Susan quickly checked her mascara in the rear view mirror of her vintage Honda Civic. She reached down to turn the ignition and in the back of her mind she heard her mother’s voice asking, “ Susan Jeanette, just where do you think you’re going?”
At the age of forty-two she was still feeling surprised by the question, caught off guard, fumbling for an answer. Where was she going? How did she get where she was now?
She had arrived at another turning point that wasn’t on the map. A year ago she left behind a marriage that was always too hard to justify. When she left her only emotion amounted to a deep disappointment over another failure at becoming someone through someone else. – The defining attachment.
Like now in the rear view mirror, sometimes she would catch a glimpse of herself and the reflection would ignite an insight.
This happened once in the early eighties when she was heavily involved in the women’s movement. She became another woman’s lover without considering why. If she felt any attraction at all it was to the idea that she was living outside of society’s rules. But over time it was clear that one set of rules had simply replaced another. She saw this and moved on to the haven of graduate school and then to marriage, as though she were a character in someone else’s story.
Her mind refocused on the present. She had already sacrificed much of her life to fear and was finally realizing that she could actively choose what to do with the rest. She turned the ignition and revved the engine. It was time to pull away.