Now an adult, spending an hour with the man I love feels like a second. After two weeks away from the city together, frolicking on the west coast, I hollow out when he leaves. No one, me in particular, is allowed to be so happy. I am a collector of debt, guilt, lost memories... suddenly replete with joy. With all i am made of, thank you, someone, as surely I alone cannot be given credit for keeping this man in my life.
Back in NY, overwrought that we are now separated, he back to Boston and me skipping work, on an apartment chase. Head and heart in my throat after the day's efforts prove fruitless and... oh. Wait, is that my college roommate walking past my coffee guy? She, always so reckless and irresponsible while I tightly folded my toilet paper squares and double knotted my shoelaces in an attempt to capture a sense of purpose. She survived college with no knowledge of laundry nor driving, and never needed either. The eternal NYC native with devil red unkempt waves and smudgy black eyes vs. the suburban ballerina who could have been. No it's not her, just a mirror-image of her shadow from ten years ago. Remembering Sour gummy and PBR dinners chased down with stolen shopping cart races allows a flash of exhilaration, but this is quickly replaced by the weight of fixing EVERYTHING in her life and the word is out: I have quit babysitting-- no children, no naives. Our New York does not exist anymore. Momentarily I feel old and predictable... but the thought of nesting with my sweep makes me giddy and I walk on.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Some say childhood never leaves us. How do gravel ripped knees and erecting mouse mansions with twigs in the forest shape our adult desire?
A turtle fleeing sticky five-year old fingers in our backyard, for the yard of a doberman. The bat nesting in our garage; he felt the broom while we kids danced spasmodically in the living room, knowing only that the excitement would prolong bedtime if only seconds longer. The sweet beautiful way my mom smelled after a bath when I pushed onto her lap for a bedtime story, wishing her tattered pepto pink bathrobe was less nubby, more soft when I buried my face in it during the scary parts. Single licorice sticks for 5 cents from Tennys on the corner and the majesty of walking there without an adult. The sickening confusion in my stomach when I saw a boy on the ground beneath my skirt, between my legs, looking up when I tried to stack my chair on my desk like I was supposed to in kindergarten. Alex Massey's grandmother's house on the lake with the floating water slide! Riding my bike down the biggest hill I could find during a mild summer dusk.
Recollection of my early development is sparse, scrapped together with bubble yum and bus rides, strawberry shortcake and Sugartown elementary. Sometimes visceral, often imparted through stories or photos. What I seem to desire, after 27 years however, is to have had a happy childhood. Just like the photos reflecting it, my memory is careworn, bleached by time. Bills mount and dreams go unfilled with every passing hour and what I cling to most is my youth, however erased it may be. All the holes in time are spackled over with a blithe certainty, and I long to cruise home on my street bike, basket in tact, to our perpetually pleasant family dinner.
A friend gave me an Edmier edition of Jill Peters for my birthday which I absolutely adore. It makes me recall my childhood, Houellebecq's "Possibility of an Island", and independent beauty all in one.