Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Things You Think About When You Are Still Trying To Start Your Life at 59
I was raised on baby dolls and kittens--swaddling, cooing, and cuddling. I graduated to Barbie dolls and tried to be one myself. Flouncy skirts and high heels, dating plastic men who couldn't feel what I felt. I killed two kittens by accident, and would say that was the beginning of my ruin, except giving a child away to strangers was far worse. A cold heart turned colder in order to survive.
Or maybe it was money that ruined me. Lack of it at first, then too much. If the pot of gold at the end of the marital rainbow had been earned 50-50, split without fang and talon, maybe by now I would have retraced my steps back to that fork in the road where I missed the sign that said, "Your Life This Way." But I spent years on the path that said, "Wife"--misread, perhaps, as "Life"--an understandable mistake, wouldn't you say?
When he was through with me I hadn't gone back to school, hadn't worked in 25 years. A living breathing anachronism. Step right up and watch my evolution. Or watch me slide back into my primordial slime. Nearly 60 years old and my life's work some future fantasy.
Maybe I was meant to be a wife. Maybe no one is ever meant to be that. Maybe everyone needs someone who is meant to be that. In the deep dark of my history, I was meant to be a killer or a mother or a wife or a whore. No one looked into the crystal ball of my life and said, "You can learn to speak French, write stories, make an audience laugh and cry, you can take care of yourself.
It's not exactly anyone's fault. It's how it happened.
That moment when I stood at the fork in the road, I swear the sky was stuffed with pink and violet clouds. The air smelled like love, smelled like eternity, smelled like peace. Maybe if you had seen me, you would have said, "Those clouds are trouble. Run. It's going to rain like the world is ending, just you wait and see. And when you awake after the deluge bedraggled and bereft in some foreign land, the word, 'wife' will be something no one understands."
But that's not how it looked to me.