North Star


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When I was in college I met a girl I called my North Star. Jenne was beautiful, practical, and adventurous. She was not busy becoming an active alcoholic or desperately trying to win the affection and approval of a boy who did not love her. She shopped for her own groceries, designed her own courses, and had internships in the city. She hitchhiked across South America, wrangled horses, and made costumes for plays. I felt like the night to her day, the sobbing dark sister to her independent sunny self. I didn’t understand what she saw in me, why she believed in me so fiercely. My WWJD bracelet would have stood for What Would Jenne Do ? I asked myself that often.

Two weeks ago I burst out crying as I told my therapist how happy I have become. And it makes me think of Jenne, I said crying harder. I have visited Jenne on the west coast and she has visited me on the east. But it’s been ten years, a decade, a lifetime. “I think it's time to call her,” my therapist said gently. “And tell her how happy you are.”

When I dialed, I could hear her the reassuring lilt and timbre of her laugh before she even answered the phone. Our conversation was rich and beautiful and I felt connected at the heart, not striving to reach an impossible height. When I look at our pictures now I don't look as hopelessly screwed up as I felt and I know Jenne’s more of a human than a demigod. I have learned to trust myself, to love myself and to be my own North Star but that doesn't mean I ever want to exist apart from other stars and constellations.

Valley HaggardComment