I have spent the years creating all sorts of selves. Sometimes I split into three or four in one day. Diana the public relations specialist who hands you your reimbursement check, Diana your semi-crazy coach, Diana your RA in pajamas and teacher in boots, Diana in circles around the track, Diana the secret actress, Diana of poetry fiction nonfiction playwriting screenwriting composition Spanish German literature history now future. Diana upside down, horizontal, writing, restless. Diana, countless.
I live for the balance of so many selves. I feel complicated when one starts to vanish and another takes the lead, one that had hung back watching and knows its time has come.
I want to forge new. That is the way to keep going. But sometimes I dip back.
Five o'clock sun on the Southampton High School track. I thought it was red when I came here for track meets in high school. Maybe I don't remember or maybe they did tear it up in the past six years, replacing earthy red with manly black. I ran the 3,000 here and wanted to fall asleep midway through. Won the 4x800 relay as anchor leg. Racewalked and ended an essay with the story. Pole vaulted for easy points because Southampton had no vaulters and Mr. Sullivan and one of Lauren's man friends had to hold the bar in place for us. High jumped. I had glorious and terrible jumping days but I don't remember these mats on the near side of the field for either.
I walk to them. One tape mark on the black rubber. Left foot first. A family bikes from the field onto the track, father, mother, son, mother's bike with a basket, her smile pleasant--isn't this a beautiful day?
There's a bar but I don't put it up. I remember rice cakes and nights in the high school gym, leaving gymnastics half an hour early to get here at 9:30pm, already tired, the gym lights too bright, jumping over the bungee cord with Jill, Lauren there laughing with us. The way we practiced before the sun shone on the field this way, before our uniform tank tops and short shorts were tanned to us, before we drove to Friendly's after the meet, exhausted but exuberant.
I run the old curve, take off my right leg, lift and arch and roll onto my shoulders. And again. And again.