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Twilight Drives

When I was 19, fresh out of my first real relationship and enduring my opening brush with heartbreak, I felt disenfranchised. Life was a grind, and I loathed rolling out of bed in the morning. I worked a job I could scarcely endure, lazed about in college lacking a focused purpose, and was generally depressed. That pain, the searing of which felt so insurmountable at the time, became the catalyst for my entire being as an older man. I thank God profusely for it every time I feel overwhelmed and unsatisfied with my station or place in this world, with the course He is guiding me down. Writing this in the Hawaiiam breeze, shade indolently guarding my windscarred skin, I feel at ease. I find my current working conditions stifling and claustrophobic, signaling that a change is definitely in order once complete control of my life is relinquished back to me by the military. I long to drive in one direction forever, unhindered by barbed wire fences, access gates and the constant presence of the island's barriers. Im going to buy a secondhand motorcycle and race towards the sunset like Icarus, fending for myself in a cruel, indifferent world. My wings are not made of flammable material susceptible to melting, but are instead composed of my ambition, wanderlust and the contents of my bank account. While theres still a ways to go before I make my escape into the unknown, Im bolstered and sustained by my fantasies of complete, undeniable freedom. Like raging currents of water barely contained by a rapidly decaying dam, my thirst for freedom threatens to consume me. Lets hope I drown.

Life takes balls, regardless of gender. Once I realized this irrefutable truth at the age of 19, things turned forever in my favor. See that hot girl in the bar dressed to kill in the little red dress so tight it looks grafted to her anatomy by pure temptation? Go talk to her, ask her out, see where the night takes you. You'll either be a stud, propelled above your fellow brothers for the evening, or youll crash harshly in a cascade of flippant responses and faux female nobility. Lift that weight, go for max reps. Possibly youll succeed underneath the intense pressure being inflicted on your body, or you may crumble and collapse. Take on too responsibility, even if you have no earthly idea what it is youre about to undertake. The guy that bit off more than he could chew never choked to death, just threw up what was too stubborn to digest. What do you have to lose, seriously? You may experience trepidation and uncertainty, a deep seated, primal unease at the gargantuan task you foolishly volunteered for, or you might fail in a grand spectacle unlike anything your sphere of influence has ever accomidated before. Irrelevant. Suck it up. When I first enlisted, the doubts didnt bother creeping in. That would've been too polite. Instead they busted the door down with a battering ram worthy of a SWAT team, pinned me against the wall, agitated and petrified, and proceeded to run a vicious, raw train on my belief in the conviction of my own actions. Thoughts of desertion began presenting themselved with startling clarity and piercing rapidity. But I refused to entertain them because cowardice is beneath me. Sack up.

The humidity is balmy and soothing tonight as I glide like velvet down the barren highway. One of my fears, that I would be unable to partake of one of my beloved addictions, cruising contemplatively through the twilight, was, like most quandaries, proven irrational. After that grievance was addressed and assuaged, I dove in, greedy and grinning. San Diego was Heaven because of its distinctive mixture of beaches and country. Here, beaches line every inch of the natural boundaries, and the rustic countryside has been replaced with untamed jungle. An unexpected change, but one with results I welcome wholeheartedly. After years of growing accustomed to the taste of salt in the air, carried reliably by the trade winds, the climate here introduced a flavor alien to my palate. The scent here is palpably pungent, with equal mixtures of fruit and vegetation. A natural, earthen smell, untarnished and unmolested by the interference of globalization, urbanization and modernization. Exploring at night, tucked away safely in my Mazda 3, I wouldnt be the least bit surprised if I ran into Native Hawaiians proudly carrying their traditions on into the present deep within the thickets of green blanketing the island. Not content to allow their rich, lush history to be reduced to the mere echoes of a long dead past, a large subset of locals openly embrace the traditions of their antiquity. Ive said before that this place seems more like a foreign country than a fellow state, and with good reason. It stands apart defiantly from the others, proud of its lineage, rooted in its ancestry, and empowered in its ethics. Paperwork, war and decree be damned, this is their island, their land and their world. We are merely their guests.

Gradually but surely, Im getting better. The memories that stung so violently when involuntarily recalled have been declawed and neutered. We all make mistakes, and I am definitely a glutton in that regard. But we lie in the beds we make, laundered with sheets sewn from haste, anger and regret. The blessing is that, although we may not realize it at the time, the blankets we fashion our tombs with can turn out to be serene satin rather than scratchy wool. Nobody is perfect, and stressing over the past, over moments that exist only within the minds of those that experienced them, is a horrendous exercise in self-loathing. Love will always exist, it will never abdicate its station when it is real. It will never fade into the obscurity of lies if it had concrete basis in truth. But the mourning period has passed, and with it the self-pity and moroseness. Let us instead celebrate what was, what God is currently enacting in our lives, and have faith in what may be in the future. Heartstrings cab stretch impossible distances. I love you.

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