It is dark and warm. The cool water shimmers and swirls in front of me, calling me to fall into it. I close my eyes and imagine my body breaking the surface and sinking like a rock, cutting through with no resistance. The soft, surging liquid would swallow me, and I’d be gone. Just a rock with no choice in which way to fall.
There’s a slight breeze, but it doesn’t quite push off the way it feels as though the air is actually touching me. It’s the perfect kind of warm; it is the kind of warm a girl who grew up in the country can appreciate. The kind of warm that used to waft through my screened windows and call me out onto the front porch to stare at the moon and dream with my eyes open.
I’m sitting on the back deck at my parents’ house. It is not the house I grew up in. That is about 2 miles from here. It sits, full of memories and cobwebs. It sits empty, dark, and somber.
I have not driven past it on this visit home. I haven’t driven by and seen the room off the front porch where I would sit and wait for him. The place he would often come to for me. Where I would sometimes sit alone, disappointed.
I did drive past a road I used to turn right on almost every day, literally for years. That road took me to his home and his family, of which I was made to feel a part, so many times. It took me sometimes alone, and sometimes with him. It took me.
Like he had.
Every ounce of my heart was siphoned away, every piece of my soul seemed to have been drawn out. I would say it was painless, because, after all, I wanted it that way. But it would be more truthful just to say I must have enjoyed the pain. Or at least, that I endured it because I knew the prize was worth it.
I wanted it to be.
I’m sitting out here with a chorus of crickets and other nighttime crawlies singing me the sweet song of the country on a soft, close summer night. I feel comfortable here. I can stretch out my legs and breathe in the scent of flowers growing nearby. In this moment, no one needs me. I’m at peace. Just myself, in the dark, alone. Comfortable.
Over and over again I had put all of myself into him, willing him to be more and to somehow make me whole, as such. I piled upon him expectations and needs. I was not perfect. He was not perfect. We were not perfect. We were just us and us was foolish.
He-I lost me-him and we were both abandoned by the ending we thought was in store for us. I wanted promises, he needed freedom and choices. I needed validation and hope, he demanded space and what ifs. I was incapable of giving him what he needed while still finding my own answer. I was incapable of just letting go and being me – instead I wanted to draw myself from him, control him, manipulate his choices.
If I lay my head back and stare up into the sky, I see a black canvas for miles, dotted with brilliant, shiny specks of electricity and power from so far away. They gleam and sparkle; a new one seems to pop into the tapestry after every few beats of my heart. If I just stare this way for awhile, what I think I see and know changes over and over again.
I expect it to look a certain way, but I can’t control what unfolds before me. I have ideas about what is out there in my view, but it is flowing and changing constantly, right in front of me, and there is nothing I can do about it. Some of the changes are noticeable, some are imperceptible to me. I sense that.
It would be foolish of me to try to force the stars to stand out in the sky in a specific order. They would call me mad and lock me in padded rooms.
I’ll never really know if it was right to part ways. I think of him from time to time and I wonder who he is now. Is he still that same person who was my best friend, or is the man he has become someone different entirely? I don’t regret those years, or the ones that have followed. I’m not sure if life has turned out exactly how I’d hoped it would after I kissed him that last time and he turned away. What I do hope now, however, is that he is happy. Because I love him in some way still, and that’s been true since the day I walked away. I hope he is happy with the way the sky looks when he lays his head back.
I can close my eyes and the reams of paper that the story of my life stands starkly on flow through my mind. I can slow it down and inspect this and that. I can speed it up to avoid things. I can ponder over the way the ink fell and what the story might be like if it had been different. I can even look at the pages that lie ahead, waiting for the stab of the pen, with concern. I guess I can worry about those pages. I guess I can be afraid. I could try to control the pen that wants to flow on its own with fancy strokes and flourishes.
It would be silly.
The way the stars in the sky arrange themselves in a predictable and yet uncontrollable fashion is a beautiful thing. Every night they show up just the way they are supposed to, and they don’t need me to worry about it, or wonder if they are doing it right.
They end up where their paths intend them to, and that is that.
Like a stone falling into cool, deep waters, effortlessly.
Today’s Photohunt theme is “Wrinkled.”
And that’s how time feels to me, suddenly. Like it’s been wrinkled. Or folded like an accordion.
Like it is filled with the skips in an old, worn record. The vinyl spins over and over and the details of the songs are faded; sometimes, even large sections of lyric are missing. I’m left with sudden, blurted words and jolting rhythms that hop from one point to the next…
Photo by Athena Carey, lifeprintsphotography.com
Will the folds between the wrinkles be deeper the older I get?
Will the skips in the record become so broad that the melody is lost almost entirely?
Have to find a way to hold on to the details… I like this song too much.
Emotionally, I’m flighty, prone to daydream. Victim to whim, impulsive. Gripped by a
logical mind but owned by a heart that believes in magic,
fiercely. Taken to believing in miracles. Wanting to see
past the black and white edges of things, searching for
the blur. I am between the lines, but not inside of the
box. If you look deep enough, you will see me peeking
back at you. When the wind blows, my body is fixed, but
my dreaming soul is caught easily, and stirred in that
direction. Moved by the ethereal, I often close my eyes
and imagine I can feel things that don’t touch me, hear
things that make no sound, and taste things depending
on their color.
This is the part of me that is squelched more and more nowadays. This is the nimble of spirit little nymph caught in the net of the goblin called Everyday Life As A Mother. I find myself thinking nothing but rational thoughts all day long, being practical over and over again until the day has gone and I had no time to even appreciate its beauty. I find myself lingering on the fantastic less and less until it’s hard to remember the person who used to do so with such ease it was as second nature as breathing.
Once upon a time, I regularly dreamed of flying because I fantasized about it daily. What would it be like, with the wind in your hair and no traffic to slow you or physical law to bind your body to the earth? It would have to be the ultimate liberation to lift off from the terra by will, to fly for real, instead of being trapped against the hard surface of the earth, unable to soar without mechanization. What the soul knows the body yearns to hold; longs to savor.
I bathed in the moonlight. I sat, wrapped in the glow, lost in my thoughts. I shared company with it – just me and Mr. Moon, white fire in the sky. Have you ever been alone under the moon, in a place where it is otherwise quiet and dark? I challenge you to isolate yourself thusly, and stare up into that great, white orb, inviting it to open itself to you. I dare you not to feel the beauty of its presence, not to sense the magic of it.
Thunder and lightening are thrilling… like musical theatre, they beg a rapt audience. How is it that any of us carry on with dull and dreary chores and errands while this is to be seen and heard? I used to celebrate such a show, no matter the time of day or night. When did sleep become more important? To be shamed.
And a rainstorm with no lightning… well that is clearly meant to be played in. Not hurried past or hidden from, not feared or hated or cause for curse. There was a time when I went outside on purpose when it was raining. My wet, dripping locks would sway and slap at my neck as I twirled, dancing in the rain. My muddy toes skipped under and past wet leaves as each saturated blade of grass tickled my soles for a second before I brushed past and onward. The smile never left my face.
I’m reflecting quite often, lately, on this person that I miss. Life happened, it crept up on her over time, and drew her away, so slowly that I didn’t even realize she was gone before she had been absent for too long.
I shall have her back.