I buried my past.
The summer after my freshman year of college I returned to my hometown because my mother was in the hospital, but that was my final summer in the town where I grew up. Six months later I came back again for my father's funeral. After that there were a few scattered Christmases. Some hurried stops on summer vacations.
No one recognizes me now. The raven waist-length tresses and apple cheeks are gone. Both my maiden name and the married name that some might have heard of are now erased. I call myself by my maternal grandmother's maiden name, and it would take a certain amount of explaining to make people understand why I required this self-made rebaptism.
Sometimes I feel as worn and askew as the grave markers in the old town cemetary when I think of the water that's coursed beneath my personal bridge. Many of these monuments are almost 200 hundred years old, and the names they once bore have been scoured into oblivion. The town's founding father merits a shiny new tombstone, but I was disappointed to find no trace of the original stone that marked his grave.
Presumably his bones still lie beneath the earth, but the headstone feels to me like an impostor. I ask myself if I'm an impostor, too, but it's more complicated than that.
After all these years if I somehow met my past self, I would take her by the hand and lead her into the present. I barely remember you, I'd tell her. But we have some catching up to do.