This huge branch fell on my porch last night, it was crazy. I hadn’t even noticed until my landlord texted us asking if the red sedan out front was ours–it wasn’t. That made me feel like I don’t notice things, all of the other colossal things that have come crashing down. Calling it a branch is downplaying it, it was massive. It could have been its own tree if things had worked out differently for it. Men were in front of our house all day chopping it into pieces, turning it into something they could manage. Our tree has a huge hole in it now, I wish you could see it. Though maybe you’d picture something bigger. I don’t know what to tell you.
We had a bird's nest on our porch. At first, they were blue eggs, and then slimy creatures, and then we saw things that actually resembled birds. And then a tree fell, I have no idea if they were able to fly in a crisis. I read that robins leave the nest 13 days after birth, but of course, I didn’t keep track of something like that. I think they’re probably okay, I really don’t think something tragic had to happen to them.
I had my last day of work at a retail store today, it felt like the last day of school, I even wore shorts and everything. Albeit, turning in my badge wasn’t quite the same rush as taking off book covers and turning them in. Not as monumental, not as exciting. I wish it felt more like that last day of school than it did, actually. But in some ways, the feeling fit. All of these people I barely thought of outside of those walls, suddenly felt extremely important to me. Like my life would never be the same, for better or worse, for nothing at all really. Though, I think I’d find it strange if they felt similarly. How could something like that be an important part of their lives? They all seemed to have greater things going on.
We hadn’t exchanged phone numbers or followed each other on social media, I only knew a handful of last names. I knew one boy, who was always sweet to me, had a girlfriend and just moved into a new apartment. They hated it–bad location, tiny, and bugs sneaking their way into everything. I knew one of the stylish girls had a girlfriend 5 years older than her, and their first date was 11 hours long. She would get too nervous on first dates to use public restrooms, so she held it the entire day. Her grandpa died a couple of weeks ago and she had driven to Nashville to say goodbye. I knew my boss was in a few bands. I knew she called her husband before work, after work, and during her break. She was a kindergarten teacher. I knew her and her husband would work on a cover album every single Valentine’s day, only on Valentine’s day. I knew my other boss never wanted kids but her sister was expecting. I knew a girl that was moving in with her boyfriend in a few months, and that he had a sister who loved Taylor Swift. I knew she spent that Thanksgiving with his family, and Christmas alone. I knew a boy who I thought had no interest in women drew pictures of naked girls and sold art online. He had moved from Texas to live with his sister and her husband. His mom moved to Guatemala to find herself when he was 18. She never came back.
When I think about what they knew of me, it wasn’t much. Talking about myself doesn’t come naturally to me when it should, I try to combat that with over questioning. When you show interest, no one ever asks about you. I don’t even really mind, I just wonder what they would say about me, I don’t think they’d know one thing. In a lot of ways, I don’t feel like the main character in my own life. I know so much more about other people than I do myself, their lives seemed a lot more like a movie than mine.
For some reason, I almost felt like tearing up thinking how I would never see them again. “It’s not goodbye, I’ll see you guys when I come in here to shop,” I lied. I knew right then I was never going to come back. I probably knew from the moment I got the job. That’s just not something that I would do. I also knew how we treated customers, which was hardly at all. We never talked about them–or old employees. At all of my other jobs, gossip was the mold that held us together, but not there. Everything about that place was in the present–they’ve probably already forgotten me. What I had was a little pocket of time that only existed to me. It may be one of the jobs I forget to list in years to come. Forgetting is becoming far easier than I ever thought conceivable, sometimes I forget I’m only 23.
I got this tiny bit of feeling that today was supposed to be important, and suddenly nothing was enough. I hadn’t spent enough time there, I hadn’t gotten to know those people deeply enough. I hadn’t felt enough. I hadn’t heard the tree fall. I didn’t know where the birds were. I wanted my life to be something I could write down.
I think if life were a movie, maybe I would have cried on my last walk home. But it makes more sense that I didn’t. If life was a movie maybe the tree branch would have hit my bedroom window and made the next year of my life indescribably hard. I’m glad it didn’t. It’s good that not everything is some big thing. Maybe I would have walked outside to three dead baby birds on my porch, but I didn’t. I’ll just never know. Maybe I would have spent the whole time at my job talking about myself, and coming out of it with nothing to show for it. So many stories I could have missed out on.
Maybe if life was a movie, it would be a terrible one. I think I’m happy with my almosts, and maybes. Perhaps it’s a television show, with no real beginning or end. Just a life, with brief moments of incredible highs and unimaginable lows. There’s no way of telling where a show is going to go, and I like that a lot better. No way of telling when it could end, not really.
Perhaps if it was a movie I’d do something massive to change the direction of my life. Maybe I’d call an old boyfriend, or move across the country. Cut my hair or paint my walls. Maybe I’d take an entire bottle of pills. But since there is no telling where or how things will go, nothing seems quite too daunting. I’ll take a shower, and then I’ll read a bit, and probably go to bed before 11 o’cock. I’m so exhausted. Sometimes it’s so great to just be a person.
It’s raining right now, which could almost be enough to pull me into a day dream. But no one is going to kiss me, I’m not going to walk in the puddles, or have a screaming match. It probably won’t thunder, and all of my cushions are going to get soaked. But it doesn’t always rain when it’s supposed to, that’s how I know it’s all real.