The Slow Slide Down

I have done the things I should not have done,
I have left undone the things I should have done,
and there is no good in me.

I sat outside on the little patio. A Solo cup stood next to my feet as I reclined, looking into the darkness. The rest of the group was inside, watching some mindless frat-pack comedy. I had just gotten off the phone with my girlfriend when she came outside.

We were wondering what happened to you.

I came out here to think. I didn’t mean to disturb anyone. It’s just not my scene.

Thinking about what? She stood next to me. I looked up at her, considered my odds, and poured my heart out to her. I told her about my girlfriend, the troubles we were having. I told her about my doubts about school, my troubles with my family. She listened patiently, beautifully. She offered advice, which consisted of things I already knew but needed to hear again.

I finished: When I’m with her, I’m the happiest guy in the world. But when we’re apart, she may as well not even exist. And you… I paused.

You need to stop being so perfect.

She laughed, shocked, and stopped when she saw my face. I wasn’t happy or playful but tormented. I smiled thinly. Let’s go inside. Thanks for listening.

I didn’t tell her how she had filled my thoughts since I had first seen her. I didn’t say how I had wanted to kiss her during our long talks alone, how I noticed she always ended up sitting near me, how her body language indicated something more than mere friendliness. Her smile was the brightest I had ever seen. Her laugh was enough to make me a clown, that I might hear more of it. I thought back to a conversation as we stood watch together.

I couldn’t continue the way I was going, not with my conscience keeping me awake at night, so I just had to say it.

Have I told you about my girlfriend?

She froze, than one corner of her mouth lifted. I figured as much. You were too nice; either taken or gay.

Thanks. I didn’t tell you earlier because I figured you knew, I paused. Or you didn’t want to know. I put on my wistful face and smiled.

We went back inside, rejoined the party. We were packed at a friend’s house, the six of us crashing in the basement. It was late, so we undid some of the damage and rearranged the furniture for sleep. The couch that dominated the room pulled out into a larger than king-size bed, enough for four of us to sleep on it. We slid the loveseat over so it adjoined the bed and fit another person. The last one had to sleep on the floor, but he seemed to prefer it that way. As we lay in the oversize bed, the blankets thrown haphazardly across us, she and I ended up next to each other. The others dozed off to the flickering blue light of a late-night movie, but she and I stayed awake.

I reached out and slid my hand over hers. Innocent enough; she turned and looked into my eyes.

I hadn’t noticed how green her eyes were before. Like the sea after a storm. She looked up at me as I traced her fingers. I smiled again, and she bit her lip. I slid my hand higher up her arm, enjoying her soft skin and her scent. We were surrounded by sleeping friends, and here we were, lost in each other. She began to do the same to me, and I reveled in her touch, running my fingers through her hair, amazed at how beautiful she was.

I inched closer to her, slipped my arm around her waist, and kissed her softly on the lips. She kissed me back. That was all I needed to know. I grazed her breasts with my hand, skimmed the edge of her shorts, and then I stopped.

There’s an empty bedroom upstairs, I whispered, my lips brushing her ear. I’m going to go up there. If you want, follow me in a few minutes. I kissed her again and slipped out of bed, making my way past our sleeping friends. I crept up the stairs and sidled into the empty bedroom. And I waited.

After eternity, she came into the room. We kissed, and peeled each other’s shirts off. She kissed me like she was drowning and I was air.

That’s when I began my slow slide down.

The next morning, I woke earlier than everyone else. She lay next to me, her cornsilk hair spread out on the dark blanket. We were again in the middle of a jumble of blankets and bodies. I lay in bed, remember the events of last night, before getting up and making breakfast. The group spent the day together. She and I acted nonchalant, but the tension was fairly obvious. We went sailing and the weather was absolutely perfect. That night was my birthday, and we celebrated with a big dinner at our hostess’ house. The group would split early the next morning, out summer obligations finished, headed our separate ways.

We had to be up at oh-dark-hundred for outprocessing. There was a glitch and we were delayed for another few hours. She and I spent them together, an encore of the previous night’s performance.

I had invited anyone who wanted to come with me up to the beach. My family spent the summers at a beach in Long Island, and I was going to eke out the last little bit of surf and sand before returning to school. They expressed interest, but she was the only one who came with me. We slept in my car before the drive up. On the journey, we listened to music and talked. Sometimes about nothing, sometimes about serious things.

I felt connected to someone like I hadn’t in a long time.

Once we arrived in Long Island, I delighted in showing her around my little beach town. The shops, the boats, the houses. The memorials to the fallen police and firefighters. Much of my extended family lives there as well, and I introduced her as a friend from the summer.

My parents insisted on throwing a birthday party. They hadn’t expected me home, and were delighted to have a reason to get the family together again.

Family is very important to us.

I continued to introduce her as a friend. I overheard one of my cousins remark, He goes away for a month, and brings her back? I guess he’s not as dumb as we thought! I watched her play with my little cousins, ranging from newborn to ten. She looked great with the kids. I couldn’t help but think of her with my kids, our kids.

That night we slept in separate rooms.

The next day we went in to the City. We talked as I drove, and I got lost because I was distracted with her. She had mentioned in passing that she had never been to see the Museum of Modern Art. I took her to see Van Gogh, Matisse and Monet, while I wandered among the paintings looking for Rousseau, Gustav Klimt and that Italian whose name I can never remember. We turned out noses up at the Cubists, and lingered in the design gallery, appreciating chairs and cellphones. We walked in Central Park afterward. I told her stories of my times in the city, people I had met, jobs I worked. She laughed. We held hands, sat close to each other on a shaded rock.

I knew it couldn’t last.

My girlfriend called as we walked back to my car. I chatted idly for a few minutes, then smiled and replied. I love you too, I said before hanging up. I turned to her. I’m such a bastard.

That night, we returned to the beach. In the dark, we watched the stars, the lights of the great container ships, the glow of New York on the horizon. She leaned against my shoulder, and I got to feel protective.

I made us highballs back home and when the house was asleep, we ‘played’ some more. The next morning, I woke her with a kiss. I had never done that before. My father made us breakfast, and I drove her to the airport for her flight home. We didn’t say much.

She leaned over and kissed me before leaving. Thank you. For everything.

Later on, I went to my closest friend for advice. She and I got along like you and I do, I told him, except she’s a woman, and . . .

Yeah. He nodded. You need to figure out what you want.


I still don’t know what I want.

Tyler Evans
, Grade 5, Mrs. Rothman's class, Shady Grove Elementary
Vichizzle McNizzle, Pimp Daddy


Vichizzle: Holiday greetin's y'all. I guess today we talkin bout da spooks, da good ol night bumpins, GHOSTS. I here to tell ya today that ghosts are nuttin but a buncha bull shit, y'all. Peeps be always askin me "Hey Vichizz, d'ya believe in the ghosts? You believe dead people be walkin among us?" Know what I say to dat? "No, cuz they fuckin dead, y'all!" You ever see a person you know is dead up and walkin around? No, cuz they DEAD! Six feet under! Bought they fuckin farm, they worm food, fuckin dead! You know why I haven't seen my old buddy C-Bone since 1999? Cuz fuckin Leroy Clemmons busted 15 fuckin caps in his fuckin ass, dat why! His ass be fuckin DEAD! You can go grab a shovel and dig his boney ass up at Mount Pleasant Cemetary over by Fifth and Market if you don't believes me!

Ghosts? Shiiiiat! I don't believe that shit. Sure I likes me a ghost story now and again, but mothafucka lotta you people out there take it way too far. This bitch I used to date a few years back wanna take me to a fuckin haunted house. I'm talkin one claimin to be a real haunted house, not those goddamn places with a buncha white folk drenched in fake blood revvin fake chain saws. No, the whities there say they real ghosts there. I say "Ah-right, Vichizz check it out, hey, maybe might see a ghost!" So there we izz, me, Latisha, an my buddy Cleavant, with some young white dudes and dudettes, and some fuckin fat "psychic" lady (anutha bull shit story) supposedly talkin to they fuckin ghosts. Some o' them get freaked out at sounds like water goin through the pipes, floors creakin, they think they hearin ghosts! Damn psychic lady say she feel a "cold spot" and then uthas say they feel it too. There was a fuckin hole in the wall! It's an old piece of shit house with fuckin holes in it! No ghosts! I wanted my twenny-fi-dollah back! Shit! Well, Cleavant did shit his draws after hearin some muthafucka moanin and groanin in a nearby room. Turn out is was just somebody takin one big ol', holy-hurtin-crap and we wuz right by the bathroom! But I guess seein Cleavant screamin like a bitch might be worth price of admission!

Only time I evah thought I seen a ghost was when I got a holda some really fucked up weed, fucka who sold it to me lace it with PCP or some shit. I tripped my fuckin balls off! I saw Casper, I think, but he wasn't no friendly ghost! Not until he gave me a blow job, though. I don't like to talk about that much, ahh-right?

So to sum up, there ain't no ghosts, never has been, nevah will be! There's a lotta dead muthafuckas, but none o' them be hauntin! Peace out!

Tyler: I think ghosts are real. My friend Brittany, she says she saw a ghost once and she'd never lie to me. She says it was her Dad! Even though he died a long time ago - her Mom says he was killed by a big, big bear - she says late one night she saw him in the kitchen fighting with her Mom, asking her for money and some pills! I didn't know ghosts needed money and drugs, so that was kind of weird.

I like to watch all of those ghost story shows on TV around Halloween. They're cool. They clearly show that there are lots and lots of ghosts in lots of places! Like there was this lighthouse up in the East with ghosts and brewery in St. Louis with some. And New Orleans has a ton of them supposedly. Maybe after Katrina they have a lot more.

My Dad doesn't believe in them, either. He says when you die you either go to Heaven or Hell, like my sister and her black boyfriend, and that's it. It makes me sad when he says my sister is going to Hell. But anyway, there was this one Halloween, though, where he called me into the basement, said he found a ghost, I walked down those creaky, dark stairs and he jumped out with a sheet over his head yelling "Booga booga booga!" I peed my pants and couldn't sleep that night but later I thought it was kinda funny. My Dad says a lot of stuff is like that, not real funny at the time but funny later, like when Uncle Jed was cutting a branch off of this tree in his yard, but he was sitting on the branch he was cutting. When he was falling he hit a bunch of other branches on the way down. It was really scary at the time but now my Dad just laughs and laughs about it. My Mom doesn't because Jed's her brother and she just mostly cries when Dad jokes about it. But I think Jed would laugh, too, but mostly these days he just sits there and doesn't do nuthin.

When I die, I wanna be a ghost. Then I could haunt Stanley Hopkins. I hate him. He takes my lunch money and sticks my head in the toilet. I would stick his head in it all the time and make him fall down the stairs. That would be really cool! Happy Halloween, everybody!

11/24/04 == 12/20/04 == 12/21/04 == 12/30/04 == 01/31/05 == 02/10/05 == 02/14/05 == 05/18/05 == 07/25/05 == 09/01/05 == 10/24/05 == 12/22/05 == 07/20/06 == 10/31/06 == 02/07/07 == 07/13/07 == 12/18/07 == 9/17/08

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I'd heard of it before in passing, but I'd never really given much thought to it until now. 50,000 words in 30 days, you'd have to be insane, right? I mean, can you get both volume and quality in that time frame? But I'm gonna give it a shot. I know what I'm going to write, I have a game plan. I even got a couple other people to commit to it with me, our own little NaNoWriMo support group.

50,000 words in 30 days. Over 1600 words per day. 70 words per hour, assuming no breaks for sleeping and other trivialities like that.

I think I'm gonna need to take up drinking for this...

As a side note, it occurs to me that I should say something on the subject of the current commercialized monstrosity. Are you people insane? All of the other days of the year, what do we tell kids? "Don't take candy from strangers." What do we tell them on Halloween? Go to the houses of as many people that you don't know as you can and gorge yourselves on their candy.

Am I the only one who sees the double standard here?

kthejoker says Actually, as a transitional event, Halloween is great for teaching young kids to socialize and meet new people. Making them say "trick or treat" is literally a psychological hurdle.

I reply Not having kids and not being savvy to the inner workings of the human mind, I can't judge as to whether this is sound reasoning, but it makes sense to me. However, as an exercise in personal safety, I find Halloween to be somewhat lacking when most parents (or at least, the parents of most of the kids I ever knew) turn their children loose to eat their haul without verifying the integrity of said loot. Perhaps public awareness has raised since I used to go trick-or-treating, but I find myself doubting it.

I got back from Detroit today. I was on a debate tournament for my college, Weber State University. The tournament was held at Wayne State University. Both initials are WSU – was kind of weird. I got my butt kicked, went 2-4. I tried to convince myself the tournament was a social event, but since 5/8 people on trip smoked - wasn't too socially fun. But heck, its how I pay for college, pays for 1100 a semester – leaving me with like 500 in fees + books. I learned a lot of fundamentals – my partner was also new to policy too. So that didn’t exactly help. I was involved in high school in individual debate events, foreign extemporaneous 1st in region, national extemporaneous, Impromptu, and the event I was a runner up for nationals Congress. My high school didn’t even attempt a policy team, and I noticed policy is going out of style in high schools. But in college - either your college does only policy – or only individual events. The best part about competitions are the effects they put on my body. I’m lactose intolerant, and I’m not exactly regular with the bowel movements. These tournaments clean me out, like no matter how much is in me – it flushes. Way nice, I feel a couple of pounds lighter.

At my dorms, called the University Village I’m going to try to become an RA - Room Assistant or whatever - to get free boarding. $345.00 a month is what I’m paying - also gives the $2,200 scholarship I already receive for debating. Doesn't give more unfortunately. I'll try to survive till I become an RA but finances are tight right now. Beyond that I’m trying to keep up grades. Met with the professor over my major today. I have 75 hours of classes left. She explained all the confusing stuff - 6 more hours of classes I didn’t know I had to take in general area due to SI - BS stuff. Sucks. Only two classes in the 75 only taught during only fall or spring. I know when to take what got that all taken care of. Passed my last computer clep test last week.

Things with my girlfriend have been taken care of. Met with the bishop on October 22, 2006. The singles’ ward stake’s ideas of missions are way different than my home ward stake. They asked me if I still had a desire to serve and I broke down. They said they could get me there, and could still do it if I did everything they asked and waited the year from last offense. I really am going to try to do this but I’m hoping my parents don’t give me too much pressure. I want them to act like I'm not going so then if I do choose to go I'll truly know that it is what I want to do. Right now it is, I'd like to kill fickleness and I'm mad about how close I was to being able to leave as it was till I messed up.

Had to pay rent today, I have five dollars left to my name. Money is tight with my family too. I'm praying often for my dad to find a new job. Dan Pope is a head meteorologist for channel four in Utah, he’s up for contract in March and hasn’t found a new place to go. I'm doing my best to keep my expenses down, I'm cooking nearly 100% of all my meals. I probably couldn’t do a better job of keeping costs down. I still am struggling with keeping money in the bank though. I'm working on it - and if the RA thing panned through I'd really be ok. For Christmas I asked my family to just help me take care of essentials. My computer just blew up last week too – so many problems.

Regardless of these things I’m happy. School is making progress. I had some amazing food in Detroit. I ate some Greek that I’ll never know what it was. One thing was like fried goat cheese put that on bread, and I did eat lamb to the shock of my debate partner. Too bad the Tigers lost though.

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