The summer after my freshman year wasn't the best of my life. I spent it in Elkhart, Indiana, living mostly with my grandparents on my dad's side of the family. I guess I hadn't yet fully accepted Denver as my new home, and I wanted to take one last run at being a big fish in the little Indiana pond.
That's the only time in my life that I've been in a band. And we were only a real, full band for one night.
Andy was the guitarist and I was the singer, or yeller, or whatever. And it took most of the summer to find a decent drummer and bass player.
We finally found them a little after the Fourth of July, and Andy's parents were out, so we had the place to ourselves, so we celebrated and jammed all night.
Well, they did anyway. I got distracted by my reflection in a sliding glass door.
Not being a mirror, the image wasn't precise, so my imagination painted details into it. I watched my face shift across the years, appearing at one moment to be five or six years old and the next wrinkly and old, as if I were eighty. In rapid succession I turned 25, 12, 56 and back to 16, my actual age at the time. And at each stage I saw myself to be a pathetic fool.
I went upstairs to the room where the band was practicing and sat down on the floor with my back against a wall, lowering my head between my knees, with my eyes closed, and I started spinning, head over foot, through deep, black space, at a horrifying velocity.
I'm pretty sure that was my last day with the band. I don't recall ever picking up the mic.
For the next several days I slept nearly around the clock. Then one day I got up and went for a run, not sure how far I'd go. Before I knew it, I was sprinting all out. I kept sprinting until I collapsed and I laid there in the grass, feeling my heart pump blood through my body as quickly as it could. The sky above me was brilliant blue. I felt so alive.
From there, I embarked on one of the most interesting and creative periods in my life -- back in Colorado, where a new school year awaited, and I was eager to start over again.