Tuesday, August 4, 2015
The Little Girl in the Yellow Room
There are so many things I want to save- an unending list of special pieces of time, morning to night that I would preserve if I knew how. I want to take these moments as they're happening and press them between pages, a daisy, a leaf, a ticket stub, forever safe. As I move through these days I feel like I constantly place markers in my memory. Keep this always. Never forget how this feels. I remember being a little girl, sitting in that yellow bedroom with the one window that looked out onto the driveway, building castles from blocks so my Barbie dolls could live inside. Oh, the dreams I had! Mamas and Daddies and babies, stories in those walls, a little girl's idea of what it would all be like.
It rained the other night- a monsoon storm that rolled in over the horizon like a blanket, gray and blue and black as the clouds moved together. I sat outside and watched the lightning, I listened to the thunder, I got lost in my thoughts and ended up somewhere thinking about all of the turns in the road that led me here. It's weird, right, how many possible outcomes there are. If I think too much about it it makes me crazy- going back in my mind to places I've been, people I've met, choices I've made. Do one thing, there you are. Choose another, there you go. But yet here I am- there you are- and we're right where we should be, if we believe in that. Or maybe we're simply just right where we are, and there isn't some roadmap of our decisions leading here, to this one story. I don't know.
But I sat out there and cried as it rained, Hank inside probably wondering what his crazy wife was doing, and I thought about how painfully grateful I am for this life. This story we're living- all of the everyday things we do that feel so tiny but are so big, all of the space and time and moments we share. I'm morbid, so my brain always goes to a weird dark side of things too- and I thought about how if I died right now, I would feel like all that I've experienced already has been so beautiful that it would be enough. Is that strange? Probably. But even though I absolutely don't want to die and there's a whole life out there to be lived and I can't even think about my babies being without me, I had this odd little thought. Strange, I know. But I think when you don't believe in anything after this, there's a whole different outlook on life that's there. The right now. The only now. And here we are.
Storms have a cleansing way about them, don't they? The way the water rushes over the pavement, cleaning out the cracks, even the smell afterward. And I sat outside until it stopped raining. I sat outside and let that summer storm roll right on through, and let it do its work on me too. I thought about that little girl in the yellow room with the Mama and the Daddy and the babies, who I am and all the people I've been since. The paper doll selves we all become as our stories fold into the next, one version of us into another and another, a whole army of past selves and experiences and memories, yet all that is seen is that first layer facing out.
When I came back inside I checked on the boys, sleeping soundly in their rooms. Hank reading in bed, Madeline laying on the couch, the last bits of rain running down the window behind her. All was well. Mama and Daddy and babies, the block castle we'd built standing tall and strong, and the little girl in the yellow room, smiling at her luck, tucked up somewhere inside of me too.