Twenty-one years of love, and family, and laughter. Twenty-one years of phenomenal friends, the best mother in the world, a loving and accepting father--a best friend in my brother.
But it has also been 21 years of tears and heartbreak. Melodramatic and ultimately minor, in truth, but I have felt pain so suffocating I could not breathe, so painful I could not open my eyes. I have "seen the light," but it was so bright it left me blind. I have also felt fear, a lot of fear. An inordinate, unnecessary amount of fear.
But right now, on this night, I am alive. I am alive with the soft yellow light of my room, the fan blowing air like passing phantoms; I am alive with three glasses on the side of my bed--one for water, one for coffee, one this evening's wine; I am alive with my floor completely camouflaged in old art prints and khakis, a copy of Interview splayed open to a shot of M.I.A.
I love fiercely and only know love that is obsessive, grasping, under the skin. Detriment--likely--but a Universal Truth of Dustin O'Neal at Twenty. Maybe I'll learn casual love later.
As I teeter on this brink, the true, last moment of childhood, I feel nothing. I am happy, but I was happy yesterday.
And I'll be happy tomorrow, as long as everyone shows up to my party.