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.