54 hours.

So much can happen in fifty-four hours. What does not happen in such a short amount of time is the proper adjustment to one’s internal sleepy-time clock, thus a bleary-eyed Wonder Woman on this final Friday in April.

In April of 2008, I started a slam competition at the high school where I was working. It was a nerve-wracking venture, something that had never been done on this particular campus. I had no indication whether or not my efforts would be glorified or a total bust. Turns out they were of the former in nature - a total success, "nothing but net." Four years later, my slam baby, is still going strong. This year, the illustrious Taylor Mali returned as the visiting guest performer. I was lucky enough to hang out with him for the afternoon, and we even had dinner at one of mine and Big Red’s favorite former haunts.

I could go on and on and on about Mali, attaching adjectives that would attempt to capture the light that he is, but it would do no justice to the carnal version. Simply put, that man has IT. Whatever IT is, it’s magnetic. I've previously written about Mali on this blog, so I'll spare you from going on and on about the man. He is nothing short of star quality stuff. Even the confidence he exudes, which might put off some, somehow becomes endearing. On this tour with Mali, I learned the following:
  • Mali and Big Red are both fans of the comedian Louie C.K.
  • Mali and I both use Burt Bee's lip balm.
  • Mali's wife, Marie Elizabeth is an UH.MAY.ZING poet in her own right. I happened to leaf through her book, Steady My Gaze, which was for sale in the lobby during the slam.  I was instantly arrested by her words.
  • Mali is six foot one inches tall.
  • Mali once stood on Half Dome, butt-nekked.
Mali sat next to me at the slam, but while he performed three times, he opted out of judging this time around. As each poet took the stage, I noticed Mali making notes on paper. Turns out he was creating a poem from lines and content that the students performed. At the end of the evening, just before the winners were announced, the money bequeathed, and the big ass trophies awarded, Mali performed his skillfully woven creation, and a masterpiece it was. The show was a success yet again with over 700 patrons showing up on a Wednesday night to see a handful of teenagers spill their guts out on stage. There are fewer things more beautiful in the eyes of this humble English teacher.

But that was just Wednesday afternoon. That morning I had the chance to hang with the familia, and we did so by having brunch in Hermosa Beach at a place right on the strand. Talk about solidarity – all four of us ordered the Eggs Benedict, my parents with a side of fruit, and my brother and I with the home fries. Afterwards we had a short photo shoot on the sand. Then it was off to mine brüder’s apartment to meet Hershey, a seven month-old smooth coat chocolate Dachshund with miles and miles of energy. My parents and I actually went back for a second short visit with Hershey, my bro and his lady, after the slam, whilst enjoying super extra thick chocolate shakes from In’n Out burger.

Thursday morning it was right back to LAX to catch a flight across the US of A. I arrived back in these here parts just shy of midnight, when the bells tolled, and my carriage turned back into reality. As I sat amongst the travelers waiting for Big Red, I couldn’t help but smile. Steelers gear stretch tightly over beer bellies, mullet wearing mamas, high-water waisted jeans, and NASCAR t-shirts. I was home.

On the drive back to our little house on a tree-lined street, Big Red informed me of some pretty Big news. While I was soaring across the amber waves of grain, he done went and bought himself a freaking motorcycle! I was speechless, a true rarity. I mean, I knew it was coming as we’d talked about it, but I was not expecting an X on the dotted line so soon! Let me introduce to you, Big Red’s newest big boy toy: Suzuki DR650. It’s a dual sport bike which will allow him to ride both on the street and off road as well. As the words left his beautiful mouth, I had to work to keep mine closed for fear that the vomit threating it's way up my gullet might make a sour appearance.

This motorcycle is something Big Red has wanted, and something he rightly deserves to have. While this fun venture frightens me just a tad, as I cannot ignore the associated risks with two-wheeled fun, I cannot stop Big Red. He’s a grown man (with excellent credit to boot! Let’s hear it for an 815 credit score – woot, woot!) and knows full well my fears. I will just have to swallow back my reservations, and trust in his capabilities as a level-headed, somewhat spirited (yikes) driver, and allow him to enjoy the new toy. Sometimes I think married couples forget to do that. Step aside and let the other one speak and act freely. This motorcycle had nothing to do with me, someone who is irrevocably intertwined into his life.  I don't need to be part of everything he does or decides to do. I will allow myself to enjoy my husband's happiness and burn into my treasure chest of memories, the smile on his face.

Who knows, maybe Mrs. Red might find herself on the back, arms slung around the waist of her Mr., along the quiet streets of a Sunday morning.

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