(Foreword: I know that it might not appear to be true from the looks of this post but I’m in a really good mood today.)
My friend, Brad had a reading last Friday at a small bar in Manhattan. He sent me the invite about 2 months ago. And I looked forward to it. I told Tobyjoe about it right away. “Set aside September 29th!” I had said. “Brad is reading some of his work.”
As one might imagine, I was pretty bummed when I found out I had a soccer game that very same night. The game was to begin at the exact same moment as Brad’s reading.
A little over a month ago, I went out drinking with Anna. I was having a really rough time that week; I needed some Anna time. And if any of my girlfriends would understand what I was going through mentally, she would. Even though we’re two very different people, we both have a knack for spreading ourselves too thin because we want to do everything and anything. We both have a fondness for noise and clutter and constant motion. We both have a fondness for romanticizing something, attempting said something until we find something else to romanticize about. Thing is, every time I do this, every time I come up with a new idea or a career change, I believe wholeheartedly that I will do it. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that’s what I want to do at that very moment. I’m so enthralled by it; it consumes me.
I have written about this before. In fact, I think I’ve written about it a hundred times before. I am very much aware of my downfalls. I’m well aware of how manic I am. I’m also aware of the fact that when I hit a low I’m almost as unbearable to be with as I am when I’m up.
Anna said something to me that night that still resonates. Anna’s a member of the Bombshells. I find what she does admirable to say the least. During our conversation about new projects, I gave her my latest list of whims, one, of which, was joining a soccer league. I told her I wasn’t sure why I had signed up. I had missed soccer since I stopped playing over a decade ago. She told me that out of all of the whims I shouldn’t give up on soccer. “If you flake on that, you’re not hurting only yourself, Michele. You’ll have a team counting on you as well.”
Not much makes sense when I’m just about to fall from a maniacal state but that sure as shit did.
I had already missed one game when we were in Florida. I’m on a coed team, which means 3 girls have to be on the field at all time or we must forfeit. What were the chances of my team having to forfeit because of my not showing up? There are only 5 girls total on our team to begin with. The chances were huge. Suddenly, I felt necessary.
I went back and forth and then finally made a decision. It was the decision I wouldn’t have made several years ago, which surprised me. In the end, no matter how many times I went back and forth, I always came back to what Anna said.
I went to my game.
I didn’t go to Brad’s reading. I didn’t go cheer on a friend.
And my team lost. But that’s OK.
We all believe we deserve a certain amount of attention from our friends. Some of us demand it. I know I want people to notice when I’m not around and feel good when I am. Aren’t friends supposed to make us feel important? Don’t we want to feel necessary? Don’t friends serve as living proof that we exist? Shouldn’t I be their proof?
When Katrina died I cursed myself for not spending more time with her. All the times she called me to hang out and all the reasons I had (I’m too tired to go to Virginia. I’m too tired to go out this late.) came back to haunt me. The years moved through our friendship with the ease of quick seconds; there was nothing I could do to bring them back again. “Later, later.” I thought. And then she was gone, just like that, gone.
The older I get the more precious time becomes. And there seems to be less of it. I have 32 (almost 33) years behind me and who knows how many ahead. The closer I get to halfway (assuming I haven’t reached it already) the shorter the moments that create them.
I keep wondering if the choices I am making now (or the ones I’m not making) will come back to haunt me later. Only hindsight will tell. I know this. Right now, however, I can’t help but feel that some of my moments have been all sorts of empty.
I see Katrina all the time. I see her on streets and in dreams and in crowds and in movies. I saw her on the subway platform last week and I made a sound – an audible one – a groan of some sort. Why couldn’t I have seen her in crowds when she was alive? Does our subconscious wait until it’s too late? Do these ghosts serve as reminders that we should be doing something different with the living? Is this my punishment or my reward?
“I want specifics on the general idea. I wanna think what I should know. Want you to do to me what you showed. I wanna see movies of my dreams.”
After my game tonight, we have a show to attend. Normally, I even flake on live music shows. But the band we’re seeing tonight reminds me of Katrina and Soung and Vanessa and Garret and David and Greg and Missy. This band reminds me of me.
I haven’t seen them perform in almost a decade and I was a different person back then; I had less of a history. I had made fewer mistakes. Cliché as it reads, I do hope that they play some of their old stuff. I want to shut my eyes and pretend for a little while. I want to go back before I thought about halfway.