Sunday, May 13, 2007

Remnants of a Psychosis

The homestretch goes a little something like this: Boy goes through hell putting everything aside for this one huge thing which turns out to be amazing and fun and worth the universe and was everything he can possibly hope for, travels to all these amazing places to be with all of these incredible people, gets the girl, has no money but hardly cares, comes back to the mess that has become of his academics in hopes of repairing the damage and begins the search for the grand outlook. The big picture.

The big picture involves the birthday, barrio, the breakup, the being broke and the belligerence that comes with college drinking, before the big thesis and the big break.

My birthday, in conjunction with my last Barrio Fiesta was, as it always is overshadowed by events before and after it, uneventful. I guess I shot my wad 23 years ago and after that, the birthday just meant a very significant section of my life has passed, and so much more is going on, and that is that. Something about that was really comfortable; though everyone did come to my house to shove cupcakes in my face. I loved it. Funny funny people doing funny funny things makes me happy. Barrio was of course absolutely amazing as always. I am going to miss the rush of performance. I am going to miss the families and friends who come and celebrate all of the work put into the show. I am going to miss the practices and the time together that has nothing to do with the show but rather has everything to do with being together, doing what we love. I am going to miss the people.

Ben & Jerry’s went under, and so did my bank account, suffering its most devastating loss of funds since the late 90’s. RIP ice cream. RIP to the place we always hung out at. RIP to the place where everyone knew your name and where you expected people to be. Just might be the best job I will ever have.

Our art show, Rocket Surgery was an absolute success! The food was great, the people all came and saw what Digo and I had worked so hard and so long for and the reception went further into the night than I had expected. The models could not have found better light to bask in, and the 2D work has never looked so good; there is a blissful release in showing exactly what I was made of to the people that mattered the most. Great way to end my art career here at Penn State.

The thesis was absolutely mind-fuckingly annoying. But I banged the gong. I submitted the damn thing. And I am getting my medallion. Now with my credentials, I am crossing my fingers that I get this internship with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Hollywood, Los Angeles CA so that I can get my life started and to know that all of this work was not in vain. That my destiny is real. And then move on to Houston, TX to live and work and be a grown up and have a beer on a Friday night with my friend and see family and go to work and leave work behind and to know that there is something beyond school, beyond my experiences here, beyond the happiness I’ve known in happy valley for 18 years.

The end of the year socials with PSFA and AMWMA were surreal. The idea of leaving destroys me inside, evidenced by my outburst during the presentations at the PSFA social. I received what could possibly be the best present of all; I could think of no way to repay my friends for giving me a tangible set of memories to take with me wherever I go; I only wish we can all have a set of shotglasses like these. As ex-officio, my role in PSFA is one of nostalgia. To once and again restore what once was, to step back and allow what will and should be, and to constantly remind those going through it all that this family grows stronger as the years go by with the people that join it, not weaker because of the people that have to go away. The future is bright.

And now as April’s unexpected snows make way for the sweltering summer sun that May brings, graduation looms near. And I sit here, helping up dear old Katherine, a resident at my parent’s home. Very recently a widow, she still sleeps with a picture of Dennis literally by her side, swaddled in a blanket just as she is. As she wakes and repositions herself to sitting up, she gazes lovingly at his picture.

“Are you hungry, Dennis?” she asks his image. She then turns to me and almost beckoning, she adds, “He’s always hungry.”

She strokes the glass of the picture frame gently with her old fingers, shaking her head longingly. “Are you cold, dear?” she asks him yet again. In response, she then pulls the blanket up over the picture and wraps it in layers of soft cotton, rising onto her walker and trudging towards the door. “I’ll be back after breakfast Dennis,” she calls out to the picture beneath the sheets, turning to me and adding, “he’s always so sad when I’m gone…”

Our grasp of our memory is a reflection of our need to belong, our need to remember the purpose of our life’s work and our need for solace in a world that picks up and leaves you behind when you finally decide to sit down and breathe. It’s a sad time for me just as it is exciting and scary. The only thing that will really get me through these next few months and perhaps the rest of this lifetime is to know I can turn to my memories. I can only hope, for all the experiences and all the hopes and dreams and disappointments these beautiful last couple of years have given me, that the memories of them ring as clear as the day you remember their words spoken and their fires burn bright.

Soundtrack: Norah Jones – Not Too Late