I used to dream about going somewhere and starting over. I’d acquire a new name and no one would know who I was, where I came from, what I had done. I was filled with a type of soul-blackening shame I did not deserve and hated everything about myself to have become what I was.
I believe I was 5 when I started having those fantasies. I remember being in kindergarden drawing pictures of my family and home and it was just me and my dog; no mom, no dad, no sister, no neighbors. Just me and the dog. As an adult I find it a little disturbing that my kind and experienced kindergarden teacher did not find me the slightest bit unusual, but way back then it was likely chalked up to my creativity or something equally harmless.
This thought occurs to me today because I’m enjoying my last lunch hour with this firm. Next week I will make my own lunch hour, at my kitchen table or at my desk at home. Or not have a lunch hour at all. I am going somewhere else and reinventing as I chug along. Frankly, I cannot wait.
This train of thought comes from a blast from my past, on Facebook. The boy next door, quite literally, just sent me a friend request. It’s been 36 years since I last laid eyes on him at our high school graduation. Though I have heard stories from other long-time high school friends – he was in the air force, had a lovely wife and family, was still the same nerdy/geeky guy – this was the first contact since those days. I left it sitting there, the friend request. I want to go home and look at his profile and see what he shares with the public about his life and times. I want to think about whether or not I want to open up that part of my childhood again. We were only neighbors for 4 years, until my family moved at age 12. But we remained in the same school district, so when I look back at my class pictures for elementary school, there he is with the military haircut and dumbo ears grinning back at me. I do not find myself smiling in return or at the memories. Instead I feel this phantom pain all through my midsection. Not his fault; he was never anything but courteous to everyone. It’s just the time period, the proximity, the way I felt, what happened to me.
In the midst of all this transition with work and life, I find myself sucked back into a childhood past I wish I could forget. I am not sure about that friend request. Not his fault; if I cannot forget I have to remain as distant as possible from my childhood and past. And separate. It is important to be separate. To be safe. And sane.