Chocolate Milk in a Wine Glass

Thoughts from The Limbo Years

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Am I a kid or a grown-up?

My grandparents organized a family outing for last August. They wanted to take one final camping trip as a family before I, the youngest grandchild, went off to college. The focus of this camping trip was to come together with the family, but conversation often steered toward how I was feeling knowing I'd be leaving for college in a few weeks. There were constant and often conflicting forecasts to the changes and challenges I'd encounter in my first few months living away from home. I did my best to put on a brave face and take their comments with the love and care they were given with, but I honestly was really freaked out by everything.

I took a much needed break from my family's questions and concerns and headed up to the shower house. I was rinsing off my tooth brush when a web of red hair caught my eye. A young girl of 5 or 6 walked into the bathroom and struggled to reach for the handles at the sink beside me. I asked her if she would like me to turn on the sink for her, she looked up at me and nodded. I stepped over and twisted the handle and stepped back in front of my sink- but her gaze didn't leave my face; she even didn't wet her hands under the running water. "Is it too warm?" I asked, trying to diagnose her confused stare. She just blinked her wide eyes at me. I smiled awkwardly and started to pack up my bag.

"Are you a kid or a grown-up?" she finally asked. I couldn't help but chuckle at her question, it seemed silly to me; obviously i am a- hmm. My smiling mouth, ready to respond suddenly fell into the same confusion she wore all over her face.

From her expression, I knew "I don't know" wouldn't sate her curiosity, "Well, I'm going to be moving out of my parents house in a few weeks, but I'll still rely on them for all sorts of things. Does that sound like a kid or an adult to you?"

She broke her quizzical stare, shrugged, and began washing her hands. I silently finished packing my bag. She toddled over to the paper towel dispenser (which she was tall enough for) and I turned off her sink. We left the bathroom and she left me to rejoin her family who had been waiting outside.

My Crush Of 1996.

On The Amused Fly

I can never really pinpoint when my first real crush was. It might have been in fourth grade when I use to eye goggle a girl I believe whose name was Jessica. She had beautiful eyes, brunette hair and she always wore a purple coat everywhere she went. I mean almost all the time when I saw her. Thankfully I didn’t have a full grasp of what would arouse me of a woman’s body so I wasn’t in dire frustration. It was all about face for me. And it still is. Whenever I see a beautiful woman walking down the street I always have to make sure to see her face. I guess it is part of my aesthetic checklist.

But if I had to pinpoint my first real crush it would have to be in the summer of 1996. It was the year of the Atlanta Olympics. I was watching the U.S. gymnastics team perform when I saw for the first time the girl who would take over my whole summer. Dominique Moceanu. She was performing her floor routine. It was basically a timed musical dance but with tons of more flipping. Moceanu was performing under the song “Cotton Eyed Joe”. A horrible song, but with her dancing and gymnastic prowess I could care less for the crappy country song. She pranced, she swayed and by the time she was done I was trying to name our five kids that we would soon have together.

Now in 1996 the internet was new for me just like everyone else. But this new technological resource for me was used every waking moment trying to find pictures of Dominique Moceanu whenever I can. I don’t know what I did once I saw them but I knew that I had to download any picture (before we shortened that word into pic) just to get a glimpse of her. I don’t know what she presented in me but I do know that everything around me ceased to function once I saw her on television or on my computer.

I didn’t know about her biography but from quick tidbits that I listened to from the over enthusiastic commentators of the Olympics she was born in California to Romanian parents. She started to learn gymnastics at the age of three which I hear is little too early for them to start but not too early. Take that from what you will. At the age of ten she trained with the famous BélaKárolyi. The rest is history. Moceanu went on to be part of the world famous Magnificent Seven alongside Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, and Jaycie Phelps. I followed their work like the equivalent to a thirteen year old girl cutting out pictures of One Direction. It still boggles me today why no music manager in 1996 ever wanted to make a musical record with them. I would so buy their Album covering Abba songs. I would have gone to their concerts and start a fan club the moment there first single came out on Mtv. I would have started a fan club and it could have been called the “I Heart Moceanu” of course but the others would get my attention as well……sort of.

It was a big year for the seven gymnasts. For years the Russians were kicking our ass and this was the first Olympics that the Americans won a gold medal as a team. So more press and that meant more times for me to look at the beautiful Roman princess. Sure everyone was paying attention to Keri Strug because of her miraculous blah, blah, blah, but Moceanu was all I cared about. What made me admire Moceanu the most was she never cried. It was something to see. Every time any other gymnast made a mistake like miss a turn, flop a flip, or drop on their face, when they finished they walked towards their coach and started balling. Not Moceanu. She literally fell on her head on a balance beam and I mean pile drive her own head on it. Not an ounce of emotion. And I mean none. BélaKárolyi would try to coax some sort of emotion out of her from the side but she had an” I don’t have time to bleed” attitude. It was hard not to fall for her.

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