Enmeshed in forward motion / by Christina Rosalie

In the Pacific ocean, 1996.

This afternoon I sat among boxes in my studio and dug through relics (an attempt at organizing, gone very far tangent.) I found pictures of high school boyfriends; letters; collages. All small fragments of who I was then, different, yet still me, in ridiculous cut-off shorts and too-large plaid shirts (thank you Nirvana.)

It felt so funny looking back---feeling the way time arcs like electricity, fast and slow between now and then. It seems so impossible to me sometimes, that we can only go forwards. That we can only live today and maybe tomorrow, but never yesterday again. Those romances, back then when I wore converse high tops and baggy jeans were so sweet and achingly awkward. They were all good guys, and I still know most of them. Some, I’m still close friends with, which says a lot about the both of us, I think. But even though we're friends, and we talk and share pancakes when they come to visit my little family here up on our hill, we can still only go one-way: always towards the future. We’ll never be able to slip back into the skin of our past selves—there on the rocky coast, posing for the camera on self-timer in wind-rumpled blue parkas; or there on the cobbled streets of Florence, in hiking boots and backpacks.

Riffling through the box of artifacts I felt myself slip up above like a helium balloon on a string. Suddenly with a birds-eye-view: there I am, in the middle of my life. That is how it has all turned out. That man. That small boy. That house. And not those other men, despite their earnest efforts, and big hearts. It felt like time travel, seeing my name, printed out on numerous envelopes. My maiden name. Those consonants now grown unfamiliar on my tongue.

Has anyone else ever felt like this? Startled, for a brief moment, or surprised, to find yourself right where you are? Not that it could be any different, or that I would want it to. Simply that time moves on, and that on a rare instant I see how I am enmeshed in its shimmering net, the tide pulling steadily forwards, and regardless of my loves and my discrepancies, and I arrive each day, a little further on.