The gust of wind attacks us as soon as we step foot out of the grocery store. The stack of groceries was piled high on the small cart, and somewhat resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I hung onto one bag, while my mom controlled the cart. It threatened multiple times to tip, but never followed through with it.
Suddenly, one lightweight bag flew across the parking lot and was out of our control in a second. I stood, frozen with disbelief and some amusement. Part of the bag, the tissue boxes, stayed close, but the Ziploc containers sailed nearly to the other entrance. My mom ran to chase the containers, which I would later find out that they were her favorites, and left behind the cart, nearly being impossible to steer, but I try anyway. I finally feel a break in the strong gusts, and hope for the winds to end. Much to my dismay, it doesn’t. I turn around quickly enough to see that my mother had successfully collected the containers and that there was a car coming behind me. The panic begins to rise in my stomach and I turn around to face the challenge of the driving the cart. Only twenty more feet, I think trying to make this seem better than the reality.
Eventually, we reach the car and quickly toss everything in the car. Once we are safely inside, we see yet another person fall victim to the wind. Or more accurately, their returnable pop bottles and cans. After driving out of the large parking, we see the smallest of the cans, already making its way to the main road.
Finally deciding that petting Lucy is getting absolutely nowhere to get rid of all her pent up energy, I move towards the garage door and she runs full speed at it. I barely have time to open the door before she manages to not run into it. As soon as the demon runs out the door, she has a cat in her mouth. It is still alive, and disturbingly seems to be enjoying it. She cowers and I sigh, separating the two and looking around the garage to see what could help me. My eyes descend on Lucy’s bright pink soccer ball (a past replacement of the purple one) and I go to pick it up, only to feel that it’s flat and probably wouldn’t even roll on its own. I then remember that she put multiple holes in it over the last summer, from dragging it around with her teeth, and sigh. I look around and find one of my first soccer balls from the rec days at Oakwood, a blue ball from when I hated the color pink. I pick up the blue ball and feel that is almost completely pumped up and I toss it to the prancing puppy. She eagerly chases after it and hits the ball, not very delicately, with her paws, attempting to trap it and bite down on it and failing because of her short legs which I can’t help but feel sympathetic towards.
The continuous cycle of Lucy chasing the ball, trapping it, and sometimes bringing it to me, continues for about 15 minutes until I assume Lucy is tired. Of course, I should never underestimate the powers of Lucy. She isn’t tired and wants food, which I comply to, assuming that she didn’t get fed this morning.
I text my mother later, asking the very question of whether she did get fed, only to find out that she was in fact fed.
Now, as I write this, Lucy lays on the floor, completely cashed out, and hasn’t moved in half an hour. This may be somewhat concerning to some, but from the soft snores coming from her sprawled out body, she’ll be okay with sleep.
Glancing out of the car window, watching the miles of bare fields, usually full of corn and beans, makes the area seem so sad. The bare land, the awkward “only in spring” temperatures, and the dark sky make up the epitome of loneliness. The sky reflects your mood, I suppose. Even so, it doesn’t set the bar very high.
Turning to position my body so that I am facing the front of the car, I am brought into the quiet conversation. I’m asked about my day, and what happened while at catechism, and immediately, I feel my eyes widen with childlike innocence that seems to appear whenever I’m asked a direct question. I take the stage, so to speak, and start explaining what they missed out on. By the time I’m done, which only took about a mile to do so, we arrive back at home and I set down and out of the truck to be greeted by two energetic puppies, one wanting all the attention in the world and wiggling her whole body to get it, and another, much calmer dog, just wanting his head and ears scratched. I appease them both, and spend extra time on Lucy, and walk into the house with them following behind me. By eight o’clock, I am ready to go to bed and the day to be over.
The rain drizzles onto my shoulders and I turn around as quickly as I can, back into the safety of the garage. I reach into the green bucket, trying to grab a bright red umbrella to shield the rain from me. Being able to twirl it around is just a perk, I think giddily as I splash water all over. My loyal companion, Lucy, walks with me on all fours as she enjoys the rain just as much as me.
I walk out to the coop and let out my birds, only to have them stop halfway out of the coop to dig for bugs in the mud. I laugh, thinking how dirty my all white chicken will be by the end of the day. I continue my mission through the rain of getting at least one egg for my mother who is baking cupcakes. I don’t walk back into the house empty handed (thankfully) after I was told “not to come back in until they squeezed one out,”. I was slightly disturbed, but listened anyway. I return to the kitchen with nine eggs, all ready to be washed.
I set up the final pictured filled canvas of a player on my big brother’s hockey team and immediately start reminiscing about how these pictures came about. I remember standing by the glass surrounding the ice, and being scared out of my mind. The number of hits taken right in front of me always made me flinch at the beginning of the season, but by the end of the season, I was more interested in getting a picture of their facial expressions. I think about how much I’ve grown, and how much they have as a team. The end of the season banquet is always a bittersweet moment, especially for the seniors, and I can’t help but feel sad in thinking that next year is the last year I’ll ever be able to see my brother play hockey. I’ve spent nine seasons in these rinks, and it’s sad to think how quickly it’ll all be over.
For the first time all night, I’m able to plop down onto the couch and not worry if it messes up my hair. I flex my aching feet, from both walking around with and without heels on. As I look at the strips of photo booth pictures I’ve accumulated over the whole night, I let a small smile take over my face playing over the dance in my head. As chaotic and loud as it may have been, it was great. The random dancing, weird inside jokes, awkward and unexplainable pictures poses taken with friends, and collection of smiles and laughs, make it worth all the aches and pains in the world.
After all, it’s the memories and pictures that last longer than any hairstyle, nail polish, or makeup could ever last.
I look around the abandoned hallways, secretly rejoicing the silence of the afterschool hours, as I walk to the cafeteria and only see a few teachers on my way. I turn the corner, and finally arrive at my destination. I walk into the classroom, and finally see the folder I came all the way across the school for.
I walk back into the first computer lab of two, glancing out the set of red double doors surrounded by glass seeing yet another cool, cloudy spring day, only to smell the scent of “middle schoolers” in an extremely large dose. I keep walking, despite my nose’s protests, and feel the intense heat coming from the large windows to my right. How the multiple classrooms of eighth graders sit in here for an entire hour and accomplish anything, is beyond me.
I somehow manage to walk through the entire computer lab without passing out or gagging, and I arrive in my current safe haven, it would seem. It’s another computer lab of course, but this time, it smells of books (for some odd reason, but I’ll take it) and is one of the coldest rooms in the entire building. I sit at my computer and successfully manage to accomplish everything I need I needed to do.
I put my hands against the swirling fabric of my skater skirt for the umpteenth time today, trying to keep it from rising too much. The newfound, and much appreciated, spring air surrounds me and gives off a gentle breeze. I breath in the fresh, warm air and can’t help the twirl and light laugh I let out looking around the space around me.
I finally stop spinning and glance down at my dog, her small face squirming for my attention. I bring my hands down to her face, holding it and petting her ears. I look into her eyes and I can see how much she missed me. And as I gaze back at her and continue to pet as she sees fit, I can’t help but think how I missed her.
We walk into the terminal, fully prepared to board this flight and get out of LA. But it seems, so are the other 150 people. It’s hot because of the windows, the terminal is crowded, my bag is heavy, and I just wanna get this over with. The Siberian Husky that may have kept me sane ten minutes ago, is doing nothing for me now. Finally, after the people who need extra assistance board, we are called and can finally board. The amount of relief that flows through me is insane. I walk to my seat with my dad and stow my backpack, only keeping out headphones, gum, my book, and my phone.
Almost a half hour later, we can see, and feel, the first signs of movement. And that, is where I fall asleep.
A few minutes later, once we have descended into the sky, I feel my body being shaken by my dad as we fly over the Pacific Ocean before turning back to Minnesota. I awaken only for that, just long enough to take quality pictures, and fall back asleep.
Our journey is far from over, but for the time being, (and the next two hours) I’m getting all the rest I can to make up for the time change.
I look around, feeling like I was on top of the world. I tried countless times to get a good picture of all of the scenery, but failed because of multiple plants in the way. I huff and turn a different way trying to take a picture of the famous Hollywood Sign.
Eventually, I get a good picture, having to settle for iPhone quality, not used to not having my trusted Nikon. The picture comes out slightly fuzzy, due to the distance from the sign.
We walk to the edge of the observatory and I let out the breath I didn’t know I had been holding. The entire view of Hollywood to my right and Los Angeles right in front of my, displaying the traffic we had just fought through. The simplicity of the entire city amazed me. It seemed so claustrophobic when you were down in the city, with the heavy and unrelenting traffic, and the different sections of the city, but up here, everything was different. It all seemed so simple, when everything was so far away.