Some things can be explained.
The indentations on cheeks like puddles also called dimples.
Curve of hairline, similar to low tide.
The elongation of your toes.
The intonation of voice. It’s pitch and peaks.
When you are around them, it is easy to assemble where your parts came from. Skin tone. Body type. Strength of shoulders and inclination to laugh during the sad parts of movies. Every root can be labeled and tagged as an offshoot of someone else.
In the morning, when I am alone at my desk– which used to be a piece of scrap wood balanced on plastic crates and has since been replaced by a yellow fold up table purchased at summertimes stoop sale– I think about the parts that cannot be explained. And I search for these parts in lovers too. Because I want to decipher the mannerisms swiped from family tree and the ones which came much later.
We arrive and we watch and we learn as we watch and we do as we watch and our opinions are like a giant garden watered by our parents or guardians. It is difficult to decipher what is chosen, when nothing is its own anymore.
I’ve done some things that were not mentioned at suppertime or holiday gatherings or through school research of family history. I follow the dust, bred from the chalk-marks surrounding these things to figure out its true origins.
Where did all this arrive from?
Youth is something we push away and push and smother with a pillow because we want what the grown-ups have when we can’t have it. We let go of overalls too quickly and imaginary friends and nap time and excitement over snowdays or water-slides. We put on make-up when our faces are colorful and dramatic already or slick our hair back and replace wide-open laughter with brooding glares.
Then when we are real adults (which I am still researching), the bills arrive and suddenly we are judged by our credit score instead of how many U.S state capitols we can memorize. Our status is marked by how many computer friends we have and the latest phone upgrade glowing in our skinny pockets. We surround ourselves with things, similar to when we were young, but our things are plugged in and flashy and everything must match including underwear and whatever happened to those faraway days when life was marked by play-dates and tree climbing?
In the olden days, we played a game on looseleaf paper called MASH. This light-hearted game was like a scratched out fortune teller.
Mansion. Apartment. Shack. House.
What is your fate?
And you have to name who your future husband would be (before we knew we were queer). And what we wanted their job to be (because we control that, right?). And the car we’d drive and the name of our kids and animals and even the place we’d honeymoon (for those of us legally allowed to marry).
I remember even as a kid, I never wanted the mansion and I wasn’t too keen on a house either. For most of my adulthood, I’ve lived in an apartment without a wife or kids, had a perfect pup for some time, and I never dictated my partner’s job but I always wondered when I’d get the one I always hoped for.
When I am around my family, I study them in a way I never did before. I do this in order to understand myself a little more. Someone drilled into my mind and stole so many of my childhood snapshots that many years are blurred. Kind of like how it looks when I take my glasses off….but worse. I don’t remember full years. So I try I try I try to be present now because this moment is loudest and the ink is still wet and the words are at their thickest.
Maybe I should address the calluses on my feet from all the paths I’ve taken. They know where I’ve been, recalling each time I’ve gotten lost. Perhaps all the answers to our selves can be found in the hardened formation of tissue decorating our unseen bones.