Monday, September 01, 2008

You've changed so much but it's still you.

Some mornings you wake up and you just know what is going to happen. No matter what you do, you can't stop it from happening.

This morning I woke up thinking about a person who I have not seen or talked to in 13 years. Someone who used to be very important to me, but is now someone I don't ever want/need to see again. In a strange way I still see glimpses of him every day, but that is only because my daughter happens to share chromosomes with him.

This morning I woke up and started going through my day in my head. Then I thought, "We will be on Broadway school shopping. What will I do if I see him there?"
You see, I got word he might be passing through Seattle about a week ago, but really I have not spent a lot of time thinking about it until today. I went through all of the possible scenarios in my head and decided I was worrying for nothing. The odds are a million to one I would ever see him.

We got dressed, and went on our merry way. We went down to hit the first store, picked up some cute things, and like I called it into being, I stepped out the front door of the store and right into him. The face I've been avoiding for the last 13 years was right in front of mine looking me in the eye.
We locked eyes. It was like it was happening in slow motion. First that somewhat confused look that says, "Where do I know you from?" then the look like they are flipping through their mental Rolodex, and then the "BINGO!" look of recognition.
I swear, we locked eyes for all of two seconds, but it felt like a lot longer. It was long enough to watch his expression go from confused to down right icy.
I wonder what my face looked like? I will have to guess shocked. I bet my mouth was even a bit agape.
He has the same face, just a lot older. It looked like life has been unkind to him. It seemed he was carrying all of his worldly possessions on his back. His friends looked like your typical Seattle street punks. Basically, not much has changed other than his apparent lack of an address.

It is funny how life works. If I had hesitated for ten seconds I would have missed him in the crowd on the street on this busy shopping day.
It is also weird how I run into him today, where if it had been last weekend I would have had two of his children he doesn't know with me! I'm not sure what I am supposed to be getting out of all of this, or if it is all just one giant coincidence, but it sure is a lot to swallow.

At least he lent me the kindness of continuing to walk and not stopping to meet the grown child he has never met. If he tried to talk to her, I don't know what I would have done. After we locked eyes, he turned his head, eyes forward, and kept walking. I just stood there watching him like a protective mother tiger ready to attack if need be, making sure he walked away before I let Darian come out of the store entry. When he reached the end of the block, he turned and looked at us one last time and then disappeared in the crowd.
It shook me to the core as much as it left her un-phased. Jon has always been her dad, so it didn't mean much to her. She was more concerned with how obviously shaken I was by the whole thing. That makes sense, I have 5 years of crazy history with him from before she was born, he was long gone before she was born. At the end of the day, chromosomes don't mean much.

I was not shaken because I am somehow afraid of him, in fact, it probably would not have bothered me as much if she was not with me. It is just instinctual. I've spent the last 13 years trying to protect her from him and that world he chose to live in.
It's interesting how two people who used to know each other so well, who lived together so long, who's lives were so intertwined, could have turned out so differently in such a relatively short span of time in the whole grand scheme of things.

I hope that is the only reunion we will ever have. Some things are better left buried in the past.

"Right now I'm hearing nothing but silence
High beams are on - I can feel you
Every piece contains a little bit of violence
and you've changed so much but it's still you."
-Ben Lee


Snotty McSnotterson said...

Always trust your instincts, because they're always right. What a gift, being able to see how far you've come, and being able to let the past stay where it clearly needs to stay: in the past.

Darian gets the extra bonus of seeing you deal with these types of situations with a lot of thought and grace, rather than immaturity or anger, like many people choose to do. Good for you--I think you're a great role model!

The S stands for S said...

I have the Darian perspctive on this one. Although I did know my Dad off and on for ten years. Then he went away. And when I have the extremely random encounter we pass in silence. Although I look at him waiting for him to say something. And he doesn't.

Hooray for good Moms.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,
I love your outlook & i think you have a ton of wisdom...what a mature take on a situation that could have become so volatile.

Deb Hardman said...

There are no coincidences. It must've been a meant to be moment. wow.


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