Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

I want to live each day like I’m
stealing it from death.
Instead of bobbing my head to
the sounds of being alive,
I want to thrash and scream with
wild abandon
to the feeling of being here
with you
right now.
What’s the benefit of
sitting pretty and
keeping it together?
I want to be consumed with
the knowledge that this
will all be over
very soon.

Copyright © Shonna Rae Bell 2016

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I was standing on the porch when I felt you move from beside me, straight out into the pouring rain. You got about 10 feet away, threw your arms out around you, and looked back at me – wet hair covering your eyes and a smile that I was just getting to know. My heart felt like it was beating with the rhythm of the rainfall, quick and uneven. I ran after you. We danced and screamed at the sky for what felt like hours and minutes at the same time. Thunder crashed and I fell to the ground, my back on the wet grass, letting the earth swallow me whole. You were laughing and saying something to me, but I was watching the water drip from your hair to your mouth and wondering where you came from. You reached for my hand and pulled me up to you, mumbling something about lightening. I followed you inside.

The cold hit me so hard I almost ran back out into the rain, but you had already scurried off to a room I’d never seen and left me dripping wet in your doorway. I felt awkward as I stood there shivering, wondering if I should stay put or try to follow your footprints to wherever you went. But you returned, a ball of fabric in your hands, hair pushed back from your still-boyish face. Your voice was soft and off-balance and you wouldn’t meet my eyes.

“Here’s some clothes. The bathroom’s down the hall on the left.”

Purple sweatpants and a light green community baseball league t-shirt. Red socks. I didn’t even bother looking in the mirror. I pulled my hair into a bun, left my clothes in the sink, and followed the noise to the kitchen. You didn’t notice me right away, so I watched as  you moved around the tiny room. Gray sweatpants. White t-shirt. Black socks. One of your sleeves was pulled up to your shoulder and I remember watching your muscles move as you poured two drinks. Your hair was still dripping water down your neck.

I cleared my throat as I crossed into the room and you looked over at me, your eyes starting at my feet and making their way to mine before you smirked.

“You look great.” Your voice was huskier than before. “Do you like whiskey?”

I told you I had a rule against drinking with people who own purple sweatpants and you said you didn’t own any, that these were your sister’s clothes. I asked your sister’s name and you hesitated just a beat too long. Caught. I took the whiskey, anyway.

We sat on a blanket on the floor in the living room and played “Go Fish” while we talked about James Taylor and how you broke your arm at a skating rink when you were seven. And I told you about the time the ice cream lady was giving away free kittens so I took one home and was banished from the ice cream truck for the rest of the summer. We played “Slap Jack” and you made fun of me for slapping the deck every time, regardless of what card was on top. I told you to stop being a sore loser.

It felt like there were bats flying around in my chest – an excited nervousness that I forgot existed and wasn’t quite expecting. I felt a small thrill every time our hands touched or our eyes met. Like we were 16 years old, flirting at a friend’s birthday party. But then the cards got boring, as they do, and we just sort of sat there in a silence that wouldn’t have been uncomfortable if we knew each other better. But silences are always filled with an unforgiving pressure when you’re getting to know someone, and realizing you’re at a loss for words incites a type of panic. Our eyes danced around each others. You kept pulling at the bracelet around your wrist. I pulled my legs to my chest and rested my head on my knee, eyes still cast in your direction, waiting for you to say something. Anything.

Finally, you grabbed your phone and I reveled in the way the screen lit up the imperfections of your face but somehow made you look even better. I figured you were texting someone, momentarily bored with the lull in our evening, so I stood up to take my glass to the kitchen. Instantly, I felt the whiskey in my face. And I heard it. That song I was telling you about the night we met.

There I was, standing in an unfamiliar house wearing a stranger’s clothes and trying to will myself to stop swaying (Was I even swaying? I felt like I was swaying). And when I turned to look at you, you were just standing there. Looking at me. A dumb closed-mouth smile spread across your whiskey-flushed face. And that song was playing. And none of it made any sense. But then you moved closer to me, your hands tugging at that ugly green shirt I was wearing, pulling me closer. And you kissed me, nervously at first. Testing. Seeking permission. And then without restraint.

We kissed until I couldn’t remember what my body felt like without your arms around it, until we didn’t know how much time had passed. “When did the song stop playing?” You asked. I wrapped my arms around your shoulders and pressed my face to your neck, not wanting the moment to end. Your body felt so solid against mine.

I thought about how I almost told you no when you asked if I wanted to come with you to see your friend’s band earlier that day. The first time we met was so weird, and you were so cagey and hard to understand, and I wasn’t in the mood to meet anyone new. I had just moved back to town and you had shown up while I was away. And somehow we ended up alone on your friend’s kitchen floor and you asked me if there was a song I loved and hated at the same time, one that I would listen to even though I knew it would make me sad. I remember the feeling of your eyes on me. Expectant.

“‘She Belongs to Me’ by Bob Dylan.” I said, finally. You waited.

“Why?”

“The way he seems to be in awe of her, of the fact that she’s his. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be seen that way.” I immediately felt silly and pulled myself up off the cold floor. “It’s stupid.”

You didn’t say anything. You just watched me walk out of the room.

And somehow that random moment at a party I didn’t even want to be at led to a thunderstorm, a deck of abandoned cards scattered across the floor, and a whiskey kiss with a boy that looked at me with purpose, like I’d disappear if his eyes left me for too long.

You truly never know when your life is going to change.

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Home.

I think sometimes you have to leave your home and the people you love to realize how much you love it all – how much you need it all. While I’m currently in the relief phase of being home and trying to soak in everything I missed as much as possible, I’m sure I’ll want to leave again at some point. But knowing that I’ve been gone before and come back and it was still here, my home, almost untouched and waiting… it sure does make leaving a whole lot easier knowing that I can always come back and fit right back where I’ll always belong.

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Blank Page.

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Well, I’m officially 23 years old. I can’t say I feel any different, but I can say 23 has been pretty cool so far. Such an improvement from last year, which I’m pretty sure was mostly because of my sister. I let it slip to her that I cried myself to sleep the night of my last birthday because it was so horrible, so she and the rest of my family really made an effort to make this one special which I really appreciate. There were streamers hanging and One Direction songs playing and Disney Princesses and cheesecake and dinner at The Olive Garden and it was just lovely. I got a coupon for a trip to the zoo when it gets warmer. I’m actually only seven.

I’ve made a deal with myself that 23 is going to be a good year. It just feels lucky. I won’t settle for anything less. It’s going to be a year of dreaming and doing and playing and loving. My little cousin sent me the most precious card:

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I plan on it.

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Bye bye eyebrows. Hello blonde undercut. Yay for 4 AM decisions.

For a long time, I’ve put so much stock into how other people perceive me. This isn’t to say it’s hindered me as far as how I dress or how I look, but it’s always been a quiet concern in the back of my mind. I’ve become so closed off, so much more content in the background, just a piece of furniture in the lives of those I love. I’ve always felt I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t funny enough, I wasn’t interesting enough, I wasn’t enough of anything really and I didn’t have anything of substance to offer anyone, so I just stayed quiet. I would disappear from time to time. I would lock myself up and see who would come knocking. It wasn’t often that anyone did.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling better in my skin. I’ve been realizing how much I have to offer. I’ve been realizing how much love I have to give, how many thoughts and ideas I have to share, how many people there are to meet and how I’ve been putting my life on hold for a very unrealistic and unlikely future.

I was giving a friend some advice today about how you can’t dwell on things that didn’t turn out in your favor. Life is about moving forward passed all the bullshit and accepting things as they are no matter how hard it is. Things change and sometimes bad things happen and it’s just part of life. We have so much time to get things right, and it’s up to us what we do with that time. We can either punish ourselves and wish things had been different, or we can make them different. We can strive for a better tomorrow. We can learn from the mistakes we’ve made and be sure not to make them again. We may be haunted by our pasts, but we can’t let the things we’ve done or the things we didn’t do take control of us. We must stand up to our demons and learn to accept them for what they are. We must learn to let go.

It was during this conversation that I realized I was talking to myself as much as I was talking to my friend. It’s always been so easy for me to dispense advice and so hard for me to follow it. I think I’m on the right track, now. At least for the moment.

This is a vow I’m making to myself to never let what other people think control what I do or what I say or what I believe in or who I am. This is a vow to take chances, to give love and allow myself to receive love. This is a vow to stop waiting, to stop investing all of my energy into things and people that don’t give me the time of day. This is a vow to make time for myself, and take time to love myself. This is a vow to start chasing after what I want and stop hoping they’ll just fall into my lap one day. This is a vow to start new and to be the person I’ve been too afraid to be for so long.

I am at peace.

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momanddad

My Father and Mother, Respectively. Late 80s.

The other night my parents and I went out to dinner, just the three of us, for the first time in God knows how long. My brother and sister both had plans so naturally I, being the ever so reliable homebody, was taken out on a sympathy dinner. My parents cancelled their plans so that I wouldn’t be alone that night. I felt as bad as I did pathetic. I didn’t even get to pick the restaurant.

It’s the first time in a while I feel like my parents attention was focused on me. Usually I fade happily into the background while my brother and sister vie for attention; my brother telling jokes and my sister relaying whatever current drama she’s found herself in. I listen. I never usually have anything to offer in the way of conversation – nothing that would interest them, anyway. It’s quite a task trying to come up with things to catch their attention, and it’s even more difficult for me to speak loud enough as to not be spoken over. I usually am though, so I’ve stopped making an effort.

There’s not much to really fill them in on when it comes to my life. I’ve always been a safe bet. Never got into any real trouble, always got good grades, took my relationships really seriously and hardly ever had any drama to speak of (save for a few teenage heartbreaks that I only discussed when my mother caught me crying). I always do the right thing. I’m always where I say I’ll be. I’m usually alone. The life I lead now doesn’t leave much to the imagination, therefore there’s never much to share. There’s no reason for them to listen to me because nine times out of ten, the words coming out of my mouth are either boring or things that only I find interesting. I can usually always rely on my brother to stop whatever he’s doing to ask me what I was saying (boring or not) when I’m cut off, sweet little muffin he is, but the other night he wasn’t at my side to make me feel important while everyone is looking the other way. This time, every word I said was heard.

It was simple at first, until my mother started talking about when I was little before my siblings came along. She made a comment about how my father was never around (he was in Desert Storm for the first year or so of my life) and I could tell it stung him a bit. We referenced certain moments and pictures and I was telling my mom what my favorite pictures of her were, photos that I’d stolen and kept hidden away. I told them my favorite pictures of both of them were taken in a driveway. She started talking about how she wasn’t attractive when she was young (I beg to differ), and then a few of my insecurities slipped out and I immediately regretted it.

I don’t like seeming unsure of myself. I like to pretend I have everything together, that I’m strong and confident and independent, which I am a good amount of the time. But there are demons hidden away – doubts and insecurities and things I don’t like about myself on the inside and out. Everyone has them. I just wish I hadn’t said anything because I know my father worries about me. He worries that I lock myself up. I remember I was talking to him on the phone when I was living in Florida and he said something along the lines of, “You can’t live your life alone. You have to share yourself or it’s pointless.” I know he’s right, but I don’t know how.

Anyway, the night ended when my mother started crying because we’re all grown now. I tried to comfort her and told her I’m almost twenty-three and I still live in the basement, I wasn’t going anywhere. My dad said, “That may be true.” I think he’s given up. When he was my age he had a career and was about to have his second child.

I don’t want his first child to be a failure.

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I want to document this trip and I’ve spent the last two days going through pictures and trying to get everything organized but now I’m bored of that so I’m just going to start writing before I forget everything. I think the easiest way to go about this is to separate it into days, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Day 1: Friday, February 15th

Our first night in California, everyone was too exhausted to really do anything. Our plane landed around 5, so we went to the hotel to wait for my aunt to get in from Orange County. I kept falling asleep all over the place, and when I woke up she and my mom had gone to get us a rental car so my sister, my aunt Jessica, and myself walked around outside and explored:

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LAX sign right outside of our hotel, 2013

None of us could decide what we wanted to do for dinner (five women trying to make a unanimous decision? HAH), so we just got room service. I’d never gotten room service before! You pick up the phone and tell the person on the other end what you want and they BRING IT TO YOU. I mean:

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That’s my delicious no-flour cake, 2013

Day 2: Saturday, February 16th

So all the travelling mixed with getting knocked back two hours means that little old me crashed out around 11 PM – meaning I woke up early enough to see the sun rise over Los Angeles:

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Morning, 2013

That morning, we went down to the hotel restaurant and got breakfast, then headed out to Santa Monica. People don’t lie when they talk about the 405… holy moly. I’ve never seen drivers like that anywhere in my life – they’re all so insane and yet so aware. They know the secret to the madness. It’s exciting and terrifying.

We finally made it down to the pier and it was one of those moments where you look at your life and can’t believe that what’s happening is actually happening. I never, ever thought I’d see the Santa Monica Pier in person. I’d seen pictures of the ferris wheel and people on the beach with the pier in the background and it just seemed like another planet, yet there I was:

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Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier, 2013

There are so many awesome people lurking around – one guy was completely painted silver and took pictures with tourists for a small donation. He looked like a giant, silver Biggie Smalls. I got a photo with him, but it’s on my disposable camera and I’ve been snowed in the last few days so I haven’t gotten around to developing it yet. Anyway, he also gave us lollipops. Cool dude. There was a “Crazy Korean Magician” and this musician that was singing “Losing My Religion” and he was super cute and super good.

After checking out the pier, my sister and I went down to the beach and just reveled in it. I miss the ocean so much, and just knowing that it was the Pacific Ocean and not the Atlantic Ocean that I’m used to back home made it that much cooler.

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Santa Monica Beach, 2013

After spending the afternoon in Santa Monica, we hit up Subway and headed back to the hotel (but not before seeing this scary, crazy old man almost tear apart a guy for asking for a cigarette – he literally started barking at him) to get ready for the P!NK concert. I never ever drink anymore, but my sister somehow managed to get me drunk off of rum&coke in about 5 minutes, so that was fun. I had a lot of firsts during this trip, including riding in my first taxi cab! Not that I really remember much of it aside from the photographic evidence of my intoxication that I will not be posting, thank you very much.

We got to The Staples Center and stared at it in awe. I may have been drunk, but I still appreciated the fact that SO many amazing artists have performed there, not to mention the Grammy’s had just been hosted there the weekend before. So cool. I hope I get to perform there one day.

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Plaza across from Staples (I later found out Ed Sheeran played at the Nokia the following night, but that story comes later), 2013

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Kylie and I. Drunk and in line for more drinks, 2013

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Only HALF of the crowd, 2013

We got to our seats minutes before P!NK went on and I was still quietly steaming over the fact that I had just paid $20 for two drinks when the show started. I’ve been to a lot of shows, and I’ve never seen a performance like this. P!NK is a fucking badass – that’s all that can really be said. She came out on a bungee chord and she danced and she was dipped in water and at the end of the show, she put on a harness and flew over the entire audience. Like… just awesome.

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P!NK @ Staples, 2013

After the show, we took a taxi back to the hotel and all I remember is eating the other half of my Subway sandwich from earlier and passing out. True gangsta style.

Day 3: Sunday, February 17th

The next day, we got up and went to In-N-Out Burger for brunch. So. Good. I was so excited to see what all the fuss was about and I was not disappointed. The fuss is well deserved.

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Then we headed out to Hollywood Blvd. We had to park in this parking garage, and for whatever reason my sister and I ended up getting tired of waiting and took off ahead of everyone else. We got in an elevator and rode down to the bottom floor. When the door opened, someone was walking in as I was walking out. It was a guy and I almost ran into him, so I looked up and mumbled an “oh, sorry” as he shuffled by me and my sister. I only got a glance, but in my head I thought, “He kinda looks like Orlando Bloom. Hm.” Sure enough, as we’re walking out of the elevator, he starts talking to the guy he was with and in a clear English accent he says, beautifully and eloquently, “I fucking hate getting ripped off like that, man.” I looked at my sister whose eyes had glazed over and as the elevator door closed behind us, she shrieked, “THAT WAS FUCKING ORLANDO BLOOM.” We had mini heart palpitations before my mom and my aunts came down and we were like FJDKAL; ORLANDO JKL;A BLOOM ELEVATOR SO CUTEEL;JJKKKL and they just casually replied “Oh, was that him? We thought so… he got off on the wrong floor.”

And that was that. Our first encounter with a celebrity. You best believe the remainder of the trip was filled with Orlando Bloom references and suggesting that we “call our friend Orlando to come hang out with us.”

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Hollywood sign, 2013

As soon as we made it down to Hollywood Blvd. things started happening really fast. This guy came up to us not 5 minutes after we got there going on and on about a celebrity house tour and how he would lower the price for us and we wagered that we’d do it if he showed us to a restroom. So we ended up on this rickety bus with this Latino tour guide that called it “The Ghetto Hollywood Tour.” It was pretty fun though. We drove through The Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills and Bel Air and he pointed out all these celebrity’s houses, though I’m pretty sure he was making half of them up. There was one, though, that I know for a fact he was being truthful about:

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Michael Jackson’s driveway, 2013

This was the last house Michael Jackson lived in, the infamous driveway from the ambulance photos. It was pretty emotional for me being there, being that close to where he was. We were only there for a few moments, but I could have sat there all day. There was a darling little spray painted portrait of Michael on the sidewalk:

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The ghetto tour bus took us down to the county jail where all the celebrities like Paris Hilton and Winona Ryder and Lindsay Lohan spent their two nights in jail, so that was pretty awesome. The coolest part was driving through Beverly Hills, though. He stopped in the middle on an intersection so we could get this shot:

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Beverly Hills, 2013

There was also this house which has now become my dream home. He called it the “Hansel & Gretel House” and it was apparently built for a movie that was never made, and now people actually live in it. It just sits at the end of this normal neighborhood. It’s got pumpkins that sit on top of the fence that surrounds the house and the only way to get to the front door is over a draw-bridge that goes down over a moat and it’s just so perfect:

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We drove through Bel Air and saw the French Prince house, which was exciting. He also took us down the street where the original Halloween was filmed. He pointed out “Michael Meyers’ house” but I’m pretty sure he was making it up because I did some research and that house was moved years ago and is now a Chiropractic Office. Whatever. Even though I didn’t trust most of his stories, I know some of them were legit and it was still fun going through all the different neighborhoods.

After the tour, we went back down to Hollywood Blvd. which was being closed down because they were getting ready for the Oscars this weekend, so no cars were allowed to drive down it. We just wandered around and hit up a few gift shops before searching for Michael’s star in front of the Chinese Theater. Another emotional moment:

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I also found the cement block that his children did for him about a year ago:

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There are so many street performers and people in costumes and EVERYONE wants to be tipped for everything, which I was more than happy to when I found these guys:

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I didn’t take a picture with Spiderman, but I took a creeper picture of another couple taking a picture with him:

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That guy stayed perched on that corner for like 3 hours straight. Mad props.

After exploring all there was to be seen on Hollywood Blvd, we went and got dinner at Denny’s before we drove out to Venice Beach. On the way, I just happened to glance out the window and freaked out when I saw Randy’s Donuts to my left!

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We weren’t able to go because at that point it was already like 11 PM or something but I so desperately wanted to crawl into that donut and pretend I was Iron Man. Anyway, Venice was awesome and looked exactly like it did in Lords of Dogtown – at least from what I could see from the window because it was late and we were too afraid to get out of the car.

We went back out to Santa Monica on the way back to the hotel at like 2 AM and it was completely deserted except for a few fisherman:

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We just spent our final night sitting on the beach listening to the Pacific waves for the last time. It was such a surreal experience. I still can’t really believe it happened.

Day 4: Monday, February 18th

We missed our flight. Typical. Basically, we were supposed to leave around 9:45 AM and get home in the afternoon. Instead, we had to be moved back to a 6 o’clock flight that got delayed to 7 PM, and then 7:30 PM, and then 8:10 PM. We didn’t get back to Oklahoma until 1:00 in the morning, so we stayed with some family friends. It wasn’t all a waste, though…

After we were rejected from our flight, we went back to the hotel and slept until about 1:00, at which point we made our way BACK to LAX to get lunch and play the waiting game. We ate at this fancy little restaurant that looked like a train car. After that, we were walking back to our terminal and just as we were heading through the doors, I glance to my left and see a group of people getting out of a black bus. Then I noticed a certain ginger haired boy. I immediately stopped in my tracks and grabbed my sisters arm and I remember whispering, “That’s Ed Sheeran. Is that Ed Sheeran? I think that’s Ed Sheeran. THAT IS DEFINITELY ED SHEERAN.” And I kind of just stood there in shock and stared creepily out at him from inside the glass doors. I wasn’t going to go up to him because I felt like such a bother. He was with his friends and he had just gotten to the airport and I didn’t want to be annoying, but my sister basically pushed me out the door. I was a complete spaz, naturally. I sort of skipped up to him and said “hi” while trying to dodge all his luggage. He said “hello” and I asked if I could take a picture with him, to which he responded, “Sure, if you want to.” I don’t know what kind of nervous gibberish was leaving my mouth at that point, but my sister took the picture and I said “thank you so much” and basically just screamed YOUR’E AWESOME before I ran away like a scared little kid. I did hear him say “thank you” though. He was a super sweetheart:

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After that, I found out he had played a show at the Nokia Theater the night before which totally bummed me out, not that I really would have been able to go. I’m pretty sure it was sold out anyway, but I met him! And he was awesome and cool and it was the perfect silver lining to an otherwise sucky day. We literally sat in our terminal for like 6 hours doing nothing but watching the evil screen push our flight back every 20 minutes.

Anyway, we finally made it home and now we’re in the middle of a snow storm. I miss California. I had such an amazing time and I just wanted to thank my Aunt Rhonda for putting the whole thing together and giving us the best trip of our lives. Like I said earlier, I never ever thought I’d actually make it out to California and see the things that I saw or do the things that I did. I have so many more pictures and so much more to share but this post is already too long and I feel like I’m in a daze while I’m reliving it. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

It was like a dream.

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