On being a grown up
For the most part, I haven’t achieved the grown-upness that as a child, I imagined adults had, but once in a while I get a glimpse of something that conveys a motion forward that’s other than increasing physical decrepitude or mental incompetence.
When my age was the amount of years that have since transpired, I began a romance that mattered, playing itself out in different states on each coast, as well as other countries. We ran out of money on an island we then couldn’t leave, occasionally bathed in public restrooms, got stranded in a national forest, but miraculously weren’t arrested when we entered Turkey. It was a time to earnestly ponder why the sky is blue and swear against any sort of mediocrity creeping into our lives. For many reasons, I thought this adventure would go on forever.
It all ended badly enough that the only option I could manage was to put my disappointment in a drawer that closed tightly and locked, though willing participation in life remained challenging for too long.
We moved on with our lives, but saw each other once in a while. Sometimes I was not able to keep those feelings stored away, other times I felt implacable and something close to disgusted, but always it was a strong emotion. When I was able to steel myself up enough to peer in the drawer, I was alone; those closest to me not understanding what good could come from revisiting this bad rubbish. But it wouldn’t disappear, no matter how hard I willed it to.
When, after 20 years it became inevitable that we’d meet up again in a group, I oiled the lock, found the key and slowly opened the drawer. Perhaps the contents had disintegrated? No and Yes.
With the support of my secure and understanding husband, a meeting at the Met Cafe and Egyptian Wing, followed by an interminable cab ride down Fifth Avenue with awkward silences. The same. Different. Neither. Both. Still the 26 year old heart, but 49 year old brain.
Again we met, with the group, my heart matured. In subsequent conversations that always included commitments to future events that never seemed to happen, more heart growth. But still a slight unease and sometimes feeling a lack of control.
And then recently, these words that I very simply agreed with: “I’m glad we can be friends.”