That’s what the tattoo to the left side of my right elbow pit means. Maybe I got it too soon or maybe the universe–what the agnostic in me calls all I can’t disprove–knew something big was coming. At the time, I thought I knew what that something was: an all-consuming partnership, a platonic love at first sight. The type of intimacy that made a guarded only child believe in soulmates. But I think the message from the universe came out jumbled. And now, with my life spread between my mom’s home Oregon and my car where I sit, things feel more like a new puzzle, pieces spread out before me.
My friend Sally passed away recently. We had not been close in a long while, but the conversations once we had were about all the right things. I looked forward to what she had to share and what she was scheming. She was always scheming. We had that in common, plus law clerkships and circus and the desire to connect and create. Sally had lived a long while with cancer, long enough that you sort of expect that she’ll keep on with her living.
Sometimes I feel shackled to this living body. Its limitations. Its flaws. Its curves. Its breasts that get in the way. Its folds that run too deep. Its hairs that used to run astray and now run amok down the backs of my knees. Its nails that have grown ridges seemingly overnight and shoulders that snap crackle pop. Its thumbs that leave joint and names that disappear from my tongue.
And other times I’m so goddamn grateful for my scars and the chance to connect pieces of a new adventure.