As my day started out on August 25, I did not know it was going to be different from all the other days I casually strolled through. I began my morning with my strictly organized routine. I find that I have this bizarre compulsive habit of following the same scheduled motions every morning. I awoke at two o’clock pm to the sound of my best friend and roommate, Lacy, bustling around the dorm as she prepared coffee. The clinking of coffee mugs and teaspoons reminded me of home, where I would lie in bed and listen to my father and mother as they would prepare to leave for work. The pungent aroma of the blueberry cream Gevalia hovered over the room, teasing me to get up and start my day. I sat up in bed and stared out the window like a child who is waiting patiently to play in the yard. I have been and always will be attracted to the whimsical and mysterious beauty of nature. Mind you, my dorm is not perched at the top of the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall of China. I merely have the pleasure of seeing the Sandals building to my right and Cawthon hall to my left. I also get the occasional glimpse of one of those nerdy computer kids doing some kind of randomly clumsy karate move, probably learned through his extensive anime collection or his childhood obsession with “Pokemon.” This always provided a good laugh to start my day off with.
As I finished my morning routine I received a call from my friend Gavin. He invited me to Big Daddy’s where we planned to watch some local bands play with some of our friends. As much as I enjoy going to shows, it seems as if every local band sounds exactly the same, with identical beat patterns, guitar rifts, and the anticipated shoddy lyrics. We arrived at the show that night and sat on the curb right outside the door as we waited for our friends to arrive. I could clearly hear the band’s warped music as it cascaded out the door and onto the dimly lit street. There were so many people trying to pack inside the little rundown venue. I could feel the steam hit the back of my naked neck every time the wind blew, which carried the hot, stale air out of the crowded building. After a long wait for our friends, Gavin and I decided the show was not worth it.
Walking back to his apartment we talked as if we knew each other forever. Though we had only met the night before, our words danced with each other’s as we talked about everything and anything that our minds could imagine. The words rolled off our tongues, out of our mouths, and into each other’s ears like a sweet kiss. The walk was not long, but the night was cool and the sound of all the buzzing insects twisted and turned with our words like a perfectly choreographed song. Upon arriving at his apartment, Gavin made a large pot of coffee, and again the bitterly sweet smell of the beans gave me a certain feeling of warmth and security. He put on some music, and we sat on the couch, coffee in hand, and talked about one thing after the next. The feeling of the hot coffee mug warmed my fingers as I shifted it from hand to hand. Our discussion became deeper and deeper as we drifted onto the topic of religion and God.
I sat there, a strict Roman Catholic with a rosary bracelet around my wrist and a crucifix and miraculous medallion around my neck. My necklace must have caught the light because Gavin reached his hand out and slipped his fingers under it. “I see you are wearing a crucifix,” he said with a certain amused grin. He took his hand away and slipped back into his arrangement on the couch. I was thrown back by his offset comment and distorted facial expression.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, I just assume that you are going to tell me you are a devout Christian, aren’t you?”
Again, my face went blank. What in the world was this kid getting at? The music faded out as my mind raced with what he could be thinking. I did not even notice the cold sweat drops starting to trickle down my back. “Ummm, well, yes I am,” I said with a large lump in my throat. Gosh, what in the world was I so afraid of? I am always the first one to stand up and proclaim my faith, regardless of who is asking me. Although, something was different this time, I felt for some reason that I should choose my words wisely and not say anything that would attract attention to me being a Christian. I was ashamed. I had not known Gavin for long, but there was something about him, something in his eyes that tugged at my heart. I was not sure where those feelings were going to lead me, only that my path was going to be one I had never expected to take. The kind of path that forks in the middle and leaves you with the feeling of uncertainty regardless of which direction you take.
Gavin was a stubborn son of a bitch, and he had a very sarcastic sense of humor. He knew when I felt uncomfortable, and he used that to his advantage. He would ask me a question and if I did not answer fast enough he would fire twenty more questions at me, while I was still trying to find my answer to the first one. He tried very hard to test my knowledge. I am not sure if his actions annoyed me though. Maybe it was because I challenged him just as hard as he challenged me. Gavin’s beliefs regarding the world were quite skewed in my opinion, especially his views on religion. He did not think highly of organized religion. The idea of having to go through a priest to have his sins forgiven was ridiculous in his mind. Gavin also did not believe in the body and blood of Christ. He felt it was morbid to worship a man who is nailed to a cross. I thought he was missing the point of religion, I did not think he understood what it all really meant. Come to find out, Gavin has been attending Catholic school since he was in preschool, and he was an alter boy for many years and attended church on a regular basis.
As we carried on our conversation about religion, I was starting to feel very uncomfortable. Gavin spoke about his beliefs on god and religion. I could here his sadistic tone when he said the word god, degrading the “G” to a lower case letter. His words burned my ears and I did not want to hear anymore, yet I could not help but listen to what he had to say. His ideas and theories intrigued and puzzled my mind, and I wanted to know more. As much as I fought in my heart and in my mind to disagree with Gavin, I found my mouth throwing up all these words of revolution against the church. I did not like confessing my sins through a priest either! The idea of a man nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on top of his head actually gave me the creeps, too! I had never questioned my faith, and I am not sure I was ready to. That is when it started; everything began to fade and distort into a whirlwind of false reality.
Some say when time stops, you can clearly see all that is going on around you. The world freezes and humanity is at the mercy of your fingertips. Though when time starts up again, it has to speed up extra fast to catch up to the present moment. At that point I felt as if this were really true. I lifted my head and the ticking of the clock had stopped. Gavin was frozen, his head lowered to his knee. I cocked my head to the side as I felt myself move in a slow, sheepish manner. As soon as it had begun, it had ended, and time seemed to speed up past me at an alarming rate. The clock ticked faster, Gavin seemed to jerk up, and I found my movements to be erratic and somewhat robotic. My mind, heart, and pulse raced to catch up with my breath, and they all fought against each other for the little air that my mouth would breathe in. Although my exterior seemed well put together, my insides were being tangled and contorted into a hefty ball of confusion. Only as my eyes floated toward the CD player did I notice that the music had stopped. I looked down into my half empty coffee mug, and felt the ice-cold coffee between my fingers. I had not bothered to notice these things since we began our conversation, since time stopped and started in a viciously corrupt conduct. A wicked chill ran down my back, through my legs, and down to my toes. I knew then it was time for me to go. Leaving the protection and warmth of Gavin gave me a dreary feeling, but I also felt relieved the night was over.
The sun had already set and the rain fell hard as I made my way up the stairs to my dorm. I walked along the hall, holding my hand out to my side as my fingers grazed the wall. My mind was a flutter, and I started to notice things in a different way. Everything passed me by with an uneasy manner. It all felt fake, yet so real at the same time. I arrived at my dorm with a heavy heart. I sat on my bed and stared at the crucifix on my wall. I was not sure what I was feeling, but there was one emotion that I did recognize, doubt. I doubted my religion. One thing after another went through my head and I was not sure what I should make of it all. Did I no longer believe in the word of god? Everything I thought I felt for my religion seemed out of my reach, cold and distant.
I stared out the window and watched the rain drops hit against the glass and run down the pain like a sorrowful tear from a woman’s eye. I looked down at my rosary bracelet. I have worn it for many years and have never taken it off. It looked cold around my wrist, so I slipped it off and held it between my fingers. I gazed at my old jewelry box as if it were an abstract piece of an unrealistic picture. I placed the bracelet in the center and closed the lid. I picked up my head and caught sight of my face in the mirror. Around my neck lay my crucifix and miraculous medallion. I grabbed the clasp and slowly took off the necklace that I had once cherished so very much. This, too, felt bitter as it lay in my palm, so I placed it with the bracelet in the box. There were no words to describe how I felt, just feelings and thoughts that tumbled through my mind. Still today I am confused about what I truly believe, still doubtful and skeptic about the world’s uncertainty. The rain fell, and so did my tears. The outside air blew in a whirlwind like my mind, which escaped and drifted off into the dark clouds where it has yet to return from, neither missing, nor found, only gone.