San Francisco, USA

He’s murmuring into his beard,
Curses or prayers, falling
To the stone under his feet.
Crouching by the road, jaundiced eyes
Darting from their hands to mouths,
He whispers to those who would hear,
“The end, the end, the end.”

Clutching his jacket, eyes rolled back,
Whites turned to overcast skies.

Another demon takes him,
Convulsing at Hyde and Sutter while
Shoppers walk past, clutching
Stained glass dreams.

Traveled

I passed rows of houses when I first arrived
That were foreign to me.
I thought it’d feel like home, but
There were no lawns, and they marched
Down block after block, identical.
It’s strange,
How I longed to come, to find a place
I might belong, but when I left, I cried,
Anxious for home.

Traveling

There are two houses I pass when walking home that
Remind me of London.
I’ve never been to London, but
Should I travel there and back,
I would walk past those houses and think:
Ah, London.
Maybe when I get to London, I’ll look
At the houses I am passing, and think:
Ah, home.

On the train to Dresden

Two summers ago, April and I were in Europe and I was leaving Switzerland, bound for Berlin. I was to arrive there a few days before her (she was touring Germany with the Missouri State choir), but as I examined the train schedule from my cushy, express seat, I realized I could hop off at an upcoming station and board a train to Dresden where she currently was. I had her itinerary and knew what hotel she was staying in, and it was only six or so hours away…

Leaving my cushy, express seat, I boarded another train and had to stand all the way to Dresden. But I grinned the entire way, read while standing, looked over a guy’s shoulder while he played Heroes IV (in German!), and was thrilled the entire time. I didn’t need a seat for the same reason I didn’t need sleep. I was going to join the woman I loved.

When answering questions for my interview with Nathan just before the wedding, I told him when I knew April was the one. In retrospect, I don’t think I gave him the right answer. It wasn’t wrong, exactly; it was an answer, and one of the many times I realized and expressed my love for April, but it wasn’t the first time I realized that April was the one. No, it was on the train to a city with no local money, where I didn’t speak the language, arriving at almost two in the morning.

The next morning was the first time we said, “I love you.”

Ringing in the New Year

I hosted a party at Brenda’s last night, which is becoming something of a New Year’s Tradition and which will hopefully never happen again. Last year, I called Beth and informed her in no uncertain terms that we should have a New Year’s party and that my apartment was unavailable at the time (also, I was out of town when making these arrangements), so we should have it at her place. I felt like a jerk, and then subtly repeated the process this year when I suggested to Brenda that a party would be amicable to all concerned and that my apartment was unsuitable for said partying.

Despite the fact that I’m a terrible, manipulative person, last night was a lot of fun and there were many tasty beverages imbibed over the four and a half hours we were there. April and I left promptly after midnight because she was falling asleep, but considering our weekend, we did well to last that long. On Friday, we traveled to Willow Springs (April’s home town) as soon as she got off work to spend the night with her parents. Saturday morning we were up early, groomed immaculately, and crammed into the van to travel to Jackson in eastern Missouri for April’s cousin’s wedding (which just happens to be the week before ours, but we won’t talk about that now). Following the wedding, we rode another two hours to April’s grandmother’s house and spent the afternoon and night there, which mostly meant I got through a couple hundred more pages in the book I’m reading, and then returned to Willow Springs on Sunday. That afternoon, while Eric (April’s brother) and I lounged in the living room watching Firefly, April and her mother made decorations for the reception.

We got back to Springfield about 11 yesterday morning, made a relatively quick stop at Wal-Mart before hitting Hong Kong Inn and coming home, and then played WoW all afternoon.

So, that’s it for the generic, play-by-play update. In more interesting news, I’m getting married in four days, and I guess things are getting kind of stressful? I’m not really bothered by it, but there’s still a lot to do and I know April’s a bit tense. It feels like things have been strained with her mom for a while now (between both of us), and April hopes that getting married will relieve some of that strain by fully communicating that we are an Us and at a different, fully-founded place in our lives now that necessitates a different relationship with her parents. If I understand correctly, the relationship she hopes to foster is similar to what I have shared with my parents since I began college, or perhaps even since I began Speech & Debate in high school, only with them (April’s parents) we’d remain closer, see them more often, and talk to them more. I think there is some fear on their side, though, that we won’t talk to them at all.

This fear would be justified if it was just me, because let’s face it, I suck at calling people and keeping in touch with them. I still do better than most, I think (after all, I have a fairly good idea of what’s been going on with the majority of my graduating class for the last four years), but I’ve grown lax in the last few years as others haven’t put out much of an effort on their own to keep in touch with me. The last phone calls I made to old friend’s numbers returned a disconnected tone with no forwarding message, and the last letter I wrote was the same. By and large, I’ve stopped caring and, as it regards family, I’ve developed a fair amount of apathy over the last ten years.

But this is April, and they should really know better. There will come a time when we won’t see them 2-3 times a month, it’s true, but I’ve been trying to make it abundantly clear that they are welcome in our home, and April talks to her mother on the phone multiple times a week (I call my mum maybe once or twice a month, if it’s a light month). I’m excited to have them as a family, but I don’t feel that we’ve been able to communicate that adequately. Therefore, as a Thank You for the wedding, we’ll be writing letters to them that we will give them on Saturday. Hopefully, I can restrain my generally acerbic self and write something pleasant.

Potentially going to the Mudhouse tonight with April, Margaret, and Marshall, which should be fun and a little interesting. Today, my only plan is to finish up the laundry, add a book to our catalog online, play a lot of World of Warcraft, maybe some XBox… write a letter to FnC about worship and to April’s parents about the future and the past and whatnot, and email Brian with some last-minute details about the wedding. This is my last day of vacation, so I want to enjoy it… but seriously, I’m only working two days, then I have a day to get ready for the wedding, and then I’m getting married. It’s like I’m living in a fairy tale.