Ok, I lied. One last journal entry, so as not to end on a down note. This one was written in August of 1998, a few months before I met Justin. It was the last entry I wrote in third person, and also one of the last entries I wrote on paper.
It is early evening in late summer. It's that moment between dusk and darkness, when the world is bathed in serious shades of blue, and the shadows seem to be debating about whether to come out or not. The stars are poking through the sky and the last remnants of the sunset have disappeared over the horizon, leaving one last streak of magenta trailing behind. She is chasing fireflies on the front lawn, her kids squealing and giggling as they catch one and then throw it back into the air and watch it take flight.
She is running with them, and giggling with them and it finally feels good. She spots a firefly on the far side of the garden and runs after it. It lands on the lilac bush. And she remembers. She remembers how she hates lilacs and the way they smell and how she attaches every bad memory about him to that particular lilac bush.
And then she moves away from the bush, leaving the firefly sitting there, blinking at her, and she runs back towards her children. She has cleared a hurdle. She did not let those memories weigh her down. She goes back to chasing fireflies until the ice cream man comes jingling down the block and they run after him, meeting up with the kids next door, everyone screaming for ice cream.
She sits down on her neighbor's steps and they watch their kids become stained various shades of strawberry and grape and orange, melting ices shaped like cartoon characters bleeding onto their smiling faces. She talks with her neighbor about the little things; school starting soon and summer ending, plans for Labor Day weekend. She feels a sudden surge in heart and almost doesn't recognize the feeling. Then she remembers. It's happiness. Contentment. Finally.
She knows she has passed some imaginary line. She has conquered the demons behind her and slain the dragons and landed her house upon the wicked witch of the west. She's not naive. She knows there are hurdles ahead, but she feels the trail of dead dragons behind her has given her strength and courage to take on whatever faces her.
Maybe she will meet someone who will want to face her challenges with her, someone who will stand by her side and hold her hand when the past tries to snatch her away. And maybe she won't meet someone. That's ok, too.
And just to prove something to herself, later that night she goes outside and cuts some lilacs from the bush. She puts them in a vase and sets them out on the counter. They have lost their spell. They can do no harm.
Now, on with the cat pictures.