Thu, 17 December 2009 - 12:15 pm

Anniversary, part one: blog

It has been a year since I started this blog. A year to the day exactly.

A year ago, I was shuffling books into alphabetical order and smiling at the faces of rude customers. Today, I found a copy of The Little White Horse tucked away on a shelf among the flower farm’s records. It was my favourite book when I was a kid – I read it so many times that I could quote it, could picture the strange house in my head in perfect detail. When I found it, the surprise was sharp, like knives in my chest. I hadn’t expected to see it again, this shard of who I used to be.

I’m twenty-three now. Three months ago, I missed my own birthday. I feel older. I feel like the time between me and that girl is a gulf too wide to step across. I look back and I can’t see the path from her to me.

I should be wiser, but I don’t think I am. I still kid myself about a lot of things. I still want to believe that things are better than they are. I’m scarred, and my left arm is weaker than my right because I cracked the bone once. I try not to learn too much from my scars. Sometimes, I’m scared that I’ll stop caring about people because we lose so many.

I think I’m grieving for the girl I was once, the one who loved that book and went looking for a little white horse hiding in the trees. The one who made a new blog a year ago today.

They say there are five phases of grief, but I don’t know what they are. I’ve probably been through all of them, in the wrong order or all at once. All I know is that it hurts when I think about that girl and all the changes in between.

 

I look back at those first posts and it feels like someone else’s life. Was it really me, whining about how unfair everything was, how hard it had become? I read those words, those thoughts formed on the screen, and I can barely remember what was so important.

I remember the morning of that day, even though I didn’t write about it. I stumbled downstairs still brushing my hair because I was running late. Dad had made me pancakes. He had that look about him: the vague, helpless one he got when he wanted to do something but he didn’t know what the right something was. He’d had that look since Cody broke my heart, and I had been too upset to look him in the eye. I had been avoiding him and his sympathy for a month. That morning, he made me pancakes, and there was dismay when he saw me rushing.

So I sat down and ate them. I should have left, but I was already late and the pancakes smelled so good. We made jokes about how they were all misshapen and we agreed that he would have to work on his pancake artistry, but only if I promised to eat them. By the time I got to work, I didn’t care about being late. When I got home, I created this blog and tried to start a new phase of my life.

Now, I feel like I’m at the beginning of the last new phase of my life. We’re at the last place we can think of to go, with one last thread of hope for a future left. This is our last chance to get it right.

And my dad, he’s a gold ring that I wear on my right thumb now.

 

Back then, I was struggling out from under a broken heart and trying to find new friends to make connections with, because the old ones had betrayed me. A week later, I was struggling out from under falling buildings and trying to find anyone who was still alive. I was thrown together with strangers who are now my friends. Some I’d even call family. We don’t have a good time together – we keep each other safe and alive, and occasionally manage some support. Somehow, that’s enough.

In that long-ago week, I had slightly drunken, ill-advised sex with my best friend. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had sex with him again – a lot – and it is anything but ill-advised. Then, I was terrified that I had ruined everything. Now, I’m carrying his baby and looking forward to making a family with him.

The girl I was back then would have laughed if anyone told her that she’d bear Matt’s baby and be anything other than mortified about it. She would shake her head and say that it was ludricrous. Neither of us want that. Neither of us are capable of it. But here we are and I’m not laughing.

I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, I know how I got pregnant: my mother gave me a cursory explanation when I turned twelve, and Dad offered me an awkward talk the first time I came home late after a night out with a boy. I don’t know which one of us was more embarrassed.

It’s the love that’s the surprise. Sometimes I think it snuck up on me and squeezed my heart while I wasn’t paying attention. Other times, I realise that it has been building for a long time.

In a way, I guess I’ve always loved him; the kernels of it have been there since he first tugged and braided my ponytail. When we were teenagers and he was going through a really bad time with his family, we were always together. He all-but lived with us, and sometimes it felt like it was him and me against the world. In that way, we could do anything we wanted. We knew everything about each other, even the things we never wanted our girlfriends or boyfriends to know.

Back then, we never strayed into being a couple, didn’t even mess around with kissing. Now, I’m reminded of that time: the two of us against the world, taking refuge in each other’s company. But this time there are promises and intimacy. This time, we’re not going to let new friends distract us. Now we know more clearly what we mean to each other, what our loves feels and tastes like, and we wouldn’t exchange it for anything.

Over the past year, we finally took those last few steps and tripped into being in love. It sounds sappy and silly to put it that way, but that’s how it feels. He makes me feel loved. He makes me want to love. And we do, despite our scars.

 

A year ago, I was floating free and searching for a direction. Now, I am anchored and I know where I’m going. I don’t know if it’s progress, but there’s no going back.

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