Until about half an hour ago I would have responded, had you asked me if I kept a journal, “No. I don’t keep a journal.”
Because I don’t.
If you had persisted, and asked me, “Did you ever keep a journal?” I would have said, “Yeah, when I was in fifth grade. It was one of those tiny little diaries that you lock with a tiny little key, and every entry was about a) the boy I had a crush on from kindergarten through senior year, or b) my tiny little baby brother, just born that year, whom I adored.”
I might then have followed it up by saying, “But as an adult? No. I never kept a journal” –
forgetting entirely about the years when, in fact, I did keep a journal. They were what I think of as the years of blurred-ness, back in the nineties mostly, when I had the three tiny little kids and I was trying to do a million different things at once. Which I still am, but in a slightly less blurred fashion. Or so I hope.
Anyway, back to the subject. Which was what? Oh yes, something to do with keeping a journal. I was looking through old files, of which there are perhaps thirty trillion or so on my computer, and which I figuratively drag from one computer to another computer as soon as the old one breaks down, which, if you’re me, is a maximum of every two years because I am to computers what some people are to watches. They stop working in my presence, possibly because they know I need them so damn much.
Back to the subject again, which is the fact that I do have journal entries, quite a few, dating back many years, journal entries that I had completely forgotten about. And I’m here to tell you that it can be simultaneously horrifying and comforting to see how much you haven’t changed, deep down, lo these many years.
Have my children changed? I’m talking about inside, way down deep, from the beings they used to be, housed in those tiny little bodies that now are bigger than mine.
I’m guessing not. I remember being tiny, and wondering about the same things that I wonder about now, a lifetime later. These are the wonderings of my son, then age six.
“Mom, somewhere in the world, right now, a ship is sinking, a house is on fire, and a person is being robbed.”
“What if there was no time? What if there was no past and no future?”
“I feel short. I feel very, very short.”
“What kinds of things haven’t been invented yet?”
“I feel nothing. I feel as if I weigh nothing, as if I feel nothing, as if I can think of nothing. Nothing.”
“Mom, what if we’re all, all of us, just characters in a book, and someone is writing us right now?”
“Where do spirits live?”
“How high is heaven? Does it come before outer space? Is it lower than the clouds?”
I wonder how I answered him, back then. Did I answer at all?
Or did I just listen and then, late at night or at dawn the next morning, write it all down.