The Stars and The Anchor


My Galapagos.  Part Five.
{this is the part where I write about writing}

   Last I wrote the chilly waves had rushed over me.  I didn't escape the discomfort immediately.  I stayed.  I waited.  The shock from the frigid water altered my lenses.  I stayed longer.  I waited some more.  I turned my back to the bleakness of the ocean and fixed my eyes on the sand.  Strings of colorful bulbs left glowing kisses on the shore.  The whispers of the stars outlined the tree tops.  I never would have noticed this light had I not jumped in and I wouldn't have been reminded of a lingering hope I had spent years trying to forget.

   Life in a broken family often left me ricocheting from wall to wall.  I smiled and hoped the trail I left behind would serve as a link between us all- the halves, the steps, the estranged, the divorced, the lost.  Thirty plus years later and the hope that always spilled between my fingers like sand still escapes me.  My history was locked away and kept from me.  My family bathes in broken. 

   Until my dive into the sea, I felt a weight imprisoned me.  Its vines had slithered up my leg and grabbed hold.  I lunged, I reached, and I tugged.  There it sat.  And there I sat. 

   But something in the cold that night cleared my vision.  Is this weight a burden or an anchor?  Am I a slave to it?  Or is it a slave to me?  What will a lifetime of dragging it behind me look like?  What would freedom look like? 

   As I finally pulled myself from the cold and crawled back home, I knew I had to face the hope that haunted me for so long.  It's not enough to smile and wish.  It's wrong to laugh when you should be somber, to wait when you should go.  I wished, laughed, smiled, and waited for things that never came.  And now this anchor is trying to swallow me.  Instead, I'm going to devour it.

   Well, I did it.  I committed to the memoir instead of the novel.  I couldn't let my story be something it's not.  I started writing.  I'm 3,187 words and about five versions in and I'm paralyzed.  For the entire length of my life, I have swayed back and forth between pain and acceptance.  The last few years my heart has been filled with forgiveness and humility.  Things are finally better.  And now I have to bring it all to the surface again.  I don't want to.  I want to leave things where they are- better.  I want to keep staring into the stars.  Forget the ground. 
   Originally, I thought I could just sum up this portion of my life with a half sad, half humorous statement and move on.  Now I'm realizing skipping this section would make the entire work a farce.  I have to say it, not just out loud, but even worse- to myself.  Your efforts were futile.  You were a fool for so long.
   The past we overcame is always underfoot.  For me, it's trailing behind like an anchor.  But the stars are still overhead.

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