Len – A Character Sketch

The following is a character sketch written as part of a series of artistic challenges to take place through out February. It is an awesome idea Dez had and I look forward to what is next:

It was hard not to watch him as he moved across the classroom. Thick, black, hair stuck out from underneath a well worn baseball cap and curled slightly around his ears. You wouldn’t know it was his first day in a new school. His ease was impressive. His crooked smile even more so.

It’s funny what you remember the most about a person, even after all the time that has passed.

Len was more of a man than a boy when he came to our school. I guess most 18 year olds are more men, at least physically, by that point. Built strong, as my grandmother would say. It was the end of our senior year when he, and his family, moved to our little backwoods area from the big city of Lexington.

As he moved down the aisle, he nodded his hellos to those paying any attention to him. Sitting himself down into the desk beside mine, I couldn’t help but smell the faintest hint of cologne and see the off color patches on his denim vest. The flannel shirt underneath was wrinkled, but clean.

I looked at him constantly throughout that class period, stealing glances when I thought he was writing notes in his composition book. The stubble growing on his face was the same color of his hair, with flashes of red throughout. His blue jeans were torn at the knees, and his tennis shoes were plain and scuffed. His accent, when he answered questions, was not nearly as pronounced as ours, but light and charming.

It was after answering a question that he caught me looking at him. I knew then that I had blown it, as only a 17 year old can know that kind of devastation without proof. My chance to meet someone who didn’t know me, who I wasn’t “just a friend” to, was over before it had started.

Red faced, I looked down at the floor. Then – for a reason I still can’t truly explain – I looked back up and he was still looking at me…waiting…and smiling that crooked smile that I was already falling in love with.


Let’s See Where This Goes

An exercise in free writing and a needed outlet.

It’s so easy to give out the pieces
Of a heart worn on one’s sleeve
You can’t cover it up
The outline is too obvious
Generosity is confused for weakness
Trust mistaken for being naive

Still, I’d rather believe than be cynical
Fill missing pieces with patches
And have hope that there is something
Hopefully better
But something

Classic Rock Thoughts

‘A love struck Romeo…”

This has been the first real winter some of the kiddos have ever had.  Snow falls in large, fluffy, flakes, covering the ground with the promise of adventure.

I am inside cleaning, fighting an internal battle between what makes sense (finishing projects, including laundry) and the absurd (running outside with a camera or driving out into the mess just to do it).  Through the cable box, the classic rock station plays.  Songs that I skip on my iPod because of the memories they encapsulate are allowed the freedom to be heard.  Why don’t I delete them from the playlists?  Well, it’s not like I dislike the song.  Its the memory that becomes the problem.

“Play your love songs all night long for me…”

It’s a haze of white outside.  The pull is stronger now.  I would love to call my friends and see who else wants to be ridiculous.  The voice in the back of my mind, the worried looks from loved ones, stops me.  You dislocate one kneecap….you almost dehydrate and have to be put in the hospital…. you are involved in a car accident….when you live too far for those loved ones to help, and their fear seeps into your thought process.  It’s not just their fear though.  It’s also the fear of the pain you felt, the worry of the possible result that you so narrowly missed, that keeps you in as you get older.

I just couldn’t bear providing any more pain to them. 

Still, you have to take a risk sometimes.  It gets to a point where the itch is too strong and a reaction is needed.  Newton had it down pat – you can only pull back for so long before it has to flip the other way.

The nice thing is, if you are lucky (and I am lucky) you have the support system that just wants you to be. 

“Gimme three steps…”

Here I am, being me….now, where are my boots?

When The Ideas Come

Or maybe it should be where the ideas come from….

Driving home is when the majority of my deeper thinking is done.  Those long hours provide a space in which my mind wanders.  It visits ideas for artworks, outlines for writings, plans for work, and the darker recesses where the thoughts one doesn’t want to admit having reside.

Questions are asked, few are answered, and the trip passes quickly. 


The Ghosts Of Snow Days Past

I can see them walking in the pole lights.  A group of friends, laughing in the evening snow fall.  You wouldn’t know there is a girl walking with them.  It really doesn’t matter that she’s there.  She’s always there.  That’s why they had to get her.  This adventure wouldn’t be the same without their friend.

Those boys have no idea how much this night will resonate with her – how much they mean to her. 

They run and slide on the slush.  Snowballs fly through the air.  A car comes by, and they dive for cover.  Parents are looking for them.  They don’t want to be found. 

Not yet…not yet…the night is not yet over.  The snow day is not yet over.

Laughter floats, while the childish use of curse words are spoken in a poorly attempted whispers.  They keep going down the road, further and further away from the field.  It doesn’t matter that they should have been home hours ago, or that their clothes are wet from sledding.  Their breath heats the air around their bundled faces.  It’s as if nothing could touch them. 

Nothing will….they are infinite in that moment. 

Years from now, that small group of 13 year olds will grow up.  Marriages will occur, children will be born, and distance will pull this group apart.  Life will happen for each one of them and it will be amazing, terrifying, beautiful, tragic, and 1000s of better adjectives.  It will be the most fantastic adventure yet. 

But tonight….tonight, they are a group of hollow kids, hiding from their parents with the hope that the snow day doesn’t have to end.

Just….Just Let Me Wallow For 5 Minutes

I hate feeling like such a drag.  It’s not like I’m not used to being a third wheel, or the single friend to a group of couples.  They are my friends!  I love being around them and sharing jokes and good times.  Doesn’t make you any less the odd man out.  Last night was a blast!  Rang in the NewYyear with great people, saw a fantastic – impromptu – firework show, talked to a friend about life and Doctor Who, had dinner with my uncle/best friend (yeah, he’s my best friend – what of it?!) – what more could I possibly ask for?!


Really, It’s Okay

*random poem of sorts*

You really don’t have to pretend
The pleasantries, the promises
They aren’t needed
You don’t believe me
You’ll promise to call
You say you still care
It’s okay
You don’t
Life moves us along
People change
I’ll still check in
I’ll still reach out
If you don’t reach back
Well, that’s your call
I will walk my way
With my hand open
Just in case you pass by again

Letting The Words Flow

I have tried this several times, and each version of this post has wallowed in self pity, whined about the unknown, and never really said what was on my mind.

Free flow writing, here we come.

Attack of the Random Writing!

I’ve been afraid of loss.
Loss of friendships, loss of love, loss of dreams –
Keep the status quo and lose nothing.
Risk everything?
I did
And I lost.
In that loss, I gained –
Surprised that the equation worked that way.
Keep the status quo and lose nothing?
Risk everything!
Soon enough.

Random Writing Exercise – Poetry?

I’m not sure where this is coming from and, to be honest, it’s probably lame poetry (never my strong suit).  Still, I wanted to try something and this memory has been on my mind because it’s a nice one from a long time ago – nearly ten years! Crazy how time flies.
Hope you like it or, at the very least, it doesn’t make you hate my writing.

Hot and sticky best describes
that summer night.
We held hands and gazed at the summer stars;
pulling the blanket up to hide from wandering eyes.
When you said you wanted to marry me
someday, on that spot,
my heart wanted to believe you.
My mind knew it was an empty statement, made in a moment that couldn’t last.

Promises made in the dark disappear in the silver of early morning light.
Nothing hurts quite like a broken heart, except one that doesn’t mend.
It’s taken time.
The scar is visible.
The wound is closed, only opening when torn by memory.

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