In the Dust

March 2010 – Saint Patrick’s Day

 

“You’ve been doing amazing,” S says. “You look incredible. You’ve changed so much.” We lock arms, cuddle. “Just be careful. Don’t leave him behind.”

 

S throws a look at my then-husband, who is doing a line of shots with some of the other boys across the room.

 

S is wasted, too. “Since when is success a bad thing? How could it possibly be a threat?” I muse.

 

“I worry about you,” he replies. “You’re growing. He’s not. I don’t want you two to grow apart.”

 

I chalk it up to his inebriation, neurosis. S is then-husband’s best friend, my occasional friend with benefits. He also has an open marriage and is in the thick of dealing with his own insecurities as he explores the arrangement with his wife.

 

“There’s no chance of that,” I say.

 

 

*

 

 

And yet, here I am 2 years later, divorced. Building a life with another man. A Midwest homeowner. A love slave. Devoted. Blissed out on everything I’ve scratched out for myself out here.

 

*

 

It has occurred to me that when I talk to my mother on the phone, telling her how amazing things are for me these days, that the person I’m really trying to speak with is myself, that woman from 2 years ago, on the cusp of huge life changes, a woman full of an adventurer spirit and the sense that people are basically good, underneath it all.

 

Part of me wishes I could reach across time to talk to that past version of myself, fill her in on all the spoilers – but as I humor the hypothetical, I find myself at a loss for what I’d even tell her. None of it translates into her framework, her sensibilities.

 

“One day you’ll wake up and see you’ve grown so much that you’ll realize that what you were staring at and thinking was the sky is just a ceiling – and not a particularly high ceiling at that. As you grow, you’ll burst up through it, shattering it into hundreds of pieces. The impact will be painful and disorienting at first, but soon, free of those artificial boundaries, you’ll be blinded by the brilliance and beauty that waits outside and by the realization that most limits are artificial self-imposed, and you are, they are, we are all freer than we let ourselves imagine.”

 

I’ve tucked it into a bottle and am sending it along a rift in the space-time continuum. Let’s hope past me gets it.

 

 

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