Alternate Universes

My mom used to call having cancer her “alternate universe.” Most of the time that she was sick, it didn’t feel real. And now that she’s gone, things feel incredibly upside-down. There’s this overwhelming sense of “This is not how things are supposed to be.”

A few weeks ago, I went to see Into the Spider-verse after coincidentally having started Russian Doll that same weekend. Both have alternate timelines and a sense of loss and tragedy pervades each of them. Now that my mom is gone, I feel like a character in an alternate timeline movie or television show - that somehow, in another universe that’s running parallel to this one, my mom is still here. And we still do all of the normal things we did together - birthday celebrations, brunch on Sundays, big life events. My family and I still have those things, but they feel hollow and incomplete. Right now, it feels like I’m waiting to discover the mission I need to take to get back to a timeline where my mom is still here, and our lives are not the saddest version of what it could be.

About a month ago (against my better judgment), I went on a perfectly fine date with a guy. We talked about our families, as one does, but the best part of the date was that, for a few hours, I got to pretend like my mom was still alive. This guy didn’t know the traumatic experience I had just been through (I mean let’s be real, that I’m still going through), and there was no reason to tell him. For that night, I got to channel the timeline I so desperately want to be in. The one where my mom is still here, and I still get to talk about her in the present tense. Where I would wake up to a call or text from her telling me what time they were picking me up for brunch, and what new place in Greenpoint she was excited to try.

Instead, I now have a giant, gaping hole in my life, a potentially unethical reason for going on dates and as of yesterday morning, and an ill-advised (expensive) membership to Equinox (one in a series of desperate attempts to keep myself literally constantly moving).

And, if I must be honest (since now would be an odd time to stop, given how the nature of a blog often requires you to be forthcoming), I was out of town last weekend and haven’t made much progress on my knitting, but here we are anyway.