Magical Memories and Eastern Epiphanies
James Feliciano Dans Papers Literary Prize Nonfiction Piece July 14, 2013 Magical Memories and Eastern Epithanies For my whole 21 years on this Earth, I lived on Long Island. Born in Brookhaven hospital, raised up to my present, and destined to one day probably die here I never lived anywhere else. I’ve thankfully been to plenty of other places in this world that people sometimes aren’t so lucky to get the chance to go to: vacationed in villas and cities throughout Portugal & Spain divulging in its culture; ventured to the west coast to see the Big Apples counterpart, the Big Orange and explore its diverse L.A. streets; soaked up the sun down in Orlando and Daytona. Yet everytime I was away from home, feeling like a stranger in a strange land, I always felt a sense of loss as if I would never see Long Island again. Foolish to think that since I was merely vacationing or visiting at those times but still I couldn’t help it. If any of my fellow residents were to respond to being asked on how they felt about Long Island, I don’t know how they would reply. All I know is what my reply would be. As silly as it sounds. It would be that Long Island has a magic to it that I’ve never seen anywhere else. We experience all four seasons to the fullest as Islanders: snow banks in winter and blood chilling winds; blooming flowers (and allergies) in spring; humid and scorching summers; and beautifully haunting and crisp autumns. We get a taste of almost every type of culture here too. Ethnic diversity abounds in every town. But out of every town and county on Long Island I’ve been to, their is one section that holds a place in both my mind and heart. This section I speak of ranges from Westhampton to Hampton Bays. The experiences I’ve shared their with both friends, associates, and enemies are remnants that are entombed in my memories. The Majority of the time I had these experiences was the summer of 2011. Before that hot summer back in ’11, I was facing a number of hardships. My relationship with my girlfriend of a year was crumbling. My family and I were becoming distant not to mention my parents were beginning to grow on my last nerve telling me to get a job. I was unemployed from that January up until June after working two years at a childrens entertainment facility known as Bounce n Play in Center Moriches (now long gone) and constantly felt like a bum. I had bills and gas to pay for that no one would help me with (although my parents had helped me with college; I’m thankful for that). It seemed their was no work anywhere I searched and every open position was filled up by someone else no matter how hard I tried. Than one hot day at the end of May on a whim, I rode my bicycle from my home in Shirley up Montauk Highway until I reached Hampton Bays. It took 2 ½ hours to reach and I had not stopped once on the way their. When I arrived, I went into the local King Kullen supermarket to get something to drink and noticed they had a help wanted sign on the notice board right by the customer service station. I asked for an application than and there, even though I was drenched in my sweat and reeked of exhaustion. After filling it out, the store manager gave me an interview again than and there. And like that I was hired as a cartboy for the summer. The Work itself was easy enough but in brutally hot conditions since it maintained me outside pushing shopping carts back into place in the front and dumping recycle bins out back in containers. I met alot of new people during my stay their and learned alot that summer. I learned about love and loss by witnessing other employees love lives fall apart or move forward. Even though a person’s personal life is left out of the workplace, I still got ganders of most of my employees issues. So I had the epiphany that since our relationship was beyind repair anyways the only thing to do was to do what was best for me; therefore I broke up with my girlfriend of a year feeling an immediate weight uplifted off of me. I no longer felt like a bum and was able to pay off the bills that had made me feel so down the months before. I began getting my life back on track to sum things up. At the end of that summer, I quit King Kullen because I didn’t need it anymore. I am to this day thankful it got me out of a rut but didn’t see my future their. And I still keep in touch with certain individuals I met during my time their. My memories still flash images in my brain of being on a deserted beach in Westhampton with my friends, still riding around East Quogue at midnight on beer runs, and still my work experience in Hampton Bays. They flash up more vividly than many of my other memories. That’s the magic of that area; it will pop up in my head sometimes randomly and feel like I’m still there experiencing it. No other place does that to me not even my hometown. Since than, I’ve had more ups and downs but thats life. Thats the one thing all people share in common: hardships. And sometimes on opaque lonely nights or desolate days I’ll still drive out that way. I’ll find a spot on the beach or walk around those hampton towns and let my thoughts guide me from there. Usually even on the darkest days, just being there remembering everything shines lights of realization on me. I feel rejoiced than and find my way back home happy once again.