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12 February 2004
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Korea Life Blog - (Off Topic) Sara


It's been 10 years, I realized tonight. Ten years since I met Sara, the girl who worked the drive-through window at McDonald's. My friend who had just gotten his license had been driving. I can still remember an early evening; we pulled up. She had long blond hair and bright hazel eyes, she chewed gum, she was beautiful. She was sixteen years old.

My friend and I ordered a couple of Big Macs. Somehow I ended up with her number. When we drove away I was ecstatic. My friend was also happy for me. He already had a girlfriend. We parked and ate by the water listening to Iron Maiden. He kidded me.

Would a Big Mac ever taste so good again? I doubt it. I could hardly eat. Listening to the music and looking at the lake, joking with each other, I shivered joyfully. All I could think about was Sara and her blond hair, her colorful eyes. Her number in my pocket. Holy shit! I had her number! I checked it every few seconds to be sure.

My friend dropped me off at home. Within an hour I called. No answer. I called several times. Finally, late, she answered. She was excited to hear from me. It was the beginning of a long relationship. My first love.

Three years later, when I was a junior in college, she dumped me for another guy. It must have been the worst time of my life, the way I felt. For two long months I could barely sleep. I couldn't eat. I could hardly drag myself to class. I turned pale. My heart was broken. Crushed. I was completely crushed and wanted nothing more than to die. Many times I contemplated it- as I lay awake every night. Long, endless nights.

After my roommate would fall asleep and begin to snore, I'd get out of bed and sneak Pink Floyd The Wall into our stereo. All night long I'd listen to it, the most depressing album of all time - the most comforting in time of depression. Side A, Side B, Side A, Side B again. All the while thinking about my life - a father who'd taken his life because of Vietnam, a grandmother who loved The Honeymooners and read to me as a child - then died cruelly of cancer. And of course Sara, that bitch. That slut. I imagined her in the arms of her new lover, embracing him, calling out his name in passion. At the darkest hour, my lowest point, when I had failed to sleep for weeks, when I couldn't even eat a bowl of cereal, when I thought life was over, at last I started to pray. But not like I did when I was kid. I didn't recite passages from the Bible, Hail Mary's or any of the like. I said, "Hello, God. It's Shawn." And then I talked. I closed my eyes and just talked. About anything that came to mind. Anything and everything. Past to present. In the lone hours, God was my friend, my only friend, my best friend. A long winded stream of consciousness flowed throughout each night. I questioned, cursed, cried, apologized, accepted, thanked. I would talk until the sun rose over cold blue Lake Ontario.

I continued to suffer for some time. But every night I'd listen to Pink Floyd and I'd pray. Then one night as I was talking, I drifted to sleep. For the first time in months, I slept. I woke up to the sun and birds tweeting on a tree branch. I could smell hashbrowns from the dining hall. I'll never forget it. It was still early but I didn't care. I jumped out of bed. Everyone was still asleep. I went down to the dining room and ate. For the first time, I really ate. I stuffed my face.

Of course, the hurt didn't entirely go away that day. There were still many long sleepless nights ahead. But for me it was the beginning. The beginning of an inspiration that still lives within me.

When I hear this music and lyrics I think of her:

"Said Sara,
You're the poet in my heart
Never Change
Never Stop."

Fleetwood Mac

I like to think she feels that way, all this time later. I know she's still in my heart. And she's never stopped inspiring me. And I've never stopped being thankful for my life and the things that have moved me.

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