Important ‘things’ (Part One)

What do you treasure most in your life? What, when changed, throws off you’re entire mood, being, life? My brother claims that after he eats gluten he feels instantly depressed, his mood is lowered and strange and therefore stops feeling like himself. So, for the most part he tries his best to not eat it. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid those triggers.

My brother and I just got back from a trip to New York City. If you remember my post about Brenner passing away, we went for him. His family and band mates put on an amazing concert to celebrate what an amazing person he was and will be remembered for. The evening was incredible, pictures of Brenner hung on the walls, friends, family, music lovers all showed up—all I kept thinking about was how much he would have loved that night, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this—that was the point.

Me, Kim and Kallie at the event

Me, Kim and Kallie at the event

After the show, the next day I spent the day with an old friend, (Brenner’s sister Kallie) and their Mother, Kim. Kallie and I used to makes lists of why we should have been sisters, things we wanted to do by the time we were 25 (a little late!) and Kim referred to me as her “other daughter.” The day was amazing. We reminisced, made new memories and spent the day together.

Kallie and I Canal Street AWESOME new sunnies

Kallie and I Canal Street AWESOME new sunnies

From Sunday evening on my trip continued to move forward in weird ways. Little triggers, events and things happened to make my eyes wander to my mind attempt to wrap itself around the idea of heading back to a tiny mountain town. This trip seemed to be based on relationships I had built in the past. Important ones, ones that you can’t recreate how or when or why they were created. My freshman year of college was intense and Kimberlee was my savor in a friendship and with a car so we could get the hell off campus!

Monday she came into the city and we fell immediately back into our chattiness, talking about life, catching up on where she is in her college education, how I’ve backtracked into working retail and still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. We hopped our way around three of four amazing Beer Bars, drinking IPAs and sampling the summer brews. Kim was telling me about her great job at a beer back, and her knowledge of wines and brewing. Needless to say by 8pm I was ready to be taken home. Hugs and kisses, she left me for the Long Island Railroad with promises to meet up and stay in touch. One long, kinda drunk train ride and I was back in my Brooklyn home.

One beer deep with Kim!

One beer deep with Kim!

How long do you go with out seeing important people in your life? Hopefully you’re able to keep them close at hand so when you need them, or they need you, you can call them up and meet for coffee (or a glass of wine.) For me, Alecita and I hadn’t seen each other in eight years. Yep, eight years! We created a fast friendship. One of those friendships that is made in a matter of days but will last a life time. However, Switzerland and the United States are far away, so a quick coffee before work is not an option.

In 2004 both of us were scared, insecure 16 year-olds in a new country, Chile. We met and instantly bonded over the Chileans getting us too drunk, being overweight and being nervous for what the net 6 months have in store for us. After leaving for our host families in different parts of the country we kept in touch and visited a couple times but both Alecita and I went through intense changes. As we moved home, she took a husband with her. Back to Switzerland and through the years her marriage fell apart and it’s still happening, the process of her being ‘free’ from a bad situation is far from over.

So meeting in New York City after 8 years was amazing. We walked, we talked, we conversed like no time had passed, stumbling over her English sometimes only added to the fun of having an old friend back for a short time. We met up for two days, being less like tourists and more like New Yorkers in love with our city, walking and noticing the little things that may happen everyday but finding the beauty in the small details.

Alecita y Yo

Alecita y Yo

We sat in a park to say our good byes, observing people as they passed us, but not caring when people noticed our loud laughs and hidden tears of having to say goodbye. Chau mi amor. Te quiero mucho mucho mucho! And she left, headed to Soho, and me on a bench awaiting another old friend to have to say goodbye to.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

 

This city makes me feel strange, makes my mind wander, makes me re-think everything.

This post is getting long so it shall continue later…

Connecting Some Dots (and dealing with pain)

Sooooooooooooooo remember when I broke my butt last year? Yeah, I try to forget those 14 weeks of my life too. Well, from the way it feels these past few days I think my butt is broken again. I had, at one point, gotten x-rays and an MRI to see what was wrong and the doctor told me I had a stress fracture in my sacrum—right? I know! Crazy sauce. All I could do was not run, not sit for hours on end and the exercise I was allowed was “whatever didn’t make it hurt” (aka: the recumbent bike and eventually the elliptical)

In an effort to not recreate those awful 14 weeks I’m taking this week off of running. I’m going to concentrate on lifting, maybe pop back in the pool a few times, I’m also trying out some new cardio machines at the gym. Having an injury SUCKS. We’re not going to down play that, that’s why I’m trying to catch it before it becomes full blown, but I’m going to take this annoying pain in my ass (literally and figuratively,) and turn it into a new focus. That’s all I can do, right? We can’t control everything, so don’t even bother trying.

A child hood friend passed away two weeks ago (Brenner) and that SUCKS, (no other way to say it, it sucks). Nothing I can do can change that. Instead of crying all time I’m remembering the awesome times we had. I’m reminiscing with his sister and my big brother. I’m flying to NYC in a month and a half to celebrate the life of such and amazing person. Yes I’m sad, really really sad. But it’s also opening my eyes to what’s really really important. My family, my friends, my health. I’m taking control of the things I have control over, like who I send letters and emails to, who I call, who I get in touch with, what I spend my time doing.

How am I looping this story back to my butt you ask? By taking on a challenge we can’t control we end up learning something. My butt hurts, so today I’m going to do the stair stepper. I’m sad about Brenner, I’m going to call his sister that I LOVE and remember the time that her brother helped her, her friend and I record a Beatles song in their basement when we were teenyboppers.

Don’t-not-be-sad, remember to cry, but also remember that your butt still needs exercise and memories are supposed to be remembered and both of those things are what keep us alive!

Brenner

I don’t remember not knowing the Eugenides’ kids. Kallie and I would put on plays, pretend we were animals and prance around the yard naying and meowing while the boys, Zane and Brenner, our big brothers, would be off mischieving—developing some plan to steal our toy or separate us in the woods. But come dinner time we’d all hang out together, eat burgers, laugh, talk to our parents and then immediately get back to playing until two of us had to go home or we begged our parents to please let them stay over! We’ll be quiet tonight, we PROMISE!

            Years passed. Kallie and I discovered boys, school and moving apart got in the way of backyard theater. Brenner and Zane learned guitar, Kallie and I started writing, painting, drawing… Summers in Connecticut continued, but Brenner drove and Kallie and I begged for rides—we slowly grew up.

            Before I knew it 6 years had passed and I hadn’t talked to or seen Brenner. Him and I always had a lot in common, a love for NYC, music, art—crazy big curly hair. I was in the city and made my way to Brooklyn to see my old friend, have a slice of pizza and catch up. It was so cool to see a childhood friend as an adult, meet his band and see the tiny apartment they all lived in together. He was living the Brooklyn dream.

            A year later I was back in the city for work and anxious to get a new tattoo—who better to ask then my tattoo’d friend Brenner. He gave me some suggestions via text and asked me where I was. I was in the middle of SoHo working—an hour later Brenner pushed through the tourist jungle to come hang with me while I worked. That’s the guy he had turned into, friendships are important and well, I don’t remember a time not knowing him and I guess he doesn’t remember a time not knowing me. Making the effort to come see me in one of the most annoying parts of the city was something a great friend does.

            Zane and I talked and reminisced about Brenner the other night. We both decided we’re tired of crying and we think that if he can see us he’d probably laugh and say something like “Come on guys, get on, listen to some sweet music and enjoy. Stop your crying.”

            Brenner died on Wednesday. And though I’m crying as I write this, I’m also talking to his sister and remembering all the stupid stuff we four used to do as kids. I’m remembering him for the kick ass soul he was and the cool person he became. Yes, I’m sad, yes I’m still going to cry about it but I’m also thinking about how damn lucky I am to have known him, to have had another big brother in my life. I can’t change what happened so I’m going to remember what we had—that can’t be taken away.