by Lisa Hacker
I knew I was in shock because I couldn’t feel any tears on my face.
I read the words again, as if a second, third, and even tenth reading would cause the letters to come to their senses and assemble themselves into another sentence, any sentence. One that did not fracture my heart.
But it didn’t happen, of course. Words just never do listen; they say what they have to say and then just sit there, arrogant, unwavering, refusing to be ignored. And whether calculated or careless, random or refined, they have this power to bring a shift, a break, an absolute demolition to the stability of one’s identity.
Everything I thought I was came into question with that sentence, and I’m trying to go back to the place of me before. But that place does not seem to exist anymore.
You know how it is to go back to the place from which you came? You walk up the steps to the house you lived in years ago, and you recognize the feel of the concrete steps beneath your feet. You place your hand on the rail, which has become a bit wobbly but still is itself. The door, the windows: all are where you last remember them. Your heart stirs because it feels as though it is home again, and with the feeling of home comes the sense of self that feels comfortable and clear.
But then you peek through the window and see that this is not your house anymore. The space belongs to someone else, and they have redefined that space without even asking for your permission. And because it is no longer your house, you aren’t standing, breathing, existing in the space you thought you were in.
Which means that you are not that person anymore, either. And in the end, the words that brought you to this new place of confusion don’t even matter. The only thing that matters is that you no longer know where you are.
Lisa Hacker is the coordinator of a community college writing center, as well as a part-time writing instructor at a local university. She loves to travel, and one day hopes to live in the middle of nowhere. Find her online at http://www.writingthequeensenglish.com