easter 2009. in october i had plummeted to my lowest adult weight at the time. it had all steadily come back thanks to flinging myself headfirst into the hell of bulimia once again. by april i am a hair’s breadth away from complete deconstruction. i leave the family party early, having spent half of the afternoon purging and miserable anyway. my cousin asks me if i’m okay to drive; forty minutes into the ride i black out at the wheel and nearly drive off the newburgh-beacon bridge. it’s dark when i finally make it back to campus – a 2-hour commute turned to nearly 6 because i had to pull into a truck stop and wait until i was stable enough to continue driving. that week i walk into the counseling center and decide that i’m done with being this person – i want recovery, for real this time. the rest is history.
easter 2010. k and i have been dating for three months now. i’m bringing her home to meet my family (she had already met my parents) and, in essence, simultaneously dropping the “i’m gay” bomb on the clan. luckily it’s old news to them, nobody cares, and they all love k. she is duly amazed at the amount of food we consume at major family functions. we play the “name all 50 states as fast as you can” game with my two uncles and my father. my dad, who has the least formal education out of all of us, schools everyone. to date this is one of my favorite day-long memories.
easter 2011. i fly in from lexington for the holiday. in a VERY rare occurrence, my entire family is together this easter – all of my uncles and aunts from florida, as well as all of my cousins. k and i have been engaged for 5 months; we get to use the day as an opportunity to ask all four of my cousins, at once, if they would be in the wedding. my mom gives me what would become an incredibly important card.
easter 2012. mom has been gone for 3 months. we have always hosted easter at my house, and she did…well, everything. i get another TA to cover my classes for me and i fly home on thursday afternoon. dad and roxy and i spend three days getting the house ready, planning meals, and buying everything we’ll need. instead of manicotti – since neither of us are even remotely patient enough to stuff all of those shells – we get some amazing ravioli from a hole-in-the-wall italian place. the meals go off without a hitch, we don’t burn the house down, and it’s a sad yet strangely comforting day. k and i are “on a break,” yet this comes as an afterthought as i type this. the day was about love, pure and simple.
easter 2013. it’s 11am and the fog is so dense you can barely see. i have written two chapter’s worth of notes for my measurement class, eaten two breakfasts (i am, in fact, part hobbit), started my laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, and fed the cats. i got an easter card from my dad earlier this week, and one from my grandma yesterday. i had flowers sent to her; the family is going to my cousin’s house, since dad has decided to stay in florida for the holiday. and i, then, am here in lexington. my grandmother just called to thank me for the flowers; it hurts my heart that i haven’t seen her since thanksgiving. that i spent christmas in a foreign state, foreign house, with only one member of my family rather than twelve. and now it’s easter and the only immediate connection i have to my former life is the inscription from a card, now 2 years old, inked into my skin. i’m furiously envious of my students who came into our 10am exam on friday bubbling over with excitement that they were, as soon as we finished, hopping in a car/on a train/on a bus to head home for the weekend.
i have piles of work to do, two lessons to plan, laundry to finish. yesterday’s 13-miler didn’t happen so it’s being rescheduled for today; i’m hoping my legs won’t feel as heavy as my heart. yet all i want to do is write, pages upon pages. in my purple leather-bound journal that i’ve neglected for months; in the little sage green book i bought after mom died, where i wrote to her as much as i could but stopped after a few months because i couldn’t handle the pain, the tears, the gut-wrenching emptiness.
i want to bury myself in blankets, smother myself in memories that are at once so wonderful and so goddamn sad. some days i have to remind myself, over and over, that this is my life now. my mom is gone; my dad has moved and moved on; k and i are over and there will be no more giddy conversations about weddings and cupcake trees and which of my cousins each of her sisters is going to walk down the aisle with.
five years later, this is my life.