January 27, 2014

Ripp Van Winkle

Time is a funny thing. I lay in bad watching the shadows creep across my blankets, and then suddenly five years have passed.

It's the sort of thing I can imagine my grandmother trying to explain to my brothers and I as she passes out cookies after lunch. I am not my grandmother though. I am young-- I am only 22.

"Only" twenty-two. To myself five years ago, and even to myself today, twenty-two seems positively geriatric.

I guess it comes down tot he fact that I still believe that I'm not supposed to be here. I've been living in an alternate reality since 2006, which is now closer to being ten years ago than five.

Last week, I rand into someone I worked with in 2011. She told me all about how she's finished her BA and has gotten engaged to some guy that she met a year ago (this, of course, implied that she'd broken it off with and gotten over the boyfriend who would pick her up and sometimes give me rides home after the late shift). And I just stood there wearing the same dumb shoes I had to buy for that hostessing job, which of course I only worked for six months.

She eventually asked, "What's new with you?"

And I forced the corners of my mouth upwards and said, "Nothing much."

Which was the truth.

Is it possible that I died long before I had even started to live?

But I do know that I did live, albeit in an immature fashion, at one point long ago. Sometimes when I'm not expecting it-- when I'm awestruck at the variety in the soups aisle I've been down dozens of times or when I catch a sidelong glimpse of myself in the mirror after getting a haircut-- I feel fleeting whispers, as soft as a summer night's wind, of that time.

I remember reading somewhere that childhood is when one feel alienated by society, adolescence is about trying to conform into society, and adulthood is when one moves as an assimilated part of society. I don't think I every really had an adolescence, and now I'm trying and failing at adulthood.

I can go days (and, in once instance, two entire weeks) without speaking to another human being. It doesn't feel weird to me at all; I learned to occupy my own head years ago. I comprise of a one-woman society, and most of the time, that's all I need.

But other times, when those whispers brush my cheek, I want terribly to wake up and come back to the main plane of reality, even though I have no idea what I'd find there.