Standing (October 2019, Week 1, Day 2)
I am standing, alone, on the sidewalk in front of Her house. She doesn’t know I’m out here, about to change her world. I am standing there, collecting fifteen years of questions and working to put them into an order that has any chance of making sense. I look perfectly normal, like I belong in this neighborhood. People walk past me and give me a polite nod or a smile or sometimes a “nice day!” as if I’m one of them. Children trundle past me under their backpacks bigger than them and look up at me with their big eyes. Dogs give me inquisitive sniffs, checking to see if I am friend or foe or, perhaps, second breakfast, and continue on their way.
I could belong here, but I don’t. She decided that for me long ago. Long before she could have known how I’d turn out. Before I had hair or arms. She made a choice, or a series of choices, that guaranteed that I wouldn’t belong here.
On most days I don’t mind.
I am standing, alone, in my bedroom. I’m leaning against the door as if someone might try to push their way in. As if. I am as far away from the computer screen as I can get without throwing the machine out the window. I asked the question and, ready or not, got an answer. I am aware of how hard and fast my heart is beating and how upset my body is at my resistance to it’s urge to run. I need to think, to plan. Wondering about Her is one thing. Searching for Her is another. Finding Her is, apparently, more than I was prepared for – today, at least.
I am standing, alone, in the dingy office. I don’t want to sit down, to decide I’m staying. I want to get the slip of paper and go. It’s not that easy. Of course it’s not that easy – nothing involving forms ever is. I shift my weight, seeking solace from the throbbing in my pinky toes, wondering why I chose these shoes. I know they do their job. They make me just a bit taller, just a bit more adult. Adults respond best to people who exceed their expectations, especially where “the youth” are concerned. I am dressed to impress and that requires uncomfortable shoes. I need that slip of paper and I know that these moments of discomfort are just part of the package.
She comes back, finally, with the information I need. She puts on a concerned face as she cautions me against making any rash decisions. I don’t tell her about the hours I’ve spent thinking this through, or about the pages and pages of journal entries, or about the long search history on my browser. I do what’s expected and nod slowly as I reach for the paper, putting my own concerned face on to finish the scene. The pain in my pinky toes is nothing compared to the power of that slip of paper.