Sunday, March 1, 2009

What if . . .

Not sure why, but I am consumed with nostalgia and "what ifs" right now.  A strange convergence of college-era music rolling through iTunes, contacts by numerous past-people on Facebook, and a travel twitch has me meandering through memory gardens this month.  Perhaps some of it is the fact that I don't feel anchored in my current life.  Nothing around me is what I imagined. I'm not even sure I imagined this far.  The other day I was pulling laundry out of the washer and the sound of pebbles, coins, and pen parts falling back into the metal tub reminded me of a social studies experiment from third grade.  In it, our teacher placed a metal trash can on a desk, had us close our eyes, and began pouring BBs from another container into the trash can.  I don't remember the specific lesson -- something about "this is how many times over the world can be destroyed by the nuclear weapons stockpiled by the United States and Russia" -- but I remember how the noise just kept thundering on and on and on and on.  Another vivid memory from that time is a scene from some post-apocalyptic made-for-TV movie in which a child suffering radiation poisoning begins shitting blood into a sink he has to use as a toilet as his mother holds him and tries not to weep.  I remember those two things so clearly, but much of the rest of my childhood is cloudy.  I do know I wrote awful short stories about life after "the bomb", and dreadful poems about the need for world peace; but I don't think I ever expected to have a future.  So here I am in the now, and I don't know what to do.  How do I follow a path I can't see?  I guess I continue stumbling forward, knowing I will get somewhere.  It's just hard, because looking back, I see all those other turns, and I wonder, "what if?"

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