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A kiss on the beach after sunset

I had never had a girlfriend before. I was a high schooler and I was almost alone on this account. I was sixteen and she was seventeen. We had both been part of a group of friends ever since her seventh grade year. We had only really connected once or twice, but we just didn't have time alone together. Before I knew it, I was in eleventh grade and suddenly of interest to the girls in the group. I had gone to the gym, gotten a tan, and a sense of humor. I noticed she started to be openly affectionate around me, hugs in the halls, cuddles during parties, smiles at me from across the room, and so the internal battle began. All guys have this dilemma at some point in their dating history... To ask or not to ask. I decided to ask.

This weekend we went to the movies and saw Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit. We sat close to one another, shared straws, and laughed continuously. After the movie she got a ride home with us (my mother and I, because I did not have my driver's license), I saw her to the door and received a goodnight hug. I drove home giddy and laid on my bed just smiling at the ceiling for hours.

Then came the school week. Sitting together at lunch. Talking about next weekend's plans. The week was hard on the entire group and we came to the end of it needing a really good break (N., P. , R., D., K., T., and I made up the "Group." We had come together about six years ago. On the weekends we would go out to movies, Chinese food, prom parties, birthdays, etc... They are a really fun group of kids and I do not think I could get through high school without them). This "break" took place over at my house, because it has a foosball table and a hot tub. We seven teenagers danced in our "den," watched Animal House and sat around talking of everything but school. After the sun went down we decided that the time had come to go over to the beach. The night was surprisingly warm so we did not have to bundle up that heavily as we headed off walking to the beach.

As a skateboarding fiend, I decided that I wanted to play around on my make-shift half pipe under the orange glow of a lone street lamp. The others continued down to the beach, however, she stayed behind to watch me skate. I made a run or two and then came down and said, "Okay, let go join the others." As we reached the rock edge, she made the suggestion that we just sit down on the ledge and leave the others be for a while. And, of course, I willingly obliged. We sat down on the cold stone, she said she was a bit chilly so I took her into my jacket, wrapping my arms gently around her. I started to talk about things that I thought would make her laugh, as I looked out on the horizon. I could, however, tell that was she not really listening to my words. She was looking at me, with longing eyes, intently putting herself closer to me. My heart started beating really quickly, do I try and kiss her? Does she want to be kissed right now? Does she want to be kissed by me?

The kiss itself did not last for more than a second, but it felt like an eternity. I know that statement is a cliché, but it is absolutely true. After our lips parted, there was a deep longing for more, the desire only heated by the memory of the warmth and softness of her lips, and the smell of her hair, I had been captivated I could not let go of that moment, nor would I in a million years. The feeling after I released, looking deep into her eyes to see a similar pleasure to mine, turning back again to the silver and golden skies, and then the complete inability to resist a huge fucking smile. We sat there, talking about how happy we were about our first kiss.

T. is a stunning beauty and is someone who I connect with. I am sixteen, she is seventeen, and we are two teenagers completely in love.

I dedicate this to T., so that our first kisses may last forever.

I feel like I'm screaming in the dark. I'm screaming for
someone, anyone, to take my sadness away and let
me be happy but I feel like nooone ever will.

Everything I touch turns to gold then ash, and I'm left
kneeling in the cold wind on a quiet hillside at dusk,
trying to find anything thats left.

I'm so sick of death and war and I hate peace just as
much. I hate the women I love just as much as I love
them. I want everyone around me to be happy but I
couldn't give a fuck how they feel.

Why do only the good die young, because they are the
lucky ones. Why do I only get like this at night?
Because I'm alone with myself.

I feel like I've run out of tears.

Been a long time...

I guess you could say I have been on vacation. I have not been doing very much at all. I had to have my appendix taken out. The pain I experienced prior to my surgery was insane. It felt as if my soul was being sucked out of my belly button. NOT FUN. Needless to say, I was under the weather for quite some time. See it turns out that my appendix had ruptured. When an inflamed appendix ruptures the toxic contents of it spill out into the body, causing peritonitis. Peritonitis is a potentially life-threatening infection.

At first, I thought I might have had food poisoning from the local McDonald's. But after vomiting for eight hours with no relief, I decided I had better go to the emergency room. By the time my father drove me to the city I was sweating profusely. In fact, I was beginning to hallucinate. I was delirious. The pain was incredible.

The doctors immediately stuck an IV in my arm and told me I needed this surgery now. I didn't really have a choice, I could have died. The surgeon told me that the operation would take roughly forty minutes, but with my ruptured appendix it could take much longer. I really could have cared less about how long it takes. I just wanted the damn thing out. They strapped me down and put me under. When I woke up two hours had passed. Since my appendix had pretty much exploded the doctors had to clean up a lot of garbage that was floating around in my digestive system.

Sounds like a happy ending right? Wrong! Since the company I used to work for moved to Mexico I have no real source of income. and no health insurance. The bill was well over ten-thousand dollars. And I have no money to pay for it. I have applied for federal aid (Medicaid), but with all the Medicaid cuts that President George W. Bush is making, I will probably be denied. Sucks to be me! You cannot put a price on your life.

I bought funeral clothes today. I meandered aimlessly through the racks, my eyes peripherally tuned into black Every so often my fingertips would brush along the fabric of this piece or that. Most they dismissed, allowing my mind to keep its disjointed focus.

I wonder who will be sure he has supper and who will clean his clothes. I wonder who will take care of him, now that she is gone. I wonder these things, though in truth, he’s been doing it all along for the two of them. He has been caring for her. And then I wonder, who will he take care of now? How will he pass the minutes? I think about which would be the easiest dinner to make and transport. I think about cookies, fresh from the oven. I think about time and its diminishing nature.

My heart is full for my friend who, from this day forward, will be living alone. He keeps his upbeat on. He has his children and grandchildren gathered about like a warm blanket. He keeps his friends informed. He draws in his support network. Today he makes plans for his wife’s funeral. Tomorrow we will learn of the details. Soon we will all come together.

I bought funeral clothes today, harsh in color but soft to touch. I hardly looked at them, but it doesn’t matter, these clothes were made for hugging.

Nothing to see here. Move on along.

At 11:55 AM CDT today, my first child, Joseph Merlin, was born, weighing in at 7 lbs. 13 oz. (just a smidge over three and a half kilograms). He's twenty inches long. The mother and baby are both perfectly fine.

He has his mom's cheeks, dimples and chin, and his dad's eyes, hair, and toes. In short, he's perfect.

A picture of the baby should be in my homenode for quite a while.

Thank you to all of you who sent me well wishes in the last few days. They've been very much appreciated.

My best friend has been in love with the same boy since I met her in the 6th grade.

Jodi has always loved to write. The first time I went to her house I was awed at the shelves of journals she had filled, and this was only by the age of 12. And so, the way they met was perfect.

Jodi and David both had the same English teacher. But they didn't have class at the same time. Jodi would have english in the morning, and David had it in the afternoon. Jodi and David sat at the same desk. The desks at our school had little cubbies attached to the bottoms for keeping books and pencils in. Jodi kept her things on one side, David kept his things on the other. Their first interaction was thus:

Thank you for keeping our desk so clean. -Jodi

A note left in the desk, which spawned replies, inside jokes, doodles and eventually, a friendship.

David, like any boy that age, was deeply uncertain about Jodi. I remember many times her telling me about how he confused her, she was so sure of her feelings, why couldn't he make up his mind? He obviously liked her.

David and I both moved away in 7th grade. I moved an hour north, and then two years later to Missouri, and then not quite a year later I ended up in Florida. David moved to Virginia, incidentally, where I was born and Jodi's family is from. And so we left our girl alone out in San Diego and before we knew it we where in high school

Jodi and David kept in touch. Phone calls, emails, letters, visits, summer trips together. You almost didn't notice the transition from friends to a couple.

There was trouble. 5 years, cross country, high school sweethearts is hard. I threatened both of their lives on more than one occassion for their actions. But they always got through it. They always trusted eachother and had faith that what they were doing was right, even though all their friends, including me, called them crazy.

Two years ago we all went off to college. I stayed in florida, choosing to attend a small liberal arts school. They both went to James Madison University and disappeared for a while, so happy to be with eachother.

Two days ago I got a call from Jodi:

So....what are your summer plans?

I dunno. Get a job, an apartment.....

Well...I need you to fly out to San Diego for a few weeks to be my maid of honor.



I always knew they would get married. It was something I took on faith. Jodi always gets what she wants. But now that it is happening, it is deeply comforting.

Some plans do work out just how they should....

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