I travel every so often, as it has been one of my favorite past times for years. I love the feeling of being on the open road with a vague destination or even with the intent to do something specific. I like to drive and sing along to various songs or talk to myself and form solid plot lines or whatever I might need to do for my books that day. The concept of travel hits home. I like it so much because it affords me a kind of freedom I don’t have in my everyday life. I constantly have to get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner.

It is as if our lives run on a never ending cycle of tasks we have yet to accomplish. It grows tiresome, I’d be lying if I said I still enjoyed eating all the time. At this point most of the food I consume is just another bundle of nutrients I need to ingest so I don’t die. (Which is a sad thing for me to say in and of itself, but I’ll get to that in another post.)

Still, when travelling, especially if you have no intended destination you will find some small gems. Wandering around in SLC before my book meeting I stumbled across a comic store called Heebeegeebeez, which over the course of the next couple days I visited almost every location they had in the valley. The owners/employees, whoever the hell they were just so happened to be the coolest bunch of people I had met in a card shop. So I purchased some cards, played in a tournament and killed hours.

After the tournament ended and my friends and myself came out on the stiff bottom of the bracket we climbed into the car at six in the morning to make it back to the hotel before we needed to be up the following day to actually go do things.

This blog post isn’t so much about the Heebee’s, it is much more about the comradery you can find in the most unlikely places and the bonds you form with your friends.

I’ve met a ton of people who find some kind of misaligned pride in the fact that they have no friends. I don’t understand it, like trying to teach ethics to a machine their words just jumble around inside of my head.

“What do you mean you’d rather be alone?”

I get it, trust me. If it was just that these people wanted to be alone I’d understand but when they say it in conjunction with “I don’t have friends.” I wanna give em a big ass hug. How could you go through your life not finding a bond with someone? I promise you that not every person in the world is awful and will make you want to shrivel up and explode. Some people, most people, in fact carry so many wonderful traits. Each of my friends, those who went with me on the trip + those who did not are my friends for a reason.

This trip to SLC was capped off by a sorrowful experience, I attended a service for my late cousin Heather, who was found off of a hiking trail, dead. I’ve been over funerals, you now how boldly I look at death. I am not scared by it. The things that bring fear to me are much more alive, much more tangible. Death is of no concern to me anymore. He has visited my life so frequently that he has lost his sting.

Still, it gets kind of rough seeing my family members all the time under such dreaded circumstances. Especially afterwards when I can look at my cousins and my aunts and uncles and know that my kids won’t have those things. I used to be worried for a long time that my kids wouldn’t have any aunts or uncles to visit, they would meet no cousins and they would have nowhere to go for family visits save to see their grandparents. (unless my wife isn’t an only child but we aren’t talking about that right now.)

I have that thought once again every time I meet with my extended family. My mom will take some time to tell me stories about who is who if someone is around that I don’t recognize, she’ll tell me about my aunts and uncles and all the fun (or drama) she had with her siblings. I didn’t really have an answer to the frustration that brought me until earlier this year as I was sitting inside the car at 6 A.M. with some of my best friends in the world, driving back from a Magic tournament and dead tired.

I thought that I was an only child, despite that my mom calls all of my friends “her kids.” That was a nickname given out of love for them and me, that didn’t mean much. But I realized why she truly does it when one of my friends was whining about being tired and angry. We had passed this silver chevy on the highway and were still fifteen minutes from the hotel and he looked at the roof of the car before slapping his hand to his face and he said:

“If I don’t go to sleep before the sun rises I am going to be an asshole all day.”

I looked out the passenger side of my car and saw the light from the sun reaching up over the mountains and smirked.

“Well, the sun isn’t up yet. You have some time.”

We drove back to the hotel and got to our room. I stayed behind for a bit to stand outside in the cold for five to seven minutes while the others went to their rooms. I felt the stack of cards in my pocket and smiled as the sun was rising on the valley.

Just as it had a million times before, but I was there to experience it.

I stayed down in the parking lot until the sun revealed itself in its entirety from behind the mountains and couldn’t help but smile at my life.

Damn it I have it good.

I was fearing the service and meeting up with my family under bad circumstances once more, but there I was, ready to face things head on. I knew, even if it took me a while to understand it, that my kids would have cousins and uncles in the very least.

Because as I watched the sun rise on the day we were set to go see Coheed, having just returned from a tournament at Heebeegeebeez, I realized that in all of my friends, I had brothers.



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