The beauty of rediscovering the starting line is exactly the same as needing to proclaim it ever happened in the first place.
Thoughts ramble too easily to be delineated into moments and when faced with recalling what events happened when, she falters. Stutters against the backdrop of history because she knows there’s no way to ever remember exactly which rally helped her push and which kept her back.
At the hotel pool in Austin, she tells the woman who has come close enough to being her sister and the mother of her nephews that there’s no way this ever came to be. The two have been reminding one another of long forgotten stories, using their own brand of language to describe the events of those formidable years, reiterating moments that shaped and stacked the past to create their present selves. They use the verbs that mean something only to the two of them with relish, knowing that even if that quasi-famous reggae artist at the other end of the pool were listening, there’s no way he’d ever be able to translate exactly what they’re saying. It makes her feel like she’s arrived, finally finding voice to something so long dormant that she’s not sure it exists.
Shadow living, she tells her. It’s been a long road.
Sagely, the woman nods, sipping her overpriced but still delicious margarita, squinting into the summer sun. The reflection of her image in mirror sunglasses makes the woman wonder. Aloud, she’s able to voice what she’s been thinking for the last two decades and in any other setting it might come across as too nostalgic, too emo for her, but here in Austin, the moment passing between them like an Alt-J song, it feels as perfect as the first moment when they lamented the woes of college prep education as pre-teens sitting in art class.
If they hadn’t transported, riled against those teenage years, left it all in a haze of this and that, binges fueled with nonsense and chemicals that have no place being pronounced, then there’s no way they’d ever end up here, sitting by the pool and recalling all of the moments they should have died.
Now inked to tomorrow and back, they’ve each found their own brand of happiness and wear it like full sleeves permanent on their arms. Trite, but a story of redemption and perseverance.
She tells her that her face feels tight from the sun and she’s worried that her elbows will beguile her age. The woman nods, willing to listen, not needing to solve the problem.
She worries that in middle age, she’ll become invisible, someone who could have been some something like the sometimes succulent summer of that first year when they were sure that surmising their surroundings would lead to something more than innocuous obsession with surnames.
It turns out it wasn’t true but still, she likes to make prose poems from the past, so standing on the diving board, just drunk enough to not give a fuck, she offers one final glimpse of what it means to sit with perfect posture and that resolute feeling that there will forever be another kind kindred spirit to share in the spirit of a true seven hill broad who appreciate Grippos, loves the sound of early morning birds, and knows well enough when to leave it all alone.