Me too

Because I didn’t do anything wrong…

I was in my 20s, about to finish up my college degree. I was working at an all-female pharmacy, the only one in the state at the time. We all worked together well. No egos. No tempers. We were a great team.

Then he came.

No one minded that we suddenly had a male pharmacist working with us. That wasn’t it. It was what he did that was the problem.

I’d lean forward to grab a sticker for the prescription bottle, and his arm would suddenly jut out so that my chest would be rubbing against his arm. The first time I thought it was an accident. Pharmacies are confined workspaces with a lot of people moving fast. But it kept happening.

Then it got worse. He’d come up behind me, cage me in with both his arms grabbing the counter, pinning me against the pharmacy counter as his front rubbed hard up against my backside. There was no one else there. I was dazed. I felt sick, about to vomit. But no one else had seen it.

Should I tell someone?

I went home and told some friends what was happening and how sick it made me feel and how I couldn’t stand to be near him. Every red flag was raised. Every alarm bell was blaring in my brain. Shouldn’t I warn the other gals? Shouldn’t he be stopped?

I was told I was being too sensitive and it was such a tight workspace and I definitely shouldn’t say anything since if I was wrong, it would be slander. But I knew I couldn’t keep working with him. I transferred to a different store.

Three weeks later, that pharmacist transferred to my new store. My complete lack of a poker face betrayed me. One of the male pharmacists at the new store saw me react and took me aside, asking me what was wrong. I told him I was going to have to quit. I couldn’t work with him. He was why I left my last store. He asked me what had happened. I shook my head. I couldn’t say it. Would he think I was overreacting too?

He asked me if I’d mind just working with him. He would request from his boss that he only work with me as his tech. Now this guy wasn’t completely innocent in his motives—he loved to watch the game from a stool in the corner, and he loved working with me because I was fast and able to take care of everything apart from his legal requirement to confirm the right pill was in the bottle, so he would get the maximum time to watch the game. But I didn’t care. It got me away from the other guy. I agreed. I worked only with him from then on, and everything was fine.

Two weeks later we got the word that the head pharmacy tech (also female) had lodged a formal sexual harassment complaint against the newly transferred pharmacist.

I felt vindicated. I felt sick that I hadn’t warned anyone. I never talked about it. I felt ashamed. I felt there was something wrong with me that men like that were attracted to me.

It isn’t ok. I refuse to own shame when I did nothing wrong. Me too.

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Confessions of a Bookworm, Part 3

During my college years the university library was my haven. I’d find a quiet study-desk at which to work, or a 1960s era armchair in which to sit and read. I’d even go through the stacks of phone books from around the world and run my fingers down the lists of strange and beautiful names that I was clueless how to pronounce, imagining what kind of story I’d write using such names and whether they’d be a heroine/hero, a sidekick, or a villain.

Bookstores were my secondary haven. If I had a little money, a few dollars I’d saved up, I’d venture in, peruse the shelves, and finding something interesting I’d plop myself down on the floor and begin reading it. If I had been sufficiently drawn in before someone tried to kick me out, I’d buy the book.

The Moonstone was the first gilded-edge book I’d bought. It was a prize found on an almost out-of-reach top shelf of a used bookstore near my university. I walked out of there like I had found a lost Rembrandt.

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

Authors became my heroes. I admired their minds, their imaginations, their creativity for thinking of something I couldn’t have begun to imagine. I wanted to understand where it came from. I researched writers to find out about their backgrounds and how they connected to the stories that they wrote.

I have books that are friends. Books that I buy a dozen copies of (over time) because I loan them out and never get them back. Books that are my go-to gift to a friend who is engaged, or a friend who loves understanding personalities or relationships, or a friend who loves anything that I have a book about.

I love to read at night, after work, in the dark, before bed. I have one of those little book lights that I clip to the back of my book and then I snuggle against my pillow and slip away to somewhere else. I love to stop at a point where I can sleepily turn off the book light, lay the book aside and close my eyes to dream of what I’ve just read.

Sometimes, when I dream about finally finding my husband, I imagine us taking turns reading to each other in front of a fire on a cold evening in winter. I worry that he may not be enjoying the book and he’s doing it just to placate me, but when I begin to close the book at the end of the chapter, he grabs it from me and continues to read aloud. No, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it is a dream.

And in the end, when I’m weak and fading away and confined to my bed, I hope that I have at least one friend who knows all of this about me, and who will come and sit by my bed and read to me Psalms or Jane Eyre or Les Miserables or any of the books on my shelves. That is my hope.

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Confessions of a Bookworm, Part 2

As children, other kids got trinkets and toys in their Easter baskets. I got Heidi or The Secret Garden or The Little Princess. I would grab my basket, run to my room, and read my book whilst nibbling on a chocolate bunny’s ear.

The summer reading program at the library never lasted long enough for me. The goal was to read 100 books over the summer. Most kids petered out after a dozen. I made it through all 100 in a couple weeks. If there was a new librarian who questioned my integrity when I handed in my list of completed reads, one of the long-term librarians who recognized me would step over and set her straight. I was known.

My 5th grade teachers would read to us after we came in from lunch. I would lay my head on my desk to cool down as I heard David and the Phoenix and Where the Red Fern Grows (my heart still breaks), and Choose Your Own Adventures. They would only read us one chapter at a time. Sometimes even our teachers found it so agonizing to stop that they would grant us one more chapter! We’d beg and plead for more but no, two was always the limit. (A friend just reminded me of this happy memory. I miss the days of being read to).

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

At some point books transitioned from simple stories with a life lesson to escapes from reality. There were worlds between the covers that would transport me elsewhere. There were characters that would make me laugh and make me weep. There were villains that made my heart beat so fast that my adrenaline coursed and I tore a bit of the page as I quickly turned it to see what happened next.

By 6th grade my teacher tried to fail me on a book report, telling my mother I had obviously plagiarized it because someone my age couldn’t possibly have the vocabulary that I had used. My mother defended me furiously. “Ask her. Go ahead. Ask her! Ask her what it means!”

I must have had the only mother in the world who got mad that I was reading too much instead of being outside playing. I ate up mysteries. I could read a Three Investigators novel in 3 hours.

The Three Investigators: The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, by Robert Arthur, Jr.

(Both my parents are avid readers. It’s my dad from whom I get my speed-reading ability.)

The summer before my freshman year in high school, my mother handed me a stack of 3×5 cards, a dictionary, and Wuthering Heights, with the instructions to read the book, write any words I didn’t know on a 3×5 card, and then look up and write out the definition next to it. If anything would have killed my love for reading, this would have—yet it prevailed!

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Confessions of a Bookworm, Part 1

I have always loved books, loved reading, loved being read to. I can’t remember a time of my life when there weren’t books there, nearby, calling me to them.

When I was born my grandfather gave me a book. In it, the little mouse had the same name as the nickname my family had given me. There’s something special that happens in the mind of a child when they feel connected to a character in a book. Even today, I will pull out that book and feel connected to the grandfather I barely knew.

I Am A Mouse by Ole Risom and J. P. Miller

My mom said I learned to read at 18 months of age. As crazy as that sounds, you first need to realize that I was the first-born of an English teacher. There was no way I would not be a reader.

When Mom realized I was reading the canned food labels as I sat on the kitchen counter, she told people I was reading. They immediately dismissed it as my recognizing the pictures of the foods. To address those naysayers, my mother had a test. Having 100% faith in my reading skills Mom removed the labels from all the canned goods in the house and wrote the names of the foods on them with a black pen. Yes, I could still read them.

Soon afterward, I wanted my own books. My mom was concerned about me tearing up her books so she collected a bunch of old magazines and stacked them up for me next to her bookshelves. Those were my books. Much to her surprise, instead of shredding them, I would sit contentedly and carefully turn each page.

By kindergarten I made such quick work of their little library that the teacher had to ask my mom to supply me with books from the local library to bring for reading time, as I had already read their selection so many times I was bored.

Books meant the undivided attention of my parents after my sisters were asleep. I would grab a book, tuck myself under the arm of my mom or dad, and lived for making them smile because I knew how to read all the words.

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Memoirs of a Mall Walker- Part 2

When your iTunes playlist seems to sync with your life…

I arrive at the mall not long after sunrise. The mall has just opened.

Lap 1:

The mall is eerily empty. Much of my first lap around the mall is alone. Sometimes I’m lucky if I see one other person. The lights are in various stages of on/off, but mostly off. The stores are empty. The few lights that are on cast long shadows against the reflective glass of the storefronts and I turn my head frequently to make sure no one is behind me. It takes time for my nerves to settle.

The mall is silent except for the obnoxiously loud mall music that blares near the largest anchor stores. The music overpowers the sound from my earbuds. As I move from the blare, there is a quiet pause between the songs on my playlist. I hear my shoes squeaking against the mall floor tiles. They are embarrassingly loud. I must have stepped in something sticky or they mopped the floors with dirty water. Eventually the next song begins and I focus on matching my stride with the beat. I’m walkin’ on sunshine…woah! I’m walkin’ on sunshine…

Lap 2:

People are beginning to join me. This second time around brings more light. An anchor store and a couple smaller shops have their lights on. Employees are moving inside to unload and stock new items. I dodge a dead bug on the floor that I missed on the first lap, but will not miss again. There is light and movement within Chompies. A wonderful smell wafts through the air as fresh bagels are being made. This is why I don’t bring any money with me. I know they have gluten free items. It would defeat the walking if I stopped for a bagel when I was done. I know that there is pain but you hold on for one more day and you break free from the chains…

Lap 3:

The lights are now on in more than a half dozen stores. There is movement inside. They are as curious about me as I am about them; but they go back to their work and I continue my walk. Sticky shoes. Sticky, sticky shoes. The mall cop on his segway whizzes past, holding his head high, refusing eye contact as he tows a child’s fire engine/stroller back to its rightful place. He is proud. This feels beneath him. Curse that movie for making a joke of him. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…

Another man, a man with a prosthetic leg, is slowly making his way around the mall. Most days he is alone. He struggles. He pauses frequently to adjust the attached limb. Sometimes he stands and stares at the rest of us walking. I said, “Good morning,” to him once and he looked away. He grunted at someone else who tried to speak to him. But this morning, as I approached him, I noticed he was walking with someone. A lady someone. As I moved to the left to pass I smiled and said, “Good morning!” to them both. This time he turned his face to me and smiled. It was lit up with joy. He wasn’t walking alone. He was walking lighter and stronger. I wondered if this was his wife (I’d seen her walking many times before, but always alone) or if she had just decided to walk with him for awhile. Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend…

Lap 4:

There are many people circling the inside of the mall now. Some window-shop more than walk. Some walk refusing to notice those around them. Some find the balance of acknowledging and walking. I wish I could tell someone they should be proud of me. I haven’t walked into a wall. I haven’t tripped over my own feet. I haven’t turned my ankle. I’m doing this! But I settle for a quick, “Hi” from the T-Rex ladies as they bob past me all fresh and free. My ankle ligaments begin to feel like they are turning to stone. I want to slow a bit but the song refuses to let me. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…stand a little taller…

I straighten my shoulders and press on.

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Memoirs of a Mall Walker- Part 1

I didn’t set out to become a mall walker. It was the furthest thing on my mind. I wanted to be outside. I wanted to see trees and sky as I walked, so initially I walked a golf course. In Phoenix in the summer, it can be 95 degrees shortly after sunrise, so I began my walks at sunrise. There were trees. There was sky. There were lots of people walking their dogs!!! I love dogs. Life was good. Hot and sweaty, but good.

I only got lost the one time I deviated from the golf course, so I didn’t do that again. I walked out a mile and 1/2, and then back along the same route. I said, “Good morning!” to the same friendly folks every morning, and loved on the same friendly dogs. I listened to audiobooks and my workout playlist. But there were a few problems.

First, the golf course had sprinklers that were turning off just as I arrived. The combination of water and heat made for a rather hot and humid walk.

Second, there was no bathroom.

Third, I had two nasty bouts of shin splints.

Now the third problem was my own fault. I was trying to do too much too soon. In my ignorance, I thought I should just be pushing through the pain. No pain, no gain, right? The runners/walkers on my virtual race support group Facebook page quickly corrected me. I was told to halve my workout, wear better shoes/inserts, and wear compression socks. I was given an article by a physician about compartment syndrome and how it can happen in your shin muscles when you overdo (I thought that was something that only happened to people with severe breaks/crushing injuries. Who knew?). It advised to stop doing whatever exercise caused the shin splints until the pain was entirely gone, and then when you are ready to try again to reduce how much you had been doing.

I rested up a few days. Then the impending monsoon storms pushed me to find another place that wouldn’t subject me to the elements when I walked. The mall seemed the perfect fit. It opens at 6 am so that’s plenty of time for me to drive there, get my 3 miles in, and get home and shower before work. It was air-conditioned and had an open restroom.

It’s a bit of a drive, but my focus was more on eliminating any excuses for walking.

Walking in air conditioning is lovely. Regretfully, it doesn’t eliminate me from sweating like a… do pigs actually sweat? I’ve never seen one sweat. Who came up with that phrase?

I have learned why mall walkers “walk the edges” of the mall, dipping down toward each mall anchor store and back up to the main path again. If you walk the edges, one loop is almost exactly .75 of a mile. Four laps = 3 miles. Perfect. I was now an edge-walking mall-walker.

In the time I’ve been walking the mall, I’ve come to recognize certain types of people that frequent the pre-store hours of the facility.

First, there are the T-Rex-armed speed-walking ladies. They breeze by everyone with their elbows tucked in and their hands up in front of them, bobbing as they walk. They float past even the most focused of walkers, tossing a brief but friendly, “Good morning,” as they leave you behind.

Next are the short-route walkers. These people are focused on fast and would rather walk more laps than cave-in to walking the edges of the malls. When the edge-walkers dip to the right toward an anchor store to maximize their steps, the short-routers keep going straight, undeterred by anything but the fast track.

Then we have the Grunts. These are the gentlemen in their mid-70s or so who walk with their eyes focused 12-inches in front of the tips of their shoes. They keep their heads down and plow past anyone who gets in their way. When they reach the ends of the mall, they stomp up one side of the not-yet-moving escalator and back down the other side of it in a fast loop before continuing with their walk. They walk like they are on a forced march with the enemy closing in. If you try to say good morning to them, you will not be acknowledged with anything more than a grunt.

I’m happy to report I am no longer the slowest walker there. I now fall in the mid-range walkers. Most of us are women, walking alone, listening on our headphones to whatever encourages us to keep moving. We smile and, “Good morning!” back when greeted, but for the most part, we are lost in our thoughts and our tunes or our audiobook.

There is a single couple that walks against the crowd. Everyone else follows the traditional keep-to-the-right and walk counter-clockwise route. This sweet couple keeps to the left and walks into the faces of everyone else. They have beautiful smiles as if to say it’s more important that we see each other than that we are all going the same way. Inevitably, I turn a blind corner and nearly walk into them. The wife and I giggle and the husband laughs, and we all keep moving in opposite directions.

The last group is the slow walkers, among whom there is an odd subset. There are a certain number of gentlemen who come and walk alone, but they dress as if they are going straight to work afterward. They often have a briefcase or a coffee in one hand. I can’t quite figure them out.

There are some heart-wrenching walkers. There are adult children (30s-40s) talking painfully slow walks with their parents who are clearly recovering from some illness/surgery. The parent often looks grieved and humiliated. Growing older stinks.

There are other walkers that are clearly struggling to walk with every step. Some with some sort of palsy or muscular challenges that make them fight for balance and control. One gentleman with a prosthesis from his knee down walks every day. Progress is slow, and I’m guessing painful, but he does it. He motivates me to silence my own excuses and keep moving.

We are a motley crew. But I’m starting to feel I belong there.

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Choose Beauty

Months ago I caught my thumb. At first it looked like only a scratch diagonally across the nail; but then the scratch turned aqua-blue, and then a purplish-black spread out from it. For a few days it was excruciating as the nail separated, except in a few spots, from the nail bed. I got used to the pain. The colors continued to change but a black line remained across it.

It was two months before I realized that what I thought was a dried scab under my nail was actually a piece of wood that had been shoved under my nail back when I injured it. It pulled out easily, and the pain decreased immediately. In a few days, the colors of my nail faded into yellows and the base of the nail seemed to be growing out in a fringing arch.

A few days ago I caught my nail, or rather knocked it squarely on the leading edge. The top, dead nail separated almost completely, except for the left edge which remained firmly and painfully attached. I wrapped it up and wondered if I’d be able to keep it like that until the top detached, but the pain told me I needed to do something. So I waited to get up my courage (and for the nausea of the idea to pass) and as quickly as possible trimmed the top nail back to where only the attached edge was left. The pain is much better now. It’s wrapped back up to prevent the remaining bit from snagging and I’m mentally preparing myself for the fact that at some point, if that bit refuses to grow out as the nail beneath it grows, I may have to grab some pliers and pull it out. The nausea of that idea has not yet passed and for now, since it’s not painful, I’m willing to put up with the band-aids.

How the nail looks is another story. The new under-nail is, well, ugly. The bottom half at least looks mostly normal, but instead of being smooth it is ridged and dull. The top part is crumbly and does not yet extend to the top edge of my thumb. I wonder if it ever will.

There are a lot of painful things in life we don’t ask for, yet we are forced to deal with them. They are ugly, sometimes excruciating, sometimes nauseating; but they are ours to deal with. We can choose to hide them and pretend like they aren’t there, or we can pluck up our courage to do something about them.

This nail may always be ugly, always stick out from the rest as damaged; but I still have a choice. I can leave it, or I can do something to make it better, something to replace the ugly with beauty.

We all have this choice, daily, to deal with the ugly. Choose beauty.

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Be Kind

I was watching a documentary on the Sixties recently. One of the big slogans of that era was “Be Kind.” When I was in high school I was convinced I should have been born in that era. Friends thought that too. I was into Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund and anti chlorofluorocarbons. I loved The Mamas and The Papas and folk singers and my Best of the 60s cassette tape. I wrote a research paper on Haight-Ashbury. A friend from high school called me a “clique queen” because he thought I belonged to so many cliques; but the truth is I felt I belonged nowhere, so I was just kind to everyone.

I think we forget how important kindness is.

When I was counseling clients for my Masters degree, I realized after working with many couples, that kindness was key to the success of their relationship. If they were still able, despite their differences, to be kind to each other, there was hope. If the idea of being kind to each other was more repugnant than having their fingernails pulled out, it usually meant they had both already given up on their relationship and each simply didn’t want to be the one to end it.

Social media horrifies me at times. It seems to promote the idea that if someone disagrees with you, it’s not only acceptable but expected that you unfriend them (after you publicly denounce them as idiots for not thinking as you do). The idea of respecting individuals with differing opinions, ideals, or beliefs seems to have become a foreign concept. Almost as foreign as being kind to those same people.

Maybe it’s because I was taught in school to present both sides of any argument that I learned to have value for people who don’t think as I do. I don’t feel the need to banish them from my life or from my friends list if they don’t agree with my faith or my politics or my personal values. I desire diversity among my friends, not only in ancestry but in ideas. While I admit sometimes it is painful to hear the hatred attached to their concept of my views; without question is spurs me to be a better person. The differences lead me to think more deeply about who I am and what I believe and how I live. They are never a reason to not be kind.

I hope we, as a nation, are able to reclaim kindness. To stop yelling about why we are right and start listening to what others have to say. Maybe then we can see how often we really want the same things. We all want to feel safe in our daily lives, to know our loved ones are safe where they are. We all want a better world for our children.

Let’s be kind.

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Suicide Awareness

September is suicide prevention awareness month. It’s not the easiest thing to be aware of…but we have to change that. We really do.

I’ve known two people that have killed themselves.

One was the 19 year old son of a friend. He was sweet, socially awkward (possibly with Asperger’s) and bullied because of it. I watched my friend and her husband try to find something to hold onto as their lives melted through their outstretched fingers. I did my best to stay in touch; but my friend (his step-mom) was in so much pain I think it was just too hard for her to stay connected with this place. Last I heard they moved out of state.

The other was a dear friend. We attended the same church and became friends at a small group. She had miraculously survived a serious car accident and lived with chronic pain. Her husband lost a bunch of weight and decided he needed to explore the new attention he was getting and divorced her. She had to find a way to support herself emotionally and financially. She joined a single ladies’ Bible study I led as she didn’t feel accepted in the married ladies’ study of which she had been a part for years. I helped her get a job in the company where I worked. Every now and then when I had to go into the office she’d come running to find me (or I’d seek her out) and I’d get one of her hugs and we’d catch up as quick as we could.

You can imagine my surprise when one day I got an interoffice email saying that counseling was available for everyone who knew her and the memorial service would be at this date and time. I emailed my manager asking her through my denial if this email was about my friend. She quickly apologized for not realizing no one had told me before the email had gone out. No one seemed to know what had happened. It wasn’t until the service that we learned that they think the pain just got to her, or the pain medication had befuddled her, and she had taken her own life. I wanted to jump up screaming in the middle of the service. I couldn’t understand. This wasn’t the gal I knew who managed to smile through her pain and move forward through such difficulties and who had happily remarried a short time before her death. I managed to control myself until we all stood to leave the service, and I made a break for my car. I can’t remember how long I drove around, or where I went. I probably shouldn’t have been driving.

It’s been a couple years now. I was thinking about her just two days ago and realized, to my extreme horror, that I couldn’t remember her name. I know when you lose a loved one your memory fades. You forget their face. You forget their voice. But I remembered those as vividly as possible. I could not for the life of me remember her name. I tried for two days and finally had to ask my boss to help me remember. She did. She told me it was the pain that blocked it from my memory. She told me she’d been thinking about her lately too. I hate my inability to remember names.

I don’t know if you’ve lost someone to suicide; I know some of you have. Can we agree in this day and age of selfies and “my opinion is the only one that matters” and unfettered narcissism that we need to be all the more careful to be kind? We need to put down our electronic devices to connect with the people around us at the dinner table. We need to be a voice of kindness to that befuddled cashier. We need to be gracious when we drive. We need to look at the people in our lives and make sure they are ok. Yes, there’s a limit to what we can do—we can’t know everything going on in someone’s head. Ultimately we can’t stop someone if they have decided that’s what they want; but we can be more determined to love people well. How hard is it to send a text that says, “I’m thinking about you today. I miss you.”? Or call someone and tell them you don’t need anything from them, you just want to see how they are doing? Leave a note of encouragement for someone who needs it. Take a lonely person out for coffee or lunch or a movie. Tell the people in your life that you love them and that they matter to you. Please? Just do it.

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Moving Forward

Today, I drove past the house where I grew up. I do that every now and then. Maybe I should stop. It always leaves me melancholy.

The house has changed hands multiple times since my family left it; but here it is, over 20 years later, and I live less than 2 miles away.

The first new owners pulled out my parents’ carefully cultivated rosebushes and the dwarf peach trees that blossomed with memories of sticky-sweet peachy-goo from finger tips to faces, and they slabbed it over with concrete on which to park their monstrous RV.

The next owners stumped the gorgeous silk oak in the front yard, leaving it as a wooden tombstone to my childhood.

The owners after that placed a giant clay pot on the stump. The mind reels.

The current owners finally removed the stump. The grass is a bit overgrown. The once open atrium at the front of the house, that was filled with plants that beckoned guests to the front door, is now empty and bars close off the entire opening to the front of the house.

I’m the sentimental one in my family. While my personality demands that I over-analyze and mentally work out all future eventualities so that I am always prepared for the worst-case scenarios; my emotional side tries to hold onto my past. I don’t want the landmarks of my life to alter, much less become unrecognizable. That house has become so. I had to drive by it twice before I could pick it out.

Why do I do that? Try to hold onto what once was, but isn’t now. It was a place of Wonderful World of Disney family popcorn-for-dinner nights and contests to see who could swim the farthest underwater in the pool. A place where we took hammers to the pool-side river rocks to see if we could find geodes (sorry, Dad). A place of tarantulas in the pool skimmer and lizards that made Grandma scream. A place of fire ants and root beer floats and Mom’s watermelon whale fruit salad bowl. A place where little girls with bandanas on their heads and brooms in their hands sang, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” or dropped to their hands and knees to be Snoopy in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown”. A place where my sisters and I sat in the dark front room of the house before the twinkle-lighted Christmas tree playing “I Spy” and shared what we hoped we’d find under the tree in the morning. It was a place of many things. It was. girls at sunset

But that place isn’t mine any more. No part of it. What is still mine are those memories. They always will be, as long as I have the ability to remember. But I don’t live there any more. Those memories can be momentary touch-points—the way you absent-mindedly reach out to be sure your phone is still next to you while you are focused on the task at hand. Those memories are still within reach, but they aren’t my “now”.

Before me is a path not-yet-taken. My curiosity propels me forward into the unknown that awaits. I may turn for a moment to watch the past fade behind me before stepping forward; but I must keep moving. There is so much more ahead. And for once, I’m excited at the prospect of that. The future is laden with hope, and not fear. It’s time to move further on.

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