hairy man. I would help my sister cook as best I could, and you, the birthday girl, would watch me. I’d think back to how I cooked for you the first time when you kept eating pieces of the green pepper while I snacked on the onion, and how later that night I finished of the bottle of wine in the little Pokemon cups we drank from as you fell asleep on my lap.
Eventually everyone would arrive and the cookout start. My friends in Georgia would be there: tall Taylor with his shorter redheaded girlfriend and my friend Caitlin from UT. I’d introduce you as the only person I ever wanted, which would make you blush, and how we would make it through law school by the thinnest of margins, but that we would have each other again during the winter break. Others would come to the cookout: cool looking Hamid with a driver’s cap, his wife Rachel with a margarita and a smile, and then their daughter Pari who would be the last to arrive and the first to leave. We would make an appearance at the pool party, though
staying would be entirely dependent on how you felt. If anything, we’d drink Jack along the edge watching everyone else.
Night would come eventually that night. We would stay or would we go, I do not know. I know that this story that I wanted to tell at one time now only exists on this page for our birthdays have passed, and it was nothing like that story.
That isn’t bad though.
I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday when you came over to watch Black Swan, and we listened to music and talked. We stayed in the basement, and Emily eventually brought down the rest of the pizza in her not-so-obvious ploy to get us to come upstairs for cake. I told you that you didn’t have to come up, but you did and it was great. You, my mother and Emily sang “Happy Birthday” to me as I blew out invisible candles. We ate cake right there at the island table with Emily as my mother went to her room. Emily asked a few questions and got you to say how it would be your birthday tomorrow.
Then the best moment of that day happened when she said we had to sing “Happy Birthday” to you as well, and I quickly took the rest of the cake and sat it in front of you. We serenaded you, and I stared into your big brown eyes as you nervously bounced from foot to foot. Then you blew out one small invisible candle and laughed. Time slipped away from us after that as I gathered your presents together and you drew me a picture. That picture made me pause and think about what we were and what you might have wanted. I hugged you as you left and didn’t want to let go. I wanted to kiss you again like we had before, but the time wasn’t right. You said you wanted a break from all that, for a time. Hopefully the next time I see you that break will be over. I’ll be able to kiss you and you’ll give me two little kisses back someday. But maybe you won’t. Maybe our time has passed, for now at least. Maybe I’ll meet someone at law school. Maybe I’ll be with you again in the winter. Maybe I’ll be with you someday. Maybe and somedays are stories that I don’t want to tell.
Edited by Ronmar The Only, 28 March 2013 - 03:37 PM.