The rain came quickly and we had to move the party from the patio to underneath my papa’s boat shed. We danced smelling of teenage spunk and anxiety with salty beads of sweat and warm rain running off our glittering skins. The boys from K Phi G stepped in honor of my special occasion, strategically hopping on and off the stone square bricks that lined the back of the yard like frogs jumping from lily pad to lily pad. Trevor Johnson and I grinded so hard to Adina Howards, “Freak Like Me”, that he ripped my denim shorts down the side into two distinct pieces. We danced anyways, his skin was tight and his cheeks were a caramel ocean of peach fuzz graced with a splash of pink that came the minute he noticed my bare hip. My breast swayed for the first time and I was keenly aware that I wasn’t wearing a bra because before that day I had never really needed one. I felt strangely female in that moment, these first flashes of womanhood and sexuality.
It was 1998 and I had just turned 16. To me it’s as if it happened yesterday and tomorrow I will return home from school and wait for my boyfriend to call me on Mickey Mouse phone. I will talk softly so that my grandmother won’t hear me. He and I will say no more than three syllables of “I love you” and listen to each other breath until one of us falls asleep. Everything after this 16th birthday is a speedy Nascar blur. I didn’t marry my Mickey Mouse lover, instead I married Goofy, then one day I turned around and that was over too. I worked over 20 jobs, had twice as many boyfriends, new proposals, became a flight attendant and literally went to every city in America at least once. I partied in Boston, Chicago, DC and New York with complete strangers I’d meet off MySpace.
More blurs, flashing lights, nameless lovers, shitty Chardonnay, black eyes, and snow storms.
After all that, I awoke one morning, and suddenly I was 29, crying at the foot of my bed living with my aunt making $10.00 an hour for a company that paid me to lie to people. The next day, I was here with you, telling you this story at 34 years old with a sleeping, snoring toddler in my bed.
The white hairs came after Savannah was born, the back pain, knee popping and the overwhelming desire to be in bed by 8pm. I even found a white hair sprouting from my armpit. I now wonder where else it could be snowing on my body. All the days of my life, I can’t even recall like I do that 16th birthday party. And when all the proverbial shit hits the fan I realize that I have wasted so much time. Death and illness surround me via family and friends. People who I know haven’t even began to live yet. While my hair turns whiter, and my breasts continue to take a downward slope, the question remains.
What will I do with the time I have left? How can I be more conscience of the time I’m wasting?
Shouldn’t all the morbidity surrounding me make me grateful of my time?
We can’t buy or grow more time, we can only lose it.
While we are killing time, time is killing us.
We all take time for granted. That’s why I don’t go to funerals, they make me feel too alive and reminded that this heart behind my chest will one day cease to beat. I can only hope that when I am an old woman I have lived my life to the fullest, that I have done everything in my power to be happy. I hope that I have not wasted my time trying to please everyone else except myself. If someone makes us unhappy, then we should release them back to whence they came. No one, not even family is worth you wasting your time on. We spend a lot of our times worried of others perception of us so we go through great lengths to make ourselves agreeable to them. Don’t you waste another moment of your life doing anything that doesn’t make you happy as a human being. If someone doesn’t love you anymore, let them go.
You are in no business to keep someone who doesn’t want to be kept. If you hate your job, quit and find something you love! Even if it means taking a pay cut. I will admit that I wasted too much time on men who never appreciated me and stopped focusing on my own self-enrichment. We all have dreams and they don’t have to be grand. You can do something as small as crocheting blankets, but it’s a love of yours and it makes you happy so do it! Don’t wait till you’re on your deathbed to think about the things you wanted to do with your life. Your purpose is what you say it is. Make every single moment count, because you will never get it back again. I wish I could ask for the time back I spent in relationships. If it were possible, I’d accumulate enough time to live forever!! I have in the top of my closet a collection of tattered notebooks filled with stories from 1994 – 2005. Over 50 short stories that have never been published. Will I be on my death bed with these unheard-of novellas surrounding me with tears in their eyes that I never released them?