Looking over my shoulder, metaphorically, the path I’ve taken to this point is meandering and confusing. Footprints in footprints, as I’ve traced out a route from age 13 to now. I wish I was smart enough to see any pattern and purpose in it.
Sometimes I wonder where that angry me of age thirteen went, and if he’s still inside of me, bursting to get out. Sometimes I think my temper is the avatar of who I was back then. Sometimes I wonder if we really change at all because I don’t feel different now, six years later.
But we are condemned to change, are we not? The hot air balloon of my anxieties and insecurities seem so small and petty today when Mark reminded me that I only have three months left as a teenager. After that, I suppose I’m meant to be an adult of some kind. I have to do what dad still keeps telling me; take responsibility.
Mother is here until Monday. Then she goes into London for a few days do to errands and shop and have a good time on her own. Then on the 25th she comes back, and we’re supposed to spend that day together with the rest of the family.
Since mother is here, we had the inevitable trip to the cemetery. At a shade to eight in the morning we arrived there. Frost made the grass hard and brittle, so that when we walked across it, it crunched. Kneeled down by the grave, Mum ripped grass to dared grow too tall with her fingers, and she scraped off leaves with her hands until the grave looked all right.
I watched her, and things pop out that comes from not seeing her every day. Like the first few grey strands in her hair. Like, new and deeper lines around her eyes. Like, the way she seems slower. Mum is not old, only forty-five, but seems older. More worn. Changed.
We are all condemned to change, are we not? Her, me, Mark, everyone. Do we embrace change? Is this what ‘settling’ means, that we stop accepting change, and start to struggle against it? Is that what being adult is all about? Freezing into a shape – sort of like how there’s this amorphous vaguely Ellie shaped hole in our lives even now, and which makes us get up at seven in the morning to rip brittle frost grass while the mists of a cemetery still whirl around in the wind?
I was never good at being a teenager anyway. I never did all those things I was supposed to do, and I did a few things that teenagers aren’t meant to do at all. Like finding Mark, marrying him. We’re all supposed to be drooling idiots incapable of tying our shoe-laces until our thirties. Maybe that rashness, haste, is just an example of that.
Everything seems so solid and firm and real with Mark, contrary to the rule of change we’re all condemned to. And maybe I am deluding myself about that, or I’ve started to freeze mentally to resist change. He is, indeed, my Peter. My rock. My anchor. My life raft. Just a couple of settled pooftahs, is what we are. Not meant for the wild life, but for the dull and comfortable life.
I’m not hungry like I used to be. Maybe that kid from six years ago is down there in the grave with Ellie now, and only remain as a Colin shaped hole in my life that I keep coming back to like it’s a scab that I have to pick to understand myself now. And maybe that’s bad. Maybe the anger was the fuel to my fire. Without the anger, maybe I’m just destined to be a comfortable person that is so content that he never questions anything any more.
I’m not sure I’m smart enough to understand that knot of complexity, to be honest. I always get into this funny moods after visits to Ellie. Sombreness and incredulity mixed into one big package. Maybe that’s part of the scab I have to pick, and maybe I’ll keep doing that until I’m eighty. I hope I understand things, myself, people around me better by that time. Or maybe I’ve frozen so much that it has ceased to matter.