What happened to that girl?

I spent the night listening to music and writing. I find it odd that the songs that were so important at different stages of my life now fall into the category of “classics”. God, when did I get old, and where did the years go?

Listening to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors which is close to being perfection. It brought back memories of my year in Greece, where I was introduced to their album Tusk by my friend Leslie. She also taught me to smoke. How to become a seductress, not only with cigarettes but in all areas. How to embrace the woman I was becoming and let the child I was go. It was the end of the fall semester in 1990. She would leave in a few weeks and her apartment would be taken over by Tony and Tom – the latter of whom I would fall (after months of patience, frustration and persistence on his part) head over heels for. The first time I slept with him was in that apartment.

What happened to that girl? Yes, she was scared as shit when she first left to live in a foreign country with a group of people she had never met. But she was fearless. She never regretted her choices even when she fucked up. She owned them, accepted them, knew the mistakes she made would only help her grow.

I wish I could go back to Athens and stay that age forever, live that year over and over as if it were Groundhog Day. There was no internet, no social media, no consumerism or talking heads on the television set in our student lounge. There was none of the shit I hated when I returned to the US.

I miss the hours in the cafes, smoking and getting buzzed on countless glasses of iced Turkish coffee. Never feeling rushed. Having conversations about things that mattered. Hours and hours would pass and my soul, my spirit, would be filled to the brim.

Travel has always been where I have felt most like myself. Except for the years with my husband in the High Point house,  and my early years on the Island, I have only ever found solace somewhere else. It as if being in this country is not the right fit for me. Or perhaps I simply do not understand my place in the chaos of where we are.

I am so close to cashing it all in, saying “fuck it” and running away. I am close to pulling the curtains closed.

My first memory is of water. I was 3. I walked off the dock at our island and into the lake. I wasn’t scared as the water rushed over my head and held me in its arm. I was fascinated. Peaceful. I was in awe of the rays of sunlight coming through the dark water. The weightlessness of my body. The bubbles from my skin and mouth floating around me. No noise. Absolute peace. The last time I was at the island, which sadly is no longer a haven for me, since our wedding there and his subsequent death, it took every ounce of my strength not to walk into the lake like Ophelia and just lay down, letting the water rush over me. To die the way I remember being born.

I have a pastel art piece my husband did. We call it a self-portrait though the hair color is wrong. The figure holds the essence of who he was. As I sat on the couch last night in my small apartment, I felt a myriad of emotions rush out of me. Anger, grief, sorrow – all the stages I have been unable to get through since I lost him. I also see the piece lovingly, as a way to, I suppose, talk to him – though I have a difficult time believing he is anywhere now. He is simply gone. Tonight I stare at it as the music plays around me and I feel the anger in my chest, the sadness, the confusion bubble to the surface once again.

I wish I could go back to the mindset, optimism and fearlessness of my 20-year old self, but taking with me the knowledge I have accrued over the years. I am trying but she is an elusive beast. The weight I carry on a daily basis from the grief that will not leave me is pushing me further and further under the water. I finish the evening listening to the Counting Crows album, August and Everything After, and as I concentrate on the lyrics, I wonder “how am I going to keep myself away from me”?

© Sorrow & Kindness

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