Before mama, before Ms. Blair, there was just Alison (Killen, if we were close). A backwoods All-Star misfit, with an MIP and a 4.0. Valedictorian with a record. Arranging for her class to pass condoms to the school principal as they crossed the stage.
Clothes from Goodwill, haircolor anything but natural, nose ring and more ear piercings than you could count. Skipping class to take naps by the lake. Secret handholding with teachers fresh from college. The perfect topic for that night’s poor attempt at poetry.
Somewhere along the way that funny, brave, strange, young woman got lost.
She went on to college in the (relatively) big city. Stopped shaving her head and started shopping at the mall. Graduated summa, then law school with high honors. Engagement ring by 3L year, just in time.
Then bar exam, wedding, and clerkship. Husband’s MBA at Cal then off to Colorado.
So many choices, big and small, along the way from there to here.
Still have the nose ring. Pretty much everything else has changed, except for maybe the way I feel when a certain song comes on the radio, the way my body pulls towards a past that no longer exists.