I don't really even have words to convey what I'm going to use words to try to convey. The past few weeks of my life have been grueling, exhausting, enlightening and terrifying. I have been going into the depths of my soul. Feeling things on a level I've never felt before. Gaining insights into things I've wondered about my whole life. It is as if pieces of a very large puzzle, a lifelong puzzle, are coming together. And the picture culminated in that photo of the two year old version of me, which I shared in my last entry.
Let me go back a bit first. I will transcribe from my journal so that you can read my impressions of this event when they happened. Then I will continue on from there.
"A few weeks ago, at the store where I work, a young girl, maybe 3 or 4, passed me in the aisle. She was holding her father's hand. As she walked away, she turned back to look at me. We locked eyes. She kept looking back at me all the way down the aisle. If felt like an eternity.
As she looked at me and I at her, a wry smile spread across her face. It was if we were sharing a secret that no one else knew. I can't explain it but it was like I was looking at myself at that age.
Eventually, her father noticed what was happening between us. He just looked up at me and nodded. And that was it. I never saw her again."
This past weekend, I reconnected with a family that I grew up next door to. I considered them like a second family to me. We cottaged together in the summer and spent time at each other's house. Even before they had children, my brother and I would go over and spend time there. This neighbour and my mother were friends. And eventually when she and her husband had children, those kids became like my siblings. But when I was 19, they moved away. And we lost touch. For many different reasons.
I recently got in touch with the oldest daughter, now 28. We've been exchanging emails for the last year. This past weekend, my brother and I drove down to visit her and her mother and her two brothers. I hadn't seen them all in over 12 years. Much had changed, but that kinship, that love we shared for each other was still there.
Shortly after we arrived, the mother took me into her room, pointed to her closet and said, "I have something to show you."
She took out a box from the bottom of the closet, opened it, took out a manila envelope and pulled out the photo of me as a two year old that I shared in my last entry. She said, "This is you. You were two."
The tears welled up in my eyes. It was her. The girl from the store a few weeks before. It was me. The girl I'd been looking for my whole life. I cried. My whole body tingled.
This girl. This girl. This girl with a secret. As I walked home tonight, that same wry smile worked its way across my face. I found myself laughing aloud as I walked. It all just seems so funny somehow--this life. The drama. The story. All of it. It's so meaningful and yet so meaningless. So painful and yet so beautiful. That girl, that two year old me, she knew. It took me 31 years to get back to her. And now I know too.