There comes a time in everyone’s life where the past seems better than the present. You get old, you get tired, you don’t feel like driving twenty minutes to work every single day and you start to think, remember that time when I was seventeen?
No. You don’t remember that time when you were seventeen. You don’t remember when your best friend’s mom screamed at you for feeding her son pot out of a hollowed out apple. You don’t remember how your stomach bulged out of the neon green spandex that you had to buy because Stacy Q. was beyond amazing. You don’t remember the first time you went to a night club and danced until you accidentally elbowed the shy guy in the eye.
You remember Sublime. You remember sitting stretched out in the back of your friend’s 1980’s Honda Accord while you dangled your arm out the window. You remember the rainbow-colored beanie that you could have sworn were the colors of the Jamaican flag. You remember that guy with the dreads who said you didn’t ever need to shampoo again just as long as you had Bees Wax. You remember thinking you could keep riding in that car forever.
But thank God, you got out. You no longer had to stay on your mom’s couch eating pizza Pringles and watching reruns of bad sitcoms. You made it past abstinence-only education, dodgeball, and pregnant cheerleaders.
Now you just have to change the CD.
It was never Sublime. It will never have been Sublime. It’s been over 20 years and you hate pop reggae.
I see you. I see you checking out my shelf, pretending like you’re cool enough to hang out. You come waltzing in here, half used up, expecting to be picked up again. But you’re not going anywhere. You’re going to sit around with all the other half empty Diet Coke bottles and pity yourself. Just like you always do.
Rise up! What are you doing so close to the bottom? If you would just rise to the occasion and make yourself full again – you wouldn’t have to be stuck in the back, waiting for someone else to choose your destiny.
It’s unnatural. You’re unnatural. Look at that other bottle of half empty Diet Coke. Not that one. The one sitting next to you. That one’s been here for close to three weeks now and there’s no mold. It’s almost like it’s not alive.
The half empty bottle of lemonade doesn’t do that. The CranApple doesn’t do that. But you, you are an enigma. You are dark and yet shallow. You used to be bubbly, but now you’re mysteriously quiet. You have absolutely no smell. And your exterior is always a hard shell of clear plastic. You are kind of bizarre. You are kind of refreshing.
I recognize that I might not have the stark, conservative look that you’re going for this year. I am not a red globe ornament or a string of white lights. I am however, just as bright as the rest and arguably more festive than any other decoration you have chosen to display.
I started off hanging from a telephone wire in the Hispanic section of town. For several nights out of the year I would glow different colors to symbolize the comfort of home. People loved me. I brought cheer to the poorest of neighborhoods until one day someone said I was a fire hazard. Reluctantly I watched as my place on the block slowly unraveled. Rest assured, my personality would never spark a conversation about destruction. Although I am unique, loved by many, and talked about by all, I do not have a fiery disposition.
My resume includes functions such as: Mardi Gras. Halloween. New Years. And even a few nightclubs. I have experience with all types of people.
While your white and red tree looks quite tasteful in the dining room of our town’s beloved country club, I think it could use a variety of color. I hope you will consider what I have to offer useful.
I hope this doesn’t come across in the wrong way. You are a beautiful dish in your own right and I admire your sturdiness. It is clear that you’re a very accommodating plate and will always hold as much as you can. However, I’ve been talking it over with the group and we’re not sure if you would make the right impression for our annual family dinner.
Your resume is quite impressive and it’s not that we don’t appreciate your thrift store past, it’s just that we find you might have a difficult time relating to the others. This place setting is reserved for someone with more experience in the fine dining atmosphere.
Your hard edge must have served a good purpose for you in previous jobs, but we feel that the chip on your side can not easily be mended. I understand your last dinner party overlooked this aspect, but unfortunately this is a more formal setting.
In addition to the manners in which our table uphold, you also seem unfit in the looks department. While you were once, I’m sure, a beautiful, bright blue, you appear to have faded throughout the years. The decorative design that tattoos your whole body is a bit much for our usual look and to be quite frank, your complexion is not what should necessarily be showcased for this particular event.
For this years dinner we would really prefer all of our table to be matching. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but we will not be needing your services at this time. If you are still looking for a place come June, perhaps a summer picnic outside would better fit your needs.
You weren’t so desperate when we first met. Your body was pregnant with the possibility of adventure. All I had to do was think and you came to life. So eager were you to expose the markings of my ink that I turned red. Now when I try, everything comes out stale. You ruined it. You made me your everything just so you could stare blankly into space while I tried. And I tried so hard.
When we first met it was like love at first sight. I still remember our late nights out on the town. Back when all we did was go out and dance and have fun everything seemed so innocent. But it couldn’t stay that way. I remember the first night you came over. We were on the porch together, gazing at the stars and pondering the thoughts of the universe. You were so cool – not trying to impress anyone, you let your faults be known. I was okay with it. It’s not like we were exclusive.
But then there was that one day after statistics class. I was frustrated, tired, annoyed with life and you were there. Waiting for me. I told you I couldn’t see you right now, I had to have time to cool off. I had to have my space for a minute. You persisted. You kept telling me you needed me and it was in that moment that I gave in.
It was like you were addicted to the weaknesses in my life. The moments where I felt anxious, upset, depressed or just lonely. You were always around when I needed you, you lived off those times.
You grew demanding. You wanted more money. You wanted more time. You wanted something that I could barely give, but did anyway. When I tried to leave you, you kept coming back. I would see you everywhere. In the neon lit convenient store down the block. In bars we used to go to. Even my porch seemed haunted by you.
I know we’re in an unhealthy relationship. I know I suck when I’m around you. But I just want to say, for all the times I said I hate you, I’ll never fully mean it. There’s always a part of me that lights up.
I tried asking the Mousse out yesterday. It’s lonely with no one else in the medicine cabinet besides us. Her smell is like that of a coconut and a peach mixed with something scientific and brilliant. I had been staring at her for the past 3 weeks, but she never notices. Instead, she’s the carefree type that is too in her own world to bother with anyone else’s. She’s suave and comes into any situation with a confidence that she’s going to stand her ground. I admire her.
“Hi,” The minute I said it, I knew it was a mistake. What would I say? I hadn’t done this in years. “I was wondering if you’d like to get out of here sometime? With me,” God I was so stupid. Of course I meant with me. “If that’s okay,” I added.
She stared at me for a minute and said nothing. I could feel the seconds on the clock ticking away with such a cocky and arrogant march. The shelf we were standing on suddenly felt harder than before and I swear to God we were tilting just a little to the left. And then she burst into laughter. Full on gales of high pitched giggles surrounded and echoed the entire bathroom. Everyone could hear.
“You’re like… how old?” She then straightened up and tried to compose herself. “It’s just so unnatural.” It’s always the young, organic, ones that move with such ease. Although I know I’ve been shelved, I still feel like we could have made the best out of a sticky situation.