For nearly six decades, I catapulted through life. Fear drove me — fear of punishment, fear of anger, fear of ridicule. From the terror of an abusive father to the dire pronouncement of callous and unknowing doctors, I learned that my days could be numbered and most certainly would be short. I stumbled forward on the broken road.
In later years, a kind of emotional short-sightedness plagued me. I spoke and thought and reacted in superlatives. My ragged nerves had touched the stove once too often. I shrank within myself. Despite unearthing a few shiny stones as I dragged myself through the muck and grime, I never paused. I let the scenery slip past in the gloom of night. I leaned my head against the dark cold glass as the towns rolled by. I made no move to disembark.
For a brief moment, fifty-five and fragile, I let myself dare to believe that I could slow, at long last; maybe even rest. The feeling did not endure. When I finally shook free of the immobilizing sting of disappointment, I fled.
Here at the edge of the earth, as I creep into my last act, I have no more reason to run. The demons seem to have shuddered to a halt. They do not venture into the river valley. The Delta winds drive them back. The ocean sits an hour from my doorstep. Though I do not seek its comfort as often as I would like, the song of the Pacific has soothed me in some immeasurable way. I know she waits for me. I take my time. Meanwhile, here on the banks of the San Joaquin, my life unfolds moment to moment, one frame at a time. My heart slows. Breathe in, breathe out. And repeat.
It’s the twenty-fifth day of the eighty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
P.S. Somewhere along the way, I have lost track of the months. This is my seventh year of this journey. Math is not my strong suit. Six times twelve being seventy-two, October 2020 is the EIGHTY-SECOND month, not the ninety-second. Any blog entry with the leap into the future stands corrected. My apologies.