At the present moment, I am a little reluctant to go back in time, to recap the last little bit of my life. I am so very anxious to move forward from this madness of a year. But it’s not over yet. Not for a few more days anyways, so I will go back, just a little bit, if only for myself to read a year from now, when this really bad dream fast forwards into a really good book about a girl who had the craziest life of them all. Hell, crazier things have happened in a year.
I turned 39 a few weeks back. I woke up early to a cloudy sky over a churning sea and I was pulled sleepy-eyed by some otherworldly force out of bed and onto the rocks. I needed to be in that water. To wash off the last year, if not the last 39. So I did. I ran straight down to the beach and into the waves, a near-naked crazed girl, laughing and crying and embracing the whole gift of the day. My 39th year had come and I had arrived in my entirety, with all my wits and all my will, daring the sky to open wide and rain on my parade. Bring it, I said.
What’s a little water, after all.
And a few days after skidding on my knees into 39, a rogue wave hit my broken heart through a pane of glass and sent me reeling back to the beach in the dark of night to throw rocks into the howling wind. As loud as I could, I begged the stars to align themselves in some fashion that I might for once come to understand this misaligned life of mine. Teary-eyed anger turned to sleep, and in the morning presented me with the horizon line of clarity I had wished for with all my might as 39 candles went out. I sent an email back to Mexico, accepting the photo residency invitation I had declined months before. I had to go. For so many reasons if not just to spite the one monkey that held me back. My back was already so broken. So why not go headlong into the Mayan jungle and face it? But what if I couldn’t do it. Oh, Worse! What if I didn’t do it. Que onda, mono?! Ya me voy.
So for the last little bit I have been making my lists and checking them twice, preparing to depart for Quintana Roo. Not as easy as it sounds for this girl, my poor wings having so recently been soaked in gallons of chemo. I am easily overwhelmed by the laundry, never mind packing for a 5 week stay anywhere but my couch. This past weekend I did a test run, traveling far and wide outside my current comfort zone, getting on a bus bound for NYC to celebrate Ezra’s 38th birthday. It was not without it’s moments of undoing for me, but it was a trip worth taking. As it goes, the lost and found can be lost and found again and again. Six months after we found each other in barely one piece, me, lost without my boobs and he, lost without his bike seat, the two of us sicker than any two friends have a right to be, combined, were found again in otherwise good health, in our new birthday suits.
And then there was this morning. I missed my return flight back to Berlin. Instead, I shook off the memory of those icy Adriatic winds, brushed a thousand wishes off my pillow, and got my first real haircut. Because next Saturday morning, December 31st, a minute to the year when the phone rang with the new year’s news that I had cancer, I will be stepping off a different plane and into the jungle. I will look up at the new moon and count constellations over a sea a whole world away from this time last year. It is the very next thing to happen, which will indeed lead to the very next thing after that. 39 years and I think I finally understand this forward feeling.
It’s the beginning of everything after.