Tag Archives: maturity
August in Florida
Outside, people crowd around water. Heat, the bright aqua of water, smell of chlorine and sun lotion. Coconut, spice. Young girls with slender hips, high breasts. Mincing, they walk barefoot over the burning concrete. Ankle bracelets. Hairless women, hairy men. Some men look vaguely female–lack body hair, possess slender torso, a feminine grace. They practice diving off the high platform, catapulting through the air like minor gods.
Spindly little children, bowlegged, one girl like a large walking doll, Wedgewood eyes, white skin, hair almost white, but so fierce. She puts her face in the water, proud of herself, comes up spitting, does it over and over. This girl’s mother, slim, pale body like a teenager’s, but her face red and sun-aged, enormous Southern twang. A former cheerleader, rural Georgia or Alabama. Lying on the blistering concrete, eyes closed, listening to the sounds of laughter and splashing. My sore back, the heat melting the ache away.
On the towel closest to me, a young girl, pretty, bleached blonde hair with dark roots showing, golden-brown string bikini that matches her skin, her perfect feet. Sudden thunder, the pool closed, into the locker rooms for 20 minutes. Live oaks, huge spread branches like arms reaching into the sky. The arms are shading, watchful. The oaks are like sentinels. The moss hangs like underarm hair. Young boys, thick and awkward, walk stiff-legged. They turn dark reddish-brown, but look silly next to the black kids. Tall, skinny black boy with red hair, a crew cut. His mama, a large woman in bright blue tank suit and neon orange shorts, matching neon bathing cap. Her earrings graze the sides of her neck. She isn’t ready to leave yet. He watches the girls, pretending not to.
Over there, a skinny, burnt woman with bad teeth, yet her daughters are so lovely, so young and fair and smooth. How did she produce them? A hippie girl with a blonde baby boy, crooning one minute, yelling the next, she holds him on her hip, sways in the sun. More and more women look like those prehistoric clay fertility figurines, heavy hanging breasts, stomach overlapping their thighs. I lie still and watch, lazy with the heat, my own weight.
I have come to realize that I’m upset mostly because I’m trying to make my life something that it’s not. It once was, but it’s not anymore. The friends I used to have are not my friends now (not all of them, mind you), and the friends that left me when Mike did, were never my friends. I’m not meaning to be sappy, depressed, melancholy, or even trying to evoke some sympathetic reaction (pathetic being the operative word). I am merely acknowledging the fact that what I do have, the people who care about me and are still with me, I have been ignoring in favor of the things that rejected me. Why? Because I hate change. I hate change so much that I make myself pathetic by clinging to it, like a child would its mother’s leg on the first day of pre-school.
Mike was my connection to the world I was leaving. I wanted to hold onto him so that I could straddle that line between new and old, and never really have to face the new for what it was–my life. It was a security blanket that I was happy to carry around until there was nothing left but threads and a memory, and who knows how long it would take it to get there? 30 years? 40 years? 50 years? Was I going to spend my life reminiscing about “the good old days”, or was I going to take charge and and cherish what was infront of me instead of turning my back and mourning what was behind? I’m not an activist. I sit back and wait for things to happen, and I end up being left behind. I waited SO long to apply to SFCC that I was scared they weren’t accepting applications anymore. I took the SAT my senior year, and only once. Never the PSAT. I always want to do things “later” in hopes that somehow they will work themselves out and I’ll never have to deal with it.
But no more. I realized all this, and I realized EXACTLY what it was that I needed to do to raise my spirits.
I thank all of you who accept me, who care, and who love. I am so greatful to have you by my side, and marvel at how lucky I am to have so many people so close to my heart. And to all of you who I don’t really mean anything to: I truly am sorry that I wasted so much of my time trying to pull you back to me. None of you are bad people, in fact I like many of you, but you can’t be friends with everyone. And I realize that now. So to my friends: I love you. You have helped me in ways unimaginable, just by being my friend.
So, to conclude, I am a graduate of high school, I am going to college, and I will take charge and welcome change. Change can bring very good things. And if it doesn’t? Well, I’m sure that will change.