Back and Forth - Rachel Brouwer '18

I carry many things. I carry my favorite hairbrush. I carry tomorrow’s outfit. I carry my pink portable hair dryer. I carry the stress relief body lotion that smells like lavender, because the one at my dad’s house doesn’t make me feel like my skin is floating. I always carry an extra pair of socks and underwear just in case I forgot to do laundry at the house I’m going to. I carry my school bag and hope every night that everything I need for homework is already in it. Hopefully I carry my Precalculus textbook, although somehow that seems to be something I commonly forget. I carry my face wash. I always carry my face wash. If I forget to carry my face wash I will wake up the next morning and although it seems impossible ten giant, erupting volcanoes will have magically appeared on my face. It’s a great surprise at 7 o’clock in the morning.

I carry my wallet. Inside my wallet I carry my license. My license that I got in May of last year. People always seem to think their license picture is the most horrifying, hideous, disgusting picture ever taken. But they haven’t seen mine. For some reason I thought I wasn’t supposed to smile during the photo. Well, halfway through the picture being taken the old, grouchy man working at the District of Motor Vehicles told me I could in fact smile. It’s safe to say that closed mouth half smiles are not the most flattering of pictures. I carry around that disaster of a picture of myself everywhere I go. I also carry my debit card in my wallet. With my debit card, I also carry the responsibility of being the sole grocery shoppers of both my households seeing as I am always conveniently driving by the store when driving from house to house. -“Here can you get this stuff for me at the store I’ll transfer money into your account.”- I also carry my Shell gas card. This is because there are three Shell gas stations on route from my father’s house to my mother’s house. It’s convenient.

My car carries me back and forth. It carries me and all the things I carry. It carries my crumpled food bags on the grimy floor. Right where I left them when I was running late to class in the morning. Sad, brown bags that infuriate me because they don’t just magically disappear. Ugly, crumpled bags that make me feel gross about myself because they are from when I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to school. Those brown paper bags I carry stare into my soul and make me hate my lack of organization. I carry three chapsticks in my center console. One is cherry flavored. One is mint flavored. My favorite one is Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning. It makes my lips so soft I can’t stop rubbing them together. I carry a shovel just in case I get stuck in the snow in the middle of the night and bad guys are coming after me so I have to dig myself out. Oh and I always carry my yellow fuzzy blanket, the one with the burn holes in it from summer bonfires. I carry my yellow, fuzzy blanket just in case I get trapped in my car, and my car battery dies. I carry my dog Lily’s hair to my mom’s house, and my dog Teddy’s hair to my dad’s house.

I carry the guilt of leaving my mom after only spending 12 hours at her house, most of which I was doing homework for. I carry the guilt of leaving my mom because I would rather spend time with my friends. I carry the sadness of driving away from my parent after spending quality time with them. Everything I carry, I carry because I have to. I carry it all back and forth and back again. I used to resent that I ever had to carry anything back and forth. I resented that back and forth was even a thought in my mind.

 Now, I do not mind everything I carry. It makes me who I am. I have learned to not hate myself for the Dunkin’ bag on the floor I got that one time I was feeling hungry and tired and lazy. It’s okay to let yourself eat something you don’t even like just because life is too complicated to figure something else out. Everything I carry makes me who I am, and as my mom always says, “You may not have it the easiest now, but one day you'll be ahead of the game.”