I wanted to be a marine biologist more than anything. As a husky tween in fifth grade, and later in middle school, I would draw pictures of the animals I would help next to me, in all my hot pink shorts, oversized t-shirt & scrunchied side ponytailed glory (yes, the early 90s were a truly magical time), huge smile radiating off the page. Sometimes there were whales and dolphins, other times starfish surrounded by schools of tropical fish, seashells and coral reef in every color imaginable. Depending on the day I may have been cruising underwater in a submarine, on a beach standing proudly below a big, smiling sun, or rocking a scuba outfit about to dive into action, but without fail there I’d be: saving the world, rescuing animals, loving life.
Let’s look at my picture twenty odd years later.
There’s me, wearing black, staring sadly at a computer for about six hours a day. There I am in the bathroom trying to keep my shit together; I quit smoking (again) five weeks ago so I’m chewing a piece of happy (nicotine) gum like there’s no freaking tomorrow. Ah, there’s me and my husband carpooling to work; he’s listlessly zoning out to AM sports radio and I’m putting on my makeup (badly), conversing with the baby in the backseat. We’ve been married less than two years and we don’t hold hands anymore.
Seriously, what the hell happened?
I still love the sounds of waves crashing on the sand, the way that you can smell the salt as soon as you step onto a beach if the wind is right and how you can taste it in the back of your throat.
Dead dreams slip through my fingers like water.
This is adulthood; this is my life. I can’t remember the last time I saw the ocean.