Jessica Leader has generously offered to donate $1 to the Louisville, Kentucky library for each comment she gets on her blog this week. She asked me to guest post there today. You can see the post and comment here.
She realized today that she very well might be in the middle of her life. Not the mid-life crisis middle--just the middle. One-half. The mid-point. The watershed.
The thought makes her pause. She calculates quickly, numbers flying through her mind.
Could she have already passed it? What if she was already on the other side of the hill? If she already passed it, what had she been doing? Was it something important? What if she had passed her mid-point doing something mundane like laundry? Or filing her nails? Filing her bills? Making spinach ravioli? At what point was she halfway through? Last week? Or last month? She knows that there's no answer here, that no one knows the length of her days, but still. The thought that she's already passed the mid-point stays with her.
If the average life expectancy is 78, she's already there. But maybe she comes from hearty stock. Maybe she's got good long genes in her. Heaven knows, she didn't get good long legs from her genes.
Where does one thing become another? Where does the sea turn into land? Where does the sun separate from the sky? How does the long winter slip away into spring? How does one life turn into two, with child in his mother's arms? How does one life melt away into nothingness?
The sweetness of change turns bitter these days, as the sea has forgotten its bounds, and flat land thinks it should be hill, and things better contained fly free through the air: Pandora's box is opened. In the midst of this, a heart a world away breaks for people who are not one thing or another, for people whose souls were firmly planted in time and place, and who now know not where they stand. Out of their former abundance, only an abundance of loss remains.
Can you come into my house? Can I give you bread and shelter? Can I smooth your hair back, and let you weep? Can I shoulder your burden for just a bit, so you can regain your strength before you return to your dose of sorrow?
She drives into the city today for a hair appointment, where the girl who dries her hair has a skull and crossbones tattoo with a pink bow just under her ear. Her arms are covered in ink, and her earlobes have stretchers in them. Her lip is pieced, and if she weren't the size of a twelve-year old, she might be scary. Inked-girl does a mean style, though.
She leaves feeling like she looks better than she has in, oh, eight weeks. Since her last appointment. She walks with her head held high, without a hat on, daring the wind that comes whipping off the ocean to mess with her. She crosses the brick street, feeling a yearning that hasn't come in a while: a yearning for her city mouse roots. But there's only a half-hour before she's required Elsewhere. She sighs, tempted by the thought of a hot chocolate at the local coffee shop, but she turns toward the parking garage instead.
On days like this, where the sky is so blue it looks like she could dive in and never come up fo…