“What-ifs” – Good or Bad?

Sitting on Zach’s bed, I stared at the TV and pondered a timeless question, “How did this happen?” Throughout the day I had been helping him move into a new apartment, and seeing all of his things; the little knick-knacks around his room, brought back memories.

I knew I still had feelings for Zach. I knew I still loved him. I knew that he was the only boy I ever really felt comfortable with. But just as he had expressed regret that we hadn’t taken things farther, he had made plainly clear that “those days are over.”.

But something in me still thought that there might be something between us that was more than friendship. Part of me thought there still may be a possibility for romance. But laying there, a body’s width away from him, I couldn’t muster the courage to take his hand, to look him in the eye, and tell him how I felt.

We all imagine situations and examine them through the filter of an almighty variable “What if…”. My better judgement told me (well, shouted really) to let things go; to forget it; that the spark between us was gone. But my own internal “what if” kept holding me back. As we moved furniture and unpacked boxes in his new apartment, I couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel if this were our apartment; if we were together.

I looked at Zach and suddenly the cold reality of the situation seemed to slap me. We weren’t together. There was someone else for him. Most horribly, I blew it. A year ago when he moved to into the city I completely ignored the emotions between us. As he would later tell me, “I would have dated you in a heartbeat.”

But then I started to think of my soon-to-come move to Chicago, and the new start that I would have there. My “what ifs” began again. Only this time, they were what-ifs for the future. These are the good kind; the kind that give us hope and stir ambition. Maybe I’ll be happy there. Maybe I’ll make great friends, and maybe, just maybe, with a little luck, I’ll finally find someone that I can be happy with.

So as I begin my journey to a new city and a new chapter of my life, will my ambitions lead me to great things, or will they leave me wondering, “What if?”.

What I keep in my closet…

I love my closet.  Just as an action-movie hero has their secret compartment filled with guns, I have my closet.  It is, after all, nearly the same thing if you dress to kill.

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The source of my powers… The bigger, the better.

I was going through some old clothes recently and came upon an interesting flanel shirt.  It matches literally nothing else in my wardrobe, but I keep it around anyway.

My little brother, Max, has always looked out for me.  Whenever I need him, he’s there.  One night, when I was 18, I was hideously manic.  I was that kind of no-longer-in-control manic episodes.  It was just a la-dee-da, “do whatever comes to mind” type of night.  It was spring, but it was still a cold night, and the rain made it feel even colder.  This next part’s where the mania comes in.

Buzzing high up in mania, I decided that I wanted to walk through the woods behind my parent’s house, just to feel the rain against my skin.  Needless to say, I was soaked and freezing before long.

Wandering around in between the trees in nothing but jeans and a t-shirt, I became aware of a voice calling my name.  It was my brother.  When he came up to me I was shivering violently – my lips nearly purple and my skin completely white and pale.  I began to get upset, just as much with the rain as I was with myself.

My brother, wearing the flanel shirt, took it off and put it around me.  It was soaked in seconds but the gesture seemed to calm me a bit.

These days, seeing it in my closet is a reminder of how unstable things used to be, how well things are going now, and the bond that Max and I share.  That’s why I keep the shirt.

My favorite book has blank pages.

There’s a certain excitement inherent when I see a blank page. All of the stories or chronicles that it could hold leave me with a sense of anticipation. So you can imagine how an entire blank diary must make me feel.

Last month I went through the things in my grandmother’s condo. She died two weeks prior and while she hadn’t lived there in over 5 years, it was still filled with her belongings. Five years ago she moved in with her boyfriend of 25 years, so all of the day-to-day items were gone. Left behind were decorations and personal items she had gathered throughout her life.

She traveled the world, and everything in that house told the story of where she’d gone. I found an ashtray from a hotel in Amsterdam. There were hand-painted porcelain dishes from Japan. Inside a cigarette tin from the UK laid a folded five pound note. A piece of stationary note from The Ritz in Paris had a bit of wine spilled on it and what appeared to be a last name and a phone number.

As I gathered a few of these things and put them in a small box I came across one more item that made me gasp with excitement  It was a journal. The cover was a colorful weave of fabric and it had a frayed string tied around it. I untied the string, hoping to find some record of where she was when she got it. To my disappointment, each and every page was blank. But no matter. I put it in the box with everything else and left her condo for what would be the last time.

It sits on the dresser...waiting.

It sits on the dresser…waiting.

The journal now sits on my dresser, waiting for words to fill it. It’s beautiful. From the weave and color of the fabric it looks to be from the Middle East (in my very non-expert opinion). There’s a smell of spice or incense coming from it. I want to write in it. At first, though, I couldn’t seem to think of any subject which would be worthy of a book with such personality.

A few things came to mind. I thought that perhaps someday I’d meet someone who is so special to me that he would be worthy of the journal. That seemed a bit risky though. I wouldn’t want to have to burn it, after all.

Then, it occurred to me something with which I could fill the diary that would fit its personality perfectly. I don’t know where it came from and I probably never will. But I want to see the world, as she did. I want to explore to the four corners. As I do, and I will, I’ll record that journey in this book.

Who knows where it will someday end up. Perhaps someday someone will find it in my condo and, while sitting on my couch, take a trip around the world.