For so long, I’ve dragged my old stories behind me, like a horse pulling a plow. I needed to try to sort it all out, to know the shape of these things that happened. Writing here has helped with that. But sometimes, it feels endless, and for what? To let the blade of the past cleave a new furrow through the soil behind me, to turn over some clue, some explanation for what happened?
This last week I came to accept a truth that should have been clear a long time ago, and it was easier than I expected. I realize now that there are no more questions to ask, and no answers or rationalizations that can change how I feel. No amount of talking that will ever amount to a real apology or an admission of responsibility.
So I think I’m ready to unfasten the harness and to let the plow fall behind me, to leave the old questions behind.
Maybe it’s time to let the field go fallow, to rest, to let the weeds grow where they will and to know it’s not my concern. To accept that the work it would take to grow something nourishing in that field isn’t my job and never was. That this one field, the one that others planted for me a long time ago, is leached of nutrients, full of husk and rot.
Many of you know my stories now, and it’s hard not to judge all three of my parents and what they did. I have judged. I do judge. I hope, though, that I also show some compassion when I tell what happened, for the people they were all those years ago, young and weighed down with their own heavy baggage. No excuse,of course, just the way it was. And maybe still is.
I’m sure I’m not done being angry about all that happened, but I’m not angry right now, and I wasn’t yesterday. In fact, most days I don’t think about Sue or my mother. My father, more often, since he is in my life and there’s navigating to do. But I don’t need to live in the past – who has the time for that? I will write about those things when I need to, still, especially when they intrude on the present like a visitor who didn’t call ahead. Because someone showed me that writing about all of this is important and in doing that, she helped me in a way I never hoped or expected.
For now, though, there’s nothing wrong with smoothing over these memories and getting on with the sweeter days when they come, and for saving my energy to push a shoulder against the rough ones.
I walk to the edge of this field, stepping carefully over the stones and deep furrows and ignoring the ugliness at my feet. Mistakes in the past, rationalizations in the present. Old years, souls tied in impossible knots.
I lift my eyes to what lies beyond the fence line, to where two children who look a little bit like me are waiting, and I climb over it, unable to tell if the creak I hear is from the strain of wood or from my old, wise bones. And when my bare feet touch ground on the other side, I will know that I can prove an old cliche dead wrong just once.
Because over there, where they stand, where we will all stand together, I know without even looking down that the grass really is so much greener.