I’m convinced (especially as I grow older) that the real beginning is the middle.
Not that I am anywhere close to the middle of anything – I have neither lived long enough, nor done anything long enough to truly understand the tedium of moving towards the middle.
As time passes, though, I suppose I experience more and more, the middle of things.
The middle of a book, the middle of a song, the middle of the week (Wednesdays, days of part hope and part despair, depending on which side of the bed you wake up that morning), the middle of a relationship (no one, hardly anybody talks about the middle of any relationship, maybe because one does not want to think of the end of it, but….do you have to know the end, to understand the middle?), and so on and so forth.
Today, in the middle of a walk – the sweet smell of a particular brand of soap used to wash clothes.
The last time I had encountered this smell was in a lover’s home; he had passed me his T-shirt to wear for the night, and as someone deeply inspired by smells, I had pressed my nose into the sweet-smelling garment and taken a deep, deep breath.
When I told him how wonderful his shirt smelt, he looked at me in surprise, and told me that it was the first time anyone had ever told him that.
Later that morning, when I left his place, I buried my face in his chest and took a deep, deep breath, trying to memorise the feel of his arms around me, and the feeling of being surrounded by all that warmth and the beautiful smell of clean clothes.
I didn’t know then, that I was trying hard to capture something to survive a loss.
That time, it was not the middle. It was almost the end of things.
The smell disappeared into the morning air, and I continued walking, still, still, somewhere in the middle of things.