I have driven 2555 miles in the last five days with three different friends. I plan on driving another 700 in two days with another. I have driven those first miles, and stand in the bathroom of my father's house, the house of part of my childhood, the house he has been in for thirty years.
As I look around, I remember my dismay at the hairs growing in under my arms and down below, realizing I was changing. I remember crying at the change, desperately wishing it away, and lamenting there was nothing I could do to stop it.
I turn, and as I walk up the stairs to my bedroom, I remember seeing my mom on the stairs crying. She had fallen down the stairs, and was in pain. I was confused. "You're an adult," I told her, "you're not supposed to cry."
I continue upstairs, and, as I walk into my childhood bedroom, remember how I lay on the bed there and heard my mom ask my dad for a divorce. Neither realized I was around the corner listening, hearing every word. None of us realized how hard that moment would be for me to overcome decades later.
I crawl into the bed, and as I lie there, I hear the trains on the distant tracks, the horn sounding across the forest and fields that will be plowed under for houses this year. I begin to weep for the loss of that land.
And as I cry, I remember how I cried to be normal when I was young. How I didn't want to be smart, an outcast, I just wanted to fit in. I realize just how much my life has been better for not having been normal, and wish I could comfort that child who knew not what she wished for.
I stop crying and, as I rise from the bed, look out the nighttime windows of my childhood bedroom. I see the trees from my youth are still standing just outside my windows. They are bigger than they were when I gazed out at them as a child. They are bigger, but they are still here.
I, too, am bigger. I too am still here.
I have come a long way
I still have a long way to go.