I grew up in an environment where everyone was watching; where every eye would study every flaw. I became so focused on what everyone was seeing, that I forgot to look at everyone else. I did everything I could to have the nicest clothing and the prettiest clothing, just to ensure that all of the onlookers only saw the best.
If I had only taken the time to look at others, I would have seen that they couldn’t care less about me. Everyone has their own lives and own worries, and most of them probably don’t even see me when I think they’re studying my entire existence.
I have wasted so much time worried about what other people saw of me, that I forgot to live my life.
Ah… the first snowfall of the year. All of the people around me are complaining, but I can’t help but feel the magic in the air. Maybe it’s my inner child, but the first snowfall always brings about a certain elegance that I just can’t ignore. It’s a couple of weeks before Christmas in New England, and it’s starting to feel like it.
My neighbor is grumbling as they clean off the car, but I do it with a smile on my face. I look around at the snow blanketing the town, and I am full of joy.
The next day. The snow stops following. Everything is glistening as the sun shines down; bright enough to shine but keeping everything cold enough to prevent melting. The snow sparkles and shines, and everything appears to be at peace. Every dusted tree and painted roof is beautiful.
Yes, the snow will get annoying, and I will soon want winter to be over, but right now I am going to bask in the beauty and elegance that this season brings us.
“Life goes on.” That’s what they say, right? How am I supposed to go on and continue with the pointless everyday tasks, alone? Why get out of bed, go to work, and grocery shop when there isn’t anyone waiting for me at home?
I used to live for his smile, and the way his hand fit perfectly with mine. I could just sink into his hugs and all of my stress would just melt away. Now I have to go home to an empty house with no one to hug or talk to.
But I do, somehow, get up and continue on with my life even though his has ended. And I do it for him. Even though he was only five years old, he would not want Mommy to be sad. And while I still am, and probably always will be sad, I do my best to keep going.
I hope he’s looking down on Mommy with a smile. Mommy loves you, Baby Boy.
“But what if it’s not the right decision? Or worse? What if I screw it all up?”
“Everything will be fine; you just have to make a choice.”
That is what I have been trying to tell myself for days; just make a choice. But how am I supposed to decide when both options seem good and there are no downsides?
“I know that, in theory, but it is impossible in practice.” I realize I am whining, but it reflects how I feel so I don’t fight it. “No matter what I do, someone is going to get hurt.”
“And prolonging the inevitable is only going to make it hurt more in the end. I know it’s hard, but the sooner you do it, the sooner everyone can move on with their lives.”
I know she’s right. She’s always right, that’s why I go to her. Or did, back before the cancer. I look down with a heavy sigh at the tombstone as I stand back up. I wish my mother could still be here, instead of this brief illusion. I still have moments where I can trick myself into thinking she’s still around, but reality quickly sets in.
Somehow, I will make everything work, and I will do it on my own.
I have always been a fan of paper. I prefer paper books as opposed to electronic, but it is so much more than that. For as long as I can remember, whenever I needed an escape, all I needed was a piece of paper and a pencil. Then I could create anything I wanted. I could rant about what had happened that day, or create an entirely new world to get lost in. I could write about the parents I wish I had, or write myself surrounded by friends.
As I grew up, I learned that I had to sometimes put the paper down and let life in. I had spent so much time hiding behind my notebook that it started to become an issue rather than a solution. So, I have learned to embrace life (sometimes), and, even though I always have a notebook on me, it doesn;t mean I always have to be writing.
I don’t know why it is such a hard thing for people to understand. Just because I’m twenty-one does not mean that I HAVE to drink, or that I want to. But whenever I say that people look at me like I’m crazy. I’m not crazy, I’m just scared.
I’m afraid that if I take a sip, I’ll turn into my father. I do not want to rely on the bottle for my happiness, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to fight it. My dad couldn’t. I used to look up to him, admired him even. When I was little, he was my superhero; always there when I needed him, never a bad word to say. But as time went on, things began to change.
I think it all started when Mom left. It was a week after my fourteenth birthday. I heard them arguing in their bedroom (I later found out that she had had an affair) and it ended with her leaving. She never came back. She phoned a couple of times, tried to keep in touch, but it was over within a year.
Dad did not adjust well to Mom being gone. He managed to keep it together for a while, only cracking into the beers after work, but he slowly started drinking more and more, until he started to wake up drunk. He died last year, and I have been on my own ever since.
So no, I do not want a drink, and I am certainly not a baby because of it. I am avoiding alcohol in order to stay strong and stay in control. I am not drinking so I do not turn into my dad. I am not drinking in order to stay myself.
Everyone I know is telling me that it can’t work, but we have to try, right? Our interests are sending us to different colleges, and we will only be able to see each other on the weekends (if that) but we can totally make the long-distance relationship work.
We have technically been dating since we were fifteen, but in reality, we’ve been together pretty much since birth. Our parents have been friends for years, and we became friends while we were still in diapers. We have been there for each other through all of the ups and downs, and we have no secrets. He is my best friend.
We technically dated several times growing up, but they were all just saying it, not actually doing anything with it. It wasn’t until we got to high school that things really started to change. I had known that I’d loved him for years, but things slowly started to turn into a romantic love as opposed to the friend love that it had been for so long. I guess he felt the same way because he asked me to the homecoming dance, gave me a kiss on the cheek when he dropped me off, and things just went from there.
And now we are going to be further apart than we ever have been before. It’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I am excited to experience this new independence and everything that college has to offer, but I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to our relationship. Will one of us meet someone else? Get sick of the traveling and call it quits? Will we just slowly stop talking as much and grow into distant strangers? Or will we meet up again at the end of it all and do the house and kids like we have planned?
I guess only time will tell.