Monday, March 24, 2008

I heart Easter

I love Easter. Some prefer Christmas with its evergreen hope of a Savior’s birth and myriad gifts from a guy a few days away from a massive coronary. My old roommate loved Halloween in its confront your fears via staring down goblins in paper masks simplicity. My mom loves Thanksgiving. She has always taught others to embrace gratitude as a route to happiness. But me, I love Easter.

And it’s not just because I’m guaranteed a whole basket of chocolates. Mmmmmm… or the only time of the year they sell Peeps, Cadbury eggs, and other candy most my age won’t touch unless they’re hoisting it on an unsuspecting child.

I love Easter because it’s the holiday for those who make mistakes. It doesn’t celebrate the newness of a birth; it celebrates coming back from the dead. Literal and metaphorical. I’ve died quite a few times metaphorically in my life, and, coincidently, those moments involved a LOT of chocolate and marshmellow-y candies, too. It’s waking up alone after losing the job you killed yourself to keep and driving down the 101 with a mug of really good hot chocolate and watching the sunrise not knowing what comes next, and not really caring, but knowing that you’re going to have to rise again at some point. And then managing to rise again somehow. It’s breaking up with the 6th boyfriend with whom you’ve planned an imaginary wedding/life in your head and somehow finding hope again. It’s the rally. It’s the re-birth. The divine do-over. And it comes with chocolate.

I love Easter.

I love Jesus Christ.

I had a lovely Easter yesterday. It involved beautiful music, people I love, tons of chocolate, a snuffleupagus, and even a round of ocean-viewed sunset croquet.

I hope your Easter was just as nice.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

When an old friend dies

Monday morning I rushed in late to work and clicked open my e-mail after the two-minute bell had rung. Unfortunately, I eagerly opened an email from my 3rd-8th grade crush (he's married now to a woman who seems to be quite lovely). One of our childhood friends had passed away suddenly from previously unknown health problems. The bell rang and I sort of stumbled back in front of the class and held up my big neon yellow flashcards and as my students recited the definitions for "verbal irony" and "Dionysian" I remembered how I had bribed Jeff (the one who passed away) with cookies when he went a week without smoking in high school, and how I beat him playing the line game so many times in Geometry I received the worst grade I'd ever gotten. I remembered third grade and how my friend Janelle and I used to debate whether he or his twin brother were cuter. and I remembered how during my first year teaching I broke down in tears when I heard (a few minutes before class began) that one of my other good childhood friends, Kaz, had lost a game of Russian Roulette. I hated it that the death toll of the ten or fifteen guys I was really close to growing up was up to 2. (Almost 20%!)

I didn't cry this time, but the day moved slowly, and I had the sort of selfish existential panic attack that comes when you realize that people your age are done with the game before they ever got married, had kids, or figured out what they really wanted.

I also actually mourned the boy I watched grow up even though it had been years since we'd spoken.

The memorial was Tuesday afternoon on a bluff above the beach where we used to have our birthday parties as kids. A dozen of my first crushes/guys who tugged at my hair when they sat behind me in class/awkward dance partners from cotillion took turns sharing favorite memories of Jeff. They were fatter, balder, and many were sporting dulled wedding bands. I realized how much I loved them all and wanted the best for them even though they weren't a part of my life anymore. There's just something about eating paste together and playing spin the bottle (not at the same time) that bonds people for life. So it was a sad day saying goodbye to the kid we knew, but comforting to know that twenty years later we were all there hovering above the beach of our sixth-grade graduation party in our somber black sharing the dark milestone of selfish existential panic attacks and sincere grief.