I had every intention of driving up to Decaying State on Friday afternoon to pay a last visit to my grandmother, who is dying of liver cancer.
Unfortunately, the lingering cold that had sidelined me on Wednesday persisted through the weekend, and Anne, during a telephone conversation Friday morning, told me to stay home.
"BB, listen," she said. "You can't be coming up here sick. In her state she's very vulnerable, and even a cold could turn into something really bad. I want you to get in bed, rest, and see how you feel tomorrow morning."
I did not get back into bed. Too ill to drive north but with the day already taken off of work, I hopped on my bike and rode to the bank, savoring the 75-degree weather of the year's first really warm weekend. (Our first 80-degree day, by the way, is due to be Sunday, April 26th, if CNN Weather can be believed. It's a milestone I always look forward to.)
After I deposited my paycheck I went home, then left my house for a walk in the sun. I took a path to the field behind our neighborhood, to which during the 2006-2007 winter a group of friends and I retreated on a regular basis to light bon fires in pits we'd constructed beneath a ridge in the hill.
Around this time of year the area becomes overgrown with weeds and vines, and the possibility of snakes makes venturing far back dangerous, but I walked in anyway, wanting to absorb the sunlight from the green that soaked it up.
I've always wished that I could meld into nature, that I could be a part of it. I have this fantasy of lying down in the middle of a field at summer's peak and coalescing into it, my body becoming the rolling plains and swaying stalks. When gray-black clouds rumble with the promise of a July downpour, my soul longs to erupt through the air and drench my grassy feet with water.
I sat and clicked my camera, taking pictures of the place. I'll post them soon.
On Friday evening I called my manager and told him I could work Saturday, so he scheduled me for an abbreviated five-hour shift.
The only down side to this was not being able to see Book Store Girl, the nineteen-year-old who'd asked me to stop by a used book store where she works one day a week. Book Store Girl is a lesbian who doesn't know I'm gay (or at least didn't until a Facebook message I sent literally while writing this post), and I'm hoping that by making more friends in the gay community I can meet other people.
As I open up more and embrace this aspect of my personality, I find a very small part of me turning into an adolescent girl.
For example, today while driving home from school I nearly had a heart attack upon catching a glimpse of two track team members, one dressed in nothing but the skimpiest of black underwear, running and jumping down the sidewalk. The boy in the black underwear in particular caught my eye. His stomach was flat as a board, his arms so lean, his legs so lithe, his smooth back arching into a perfect butt.
It was enough to make me seriously consider going out for track.
I'm just ready to beging dating and meeting people, even if it does intimidate me a little bit. I'm not jumping into sex, but I want to jump into something. I'm having my sixteen at twenty-one, but I don't particularly mind.
I still have a lot to learn, but it's a process I'm trying to enjoy. A tidbit I picked up this weekend is the fact that there is actually a word in gay culture for people like me: twink. I was referred to as such by someone online, and after a quick trip to Wikipedia figured out what it meant. I'm not entirely sure whether or not I should be insulted.
On Sunday I was invited to a barbecue at Peruvian Girl's house in honor of her sister Shy Girl's seventeenth birthday.
Peruvian Girl and I spent most of the time in the kitchen while Shy Girl and her friends, all of whom are significantly younger than me, laughed and played video games in the basement. I may have felt a bit awkward in a house full of strangers, but the advantage of hanging out upstairs was having unfettered access to the ceviche, an awesome Peruvian dish of raw fish, lemon juice, onions, and spices (it is far better than it sounds).
After returning home last night, I stayed up late typing up a letter to my grandmother, what will likely be the last piece of correspondence I ever send her. It went out this morning, so hopefully she'll have it by the time of my arrival in Decaying State on Thursday, a trip I'm skipping school to make.
I tried to make the letter as tender as possible, to express in a page and a quarter at least a small measure of how much she's meant to me. I think it was a fine attempt. Her positive attitude has made all of this so much easier for everyone.
I can't wait for school to end.