Once you stand up for something you must stand your ground.  You can’t back down.  People won’t let you, and more importantly, you won’t let you.  It’s not a choice you can put on hold.  Not if you want to be honest with yourself.  And this has meaning, even when you don’t see it, even when you try to deny it.  It’s not all good—your life, your character—the injustices you see every day, in the ever present, and everything ends badly.  Otherwise it doesn’t end.  And that’s where the meaning is.  Not in some reflection of the past, some memory.  Because how do your memories come to you?  What triggers it—some scene from the past?  There’s a relation to relationships, and one moment you judge it good, beautiful, and in another moment—bad, something ugly and heavy on your heart.  But you have to stand your ground, not on some issue, some person—a relationship you may have had with them—you must stand your ground in how you relate to it now, and if there’s any stability in this there has to be no judgment.  You must let the reflections pass like in a dream you’re having while awake.  Like wind playing in your hair.  Sand through your fingers.  Uncontained and uncontrollable water—beating upon rocks.  For the ground you stand on is not ground—it’s ice.  And as soon as you’re sure of your footing, be ready to slip.  Cracks in the layers appearing the heavier you feel.  But that’s the price for standing up for something, and if you don’t—you’ll fall for anything.

Bethanywas eighteen years old now.  Eighteen when she wrote these things in her journal on the first boy that touched her.  A good age to be.  An age when the meanings of a child disappear and a sense of hypocrisy is heightened.  Hypocrisy that over time you make peace with.  And you find meaning again in your defense of this peace.  How it was brought about from experiences where it was lost and then found again.  Age and time and a few hard knocks, a few hard falls, teaching you what you need to do to get back up again.  And you learn a thing or two about yourself in the process.  You make friends with yourself, even after many bad arguments.  And maybe you even learn to remember that trick—the trick not to judge—yourself or anything, anybody.  Because yesterday was a different story and tomorrow is a new chapter.  The same themes threaded through all of it, giving it continuity, giving you your character.  And hopefully, in the end, when the last chance at judgment passes you by—it’s a good story—your life is a good story to tell.

Bethany was learning to be Bethany.  To be what she was, is, and will be in every moment, an every effort at love, in tides of sadness, in the drinking of wine and in the breaking of bread in the presence of friends and unbeknownst betrayers.  She was learning to pick her battles, learning the burn in the heat of the moment, and the frustrating impatience of cooling off periods.  She had felt that restless, hungry feeling that does nobody no good.  She knew what it felt to be satiated and bored.  And that’s why we need to tell it next—the mad love affair she had in the spring of 1942, her fiancée off to war—and let the story be the judge, of that ground where she took her stand, the thin ice of contrary lovers and how they find each other.  What, in the end, they find in themselves to be, and seemingly without choice—what they become…

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