Thursday, July 23, 2009

snapshots of COS (first installment)


It doesn't feel so odd this time: rolling out of the bright white light and softly comforting carpeting of our Penthouse room at 9:30 p.m., piling into the shuttle van, and driving over (our beloved) KB bridge and into we-know-not-what. In fact, there's a familiar, nostalgic mist covering the whole enterprise.
We're still tired, yet buzzed for our trip (o sweet reunion!), I'm still moving through check-in at the speed of a suddenly-surprised tortoise, E's bag still weighs an obscenely small amount, and WE STILL CAN'T WAIT TO SLEEP ON THE PLANE!! Not even our newly-minted~last night~and highly inebriated buddy M can throw us off-kilter. Like sleepwalkers, we spin, turn, retracing the motions of an old remembered dream.

Sleeping on the plane, a hilarious delicious and AMERICAN dawn breakfast in Guam...the dream continues.

I am jolted out of my reverie, however, as our plane anxiously (and rather bumpily) circles the runway in Chuuk, pacing in order to prepare for the big showdown with the little landing strip. I start to feel tremors of anticipation: THIS IS IT! COS!!! THE FUTURE!!
We land. As our plane slows from warp speed to a (more manageable) taxi down the runway, the island racks into focus: the velvety green Dr. Seuss hill before us, welcoming us to the place; houses and stores line the road; and then--I rub my eyes--IS THAT REALLY IT?
There, in peeling sea green paint, stands the R--. My home during my last night on the island last year, launchpad to [cue Good Charlotte, the Baha Men, and the Beatles here] the best flight of my life, wicked crazed dogs, Kintamani magic, the Hello Guesthouse, and so much more.

I inhale sharply--a gasp, really--as I realize that, oddly, I've just slipped still further into the quicksand of the past.

My nostalgic mood clings to me on the bus ride across the island (like a living thing, almost), as I recognize the landmarks of my past dotting the main road--the spot where we were chased by vicious canines, teeth flashing; the place where we all watched the sun set slowly out over the bodies of ships, dead and living; the store where I bought those fantastic~gratuitously tall~shoes (to the whistling and bubble-gumming of clerks)...

We arrive at the B--. I smile. The rooms, the palms, the white sand beach--it's all pristine, perfect--curated to be the precise fingerprint match to my memories of that time oh-so-long-ago. [Was it really only a year??] It's right on, loop for loop and swirl for swirl. I sigh contentedly.
Suddenly, unbidden, a conversation swims to the surface of my memory.

It's July 2008, I'm covered in freckles and yellow light. T (a fellow M74) and I regard the laughing faces of those a year ahead of us, the "graduating" volunteers, if you will.

Me: Wow. Do you feel like you're looking at the future?
T: No. (Pause) I feel like I'm looking at tomorrow. (More certainly) PST was yesterday; this is tomorrow.

And behold! Tomorrow comes (to take me away?). It is tomorrow and yesterday and today all rolled into one beautiful moment. Funny, I guess you sometimes have to go back to the past to get to the future.

1 comment:

littlefieldmccreafam said...

Was it your strategy to leave us wanting more?? It's such a great beginning that we need to find out what happened next!