This past week was nonsensical in the very best of ways. It was Homecoming week, so of course the atmosphere at school was casual anyway, but how strange to see teenagers--some already adults, some right on maturity's heels--dressed up in mullets and capes and shapeless whirlwind frocks and bathrobes and facepaint and rainbow colors. Dressed up in the silly, the deranged, the foolish, goofy, quixotic--and yet hard at work, disciplined studious idealities. It's a paradox, and a beautiful one. We linger on the edge of an entirely foreign life, and for most of us, we are ready for its arrival. We linger, but we grasp onto our imaginations and the very visions of our childhoods as if throwing ourselves into these outlandish caricatures is the best preservation of the past that we have.
I also came face to face with one of my largest fears on Saturday. For the Homecoming game, the Wind Ensemble traditionally dresses up as clowns. I hate clowns. Hate them. It all stems from the movie "Air Bud," with that horribly frightening red-haired clown man who tries to steal Buddy from the little boy. That movie ruined my chances of ever enjoying a circus. So I show up on Saturday and walk into the bandroom and some sixty-odd faces turn to look at me and I nearly freeze in place. Honestly, I wanted to bolt. The feeling inside me at that exact moment is akin, perhaps, to how you feel when you're five years old and you are grocery shopping with your mother and you look down for half a second and suddenly, upon glancing upward, your precious Mother is nowhere to be found. It's that feeling where your heart does not merely drop into the ravenous pits of your chest, but completely implodes; where your throat tightens in that way that makes you acutely aware you are one tiny tick away from completely bursting into tears; where you stop breathing because you forget to. That's how it felt. The face paint, the bright colors that didn't match, the large shoes and goony pants. At one point I started crying. Ultimately I toughed it out though. I would never want to do it again, but I am proud of myself for getting through it.
Last week I realized a wonderful truth. I know I mention "truths" all the time, but they are something I am deeply attuned to, and with each new discovery I add a tiny cell onto a larger picture of a more complete me that I am building all the time. Last week I realized a wonderful truth, and I hope my openness is acceptable:
Bryan, I have never felt more comfortable or happy around you than I do now, as friends and companions.
Just so you know. I hope that's okay.