because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Conversations

Laura Jane Williams

I dream that I am dying, and everybody but me knows it.

“You really will be missed,” I am told. “It will be so different with you gone.”

When I wake I am afraid, startled by such morose thoughts. But then I read that dreams of death signify death of the old self. Change. Big things coming. When I tell Meg this, she says, well, of course you are changing. I am witnessing it. You are changing. Transforming. Stretching. Growing into and out of yourself, all – holy smokes! What an endeavour. What a wild ride. What a blessing.

This feels bigger than me, I think. I don’t know if I can.

I can, but I worry anyway.

 * 

“You know, when I met your aunt, I knew who she’d marry.”

I didn’t know she was a clairvoyant. I knew she was kind and welcoming, generous and warm. I only found out afterwards, from my mother, that she had a gift. And my lot don’t buy in to that sort of carry on. “I told her. I said: he works in the same industry as you. Is tall and wiry. You’ll fall hard and fast and quickly. And the next time I see you, you’ll be with him.

She was right, of course.

“Well,” I said, half in jest. “Where is my guy? Can you make my man come along, too?”

She narrowed her eyes at me, more serious than I’d realised we were being. “No, pet,” she said. “No, you’re not ready yet. You’ve got something big to do first.”

He nodded, I saw, out the corner of my eye. He agreed, and so we left it at that.

*

“You say,” Nicole wrote to me, “You want to sit at the grown-up’s table. But what does that actually mean?”

I had told her that I don’t treat myself like an adult, and that for 2015 that would be my focus. My new year’s resolution. That I’m actively, consciously, trying to move away from the mentality of a teenager playing house. To own all the parts of myself, proudly, because I act like this is all one wild ride I am unprepared for, when it’s not. I know exactly what I am doing – I just not confident enough, yet, to say it out loud.

I want to know how it feels to be a woman, I said. Not a girl. I want to stop shagging men (boys) under 30, and cease being intimidated by the females I feel have it more “sorted” than I do.

The second part of that is easier than the first. I complain about singleness, lament a desire to share what I’m making with somebody else. But I look in the wrong places. Seek validation in questionable ways. I do it to distract myself from the bigger thing. The thing I must do first.

He saw that, and I am thankful.

There is a timing to my life that I must trust.

She told me so.

So did he.

*

I fell and hurt my knee last week. On the tile floor of my balcony, because it had rained and I’m in the corner room, exposed to the elements, and didn’t realise how wet the floor can get there. I was mostly upset that I was alone when it happened, because I am almost always alone. I went down hard, and winced, and nobody came to help because there isn’t anybody. My leg is bruised, but it’s my heart that aches more.

*

“So,” he said. “You’ve mentioned Rome, Russia, London, and now you're in Bali. You travel a lot, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess I do.”

It made me think of us lying out on the beach, as the sun went down. I said to him, then, “I’m looking for him, I think. All of this, going from place to place. If I am truthful, I think this is how I will find him.”

“I’m not looking,” she said, back in real time, over peanut tofu curry. “I’m waiting to be found.”

Another piece fell into place.

*

I liked how he uses his hands. Is practical. His ambition. Has done the work, in a thoughtful, surprising way, that I should've given him more credit for. His attitude. The feel of his hand on my neck. The travel, wanderlust, alone time and company. That he's practical. Scientific. I liked seeing where I fit into that. How his parts fit around me. Understanding the timing of it. Doing the thing, first.

Doing the goddamn thing.


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