Everything is clear.
All you tried to give me
I can now accept,
In this state,
In this altered reality.
It’s really not that bad,
To feel more than you thought you could feel,
To feel more than they say you should feel.
Everything is clear
When I can see your face un-obscured,
Untainted by the reality they bring to us as chains.
What I wanted you to give me
I now place before your feet.
I won’t ask
For what I’m not willing to receive.
“I like the sun,” she said, “but sometimes it hurts my eyes.” She put a hand up to shield the top of her face as she kept looking at the sky.
I looked over at her small form. Her long, black hair spread out around her head forming a dark halo that contrasted with the grass. She was wearing a neon-green top with large, hot pink stars on it that matched the hot pink of her shorts. Her fingers and toes glittered with sparkly nail polish that mirrored the sparkly studs in her ears. I smiled. At this age, she still liked everything bright.
I followed her example and put my hand up to my face and looked up. Around the sun, the clouds were wispy streaks of white against a deep-blue sky.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I — like hopefully all of you — have a lot to be thankful for: There are people in my life who really love me and whom I love. My body is healthy. I have an income. I have no real unmet need of any kind. I have the possibility of tomorrow, and, unlike other times in my life, I’m actually excited about that possibility.
In addition to all these things, this year I am also thankful for this, this blog and what it represents. When I started ToHearLife.com back in June, I had two main goals: to make writing an integral part of my life, and to get over my fear of other people reading what I write. These were for the purpose of the greater goal, which is to one day be a full-time writer. While I’m still millions of words and countless submissions away from that goal, I’m grateful that I have achieved the first two goals of making writing an essential part of my life and being, not only unafraid, but desirous of people reading what I write (cut to me checking my blog stats every night before bed).
But beyond helping me meet my current writing goals, this blog has also been helpful in ways I hadn’t foreseen. It’s pushed me forward, not only in my literary aspirations, but also in the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even social aspects of my life.
She revved the engine and looked out into the night. The tangle of neon-lit streets spreading out before her seemed to gather at the end of her vision into one single, brilliant point. Finally, she thought, I’ll make it there.
All her life inside the city walls she had been waiting for her keys, for her car, for the ruler who people said was in charge to say, “Go!” But he had never said that word to her; he had never spoken to her at all. So she had decided to find a way out herself, going throughout the confines of the kingdom to barter for a car, to forge its keys, to take one step closer to the outer perimeter, and then another, to see how far she could go before the ruler interfered. She had gotten everything she needed, and he had never tried to stop her. She took that to mean he did not mind much if she left.
One day, maybe after many years, you reach the top of the mountain and can finally rest. As you stop your running feet and wipe the sweat from your eyes, you can for the first time catch your breath. There’s no danger here. It’s just you and the cool wind, the soft grass, and nothing lurking just out of sight. You’ve reached the place you were aiming at for so long; now you can revel in the relief of having arrived.
At the top, you can look back down the hill and across the valley below where you’ve come from and from a safe distance survey all that was once a deadly threat. The rocks that tripped your step, the tangled branches that blocked your way, the wolf eyes that continually hunted you through the darkness are now blocked by the wall of time – they’re in your past, you’re in your present, and nothing can join the two.
So with the dangers far below and the instinct to flee now unneeded, you bring back your gaze from the bottom and take a look around. Below, the trees grew so closely together you had to constantly tear at branches and fight with roots to get by. At the top, there is flat, broad space. Below, the air was thick and sometimes putrid. At the top, it is fresh and gentle. Below, you had to kill other living, sprinting things for food to stay alive. At the top, fruits and vegetables naturally come up from the ground at the right time. Below, there was only wildness, peril, running, hiding, escaping. At the top, there is ordered nature, calm, steady breathing, sleep.
Here, at the top of the mountain, you can finally make your home.
I sit in the driveway holding the note I’ve purposefully left unread. After seven years, it’s the last remnant of him, the last of us being “us.”
I see the snow, falling peaceful and clean, and realize this is how I feel.
I unfold his note and read:
(In response to FranklyWrite’s 50-word story challenge)
One of my closest friends is going through a really great time in his life. More than great, it’s seminal for his life being just what he wants it to be in the very near future. As he’s shared with me the steps he’s worked so hard to take that are leading him to the future he wants and will soon have, I’ve been thinking about what my own life being just what I want it to be would look like.
I know I want to someday make my living as a writer. I know I want to someday find someone I love who loves me back. These are fine, perfectly normal goals. The second one is virtually universal. The first one may not be as common (and will require millions of words more to accomplish), but neither are impossible nor out of the ordinary. If 10 years from now I am a professional writer in a healthy, long-term relationship, no one will stop and stare in wonder.
These are my two goals when I am well and stable. This is what I want for my life when my thinking is clear, my mind is healthy, and my view of reality is un-skewed. This is good because it means there are attainable desires I’ve pinpointed that I can work and hope for. What’s not so good is that my thinking many times isn’t clear, my mind isn’t always healthy, and my view of reality often is skewed, as though I’m looking through a sheet of cracked glass. These two goals I have – writing and love – are my goals only when I am well, and that hasn’t usually been the norm.