Monday, January 25, 2010

"We Are Leaving Some Things Unsaid/ And We Are Breathing Deeper Instead"

“Have you just detached yourself from everyone,” my cousin asked me yesterday as we sat at Applebees for lunch. 

She’s twenty years my senior.  She watched me grow up. She changed my diapers, and was sure to tell my parents when I had that bad attitude that teenagers all of the sudden have. She was around when I stopped thinking boys had cooties and developed my first crush.

She watched all of those little changes happen, the natural progressions of a growing girl. And now she sees these changes in me; big, unexpected changes.

I don’t notice these changes so much anymore. There came a point when the things I forced myself to forget were actually forgotten.

It’s too bad that forgetting is only an act of the mind.

One sticky, summer day, sometime in elementary school, I was hanging out with a friend, Alicia, who lived just a street over.

She had a pool and invited me to swim. I raced home to change into my suit and then ran right back to her house, excited for a break from the monotony of the day.

Once at the pool, Alicia walked confidently toward the deep end, and without pause, I followed her. 

Fearing embarrassment and a ruined adventure, I didn’t tell her that I couldn’t swim. I naively believed that I’d just figure it out. 

She disappeared in a splash, and after a deep breath I decided to make my own splash.

The details of what happened next are fuzzy, but I do remember the struggle underwater, and not quite knowing what to do with my body, or how to reach the surface again.

The panic in my mind continued and my body grew exhausted. I was becoming more and more desperate for a breath that I didn’t know how to go about getting.

Before it was too late, I felt Alicia’s arm around my waist, pulling me along with one arm and pushing the water down with the other.

Those deserving of answers have sought them. I know they keep wondering what it was that made the difference, I can see it in their faces when I say something unlike the Tiffany they knew. It is evident in the long silences. I watch disappoint settle over them as they recall precious memories and look to me only to realize that I’ve forgotten.

What they want to know I can’t tell them simply, so I don’t tell them.

It was a succession of moments that happened too quickly.  I ran after an adventure and jumped in with my eyes closed. Before I knew it, I was in waters that were too dark and deep for me.

Those things don’t matter now. I am unable to reconcile the pieces of my past and my present.

There are those that got me then, and those that get me now.

This detachment is my choice. I own it and all that it bears. It’s a choice to be more realistic and less naïve. It’s a choice to avoid pulling someone else under as I panic and struggle to stay afloat.

I’ve got to save myself now, it’s time I learn to be more calculated and cautious, to slow down and test the waters before I jump.


akenia said...


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