I'm turning 50 on Monday. And while I feel no need for a big to-do or life changing marker, I am finding myself mulling a bit. Well, mulling a lot. About what a great ride it's been. How much I love John, and the kids, and a wide swath of friends. It all so unlike what I'd imagined. Not that I imagined much...maybe that was part of it. Sure I had glamorous images, like the NYC literai party scenes in Capote, or like Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and their set in the great doc When We Were Kings, but not really for myself. I had yearnings but a torturous present. It was hard to see past that.
Mulling more too because of a trip back into the files. Needing to find some paperwork for my sister...neither one of us clear about some banking from 20-odd years ago that's now essential as her first just turned 21. I climb up the steep ladder in the garage loft, perch on my grandmother's old suitcase, and take a deep breath. Long typewritten letters from my father. Breathe again. I realize I've come to prefer the imagined sanitized version of him. The real guy too difficult. The reality painful. Not dwelling on my own writing in this dalliance down memory lane. Instead letters from some remaining friends. Letters from many now passed out of my life. From Alison and Jessica and always the ones I love from Karl - cranky, and smart, and loving from so many years ago. I'd forgotten there were so many. And it reminds me to reach out and prod him into writing again right now.
These long years John and I have traveled together. It feels like a moment but it's actually 25 years. I think at the time Karen C. gave me a note with a quote from Marilyn Monroe that said something like, "Twenty-five years, that's a quarter of a century... Makes a girl think." My 25th birthday my first with him. 25 years later, unimaginable then, impressive and exciting now. "Half-a-life" "Half-a-life" rattling over and over again in my head. A ridiculous film that John, Bingham and I used to laugh about endlessly when we worked on the opening in NYC - and I can't even think why. Because of the guy's thick french accent? Because he was only 35? So now close to 50, the details gone to me, only the pleasure of the memory, and the amusement of the phrase in my head. It's been a half a life with John. Half a life ago, I could never have imagined I'd be so happy now.