The last bit of summer vacation is pressing in on us, and it has largely become this: the frantic run from pool to platform on repeat, a near maddening loop of frenzied obsession, the intense need to squeeze in as much flight, falling, plunge and ascension as possible before the school bell once more rings.
He is reborn over and over again in an unrealized effort to slow the sinking of the sun.
It is both beautiful and somehow tragic in its simple impossibility; it is all at once the sweetness of youth and his slipping grasp on it. My heart swells and tightens as I watch him hurry to soar and float once more.
I feel him breathing life inexplicably into me as he powers through his, and I realize that I love the bittersweet pulse of this life.
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Because every time something reminds me of the time when I lived there, my chest aches.
I miss you, Austin.
I miss the friends I made there. I miss the guy for whom all food is Mexican. I miss the redhead with the unruly toddler who asked me, “did you smell my toot?” I miss the die-hard bargain shopper who loves all things lemon and tea. I miss the guy who showed me “too many colors!” I miss the kitchen ninja who made my hair become strands of many hues. I miss that lovely blonde girl who autographed my boobie. I miss the unruly, late-night-TC-eating, prankster. I miss she of the ripped skirt. I miss them all.
I miss hating, loving, and being challenged by my job. I miss my bosses, my employees, and my customers. (I also kind of don’t miss my bosses or my customers. There were moments, okay?) I miss late night floor changes that made me want to rip my face off, followed by late night drinking with co-workers, where I generally laughed what was left of my face off. I miss being late to work, because it meant I had a schedule. I miss being a part of the outside world.
I miss Pastor Jeff and his Hawaiian shirts. I miss how he looks kind of like Phil Jackson, but in a cuddly, teddy bear way. I miss being a greeter at church and holding the door for people. I miss the feeling of being in the place where I was baptised.
I miss our large dog in the backyard who used to chew pieces of our house off when he got bored. I miss the way he was over 100lbs, but The Mexican, at 5lbs, was in charge of him. Because he was a gentle giant. I miss how when we first got them both as puppies, they drove me crazy until I thought I would rip all my hair from my head. I miss the way they used to play together and bring me endless joy.
I miss giggling like a school girl, but then kind of throwing up in my mouth a little, as we passed by Hippie Hollow on our way to other spots along Lake Travis. I miss playing at the lake all day and then sipping a margarita on the deck of The Oasis. I miss feeling sun drunk and heady, sitting on that deck, set into the side of the cliff, as I stared into John’s eyes while the sun set over the water right below us. I miss the way they used to ring the bell right at the moment the sun slipped below the horizon, and how everyone in the whole place clapped.
I miss celebrating the sunset with strangers.
I miss living in the house we owned together… young, careless, stupid. I miss late-night partying and reckless behavior. I miss deciding to sleep until noon, just because it felt so cuddly in his embrace. I miss going out just for doughnuts at 2am if we felt like it. I miss taking my youth for granted. I miss being carefree.
I miss my garden. I miss being able to dig up whatever part of the yard I damn well pleased and plant anything my heart desired there. I miss the lime tree I planted just so that I’d never have a Corona in my hands that lacked a lime. I miss living where a lime tree would actually thrive.
I miss Taco Cabana. Whataburger. Kerbey Lane. CHUYS. (I would kill a man with my bare hands right now for that creamy jalapeno dip.)
I miss this guy quite a lot:
I miss bare-foot weather 361 days of the year and more blue skies with puffy clouds than you can dream.
I miss the way you look, the way you feel, and who I was when I was with you, Austin.
I could go on, but what’s the point, really?
I miss you, Austin.
I wonder if you miss me.