Sunday, June 18, 2006

Quarter-century, plus one

Today, driving home down 696, I noticed an unusually high number of deer on the side of the road - bloated in the heat, their necks twisted up with blank eyes staring at nothing, the blood a dark red stain on the cement. When I was young, maybe 10 or 11, I watched a dog get hit by a car. He was running toward me when it happened.

That summer I was best friends with a boy who lived across the street from me. Every afternoon we would walk his paper route together, delivering papers and hanging out in that uncomplicated way that kids have, where friendships were still mostly about mutual adventures. One day we came upon this puppy with no collar who seemed to be lost, so we decided that we would put him in my fenced-in backyard while we asked around the neighborhood looking for his owners.

We weren't having much luck, and kept going back to check on him and say hello. He was always so excited to see us, jumping up and licking our faces. After a few trips, we went back and he wasn't in the yard. I ran inside to tell my mom, and she said that she had let him out. "Carolynne, he's been couped up all afternoon. We couldn't keep him in the yard forever." Stricken, Shaun and I ran around the neighborhood looking for him.

We finally spotted him down the block quite a ways, across the street. Without thinking I yelled out, "Puppy! Come here, puppy." Just as he saw us and sprinted happily toward us, a car came out of no where. I still remember how it sounded, the squeal of breaks, the sounds he made, the exact feeling that went through my body when it happened.

Thinking about that today I realized that no matter how old I get, there are still things that I can't speak out loud to my Mother because I know that no explanation she can give me will make it any better. Nothing she could tell me could make me understand why she needed to let the dog out of our yard, so I will never ask her. This is how we coexist.

My Mom and I have never had the best relationship. She was depressed most of my childhood, and spent a good deal of time either crying, sleeping, watching tv, or heavily medicated into some semblance of normalcy. My Dad and I split up the running of the house between us in an unspoken arrangement that we had - I would clean, he would do the laundry, we would both take turns cooking. It worked amazingly well, more normal than you would think it could be.

Looking back on the past 25 years of my life, I feel like I've had to be a grown-up for most of them. In a way, 26 feels much the same as 16 did, only now I'm suppose to be this much of an adult. Sometimes I wish I had more of a childhood but mostly I'm okay with that, mostly I like being a grown-up. I think I balance it well with a healthy does of spontaneity and a good eye for adventure (even still).

This entry seems long and convoluted, but I guess that's just the kind of mood I'm in. Maybe turning 26 has muddied my brain. Maybe, I just need some sleep. Either way, I'm wrapping this up. What do I want my 26th year to include? I want to take another class (maybe continue French, maybe another photography or (god knows I need it) a writing class. I want get all my pictures into album (including! my! Alaska! pictures!). I want to spend more time playing my piano. I want to make lots of money and spend it in all the right ways. I want to make sure that all my friends know how much they mean to me. I want to have lots of laughs and at least a few spontaneous adventures. I want to make sure I'm not too much of a grown-up.

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