A story about running away.
I can’t find my favorite beanie. It’s nothing special – just a speckled knit blend of black, white, and beige that folds across my head like a hug. But it’s my favorite, and it’s presumably buried somewhere in the bottom of my tiny hall closet, amidst squashed piles of things I haven’t thought about in months: thick sweaters and scarves, high heels, extra towels. Autumn has arrived in New York, and I’m not ready. Neither, apparently, are all of the leaves. While most have turned to red and orange, some plants still hold their lushness. I recently stopped to stare at a peculiar tree whose foliage remained vibrant green on one side while crisped to gold on the other — halfway changed but holding back, not willing to succumb to total metamorphosis. Two weeks ago, I woke up shivering under my sheets for several days in a row, curled like a bug in my twin bed. (Its frame is too small to fit the full length of my body, so I typically tilt at a diagonal or contort spiraled like a cinnamon bun.) Finally, unable to bear the chill any longer, I admitted defeat and dragged my quilt from the annals of the closet, shaking out the dust. The quilt, unlike the beanie, is too large and cumbersome to go missing. My building’s management turned on our heat for the first time just last Monday; before then, I had been firing up the oven most mornings, standing before its open door in mismatched layers of clothing while thawing my esophagus with coffee. “Ah, this,” I keep thinking, with each shocking shiver. “This again. I remember this now. Here we go again.” Here we go again, and I’m as ready as never. … It always feels like change happens when we’re not watching; like turning points pass unannounced, rendering us incapable of keeping up. We’re either overzealous in our anticipation, or we’re under-prepared, too late, holding out, while the shifts slink past with sneaky subtly. My past year has contained so many of these sneaky shifts, so many jerky transformations, and so many crossroads that I am ceasing to believe in crossroads altogether. Though the illusion is attractive, I’m not sure there is ever any straight, direct path to be sliced and divided. So far, my twenties are just a tangle of zigzags laid on top of each other, more intersection…
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