As the chill in the outside air grew colder and everyone around me bundled up. As the colors of the leaves began their last marvelous show and everything became pumpkin flavored, I knew it was time. The date of expiration was nearing me. I remember the issue date, or to a 16 year old me, the best day on planet earth. Though I was sneezing and coughing and had the worst kind of flu, nothing could rain on my parade. After the nerves settled and I managed to park the car back in the lot, I knew that I finally earned my ticket to the freedom my 16 year old self so desperately desired. I ran inside, and with a nod of my head a mob of screaming, hugging, and excited family members surrounded me. I had the largest smile any human could have produced and that smile stared up at me until my 21st birthday this year. Something I also remember thinking about that day was the big, bold expiration date listed at the bottom of my pink ticket to freedom. I remember thinking of the year 2014 as if it was a land far far away, a time so distant and so unattainable I had no idea what the world had in store for me. Of course I had the bigger questions of things like, would my country still be in war, how would technological advances affect the children of the time and would we be able to cure cancer, but lets my honest here I was 16 so I mostly thought about me. I remember spending hours upon hours attempting to imagine what exactly the world would be like for me in the intimidating, far off year of 2014. Right before I went to go exchange that picture of a doe eyed child for an adult woman, I was forced to reflect on the time spent between issue and expiration. At the ripe age of 16 I would not in a million years have pictured my life how it is today. I would not have seen any of it coming. The struggle of losing my grandfather with such speed in knocked us all off our feet. The way my mother and father can now be in the same establishment and even shake hands. The car I am driving, the place that I work and the nearing end of my college experience. I would not have foreseen the loss of some friendships and the making of new glorious ones. The meeting of the love of my life and my very best friend. That by the time the expiration date grew close I was planning a June wedding and looking forward to the challenges and adventures life has in store for a 21 year old me. At 16 I had the world at my feet, no fear in my eyes or dreams that were too big. And, while some realities of the world have set in as I am crossing over into my 21st year, I am proud that I still have large dreams and an optimistic outlook on life. The things that I have accomplished in those years between those bold dates make me proud. The things I have in store for my future, the goals and dreams I am working toward achieving and the understanding that there is no way I can predict what my life will be like between issue and expiration makes be believe that in some distant universe where time is endlessly existing, I have made my 16 year old self very proud.
Screw Cancer. It’s like a burglar that comes at midnight. It comes in the middle of an unsuspecting night, while you lay fast asleep cozy in bed next to a loved one, or your favorite stuffed animal. Whether it tricks the lock or scales the windows and doors it somehow manages to slip through the smallest unexamined crack, and finds a way in to the place you always assumed would be safe. It defiles your home and leaves you feeling vulnerable and confused. It comes swift and bold and strong. It moves silently, slipping into every room without you having a chance. It ransacks your life, it goes through your belongings and it makes sure you don’t hear a damn thing while it carries out its selfish intentions. It works tirelessly, to gather all the things you hold dear so it can take it for itself. And, by the time you wake up and roll out of the warm comfort of your bed, by the time you walk down the stairs, by the time you catch it, it has removed everything that holds any real value and leaves not a trace of evidence behind to have a culprit to blame. Screw Cancer. It takes your TV and your curtains and all the money you have ever saved. It takes your peace of mind and any idea of security you have ever had. It takes your favorite necklace and your favorite shoes and any favorite you have ever had. Just like the midnight burglar it is needy and silent and fast. It’s only motivation is to take all the things you love and leave you feeling helpless. It has no remorse and no conscience. It is quiet and cunning and destructive. Screw Cancer. If only we had a vague sketch artist drawing of you that we could pin down Criminal Minds style and lock you away for life. If only we had a leading witness to testify against you in trial. If only we had a face to blame. If only we had a way to get all the things back you stole. If only you weren’t the best thief there ever was.
My rearview mirror fills,
With a skyline I once knew,
Though I know the skyline remains the same,
What’s different can’t be viewed.
The memories fill my mind,
As I take a look around,
Of the trees that changed from green to gold and all the buildings that don’t make a sound,
A smile creeps upon my face,
As I think of our time in this place,
Our laughter that once filled the streets,
When time came easy and love came free,
With every brick I step upon,
Your memories fill my mind,
Of a time that was so magical it forever changed my life.
So when you’re down and lonely,
Or you happen to stumble across downtown,
Remember though surrounding change,
What we have remains all the same,
A time when the future was only tomorrow,
The past just yesterday,
A time when we came together and simply enjoyed one another,
The skyline slips out of view,
As I drive away,
But the happiness we once shared and a smile still remains.
Even after all this time,
I crave you like the crackling soil of earth craves water after the summer of no rain,
I miss you like the sun will forever miss the stars,
I long for you like the trees long for the warmth only spring can wrap them in,
I need you like the wind needs a forest, because after all, if it wasn’t for the shuffling of the trees on a cool autumn day how would anyone know that the pure existence of a breeze,
I desire you like the soft arms of the ocean desire the rough hands of land,
and I thirst for your soul like the poor lad that has gotten lost in the desert searching for anything to quench his undying thirst,
Even after all this time.