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I am home! And boy, do I have a lot to tell. Every year, my fiance's family goes on vacation at Oak Island, North Carolina for two weeks, the last in June, and the first in July. Like last year, I made the journey down south to be with my lovely wife-to-be, and to get to know what I'm getting into better. That's about where the similarities ended.

The Drive Down

The drive down was rough! It took me a total of 16 hours and 1,000 miles. Not to mention that I got lost; twice. First thing's first, don't get directions from Yahoo!, trust me, just don't ... I was following said directions and paid more attention to the next road I wanted, rather than what distance I had to travel. The next road I needed was I-295. So, I see a sign for it in New York, and I figure, "I'll just take it now, it probably just goes onto Manhattan and then to New Jersey, I'll be aight."

As I discovered, and any New Yorker could probably tell you, this was not a wise idea. 295 ends, IN THE MIDDLE OF QUEENS! Just stops on rte. 15 in Queens. Ends. No more road. When wearing a Boston Red Sox hat, this is no good. An hour and a half later I make my way through the traffic onto some bridge with a long funny name beginning with a V, and make my way into New Jersey. What did I learn? follow directions better, and 97.1 is a good hip hop station in New York.

I got lost again as Yayhoo told me to take 95 north to go to 495 south, after the New Jersey Turnpike ended. This, again, was not a good idea. When going to the southern tip of North Carolina, do not, I repeat DO NOT GO NORTH EVER. Common sense is your friend, and Yahoo! is an idiot.

I get to Washington D.C. at about 9:00 pm, and still have about 7 hours to go. Once I reach the southern end of Virginia I stop, and grab two Red Bull energy drinks and my 5th and 6th bottles of water. I started downing the syrupy cherry goodness of crack in a can and immediately I could feel the whatever-the-fuck they put in those things working on me, as I started to yell violently at the few cars that were on the road. Luckily, they could not hear me, and it did not last very long.

After getting lost, again, in Wilmington, North Carolina, I found the way I wanted to go, amazingly, as I had no map. I made it in at 3:50 AM, my fiance was very tired and semi-pleased. Happy to see me, yet upset it took so long.

Vacation, officially

The house we stayed in was a bit small, and rather quaint. The house, of course, was on stilts as it was right next to the ocean, which was spectacularly gorgeous. Depending on how the pictures came out, it might be my new background on my Linux box. Anywho, vacation consisted of 4 things. 1) Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 2) The Ocean. 3) Cuddling. 4) Drinking.

I had never played THPS4, and one of the kids that came down brought his ps2 and several games. Through an accident of fate, Corey, the six year-old soon to be nephew in law, erased the saved career on the game. I, very humbly, took it upon myself to play the game thoroughly, and get them back to where they were in the game. In one week, I got them 161 out of 190 pro points, most of the cash icons, most of the gaps, and all but four of the pro-challenges beaten. Yes, I am a dork.

The ocean fucking rocked. I used to go to the ocean around Cape Cod and that was fun, but the water was fucking cold. Like, 5 minutes after immersion you were used to it cold. The water around Oak Island was much much warmer. The waves were so-so, averaging about 3 feet in height. However, on Tuesday, July 30, 2003, the water was exceptionally calm. It was real quiet and the waves were not large at all. A rented kayak arrived shortly after noon and Jess, my fiance, and myself went out and took a paddle around. Poking the funny looking pink Jelly Fish and watching the little fishes that co-habitated with them run away. We headed back in and had lunch.

We went out again later, I'd say about 1:30 pm. We took our time and strolled about the ocean on the Kayak, watching the birds, chit-chatting with each other and happy to be together, and alone from her family, for a change. Then we saw a dolphin off, probably 30-40 yards away from us, so we started to slowly paddle towards it. It turned out to be part of a pod of I'd say 12 dolphins. All of them in a line, their fins poking out of the water before diving under again. We followed the pod for a good while, about 10-15 minutes, watching them jump and feed on fish in the water (I assume, I'm no dolphinologist). We started getting pretty close to the dolphins. A trio came out of the water about 14 feet away from us, close enough to make out the sun's glisten on their grey skin. While we were admiring those dolphins 2 more jumped out of the water five feet away from us. Jess screamed in shocked surprise whilst I almost crapped myself. We could make out their faces as they jumped out of the water. I'd say they were about 7 feet long.

Before all of this, Jess was telling me about how Dolphins can be playful and have been known to tip over kayaks and canoes. I also remembered the large number of good sized Jelly Fish I saw and knew it was a long way back to shore. I decided a good course of movement, backwards. I slowly started paddling away from the dolphins as Jess looked on in awe. It definitely made the vacation something memorable. We just wished we had a camera.

After this calm day of sea, Tropical Storm Bill hit, causing it to rain. Bill also made the waves very strong and the undertoe relly really strong. The day after, I went out and almost got knocked over by the waves a few times. I could feel the current pulling at my legs with every wave. Even being the big guy that I am, I was still a bit worried, and did not spend much time in the ocean that day. It calmed down a lot two days later, but that was the day before we had to leave.

The cuddling was extra-good. We also spent a lot of time forging out a guest list to our wedding, which will be held on June 4, 2005. You guys are not getting any other details :^)

The booze was redonkulous, absolutely nuts. There's usually a friend of the family's who comes down, named Larry, and he works the blender like it's his job. He didn't come down this year, so for the first week of vacation, Anne Marie, Jess' older sister took to it. However, she wasn't around for the second week. In a flash, I had transformed into CABANA BOY! MASTER OF THE BLENDER! Ok, so the master of the blender part is my own flair, but still. I whipped up a drink I called Pinapple surprise and stuck it in the freezer on July 2, 2003. We used it on the fourth along with some blue curacao and grenadine to make some Red, White and Blue layered drinks, which were a bit strong, but extra tasty. We used a lot of mix, and made Margaritas, Mocha Mudslides, Long Island Iced Teas, Daquiris and just about anything else you could do in a blender. I highly recommend 2 bananas, frozen strawberries and rum. It made a great smoothie. Also, if you're in the south, and want to try a great beer, I recommed South Paw. Their light beer tasted just like a normal beer. Better than Amstel Light, better than Sam Adams Light.

That was pretty much my entire week and a half. It was a great vacation, and things went very well. Except for the four times I almost beat up the kid with the playstation 2's friend for being an obnoxious a-hole jerk, (Remember kids, Jewish is not an insult, and it will piss people off if you use it like one). But most of the time, life was extra good. Played some volleyball, learned a card game called Oh Shit! and generally just had a good, relaxing time, which is what vacation is all about.

"I wish to be born."

For the longest time, this was all that I knew of her. She was a child that appeared in dreams. A blonde, blue-eyed child with a glow about her. While I am able to see auras in people, relating that ability to her glow convinced me that her aura was the most powerful and pure ever seen. She told me nothing aside from her desire to be born into this world. For years I believed she was my future daughter. I believed so strongly in that interpretation of her words and presence that whenever my relationships with women started to take a serious tone, I would ask them how they felt about the name. "If we were to have a daughter, her name will be Anastasia. This is the only thing I cannot negotiate."

This will be the hardest thing you ever do.

My decision to commit myself to the road before me, brought on by long and difficult debates with myself the night of Christina's funeral, has not been easy. The trials and tests have not become easier. The choices have been a struggle. And now, as I struggle with determining whether I am truly in touch with knowledge and wisdom from beyond this world or simply losing my mind, she comes to me again. Anastasia comes to me again in dreams and speaks to me while I am awake, promising that she will watch over me. Yet, I do not know who she is or what she represents. Therefore, this becomes a struggle with faith and in what I believe. The next leap will be a most dangerous one.

"You are the messenger."

I ask her things, and she answers. Sometimes her answers are very straightforward. At other times they are like the riddles I have heard for the past decade. I have learned she answers best when the question is a statement rather than an actual question.

"I know I was not meant to be married, that it keeps me from acting freely on this journey."

"You are not married. You did so only to fulfill the requirements of the state and to help someone you loved. This is not a marriage."

"I am afraid I am going crazy."

"You have this fear because you still trust your mind over what is in your heart and in your soul."

"I am a suicide and a non-believer, I've never believed in anything."

"That is why you were chosen. The self-righteous are lost. You are the messenger."

Shrouding myself in doubt, I fell back on the one selfish desire that I cannot let go of, the desire to see and speak to Marci, the great love of my life. I have not seen her or spoken to her in eight years, and often I ache to see her again. I asked Anastasia if I would see her again. She did not respond.

Yesterday I went for an eye exam. I needed new contact lenses and glasses. After filling out paperwork with the receptionist, a woman emerged from the back room to take my current glasses to measure their strength. She looked like she could have been Marci's twin. The only real differences were that she was a few inches taller, a bit heavier and the two birthmarks Marci has on her face were on this woman's neck. She took my glasses, robbing me of my sight for ten minutes, and then returned them. I had my exam and came out to choose frames and try out my new contact lenses. Another woman helped me with this, as the strange "twin" helped out an Indian man. It was like seeing a ghost, and I could not stop looking over at her. Then a young girl, likely no older than eight, walked into the store from the shopping mall. She seemed to have no adult supervision. The little girl stood next to the "twin" for several minutes. She was wearing a homemade t-shirt, with crude pictures made of glitter and one word below these pictures along with an arrow pointing at the "twin." The word on the t-shirt was "Bella," which happens to be my old nickname for Marci.

I have no idea what the point of all that was. Maybe Anastasia has a playful sense of humor.

And now, madness.

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