Sunday, September 13, 2009

Love Song

Soundtrack: Ice Dance, Edward Scissorhands Score, Danny Elfman

The ocean trembled with an uncertainty that echoed through my chest. The moonshine rippled through the waves as I laced my fingers through the reflection, distorting its beautiful, round shape. I sat on the bank of the bay, cross-legged with water up to my waist, listening to the frogs chirping in the woods. The wind swept through the pine and oak trees and whistled back to my ears like a smooth clarinet. I took a deep breath and waited it out. I know she would come. I had seen her before; she was always careful. But these summer nights, she liked to surprise me. I never sought to get her attention, but fate had me follow her until she was aware of my existence.

I was only a man with basic needs, after all; the need to feel, to love, to belong, and most of all, to know my destiny.

She was my destiny. And so, I waited.

I felt a considerable amount of time pass, but I didn’t waver.

Life is tricky, and topsy-turvy. Just when you think you have a whole plan thought out, something so amazing and unpredictable can turn it all around. After awhile, I let out an impatient sigh, but I still don’t move. I felt the wind change. I heard a splash of water from the west. Static electricity soared through the water, making my hair on my neck stand on end. The tide rose and crashed against my chest. I rose up on my knees, and as I steadied myself on the sandy bank, I heard her call. It was a cross between a beautiful train and a brass orchestra as she rose up from out of the water. Her body rose up like a goliath, but she was the most amazing sight I ever had the fortune of witnessing up close. When she crashed into the water, the wave rose up and encompassed my upper body. I gasped for air, and rubbed my eyes to remove the sting of the salt water. When they focused back, all that was left was the ripple of the waves and her echoing song. I stood up and watched as the horizon turned a light shade of purple, signaling the upcoming sunrise.

I stood up on my feet, dripping from every inch of my body and watched as the waves rocked back and forth. Just when I thought that had been the end of it, I heard her song again. It was scary and beautiful and life changing as any sound could make once it meets its match. Something in that song triggered my senses. I saw her fluke rise up out of the wave, white and navy and as unique as my own fingerprint. It bent in the air as if waving to me, before lapping the water in a splash.

She disappeared after that. I heard her for the next few minutes, weaving in and out of the bay, until only the echo in my ears remained. The sun slowly came up and the new day was born. I knew that I wouldn’t see her again for quite some time, but like all good things, they make their way around the circle and return to its humble beginnings.

I walked away from the ocean that morning with a newfound respect and awareness. My love for her would grow and grow, that I was certain. There was a lot of work to do, but like a man who knows his love, who knows his destiny…I would make my way to return to her, to them, and make it count.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Any social change comes from the passion of individuals

It takes a lot to get me speechless.

I'm struggling to retrieve my heart and put it back in my chest. For the first time, in a LONG time, there came a movie that touched every fiber of my being and rocked my very soul to the core. I left the theater, my hands shaking for being completely overwhelmed with this new consciousness...the wanting to completely be aware of everything around me, and the desire to fly halfway across the world and be a part of something so incredible, to stop something so absolutely horrendous that you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it with your own eyes.

If you know me at all, and my beliefs, you would know why I would feel this way; so passionately about something that certain people have said "you can't really do anything about". But I've always begged to differ. And this movie shows that. This movie......damn, man.

There are so many things I could say.
I could say how many dolphins are killed each year.
I could talk about how the government covers up EVERYTHING.
I could talk about the innocence of a people that don't even know what's happening in their towns.

But I just want you to see it for yourself.

I DARE you, ALL of you, ANYONE who's known me at all and who have an ounce of caring in them to go see THE COVE. You won't regret it. If you miss it, you're very well missing one of the most astounding, important visions you will see in your entire life. Fuck all the other summer blockbuster bullshit. See something substantial. Something amazing and horrific all at the same time. Something that will have you standing up and wanting to do something. And then maybe, just maybe, you can see the world from my eyes.

Thanks in advance.

The Cove
Directed by: Louie Psihoyos
Playing @ Regal Winter Park Village

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Love and Salt Water

Soundtrack: Jack's Mannequin, Swim

Dawn approached.
The light hadn't reached her eyelids yet; there was still blackness. She blinked her eyes open to the sound of her shepherd barking a few yards down. She turned her head to look at him yapping at the waves as they rushed onto the sand. The last moments of the moonshine pulled the waves with a comforting, resonating sound. She buried her feet under the sand, feeling the grains slide between her toes. She kept grabbing handfuls and feeling them fall through her fingertips. She secretly wished he was there to to experience it as much as she was.
The thought of that secret wanting opened up the pit in her stomach. She felt her chest tighten and shake. She wrapped her blanket around her shoulders and swore. She remembered how it felt just a few hours before...
Seemingly peaceful sleep, then waking up to a loud voice. She looked at him like he was a stranger. A parade of images flooded her brain....

A bouqet of roses in a blue vase.
A telescope and a red and white checkered blanket.
The first time he kissed her under the fireworks.
A long car ride in the middle of the rain.
His nervous hand touching the small of her back when he pulled her in to dance.
The face of her shepherd when she rescued him.
Autumn leaves and mountains.
The tossing of bed covers and pillows in glory.
A picture of them on a deck on the lake on that first night.
A black dress with a wine stain.
Rain cascading down the windows as well as her eyes.
The sound of a door slamming closed.
Apologetic hands on her face asking for forgiveness.
A blue vase lying in shards on the floor, the light catching them ever so humbly.

When she opened her eyes, the sun was peaking out from the horizon. The waves made one last crash before they died down to calm rolls. Her shepherd sat at the bank and watched the seagulls glide across the water. The wind tickled her neck like he used to. The corner of her mouth released a sliver of a smile before she remembered her purpose there. She grabbed the small bottle at her side and drank the small amount that was left. She ripped a piece of paper from her notebook as quietly as she could, for fear of shattering this peaceful moment. She wrote a solitary sentence. She folded it, creasing it again and again for perfection. Before she glided it in the bottle, she kissed it ever so softly, giving it a piece of her to take with. She placed the cork tightly inside the opening, and gripped the neck.
She rose up, and her shepherd joined her at her side. She rubbed her hands through his hair, letting him know that she was okay. That she would be, no matter what. Gripping her blanket tightly around her, she walked towards the bank and stopped when the water rushed past her ankles. The water was smooth and crisp, and she smelled the bitterness and welcome of the ocean salt. She closed her eyes one more time, taking it in, watching the orange light of the bright star fill the darkness of her eyelids. She released a long breath, and with one swift movement, she threw the bottle in the ocean. She saw the light twinkle in the reflection of the blue glass before it splashed into the water. Her shepherd barked. She looked at him with tears in her eyes. He stood up on his back legs, pawing at her hip, almost hugging her. Her loyal man. They came few and far in between now. As the warmth of the new day encompassed her body and her soul, she peered off in the distance and faintly saw the bobbing head of the bottle on the beginning of its long journey. She turned her back to it, casting a goodbye. She hoped her message would find its way to someone else who was lost, comforting them in her words sealed up in glass and salt water, which spoke loudly...

"Everything will be alright."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Remember When It Rained

Soundtrack: Gravity, Sara Bareilles
Setting: 1940's

It was raining the night he left.
She remembered it like a painting in her mind, each brushstroke tugging at her heart. Her long hair was drenched--rivers cascading down them. Even though her chest was heaving with air, she felt she couldn't breathe, watching him disappear in the moonlight. He pulled her without touching her. For a brief moment, he turned to face her and she froze. Her hands and arms ached to hold him, to hold onto the youth and the love that his olive green uniform was taking away from him. He looked at her with a sad smile, before he turned the corner.
Never faltering, never losing his gaze, she sits down on the stoop and holds onto the banister. She doesn't hide it any longer. She isn't stable anymore-a broken china doll. She would sacrifice anything and everything, walk on glass and hot coals if it meant he could stay. Half an hour ago, he had held her in his arms, in her bed, and promised he would come back. She knew it wasn't likely. It seemed the war took only the best away, leaving only empty words and dusty photographs.
But there was love, and above all, hope. He would never make a promise he couldn't keep. She knew he had to come back because he took her heart with him. But as the piano played on on the radio inside, and the cold, dark rain enveloped her, he walked away with an even darker promise:
"But what if I don't come back?"

A year has passed. Letters are few and far between, and when they do come, they smell of sweat and sand. Specks of dirt show up like a visible perfume. She memorizes each one, sacrificing a little bit of strenth each time.

At twenty two months, there are no more letter. As she stare out the window, a familiar black military car pulls up to the house. Two men come out, head to toe in military pride, hats pulled down over their eyes. She felt her heart shatter-whatever was left of what he had taken with him. She pushed through the door before they even made it up the walk. Her hand rose to her mouth, water breaking through her eyes as she shook her head in denial.
Not today. Not after two years. Not after the night he left.
She gripped the banister again like the ghost of Christmas past. She refused to use her senses; the need to feel numb took over. She could barely feel the hand lift her up and try to console her. Her eyes manage to see the man's hat in his hands. Her choking sobs and cries of 'no' filled the air, and the world as she knew it flew off its axis as five little words were spoken softly in her ear:
"I never break a promise, love."

Kindly Unspoken

Soundtrack: Missing You, Tyler Hilton

The mail man couldn't come fast enough. His arrival would be promptly at 2:45PM, and the big hand on the clock had slowly reached 52. She wiped the sweat off her brow and clicked her fingernails on the mailbox. Never before could the little white box of a car excite her as much as it could today. She ripped the letters out of the man's hands, and left a trail of bills behind her, down the driveway like breadcrumbs to a candy house.
She looked for the one with the red stripes. The red stripes always called to her; made her heart skip a beat. And when her eyes constricted and focused on those red bands, she fought back a smile until she ran into her room and slammed the door. She traced the delicate paper package, full of promises and familiar finger print dents. Despite the excitement, she carefully tore open the seal and took out the letter. She could practically feel his presence in the room at the moment. She closed her eyes and envisioned him there, sitting beside her, his hands in hers.
How she missed him. Even though this brought him closer to her, she felt him farther away than ever.
Was it the war?
Change of address?
Career opportunity?
It was injustice. It was a crime he didn't commit. It was something that he had to get through if he was ever going to see her again soon. The only thing she could do was wait.
She held the letter in her hand but couldn't read it. She knew it would say almost exactly what the others said. Tears glossed over her eyes so there was no point. She would read it at a more appropriate time; when her emotions wouldn't get the best of her. Right now, she concentrated on the feel of the paper, its wrinkled texture, probably from the bottom of the notepad. Her fingers glided over the smudges of ink and crossed-out lines: all the things that he couldn't say or was too afraid to say. There was only hope in those invisible words. They strained to become alive, and very much did so in her mind. She heard his voice, his deep laugh when he spoke of something humorous--he always saw the light in the darkest of tunnels. She heard the sadness as well, but a deeper pride knowing that he hadn't run away from the war, even though it wasn't his battle he lost. He was the greater man, not the lesser man, even though she was the only one that could understand. For this reason, and this reason alone, he would send a letter everyday. And she would wait, by that little black box, for the letter with the red stripes.
And in return, she sent one to him. She wasn't a poet, but in her small talk and unspoken words, she knew he would read between the lines:
"I wait for your sweet return. Until then, always yours."

Father's Day

Soundtrack: Moonlight Sonata, Beethoven

There is a reoccuring dream.
A little girl cries.
Her big, brown, six year old eyes trace every line she makes with her hand. By now, she's gotten paint and crayon all over her skin. She hears footsteps down the hall, but swallows the lump in her throat and continues. She smiles when she's done, opens the door, and heads for the master bedroom. He's in there, in the dark, late afternoon splendor. She walks warily towards him, paper trembling in her hands. But with a pocketful of courage, she hands it to him.
"For you Daddy," she tells him. He looks at it for a long moment, then after an eternity, smiles. She returns the gesture and quickly leaves the room.
The next morning, as she walks outside in the cold, sweater sleeves well over her fingertips and the last bit of glitter fading from her shoes, she spots the drawing from the trash bin. She is not surprised, but the smile fades as painfully as it usually does. Silence can truly be deafening. In the spirit of a young girl, an 'I love you' not returned is as earth shattering as the beat of a butterfly's wings.

A few years have passed now, but not many. She packs her bags in silence despite the yells. She doesn't realize she is crying until the tears stain the pages of her sketchbook.
Doors slam. Furniture rattles.
In the dark of the night, a glimmer of hope remains as silence enters the house.
But this is not a home.
She goes for the front door, but stops dead when she meets his presence in the living room. She is frozen in place, but he doesn't seem to acknowledge her. But then his head slowly turns, and even in the moonshine and the eyes of the young girl, seh can see his eyes are bloodshot, poisoned with alcohol and hate.
"You are not mine. You never will be."
The butterfly flaps its wings for those nine syllables. All she can do is retreat back to her room.

A grown up girl cries.
But this is too real to be a dream.


Soundtrack: Moon River, Henry Mancini/Dear Bobbie, Yellowcard

Tulips are her favorite.

Today was her birthday, so I had to look sharp. I had to bring the flowers. She deserved it. I dressed in my best tux and began walking the short length to her home. I carried the flowers in one hand and nervously tapped my side pocket with the other.

Today was a special day.
The sun was shining, and a summer wind blew through the trees, whispering encouragement in my ears. I felt excitement in my bones--the same feeling I had every time I saw her beautiful face, her heartbreaking smile. That feeling, and that wind, told me I was the luckiest man in the world. Before I even arrived, I saw her standing there, wearing the same floral sundress she often wore. I paused and looked into her eyes, gathering up my strength. I walked the remaining distance and she smiled. The giant oak tree nearby covered us in cool shade, masking the heat in my cheeks.
"Happy birthday," I manage to stumble out. She was probably biting her lip, as she often did, trying not to laugh at my inability to be charismatic. However, I was too busy digging around in my pocket to notice this time. After awhile, I finally found it. The little black box. "I'm sorry if I'm a little late," I tell her. "I had to make sure I had everything right." I swallowed the lump in my throat, and got down on both knees. "Well, you know I'm not the best at these things, but just bear with me okay?" My hands began to sweat while I held the box. It seemed like an eternity before I could start again. I was so nervous that I couldn't even look at her. My eyes just focused on the ground in front of me. "I think I fell in love with you when I first saw you, smelling these same yellow tulips in your garden. There was just something about you that I couldn't put my finger on. At that moment, I knew I couldn't possibly love anybody else because you had completely taken my heart away from me. And I
know that I sound corny right now, especially when I'm in this monkey suit, but you were used to being completely adored. I just..."
I paused and rubbed my temples. I took a deep breath and tried to ignore the headache that was coming.
"I know I always say this, but why you chose to love me back perplexed me. Me--the bumbling fool. But you did choose me, so I didn't question it. I was grateful. I was just happy to see you and have you in my arms every single day. No one could ever possibly know how much I love you, and I..."
The ground became blurry. The tears had started to come, and there was no sense in hiding it now. I took off my glasses and wiped my face. She comforted me in her silence. Always silent. I let out a small sob.
"...and I miss you. I miss your grace, your voice, your overwhelming desire to make everyone around you happy. In all the sixty years that I loved you, I haven't thought twice about anything, regretted anything. You were the one who always told me to never look back, and so I haven't. I'm thankful for every memory you have given me."
I put the flowers down on the ground and opened the black box. Her wedding ring.
"I know you wanted to renew our vows one more time before you left. I'm sorry that we never had the chance but I'll make it up to you. Our granddaughter is getting married tomorrow, and I know that she'll take good care of it..."
I drifted off, my chest heaving, but a sad smile crept on my face as I wiped the last few tears off with my sleeve. "I miss you darling," I barely manage to whisper. A few minutes passed before I could regain my words. "I can't wait to see you again--to touch your face and smell your hair, to hold you in my arms again and tell you over and over how you
still don't know how much I love you........but....until then, take care of my heart? You never did give it back."
I stood up slowly, my old back stiff. I pressed my fingers along her name and smiled softly as I heard the sounds of my grandchildren in the background calling my name. I wiped the wet grass off my knees and straightened the flowers. Before I could walk away another wind swept through the trees and I could almost smell the lilac of her perfume. Her way of saying goodbye.

"Be seeing you...Happy birthday, sweetheart."