I sat on the hardwood floor crying, talking, praying to God and to my dead relatives. I don’t know if I believe in God or an afterlife. And how can you in a world like this? But also, how can you not? What else is there?
What else is there? That’s a question that haunts me through jobs, relationships, lonely nights, crowded bars where I know no one. I thought it was a good question to ask when I was very young, living in small town Wisconsin. And I thought it was a fair question when I was in Chicago. And I thought I was looking for the answer each time I moved, every time I travelled. And in a way I was. There is always somewhere new to go, to explore, to think about and to let change you. But there is also always more of the same.
“You have to find something to do in the meantime,” he told me. And suddenly I was crying, “The trouble is the meantime becomes time.” That’s what happened. I took jobs in the meantime. I had some drinks in the meantime. I got an MFA in the meantime. I kissed men in the meantime. And I forgot what else there was that I was killing time waiting for.
Time is such a curious thing. There is always too much or never enough. And it’s never quite right. And we’re running out of it, even as we try to kill some more. We think we’re killing time with drugs and TV and sex and conversation but time is killing us. We’re dying for something. “I liked the girl from the reading. You’re not that girl anymore,” he explained. But he must not have heard what I read because I am still that girl. We fall in love with misconceptions and then feel let down by the truth. It’s a kind of falling out.
I’ve always been good at leaving. There’s plenty of places to feel lonely. On the hardwood floor crying, talking to God and to my dead relatives, I explained that I had gone off looking for a place I wouldn’t feel alone. And all I found was myself.