road of recognition

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I went up north today. To Seatac, for those of you Pacific Northwesterners who know what I’m talking about. On the way back south, we passed through Fife.

We were driving along, and all of a sudden, I recognized the stretch of road with the motel.

I saw the freeway sign I remembered, I saw the Motel Six advertisement, and then I saw the motel itself, where we ended up that night. The parking lot where I gave him what he wanted because it was the only way I could see that I would make it through the night in one piece, the motel where I called my mother only to spew out poison from my lips, my mouth, all the hatred that had kept me prisoner until then. Until now, in some ways.

I’ve driven that road a thousand times and never recognized it until tonight. I don’t know why. I don’t know how it was that it popped into my head at that moment, that sudden, blinding recognition of where I was and what had happened there over ten years ago.

So much change since then. Who I was then, in that parking lot, and who I am now, because of that parking lot…

I mock myself sometimes, in order to avoid acknowledging hurt. I ridicule my emotions thinking that it makes them insignificant, that it helps me keep my feelings in perspective. I forget sometimes that hurting is not always something bad or wrong. Sometimes it’s what helps us know we’re alive, something like a kiln that fires us and makes us stronger. When I make myself and my feelings unmatter, I reduce those events, those kiln-fires, down to something manageable but ultimately ineffectual. And I forget the lessons I learned that night, and the next, and the next, until somehow I’ve reduced them down to mere words in a blog on the internet, something to look at and say, yes that happened, but didn’t it happen to someone else? Didn’t that happen so long ago that it no longer matters? Wasn’t it just a small bump in the road that eventually led me here, tonight, driving right past it and somehow suddenly remembering it tonight of all nights, of all nights that I’ve driven by this very spot and not thought twice about it?

I watched V for Vendetta tonight. Revenge. Vendettas. The desire to get back at someone so strong, so powerful, that it motivates you and your actions your entire life. Until one day you wake up and realize that there are more important things in this world than revenge. More important things than getting even, more important than settling a score. Living well might be the best revenge, but ultimately…I do it for myself, not because I want to get back at anyone. I do it for myself, and for my son.

I’m living well. I’m more than the woman I was then. I’m twice the woman he thought I would be, twice the woman I thought I would be. I’m a woman who wouldn’t look twice at him, had I met him today. He has no power over me any more, and it was strange how tonight I finally realized that, as I drove by.

I apologize if this didn’t make sense to some of you. I just had to write it before I went to bed.


If none of this makes sense, try reading the intro and going from there.


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