I’m looking for a notebook to set out the plans for my new routine. The step by step guide to take back my old life and fix this messy house. I’m home from Florida where my thirteen-year-old and I spent several weeks social distancing in nicer weather and where there wasn’t much to do other than read, tidy, and enjoy the outdoors (and school for him). It was the best place to be in this time of quarantine. Reality hits hard now as I scan the house which is in a great deal of upheaval with the contents of the thirteen-year-old’s bedroom strewn across several rooms as the project of turning it into a teenage room looms before us. Deep breath.
The search for an empty notebook which I’ll use to catalog my to-do lists shouldn’t be hard because I’m always picking up empty notebooks and journals as I see them in my travels. I am a connoisseur of paper products of every stripe. Well, it turns out there isn’t one in the usual cupboard but I stumble on a journal filled with poems written in my youth (high school and college) and cannot resist the urge to pick it up. A part of my cringes as I open to the first page and read out the first poem about first love. I was a rhymer to my core and the words sound sticky and sweet. The next page reveals a broken heart. The kind of broken heart that seems like it can never be recovered from. The next several pages remind me of falling into and out of love at a dizzying pace. Same person?
And then come the poems with the theme of death, of which there are several. My brother took his own life when he was twenty-one and I was nineteen and I can clearly see how broken I was for so long. Poems were the only way I could express myself back then. My favorite poet at the time (and I still love her) was Edna St. Vincent Millay and I would obsess over the poem Renascence, reading and picking at it’s passages day after day and still not coming to terms with it. My poems channel this poem heavily as I tried to make sense of death.
I have gotten off track in my quest for a notebook and now with the words of my younger self, a self I can love, honor and be kind to in a way I couldn’t back then, I’m off. Along with a reminder to give myself a wide, gentle berth for current and future me.