Recently in A Little Something Extra Category
The moon acted as spotlight on the lake where we spent our first summer together three years ago. Here we were, same place, still together and more in love than ever. The clanging acoustic guitar of Kenney Chesney filled the midnight black sky as Joey and I lay on the hood of his Chevy truck. It was the last night we had together for tomorrow we would be saying sentimental goodbyes filled with heartache and tears.
Lying on the dented red hood, he turned to me and said, “Your eyes put the stars to shame tonight,” lightly brushing my hair from my eyes.
Nestling my head into his soothing arms, the radiance of the night sky created a glimmer on the ring placed on my left hand earlier that day. At the age of nineteen, I had married to the love of my life who in one day was heading to Iraq. I tried not to think of what might happen over there and instead focused on our first and last night together as man and wife.
Living in a small Christian town filled with immense morals and values, we decided to wait until we got married to consummate our love, for any premarital relations would be a sin in the eyes of the Lord. I knew he was just as nervous as I was about what would end our night together. He was watching the stars and planes, one of which he would board tomorrow, flying above our heads. I closed my eyes and listened to his familiar heartbeat that I wouldn’t hear for two tortuous years.
We laid there for a silent hour before another word was spoken. Lifting my head up to meet his, Joey caressed my face and kissed me. Soon we found ourselves in the back seat of this truck finally consummating our love. The windows became saturated with steam and the seats sheltered with our clothes. After a physical and emotional two hours, we dressed and drove to our new home together where we fell asleep in one another’s arms.
The alarm went off at five o’clock to an undelightful awakening and miserable morning where I wished I could’ve hit the snooze button and avoided the inevitable sending off of my soldier to Iraq. We arrived at the base with my eyes swollen and puffy from the early morning cry. With a last hug, a final kiss, and an emotional “I love you,” Joey walked up the stairs to board the plane that was stealing him from me. There would be no more lake picnics, Sunday morning brunches, Friday night movies, or Wednesday softball games at the base for the next two years. My whole life left me on the now-empty blacktop of the runway.
It’s been six months since that atrocious morning and I’m sitting in the gynecologist’s office with my mother awaiting the results of our baby.
We are having a girl.
Aiden and I were the best friends since 1st grade and our friendship was cut short a few weeks ago. We were seniors in high school with three months left and so much to live, explore, and be. I got accepted into New York University and both Aiden and his girlfriend, Layla, were set on University of Miami. They received their acceptance letters on the day of the accident. On March 4, 2006, I lost both of my best friends. It was a night I would never forget. I witnessed their death first hand and could do nothing to help them.
* * * *
Aiden and I had physics for our last period together on the day it all happened. I remember looking over at him watching his face showing his anxiousness of going home and finding out the news. Aiden was getting annoyed second by second as our teacher went on and on about our upcoming physics test. He sat in class impatiently waiting for the bell to ring and was frequently glancing at the clock drilled above the door. The clocks two tiny hands moved sluggishly. It was as if the clock gods knew he had an important letter waiting for him at home. They continued in their clockwise pattern, with the minute hand coming closer and closer to the 10 which would initiate the bell. It was only 2:03. Aiden had 47 minutes left.
“You know, time only goes slower if you keep staring at it,” I whispered as Mr. Bollen went on about torque and gravity.
“Yeah, well, this class is so boring and I just want to go open my letter.”
After the dreadful lecture was over, the bell rang two times signaling the end of the day. We both met up with his girlfriend, Layla, at his locker shortly after the bell rang. Aiden and Layla were dating since freshman year and were in the yearbook every year as the best looking couple.
“I’m so nervous. What if I don’t get in and you do and vice versa?” she asked.
“Don’t worry, we’ll get in. Trust me,” he said as he kissed her forehead.
They weren’t the couple who publicly displayed their affection for one another. They held hands and kissed each other on the cheek, but they weren’t like Sally and Todd. After every period, and there are seven of them, you could find Sally and Todd locking lips and groping each other like two crazy animals till the next bell rang.
We began walking to the parking where everyone on a Friday afternoon hung around figuring out their night plans. I remember almost running to the cars as if we were caught in a horrible tsunami. Aiden walked to the passenger side of his brand new 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee and opened the door for Layla. Aiden received the Jeep as an early graduation present. Well, it wasn’t really a present or a surprise, he knew about it because he picked it out.
“Aiden that hoodie in the matter of minutes will soon not just be a fan item, but an attending college student item,” I said as I got in the back seat.
“Yeah. Let’s hope,” said Layla.
He walked to the other side - brushing the dust of the University of Miami bumper sticker - hopped in the car ands started the engine.
* * * *
We stopped at Layla’s house first so she could pick up her letter. Then we headed to Aiden’s to get his. They both had in their hand what they hoped were acceptance letters.
“Okay, we’re here,” he said as we pulled into the township park filled with dog owner’s power walking on the path with their dogs drooling from the mouth. “You ready?”
I remember when they sent out their applications, they put six stamps on them in hopes that they would get there faster and be accepted sooner. I was the one who had bought their stamps. You know, I wanted to help in some way for them to get into Miami.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
“On three. Ready...”
“One, two, three,” they said in unison while opening their letters at the same time. I sat in the back seat in anticipation.
“What’s the news?”
“I got in!” Layla exclaimed with the most priceless face you could ever see. I remember her bright blue eyes having a sort of glimmer added to them as the sun glazed over her face. Tears were slowly coming down her cheeks like a light rain shower.
“Remember what you said about my hoodie, Brody? Well...”
“Well what,” we both asked almost frightened to hear his response.
“Well, I think I’m going to have to buy you one when I get there. I got in too!”
We became elated. Nothing could stop us now. We were invincible. We were on top of the world. I got into NYU a week ago and they just received news of getting into University of Miami. This day was the beginning of the rest of our lives.
* * * *
Aiden dropped Layla off at her house after we went and got coffee. We pulled into our neighborhood being that we grew up 3 houses down the street from one another. You could say that we basically owned the streets with our bicycles on lawns, sidewalk chalk markings in front of every driveway, pranks we pulled on our neighbors and baseball and kickball games held every day in the middle of the street causing havoc for our neighbors. It was like any other neighborhood, except the houses started at $500,000. The community, you could say, was a bit stuck up and snotty. They thought they were better than everyone else because of their fancy cars, 5 maids, and chandeliers in every open window of their house. You had to be accepted into the neighborhood community before even considering buying a house. All the houses looked exactly the same except for both of ours. We both had Christmas lights and decorations still up on our houses. Aiden’s house had the blinds wide open looking into the living room and office filled with old papers and boxes still unpacked from moving in which was 2 years ago. Our parents were anything but stuck up. Our families were well off in the financial department, but there is more to life than money. That was a motto for both families.
“Hey, Aiden! Listen; there is a party at the beach tonight. They said their having a bonfire and shit,” I said.
“I will be there for sure. When and where?”
“It’s at Belmar tonight. I’m driving separately because I have an early curfew because I have to go to Delaware for a family reunion. But I will follow you guys there.”
“Okay. You want to come over for dinner? My parents would love it.”
“Of course. Are you crazy? I love your mom’s cooking and she’s not too bad to look at either,” I said as he punched me in the chest.
* * * *
It’s crazy to think that I ate dinner with Aiden and his parents on the night he died. Maybe it was a sign. It was a sign that I had to be with him at every moment because he was going to lose his life in a couple hours and I was to help and rescue him.
Dinner that night was Mrs. DeMaio’s best. She made chicken parm with pasta and a fresh salad of greens and buttery biscuits that just melted in your mouth. As we sat down to dinner, and made a toast, Aiden told his parents the news.
“Okay. Well I don’t want you to get mad but I’m going to have to borrow some money.”
“How much do you need? And what did you do now?” his dad said.
“Well, don’t get mad, but...” Aiden stopped in mid-sentence. “I need around $50,000.”
“What the hell did you do?” his mom asks.
“I got accepted to the University of Miami!” Aiden reached into his back pocket pulling out the acceptance letter.
Without hesitation his mother jumped out of her seat and gave him a hug and a kiss leaving a moist, red lip print on his cheek. She made the typical facial expression of a contestant who just found out she won Miss America with her mouth open wide, speechless, fanning her face with her hands in hopes that it would stop the tears. His dad walked over and gave him a firm handshake and a bear hug and I could see tears in his hard green eyes forming.
“Congratulations, son,” his mom said in that kind, gentle soothing voice she had that could put babies to sleep.
“Son, you have made me so proud. You are now the 6th generation to attend University of Miami,” his dad said trying to keep back his emotions and act as the true Army soldier he once was.
“Thanks,” Aiden said.
* * * *
We walked up to his room after dinner and he called Layla asking if she was ready to go. This would be the last phone call he would make in his life.
“Hey, babe. Did you tell your parents?”
“Yes I did and they are so overwhelmed right now, probably more than me right now,” she said.
“I know. Well, listen. Brody told me about a party at Belmar beach tonight. They are having a bonfire, food, and drinks. So, I’ll pick you up in like 15?”
“Sounds great. See you then. Bye.”
We sat around for a little listening to some music and talking about the next three months and how slow they were going to drag. During this moment with Aiden, I felt a strong bond between us two that I have never felt before. Aiden and I always told ourselves we were brothers separated at birth, but at that moment in time, I felt that we were one. We completely understood each other like finishing each other’s sentences, sharing clothes, swapping CDs. Time went by and we headed downstairs.
“Mom, I’m going out with Layla and Brody and a couple friends for awhile. I’ll be back around 12 tonight. Don’t wait up.”
“Where are you going?”
“To Belmar. There is a bonfire. You know, just like a little get together.”
“Okay, be safe and wear your seat belt.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said grabbing his keys off the kitchen table. He smiled at his letter from Miami.
* * * *
After, deciding on an outfit, Layla was ready. She chose to wear her new skinny jeans, a white, embellished tank, and blue flip flops. She was infamous for wearing flip flops, especially in the winter. I was waiting behind Aiden in his car as we waited for Layla to come out. I honked my horn at him and he honked back signaling to me he was calling her.
He hated waiting, especially with her. She never was on time. For our junior prom, she was an hour late to my house because she didn’t like the way her hair stylist did her hair so she made her do it 3 other times. Just 2 weeks prior, we were all late to a ceremony at our high school for a community service project. She told us she didn’t know what purse to bring because she couldn’t break the unwritten fashion rule of wearing black and brown together.
* * * *
Living in New Jersey was great. Beaches were so close by; it seemed more like a luxury than anything. Belmar beach was a half hour away from our houses. It was a quiet beach with a boardwalk filled with restaurants, cafes, games, and playgrounds. Aiden, Layla and I have been there many times before especially during the nights in the summer. The road was familiar to us with the constant traffic lights and windy curves. With the windows down and the fresh smell of salty ocean water filling both of our cars we blasted our stereos at a traffic light where we were waiting next to each other.
“Listen, Aiden. No racing against me tonight. I only have like 2 gallons of gas.”
We were only ten miles away and as I looked over at the harbor, it looked more beautiful that it ever did before. The docks were lit up with white lights and the moon looked like a spotlight on the water. As we neared the next to last traffic light before our right turn onto 4th street, there was a party of cars exiting a popular night club called, “Shampoo”. As Aiden moved into the left lane, so did I. We were allowing the exiting cars the right lane. A black, convertible sports car which looked like a Mitsubishi Eclipse pulled out of the parking lot burning rubber as it created a fog in the air.
The car wasn’t slowing down and was coming closer and closer to the side of Aiden’s car. Aiden tried to pass him but there was no way he was going to be able to with the congestion of traffic in our lane. All of a sudden the black sports car sped up, made a sharp left and cut off Aiden and Layla causing him to turn the wheel sharply. I jammed on my brakes immediately causing my automated brake system to activate. My heart was beating so hard it felt as if it was going to pop out of my chest. I clenched my steering wheel so hard that I left handprint molds on the wheel. I lost my breath and for a split second everything was black. Aiden’s car was forced to the opposing land and skidded for 50 feet before a Honda CR-V collided on the passenger side.
The windows shattered immediately into a thousand pieces covering the road. It looked like diamonds were paved into the road. The Jeep was hit so hard that it completed 360 degree flip. The car was being tossed around like a football during a middle school game. All I could do at that moment was sit in my car, completely exasperated; I was in shock. I opened my door and ran over to their car. Layla’s was impossible to open because of the impact. I ran over to Aiden’s side. I pulled the door open only to find his head lying against the steering wheel bleeding uncontrollably and Layla’s body distorted. Her legs were twisted and her arm was stuck between the door.
Finally, the ambulance came only to push me out of the way and keeping me behind the police unable to see my two best friends.
* * * *
The following Monday, the school held a memorial service for both Aiden DeMaio and Layla Costello. I was too traumatized to attend the service. I witnessed their death and I did nothing to help them. I was too scared and shocked. They never got to experience life or even college. How am I supposed to move on? How am I supposed to go to NYU knowing my two best friends are not going to Miami? They were only 17 and their lives were taken away at too young of an age.
The newspapers and TV covered this story for the next couple days giving more details of the accident every day. They reported the driver who cut of Aiden’s car was found minutes later and was drunk. He is now in jail awaiting his sentence of either life in prison or the death sentence. They also stated that neither Aiden nor Layla were wearing a seatbelt and if they have been wearing them, they would have survived with major injuries due to the force of the opposing Honda CR-V. The driver of the Honda was listed as stable with a mild concussion and a broke leg. Pictures of the accident were put in the newspapers. I could not look at them. I already had a vivid image of it already. However, one the pictures showed both the Honda and Aiden’s Jeep. The ironic thing was on the bumper of the Honda there was a University of Miami sticker. The driver of the Honda was identified as a recent graduate of Miami and had just received a job working for The New York Times.
On the side of the road where the accident happened, a tree was adorned with ornaments of youth and sorrow. Playful road-trip photos dangled near cellophane-wrapped flowers next to half-burned candles and home-made cards. A sign was planted in the ground decorated with orange and green letters spelling out, “Hurricanes Forever.”
Still and Quiet
The swings no longer squeak
to the frantic beat of children.
The sky has turned a dim red,
and the flip flops have worn down to boots.
Our summer skin has faded
to a pasty color of white.
The sounds of seagulls
have turned to the crunching of leaves.
The backyard baseball games
have been traded for football on TV.
The fresh, squeezed lemonade
has become a cup of hot cocoa.
The trees have turned bare
and the ground stiff.
The summer season has died
and the fall has replaced it.
Everything is still and quiet now.
West Coast Envy
It’s very hard living on the east coast.
The sun rises, but it isn’t as bright.
I want California to be my host
during the walks along the beach at night.
I never knew that I could fall in love.
I fell so hard and it happened so fast.
The Californian sun should be my glove.
I wish that this deep love would only last.
This road is kind and full of winding curves.
The sun is in front of me as I drive.
My heart starts to beat faster full of nerves.
This adrenaline makes me feel alive.
I’m almost underneath the west coast sun.
San Diego is longing to have fun.
There’s that one phase
in everyone’s life
Where all you want to do
is go back in time.
The time you wasted with old friends
sitting around on balmy, idle weekdays
laughing in crowded cars on back roads
filled with adolescent glory.
You never wanted to leave the front porches
where you sat for endless hours
ignoring the realities before you
washing them over with foolish dreams.
You took the pictures to remind you
when you were the coolest kids.
Where you owned the streets and stayed awake
through summer like you owned the heat.
There were moments where you had mental highs
like the freefall on a rollercoaster;
those moments where you detached from reality
and screamed, “I’m fucking alive”.
Enjoy Your Youth
Oh, what it feels like to lay underneath
The balmy sun with tan toes in the brown
Sand singing songs about adolescent
Glory while living the good life with
Close friends you knew since the first grade. Where you
Ate glue and played on the monkey bars. Where
You would fall and go home with black, bruised knees.
Now you stay out late doing nothing at
All but still have the best times of your life.
The sun fades behind the calm, blue water,
Your skins becomes red and sore and you take
The pictures to remind yourselves when you
Lived in absolute bliss and ruled the world.
You pack the car and drive away from love.
"Is it an election or an auction," said former State Senator Allen Kukovich today at lecture.
With all the mudslinging going on between the democratic and republican parties, it seems that the concern is more about negative campaign ads against the opposing party rather than the issues on hand. The Senator explained the only way to combat with the election at hand, especially with the name-calling, is for individuals to fully participate, that means voting, in the election. "Whenever you don't participate, you give even more power to those who already have it," Kukovich said. We all need to vote this year especially when our economy is in jeopardy.
Kukovich stated that many don't even pay attention to the election until 3 weeks before voting begins. They then become engaged, involved and enthusiastic about the election when they hardly know anything about the candidates.
Senator Kukovich stated that since May, 100,000 new voters have registered. I am registered to vote and since early June, I have been paying close attention, or at least I'm trying, to the election. (GO OBAMA!)
An issue Allen went in depth about was our economy which is in jeopardy due to the lack of regulation by the government with lending and CEOs of huge corporations. He explained that we have to rely on manufacturing, where our people are make the items and supplies, instead of sending them overseas. This related a little to my Senior Seminar class where my group and I are working on a critical issue that is part of the election: USA Intervention and Priorities. We are arguing that as a country, we need to worry about our problems first before we go help out other countries. It may sound selfish, but it's true.
So I created my own homepage by myself with HTML. It's amazing seeing all these codes and style sheets merging together and making a page.
It's not to elaborate but it's my first time creating my own website.
So, just check it out.
So before class started today, I was browsing around the internet and stumbled across an article that made me infuriated.
For the first time in six months, oil prices closed below $100.
- Yahoo! Finance
"They used a natural disaster as an excuse to make money," said a current M.B.A grad student here at Seton Hill who asked to remain anonymous.
So my question is, if oil prices closed in at less than a hundred dollars, why are we still paying $3.69 a gallon. And just for your information, the damage done by Hurricane Ike was less than many expected so I think we all should be refunded the 20 cents more we paid before Ike came to land.
"Oil companies change prices two to three times through the course of the day which is illegal but they get away with it because there is such a high demand for it," he exclaimed.