Last night I was leaving a board meeting. I walked through the city, my heels clipping briskly along the pavement, feeling every inch the successful woman I am. I was heading home to my beautiful husband and our wonderful son, with my career tucked firmly under my arm, and a glowing sense of pride that I had never felt before.
As I waited for the traffic lights to change, it occurred to me that, with every ounce of truth, I had not walked through a city by myself for over two years. And in fact, the last time I’d been in a city by myself, I’d just finished sleeping with someone for money. I was working as an escort, and after a long night, I was heading back to the agency with an enormous amount of cash in my purse and a sense of despair that I have not felt since.
The city had changed, my career was completely different, my life circumstances were such that I’d never imagined would be possible for me. Yet I am still the same woman.
Look how far we can go.
We’ve been at lunch for 45 minutes now. She still hasn’t said anything. Aside from when she told me to duck my head because I was casting a shadow over her food. God forbid I block the light in yet another photo.
“Just for a second,” she murmured, squinting at her phone.
She pinched at the screen, then tapped rapidly, the camera snapping away.
I bent my head down to my plate, inhaling the deconstructed bruschetta she’d ordered me as I waited for her to finish.
We should’ve had a nice day. This morning I’d ordered us room service, but our breakfast went cold while she ordered me around, taking a myriad of photos of her, sitting in front of our breakfast with her ass cheeks poking out beneath her robe, making sure I got the sun in the right angle so she’d look extra ethereal. And no doubt she was – is – beautiful, but it’s lost among the filters and the saccharine.
As I squatted over my lunch, feeling more and more subhuman, my phone beeped. I slid it across the table towards me.
A notification from Instagram: she’s posted a photo of her food.
“At lunch with my babe @instagramhusband #truelove”
I looked up at her in disbelief. True love? What a fucking joke.
Double-tapping the picture, I typed back:
“I love you too, babe.”
Guess the joke’s on me.
Your sweet scent is like summer,
Your skin so smooth against mine.
Your lithe, lean body fits my hand like a glove,
Cucumber, you are my one true love.
I’m sitting, working, drinking a beer. Listening to music and feeling so romantically content with my life. If I were less self-aware, I’d be tricked into thinking this feeling was one of nostalgia, of missing the way my life used to be.
I’m slightly buzzy, I’m pleased with how easily my words are flowing, and those music notes are hitting all the right spots inside me. Things aren’t as easy as they once were. I’m a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a hard worker. A good friend. I haven’t always been these things. The differences between my past and my present are vast and rough around the edges but somehow they still fit into my life.
Memory is a funny thing. It means well, but it’s a liar.
I am happy now.
It’s past midnight, and we’re driving towards the ocean with the windows down. The cold, cold wind stings my face. It’s winter but I’ve drunk too much, so I’m hoping the fresh air will sober me up. I’m with 3 friends and we’ve all just taken ecstasy at a gas station. Waiting for the high, it was my idea to go to the beach. What could be better than feeling the sand between your toes while you’re really fucking wasted?
There’s no one else on the road, and I’m not worried that the driver is pretty fucked up. I’m not capable of being worried about anything at that point. I think of my parents, asleep soundly in their bed only a few blocks away, and I smile, lighting up a cigarette.
I’m thinking a lot about sustainability. Especially going off Trumps decision to exclude the US from the Paris climate agreement, I feel like the health of the world is on a knife’s edge. It would be ignorant of me to think this is a new thought, but it’s one that is becoming more and more clear to me.
So, sustainability. To be perfectly fucking honest, I barely know what the word means. I do know that I want to be more like it, but I don’t even know where to start. I feel like sustainability and environmental issues are barely understood by quite a big portion of the world, which makes it easy to dismiss it as ‘tree-loving hippy crap’ (to quote Cartman of South Park fame – very profound, I know.)
So where do you start learning? I’m googling, finding blogs, reading, watching documentaries, but I want to hear from you. Are you a sustainability lover? How do you do it? Talk to me.