Monday, August 25, 2014

young

    When we were young we used to run around the yard shrieking like indians because nothing mattered - it’s the beauty of youth. When we were young we got to live out freedom, we laughed in the face convention. We ate fruit off of the ground under apple trees, and we drank water straight from the stream. We ran barefoot through the woods ignoring the needles and thorns that would tear our feet. Beauty was a sun that was so bright it illuminated the person in front of you and reflected off of their skin. Everything was different...when we were young.
   With age comes reality, no longer can you lounge a day away, no longer can you mess up your hair, discard your shoes and jump in the nearest pond with your best friend. No longer do your parents scold you when you come home sopping wet in your clothes. No longer do you get to live for the sake of nothing at all.
    We were all friends, when we were young. He and I, her and him...brother and sister to brother and sister. We would romp about hand-in-hand scheming and planning great adventures - Tom and Alice, me and Eli. We caused the most trouble to our parents, Tom and I used to come home and go straight to our rooms in the anticipation of punishment, we figured we would just beat them to it. Parents don’t like it when you do that, they don’t get the opportunity to remind you of what it is that you’ve done wrong and why you should never do it again, they really hate it when you rob them of their responsibility.
    Alice and Eli never did that to their parents, they went home and let their parents have their satisfaction before they went to their rooms. It seemed that they never incurred such a harsh punishment as Tom and I, because they actually let their parents punish them.
    I remember when we were getting older, Eli and I were laying in the woods staring at the sunshine coming through the leaves above our heads.
    “I wish I could stay here forever,” he said to me.
    “Why?”
    “Why...that’s such a simple question, why?”
    “When did you become a philosopher, Eli,” I laughed at him.
    “I was reading-”
    “You can read,” I joked, cutting him off. He fake punched me in the arm before he smiled and continued.
    “I was reading Thoreau, about what he said about going to the woods, it made me want to follow him.”
    “What did he say exactly?”
   “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
    “You think you’ll lose yourself as you grow up and go on, don’t you?”
    There was a long pause so I turned my head to look at him. He was staring at me with unblinking eyes, it unnerved me, but I couldn’t break the gaze. It was so rare for us to have a moment where we were so open with each other. Regardless of my lack of trust in Eli, he was the one person I trusted most in the world and I was the same to him. It scared me to see his eyes wide open staring into mine. It scared me to know that he was trying to communicate with me through that gaze, and that, although I knew him so well, I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say. Finally he opened his mouth, but his eyes remained on me.
    “I know I will,” a pause, “and you will too.”

    Eli’s words followed me throughout my adulthood. Haunting, taunting, toying with me. I tried to live and grow as though it would never happen, and as I aged those words became more prevalent to me. As I went through college and as I graduated, when I got my first job. I tried to learn what life had to teach me, but learning is hard when you’ve grown up, and sometimes you forget things that were once important to you. Eli’s words, which had been so defining to how I tried to live, were easily replaced with dreams of success, wealth, love - the frivolous things in life.
    But, every year we would all get together, Alice and Tom, me and Eli, and we would go outside like we did when were young. We would run around barefoot, and jump into the pond with our clothes on. We would play and we would remember.
    “Eli, wait for me,” I yelled, running as fast as my short legs would carry me.
    “Just run faster, you can do it!”
    “It’s not fair, you’re taller than me! I’m gonna make Tom beat you up if you don’t slow down,” I screamed out between gasps for air.
    “Fine,” he slowed down, “slowpoke.”
    “I’m not a slowpoke!”
    “Don’t be so sensitive!”
    “I’m not sensitive,” I yelled.
    “Stop yelling at me,” Eli was getting angry now too.
    “You deserve it,” I said, upset.
    “If you don’t stop yelling I’m gonna run really fast and leave you behind.”
    “No, Eli don’t do it,” I yelled, and he took off. “Eli, wait for me! Please wait,” I was crying now as my anger turned to frustration. I ran after him struggling to see through my tears, and tripping over roots and stones.
    “You can’t catch me,” He yelled back laughing.
    “Eli, please!”
    “Nope!”
    That was the last word I heard him say because right after that I ran headfirst into a branch and knocked myself out. I had a history of head injuries from when I was very young, and having a concussion was a very big deal for me. I don’t remember anything between running into that branch and waking up, although Eli tells me I was mumbling something when he found me. I do remember waking up to screaming.
    “Wake up! Wake up! Please wake up and I’ll never leave you again,” Eli was screaming into my face, shaking my shoulders. I could hear him first, and then I opened my eyes and saw him. He was crying and looked more frightened than I had ever seen him look.
    “Eli, you need to go get my mom,” I said.
    “I can’t, I’m too scared,” he cried.
    “Eli, you’re the bravest ten year old I know, please go get my mom,” my encouragement seemed to give him the strength he needed because he nodded and ran off in the direction of my house.
    I ended up needing stitches on my forehead, and had to get a CAT scan of my skull because the doctors were afraid I had fractured it.
    
    The scar on my forehead had gotten bigger as I grew up, but the bright white color has faded. I fingered it as Eli recalled the incident. His eyes glancing towards mine, and then moving up to my forehead.
    “I think Eli cried more than I did,” I said after he was done, Tom and Alice laughed while Eli punched me in the arm.
    “It was a traumatizing experience for a ten year old.”
    “If anything I should have been the one crying, not telling you what to do.”
    “Shut up.”
    “It’s okay, Eli, she lived,” Tom said with a grin.
    “Just barely,” I reminded, although we all knew it wasn’t true.
    “Hey,” Eli shrugged, “All that matters is that you’re still here.”
    “And in one piece,” Tom added.

    Now, we’re all a little old. We have jobs, family, children - we have lives. We don’t get together anymore with the express of purpose of remembering what it was like to be young and free. We don’t need to. We see those years live on all around us, through our children and their friends.
    Eli once told me that growing up was a curse. That when someone grows up they lose themselves, they lose to the world and its faults, and traps, and vices. But, as we move on in life, and we get nearer to our end, I find that I don’t regret losing myself - if that’s what this is.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jet Stream





Many times I look up into the sky and wish I were a jet stream. To be something so fleeting, but to have that perspective. To be suspended in the sky for a moment, over cities, countries, continents...people. To find meaning in minutes and not years - what an amazing idea.
    
When I was little and dreamed about the future it extended to ranches with a zillion horses that I would ride all day, and never have the bother of jobs, work, money - all of those horrible things that make the world go round. I dreamt of simplicity.
    
Now, I dream of places, things I want see, stuff I want to eat. To attain that cultural, palatable, visual realm exploration and experience. And the older I get the more I wish it could be true that I could just go, and maybe (just maybe) come back.  
    
I’ve never had that satisfying taste of adventure that Mark Twain would say is necessary. I read the books, and I watch the shows, and all it does whet my appetite, it makes me hunger for those experiences that are as exciting as they are terrifying.
    
When I look out of my window the jetstream in that picture is now a highlighter pink stripe across the sky, a testament to the vibrant beauty that comes from that magical scientific process of the refraction of light - I have scarcely seen a thing so beautiful, so enticing.
    
To be a thing left in the sky for all to see, to make poor dreamers like me wonder, and to aid in the desire to be on the plane that left that mark. To be the white flesh of a scar on Earth’s wide atmosphere, but to be impermanent. Wow. It’s truly terrifying...and yet, what I want most.
    
These thoughts make me feel young and ill-prepared for what my future will really hold. But I really hope that someday I get to be on something that makes jet streams, going somewhere strange and wild...maybe to stay.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

i care about you

     I watch all the time, everything that happens. I watch her walk in and out of your life as if you were only one part of her reality. The sad part is - you don't care; you always welcome her back with open arms. No matter how badly she treats you, you always take her back, and in the end she always leaves. 
     You get upset and quiet, and then you disappear for awhile. Eventually you come back to me, and I always welcome you with open arms, but not in the same way you welcome her.
     I try to keep my distance when she's here, because it burns me up to see you with her, and because I know you know. You know.
     "Hey," you say as you walk through the front door.
     "Hey, what's up," I try to hide my smile, but it's useless - seeing you always makes me smile.
     "Is your sister home," you ask and my smile fades.
     "Yeah, she's in her room," I say, holding my breath, "do you want a drink before you go face the dragon," I hope the answer is yes.
     "Sure, I'll take some water." I put my laundry down and get you the water. "Your sister isn't that bad."
     "She's leaving again, did you know?"
     "No, where to this time?"
     "Out West, she says she needs some adventure in her life. Not just the same old, same old she gets here," your eyes fall as soon as the words leave my mouth and I'm instantly sorry. "She probably won't last long."
     "Well," you sigh, "she hasn't got much to keep her here."
     "Hey, you know that's not true," I pause, "she cares about you." You smile and walk down the hallway. She was gone the next day.

     Things are different when she isn't here. You come over more often, and things aren't so awkward between us. Things are so much easier when she isn't here. I'm not always reassuring you, and you're not always asking for it.
     When she's gone I don't resent either of you. It's so easy for me not to like her when she's here, because I know she's going to hurt you; but at the same time I resent you for giving me those feelings. If you would stop taking her back I wouldn't need to dislike her on your behalf.
     I like you the most when she's gone because you need me in a different way. Suddenly I'm a friend, not just your girlfriend's sister. My time is no longer spent comforting you.
     "Hey," you say as you walk through the front door.
     "What's up," I say, smiling full-on.
     "What'd you think of that Statistics test?" We fall into comfortable conversation, but we both know you aren't here to talk about school. "Has she called?"
     "Yeah, she's coming home next week," and just like that we're back to that place where I'm not your friend, just your girlfriend's sister, but I'm not ready to go there yet. "Why?"
     "Why what?"
     "Why do you stay wither her," you look at your shoes.
     "She's the one," you whisper to the floor.
     "How," I feel angry now, "how can it be her? She doesn't care about you, she never has!"
     "But I care about her."
     "All she does is hurt you, over and over, why?"
     "Why what?"
     "Why her," 'why not me' is what I'm really asking, and I know you know.
     "I can't-" you stop talking.
     "You can't what? Face the truth?"
     "I can't do this," and you leave.
  
     Every time it ends like this. I yell and beg and cry, but all you do is hurt me. I tell you the truth and give you my heart and ask you hard questions, but all you do is leave. I should be asking myself those questions, 'why you?' I don't. I don't because I already know the answer.

I care about you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Expectations Exceeded


     They’re playing. I can feel the wind rush across my face as they pass by, everything is moving quickly. They pass the ball too and fro, and they run up and down the field. Each one of them is engraved in my mind – their movements, the way their hair bounces when they run. It’s a picture that is stored away forever.
     The grass I’m sitting on is wet. The sun is glistening off of it in dew-ey sparkles and I can’t help but stare for a moment. Everything stands still for a second as I watch the raindrops begin to fall on the grass. The rain transforms the scene. Suddenly everyone is wet. Their hair sticks to their faces and necks, it doesn’t bounce with their steps anymore – it’s contained.
     I glance at the cool metal sitting next to me. Its presence is a constant reminder that I’m stuck like wet hair sticks to people’s faces. I’m stuck. The machine taunts me in a way that no one will ever understand. I can never be out their with them. I can never play.
     The ball is black and white, but it’s stained by mud and old age. It’s obviously used. They kick the ball around, and every time it flies through the air I can see the mud and water flying off of it in droplets. Every time it flies it leaves the person who kicked it splattered with dirt. But they don’t mind, the dirt is exhilarating to them.
     As I watch I can see their chests rising and falling heavily – their pulses are racing – and I’m reminded of why I can never play. My heart can’t race. A rising pulse equals death for me.
     I undo my long hair from its braid and pull it up into a ponytail. I stand up. Already I can feel it, my heartbeat has begun to quicken. I unhook my arm from the moniter by my side and I leave the AED behind. I walk with determined steps through the rain and onto the field.
     I feel their eyes on me; they’re confused but afraid to ask. I take their silence as permission and continue across the field. At last they stop staring and the ball is back in play.
     Slowly I begin to move. I walk towards the ball. Then I begin to run. A slow jog at first that gradually quickens, I’m running for the first time in seventeen years – for the first time in my life.
     Knowing my time is shortening I jump. I feel what it’s like to not be touching the ground at all, and I’m amazed. It’s not like flying. There is no essence of weightlessness. There seems to be no crest to reach, no pause before I descend. Disappointment overcomes me for a moment, but excitement takes over once more when my feet touch the ground again. The reality is, I got to jump.
     I continue to run, my legs hurt already, but I still lift my feet from the ground. I can feel my heart racing; I can feel the offset beating – the mistakes. But I still run. My legs feel like deadweight, but I don’t stop moving. It’s becoming clearer now, the arrhythmia, but I can’t stop yet.
     I know it’s almost time when people stop moving and begin to stare. My face must be betraying me, reflecting the shutting down of my body. I know it’s time when I try to step forward but my leg gives out. I know it’s time when I try to catch myself from falling, but my arms are too heavy to outstretch in front of me. I know it’s time when I feel the wet grass on my face, and I can’t open my eyes. I know it’s time.
     I can make out the screams of the people around me. I can hear their thudding footsteps on the ground as they get closer. I feel them turn me over, yelling about getting the AED, but it won’t work. They don’t know that it won’t work. They don’t know that they’ve just watched me die. They don’t know that it was the happiest day of my life. They don’t know that my doctors told me three months ago that I was supposed to have died yesterday. They don’t know that today I ran, and I jumped, and heard my heart pounding in my ears. They don’t know that in death I found life.


This is something I've been thinking about writing for a long time. Several years actually. I intended on writing this as a multi-chapter story (and I even wrote the first three) and this scene would have been the end of the book, but it didn't turn out as well as I planned. So to give you some background so that you understand what you're reading I'm gonna tell you a bit about this story that I have titled "Expectations Exceeded." 
The main character is a seventeen year old girl named Rina. Rina has suffered from a disease called Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) since birth. This disease effects how the heart beats when a person gets excited or scared or shocked or exercises or whatever might raise their pulse. So when someone with LQTS experiences one of these things they experience an arrhythmia and  often lose consciousness. They then require the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) which shocks their heart and brings them back. 
Please leave a comment and tell me what you thought!

xoxo...jaimie

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Altar Call

     The pastor calls the people forward, following his opening about miracles and demons, but what he says effects the people, "Come forward, come. Forget that this is a service and let us pray for one another as a family." His words effect the people.
     There is only one at first, hands reaching out to see, but soon they come by two's and three's, feeling in their hearts - nay, souls - the need to be heard. They place their hands on each one, on their shoulders, face, and arms and they pray. They send up their pleas for healing, and peace, and for compassion. They lift up their faces to a white-washed, popcorn ceiling, but their eyes seem to go beyond, they delve deep into the heavens to the throne of God. They enter with humility and grief, but they return refreshed; some ready to stand with the boldness of a lion, others with broken spirits, their tear stricken faces speaking of their patience and their fears.
     One by one they all descend to their seats, and as they return others get up to take their place. Prayers travel across the building in waves.
     "We pray for sight."
     "We pray for peace."
     "We pray for healing."
   The soft music of the piano urges the onlookers to partake, and, all at once, heads are bent and prayers are being whispered and songs are being sung.
     The pastor ends with prayer, "The Church is a body that functions as one." And, sitting amongst the congregation, one can't help but feel as though unity has been experienced. Entering the building, leaving, the service, and the prayers - it was whole.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A little bit of winter...

Winter for us this year has been very mild...in fact, that may be an understatement. The weather has been between the 70's and 50's so far, with only a few truly cold days. I love it! I thought I would share a few pictures of our winter thus far..








1-2. I've been drinking water and tea out of the cutest little cow cup! 3. Enjoying delicious Darjeeling loose leaf tea! 4. Opened one Christmas present today (Christmas Eve!) and was super excited to get Howl's Moving Castle. 5-6. Shot a gun for the first time in my life, and spent time with my family over Thanksgiving. 7. My mom, brother, and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Charlotte, and they were incredible!

I hope you all have an extra wonderful/delicious/fun-filled Christmas season with your friends and family!

xoxo...jaimie

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A little something

My friends and I made a music video to SS501's song Love Ya, thought y'all might want to see it.




Note: This is just for fun, my life only slightly revolves around South Korean pop culture. ;p

xoxo....jaimie