I grew up an “in-between-er”. Not because of family order – there were only two of us, my sister and me – but because of where we lived. Our house was in the country, but not on a farm and just over half an hour from the nearest city.
I did not identify with city girls who strutted either uptown or downtown and seemed to know the difference. They tottered the sidewalk in shoes I could never have owned; my father would have somehow made me feel less of a person for wanting them, and I shudder to think what he might have done had I actually come home with a pair.
I wasn’t comfortable with farm girls either. I had no daily chores that required me to wake at dawn and find a bucket for feed or a basket for eggs. I never had to butcher my best friend. My summers didn’t include a harvest except to witness it. When the fields I passed to and from school every day began to sprout green, I couldn’t tell the difference between wheat and barley, but what did it matter? I was allergic to it all, anyway!
I must have spoken to my grandmother at some point in time about my “in-between-ness”. She was my favorite person to spend time with when I was young. I remember her telling me that in-between was simply the best place in the world to be. It was, after all, the place between yesterday and tomorrow, the place between hello and goodbye, and the place she most wanted me to be: between her arms.