|Choices, choices, choices|
Other than its color, the walls of this room have not changed a bit. As a nineteen year old I was certain, the most I had ever been, that I would soon return. I knew that within less than five years, I would once again find myself effortlessly falling asleep underneath ten-year-old glow-in-the-dark stars attached to the ceiling. I saw myself thinking again and again why the manufacturers made red and blue stars, noting to Google it the next morning, and then waking up to a clear head, completely forgetting that note. Yet, now, twenty-five years later I remember. I continue to have that image imprinted in the creases of my brain. Months before I turned nineteen I completed a summer course in neuroscience, and now I can’t, for the life of me, distinguish the exact location where memory is stored, or even if such a place exists. Perhaps, that is just one sign of ageing, huh? And now, my brain expects me to be able to spot out the cracks on the wall, or where they used to exist twenty-five years ago.
I take a deep breath, absorbing the smell of the paint. It’s new, no, the room has not been lived in since it was painted. The walls smell of paint instead of human odor. Not the bad type, just the simple scent of skin and bodily fluids that constructs a man into a memory and transform him into a myth, far from reality. I shiver at the thought of distance between the walls and my existence. The foreign plaster looking at me and sizing me up and down and figuring out if I am really that girl from two decades ago. Quickly I grab the handle and I am instantaneously relieved, although I have yet to exit. The handle is still there, tightly clasped in the palm of my hand. My muscles remember where the handle stays still, attached to the wooden plank. With perfection it grabs and turns, with just the appropriate amount of force. Maybe nothing has changed.
|Do you get it?|
I am back at nineteen and a half, yet I am still standing in this room, sensing the lack of familiarity and the distance that has taken its place. That is what I hate about living on two sides of the world, simultaneously. Yes, simultaneously, I said. I have two rooms, located on polar ends, as well as two beds covered with soothing colored sheets. Two toothbrushes await, snuggly placed on its special holder. Half of my wardrobe is shuttled back and forth, confused by the quick change in weather and the stark humidity. Sheer miracle has prevented me from leaving anything behind, where it is not needed. It is also the one thing that has kept me from damaging any items along the way. Thank god I live in the time of commercial airlines, without it life would be one giant pause button with added channels: home, the ship and America. How long does it take from home to America by boat? I bet it would take about six months, or is that too much of a reach? Who am I kidding if it were still the era of great sails I doubt a girl with two slanted eyes would even dare travel to the opposite side of the globe just to learn theories and be hovered down by existential dilemmas, which is what you would get from a the type of education I simultaneously made love and fought with.
Now I miss those days. How ironic.
I hear footsteps, seeping through underneath the door. If someone had told me that I would be married and have three children, I would laugh and point a finger at them accusingly. But someone did, although I did not literally laugh and point, I still did it in my mind. Sometimes I feel that fateful night stopped me dead on my tracks, just like it did to Nanami.
“You should carry your phone with you, mom”, my oldest pushes the door that continues to be connected with me at the fingertips.
“Be careful”, I say without thinking it through, only to realize how angry I sound.
“I’m sorry…” he says much like my closest cousin used to do. How I despised him for that, his apologies, him being so frightened. And yet, in college, I was probably despised for the exact same reason, for apologizing too rapidly.
“I’m sorry”, I make the same mistake for the hundredth time.
“Aren’t you going to answer the phone?” he looks at me, perhaps implying that I forgot to take my meds.
“Of course”, I take the black brick out of his hand and answer, wishing that it would be a short, unnecessary phone call, “Hello!”
Before the caller could reply, he left and closed the door behind him. Times like these I cursed that woman for seeing three children in my future. Still, even twenty-five years later, having had three children, I felt the vivid instinct to stop at one.
*Author owns all rights to the photos above