After a couple weeks of me being fairly moody and easy to annoy, I’m introspective tonight. I’m facing some decisions that feel large to me, but when I sit back and compare them to the decisions of others – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s decision to testify at the Senate hearing, for example – they’re not. They’re medium sized, probably edging in the direction of small, when stacked against the sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and other difficulties that many people in this country face on a daily basis. Adults having to work two or more jobs to survive, families one medical-emergency away from bankruptcy, one prolonged illness away from not having a reliable paycheck, there are just so many serious struggles that so many people are in the middle of even as I write these words.
My story is still my own though, and my decisions are important to me. I won’t minimize how they impact me but I have to allow the above comparisons to make me grateful for all that I have, for the ease of contemplating medium-small dilemmas instead of cliff edged ordeals.
So, today, the beginning of a story about choices and changes and the days that define the courses our lives will take. From 1/26/09, back when I used to write about actual romantic relationships in more than just the background:
Things never turn out the way you expect them to. Better. Worse. Different. But never the same. Today is no exception. I imagined a cry of joy. A celebration. Dancing with my girlfriends and then indulging in some chocolate and/or ice cream. Or maybe dinner at a favorite restaurant. A good movie. And, of course, calling everyone I know.
My mom screams and tells my dad before I even get the chance to talk to him. Then she says, over and over, that she knew, always knew, this would happen. When she finally relinquishes the phone, my dad, quiet in comparison, tells me he’s proud. That’s it. Proud. But his voice is shaking and it makes me smile.
That’s how it’ll happen. I know it. I know it as well as anyone can ever really know anything. Except – I don’t want to call them. I don’t want to call anyone. The only one I want to call, the only one I want to tell, is Elijah. Just Elijah. Because now he’s always the first person I tell. Only, I can’t tell him. I don’t know how.
He wasn’t around when I imagined all those other scenarios. He wasn’t a part of my life. Afterwards… The truth is I never let myself imagine any scenario after I met him. Even less after we fell in love. If I had, I would have envisioned something closer to this moment. Close enough to capture its bittersweetness.
Bittersweetness. Bittersweet. I can’t believe this is bittersweet.
It’s supposed to be wondrous and joyful. The happiest day of my life. I am happy. Happy and incredibly sad. I want to cry. I shouldn’t want to cry. Not from sorrow and fear. Not from a sinking heart. Not from any of the emotions slowly pushing the stubbornly insipid elation out of me.
Oh dear. I got in. Everything I ever dreamed of. Everything I ever wanted. Everything I need to succeed. But at what cost? All I can think of is everything I have to give up. Everything I have to leave behind. Everyone to whom I will have to say goodbye.