Triple Consciousness

The other day, I wondered what it would be like to set the uniform aside and embrace college life. Let someone else play with the lights and sirens. And save the seizing little boy, and lift the elderly off the floor, and assist the diabetics who need molecular help. What would it be like to stay on campus instead of running, the first chance I get, to the ambulance? I could teach the kids how to write, argue the merits of Jacques Derrida, stay up drinking boxed wine at night. But I’m nineteen and I’m too old for that shit. I don’t know how to play “civilian.” My best friends are twice my age, though, and they somehow manage to do it.

If not college, then maybe I could rejoin my biological family. I left them, you know, not because of my arrogance but because of their ignorance. I tell myself it’s safer this way. That they don’t know what I do during the day in school or at night during emergency calls. My brother lives in a different state these days. Sometimes, he comes back–but only when he can bear it–and it’s as if he never left. I don’t have that kind of success: returning makes me restless. I am only twenty minutes away, but I may as well be in Rome for the emotional distance I’ve carefully laid between myself and “home.”

My sister graduates high school today. Walking across that stage is jumping off a precipice. After that, everything is a series of acrobatics. I was never talented in that scene, but my sister–she isn’t me. She has a firm grip on her identities. Mine, they run rampant like a softball team rebelling against one another. They refuse to play fair together.

These consciousness are beginning to diverge more and more, San Andreas Fault Lines. Jumping back and forth has become a chore. At this rate, I should just pick one. But it’s not easy, leaving two continents behind.

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