The internet can be so very intrusive sometimes. We never know what we might get when we log into that world of e-mail. This is how I found myself so very disgruntled this evening, staying up past my bedtime thinking about a life I once lived. Sitting unabashedly in my inbox, was an invite from a long forgotten friend of a long forgotten time, to their newest website. It was one of those contemporary artsy sites sporting their latest works. This was a friend from art school, a fellow photographer. Even writing that seems so foreign, like it could somehow be a lie. Did I really go to art school? Did I really once spend hours contemplating the difference a millisecond could make on the lines of someone's face in the shadow of the morning sun? Art school…. it sounds so very… wordly.
But as I opened up this web page, peering skeptically at the little boxes that previewed the albums of photos, I noticed a face that looked oddly familiar, oddly like my own. It was mine. Me from another time, sitting on a worn mattress in dark room, looking sullen and forlorn and a little bit abandoned. I looked that way of course because I was supposed to. I think we were exemplifying the stages of relationships… I'm not sure where the shotty mattress fit in, nor do I remember who the guy was sitting on the other side of the bed. I had only met him once, the day we took those pictures. But all that is besides the point. What baffled me was the emotion that this one little image contained for me, all bound up in it 3 by 5ness waiting to suffocate me with memories long since forgotten. It had been a fun time. An uncertain time, as I was just beginning to discover how to truly have fun without completely dismantling myself. But what surprised me most was the sudden ache I felt to have that time again. To wake up on a cold morning, snuggle deeper under covers and go back to sleep. To sit by the kitchen window with a cup of coffee and think… for hours. To walk around the house in complete silence. To walk around the house full of people, friends and strangers, talking and talking.
I looked at the rest of the pictures on the site. The same people still doing the same things. The same couples together. There under a light post in the snow. There at the kitchen table in the morning. There in the backyard together.
I imagined these people, these couples, waking early in the morning to frost covered windows, wrapping their arms a little tighter around each other, pulling the down comforter around their ears and murmuring affection as they fell back asleep. I imagined them staying out late at enviable music shows, holding hands as they walked towards their house at the end of the night, music still ringing in their ears, blissfully weary from the evenings events. I imagined them at dinner parties, undoubtedly having fantastic conversations about nothing and everything and everything being nothing. Someone would pull out a deck of cards and dinner would run into breakfast and brilliant ideas would be conceived which I would most likely get to see someday on their fabulous new website.
I was jealous…. jealous of the freedom and jealous of the fun. I missed that life.
I missed it even though I remembered that I hadn't really been happy. Not that happy. I had still felt awkward and unconvinced that this was where I was supposed to be. I had felt like I was only floating on the surface of that very imaginative and colorful and disorganized world. I walked around with feet in two different universes, neither of them home. I would have rather been talking politics or perhaps conjuring up some irrefutable method to save the world. I had been keenly aware that I still hadn't found a purpose of my own. I woke up every morning wondering how I would make good use of the rest of my life.
I guess the good news is, I don't wonder that anymore… at least not the same way. If I do nothing else, I still will have made good use of this life.... it just might not make the cover of TIME magazine.