Parallel Selves


I take to the avenues at night like I am strolling with an old friend. The trees make protective arbors over the pot-holed and patch-worked asphalt and give one the impression they are looking down a moonlit tunnel. A breeze plays soft of the night, whispering secrets to the leaves as they gossip in delight. There is a quiet domesticity that settles over the neighboorhood like a blanket. Pleasant light radiates little circles of warmth from porchlights– an omen of goodwill that quietly says, Welcome. Windchimes play ghostly and hollow melodies. Bushes rustle.

You can walk down the avenues and never cross another living soul. There is something chilling and pleasant about that. The wind starts gentley whispering my childhood in my ear, pulling me to parallel streets walked years before. Pinecrest Drive. My childhood home. A home I can’t physically return to. Strangers and stranger’s children live there now; call it Home. I used to walk the unpaved drive by moonlight, smelling the earth and feeling the grape leaves painted silver by twilight. My mind flitted about like blackbirds. I still have a bird brain, always taking off in whatever direction the wind carries it. On these walks I would relfect on the future. I would imagine a future self and insert myself into future scenarios. I would make lists of who and what I wanted to be. Foolish thoughts wraught with innocent abandon. I laugh to think what I found important then.

And just as quickly as the past took me, the present night surrounds me. And I realize I let the wind carry my wings to childhood. And then I notice all the screen-doors and all the open windows, but not a living soul outside, in the moment. These souls are gathered round their televisons, letting the night breeze seep in like little waves– beckoning. But they will not partake in the swim.

How can they not?

Perhaps they don’t want to wade in the memories. Past will just pool outside of their windows and seep in with the waves.

I now feel present.

Almost too present.

I am not that young girl anymore. My mind does not conjure dreams of the future, nor societal norms of career, marriage, babies. I instead think on how restless June always makes me. I feel like I have the mean reds and only a cure for the blues. I wonder if this means I will die in June– an old lady, somewhere on a porch surrounded by lush humid green and fireflies. Or perhaps something momentous happened to me in a past life on a wind-blown June night. Then I think about superstitions and I wonder where such superstitious notions were bred in me. This thought led me to think about “signs” from the universe. Many people seem to hold that these little “signs” mean you are on the right path. I recently watched Miranda July’s The Future and then read her book about the experience, It Chooses You. Both were about looking for these signs of some larger connection and truth. About IT choosing you. I don’t know what these signs mean, but they comfort me; make me feel more connected in all the disconnect. I don’t really feel like I have a path, aside from these tree hewn avenues at night.

All I keep thinking about is this smiling old lady at the grocery store earlier. She looked rather surprised and delighted when she exclaimed, “And you know? I haven’t even gotten a single thing on my list!” as she rattled her full cart away.

You know? I haven’t either.


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