At 1:59 this morning I woke up and walked without turning on a light into my bathroom and caught my silhouette in the mirror generously lit by the street lights outside streaming through the closed apartment blinds that go uncovered with Ikea roll-down shades due to my general lack of interest in house things and thought:
These are not my hips.
They are not - as hips go - bad hips. They are wide and symmetrical. They are not out of proportion with my wide shoulders and longish wild out of control hair. They securely anchor babies and heavy boxes and the slopes and curves in between so that I don't have the feeling when it's just me walking down the street that I'm carrying some impossible load.
This observation was not unlike other such observations I've had in my life.
Age 28 down on my hands and knees one morning in my then husband's kitchen using a toothbrush to scrub the wax build-up off the edges of a kitchen floor that his first wife had picked out - I came to myself and said
This is not my life. I am living someone else's life.
Within a year I was nobody's wife and enrolled in community college and embarking on making a new life for two little daughters and myself. Next came New Orleans, Paris, Oxford, then Istanbul, then the Delta.
Where at 52 one Friday evening I sat eating at a Chinese buffet with teacher friends and thought
This is not my story. I've gotten off into the wrong story.
Now the two little girls have started their stories. Their marriages. Their baby carriages. And when I am with them inside their stories I am as happy as any 55 year old mother could be. But all mothers know that good mothers have their own stories to go back to when their children are out free-flying.
So here I am three stories up in an apartment I thought enough of to sign my name to a one-year lease on - but after the initial romance of gathering all my things from storage and living with them for a few weeks - you want the truth?
Would I lie to you at two o'clock in the morning?
I could drive to the liquor store right now and load up all the boxes that must surely be emptied out due to the holidays and the winding down of SEC football and all the things about November that make people want to drink.
And I could be ready to leave here by sunrise and I wouldn't even look back.
And what this has to do with the hips I just saw in the bathroom mirror that
did not upset me
did not make me want to go to the gym
did not even make me want to go to Weight Watchers later this morning and step up on the scales
[especially after those two pieces of my mother's white sweet potato pie I ate for supper]
There is nothing
and I mean nothing
more adrenalin making
more heart racing
than coming to yourself
inside a story
or a house
or a set of hips - even
that no longer fit.
And knowing that it's just a matter of time
until you find yourself free-floating upwards and onwards
towards some dazzling new place
you have always dreamed of but have never been