Friday, September 19, 2014

burn-out

if more people took the time to slow down, rest in the soft, spring-time grass, and look up at the cloud spattered sky, everyone would be happier.
but what was the point in happiness? Euphoria and endorphins couldn't fill an empty stomach. They couldn't pay the bills, do homework, or wash the dishes. They only lifted a person up to the clouds before they inevitably fell again. That process--happiness, heartbreak, more happiness, more heartbreak--over and over again...what good did it do? Was it even worth it?
Maybe it was because of the happiness that the bad days became bearable. Because of the repetitive aspect of life, one always knew that something at least a little better was on its way, and that was an encouragement in itself...
not grass, but who cares...

Jon absently picked at the slippery grass beneath his fingers, mulling over his debate with himself. Something about it missed the mark; he just couldn't figure out what. He wished he could more objective with himself, but today, he was too exhausted to pick a meaningful fight.

He never told anyone he had these arguments against his own mind, not even Matt or Colt. Colt wouldn't care--he'd joke that Jon had finally gone off the deep end and then spend the rest of the day hovering over him like an anxious mother hen. Matt, on the other hand, would over-dissect it. He'd make it into a scientific formula, something with no warmth or emotion or surprise to it. It would all be predictable and deathly boring. This argument needed those emotions to thrive, not to be squashed out.

The clouds scuttled across the sky like fleecy crabs, and Jon's eyes grew heavier by the second. The soft grass beneath his head was too close to a pillow and the warm breeze flowing over his bare arms was too similar to a blanket. He hadn't slept well in a week, and nature's lullaby was working its magic.

But he needed to stay awake. The argument wasn't over. It never was.

Just five minutes, he begged his raging mind. Just five simple minutes of thoughtless sleep?

His eyelids slipped...closing, closing, closing...

"Hey, are you Jon North?"

He popped one eye open with a groan and saw a Kid--middle-schooler? Absurdly baby-faced high-schooler?--standing directly above him. A battered soccer ball was tightly tucked under his arm.

"I am." He sat up. "Do I know you?"

The kid laughed. "Heck no. I know all about you, thought!"

Really, he thought. You'd be scared kid if you did.

"So what do you want?" He choked back at yawn that threatened its way out. His mind screamed that this little kid wasn't important; only the great argument was. That was the Matty side of him coming out. People weren't important; facts were. But Jon  was Jon, a completely different person in the same body. And to Jon, people were the most important.

The kid had a way of smiling that squished his eyes together and stretched his upper lip too tight and made all his freckles bunch together like a swarm of ants, and Jon smiled back at him just because of how young and idiotic he looked. And happy. He looked happy.

"I'm Bryson," he said. "I play on the Ashburn Jaguars, and I've heard all about you from Coach."

Ah. Junior-high. The still gappy teeth made sense now.

"And?" asked Jon. "You just wanted to say hi!"

"I wanted to just to talk to you! You're a legend to our team! Coach says you were the best player he ever had!"

"Me?" That was slightly unbelievably. He was also the player who'd plastic wrapped Coach's car for a joke, hid everyone's shin guards and cleats before their biggest game, and skipped practices left and right. Hardly the makings of a legend. Or anything.

"That one game--where you scored those three hat-tricks--I was there!" He looked like he was ready to explode with excitement at the memory. "Of course, I was only like 9, but I still remember how wicked it was! How'd you even do it?"

"How'd I do it?" It had been a joke. Colt told him to score as many points as he could, but to boggle the other team's mind while doing it, because their goalie had asked Leslie Carver, the prettiest girl in town, out before he had. And thus, Jon came up with dominating the ball for three straight goals, letting the other team score an absurdly easy goal, then rise and repeat. Coach had yelled at him for playing as an individual and not as a team, but he couldn't hide how impressed he was. "Uh...I don't really know. I guess it was pure dumb luck."

"Dang." The boy sucked air between his teeth. "It sure sucks that you quit the team the next month. You were on fire."

Jon looked down at his shoes and grinned slightly. "That's the thing, kid," he said. "When you're on fire, sometimes you burn out. Happens to the best of us." And the worst of us. "You got a game soon?"

"Tomorrow, actually," he blurted out eagerly. "At the Rec Center."

"You should go practice then. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there."

"Really?" His voice shot up and peaked with excitement. "You'd do that?"

Jon shrugged. "Maybe." But then he winked at the kid and grinned.

"Oh gosh. Dude. Oh man. Thank you so much!!" He reached forward to shake Jon's hand or something--um, what?!--when a huge gust of wind sent the folder by Jon's feet flying open and a few of his papers scattered like startled sparrows. Bryson dropped his ball and scurried to pick them up before Jon even had a chance to stand up.

"Here you go," he gulped, handing him the crumpled papers. "Might want to put your folder in your backpack."

"...Thanks."

"No, thank you!" The kid picked up his ball again. "I was having a super crappy day, but meeting you made today awesome! Thank you so much!" And before Jon could say a single word, he was gone, running down the hill and whooping for the pure joy of it.

Jon looked down at the papers in his hand, which were now a little torn and muddy. Dear Matty, read one in smudged pencil lead. He sighed, then crumpled the papers with his hand into a tiny ball.


These can wait a little longer, he decided as he stretched out on the soft grass again. For Bryson's sake.

He let his eyes slide shut, but his mind whirred down, preventing sleep and peace of mind. His argument had changed, and he knew this was his missing piece.
if more people took the time to slow down, talk to an innocently clueless kid, realize they were actually worth something, and change their perspective around, they might see a little more point in living.

1 comment:

  1. This gave me chills. Like dang........I love this story. There is so much truth in this post and I can't wait to read the rest of the story<3

    ReplyDelete

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