Swimming Back

Please note: The travel described here occurred in the past. Today, I do not recommend that anyone who is, or may possibly be, pregnant travel to Florida. A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy cannot be safely treated under this state’s current laws. Please care for yourself and travel to places where your life and health are valued.

Finding My Way

When I returned to the same corner of the world where I lived several years prior. I noticed changes in the landscape, the landmarks, and even the widths of the roads. Clearly the construction crews built up the community south of Winter Garden during my years away. Still, when I resurfaced, I was able to guide myself from place to place without the aid of the Google Lady (see Just This Little Bridge from June 2022).  I not only remember my way, I recall my sense of direction.  I relive a segment of the commute I used to drive daily.  I recapture the tranquility of walking alone on the West Orange Trail.  I remind myself of the people with whom I have shared moments and memories in this locale in the past decade.

Perhaps I possess a mental knack to position myself in a location out of my past, whether recent or ancient, and navigate easily as if my uprooted connections remain intact.  Much like my ease at navigating the spaghetti stretches of SoCal interstates, my brain includes a built-in compass that allows me to proceed easily – provided I have sunlight (see The Wrong Way To Waldorf from May 2022) – and reach a new destination  expeditiously.  It’s as if my inner compass also comes complete with a detailed map of the places I have traveled overlaid with every atlas I studied and upon which I have gazed.  I find my way anywhere swimmingly.

Forgetting My Way

Dream sequences aren’t reserved for fiction only.  I awake with the fear of drowning in memories in my real life.  In fact, I often recall a very specific place or experience that has not crossed my mind for years in that fraction of a second between awake and asleep.  Rarely are these good memories (like the time I won a non-participation trophy for my high school writing), but the moment when my roommate failed to apply the brakes as we approached the red light.  In an instant, I am wide awake and reminded of the accident, the sketchy behavior of a person with whom I didn’t mind losing touch, and the repercussions of an aftermath where I struggled to pay the rent and bills on my own.  In a snap, and with common frequency, I find myself awake and drowning in sweat.

The dichotomy of retaining a perpetual map of my life and being reminded of every negative recollection could be a creative wellspring of ideas or a reservoir of flashbacks I wish I could purge.  I wonder how much time needs to pass before mental, stress-inducing images don’t inundate me.  As I begin a second hour of insomnia on the shore of sleep, the time when I missed the cue and dripped my line while on stage in the school production floods to the surface.  In a debate suited for the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, would eliminating those mental rough waters make it easier to sleep but harder to explore?  I opt to keep treading water that is more than five decades deep.

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