This is what I know. I am standing at the beginning of everything. I have waited for this moment. Finally, I am here.
This moment is not about finishing a book. Or getting published. Or being recognised for something. Anything. This moment is not about being noticed. Or being understood. Or being beautiful, after all those years.
This moment is not about anyone else other than me. Nobody sees me here, nobody even knows. But I see. I witness, my senses intact. I see myself.
I see the lines under my eyes, the saggy skin around my soft hanging belly. I see the veins bubble on the underside of my leg, the red spidery lines at my ankles.
I am her. I am the one I have been waiting for. I am the one I have been searching for endlessly, wondering if she was ever going to show up. Fearing that I was a figment of my own imagination.
I lived beneath the surface of my life, day after day, year after year. I had no idea I was there. Invisible. Waiting.
And so I invite myself to live. To live this life that belongs to no one else but me. It can’t be shared. Won’t be lent out or borrowed. Can’t be lived for someone else, according to someone else’s whims. It’s time to go.
So take the rack of clothes drying in front of the window like a Chinese laundry; the pile of bills, half paid. Take the stack of children’s paintings, the hard drive filled with a decade of unprinted photographs, the eighty litre plastic storage bin stuffed with thirty years of journals, written in my own hand. Take the boxes filled with clippings and notes and half-realised imaginings, the yellowed pages collected in a time that was so long ago I hardly believe it ever existed. The bookcases. The oversized dining table. The dishes in the sink.
Take the children sleeping warmly, their father too. Take the chaos, every bit of it. Take the dog, he’s one of the simple things in life. And a pair of shoes to walk him in. The sturdiest I own.
I’ll look up on my way out; see the bush the way it leans in towards me, so green and alive. I’ll take it in with one glance, it will follow. And the water, when the tide’s in, how green it is or how blue it is, it’s all the same, it’s the same sea wherever I go, salty hydrogen and air, stretched out along every bit of coast there is. I’ll find it again.
I’m ready now. I have the essentials. The rest can be left behind without any loss. I’ll sell it or give it or throw it away, behind me like the detritus of a life I no longer recognise. What was it that I thought I was here for?