It was one of those national holidays, the kind where none of us had to work. All my parents' children still lived at home and we were all around at the same time doing different things with our lives in different rooms of the house. It was hot outside, but my dad was building a shed to put all his toys in. He always had to work on his day off, the same familial curse I continue to carry.
Family is everything, or supposed to be. They’re the ones that are supposed to stick by you, do right by you, love you endlessly and unconditionally. But we all know that’s not always the case.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve known I was going to die. I don’t mean it in the way that we all know it to be true. There’s not very many people that still believe they can live forever, although there are plenty that are trying to prolong their lives as long as possible. I mean it in the way that I feel death in my bones, my skin, in every hair on my head… It’s ever present in my frame of view, like a cloud hanging over my head that lowers and raises itself in my atmosphere as it pleases.
In the end, all of those who were to leave the rest behind were supposed to stand in the front of the room, in front of everyone who has known us since the start, and answer one simple question: How do you want to be remembered when you die?
Many have always dreamed of being a mother. I have not. No part of me has ached to carry a child in my womb or to birth a child into this world. For one reason or another, that doesn’t seem like something I’d be willing to do. It’s not something I’m sure would change me for the better.
Things are a little uncertain right now. The world is in silent chaos, with the only rage available for consumption found on feeds you can scroll through our phones. As far as I know, there are no riots in the streets yet and the only sign of true dystopia is the empty toilet paper aisles. The world is in a slow mental spiral and so am I.
The last book I put together took three weeks to self-publish. Three weeks to look through the poetry in my journals, type up the ones that made the cut, design the layout, edit, and send off to print. Three weeks.
Traveling was the only running I’ve ever been able to do because in high school, I was hit by a car the first day I rode my new bike to school. I was mostly fine except for some pretty serious knee damage and a severely bruised ego. My doctor said my knee would get better over the years and would be greatly helped through low impact exercise like riding a bike or swimming a few laps in the pool. Well the universe doesn’t want me riding bikes, obviously, and I’m scared of water, so naturally I did what any other injured and lazy person would do: nothing. Needless to say, I was never a runner, before or after the accident. Ironically, running was my biggest dream and my most seemingly unachievable goal way back in my childhood. Running in the metaphorical sense, of course. Hence the traveling. Sloppy solutions deserve sloppy introductions.
I stopped dreaming today and yesterday and for a while now. Most days, I convince myself to let my dreams go into the wind and find someone who wants to hold them and love them and keep them, but they never leave in their fullness. Scraps of each always remain and grow no matter how much I refuse to water them. My breath is their sunlight. I’ve started to realize that some part of them will probably stay with me as long as I live, but I’ve decided to stop letting them creep into my heart and soul. I have to accept these dreams are not mine to hold anymore.
The first thing a lot of people said when I told them my partner and I decided to get married was something along the line of, “You’re getting married?! The one who used to say she would never get married?!” It’s funny, mostly, because I used to say that any chance it came up. My family would bug me about finding a boyfriend because I was getting old and because they thought a man would finally calm me down. I guess they thought that a man would make me fall in love and that his love would change me into the sweet, nice young lady they always wanted me to be. Every time I had my quick little retort locked and loaded. “I’m never going to get married.”