looking ahead to thirty-nine

Sunday I’ll turn 39, a feat that seemed improbable at many points over the last decade. When I turned 34, about six weeks before getting sober, I marveled at having outlived Jesus. I’ve really done it now. A few days ahead, another year down. Six weeks later, a five-year coin. A few days after that, the seven-year anniversary of my brain surgery. Then my younger son’s tenth birthday.

39, 5, 7, 10: all numbers I’d never have guessed would be coming my way. Life happens, though, sometimes faster and more erratically than we can predict.

Thursday, two job interviews, both things I could do easily. I’m convinced I just need the perfect outfit. The Salvation Army is calling my name. Making do with what I can. It’s all anyone can expect at some point.

Saturday, meeting friends in Central Park at 6am to get tickets for Into the Woods (Shakespeare in the Park). Funny it would be that play. Jack and I went to see a staging of it by the Quest Theatre ensemble on one of our early dates. I remember the outfit I wore, a dress that no longer fits and shoes I gave away. I remember his arm around me and how good that felt. There are so few memories anymore; mostly I have to read things I’ve written about him to be reminded of what it was like, both how good it was in the beginning and how bad it was at the end (and sometimes still now).

Sunday, heading to Fire Island to catch up with folks I met there a couple of years ago. It seems a lifetime away from where I am now, those days not-too-long after Jack died. Sunbathing topless, skinny-dipping with LIRR workers stranded on the island because of a false-alarm hurricane, sex with someone for the first time after Jack had died.

Monday, I’m going on a date with a man I met last night. He’s from London and seemingly terribly successful and someone I’d ordinarily write off as completely out of my league. Whatevs, though. He asked me out, and he planned the date. I’m looking forward to it, moreso than I have about such things for quite some time. If nothing else, it will be an experience and I’ll get to listen to a dreamy British accent for a couple of hours.

Nothing’s changed from a few days ago, when things seemed so bleak I was starting to understand how you can get to the edge of hopelessness and see few options but one. Part of me still feels that panic and dread over what will happen if X, Y, and Z don’t happen. But I’m also residing solidly in the space of “I’ve done all I can do, and then some, and now it’s time to accept things as is.”

That can all change (again) tomorrow, but for tonight I’m running with it. There isn’t much else to do other than take things a day at a time, especially when each day has an equal chance of bliss and boredom.


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