First draft of chapter 1 of a novel that's wanted to come for some time now...
Do you know what it’s like to feel as though you are walking between worlds? To feel as though you belong to both, never really being in only one? Do you know what it’s like to find your way along that path leading you away from one world and into another, and then back again, seeking somewhere along the way the truth of which world you belong in?
Do you know what it’s like to wander around in the lonely truth of that space between worlds contemplating how it is you ended up with two worlds, how you’ll get from one to the other without taking traces of both along?
I do, and that’s why you’ve come to me.
You come seeking answers to your questions. The biggest of which is how I managed to keep my worlds separate and apart from each other so they don’t come crashing together, but the truth is they already have. For once one world calls you forth from another, the explosion has already happened...
It was a day that was the same as any other day at first. I slept until the babies woke me, stirring me up from my slumber. Before opening my eyes and pulling myself from the comfort of bed, I started my day with the same ritual I’ve been doing since the morning after my wedding. I laid my head on my husband’s pillow and inhaled the lingering traces of his smell, still in awe of being married to this man.
I took the children downstairs to eat breakfast, and we started our day slow and lazily. My husband was already gone for the day and we had nowhere we needed to be and nothing in particular that needed to be done. For this, my heart smiled because there is much comfort and satisfaction to be found in lazy days. And so we lingered.
The kids chattered and threw bits of cereal at me and each other while I drank my coffee and decided what to do with the day. When they were done, I called a friend on the phone while their abandoned cereal bowls and sippy cups sat on the table waiting to be cleared. They sat there for some time. It didn’t matter.
Eventually we took our laziness back upstairs and slowly picked up speed in our day. It was already warm outside and the house was stuffy. My skin was hot after making one bed, so I rested before moving on to another. And so it went. The kids played while I straightened the bedrooms and they brought me books to read to them when I rested in between bouts of activity. It was slow progress that we made into our day, but it didn’t matter.
Maybe it was just that lack of direction that prompted us to decide to make a day trip to the lake. Or maybe it was just the sweltering heat and we were looking for some relief. Or maybe it was fate. Some would say it was. But I don’t. Fate had already brought me to my destiny, and I was living it blissfully.
Whatever our reasons, we decided to spend the day swimming in the lake and a flurry of activity erupted. Our laziness disappeared as excitement took over. The kids struggled to get themselves into bathing suits despite the clumsiness of their anticipation. The older ones finished first and helped the little ones, everyone breaking out into joyous songs made up to express their mood. Their glee was contagious, and though I was busy changing the baby and packing up all the necessary things for a day trip, I couldn’t help feeling the same tingling of thrill of anticipation they were feeling.
Lots of giggles, and lots of stumbles, and lots of racing around looking for yet another thing to pack in case we might need it. Our laziness had thoroughly given way to urgency. In the building energy, I was dazed with confusion that there was something we were missing, something we weren’t noticing, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. After checking and checking again, I was satisfied we had everything we needed and we left.
At the lake, the kids splashed in the water and their battle cries echoed across the water. The baby pulled at my hair from his place on my hip and where his bare skin met mine, sticky sweat formed. I watched them carefully while I organized the towels and blankets, and filled cups with cool water to drink.
We had lunch after awhile, and then rested our bellies in the shade of the tree while I spun them a fairy tale full of glitter and gold. The little ones fell asleep and I headed into the water with the big ones to cool myself off. When I was done, I sat on the blanket by the still sleeping little ones and languished in the perfect peacefulness of my day.
It was then, while I was reveling in my contentment, that you walked out of the woods toward me. And from the moment I heard the first stirrings of your coming, before you even emerged, I knew I was about to meet you.
Then, when our eyes met and our lips refused to speak, I did.
Do you know what has always struck me about that day? What still does? That I had no idea what was coming. There was no stirring of discontentment. No restlessness shifting under the calm surface. No search for something as yet unfulfilled. Or something more. There was only my utter happiness.
Just like all the other days in a life that become monumental, it started out very plain and ordinary despite the coming disruption.
The sun still shone bright and brilliant, as always. The chores still waited to be done at home, as always. My children still needed me to be the mother I was for them, as always. My husband still loved me thoroughly and unconditionally, as always. This was my world and it did not fall away when you walked up. I did not forget it, question it, or resent it. It was still there.
You just stepped right into the thick of it.