Tag Archives: growing up

an unknowing

(written September 2018)

Strava informs me that you biked 30 miles this morning. I can see the GPS track on my phone, a little blue line snaking around the familiar landmarks of my hometown. I imagine the hum of your tires as they rolled down streets I haven’t walked in 20 years. My old neighborhood.   It is autumn now, the season punctuated by sweet decay as billions of leaves turn golden and crimson, then brown, then fall. You must have smelled it too, that pungency, as you sliced through the morning air on your way to work, the long way.

The fall holds no sweetness here, 2000 miles away. It is simply hot, and stays that way until summer finally relents and then suddenly it is winter.  This won’t happen for another two months, maybe. 

The GPS tracker shows me your morning route, my imagination ably filling in the gaps. It feels strangely voyeuristic since I know little about your life today. It has been decades since we since we whispered secrets to each other as our favorite lake sparkled like diamonds in the late afternoon sun. We held hands as the sun plunged below the treeline and the waters turned suddenly, ominously dark.

Yes, we had a favorite lake, how sweet is that?

 I still hear the sound of your guitar cutting the silent, cold air, your voice a low whine, singing songs about deliverance. I hear a creek rushing, the one by your parent’s house, a low murmur in the darkness. We would meet in dimly lit coffee shops, were I would sit on velvet chairs and sip the sweetened drinks that you loved by candlelight. These are the memories that my heart hangs on to but the truth is always a little more complicated.  We found joy, yes, but it was a disruptive, frightening joy that left me quaking in its wake. You would, in equal measure, elicit great big laughs from my belly, and unstoppable tears from the sting of small, cutting cruelties. 

We were too young, we were too much. We didn’t talk for a long time, and then we did again, but not often, and in another era we would have eventually been completely lost to each other. But now there is social media, the invisible web of a thousand constant virtual connections, the platforms that call us “friends,” still, and perhaps we are. We certainly were, the lakeside intimacy long eroded away. These blue lines pull me back into the illusion of it, into the feeling created in the wake of knowing that yes, you biked 30 miles today.  This is were you went. This is what you saw. And I keep watching from afar.

coming of age

I used to believe I was ahead of the curve.  A precocious child, I was always a top student in class.  I was reading Madeleine L’Engle and Newsweek and Reader’s Digest at age 7. While I was shy with my peers, I enjoyed charming adults with my big vocabulary and savvy conversational skills.

I tried to grow up quickly. I was the first of my friends to have a serious boyfriend, and among the first to have my own apartment, to have a professional job.  I was the first to marry, the first to buy a house, and the first to divorce. I was naive and ambitious and hard-working and innocent, rushing through the passages of life with my hair wild behind me.

“Slow down, enjoy your youth,” I would hear my elders murmur. And I would flick my eyes to the horizon.  How could I go slow and savor when there was so much to attain, glittering like a heat mirage in the distance? Clearly, they had already forgotten the urgencies of their own youth, the siren song of dreams and plans and goals. And I felt misunderstood.

But the everyday sorts of tragedies that have unfolded over the past 7 years in my life have proven to derail that runaway train. I have failed those that I love, I have planned and plotted and sweat blood and despite my very best efforts, had it all turn to shit. My immaturity rank, and my foolishness laid bare. But the trials and tribulations and tremendous losses have been good for me. I live life differently now.  I don’t have everything I wanted and expected would come my way. But I enjoy every day given to me as the tenuous gift that it is. Perhaps the girl who thought she was ahead of everyone else is finally coming of age. Finally growing up.  It just feels so very different from how I thought it would.

I roll down the window, with the breeze whipping through my fingers as I drive.

Oh yes, life is good.

I squint my eyes into the crimson sunset from a mountain peak

Oh yes, life is good

I slurp the soup that I cooked in my tiny kitchen.

Oh yes, life is good

I spin circles on the dance floor in new boots, my skirt billowing around my legs

Oh yes, life is very, very good.

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Take off. Yellowstone, August 2013