26 June 2012

The planting of the face


So my family and I go on a 2.5 mile hike at Pinnacles on our way to San Francisco. 'Tis a long trek. Once we're out of the caves, the trail is mostly uphill. Wanting to be done as quickly as possible, I begin to jog up the mountain, shouting, "Soldier on! We are troopers!"

My brother begins to jog behind me. "Hut! Hut! Hut!" he hollers.

"I am hutting!" I shout back at him.

"You're gonna fall," he warns.

I soldier on. Foolishly.

Up ahead, some jagged rocks form a small crevice. I consciously tell myself to place my foot between the rocks where it's flat as I continue to run.

All of a sudden  and I swear to Finland, this is how it went down  the rocks reach out and grab my leg, slamming me to the ground.

It happens in slow motion, my panicked inner monologue in real time: "Oh my god I'm falling. I'm going to eat shit. I'll fall over the edge of the mountain. And these assholes are going to make fun of me."

I throw my arms out. My forearms and knees slam into the rocks. For a few seconds I lie very still, stunned and stinging while my family reacts. My brother and my mom rush over to see if I'm alright. I look back along the trail to my dad, several meters behind us. He holds up the camera, snapping pictures.

My brother quickly helps me up, although I would like to continue resting on the ground. I've grazed a bit of skin off my palm, it's dirty and bleeding. I hold it up in awe: my very own battle wound.

My mom retrieves her small first aid kit, the one we'd rolled our eyes at her for bringing. She rinses the dirt out of the cuts from my hands to my elbows and applies antibiotic ointment and band-aids while my dad comes closer to take more pictures.

I'm still shell-shocked. But I turn to him and hold up my bandaged arms, a (wound-) decorated soldier.

15 June 2012

Hold it in your mouth


When I lived in California, my little brother smoked only covertly. Now that he's legal, he likes to whip out a cigarette whenever he sees a designated smoking area.

He lights a cigarette, holding it in his fingers somewhat ineptly, and raises it to his puckered lips. Sucks the orange filter confidently, unabashedly. Takes the smoke into his mouth languidly. Holds it there for a moment with no visible reaction. And then blows gently.

And that is it.

I've never smoked a cigarette, or anything at all, but I'm pretty sure at some point the smoke is supposed to enter your lungs. Maybe creep down your throat a bit. That's how it works, right? It settles in your lungs and works its magic, relieves tension, that whole bit?

This child is telling me I'll never be able to properly smoke weed as he incorrectly smokes a cigarette. And he's completely unaware of it. Bitch scoffs at my clean lungs while his own are unpolluted.

If ever he asserts superiority over me in any domain, he's wrong, misinformed, simply confused;

07 June 2012

The creeper that crept too far

I knew I was living with two fairly fat spiders, a jumper and a creeper. But I thought, they don't want me, I am not prey. Vegan is one with nature. We can coexist here and they'll hunt bugs for me.

So I'm settling down to sleep this eve-morning after a bad bout of insomnia. And I feel a light tickle cross my arm. And I think: mosquito. My own hair perhaps. I turn on the backlight of my iPod to have a look.

And there is the fat creeper spider skittering ACROSS MY ARM.

I shriek and leap away from the predator towards the wall. I fumble for the light, find it, and locate the spider that sits motionless where I'd been lying. I stare intensely at her. She stares intensely back.

We size each other up, trying to determine who is alpha. The bed has always been my territory, the ceiling hers. She had crossed a line.

I realize then that we can no longer coexist, me and this spider. I escort her out to the backyard in a glass after a brief struggle. She didn't want to go, creeper-crawled away from me, but our understanding had been breached and it was time to say goodbye.

I will always remember the times we shared. The playful tickles. The surprised shrieks. The intense stares. We need not forget.