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Eden in the rearview mirror

I am moved by places. I am tied to places.

For no particular reason, tonight I decided to find my old high school's website. The site is unremarkable at best, kludgy and slow in all honesty. To the observer, the school is much the same. Quite an ordinary place, small and average.

For me, it is more.

I have history there— more than one, in fact. There are the normal things, the formative things: classes, friends, activities, likes, and loves. Stumbling adolescent first steps into autonomy.

I took other steps there, too.

Bigger steps, disorienting steps, steps into the darkness. It's where I saw, where I knew, though I'd no idea what to make of any of it. It's where I found her and where I would lose her. It's where I learned to lead and to fight, where I found music and how important that might be, where I received gifts that excited me, puzzled me, frightened me, separated me. This was a history only I would know, through a glass darkly. A few were entrusted, but they would never see. Except one, perhaps.

In that place, the histories connected, collided, overlapped, merged. Banzai became a reality, after a fashion, even crashing a homecoming parade by her grace. She knew something, I think. She knew my eyes and told me so. Meeting her eyes across the table at my hearing, the hearing her office required her to chair, was a hard thing. There are worse endings, though. I saw one.

On the stage, the stage where so much happened and would, we connected. That's where the song came flowing from my fingertips (would it be the key, if only I could get it right?). It's where I felt her pull away and the pain that tore at me. It's where she fell. And when, at the Halloween Dance I DJed, I started the show by coming out of a coffin on that same stage, only I could fully appreciate the irony.

My heart broke for the first time in a hallway there, chocolate in a box falling to the floor as footsteps walked away. I took a message to heart: "There are things you just can't have."

That's not all I remember, and there are things I wish I could. I'll remember Hershey's chocolate milk from the back of the refrigerator case, with a Casey's cup and two straws. Basketball games, school plays, band practices, cafeteria dances. The view from the woods where my parents' house now stands. Things forseen, questions unanswered, risks taken and not, lies and truths told. The night sky over the football field behind the school, full of stars and breeze, wonder and possibility, hope and promise. I'll remember the things only I can, and I'll remember as much as I can.

I am moved by places, tied to places.

Comments

very cool. a bittersweet entry. I share many of the same sentiments about my highschool experience. Tried to forget it at first, but now I am learning to treasure it. Visits my dreams repeatedly. I remember the speaker at graduation saying that we would be tied to it more than we realized then.

Re:

This made me smile, both because of how alike we are in this and because I was one of the speakers at graduation. God only knows what I said, though my parents have it on videotape.

Re:

Really, were you a Christian back then? The guy who graduated top of my class gave the most existential, most faithless, and the most hopeless "we are all alone in the universe" speech imaginable. Fortunately a close friend of mine graduated second and had a chance to speak beautiful words of Christian encouragement and wisdom. Talk about the difference between light and dark!

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I was a Christian then, but I don't know that it came through in my speech (I had reasons to be concerned with jumbling church and state at the time-- I'm not sure how I'd approach it today). I don't know what came through, but people laughed and complimented me. They kind of have to, out of politeness.

P.S. Don't think for a minute that I graduated at the top of my class. I just had a way of getting what I wanted.

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ah yes, the obligatory laughter and compliments that everyone expects at graduation. even our hopeless boy got that- except no laughter. knowing you though, you probably did have something original to say worth the compliments you received.

I enjoy your posts and time to say so plus a question

Dear Banzai,
Just want to say I have been enjoying your
posts, or sometimes when they are sad saying
a prayer over them... they are very personal
and I havent quite seen how to comment...
but just this then..
and a question were you in Japan? the
rising sun flag and the banzai make the
question...I lived there for 19 years
as a missionary. heard my share of banzais
happily none behind a bayonet!
mostly sort of hip hip hurray as at
a train station parting.
anyway blessin's
+Seraphim Joseph Sigrist

Re: I enjoy your posts and time to say so plus a question

Thank you so much for your comment and your prayers. You, too, are a joy to read.

I've never been to Japan (though I took Japanese in college). What a great, important place for a missionary! As you likely know from your time there, in the West we tend to label "Banzai!" as a war cry when it actually has a much broader application in meaning and culture (Banzai means "may you live ten thousand years"),

As for me, it's a nickname I got during a confusing part of my history, and I thought it would be an appropriate name here. It sure has been.