I wake with the sun. The air is as sweet as it ever gets in Brooklyn; the early morning, as gentle and warm. My permakitten creeps next to me on our fire escape and together we study the city, so pretty while it sleeps. And yet. I keep thinking about how easily sweet the air was in the country. How my sheets and nightclothes felt and smelled when I’d dried them in the sun rather than the laundromat. How I’d slept.
Now that I’m back, tuned into the spirit I’d tamped down for months, I keep crashing through doors rather than tapping at them with the serenity I’d expected those wider skies to grant me. I’m not making any friends. It’s as if my batteries needed to be drained so I could tolerate everything that no longer works, and, now recharged, I’ve woken from a nightmare I didn’t know was a nightmare. Here I sit on this fire escape at the midpoint of my life (we Rosmans live an awfully long time), and I’m recognizing I’ve been looking backward rather than forward because I can’t envision the skyline I sorely need.
I had dreams. Some came true. Some did not. But it’s time for new ones and I sometimes fear they won’t arrive, let alone be realized. It’s an uncomfortable moment for someone who saw kindred spirits in Harriet the Spy and Anne of Green Gables alike. Watching and imagining is how I built my life, just like those girls. But they disappeared when they grew up, and I don’t want to follow suit. I’m at an age that requires more courage than any age I’ve been yet, and though I know this is how all hero sagas begin, I don’t know what’s next, especially because I resist definition through others. Especially because, oy, my aching back and, oy oy, the bloom is off the rose I can no longer see without reading glasses anyway. I may have cleared the field finally and fully, but I can’t sort out what to sow. I don’t even know what tools are at my disposal. And if I’m being bald about this, it is only because the way forward is not through obfuscation.