Friday, August 31, 2007

Sir Gareth

Bug and YaYaWords of Thunder are driving to Long Beach today so that Bug can move into the her dorm room at CSU Long Beach. I helped Bug figure out the silent E when she was learning to read and now she is a college freshman. The kids change, but we stay the same, so it doesn't seem possible that eleven years have passed.

The summer before I went to college (or, the summer after I graduated from high school) I spent as much time as possible with my friends. Doesn't everyone? I wasn't sure that choosing to leave town for college was a good idea, just as I hadn't been sure that staying in town for college would be a good idea. I was going out with a friend of a friend, a summer fling just for then, which I knew at the time, even if he didn't (though it must be said that he told me he wasn't surprised to receive my "Dear John" letter after I'd been in school for awhile).

My brother and I weren't very close as teenagers. First of all we were teenagers, and we weren't the same gender, and we didn't run in the same circles - we didn't even go to school together. In fact, he was gone a lot of that summer, as Paulo's parents had taken both boys with them when Paulo's father got a temporary reassignment to Anchorage. I think No came back maybe a week before Mom and I left to take me to college.

The night before we left, I was in my room packing my instant-access bag (that is, the stuff I would want to unpack first) when No came in. He gave me a small metal figure of Sir Gareth that I didn't recall ever seeing before. He said that Ria had given it to him when we were kids, and that it had been his good luck charm for years. I was moved by his gift because really we hadn't spent much time together and had had almost no conversation for a couple of years.

I've gone through periods thinking he was the much more familiar Saint George or Sir Gawain, and periods when I didn't even know where he was. I've considered giving him to someone else for good luck (most recently, Bug), but I've always hung onto Sir Gareth. My brother gave him to me at a time when No was almost a stranger to me, and this was my connection to him when I was moving away and everything was uncertain.

No comments: