growing towards the sun

there are a few friends from high school who i actually associate with now (without being forced). i’ve grown apart from others just as much as they’ve grown apart from me-no hurt feelings, just different lives growing in different directions and i can’t argue or complain about that. we’ve all got that person who we thought we were at one point. that person who we look back on and shake our head, laugh, or even choose to ignore. that person was friends with people who were like them, but when we leave that person behind, when we choose to grow a branch in another direction, we sometimes have to leave the friends behind, too. friends become memories just as quickly as graduation sends us apart. it’s something that i’ve struggled with throughout my life, but i’ve recently learned to let people walk in and out of my life as they please and i’ll do the same with this. i’ve never been one to have “best friends”, but i consider my friends who are the best to be people who i can go weeks without talking to but when something sparks an emotion in me that i want to share with them, we can talk like we never stopped, and that they can do the same.

last night i had a conversation with my friend, B, about how every year- every month, everyday we change our point of view in some way. we learn something new, whether it be about something in class, or just ourselves as a whole. i know some people who are they exact same person they were in middle school and i know they will probably be that way their whole entire life. which is fine. it’s not that i feel they are faking who they are, they just were able to figure it out way before i was. maybe i’m jealous in that sense. maybe i wish i was who i am today years ago. but then again, i wouldn’t be the me i am today if i was the me i am today five years ago.

we brought up how much has changed in just one year. it’s mind blowing to think of where we were, what we were doing, who we were hanging out with, and how we thought about life. our mind got flipped around once or twice when we brought up high school. you see, i’ve known, B, since my sophomore year of high school. she’s one of my closest, longest friends. we have an interesting friendship–i like to call it a brotherhood. we bicker, we fight, we laugh, we hate to admit the other is right, but no matter what we have each other’s backs. if you asked me seven years ago if i thought i would still be in contact with her i wouldn’t have known what to say. i didn’t really see myself keeping in contact with a lot of people from high school, but it just so happens that we grew into who we are together.

i would never admit this to her, but B has taught me a lot of things. she knows more about folk music than anyone i have ever met. she has been into politics for years, regardless of whether or not she was even old enough to vote. she wants to stand for something, and to me, that’s the most important thing a person can do. i rarely picture myself hanging out with people i know now when i’m 82, but i’m pretty sure B will be there regardless of where i am. if, for some reason, we end up living thousands of miles away from each other (unlikely), i know it will be impossible to lose touch with her.

when i was in Kenya i made a few phone calls, only to three people: my mom and dad (they count as one), my wonderful girlfriend, Jules, and B. i have six “favorites” in my phone. three of them are “mom”, “dad”, and “home”, so i think that basically counts as one. the other ones are my awesome roommate, Hannah, Jules, and B. they’re my people and i can’t see that changing.

i know that a lot of people say, “oh my gosh these are my bessst frieeeends” but then next week they have a new set of “best friends”. that’s not me. i’m not that type of person. sure, i float around to different groups of people from time to time but i always have my home base–my family and my few homies i can’t go a day without talking to.

i would have never pictured B living at my house over the summer, visiting every weekend during school, and randomly sending me links to captivating music videos. one day, as we laid on the ground in my backyard, right under a tree my dad has filled with random wind chimes, she played guitar as i soaked in the music and the hot summer sun. the experience resulted in this poem:

As I laid on my back with my arms out, ankles crossed, and eyes opened just enough to see leaves dance on branches above me, her fingers danced slowly across her guitar strings.
I told her the tree was smart because it always grows towards the sun.
One more strum on her guitar and she voiced,
“That’s all I’ve ever done”
Her house was a cave full of cave minded people.
The sun was the only light that shined bright enough to block out noise.
Her house was filled thick with arguments with a few prayers for a boyfriend thrown in.
She doesn’t believe in marriage unless you’re getting benefits because her parent’s marriage benefitted no one.
She stayed trapped in her bedroom-playing chord after chord.
She sang quietly so her parents couldn’t hear her but loud enough to show her pride.
And now without those walls surrounding her she’s steady on the acoustic guitar.
She gets lost in the music so she doesn’t get lost in her mind.
My fathers wind chime collection replaced cymbals while the tree took over brushed snare.
The sun became the spotlight she’s never been given.
She does shout outs to cover songs,
Mimics her idols head bob,
And gets serious about setting the mood.
She dreams of her music telling stories while envisioning the California sun on her back.
She told me,
“Maybe in my next life I’ll be a musician.”
I think she already is.
She’s been playing backyard concerts for several summers to crowds no bigger than 4-6 ears.
The blades of grass dance to the songs and get the leaves to follow along.
And although they don’t cheer like she does when she’s standing in the front row at concerts, they’re a good enough audience for now.
Clouds pass like memories as the melody reminds her of her favorite band.
“They’re just amazing people,”
She tells me, sounding desperate for people to understand.
In a lost folk generation she hopes with everything she has.
She’s grown old in her musical journey.
With the branches dancing above me I think about how far she’s come and it’s all because she’s been growing towards the sun.


unconsciously reenacting the day in my backyard by a pond on Central Michigan’s campus.

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