Three Big Years

And most of my memories have escaped me
or confused themselves with dreams
If heaven’s all they want it to be
send your prayers to me, care of 1983
— John Mayer, 83

Today’s Writing Group prompt: What were the 3 most significant or pivotal years in your life so far, excluding the year of your birth?  Why?

1993: I meet J in August at our summer job. We spend hours in his car, just talking (honest!). I’m his first kiss. I will love him, in some way, for the rest of my life.  I spend the fall semester of my senior year of high school living in Barcelona with my family. At first I hate it – it’s taken me away from everything I know and all the experiences of senior year. After I enroll in school there, everything changes – I’m surrounded by kids my own age who are eager to befriend “la americana,” and we wander the city together for hours on end. I spend four months falling in love with a country, a city, and its people, in a love affair that continues to this day. I cry endlessly when it’s time to come home.

2002: Say it with me: I lose my hearing overnight at age 25; chaos, depression, anger, madness, and, ultimately, acceptance, ensue. Two weeks later, I fall and tear my rotator cuff, ultimately requiring surgery.  Two weeks after that, I come out to the parking lot to find my car with a flat. When I can’t get the lug nuts off I sink to the pavement and cry in defeat until someone drives by and takes pity on me. It is not a good year.

2007: I turn 30 and celebrate in Richmond with a wonderful, intimate dinner with friends and family. I earn my 50-pounds magnet from Weight Watchers. I graduate law school 15th in my class and earn a scholarship selected by the faculty. I move to D.C. to start a somewhat prestigious job, and sometime in my first week on the job, I meet David.  I sack up and ask a man out for the first time in my life – he turns me down, but it doesn’t matter. I buy a new car and then get in an accident five weeks later. In December, David and I have drinks outside work for the first time, and I realize that I am in deep, deep trouble.

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