Scavenger Hunt

When I was a child there was a meeting. It was an important meeting and everyone who attended got a map. Only I didn’t realize how important the meeting was and I showed up late and by then all the maps were gone.

The map told you almost everything you needed to know. If you didn’t get a copy you were doomed to spend your life on a scavenger hunt trying to find all the sign-posts and clearly-marked roads that everyone else took for granted. You fumbled about like the lights were permanently off in a room where the furniture was moved on a daily basis.

You tried to take a peek at other people’s maps, but this was much later, and too late to make any tangible difference.

As you were growing up you were constantly getting into trouble, for things that seemed to only make sense to other people.

You never smiled and this was a problem, though you could not understand the utility in smiling. Eventually you practiced, the muscles around your mouth aching. Sometimes, you were only a series of other people’s impressions of you.

You kept forgetting that the future would happen to you, though people were always reminding and reminding you about it. When your mother gave you plants to look after, they died in your room. When your mother gave you pets to look after, they died….. elsewhere.

Love seemed conditional and it came and went for mysterious reasons. You were clumsy with other people’s feelings and had no sense of urgency.

Many of these things are told to you later in life, while seated in a doctor’s office, the doctor unravelling these mysteries for you one by one, making your life come into focus, finally- you nodding, only partly understanding what is being said, and do you need a moment to take all this in? It confirms for you what you have been seeing for some time, everyone you know somehow moving forward while you languish in the same place, all of them having access to a place from which you are permanently barred.



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