[dropcap]I[/dropcap] expected a lot out of life when I was nine. But the truth is, I think I just wanted someone to be proud of me. Likewise, I also wanted to see Mexico, though I can’t explain why.
At ten, I decided I wanted to become a sharpshooter. I practiced popping my Winchester at tin cans; I never hit anything but clouds.
At eleven and twelve, I wanted to be stick-welder, like Daddy. And at thirteen, he died. That year, I wore his oversized clothes, because they smelled like he did. Everywhere I went, I looked like a clown in baggy pants. At fourteen, the scent on his clothes faded, and I hated him for leaving us.
At sixteen, I wanted to be a sailor. After working two deckhand jobs, I decided I wanted to roam the world on a thirty-foot Hunter sailboat. And, like many ill-contrived teenage schemes, I started saving money to buy one. I stowed my dollars away in an Altoids box.
Age twenty-two: I saw Mexico by boat. It was ugly. At twenty-four, I saw Mexico again. This time from land. Still ugly. At twenty-five, I realized the world feels the same no matter where you stand, or what you stare at.
Twenty-eight: I found Daddy’s wristwatch and started wearing it. Twenty-nine: I saw Mexico a third time. Ugly again. Thirty: my Altoids box wouldn’t hold anymore dollars, so I bought a Hunter sailboat. At age thirty-one, I finally forgave Daddy for leaving us. At thirty-two, I decided I didn’t need anyone to be proud of me.
And at age thirty-three:
I looked at my wristwatch, and realized maybe I did.