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PROMPTuesday #238: I Survived…

June 8th, 2015

Upon looking back on one’s life, one might marvel at how he (or she) survived certain events. For instance, one’s 46-year-old self may wonder why his (or her) 18-year-old version got into a Tijuana stranger’s car at 2AM in a drunken bid to get back to the U.S. before curfew. Or a person may rethink walking down a dead-end alley near Chicago’s Cabrini Green in 1996’s pitch black, heading straight toward the voices of ne’er-do-well youth wielding baseball bats.

 

That same person could possibly NOW be baffled at his (or her) extreme willingness to stay platonically in a Baja California hotel room with a shifty someone he (or she) just met because his (or her) best friend asked him (or her) to occupy him (or her) self for a few hours while his (or her) best friend entertained a certain young man (non-platonically). Could be one, now a capable and sane adult, now questions why he (or she) spent so much damn time in Tijuana.

 

“One” may (or may not be) me. I mean him (or her).

 

Which begs the question and this week’s PROMPTuesday creative writing prompt:

 

What have you done that you can’t believe you actually survived?

 

You can be serious or funny with your response. I’m pretty confident that if you’re over the age of 20, you’ve got an answer or two that applies.

 

Here are the PROMPTuesday rules:

  • Respond to the prompt by midnight Tuesday
  • Post your response in the comments section.
  • Write your response in 10 minutes of less – don’t stylize it or agonize over it or overthink it.

I’m already imaginating my response. And guess what? It didn’t happen in Tijuana!

 

On June 9th, 2015, Christina said:

I was 16 and didn’t fit in with the judgy, uptight, white students (with an Asian kid per grade thrown in for diversity) at the high school in my uptight preppy town. I hung out with the kids who were on the fringes. The ones who didn’t wear Benetton or Esprit clothing. The ones who partied and drank at houses of kids with unsuspecting vacationing parents on the weekends. I just couldn’t seem to relate with them and only managed awkward, stilted (but polite) conversations. My friends were more spirited, more interesting and wittier. I gravitated toward those kids on the margins, but I was headed to a prestigious university and did not fully click with them either.

My best friend was Christy. One of her good friends was Becky. They both left my high school to go to alternative schools. Becky scandalized her parents by a dating 27 year-old Rastafarian who went by the name Aki who already had six kids. He squatted in a condemned house in the ghetto. On weekends, we would head over to the condemned house, entering through the busted-in back door and climbing to the highest floor to watch his reggae band practice. During their breaks, the band members rolled up huge joints and passed them around.

Christy took up with an older skater who went by Twister. Becky ended up pregnant and dropped out of school. She changed her name to Rebecca and moved in with Aki in his new digs — a van by a lake. She had another kid with him before they broke up.

I look back fondly on those winter nights on the top floor of the tenement house with boarded up windows. Aki was probably the second vegetarian I had ever met and one of very few black people I had interacted with. The live music was great, the company offbeat and I had a front-row ticket.

My sense of adventure and taste for the exotic culminated in a 90-day backpacking trip around the world. That’s when I did some crazy shit. I could have written your post. Trusting strange men in hotel rooms because, at the time, it did not seem strange. Like you, I am baffled at what I did.

On June 10th, 2015, debawriter said:

Christina:

I LOVED EVERY WORD.

Would love to hear about the backpacking trip (you should write a blog).

And there’s something to be said for the “fringe” people, isn’t there? More interesting by a mile.

Do you know where everyone is now?

On June 16th, 2015, debawriter said:

It was 1AM and we were at a bar in North Park. For some inexplicable reason, it occurred to us at the same time: let’s get out of here. Not just out of the bar, out of “here,” out of town, out of our heads, OUT.

We decided to go camping in the desert right then. You took us to your parent’s house and we quietly retrieved tents and sleeping bags and granola bars and deposited it all in your Dodge Colt.

We drove. The roads were of course bare and became narrow as we headed east. Jackrabbits skittered across the road and animal eyes glittered from the brush at the sides of the highway.

After about two hours, we pulled over to some random spot. I don’t know where, and I still don’t. We hastily pitched a tent and unfurled our sleeping bags and slipped into oblivion even if the skies were beginning to glisten and pink.

We woke up a scant two hours later to find our tent was erected at half-mast just feet off the freeway. We shrugged our shoulders, threw everything back in the car and escaped to our next spot, rife with bees, snakes, and potential devil worshippers.

I don’t think I’d do it again, but we survived, and our stories are legend.

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