Christmas Break of 2007

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A recount of a Christmas I will never forget.

Submitted: August 25, 2012

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Submitted: August 25, 2012

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Because of my odd sleeping habit, I tend to take my car and drive around in the middle of the night. The roads are open, empty, and the only thing you have to watch out for is the occasional drunk driver. Other than that, you feel as if the world is yours to do with as you want, like a giant playground.

The world is a different place in the middle of the night. Well, here, at least. Everything is much quieter, much more tranquil, and for some odd reason I find myself able to connect better with where I live.

Music seems better too. Cruising down an empty road under the starry night sky seems to add a bit of appreciation for the music. You feel atmospheric, like you are actually part of something much more. Everyone else who is sleeping could never understand.

Sometimes I drive around until I find a dark enough place, park my car, turn the music up a little louder, roll down my windows, get out, and lay down on the ground staring up at the sky. Some people might tell me, "Eww, that ground is dirty!" But these are the same people who would find dancers insane if they couldn't hear the music.

And besides, what would be the point of showing up to meet your maker if you didn’t take a chance? I would find it much more rewarding to show up caked in dirt with a big smile across my face happily chanting, "Damn, that was one hell of a ride."

Even more rarely, I find myself driving around until the sun comes up. There's just nothing like watching a good old sunrise.

Of course, every time I am out there, I always wish I had a friend with me to share the experience.

But, this isn't about driving around in the middle of the night. This is actually about one thing I constantly find myself thinking about while I am out there. While everyone else is asleep and I am driving around my town, listening to my favorite music, my mind always finds itself going back in time.

My mind finds itself going back in time to December of 2007.

It's remarkable how such a small amount of time in your life can be so impacting. Better yet, it's truly amazing how such a small number of people can be so impacting.

I don't really remember how that winter break started, to be honest. All I know is that one night I found myself tagging along with a new group of friends to some restaurant I can’t remember the name of.

I think, although I can't remember for sure, that was the same night that Konrad couldn't come because he was going to be hanging out with his friend, George.

Once again, I'm not too sure about the events of that night, but I do remember quite fondly how I felt. As I sat there, hanging out with my new friends, I realized how interesting it was.

"We all get along, this is pretty cool!" I thought to myself. I wish I could remember every detail from that night that seemed to spark it all. The unspoken collective thought seemed to be, "Hey, you guys are pretty cool, we should hang out some more."

And so that’s what we did. Over the next couple of days I found myself becoming closer and closer to this new group, and pretty soon this new group of four started solidifying itself. Within days I would say we were already long past the "getting to know you" awkward stage of friendship.

And there I was, in December of 2007, caught up in one of the greatest moments of my life as I grew to know my friends Mark Alabastro, Patrick Pham, and Konrad Chandler.

Right now I am actually parked in some construction site in Sugar Land. No one is here. I have the windows rolled down and Weezer just finished playing on my radio. I turned it off because, believe it or not, I can not write with music playing.

Music is more like a fuse for my writing. The more I listen to my favorite songs, the more that fuse burns until finally it reaches the gunpowder. And it's very important that I have either a notebook or a laptop nearby when it does, otherwise I may miss the perfect opportunity to write.

The next thing I remember, I found myself hanging out with Mark, Patrick, and Konrad nearly every day. In fact, although I once again can't be too sure, we may have hung out with each other every day. For some reason I can't quite explain, we seemed to never get sick of each other.

I've been with many friends over the years that make you want to go home and be alone for a while. Sometimes I couldn't be with certain friends for longer than a couple of hours. In fact, I have some friends today that I see maybe once or twice a month, and that is more than enough.

But for some reason we never got sick of each other. And I think that is part of the reason why I loved December of 2007 so much. Perhaps for the first time in my life, although I always had friends, I felt a certain belonging. For the first time in my life I felt like I finally had my own crew. I had friends to call my own, friends on whom I knew I could finally rely on for anything and everything.

Needless to say, it was a fantastic fucking feeling.

Right now, I'm back home. I just had an awesome breakfast with my mom and grandma. Today looks to be shaping up to be another day of rest and relaxation. I definitely need it after such a turbulent semester of school. I got played like a drum this semester, with my emotions creating a perfect sine wave. There were plenty of days where I was just a drone: emotionless, robotic, and put on autopilot.

I honestly think that school is detrimental to my health. Once I no longer have to worry about going to school, my happiness returns. My urge to live life to its fullest makes a swift comeback, and I spend every day thinking about all the awesome things I want to do with my life before it is too late.

School also seems to be educating me out of my creativity. While I at- tend school, I can not for the life of me think of an idea for a movie script. Now that school is finished, I have ideas flowing out of me like rivers. I've even had dreams where I'm sitting in a packed movie theater watching a movie I haven't created yet on the big screen.

One of these days I'm going to make my dream come true, and I'm going to bring all of my friends along for the ride. It's the least I could do.

It was now the middle of December of 2007 and Mark, Patrick, Konrad, and I decided to have dinner at Hooters. I had just gotten my wisdom teeth yanked out a couple of days prior to this, making it very difficult for me to chew on solid food. The surgery, however, didn't stop me from hanging out with my friends.

Our waitress gave us four a snappy remark after we all ordered water to drink. Apparently she thought that we weren't going to tip or something. I guess we looked cheap, or maybe only cheap people order water. Whatever the case, I remember Mark questioned her about what she said. It was a ballsy move, I will give him that.

Eating that dinner sucked. My mouth couldn't open big enough to fit my thumb, but I decided to order an enormous chicken sandwich anyway. It wasn't a very smart move, and I remember each new bite brought intense amounts of pain.

Eating was a series of painful steps. First, I had to slowly open my mouth as wide as I could to bite into the sandwich. Then, I had to chew very meticulously, trying to avoid any food from reaching the back of my mouth where it would either tear open the empty holes or rip out the stitches. So incredibly painful.

After dinner, we arrived back at Pat's place to get our cars and drive back home. I was in the passenger seat after calling shotgun outside of Hooters, and after opening my door to get out, I hear the familiar sound of something falling on the ground.

Thinking I just dropped something, I look down to find a needle on the concrete. I pick it up, hold it horizontally, and ask, "Did someone drop this?" Mark grabbed it swiftly from my hand.

Three seconds later, as I'm walking to my car, I completely forget about what just happened. We all say goodbye and I go back home, happy after another awesome day with my friends.

Later that night, while hanging out on Ventrilo, Mark shows up and starts talking to me privately. He reveals what the needle was all about, and after revealing such a massive bit of self-disclosure, all I had to say was, "Oh."

I told him that he hid it well, and he tells me that he does so because he doesn't want people judging him differently. I assured him that all was safe and that I would never do such a thing.

Now, I mentioned that I had completely forgotten about the needle moments after picking it up, and that's true. I thought nothing of it. For some reason, my mind just accepted it as something natural. Mark, however, must have been freaking out inside after seeing me pick it up.

Mark, if you ever felt nervous as hell before revealing to me what it was for, please understand that I never thought anything of it. I knew you didn't do bad things, and because of that, I subconsciously knew that everything was all right. You got nothing to worry about, my friend.

I just finished playing my guitar for about an hour or so. I'm learning a new fingerpicking song that I like, so I just spent the past hour playing it over and over again. I have found that the key to successful guitar playing is practicing a short piece of music over and over again. I never play something in front of someone that hasn't been practiced hundreds of times before. Sometimes my fingers get sore, but that's a side effect to being able to play nice music.

A couple of weeks ago I was hanging out with Konrad in his backyard. We had a couple of drinks and were just sitting by his pool talking about stuff. There are two types of drinking: drinking to get drunk, and drinking to get a nice buzz. We chose to drink to get a nice buzz, and when that happens, you feel loose and extremely open. You start talking about the way you actually feel towards things.

Naturally, Konrad and I found ourselves talking about Mark and Patrick. I mentioned all of the things we used to do together as a group to which Konrad replied, "Why don't we do that stuff anymore?" I didn't have an answer.

Back to December of 2007, Christmas was a couple days away. In December of 2006, I created what was coined "Santa Clausing". I thought of the idea of buying presents for our friends and delivering them in the middle of the night. This involved driving up to their house, blasting metal-like Christmas music at full volume, and seeing their reaction as they came outside to see we have a gift for them.

Konrad liked the idea, and after our first successful Santa Clausing night, one thing was certain: we absolutely loved seeing the reaction on our friends faces.

Now, one year later, it was time for the second Santa Clausing, and during the night of the 23rd, Mark, Patrick, Konrad, and I went around town delivering gifts to our friends. We all wore Santa hats, and my sister tagged along in a full blown Santa costume. My car was covered in Christmas lights, and once again, we blasted metal-like Christmas music as we delivered the presents.

We grubbed at Denny's after we were finished. As I sat there, still carefully eating my food, I was floating on a natural high, surrounded by the best friends I could have ever asked for.

All of this build up, starting from the beginning of winter break: deciding to tag along on that first night out, hanging out with Mark, Patrick, and Konrad nearly every day, never getting sick of each other's presence, watching movies, eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and Santa Clausing, all lead up to the most poignant memory I have of us together.

It was now the early hours of the morning and we had just gotten back to my place after a night of delivering presents. Feeling tired, Mark, Patrick, and Konrad were ready to head home to get some much needed sleep.

When I was in marching band, before every performance, many speeches were given. The band directors, the drum majors, and the section leaders would all give their speeches about why we were the best marching band in the world. And it was during these highly emotional times that we found ourselves bonding together as a whole. Every afterschool practice, every drop of sweat, and every muscle ache all seemed so worth it when we would huddle together before a performance, letting every one know how we truly felt about one another.

And it was during that morning after Santa Clausing that I found myself doing something I had only ever done during marching band season in high school.

Mark, Patrick, Konrad, and I all huddled up at the end of my driveway. I can't remember what we said, but we stood there for a couple of minutes. As much as we all wanted to sleep, we also didn't want to leave that moment.

And it was then and there, at that moment, standing together at the end of my driveway, that I realized I was really part of something special. I was actually a part of something you would only read about in books, or watch in movies. Up until that pivotal moment, I had only thought experiences like those existed within the pages of a fiction book, or on the cells of a film print.

I fell asleep that night the happiest person in the world. The next couple of days, if I remember correctly, we actually did take a break. We enjoyed Christmas with our families and what not.

We had reached the beginning of January now, which meant that winter break was soon to be over. Soon we would have to take care of Pat after his wisdom teeth removal and then head back to school. Needless to say, I was bummed to have to go back to school so soon.

Foolishly, I never kept a diary of that incredible break. All I have are pictures on my iPhone and computer that were taken during that unforgettable time period. A picture of the four of us on that Santa Clausing night sits framed on my desk.

I chose to write this for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to celebrate what I think was truly a special moment in all of our lives. I think that what we formed during that winter break was genuine friendship. Genuine friendship is so incredible because, well, never mind, I am sure I don’t need to explain why genuine friendship is so incredible. I am not ashamed or afraid to say that you guys are the greatest people that I know, and that I love each of you unconditionally.

Secondly, I wanted to be sincere. I wanted to let everything out that I have always wanted to say. For over a year I felt like I had kept this bot- tled up inside, just begging to get out. So now I’m breaking the silence. I’m being relentless here, spilling my guts on everything I wanted to say. It won’t surprise me that maybe I wasn't the only one feeling the same way, but I was just the first to say something about it.

Third, I wanted you guys to know how I felt. Even if you absolutely disagree with everything I have just written, I still wanted you to know how I felt about everything. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

Lastly, I miss you guys big time.

I usually have no problems ending the things that I write, but for some reason I had such a hard time trying to figure out how to end this piece of writing. And then I realized that maybe it’s because there is no ending yet. So, in lieu of creating an ending, and in anticipation for the many years ahead of us, I carry on with a quote:

The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.


© Copyright 2017 Nick Chester. All rights reserved.

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