I feel as though I’ve lived a thousand lives.
I’ve been someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, a teacher and an author. I’ve been someone’s best friend and a stranger to others. I’ve been an aunt, a mentor, a boss and an employee. I’ve been a celebrity and I’ve been nobody. I’ve been someone’s almost-love and someone else’s almost-enemy. I say almost because I ran from both.
I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’ve been angry and I’ve angered. I’ve loved and I’ve hated, but I’m still the same person in the same body, which is little worst for the wear.
I’ve moved a thousand miles away, running from a me I no longer recognized. I thought I saw her here, in the place where I left her thirty years ago, but I was mistaken. When they say you can never go back home, they are right. Not even if you leave and come right back again.
My problem lies in knowing where home is. I’ve never had a home I was allowed to keep. I look at the pictures hanging on my new walls and remember them hanging on other walls in other lives. These homes were just resting places until the next home came around.
I’m also not allowed to keep people. The closest I’ve come to having people I could keep was with my children, but now they’re grown and gone away too. People, homes, emotions and roles all flash by my eyes like spectators at a carousel ride. I’m not on the horse I wanted because it was already taken, but I’ve learned to settle for what I’ve been granted. Getting to actually choose always goes to other people, people who are somehow better or maybe just luckier. People who don’t know what it’s like to pretend to be happy. People who always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. People who don’t know sorrow, at least not on a first name basis.
I know I’ll settle into this new life like sand sifting through stones until it finds a bottom, but the sifting part is always hard for me. I’ll reinvent myself as someone else, someone new people will get to know without knowing the other me’s who lived before this one. We’ll laugh, love, hate and cry like I’ve done with the other lives, with the other people, but somewhere deep inside me lies all the other lives, piled one upon another like dead bodies in a receiving vault, waiting for the frozen ground to thaw so the bodies can be buried. Unfortunately, it appears that winter will be long and agonizing. Sleet will pelt the windows with a fury that seems to last forever before the first thaw of the season. Until then, I’ll wait and I’ll live the life I’ve found myself in while I’m enduring this new transition.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator and the author of 15 paranormal books. She currently resides in southern Indiana with her menagerie of pets.