I have always imagined ways I could slip out from under my life. It's not that it was tragic. My Mother loved me to pieces and my stepfather tried to. Yet I have always found it too heavy. Hard to stand with that arm around my shoulder.
The pressure was relieved temporarily by summer camp, a stint in boarding school, and now living in another city. As much as I crave that space, I also have terrible separation anxiety. Like last night. I wasn't in the mood to talk when my mother called, so I didn't answer the phone. Just now when I listened to the message, my heart ached because I know there will come a day when I would give anything to hear her voice.
At boarding school I used to worry that something terrible would happen. I would call my mother from a payphone in the hallway of the girls dorm crying. I made her promise, in the event of a nuclear explosion, even if her efforts were sure to be futile, she would get in the car and start driving toward me. She would try to talk sense into me at first, but she would soon relent. This went on during the first Gulf War, at the time they were sending scud missiles into Israel daily. Somehow I worried that there would be a nuclear explosion in North America. The world might end like in Neville Shute’s book On The Beach. At night I would lay in bed with my earphones on, listening to Pink Floyd, imaging the end of the world. I knew it would be very dark and painful.
Later I fantasized about great escapes. I planned many. Periodically I ran away from home. I often stayed with a friend of mine, her mother, and her creepy stepfather. It was ok because they let us smoke in the basement. We stayed up all night, talked about our fears, drank coffee, played cards, smoked hash, slept in. This was as far away from my life as I could get. We were fucked up together and we were inseparable.
Then there was the time my boyfriend was kicked out of his house in 12th grade. He moved into an apartment in a bad area of town. I can’t remember how I managed it, under the thumb of my Mother, but sometimes I would stay there with him in his single bed. We would have sex and then heat canned food for dinner. I felt like a grown up trapped in a seventeen-year-old body.
Now I am torn between wanting to go back and to move forward. Not that I have a choice, but it's about where my heart falls. Part of me would choose to go back to those days for the passion and the comfort of knowing I had somewhere to run from. The future holds more of everything I dream of, but with it comes all of the separation I fear.