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                                       politics + culture

Friday, July 07, 2006

one night in high school

I finagled my way to accompany my girlfriend, her mom and her brother to walk around a Lake late one night in Minneapolis. I was 16. I'm sure there was some "teenage tricky business" that I used on my parents to weasel permission for this adventure. I just don't remember what.

At any rate. I remember driving down Lake Street holding hands in the backseat while Connie's mom drove us into Minneapolis. What joy. Holding hands. Surreptitiously. How scandalous and sweaty.

I was wearing this green Ford Trucker hat that I'd bought when on vacation with my dad in South Dakota when I was eleven. (The troll who used to lambaste me as a 'trucker hat wearing liberal'...was two decades too late, I guess.) At any rate...we went for a walk around one of the Minneapolis Lakes one summer night. Connie, her mom, her brother Jack, and me.

It was a warm night. There were other folks strolling around the Lake. And, for some stupid reason...love, I guess...I did a cartwheel. And another one. Cartwheels on the grass. At night. Sixteen years old. How stupid and beautiful.

Somewhere in there, the pocket knife my dad had given me on my ninth birthday fell out of my pocket. I had no idea. It was just gone. Lost in the grass, at night, walking around a Lake that I'd finagled my way into circumnavigating when I was supposed to be doing something else. I didn't notice till later.

On the way home, however, I threw the hat out the window of the car. It had grown old and sweaty. No one cared. I figured. Let it get crushed by a bus on Lake Street. I was happy.

Only later did I realize that I'd lost the knife as well. Knives, hats, things. Now I realize....they're easy to replace. Find a new one. It won't be the same, but, it'll come close.

What life has taught me, however, is that one thing I'll never replace is that cartwheel, and what it felt like to hold that girl's hand in the backseat of a car driving down Lake Street.

Paradoxically, I also know now that equally irreplaceable and precious to me is the man I finagled to get there...the one who bestowed the pocket knife upon me when I was nine years old and full of a different kind of wonder.

Life is never what it seems.

Tell that to the Lake. It knows more than it lets on.


  • cool memoir dude...got a little tear in my eye...nice tho... bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter

    By Blogger Keone Michaels, at 12:53 PM  

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