In this moment, I take a deep breath. I lengthen it into a long inhale, a slow exhale, feeling it move through me. I’m assessing, constantly checking for sharp edges, and aches, and spots as soft as a bruise. In this moment, this one, I don’t feel the knife edge of loneliness. I feel solitude. I feel freedom. I feel whole.
Before we fall again, there’s an entire life to be lived. Take out a piece of paper and make a list, or note it down somewhere on our souls. There’s more to life than falling headlong from one love into the next. There’s more to this life than tying up our lives with someone else’s, than throwing away our names and our beautiful apartments for another name and a new home with its real or imagined picket fence.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a picket fence, real or imagined. I have always thought that they must put an exclamation point on happiness, this little fence where our whole world might reside if we wanted it to. There’s something beautiful about the clear-cut outline of the life we’ve always wanted. There’s something like magic about taking a house and making it a home, about taking land and growing something there.
But it’s not the whole world, however much we might have once made it so. Or wanted it to be. Or imagined that it was. It is anything but the whole world. It is one chapter in a book of stories we haven’t yet finished living. It’s not the end, I hope, of our stories. Just one plot twist of many.
Before we fall again, there are trails to hike and waters to navigate. There are walls to climb, either real or imagined, and summits to reach. There are canvases aching to be filled with our unique vision, even if we never pick up a paint brush. There is music to be made, even if we can’t sing a note or play a single tune. There’s a whole universe out there, waiting to be explored, waiting for our unique perspective to take it in. There are photographs to take and new friends to meet and so many stars we haven’t yet counted.
Before we fall again, there are so many roads we haven’t yet traveled that can’t be found on a map. I’m talking about the kind of roads inside of us, the places we don’t go because the way is too dark, and the places we don’t go because we’re afraid of the height of the climb. There are the swamps inside of us, slick with tears…