Flashbacks

More Than A Year

It has been more than a year since I last made a blog entry, which also happens to be my only blog entry. It was kind of odd seeing my sixteen-year-old self’s writing. I will try to be modest (it probably won’t sound like it) but I wrote pretty well close to two years ago.

My line of thinking about my life hasn’t changed much since that last post although I am doing poorly in my Calculus class right now. I do my homework, I just don’t turn it in. It’s become a bad habit that has led to the demise of my GPA. I’ve still got half a year to bring up my grades, though, so I’m not too concerned about that.

What else has gone on?

I am a senior in high school. I turned seventeen-years-old this year and I’m just a month and a half away from turning eighteen. My seventeenth birthday was the best birthday I’ve had in years.

It was on a Wednesday this year. I got up, made myself up, and went to school. My first period was AP Language & Composition and it was my teacher’s last day there before she left for Australia. The saying is she went to Australia to breed hamsters, which actually could make sense because she was eccentric like that, but it could also just be a rumor. We knew definitely that her husband had taken a job in Australia and he had been travelling back and forth between the nation and his home here with my teacher. Anyway, she was leaving, and we were doing a last minute project and were reserved to be in one of the computer labs at our school. I was early to school, though, because I’d gotten excited about my birthday and I wanted to meet a friend before class started.

I was putting my books in my locker when she jumped out at me and yelled, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” then put her arms around me and squeezed the life out of me. When she pulled away, she held up a present bag and waved it in front of my face. I opened it on the spot because I’m incredibly impatient. She’d given me a small disc with no title, a necklace with a D pendent for my name, and a small piggy bank with the word “RENO” written on it’s side.

For close to a year, we’d been planning on going to the University of Reno, Nevada together after high school. I’ve known this particular friend since the fourth grade and we’ve gone through middle school together and high school with the exception of freshman year. For now I’ll refer to her as K. During junior year, she and I were looking at colleges and UNR really appealed to us. We started making plans to apply there, move to Reno, rent out a house together with a third and maybe fourth roommate. I’d take care of house chores, get a job with a newspaper to help pay with the rent, and keep the house orderly. She’d cook, deal with our finances, and run an illegal, underground hair salon in our backyard. We had this entire life in Reno planned until we realized how difficult it was to get a job, money, and even apply to college.

It wasn’t long after K gave me the present that another friend of ours showed up, whom I’ll call Panda (it’s an inside joke). Panda, K, and I shared my locker because K couldn’t open hers and Panda had a bottom locker and he was not having that. I love him; he’s one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I often find myself wishing for his presence because he’s one of my best friends. Junior year was the year that we got close, though, despite only having one class together. He told me all of his problems and insecurities and went to me for advice. He shared inside jokes with me and we’d break out in song together at the most random of times.

I wanted to put on the necklace that K had gotten me, but the chain was too short and I couldn’t clip it on myself. K tried to put it on me, but she had just gotten her nails done the day before (she was participating in a Salvadorean beauty pageant) and she couldn’t get the clip on. Panda offered to put it on for me.

When the bell rang for class, he told me ‘happy birthday’ one more time then he left. K and I went to the computer lab together. During the first five minutes of class, we waited until all of the people in our group of friends arrived before we started messing around. A friend who I’ll call Curley gave me balloons, another I’ll call A gave me cupcakes, and my best friend, who I’ll call B, got me a gigantic, handmade pop-up card and a scarf and a small angel pin (which I have lost) and a weird squishy toy that I’m still not sure about. I got other presents but those are the only ones I can remember right now. For the rest of the period, we took pictures and messed around with the frosting from the cupcakes and joked around with our teacher. They sang me the “Happy Birthday” song and then, because I’m Hispanic, they also sang me “Las Mananitas”. The rest of the day was fun but nothing sticks out.

After school, my oldest sister (C) called me and told me to get home quickly because we were going out. When I did return home, I had half an hour to get dressed because we were going to a restaurant we’d fallen in love with on C’s 21st birthday last year. The restaurant is called Paymon’s. My brother, J, and my other sister, L, all got dressed and we left.

The relationship I have with my brother and sisters is one that I hadn’t realized is unorthodox. I am the youngest in my family and my oldest sister is five years older than me, so we’re all fairly close in age. We share moments which we refer to as “brotherly moments” when we’ll sit in our living room and talk about our lives for hours. We’ll play music and criticize each other, reminisce about our childhoods, make jokes, tell stories, talk about our futures. These “brotherly moments” go on well into the night and usually result in a spur of the moment outing. We’ll go see a movie or go eat at Checkers, the fast food restaurant we’ve established as ours. On occasion, we’ve driven out to the outskirts of town, to the rich suburbs, and hang out there to overlook our hometown. When we aren’t having one of those moments, we’re still fairly close. We call each other names and argue and three of us will gang up on the fourth with jokes and burns. Pretty much everything we do, we end up laughing about it as soon as it happens. It’s a trait we got from our dad. L, 2 years older than me, has a habit of putting her hand on my leg and looking at me suggestively, then bursting out laughing when I put my hand on top of hers and return the look. We mostly talk about the literature world and Tumblr. We make fun of her a lot because she can be very slow to grasp information. J is a jerk. He is three years older than I am and he plays rough. He makes up the most ridiculous stories and is an impulse buyer. C is the oldest at 22. She is a first time grade school teacher and spends her time either buying things for her students or obsessing over working out and dieting. We are all conceited and intelligent and sarcastic.

When we went to Paymon’s that afternoon, we had a “brotherly moment”. Our food arrived and the waiter commented on how funny we were with each other, especially when we started ganging up on L by picking off of her plate. There came a point when they brought out a small piece of cake with a candle on it (I hadn’t expected this) and L ate is as recompense for our behavior.

After the restaurant, we decided that I didn’t need to go to school the next day because it was my birthday and I needed to enjoy every minute of it. With that in mind, C drove us to a park in the suburban part of town she had found a week or so earlier. The park was mostly empty because it was 9 PM on a Wednesday and winter still wasn’t over. We hung out on tables and challenged each other to feats that only J accomplished. We spent a good hour there before J suggested we go see a movie. For the following fifteen minutes, the four of us argued over which movie theater we should go to before we decided to go to one we’d never been to before.

We saw “The Three Musketeers”, which was pretty amazing but ended at around midnight. During the movie, I’d gotten a text message from K asking if I’d seen what was on the disc she’d given me. Earlier, I had promised her that as soon as I got home I was going to watch it, but it had completely slipped my mind. By the time we returned home, it was already Thursday. My dad shook his head at me to try to shame me for not going to school the next day but that wasn’t going to work because I’d had such a good time.  The first thing I did was go to the family computer and put in the disc K had given me.

On it was a PowerPoint she had titled “HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL!!!”. So I watched it and I laughed so loud my mom woke up and told me to shut up. On each slide there were pictures we had taken over the course of the last two years and pictures of male actors we had talked about more than once.

And then I went to bed. The next morning I didn’t go to school and just lazed about in my house. On Friday, things continued like they normally would. And that was alright with me, somehow. I didn’t care that my birthday didn’t involve a giant extravaganza or that I hadn’t gotten a ridiculous amount of gifts. I didn’t eat cake or have people over whom I barely knew. It was the first time I’d ever had a birthday that I felt agreed with who I am and that made it the best one I’d ever had.

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