Sunday, April 16, 2006

waterfellfromhereyes

her legs were invisible

i left the dining hall with both a full stomach and some of my friends but without anything really to do for the rest of the day. then a girl who had driven me crazy, the good kind of crazy, for the past several months rode up on her bike. because it was winter, her cheeks were red and every time she spoke her breath was vapor and when she wasn’t speaking, which was often because she was a quiet girl, it came out of her nose instead of her mouth as she was still a little winded from her bike ride. i can’t forget that. i don’t want to. anyhow, she rode up on her bike and she said she wanted to go for a walk in the mountains. yes, this killed me, because there was nothing i’d rather do and no one, at that time, and probably even now, i’d rather do it with. did i mention she was wearing camoflauge pants? as you can probably guess, this killed me too. my friends knew what to do and thusly got lost, and i asked her where she wanted to go and she said she didn’t care which was perfect. so i told her i’d pick her up in ten minutes which were spent sprinting back to my apartment, putting on my money’est shirt, and hoping my car would start which it didn’t, but then did.

it was a dry day in the deserts of peru.

the water fell for nothing; i fell for her

so i picked her up and we were off with me assuring her i knew where i was going while also making sure she kept the map handy. we ended up doing a walk to a beautiful waterfall which i won’t name because she might be reading this even though there is no way she is. the waterfall was dramatic. high volume and a drop of about two hundred and fifty feet. that´s what the sign said at the parking lot anyway. it´s not like i measured it. so there we were, sitting on this rock, just watching the water take its plunge, and it’s kind of interesting, you know, if you lock your eyes on one section of water and then you follow it all the way down to the pool below. but what i was going to say was that the rock that we were sitting on wasn’t really big enough for us to sit on side by side, so she sat in front and i kind of sat behind her. she might have even leaned on my legs as a back rest, but i may just be creating that to make the memory better. i can´t be sure. but what happened after about five seconds was that volume and two hundred fifty feet and locking my focus in on sections of water didn’t matter, because after those five seconds of all that stuff, basically, the only thing i was looking at, was her.

ok, so let me explain. i was getting interviewed. at first, i was loving on the girl on the left. but then i spread the love to the girl on the right. and then, obviously, the girl on the left got jealous. i´m not sure who the guy was. he may have wanted to hit me. i don´t know how i get myself into these things...
ocular saline water

and i was mainly watching her eyes watching the waterfall and i could tell she was freezing sections of water in moments of time just like i was and that kind of made me smile. not that she saw me smile, because i was behind her. but the thing was her eyes, they were blue, not dark blue, but a blue like the color of the shirt i have on now. seriously, suffice it to say they were beautiful. but what was killing me was that i could swear i could see water. not the waterfall water, because i wasn’t looking at the waterfall, but water on her eyes. in her eyes. flowing down to those spots where we scrape out those things that we get there after we wake up. and then they, this water, were rolling down her cheeks. now, there weren’t that many, but they were definitely there. i was neither imagining nor creating it. and it’s not like she was trying to hide them from me either, because, she assumed i’m sure, as she should have, that i was watching the other water pouring down on the rocks. but i wasn’t. and the thing with this girl was, well, she didn’t really talk that much, which just to tell you, i didn’t mind because i don’t like to talk that much, i mean, i guess i do sometimes, but not too much. at this moment however, since i knew, or i should say thought, she was crying, i felt that i needed to say something.

this road oscillated me.

no {20 minutes} yes

but if i were to have said something, it would have been weird because she would have been like, “how did you know i was crying?” and i would have had to have told her that i was watching her and that may have been one of those awkward moments. i try to avoid these kind of moments. it’s these kind of awkward moments that are never fully explored in tv or movies, and if we can´t have that as an example, what are we to do? and anyway, in tv and movies, they just cut to a commercial or another scene. but in life, you can’t really do that, you know. but despite all this, i thought, no, i need to say something, i do. and then, just as i was about to, i stopped myself. you know why? because, remember? it was cold. and i was thinking how sometimes my eyes sort of tear up in the cold. and so, what if her eyes were doing this too and really she wasn’t crying, and then i’m like, “are you ok, you’re crying?” and then she’s like, “what? i’m not crying and why are you looking at me and not at the waterfall?” i mean what would i say to that? could i just lay it on the line and say, “i’m looking at you because i love you”? because if you want to talk about awkward moments, well there’s the epitome of them right there. with no chance of a colgate commercial to immediately follow. so, just like any coward wouldn’t, i didn’t say anything and i didn’t do anything. and we walked back to my car. and after some time of listening to music, i think it was elliot smith but i’m not sure, i said, “would you like to go to the rice bowl and get dinner?¨ the rice bowl was this restaurant that i liked. and then she said, “no, not really, i need to get back to school.” and of course this really killed me but not in the way i like to be killed which should be obvious. so i kind of got sad, just a little bit. not really at her so much but more at the whole situation in general. i think i may have turned the music up or something too. so then, like twenty minutes later of nothing but elliot smith, out of nowhere, she says, “i think i would like to have dinner with you.” so now i was killed the way i like to be killed, but talk about your mixed signals, i mean, i didn’t know what to think at this point. but that’s how it is with girls, i’m telling you, they like to keep you guessing.

some people would say this building is hideous or atrocious. they would say you´re not supposed to use glass and bricks like that. i thought it was beautiful.
oriental astrology

so we went to this place, the rice bowl. i’d been there many times before and knew the food was really good. and there was this one waitress who always used to give me two fortune cookies. i don’t have to tell you that it’s hard to find customer service like that these days. so this girl and i were kind of talking, but not “waste time” talking, i mean good talking. well, we did kind of waste time talk a little. you see, the placemats at this place had a chinese zodiac calendar on them, and we were looking up the years of our births and stuff. some people say that i’m not a fun guy, but that’s kind of fun, isn’t it? and well, wouldn’t you know it, her sign and my sign were supposed to be “highly attracted” to each other. so when we read that and mutually recognized what we had just read, we just kind of let that moment hang in a bit of silence. i think i may have scratched my cheek even though it didn’t itch, but i mean, i needed to do something. but before the moment got too awkward, thankfully and as if on cue, the waitress came out with our food, and so me and this girl just kind of did one of those things where we pretended the moment never happened, and i think she may have said something like, “the food smells good.” but the thing was, that moment did happen. and i for one was glad it happened. i mean, we’re talking chinese interpretations of cosmic constellations here. and it’s like i’ve always said, you have to respect the originators of the abacus.

when i learned to count and write my numbers, i never perfected the triangular-topped 4. mine was always open on top.
phony fortunes

but i was too much of a coward to pursue our foregone stellar destiny. we had a nice meal. i think i may have eaten too much of the bowl of rice that we were supposed to share, because she kind of looked at it at one point and seemed to be surprised it was empty. i felt pretty bad, but what could i do? she could have ordered more after all. well, we both finished our food and that waitress i was telling you about remembered me and brought out four fortune cookies. so i told this girl that it was chinese custom to read the fortune you like the most out loud. i figured it was a good thing to say because it made me sound cultural and stuff. so i was hoping for a really good one. but wouldn’t you know it, the first cookie i broke into didn’t have anything inside. seriously, nothing. but she didn’t notice so i was putting all my hens in one bucket on the other cookie, and i am not kidding when i say the sheet of paper inside was blank. so the pressure was on as i tried to make up a fortune in my head, and so i said something like, “ladies first” to buy myself more time. also, i figured it was a good thing to say because it made me sound chivalrous. i was hoping her fortune was going to be something along the lines of, “you are reading your fortune to your soulmate.” but it wasn’t. it was something like, “work hard and you will reap rewards.” so then she asked for mine, and i was just about to lay the soulmate line on her, but then i stopped, because i mean, what if she asked to see it? so i told her i got the work hard-reap rewards one too. i figured it was a good thing to say because it made us sound coincidental. then, we went back to school.

everyone is saying the world needs a hero. world: here i am. i know, i know, you´re thinking how on earth do i have the time to fulfill my cycling duties ··and·· be a superhero? that is a balance for which the fulcrum i will find. so below are some images that you are welcome to blow up to poster size. they were taken in a special place where the toilets don´t swirl, but just flush straight down (and i still manage to clog them...). in a place where if gravity decided to take a bit of a break, i would have had quite a fall. yes, folks, it´s the middle of the world, the equator. in the one on the top, i´m flexing. you probably can´t tell.
i consider too many possibilities

we hung out some more after that, and it was nice, but nothing ever went anywhere in the direction that i hoped it would go and was too cowardly to verbally suggest. i mean, i was into this girl enough that i even made a mix tape for her. seriously, i did. it took me forever, mainly because i’m a horrible decision maker, and how to choose the songs to put on this tape was an epic task. i can remember coming up with preliminary set lists for it and narrowing it down to the final selections. but then i still had to figure out the order of the songs which, of course, was huge. i would actually daydream about this cassette during some of my pass/fail classes at college because, let’s be honest, if it’s pass/fail, who really cares, you know. so the teacher would be blabbing about if i were walking in the woods and i stumbled upon an ornate watch, would it be rational to consider that it had just appeared without any sort of divine creator, but meanwhile, i would be thinking, do i really want to include this or that song on the mix tape. and i’m telling you, i was so mathematical about it that there was not one second of silence on that tape, except for that part of the tape that has to be silent, i mean, you can’t avoid that. so when i had finally finished the tape, and it took me an eternity, i was kind of nervous about giving it to her because, i mean, how was i actually suppposed to do it? if i literally handed it to her then there was the possibility that she might say something like, “why did you make me a mix tape?” and that would have dismantled me. or i mean, she could have said, “let’s go listen to it,” which would have been cool in theory, but you know theories, they never really play out. and the reality could have been that during one particular lyric of one particular song that i really wanted her to hear and understand, i mean, you know, those lyrics that you wish you could say yourself but are too much of a coward to, she might have sneezed or something and then not have heard it and that would have obliterated me right there on the spot. so i did what any coward would do and i put it in a ziploc bag with a much too wordy note and left it under a windshield wiper on her car.

this was on the side of a building. it says, ¨here is the taliban.¨
i saw her not seeing me

this was for the best because i could then imagine her being really exicted to get the tape and hearing all the lyrics that i hoped she would. and as long as i was able to imagine that, the truth didn’t matter to me. so meanwhile, as this girl continued to kill me and drive me crazy, things got worse, because during that pass/fail class i was telling you about, i wanted to also tell you that i sat with my back against the wall so i could look out the windows. i had to do something while this professor went on and on and on listening to himself talk. some people don’t realize that they don’t need to be so wordy. i mean, cut to the point and get on with it. but the thing was, she started to walk past those windows almost everyday at the same dadgum time which just killed me. so there i am being killed and then there’s this professor sermonizing something like, “but if god exists, why is there suffering, why would a righteous god allow that?” and then he’d stroke his beard, which was a lame one by the way. meanwhile, i’d just be watching that clock thinking, “she’s going to walk by in four minutes.” and there she’d be. right on time which made the her-caused, foreign blood in my veins even more alien. and i’d follow her with my eyes, heck, i’m sure i was following her with my neck, my whole torso, everything, i don’t know what i was doing, but i do know that i was watching her and just collapsing despite myself. and ten seconds later, ten very good seconds later, she’d be gone. never having even so much as glanced in my direction.

i was thinking you may have wanted to see this part of that other picture better. so here you go friend.
a lunar phenomenon

at this point i had admitted, though hadn’t come to grips with, the fact that i just wasn’t an interest for this girl. and i knew i needed to come to grips with this. but it’s hard to just do this. to just move on when you’ve ripped out your own heart multiple times for this one someone. so one night, and when i need to deal with things i need to get away from everything and everyone, at like one in the morning, i got in my car and drove up into the mountains to this little shelter where i used to sleep. there was a horrible storm, but i knew i’d have the shelter, so it didn’t bother me. in fact, it made it better. so i got there super late, i don’t know when, and i ran from my car to this shelter with a sleeping bag, a notepad, a headlamp, and a pen. i think i also had some water. so i was under this shelter and sheets of water were just pouring off the tin roof, but it was crazy and so strange because it must have been just an intense, localized storm, because from this vista, way off in the distance, i could still see the moon, a full one. it’s like i was seeing it through the rain. so that was crazy and i couldn’t sleep and actually didn’t want or need to. so instead, i started writing this poem. yes, of course about her, but also about the moon and the storm as it related to her. and the thing was, i was quite pleased with this poem. and this poem, eventually, got me into some major trouble.

this is one of my favorite pictures from the entire trip. so i thought i´d share it with you.

a new girl

so the poem kind of concluded things for me and this girl, concluded things that never even began for her. and that was good. i moved on. kind of. at least that’s what i told myself. and still tell myself. and it took a while. a long one. but time passed as it does. and after some of this passing i kind of felt this other girl taking an interest in me. and you know how sometimes when something, a relationship or whatever, disappoints or doesn’t work out, and then, something else presents itself, and you know that it would work out, and, based on that previous failure, this presents a very hard to resist temptation? well, i guess i succumbed. but i did like this new girl. and she was super cool and nice and all those one syllable adjectives. but the truth of it was, i was still in love with the waterfall girl. i couldn’t help myself. i think with this new girl, i kind of hoped she would somehow become the waterfall girl. i know, you don’t have to tell me, i know how wrong this was. but you know how sometimes, at the time, things that are wrong sometimes seem right, or at least ok? anyhow, this girl and i started seeing each other and all that, and it was good, i mean it, it was. but never really beyond good. we had fun. but there was always this zone that i was kind of forcing things to be there, that, quite simply, were never going to be.

some people have accused my writings as being ¨downers.¨ so i was going to say that colonel sanders better look out, because chucky might get lucky. i thought, ¨that might be funny to say.¨ but then i remembered that colonel sanders is dead. so then i was like, ¨this isn´t funny.¨ maybe i am a downer after all.

submission

so anyhow, what i haven’t told you is that after i wrote that poem, like the next day after that, before i started seeing this new girl, i’d seen this sign at my school about a literary magazine looking for submissions. when i saw it, i tried to convince myself that i believed in fate and destiny and all that garbage, and upon successful false conviction, i told myself, well, i gotta submit that poem i wrote last night. so i did. i mean i typed it out and everything. and sent it away. i mean, why not?

if i use a little more alliteration, talk about ficticious near-death experiences, and stop harping on the non-necessity of flushing one´s toilet every time, maybe i can get this stuff to sell! sell, sell, sell! yes, i need to measure my self-worth by my income. i need a big house and a fancy car so that others can see these things and think, ¨wow, that hIrSch is doing well for himself, well for himself, i say.¨ i need to start bringing home the tofu. and besides, my baby in oklahoma needs a new pair of shoes.

the poem that got me in trouble

so it’s months after the whole i’m a poet thing, in fact, i had truly even forgotten i had submitted it. seriously. and this new girl and i, not the waterfall girl, but the other girl who came after, were going to hear a talk by amnesty international about the death penalty. i told you this new girl was cool. a nice, cool, girl who could appreciate amnesty international. so anyhow, she and i were walking to this talk which was being given at our school. and we were a little early. so we were kind of talking and killing time and then she noticed this stack of magazines called “the echo.” i noticed her noticing them and didn’t think a thing of it until i realized that that was the magazine to which i had submitted, months ago, my poem, the one i thought i had forgotten about. well, my heart started pounding as she curiously picked one up, but then i comforted myself in the fact that surely this magazine, although it was free and i’m sure desperate for submissions and probably had a circulation somewhere in the dozens, hadn’t published my poem. i mean, come on, it was just some stupid poem. so i relaxed a little, but i was still kind of wishing she’d put the darn thing down and start preparing herself for the atrocities of lethal injections. but you know how sometimes, the things we wish for, how the opposite is actually what ends up happening? well, this was one of those times. so not only was she sort of absent mindedly holding the magazine, but now she actually began to leaf through the blasted thing. i was standing right next to her with a sweat forming on my brow. and you know how when you leaf through a magazine, or anything that has staples as binding, you always end up landing in the middle. well, that’s exactly what she did. right smack dab in the dadgum middle of this stupid artsy fartsy magazine. and you know what was right there, like a blinking neon sign flashing, “hey hIrSch, you’re screwed!”? right there on the page where the leafing automatically stopped? my stinking poem. and you know what was right there above my poem and below the title? my name. and you know what happened right after she looked at me, i looked at her, and then, by cowardly default, i looked away? a man’s voice said, “come inside, it’s time for our presentation entitled, ‘why are we killing to stop the killing?’”

it´s just another night.

silence is leaden

so the death penalty discussion was quite informative, but i gotta be frank here, i was wishing i lived in texas and i could be sentenced and injected right then before i had to leave that room. the latent conversation that had to eventually be had was just hanging between us. but instead, as these things strangely have a tendency to pan out in such ways, we walked back to our respective apartments in absolute silence, and an awkward one at that.

the squeeze.
things fall apart

i didn’t really sleep well that night because i felt bad. for the way the circumstances had played out. so the next morning i met this girl where we usually met (we had already begun to fall into these sorts of patterns which i actually hated but was becoming tame to) and i told this girl everything, well, mostly everything, i mean, you have to edit some things out, and it went ok. this girl was very nice and she was understanding, to an extent. but if things were never really solid between us in the first place, they definitely became less so in the days following this whole episode. until finally, they completely dissolved, more or less by default, and i guess, in hindsight, by inevitabilitly. and that was that. and in retrospect then, in retrospect now, and actually there never really was a stop to this – i realized and realize i still loved and love the waterfall girl.

mountains and oceans and everything in between. and somehow, i always find a space for me.
you can never go back...but i did

but there was nothing i could do about it at this point. she knew i had been seeing this other girl, so even if she did ever love me, which she didn’t, but even if she did, when she heard that i was seeing this other girl, she would have let that love go. but now i wasn’t seeing that other girl. that was over. so i was thinking i should let the waterfall girl know this. but i couldn’t figure out how to let her know without it being awkward, and i hate awkward things. school was soon to end. and there were all these factors pointing me in the direction of just forgetting about the whole thing. letting it go and saying something like, “oh well.” but i couldn’t. really, i just couldn’t. maybe i still can’t. at the time, i did the only thing that made sense to me. you see, i was sitting in my apartment ruminating on all this. the tv was on and it was driving me crazy. my roommates were kind of circulating around the place and for no reason at all this irritated me. i was looking at all this dry wall and carpet and these couches and these kayaks we had suspended by pulleys from our ceiling and it was all getting under my skin. the doorknobs too, even the doorknobs were maddening me. so i got in my car and drove back to the waterfall. yes, the same one.

the thing about pictures is, they can´t convey wind. maybe this one can.
rub a dub dub

i took a different trail this time. i walked to the source of the falling water. i needed a new perspective. i needed to be standing at the top looking down at the rock where i watched the water fall from her eyes. and plus, i couldn’t bear to go back to that rock where we had sat. because that moment was perfect. and so, logically, that rock was perfect. to return to it would have ruined it. i needed to keep that place, more importantly the memory of that place, pure. to know that it still existed and not violate it with just my singular presence. because this would have thereby cemented the memory of me being alone, rather than with her. and i wanted the latter memory. so i went to the top of the waterfall and walked on a suspension bridge that spanned the river that was unwillingly or perhaps willingly but nonetheless destined to take a plunge. i knew it would be ok to see the rock, i just couldn’t allow myself to go back and feel it. so i stood on that bridge but i couldn’t see a darn thing, much less that rock. anyway, i sat down on the bridge and tried to read a book a friend had given me. it was a book about christianity, but it was one of these symbolic jobs, you know, where some character in the book is actually supposed to be jesus and another judas and another simon peter, but it never actually just says this. but to be honest, i could never figure out who was who or what was what so it didn’t hold my interest. so i stood up, took off all my clothes, and jumped in the river.

another day at the office. i wish there was a water cooler.
convincing myself of foolish things and believing them

more or less, the river was liquid ice, you know, so cold that it forces a deep inhalation upon submersion, and it felt great. while swimming and scrubbing and singing and having a gay old time, i suddenly said to myself, “i’m basically swimming in her tears.” and then i started to really believe this. and that made the whole bath thing weird, so i got out and dried off. it was kind of sunny and that felt nice. i also felt very alone, and that didn’t feel nice. and i began to dwell on that, how the last time i was in these mountains it was with her and how now it wasn’t and probably never would be again. it wasn’t a good thing to dwell on, but you usually only realize things like that after you’ve dwelled. but there really wasn’t much else to do, and, like i said, that book was pretty horrible.

do you like this new shirt? it was given to me by a friend in ecuador. god i miss my pink shirt.


the end of a day or the beginning of a new one?

i couldn’t actually see the sun set from where i was, but i knew it did because the colors in the sky went wild. i guess it was what one might call romantic or something, but the way i see it, it’s hard for something to be romantic when you don’t have any one to be romantic with. and who knows where the waterfall girl was. for all i know, she was down on that rock i couldn’t see, looking up at me thinking what a schmuck i was. probably with binoculars. probably even pointing and laughing. no, that’s not fair. she wouldn’t do that. she was too nice to think anyone was a schmuck. in fact, i’m sorry i even let my mind think like that. it wasn’t right for me to write that. i hate it when i do things like that.

i was robbed in ecuador. of my wallet and music player. it was an unfortunate event. at the ecuador-peru border, i exchanged money and received false peruvian notes that were confiscated by the bank when i tried to get change. also, an unfortunate event. at the bank, they gave me an official document stating that i had received false notes and that they had taken them from me. basically , it was a certificate certifying that i was a schmuck. it was signed by the president of the bank and everything. they looked at me slanted and stuff, but i was like, can´t you see, i´m the victim here. sometimes, it seems like no one listens.

my waterbed

so darkness was setting in and i needed a place to sleep. let me just go ahead and tell you that the last thing i am is a meteorologist. i decided that there was no way it was going to rain. also, there didn’t seem to be any bugs. so i concluded i didn’t need to fuss with my tent. and i was still on this suspension bridge. it was one of those kinds that sways and bounces up and down, but it was very well built, or at least seemed to be. it was about three feet wide. so i figured i’d just go ahead and sleep right there on the bridge. right over the water. i mean, why not? so i unpacked my stuff and got in my sleeping bag and watched the stars slowly appear, and somewhere in there, i fell asleep.

isn´t it better when they´re not looking right in the camera? this picture makes me want to cry sometimes. i could never tell you that. but i can write it.

the caveman cometh

and then, some hours later, i woke up to lightning and thunder. but no rain. so i figured i’d be fine. and right about when i figured this, i realized that there were all these metal cables in this suspension bridge. let me go ahead and also tell you, i’m no electrician, but i figured i should get off the bridge. and right about when i figured this, the deluge began. i was soaked before i could even prop myself up on an elbow. i hurriedly threw all my possessions into my backpack, ran across the bridge, and wouldn’t you know it, i found a little cave. so i jumped right in but was a bit disappointed to realize the cave was dank and musty. but it was better than nothing and paupers can’t be picky. so i kind of found a place to sit. actually, it wasn’t too comfortable, but i was wet and cold, and my options were limited. also, i was running low on food, but i remember that i allowed myself to go ahead and eat a granola bar. so there i was, sitting on uneven, spine contorting rocks, all of my possessions soaked, a storm raging outside the portal, tired, and my granola was getting wet from beard droppings. so after this pitiful self-evaluation, i kind of stopped mid-bite and said, “chump (i was talking to myself), you need to get over this girl.”

sometimes i´m sad. but aren´t we all? it´s people who ignore sadness that get into trouble and need pills or liquids or drugs. i embrace sadness, just like i embrace happiness, and everything in the midst of them.

but the thing was, i didn’t

but the thing was, i couldn’t. i mean maybe i didn’t even want to. you know how sometimes it can ultimately and actually be therapeutic to torture yourself? well, morning came, as it does, and i ate another granola bar and was happy to see the sun. i emerged from the cave. i think, right when i emerged, i may have pounded my chest and said something like, “uuga buuga, uuga buuga.” you know how you kind of do stupid stuff like that when you’re alone? well, anyhow, i continued on my way. i descended the mountain all the way to the fallen river, that, despite its fall, seemed quite full of life. as a result of the storm, it was completely swollen and almost cresting its banks. and i had to cross it. it was actually a very tricky crossing, but with faith in my yoga balance, in my strength as a swimmer, and lastly in plain old ordinary dumb luck, i made it to the other side. and then i kept on walking for quite a long time and things, for some strange reason, started looking familiar. the thing was, all the sudden i looked to my left, and, wouldn’t you know it, there was that rock. the one we had sat on. i had, unbeknownst to and in spite of myself, done exactly what i didn’t want to do. talk about irony, i mean, this was the eptiome. at first i sort of laughed at that. it’s funny how sometimes things aren’t funny at all, but, initially, for some reason, you just laugh. then i got mad, because now the rock was ruined for me. i had violated the memory i’d wished to preserve. then i sat on the rock myself. only this time, water fell from my eyes.

here is where i left the desert for the mountains. when i´m in the mountains, i miss the desert. when i´m in the desert, i miss the mountains. when i am where i am, i miss her.

six simple steps

after that was all over with, i sort of made a vow to myself. i realized how foolish i’d been from the get-go. i decided that what i needed to do was this: get back to my car, drive back to my school, find the waterfall girl, take her in my arms, look down at her (not condescendingly; she was short), and tell her how i felt. just lay it all on the line. trash the timidity. it was that simple. i needed to quit hiding behind myself. so that’s what i did. well, kind of.

she would have liked it here. sometimes i look over my shoulder hoping to see her. it´s good to have hope. i read that in a book once.

an unresolved resolution

i did drive back to my school, but by that time my resolve had dissolved and i had retreated within myself and resorted to my same old ways. it’s funny how we do this, isn’t it? it’s like watching that movie, hotel rwanda, and thinking, “dang, all this went down and i didn’t do anything about it....i didn’t even care.” and having this be reinforced by that line when the guy in the movie says something like, “yeah, people see what’s happening in rwanda for five seconds on the token international news bits, and they think, ‘wow, how awful,’ and then they bring the previously hovering spoon full of food to their lips and immediately forget about it, if they even thought about it in the first place.” it’s like that. and it’s like hearing that line and then feeling that twinge of guilt and telling yourself, “no, really, this time i’m going to do something about something.” but the next morning, you go right back to your cubicle. or back to the pedals on your bike. and you try not to think about what you aren’t doing. it was kind of like this with the waterfall girl. because i did get in my car and i did drive back to my school and i did find her, but when i saw her, i got all scared. so even though i saw her-she was sitting by the campus lake watching some swans-i pretended, like a coward, that i didn’t see her. but then she saw me and came walking towards me, smiling, both with her mouth and eyes, you know, a real smile, and for a brief moment i was going to do it. really, i was. i was going to tell her. to, for once, let go, and allow myself to be vulnerable. to open up the possibility of being crushed, because the possibility of that other and opposite possibility made the possibility of being crushed worth it. but then, i didn’t. i just said hi and asked her what she’d been up to. and when she asked me that same question, i just said, “nothing much.” during this whole conversation i had my hands in my pockets and i was pinching my thighs with my fingernails, mainly because i knew i was being such a fool and i thought that by pinching myself, i might snap out of it and just tell her everything. but the only thing i said was that i had to go. i didn’t have to go. in fact, there was nowhere else i would have rather been. but i just said this. and as soon as those syllables rolled off my lips, i wished more than anything to reel them back in. but it was too late. and so i said goodbye. and then i went.

and i guess some would say, i’m still going.

i’m not running from anything. i mean, i don’t even think about her anymore. i don’t even remember who she is. seriously, i’m serious.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cliffy:

Do the "girls" have names? Sorry to hear you were robbed...does that mean you are now without music???

Chirag

Sunday, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Taylor said...

Intense man, probably the hardest hitting piece of yours I've read. I just hope next time you meet another waterfall girl you say what you feel. At least you'll have tried.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Justin said...

I just caught the link to your blog from Marc's page and have spent quite a bit of my sleep time catching up. I was a little thrown off by the waterfall girl thing and where it was going to tie back in to the bike trip but then again I'm a slow learner.

It was great to catch up with your life but unfortunate not to be able to share much back. I hope that you are able to continue your travels all the way to the cape. Maybe when your dad publishes your works you'll become a rich traveler only with better sandals for your feet. Maybe you could buy stock at REI and cash in those dividends!

If you're ever in Houston we'll be glad to let you setup in our backyard...or the guest bedroom. Wherever.

-JR

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Blogger mary said...

Hirschell,

When my little brother was like 5, and we were hiking with our mom, we passed a dry rocky place where a spring waterfall had been, and he said, "Is that a waterfell?"

Glad you are feeling better?

I am listening to a song that goes, "Out in the west Texas town of El Paso."

Your friend in New York, M.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous FUOC said...

Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow

And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

It followed her to school one day
School one day, school one day
It followed her to school one day
Which was against the rules.

It made the children laugh and play,
Laugh and play, laugh and play,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school

And so the teacher turned it out,
Turned it out, turned it out,
And so the teacher turned it out,
But still it lingered near

And waited patiently about,
Patiently about, patiently about,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear

"Why does the lamb love Mary so?"
Love Mary so? Love Mary so?
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?"
The eager children cry

"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know."
Loves the lamb, you know, loves the lamb, you know
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know."
The teacher did reply

The 90210 life the outing guys seemed to live. I remember yours as the little C from TN saga with the M bookends...didn't you end up leaving that mix tape on her car and not even giving it to her in person? I remember listening to the tales one night in the Pretty little Place in the mountains after visiting the outdoor store apartment and contemplating life as a doctor while watching ER. The place had almost a mythical feel to it and i will never forget waking up to the sun rising over a large wooden cross after wondering where we would end up after a long, dark drive up winding roads. I never went back to the place and wonder what it would be like to return. This story also reminds me of the following tale of bookends.


she on the left, he on the right
they sit in their living room
stare at the fire, sparks up the flu
escape to the night, bedtime soon

and sure there's plenty to talk about
but there ain't much to say
god's on the mantlepiece
and what's he got to do with all of this anyway

and the silence here is written
it's the holiest you've ever seen
these two just bookends
to the spaces in between

they say they can talk about anything
unlike so many others they know
three out of five end in divorce
a matter of course, they read it was so
they read it was so

she closes the book, he puts out the fire
she turns down the bed, coming dear
they lie in the dark listening to
whispering voices in the downstairs room
hey

she on the left, he on the right
sparks up the flu, escape to the night
she on the left, he on the right
sparks up the flu, escape to the night

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Blogger powstash said...

I was wondering when another e-mail notice would land in my inbox - reminding me that a hIrSch was riding a bike in South America. It seems like not so long ago that you were passing along the continental divide in Colorado....then again it may seem longer to you.

Keep on keeping on. Thanks for another glimpse.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Gayle said...

Well...I cried. That was the saddest and most romantic thing I have ever read. It even made my heart race a bit. Wonderful and beautiful. I can't wait until the next one. Be safe!!

g

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Blogger sam said...

I'm with Tay, definately the rawest post yet - powerful - I don't know if I could have shared it.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Ted said...

What a prolific writer! Just awesome! And what outstanding photos! Equally awesome! I had made the mistake of thinking your "chapters" couldn't get any better. How mistaken I was! Keep up the excellent periodic glimpses into your life and travels.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rob, that was beautiful.
love hurts, usually...
i hope you realize how valuable it is to share stories about your life, thoughts, and adventures. every time i read your entries i think how blessed i am to know you and how others are missing out who don't know you.

Monday, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

m jackson says - i am not touched.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just when I thought your posts couldn't get any better!! You write very well and your photos are great. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous CAMILA MOSCOSO said...

Hola hIrSch!!!
Como estaaaaaaaaaaaas!!! Donde estas ahora? Desde que saliste de mi casa en Quito no volvi a saber mas de ti, y ahora que estoy en albuquerque en la casa de Craig y Brenda me puse a leer tu pagina y esta muy interesante. Me gusta como escribes, y ademas me muero de curiosidad de saber quien es la chica de las cascadas????????
Te mando muchos saludos, mucha suerte y muchos exitos.
ojala sepa de ti pronto.
camila moscoso

Friday, April 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puentes aquí...puentes alli... ¿Quien es tu novia del momento? ¿Tal vez sea la cajero en la tienda o alguien en la mente? ¿Que es mejor? Eres loco pero me encanta americanos como yo que aparezca extraño pero es normal. ¿Te falta las cosas caseras? ¿Donde está la gente español que conoció en tu viaje?

Buen viaje!

Monday, April 24, 2006  
Anonymous Love the Cube said...

"the non-necessity of flushing the toilet each time?" You have obviously never been in our office on Wednesdays after lunch (mexican buffet down the street). company policy requires AT LEAST one coutesy flush. Feel free to check out the website. I think we may have a job opening for you.

Monday, April 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But isn't the moral of the story to carpe diem, follow your heart, etc....it's hard for me to feel sorry for they guy who doesn't have the balls and worse, knows he doesn't have them. Courage, man.

Saturday, April 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with the post above. if you are all about seizing the moment and doing what you want when you want, do it. how many of these women on your trip have you made a move on? you love the new but don't want to be with someone unless you are the best of friends? Looks like an almost unattainable catch-22. i feel like i am reading a quasi secret life of walter mitty adventure with women.

Friday, May 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is she? I wanna see her?

John

Monday, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the two comments that say Hirsch should have courage and seize the moment and have balls....

....why didn´t you sign your names?? Cowards??!

Besides, Hirsch is speaking of an event in his *past*....I assume college days? Give the guy a break!

Glenn

Monday, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous mark said...

Hirsch is doing a solo, Pan American, bike ride, surviving on $7 per day and these two anonymous guys say he needs to develop some courage? Amazing!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toth here...come on...I suppose all of you carpe diem tools never been at a loss for words around a woman that took your breath away. There is not a soul alive that has ever had feelings for someone that can't relate to this story. I give Hirsch credit...its very hard to express the exact thoughts that are going through ones head and yet be easy to follow for a third party reader...although Rob the paragraph is your friend.

I sent this in an email to Hirsch, but I'll throw it out there for the public in support of him. I consdier Rob to be one of my better friends (I consider my wifie to be my best). He was the first person I met upon getting to Furman and I think I was the first person he met. If you'd see the two of us together we are a complete contrast in every way. Other friends and even my wifie has asked me "what in the world do you two have in common?". All I can say is I can completely, 110% relate, understand and comiserate with how that boy thinks and feel. Great story bro. I'm sorry that I didn't get to hear it from you face to face back in the day..should have shared it man.

Later. Toth

Tuesday, May 09, 2006  
Blogger Katie and Betsy said...

Wow, hirsch, fantastic story! Completely captivating, I started reading it only half-interested but absolutely could not stop til the end.

But actually, my favorite part was the picture of you by the sign, bike thrown down with a caption about being sad and embracing the sadness. I could completely relate to both the photo and the thought...especially having biked for 7 months now. I think there's something about biking that makes the sadness almost more intense, like it's impossible to avoid or ignore because all you can do when you're biking is think about it and the physicality of the biking exhausts you too much to do anything but yield to it and sometimes just cry. I've felt that way several times on this trip and know I'll probably feel like that lots more times before we reach Ecuador.

Anyway, all the best...hope you and Marc enjoy the salt flats!

hasta luego,
Betsy

Saturday, June 03, 2006  
Anonymous Nate said...

I noticed that every time you got around Tay you acted a little weird, but I had no idea you two had been to the salto. ...and i chocked all those disappearances up to magna cum laude trips to the library.

Powerful words.

Nate

Tuesday, July 04, 2006  

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