Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Skeeball and other snippets over 16 years

Master of Puppets is playing while Lester Kasai takes his run on the half-pipe at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach. It's the first skateboard contest I've been to and the first Metallica song I've heard. I am 13.

Two of us are stuck about 15 feet up, pitch black but for head lamps in John Brown's Cave in Harpers Ferry. We sure ourselves against shaft-shaped rock and ease down to the others. I am 15.

I am standing in an arcade on the boardwalk in Ocean City with friends, laughing beyond our sides hurting, watching a bonehead in a g-string ram his fist down the 50-hole in skeeball while tickets spew out onto the floor. I am 19.

We are sitting in a bar in Raleigh and the remnants of a shot of Jagermeister are burning my throat and shaking my head. After the walk home, I roll two port-a-johns down a hill. The night I turned 21.

I have just run 11 miles, from Oxford to Easton, just because I hadn't before and because I've gotten myself into shape. The miles are a sanctuary for big thoughts and no thoughts. I am 23.

I am standing with my father, for a picture, having just graduated magna cum-laude from Washington College. The picture has taken seven years to take. It matches the one of he and his father when he graduated from the University of Virginia. I am 26.

I am wearing a suit, writing a press release with a pen and paper, during a job interview at the Academy of the Arts. I've decided against graduate school in favor of a tie job. I am in the Academy's library at a desk, surrounded by books. Still 26.

We had our first sonogram and found out we are having a girl. I am out for a run on Rails to Trails and my head is running ahead of and above my body when the various names we've talked about and like stop swirling and two stop in place, like a slot machine: Anna Louise. I am 29.

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