looking forward looking back

remember age eight?

sometimes meeting friends of your parents who knew you from years past. it was that strange feeling that they knew you, the younger version of you, and you simply have no recollection. they may even have funny stories from things you did, words you mumbled, tears you shed. they knew you from before you could remember even being yourself. as a child that concept intrigued me.

at some point, the slate was wiped clean. 

perhaps they knew the baby doll and diaper version of you. and how can that possibly be the same you? now, age eight, so different now from the big kid teeth and swim team medals.

you are a child of we are the world.
a child of hands across america.

when we talked on the phone more calmly this time, he mentioned that spot in our lives where the time bomb went off. detonation location. ground zero. we both know it well, it still steams there when there is no wind. there is still dust that clings to some of our clothes, the ones we couldn’t bear to giveaway and so they hang in the back of our closets as silent reminders of who we were back then, when we walked bewildered through those ashes of fallen buildings.

he mentions now “a little piece of me died, and a little piece of you died.”
and it’s true.

sometimes in a moment, i catch myself looking forward and looking back. and i make myself dizzy from doing so. it’s like i’m eight again, upside down on the monkey bars. right now, i am completely in myself. i am where i am supposed to be. so what was that earlier version? a little bit of her remains in me just as my parents friends can see the toddler shyness behind the woman’s eyes. that broken version of me from years past doesn’t simply disappear when the slate is wiped clean. she tucks herself into the folds of a mother’s skirt, the wisp of hair that is freed from wind. she comes out only occasionally to bring you perspective. and when you do finally stop getting dizzy from swirling thoughts you are able to see how far you’ve come from where she once stood.

again and again, this process continues throughout our entire lives.