Monday, May 31, 2010

bridge to who knows what

My calves screamed. My lungs pulled in the sticky air in heaves, and yet my legs continued their steady plodding. My Ipod turned off blocks ago and every muscle wanted to join the dead ipod, but I kept running, listening to the steady beat of my new purple shoes slamming the pavement, and the matching pace of my overworked lungs. I forced myself to go just one more block. Just to the next light pole. To the bridge.

As per the rules in high school, bridges are for walking, but after crossing the third one of the evening I was too busy watching the baby geese chasing after their mother to think about walking. Then I was across the bridge and only a block from home. But I was on the wrong side of the river, a toxic river not meant for swimming.

So I another mile and a half to get to the next bridge. Only this time I was too busy thinking about those physics problems about two trains approaching each other on the same track. One going 30 mph and the other going 45 mph and how soon they would meet, and what the calculated force of their impact would be. And before I knew it there went another bridge and I had no idea how far I was from home.

I knew exactly how far i was from my old house. Sixteen blocks. A mile and a half, if the blocks are long. But my parents moved four blocks east and I was way west. So that would be 20 blocks. A mile and three quarters maybe. They moved four short blocks.

And then I ran into another bridge. This time I walked the entire length of the bridge and realized I was a college graduate. I didn't have to think about how a group of geese is called a gaggle, or the formulas needed to calculate the velocity of trains, or how many blocks make a mile. Nope, don't have to do that anymore.

That thrilled me, and scared me all the same.

Then I ran home the long way, and avoided all the bridges...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

rain and redemption

She walked into the restaurant two steps behind him in an oversized t-shirt and sweats. Her hair was cut short and was meant to stick out in all directions, but instead, due to the pouring rain it lay plastered to her round oval face. It acted like an arrow, immediately drawing one's eye to the fading mark on her upper cheek. It was still black and blue, but rimmed with the yellow that comes with time. She acted as if nothing was wrong, yet there was something unsettling about the way she interacted with the man she walked in with. She stayed at least an arms length away from him. She picked the seat as far from him as possible, while still at the same table. She was skittish and flighty. Or maybe it was all in my imagination.

The mark on her face made me think about what I'm going to be up against. It made me wonder if she screamed when it happened. Or if the tears she shed were from anger, or pain, or a combination of both. It made me wonder if she took the person back into her life. Or if maybe she was just clumsy.

It made me wonder if she knew that for every man out there that hits and beats a woman, there is another who wants to whisper sweet nothings into her ear and hold her close.

For every person causing a bruise, a broken bone and a shattered heart, there is another waiting to soothe, heal and pull together the pieces. One who accepts, who encourages, who loves.

One who sees beauty when all we see is brokenness and weakness

It scares me to think that this is what I get to fight against this summer, but I think I'm ready.

They fight with fists. I'm fighting with something much more powerful. I'm fighting with love... well, lvoe.

Friday, May 7, 2010

for all you nerds out there....

This story requires a couple of sidebars. I couldn't decide if it was better to put them next to what they pertained to or to at the end. So they are at the end. You can decide to read it however you wish.****

I found it fitting that I spent my last class of my undergraduate college career surrounded by freshmen. It was a Calculus 2 class. It's a requirement for me to graduate, and while all of my peers found ways to fit it into their schedule in the early years of their college experience, i couldn't find the space until this semester. I've always been one to live on the wild side and wait for the last minute anyway. And besides, who doesn't like taking four year hiatuses* from math before trying to pick it back up again?

We went over the test we took on Wednesday, worked over some examples, and then reviewed a little for the final. The last example took only five minutes. We went through step by step a rather complex problem requiring a few derivatives, a couple theorems and a handful of algebraic tricks. As we neared the end of the problem, i realized the answer was going to break all the rules**.

So I realized. In my last math class. We were about to divide by zero. I sat up straight. Put both hands flat on the table, and clenched every muscle as the professor started putting a zero in the denominator. I'm pretty sure i even closed my eyes in anticipation. After a few seconds of silence, i opened them slowly, looked around and tested to see if my language predominately involved the third letter of the alphabet.

It didn't. I lived. And divided by zero.

Take that Mrs. Herter.***

*this is in fact the appropriate plural form of hiatus. I had to look it up. College hasn't taught me everything.

**I was one of those kids that never questioned math. It always made sense to do exactly what the teacher said. I was trusting and willing to believe them. So when I was taught never to divide by zero, i knew that meant to NEVER divide by zero. It was one of those things that could bring the world to a screeching halt. Like a tower of babel type situation that resulted in everyone's language, everywhere to be only words that start with c's. If we divided by zero, we would all be saying... car cotton clamor conundrum, which literally translated would mean, what the hell did we get ourselves in to?

***Mrs. Herter was my third grade math teacher. We did mad minutes and learned our times tables. She told me never to divide by zero. Because it wasn't allowed. She also pointed at things with her middle finger. It was kind of unsettling.

****who explains blog posts? .....however I do need to note, for all those who know math. Dividing by zero actually is not valid, however it was applicable in this case seeing as we were taking the limit and applying L'Hopital's rules. So dividing by zero works. But only in that case. Still awe inspiring. Or at least a cause of self-implosion.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

when the words don't come

As I sit down to write what could possibly be the last paper I turn in for a non-science class at Jewell, I find myself drawn here to express myself rather than the cold empty page on which my assignment will be turned it.

It's an odd feeling to be sitting this close to the end.

I've drawn away from those who still have years to put into this institution. I can see their immaturity from miles away. It's something I've never noticed before.

The reflection process is something strange to begin. As I walk through the buildings that I've called home for the past four years I find myself remembering small memories of things that happened in certain rooms, people who have occupied them, even the crazy things I have thought in them. It's almost like i'm floating through this dream world, picking items up, taking in their worth and saying goodbye before setting them back down.

Goodbye chair, goodbye lab where I put in hours of heartbreak and sweat, goodbye favorite pipetteman that fits in my hand perfectly.

The library is humming tonight. No voices raised in laughter or small talk, just the hurried rushed voices that feel the stress of the impending deadlines. It sounds a little like a beehive. Work is being accomplished at a dizzying rate by people who haven't been in the library all semester. And still my paper has a few lines splattered on it in reference to the first journal I have to review.

Goodbye rocker that held me every time I cried. Goodbye awkwardly large toilet bowl, goodbye bricks worn smooth by the trudging of college students. Goodbye bell tower...

The library siren beeps, pulling entire groups away from their presentations and papers. False alarm. The work continues... and still I have two lines.

Goodbye favorite toilet. Goodbye plug-ins in the Perch that I fought administration for tooth-and-nail, goodbye not-so secret Senate office.

The deadline looms closer, and yet I can't pull my thoughts from the silly unimportant things here that will be missed. Maybe you have to start with the little things before you can begin to say goodbye to the bigger ones.

Maybe you just have to tough if up and rip the bandaid that covers it all off.

here goes nothing.....