As one will tend to do at least once in their coming of age story, I recently discovered that I was an unsightly degree of l o n e l y . It was the kind in which people could see the hideous purple and blue bruise of a rain cloud hovering over my head, but it wasn’t something that anyone, including myself, wanted to bring up in social company. I was unquestionably afraid of the forthcoming and paramount change heading my way, and it felt like I was trying to keep too much anxieties under control. There was a time at the tail end of May that I remember quite clearly in which I laid in the grass alone, no cares, no worries, and content with life; but somewhere in-between May and July the game that I had been learning to play since my last Great Loneliness circa 2015 had changed, and I was taken aback no doubt.
Yet, the introduction of O s p r e y returning from her cheese wagon adventures a November before added a new passionate character into the folds of my book-like conscious universe. She always had a way of throwing glitter and glue over a dismal situation in such style that you could see the disaster, but with her charm it became a more attractive alternative then ten minutes prior. From the very start of our friendship, I could feel my mask slip off as she pulled out from her bag of tricks a red chaise longue allowing me to drop with a heavy sigh into our unlicensed therapy sessions. We found method in madness as patient was sometimes counselor and counselor was sometimes patient. The two of us flipped back and forth between Insanity to Voice of Reason depending on the situation as well as depending on the role the other desperately needed.
I wouldn’t particularly say that summer had been good to us thus far. It had been a summer of work, a summer of tears, a summer of heartache, and a summer of mosquito bites ranging up and down my legs like nickle-sized, red reminders that there would always be something ready to eat me alive. Those darn parasitic bites really made me crazy, and if we had to contribute summer madness to anything, gun to the head and all, it was due to them. Could one not be safe in their own town? On their own park bench watching the sun set? It was beauty, yes, and it was p a i n .
Although there were some things about this particular summer that I’d soon choose to forget, there were also times in which the universe aligned to create Perfect Moments. I hope you know the ones I mean. Every person deserves at least a few. This one was a warm, yet breezy night at the end of July’s month. Osprey and I stretched a green camping duvet over the grass in the park, took our shoes off, and felt the welcomed sensation of dirt between our toes before climbing on top of our small blanket island in the middle of the football field length of earth. Then as one is inclined to do at least once before the summer draws to a close, we lay shoulder to shoulder sharing secrets and insecurities with the intentions of pushing each other forward but doubting our own selves simultaneously.
I think we both had the general feeling of fear that we do not add up inside. As if self-esteem and love were just math problems we couldn’t solve, but we sure were relentlessly working on them. I think we wondered what we really mattered in the grand scheme of it all, and I still wonder that same question in this hour on a different summer’s night. But I do have to make the thoughtfully considered assumption that you do matter ( Osprey ), at the very least, to me. Who else, but you, would sit with me as the wet grass soaked through their blanket and help find peace within my inner abyss?
And so, we gazed at those stars even as our core temperatures dropped lower and shivers consumed us. Even as the mosquitoes circled us mercilessly: the vultures of a Fresno night.
but, oh, how good it felt to be consumed by a simpler kind of insignificance, dwarfed by the magnified universe while under those s t a r s .