Friday, July 3


My best friend and i did a lot of drugs in high school. (and even before that if we're really counting.)

Her name was a month and people often mistook us for twins, though if you looked at all you would see that she had freckles, blue eyes and a huge, laughing mouth next to my narrow nose, hazel eyes and perpetually worried brow. We wore a lot of bracelets (and she, necklaces) and painted our fingernails religiously and often. i carried all of my stuff around in a paper lunch sack because no one ever really taught me what a purse was. When folks realized i was carrying around playing cards, cigarettes, makeup and a hackey sack in that crumpled brown bag instead of a sandwich and a piece of fruit there was always just the slightest hitch in the corner of their smile and a very particular tiny flicker over their eyes– so infinitesmally brief, but i never didn't see it.

(shame was a constant undercurrent)

We drank beer behind the businesses on the main street near our homes, cut class as many times a day as we possibly could, and tripped out in the grocery store, on the railroad tracks, up in trees, in the parks... But maybe my favorite time was the night that i snuck over to her house (through the window, like ever and always) after bedtime and she and i dropped acid in her room. We laid on our backs in the pure and pulsing darkness, listening to (no: feeling) Led Zeppelin and waving sticks of incense around in the vast depths above our heads, watching the glowing ember-trails for hours, endless hours... sometimes we would smoke cigarettes and exhale up into that darkness, sensing the plume of smoke rather than actually seeing it. i think there was laughter but it was that quiet, awe-hushed almost-giggly kind.

One cloudy afternoon she and i dropped some hits and then set out for the 7-11 to buy some candy (Lemonheads, always with the Lemonheads. Still can't look at those boxes straight). The tabs hit us way quicker than usual, and within blocks we were saying 'whoa' a lot and looking at each other, alternately bug-eyed and half-lidded. The air gradually became sweeter, and we filled our lungs with what felt like euphoric sugar sunshine every time we took a breath. Palms, sweating. Tongues, tasty. Treetops rustled, and lilted gauzily while roots grew down, way deep down in the dark and acrid earth.

Then suddenly: Waitwaitwait– stop. She put her arm out in front of my chest, standing next to me. i exhaled contentedly and let my eyes close, smiling a small stupid smile. Hmmm?

Did you feel that?

Feel what? (i was feeling lots of everything)

That– that wind.
i slowly turned my head, puzzled.

i don't....... know? i offered, unsure. (i did not really know anything)

She seemed suspicious, of It All.

(As i opened my eyes the sun fractured through the clouds, sparkling all around us. Cautious birds slowly began to chirp again, and the grass swooned and bloomed into new and greener hues. i smelled a warm rosebush and watched as an airplane swam in silence through the clouds very far away, then heard someone singing along loudly to a song in their car while they crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, which was nowhere near us. Life was happening all over, and it was good. i wanted to rise up, up into the steadily blueing and cottony sky and enjoy all of that life, in that exact moment and every single one thereafter. It was so much, but just enough.)

After a few moments of looking about us guardedly, she lowered her arm. Ok, come on. The coast was clear, i guess. i snapped back down to the rough concrete sidewalk and ticking sprinkler on the lawn next to us. The hedges pulsed, and seemed to titter.

i took a deep breath, grabbed her hand and began to move, almost on tiptoe, suddenly concerned with the possibility of confronting this unknown force.
And within two steps i felt it.

That wind.

We looked at each other, startled, and stopped moving again. The wind abruptly ceased. We waited, then took a few tentative steps, got back into a pace, and by gum there it was again. So it was us! We were doing it! (i felt lighter than air itself. were my feet on the ground?)

In a blink, everything changed. This was a pure, clear, joyful breeze. It danced around us and caressed our bare arms playfully. It was happy to be here; only benevolence existed. We held hands and laughed and laughed, and continued on our merry way, smiling with the new knowledge that we were creating the wind. All else around us still existed, but was washed and faded into a background. It was only us, with that sweet rush of air following along.

We were powerful, and kind.

(All we ever wanted was happiness)