In between. That’s where I am at. Swimming in between the day and night. In between flying to heights and drowning in despair. In between illumination and darkness. I could barely seize moments. They flutter by. Just yesterday I saw dazzling white clouds in motion, wispy heaven drifting by, in between two skyscrapers. Exactly that. My bliss is in that time and space in between. I get a glimpse of heaven, sandwiched in between bricks and mortar.
In the meantime, I am waiting. Lingering. Bidding time for what, I do not know. I see that distant day when I begin living my life. When I saunter out of this foxhole of forgetfulness and live out a destiny. But. I am fond of my foxhole. It has the queen bed with the fluffy goose-down feather pillows. I even have the room and linen spray to mask reeking smells from outside. Contented with scents of sweet berries, none of the sweat and grime. Beyond this foxhole is all earth and dust. And a blistering sun, so dazzling, you squint your eyes until you become accustomed to its glare. I ventured a few times. Poked my head out of the foxhole. Meager steps out in the dirt. But I like my gray hole. Not white, not black. Just gray. So I constantly slither back in. I pencil in next Wednesday again, or Thursday, that should be the day I set off. In the meantime…
The dust. It reminds me of a soul sister. She has made headway since then but I recall a time when she was rushing to a spa treatment. She had two spa gift certificates she said. But she stashed these in her closet, overlooked, and now they were almost expired. So she was dashing for time, scurrying to enjoy gifts while she still can. I was my condescending self and retorted: Pay attention to the lesson of your almost-expired spa certificates. Your life is like that, always waiting, on hold, awaiting the perfect moment.” She had an armoire of clothes with tags in them, waiting for the ideal body to slip into them, soon but not yet. In the meantime, her gifts were expiring in the closet. Her clothes were going out of style.
Closets. They behold exquisite silver and intricate china, concealed in glass, kept under lock and key. Teacups to admire but not to drink in, save for rare occasions or when important guests drop by. In the meantime, you feast on mismatched plates, boil water on the black-scorched kettle, and sip Instant Coffee because you have forgotten the coffee maker you tucked under placemats and porcelain. And yet when is the best day? When you are old and gray and your grandchildren come to visit. Oh no, not yet. They might break it.
My mother was the antithesis of waiting. She lived in moments. Seize the day moments. Blown with the wind moments. You live life once moments. She lived in a heartbeat. And so, we never ate on mismatched plates. We had the silver spoon. It did not matter that the plates might break or that the silver would tarnish. But she lived at full tilt, barely hanging on, as life offered her one moment after another. She left us too soon too. Perhaps that was why. She understood there was no tomorrow. So we lived today.
I envy them both- my mom and the treasure hoarder. I wish I had the grit to live now, instead of dallying for next Wednesday or Thursday. I am soothed by days that lull, like a rocking chair, back and forth, never moving forward. On the other hand, I aspire for restraint, waiting for perfect times instead of squandering gifts in the wrong places. Not have cracked teacups when I ultimately have my Afternoon Tea. Wait for the ball, instead of wearing out my dainty dresses for Tupperware parties.
A mentor counseled me to be patient. To trust the space I was in, as I was exactly where I was meant to be. Still, I sense that I am needlessly waiting and wasting a lifetime of just hanging around. When does one exhaust patience? How many gifts have I left gathering dust in the closet? How much intense madness or lighthearted joys have I stowed under layers of fear, or worse, laziness?
And yet, I could neither be this nor that. A paradox, I am always in between. So I am in the gray: waiting for Wednesday; wearing out teacups and dresses. And what else is going on, right this time while I am contemplating in betweens? A million stars are being born or vanishing, the winds are blowing, waters are gushing, and someone somewhere is having a tea party. The world never stops. And I come back to questioning. Real dirt or fake foxhole? Feel the now or wait for quintessential moments? Honestly, I do not want to wait. I regret being stuck “in the meantime” while stars are being devoured by black holes, disappearing into oblivion. But my duality is so real it scares me. What prods people to stick their neck out of their foxholes, go off to battle, and then persist? I keep creeping back to my hole. I prance around in pretty dresses but will be hesitant donning the battle garb. I unwrap gifts, use them, and then cast them aside to dust away until courage shines anew. What would take me out of being in between? Or can it a perfect time and space I could trust? Because I know life is never really this or that. Life hands us both: spirit and matter, light and dark, sweet and nasty, sinner and saint, human and divine. And I want to be that magical moment at twilight, in between daylight and darkness, right before the night swallows the day. And so, I find myself at it again. This space of being not this, and also not that. Having both. Incessantly in between.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. E. B. White