My sister was six years older than me so when she was going through her rebellious teen years, my ten year-old self thought that it was hilarious to disturb or put her off in some way. It was only then that she paid me attention. Well that and when she wanted someone to convince our dad to take us out for Chinese food.
I remember building this complex - not really - contraption once, which was attached to her bedroom door. There was a board that would fall when the door was opened hitting the on button of the vacuum cleaner, which I had dressed as a ghostly figure. The hose on the vacuum would blow into the ghoul, waving madly the arms of cloth-like nature. From another angle, the door would trigger a pulled string that would turn on the fan. From there the fan would spin slowly around with a balloon for a ghost head.
I spent at least two hours testing this prank.
I opened and closed the door over and over, re-taping the strings and propping up the board. It was an experiment and I was just the scientist to discover the exact angles and speeds at which this prank would need to go off unhitched.
I lay under her bed waiting patiently for her arrival. Minutes passed. They turned into half an hour, and slowly half an hour became two full hours. I waited… When she finally came home I could hear her voice floating in from the kitchen. She was with her best friend Heather. I knew then that this prank wasn’t going to go over well. You see, when I pulled pranks on my sister she screamed and slowly laughed back into a happy place where she could see me through the tears in her eyes. When I pranked her in front of her friends however, smoke escaped from her ears and her head spun like an exorcism. I tried to shimmy out from under the bed on time, but she was too quick. She threw open the door, tearing the tape off of the door. No balloon. Whew.
I hadn’t prepared for her aggressive entrance however, and the board over shot the vacuum cleaner. It flew underneath the bed and smashed my finger at the exact same moment that my sister saw my creation in the middle of her room. My outcries combined with her yelling vibrated the wood pane windows.
That’s all I remember. I don’t know if she got angry. I’m not sure if I cried. What I know is that I waited there patiently for hours on something that might never pan out. That’s okay, because I know that the journey is half the point, not just the destination. Yes, I wanted to see her reaction, but also I wanted to spend two hours as a warrior awaiting my opponent. My hand constructed Trojan horse was there in the middle of the room, ready to surprise. I wanted to wait for something. I wanted to feel the anticipation in my chest as my heart beat quickly.
And wait I did.
I live for that moment now. The little rush in your mind that turns your body cold. The slightest little skip of the beat of your heart. The moment when you have never felt more alive than you do right then. To me, those are the significant moments. The ones that get your heart beating. I don’t mean when you get on a roller coaster and you know that there is about to be a big drop. You know that it’s coming. No. I’m talking about chance. Whether these moments are triggered by the touch of a beautiful woman or by looking out over a mountain top you climbed without stopping and finding that there happens to be a rainbow just on the other side, those are the moments to look out for. Those are the ones to keep on a shelf in your heart so you can pull them out and relive them; even the ones that are a little more painful.
When I was fourteen I went to Florida with my high school basketball team. Of course it was during that time in my life where I thought that it was cool to be a bad ass, so my fourteen year-old friends and I got Smirnoff from the seniors and headed out to the hot tub to join a bunch of older hotel guests. My step-sister was a year ahead of me and friends with the older crowd. They came outside for a while, but before long only two of us girls remained. Since the guys had fortunately figured out that we were very young they left. The other girl and I finished our Smirnoff and headed back to the hotel. My heart pounding.
The entire time I was on the edge of my seat. I knew that if we got caught that we would be in serious trouble, but it was Florida and we were kids. Palms sweating, we snuck back into our hotel room and climbed into bed hoping to dream about our wild evening. I had my first hangover the next day. I didn’t play worth a lick, and I wasn’t as alert as I wanted to be. We were stomped by the competitors at that camp. I thought that beating was bad enough, but I had no idea what lay in store for me when I went home.
A few weeks had passed. I wrote my step-sister a letter talking about that night in Florida. I don’t know if she left it out on purpose or if my mother was snooping, but the letter was found. She sat us down, still unsure who the author was. I think she expected the letter to not be mine, but she was wrong… and very disappointed. She never dreamt I would do something so careless… or wrong.
My mother standing in front of me with her head down, hand covering the tremble of her lip, stepped away from me. Shaking her head she turned and left. My heart sunk. It was the worst feeling I’ve had in my entire life, and has happened on a couple of occasions... The day that I came out and the day that I told her that she could have loved me more as a child.
The truth is though that I live for those moments too. They’re the ones that allow me a comparison. How would I know how truly incredible some things feel, if I never knew how bad others hurt. It showed me exactly how much my mother loved me. Had her love not been unconditional she would have given up on me by now. It shows me every day how lucky I am to be alive. How lucky I am to feel the beating of my heart in my chest and move freely with intention to succeed throughout my life because I want to. Not because I have to.
I still make all of my own decisions, and I try to be more aware of their consequences, but the truth is… I’m still human. Good or bad, I want that feeling… Often I will do whatever it takes to get it.