“If youth knew; if age could.”
Maybe it was all the transcendental meditation or chai with which she had doused herself recently that led her to believe she had honed her metaphysical joints enough to leap back into time and talk to her childhood self. Maybe not.
She was no escapist, revisionist, hero, nor radical. She simply wanted things to be different. And, she understood the change must start with her. The rest of the plot seemed up to her.
She spent most of her days feeling helpless or asleep.
She soon began to lose pieces of herself. So, she would cling to pieces of her past which she hoped were true and not myths or nightmares.
Drowsy and desperate, she thought, perhaps, she could offer her former self kindness in a time she remembered as a very painful turning point, her teen years. And, somehow this kindness would break the cycle that had led to her continual despair and constant withdrawal into cool sheets of her sleep cave.
She wanted, no, needed the light.
She happened upon this idea as she sat alone by the ocean on the boardwalks of Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was one of the few times she had been out this year. She never felt small by the ocean. She always felt the freedom to dream huge by the ocean. And, her dreams would become small and palatable next to the seemingly infinite water.
As her despair grew and sleep went on, her dreams diminished and blew away despite her keeping the windows closed and shaded.
Docile fields of milk and honey
or the unpredictable ocean
with its fearsome waves
I choose the salt.
She also felt she was drawn to this mission, because she had succeeded in planting this seed of action in another time. Meaning, she felt she had planted this dream long ago, and all she had to do was remember. It was her fate to find herself and share all she had learned about loving, healing, and tea.
This is not a story about depression, it’s one of desperate reincarnation… and arts and crafts.
“Everybody’s youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Who was her childhood best friend?
She remembered Butterscotch in Virginia winters. She would throw snow balls at him, and he would catch them in his mouth and grin. Scotty, for short, was her golden retriever and first best friend. He taught her what devotion looked like as he thumped his tail only at the sight of her on their old porch in Culpeper.
Her smile dissipated first from her eyes, then her cheeks, then her lips as she slowly remembered the pain she felt when he had been put down due to severe arthritis in his hind legs. She had been out of town, when her father made the decision. She never said good bye.
Maybe that’s why she never took vacations from work nor said good bye.
Maybe that’s why she never truly trusted her father with things she loved.
What did her first kiss taste like?
For some reason, she can only remember the strawberry jam she smeared on toast and shoved down this morning.
“Oh, well,” she thought, “I am sure it tasted like my last one– sweet and bitter skinned.”
Honestly, she remembered very little of herself, so she was not sure how to engage. But, she had faith that when she encountered herself, she would remember.
“I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.”
“The time for action is now,” she realized.
She laughs at herself as she senses herself feel for her keys before her trip.
Hopefully, not all old habits die hard.
I shan’t bore you with the mechanics of quanta and tea that sent her racing to around fifteen years ago. Suffice it to say, she got there and saw her former self.
It is a bad day.
My head is bent.
I lift nothing.
The sun shines stones.
Universe, say my name,
answer my bonny valentine.
Or, I will bend to break the both of us,
until his neck turns, he slow smiles, and whispers,
“You were always beautiful.”
She saw herself cutting through the strawberry field, taking the short cut home, alone. She remembered how she never dared to taste the wild bursts of red and green. She remembered being painfully aware of their absence on her tongue. Instead, she would pick her way around the untasted fruit like the superstitious or reverent avoid graves in a graveyard.
Her first kiss was here.
A bully became a first, secret love. He threatened her if she told. She didn’t know their words.
There are no strawberries today.
“I go to school the youth to learn the future.”
She can feel the girl’s pain. All of it rushes over her like a security blanket dipped sticky with cactus flowers and prickers. She feels the uncertainty, the longing, the hatred.
She wonders if the girl can feel her through the miasma of colliding pockets of fear.
She wonders what she feels like. In her hesitation, she senses a lost opportunity.
She runs to her and shouts, “Dianne!”
Dianne’s shoulders tighten as she gathers herself further inward and walks quickly away pretending she has heard nothing.
“Oh no, Dianne doesn’t talk to strangers.”
She must hold onto her secrets longer.
here to fix the world
one heart wrench at a time.
What is your secret?
Another drop of tear soup?
She recognizes that her connection with her former self will have to be more subtle. But, how could she teach Dianne indirectly without subterfuge or manipulation?
How do you reach the imprisoned princess who locks her own tower?
She decides that bravery and creativity will lead the way.
If she wants her past to be different, then she must be different.
She writes messages of love and light and litters for the first time in her life. She scatters them where she knows Dianne will walk.
A light rain begins and the notes are now pulp mounds of blankness. Messages of love and light are now messages of trash.
She looks up hoping for at least a rainbow. She sees only dark clouds.
How many rainbow lengths
must I transcend to touch you?
You are the gold
in an age of iron.
“Please see me,”
She remembers her favorite shade of purple– a mix of royal and humble eggplant. She paints a sign and posts it on the roadside. The various beeps and reactions scare Dianne, and she runs home to her lonely balcony and braces herself for the next bit of her history.
She is horrified. She only wants to help and drowns Dianne with more self doubt and alienation.
Even a sweet southern breeze filled with magnolia and jasmine can become a stench when accompanied with the scent of odious disappointment.
Feeling she failed, she remembers that disappointment’s conjoined twin is expectation.
“What Youth deemed crystal, Age finds out was dew.”
As the early twilight approaches, she begins to fold a small bit of paper over and over.
She uses the last of her practical magic to teach the paper crane how to fly, hoping Dianne will see, look up, and watch it soar into the ether, and remember her brilliant stardust ways.
She turns before Dianne reacts, hoping.
Older, she awakes and again finds her keys, hoping.