Peacing Out

I’ve got to have another jog when I get home. I am in love with this weather. With this heat. With this sunshine.

I don’t think that’s going to happen, though. Because I’m meeting Jess at Capitol Garage for a few drinks around five. And I never know where that will go. In past experience, it doesn’t lead to going on a jog. We have this running joke about the place– that the waiters all either hate us, or pity us. Jess posts up there most weekends, and is always alone. Slowly writing letters in the corner, and getting intoxicated. One time she brought her Mom.

My morning started out with a jog, and coming back to Jess waking up.

We laugh and laugh about shit that is not at all appropriate to post on this blog, but has become our daily topics together. The thing that’s great about Jess and I’s relationship is that we can be in the same room all night and not speak to one another. We can literally be touching shoulders for a few days and never exchange words. We can share a tent and not even notice we have a tent mate for entire weeks at a time. But when we do talk, it’s always hilarious and the best and mutually beneficial. We move at similar paces, and I know this is why she is one of the people I spend most of my time with on the team. Because half the time when I look over at her, she’s got her eyes closed and is meditating and taking in the moment, wholly by herself.

Ricky walks past our room, and Jess lets out a dramatic scream, dropping her chopsticks on the floor. “Mr. COXXXXXX!”

Ricky gets that little half smile on his face, trying not to let us know that he loves us. And Jess chases after him and tackles him down the hall. Then comes back and resumes silent peace with me.

Lady Gaga comes on the radio, and we both admit we still respect Gaga, and sing along. Jess has her chopsticks again, raised high above her head, keeping time with the beat. Sitting cross legged on the floor in her genie pants and her majestic messy bun atop her head. Smiling out to the world, and showing me her new Nonviolence Theory book she got from the library.

This girl is so funny and so free. And I am so excited to see where she goes in life. I will definitely be making a road trip down to Miami this year to visit her, though I might not be able to keep up with her new lifestyle there. She’s probably going to throw all of her clothing away and pour vodka shots over her head in place of t-shirts and shorts. I hear they don’t wear clothes in Miami, anyhow.

Jess and I walk out to meet Heather for a ride downtown around 11, and sit on the curb. My internet still works out here, and I turn on “You and I” by Lady Gaga, and we sit facing the road and sing to each other. It’s a little bit sad, and we talk about how we’re going to miss this. We really are.

I get dropped off on Broadway street alone, and this is the first time I’ve been downtown in a month and a half. It’s my first time being around this many people since before Barrow. McClellan, the part of Sacramento where our campus is, is not very easy to get around in. And it doesn’t have much for young people to do.

Downtown, however, there is everything and everyone. I’m out in the world alone again, for the first time in a long while. And I feel so fucking free. There’s something around every corner. And I can just walk past it all. Or stop when I want.

I enter the juice shop that I always went to when I was ditching PT at the YMCA, and the girl behind the counter waves me over and tells me to put my stuff on the counter next to her. I realize I look a mess. I’ve got a backpack that looks like it weighs a ton, and my hands full of headphones, flannel jacket, waterbottle and wallet. My hair is sticking straight up, and I’m wearing a black tank top with a huge rip down the side. I smile and say, thanks. I put my stuff on the counter, and smile again with the peace that can only be found in chaos. I’m back in California. I feel like I’m home. I order a double shot of wheat grass and down it, chasing it with a fresh orange. I haven’t had an orange for a month and a half. Feels good.

Walking out of the juice shop, I recognize a woman. She leans over to talk to me, and I pull my headphones off to engage her. She’s asking me to sign a petition, and I would probably sign it if I could remember how I know her. I ask her what the petition is about, as it seems learning about a petition should come before actually signing it. She tells me that there are two- one is about the porn industry, and getting better std testing, and requirement of condoms. I can get behind that, but I don’t like the way she is talking to me. And I still can’t place where I know her from…

And then the other one is about bonds or some shit. It loses my interest pretty quickly, honestly.

I tell her I’m just passing through, and maybe if I pass this way again I’ll talk to her more about it. She tells me it would really help her if I would sign it now, and I tell her I’ve got to run. I’ve got an agenda for today. She makes another snarky comment, and I smile with the freedom and knowledge that I can just walk away. Where do I know her from? Who knows. Who cares! Let’s move on!

Walking down under a bridge, a small elderly man is walking toward me. He might be homeless, and I wonder if I have anything to give him, feeling guilty. I had forgotten about homelessness, no one is homeless in Barrow. No one can survive being homeless in Barrow. I realize a smile can be enough, with a light bulb moment. I smile, and he smiles and flashes a shy and authentic peace sign at me. And it makes me smile uncontrollably for the next block and a half. I’m back in this world again.

I make it to Naked Lounge, where I’m currently at. And I recognize faces again. The guy with the heart shaped tattoo under his eye. It’s a heart or a tear, I can’t be sure. The difference is pretty important, he’s either killed a man, or he’s a member of  the love revolution,  but who’s here to ask those questions? I dive into the cafe, and am greeted by a bunch of geeks in freshly ironed clothes studying and drinking blended iced mocha lattes, and then there are these rugged hipsters who haven’t bathed in years and have great tattoos covering their sun weathered bodies smoking and drinking their coffee black outside. The barista is a beautiful person that I can’t tell the gender of, but I always remember for their take no bullshit style. I grab a cup of coffee, and steal a seat by the window that opens up just as I get there.

And then here the fuck I am.

I’m really, really happy.

I want to say a big thank you, thank you THANK YOU to the world. To everything that exists in this moment and time, and what it means for the future and the past. I want to thank my family especially. You are kick ass people, and I feel you with me every minute that I’m out here. You are the ones who gave me exactly what I needed to get here. You are the ones who are still selflessly giving to me. And I will be eternally thankful to you, and I hope you always realize this. I hope I can make you proud. I hope I’m not too crazy for you sometimes. I hope you realize that I am crazy because you privileged me with a wonderful, open minded and thoughtful upbringing that I will make an effort to carry on for the rest of my life.



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