Shadows of the Past Part I

A black cat screeched and jumped out of a dumpster as we pulled into the parking lot.

“I’m home,” I quipped as I turned to look at Jo.

“A nice first impression huh?” she smiled back as she turned the corner to pull in front of the building.

“So this is Rexburg?” I stated as I opened the door and stepped out.

“In all its glory,” she said and casually followed suit.

George Town Apartments was a greyish blue building with white trim that looked like a plantation taken right out of the Deep South. It even came with, I might add, a complementary willow tree across the way. It was April of 2012 now and I had been home from my mission for a little over two months, and as a testimony to just how fresh from the field I was, all my belongings neatly fit inside the two large duffle bag suitcases I had used in Brazil.

“Man this place reminds me of Vegas,” I said as I observed how dry the air was.

The town of Rexburg itself was green, dotted with parks and filled with tall old trees, but once you left you were back in the unforgiving high deserts of southern Idaho. The majestic Tetons towered to the north and when compared to that the terrain was mostly flat and dusty with wild grasses growing here and there, and an occasional hill from time to time. But I was glad that Rexburg looked like it did; I didn’t want to feel like I was living in a desert again even if I technically was.

“Got everything?” Jo asked as she looked at the chaos stuffed into her trunk as if expectantly.

“Yep,” I said over the idling beat up black Corolla.

Jo stepped forward and gave me a big hug. “If you need anything I’ll be across the street.”

“I know. We’re gonna hangout all the time right?” I reminded her as a lazy breeze rolled by.

Jo was Frank’s sister and like her older brother and the rest of her family she was fair skinned with platinum blond hair. When Frank and the rest of our group of friends, or The Gang as we called ourselves, were all still in high school we’d go over to Frank’s house from time to time and torture Jo’s cat Coco.

In Jo’s eyes Coco was a saint. To the rest of the world Coco was a calico obviously playing host to some sort of demonic spirit. The first thing that cat would do when someone would walk in the door was hiss. Her meow was like some sort of plea from her old soul begging for release, and when she’d stare at you it was like some sort of evil cognitive being was observing your every move. Eventually the cat went missing and they never found her. It was still a sore spot for Jo, so no one was allowed to talk about Coco in a negative light in front of her, but needless to say no one shed a tear over her loss.

But even if we had wanted to cry over Coco’s disappearance we couldn’t have. Todd, Frank and myself had been on missions for the better part of the last three years, Rae had transferred up to Alaska to study Wildlife Biology, Ann had gotten married last November and moved out to Ohio, and Kent and Marie had moved to Idaho Falls to live together. The Gang hadn’t all been in the same room for over three years.

We were spread out all over the country. It was hard to that at one time all of us used to sit in Ann’s basement and listen to Spanish dance music. But it was even harder to believe that at one time all of us had all been gathered at the chapel for my baptism. Those days all seemed like a dream now. And after all these years I still had yet to see Kent, Rae and Marie.

Jo opened the door to her car. “Just call me, and we’ll make plans!” And with that she got in her car and drove off.

I stood there for a moment in the parking lot before I turned around and went down the steps to my new home, apartment 2. This was my first place, equipped with tacky oak cupboards with no knobs, white walls, green carpet, and a TV from the 80’s. It was perfect.

No more Mission President, no more Mom, and especially no more Dad to tell me what to do now. I could eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I could wake up at three in the afternoon and no one could scold me. Heck I could go to bed at three in the afternoon if I wanted to, but lets be honest, that wasn’t how it was going to happen.

This was college. This was a time of self-discovery, partying, and meeting new crazy friends to do all the previously mentioned with. Except not since this was a 99.9% LDS community. This was going to be college without the hangovers.

Seated on the couch watching NCIS was on of my new roommates. He looked over at me and with a wave said: “Sup?”

“I’m Keith.”

“Trent,” he explained casually.

The first thing I noticed about Trent was that he was crazy tall. His skinny legs easily stretched out into the middle of the tiny living room. He had the look of a well-seasoned college student and his surfer guy voice, and Mediterranean skin tone matched the stereotype.

“Where you from?” I asked.

“Idaho, you?” he responded.


“Oh, cool,” he turned back to his show and that was the end of our conversation.

I wheeled my things into the hall and was met with a dilemma: which of the three bedrooms were available?

“Hey Trent, what rooms are open?”

“Oh. The front one, and the back room on the right,” he explained and then returned to his show.

I wheeled my things into the front room, and unpacked. I realized as I put my belongings away how little I actually had. Aside from my clothes, all I owned in terms of kitchenware was a plate, a bowl, a cup, a fork, a knife and a spoon.

I had no idea how I was going to cook anything, because no one gave me any pots or pans when I went to college, and all the food I had brought with me was a large can of food storage rice, and a huge can of pinto beans. My bank account was practically depleted after having paid my tuition. Now all I had to my name was everything in my suitcases and two hundred dollars that I had to make last.

You see I couldn’t run home to Mom or especially Dad, because they couldn’t help me. Or rather Mom couldn’t help me, and Dad wouldn’t, because a month ago Dad kicked me out.

Continue to Shadows of the Past Part II


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3 Responses to “Shadows of the Past Part I”
  1. This will probably come as a given in the next few posts I stalk on your blog, but I really enjoy your style of writing.

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad you like my writing, I won’t lie it’s really hard to work, go to school and find time to write, but comments like these make it worth the struggle. And I’m totally stalking your blog as we speak.

      • Oh goodness, I know…I marvel at these people who can consistently deliver, but so far as I can tell yours’ are worthwhile ! Keep it up (:
        And ha, guess its cue for the Duck to snuggle back into her pond then.

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