Relationships are difficult to comprehend or understand when you’re in the sixth grade. Every blonde teacher is gorgeous, any girl named Jenny is a knee knocker. At that age everything that didn’t matter to anyone else, mattered to me. The jeans I wore, the shoes I kicked ( yep I said kicked cause that was cool back then ) . Back then I just wanted to be noticed by the Jenny’s or the Ali’s or Hell, anyone.
I learned in middle school that as of 1986 the average life span of a human male was 67. Didn’t care, i’m 13. All I cared about was comic books, sharing fart smells with my friends. Age meant nothing to me. My neighbors dog died, they got a new one. Thats just how simple it was then.
My father was a pilot with Delta and was usually working three to four days a week every week. My brother had just turned sixteen, so as you can imagine most weekend nights he was out with friends as well. It was just my mom and me most of the time. We fought a lot, not physical just words, I know she missed my father being in the air a lot and my brother growing up way too fast, her first born was about to fly the nest for college, but we were both just stuck there. We’d go days on end of the silent treatment until my dad would return or I needed money for a field trip to the worst thing atlanta ever tried, Sci Trek.
There comes moments in your life when you make split second decisions which later on you look back on and say I made the right or the wrong one. Skip back a few years, I’m nine years old living in Augusta. My dad had just gotten back from a trip from Germany or wherever the Hell he took people. ESPN was relatively new then but Canadian football was on TV. I was just happy my dad was home, football was on… perfect night.
My mom walked in with a picnic basket and asked if I was ready. It was July 4th and she had asked weeks earlier if would go with her to see the fireworks. That was the first time in my life that I realized the decisions you make regarding the people you love affect not only you but them. The fireworks were great in the parking lot of the “downtown” Piggly wiggly.
Ok so now back to 1986. Nothing I own really fits, I have the coordination of a deer on ice. My brother has one of those too early to shave mustaches . My dad is now gone four days a week every week. We’ve moved to the BOOMING metropolis of Marietta GA. There’s no text messaging or internet so mostly it was just me and my mom. … on the side of a mountain in a three story house. I was in our bonus room, don’t remember what night of the week it was, trying to get to the final stage of ikari warriors (which if you’re a nerd you know it takes like 8 hours) . My mom came in, which at 8 pm on a night after we have already eaten dinner usually means she’s found out I did something to the neighbors house or she got a call from school. She asked if I wanted to try and see Halley’s Comet with her. Now being 13 and obviously an astrophysicist I thought she wanted me to come see what the neighbors dog did. Well it turns out, its a comet that has been running around at now our best guess, forever, but it only shows up once every 76 years. I was almost at the end of the Ikari game, had a full glass of Mountain Dew plus my cat was asleep next to me (ignore the cat part), but I said sure, where to?
We drove to the top of the hill in my mom’s stellar Pontiac 6000 STE which was one of the first cars that would show you on a digital screen that a door or gas cap was open. We were ahead of the curve. We parked up there and waited… and waited… We sat on the hood just looking up and waited, not saying anything just doing something together. To this day I don’t know if either of us can say we saw the Comet, but looking back I can truly say I did. It comes around once every 76 years, kinda like the people that love you and put up with you for the next time it comes around. Chasing Halley’s Comet for me was just one of those moments you are blessed just to be there.