Friday, March 07, 2008

We’re not innocent anymore …

“Old dreams and new dreams all wanting the same thing (…)

Playing the same game again

It’s just being so hard to win. (…)

You’ve gotta give in to see, to love and to grieve,

Wipe that slate clean when the morning comes again …”

(Steep Canyon Rangers – “Old Dreams and New Dreams” - hopefully, accurate quotation)

I used to think of my life as having the most of its history back home, in Romania, where the first 23 years of my life were spent. I kept telling myself, I am only a “baby” in America, with no identity yet, not past, no history, no roots.

And that was just till a day or so ago. When I took a ride around town. When everything seemed to change, in two hours.

I passed the place of my first home, where my marriage once flourished and I knew all-encompassing and desperate and unconditional, I thought, love for maybe the first time in my life.

Then I drove past the lawyer’s office where that marriage came apart, and became two separate ways of two very different people.

I then drove by the agency that first hired me for the first official job, here, a Temp agency. They moved their office, but their name will forever stick with me: they were the first listing in the yellow pages, and my name starts with that letter, so I figured, that’s gotta be a good sign. And it was.

I drove by the movie theater that smells like dead chicken, and I remembered how one of my best friends asked me how in the world do I know what dead chicken smell like. Well, when you have a dad that works in a chicken slaughterhouse for years, and takes you there for field trips, starting when your 6, you just know. And remember.

I drove by my first sushi restaurant and I remembered my friend Charlie, who first “challenged” me to eat sushi. Little did he know that was no challenge at all, just pure love at first sight.

I drove past the street where I lived alone, for 5 years, after my divorce; the years where I truly found out what America has to offer to a single, immigrant woman with 3 cats, a head full of dreams and curly hair, and a crappy pay. And somehow, I survived those 5 years. They’re building a shopping center across the street from my former condo, so I am glad I moved, I thought.

Yet, the history remains; imprinted in my heart and brain like hot iron markings. History of friends, and lovers gone by, parties, and margarita mix spilled on the white carpet, of dad making Romanian (and burning it to make the smoke alarm go off) food and getting everyone drunk on tzuika shots; of good friends cursing the peeling of grass-cloth, but peeling it away anyway. First home projects, all on my own. How empowering! And rewarding!

I then drove past this street with a big two story house on it, where I loved and hoped again, at a time when I thought love and hope were not possible anymore. The place that allowed me to love dogs and decide they’re not evil, after all. The house is sold, the love interest has moved away and moved on, but of course, the memories, of tv watching, good music, nipple on national TV on Super bowl night, NJ subs, Auburn games, the bbq dinners, the love and quarrels will remain. Mostly the love and friendship.

I drove past the park that my “second borrowed dog” loved to walk and where ducks run free and children talk about their dogs and how their dogs “don’t get to see their mommy because she went to work”. The second dog moved to Maryland, and I’ll miss him forever! But the park is there, to look back at me, and remind me where I have been, in the past 10 years.

I went to the pharmacy and they had my address from 10 years ago on file! True, I just moved back in the neighborhood, but that woke me up with a jerk: “Wow! 10 years ago!”.

And then I drove past the hospital where my best friend, that I love so dearly still just died! The hospital in which I locked so much hope, and so much love, and so many white nights. Where I watched the Oscars in 2007. And which made The Oscars nights never be about glamour and happiness ever again for me! The hospital that gave me hope, and a year later gave me desperation too. The hospital that gave my own health condition hope and a deadline, too.

I am not innocent anymore. My history has now extended here, in the States. I cannot tell people anymore, “Oh, well, you know, I speak funny English, because I am not from around here.” Or: “I have no clue who Doctor Seuss, or Big Bird, or Captain Kirk were, because I am not American”. I have a history now. And no excuses.

And that “slate” cannot be “wiped clean” as easily! It’s not a dry eraser board anymore. It’s more like a block of stone that’s been dented by all the passings of time and by what those passigns brought along. Not as easy to “wipe” it as it sounds… The marks of time, the history left a deeper mark than just a scratch. Yeah, you can dust it off. But it’ll be dented – to remind you through what it’s been.

And just like any child that loses her innocence … I feel a tad lost … And off centered …

1 comment:

Kehaar said...

I am here! Just thought I'd let you know.