Alive

The summer before I turned 17, my family flew to Vegas.  I glued my face to the window of our rental car all the way from the airport to Bally’s.  I had never seen anything so marvelous and gaudy and utterly sinful.  I fell instantly in love.

I followed my parents from casino to casino, jaw dropped, eyes popped.  I had never been crammed in amongst so many people.  This trip occurred before Vegas tried to make anything family-friendly, so there was nothing much for a sixteen year old to do, legally.  Yet, I was never bored.  I was awed, stupefied, entranced.  The day was one long adrenaline rush, and I shivered from it.

That night, I stood at the picture window of the room I shared with my brother.  I watched the traffic, both foot and vehicular.  Synchronized floods of people in the scorching heat of July.

I wrote poetry about the city, about how the air was so dry that all tires squealed, how someone was always at my father’s elbow with a drink, how the lights of the Flamingo flashed in my brother’s dark, stoned eyes.  I hadn’t felt so alone and yet not alone since New Years in New Orleans, but this was different.  It felt good.

We left Vegas the next morning.

Five nights later, I stood outside a cabin at Grand Canyon Village, stared into the sky, and beheld a near-record meteor shower.  The lights in all the cabins and buildings were off, so it was utterly dark.  I stood there, holding my mother’s hand like the child I no longer believed I was, and I made wishes because that’s what you do when you see shooting stars.

I felt so completely connected with everything around me, even more so than looking over the rim of the canyon and feeling like I could catch a warm updraft in my over-sized T-shirt and hover like the eagles and condors.  I felt like I could fall forever, into the canyon or into the sky.  I felt like I belonged, that even though I was a tiny nothing on a tiny nothing planet, I existed and was loved.  I stood there for over an hour, with my finger pointed at the sky, and cried, and I don’t cry. It wasn’t until I met Fluffy that I felt so utterly alive again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s