I get lost sometimes. I look around and I’m surrounded by unfamiliar ground, which can leave me panicked, but it’s not that I’m led astray.
You see, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and I always let her get her way. She lives above the clouds and gets excited about what could be; I let her run free and wild, miles ahead of me. Like an excited child, she pulls me towards what she wants. She points and shrieks; she stares impatiently and shakes incessantly.
I try to tell her to calm down—if she’s not careful, she’ll wear herself out—but once you’re in her sight, she has all but gone, moved out of reality and is planning the rest of her life. That is, until you look her way and then the nerves kick in and she runs back into our chest, hiding inside like it is a cage, like a deer in headlights until you look away.
As she slowly peers out to see which way you went, I try to convince her that it’s not what she thinks.
“I know you’re in love, I know you enjoy the skips in your beat, but you run too fast and tangle yourself up in who isn’t for us. I know it is what you want, and I am proud of the way you lead, that you choose to see the possibility of what could be. Unfortunately, this is why your knees are full of cuts and scrapes, because as you leap, you have fallen more times than you have been caught, and I worry some days that the next time you fall, you won’t want to get back up at all.”
I sit her down and kneel to her needs as I don’t want her to feel that I’m overshadowing her beliefs.
“We’ve been here before, many times in fact. You choose to wipe it from your history, but with the flashes of good, there have also been bad, and I am left to pick up those pieces time and time again, and those memories haunt me. The saltwater stains my eyes and dampens my skin. I’m not here to break your spirit—sometimes I believe that’s all we have left. I am just begging you to be careful; like an overbearing parent, your safety is my greatest gift.”
She stands and shakes her head. ”You see my pain as a bad thing, but these tears, the breaks, these cuts, and scrapes. They aren’t lessons; they’re proof that we have lived, and the day we stop trying is the day we cease to exist.
“The truth is you need me,” she says to me. ”You have let time’s unkindness beat you to where you see time as our nemesis. You may carry our weight of burdens past, but that’s the choice you made alone, it made you put up walls as if you were building a home, and now, they are thick and oversized.
“I may indeed hide from time, but the only time you leave your walls is when you pull me back, and haven’t you realized by now that causes cuts of its own? We’ll never see just how far we can take this if you never let me go. I am not naïve, I feel the drips of the saltwater too, but I refuse to drown in the ocean that you keep around. We don’t always have to play it safe; our feet can leave the ground, and if we fall, so be it. Safety is something we never signed up for; it just claimed its place over time.”
What my cautious friend always seems to forget is that getting lost is not something to fear; you can learn a lot about yourself in the process because there is always much more to know, and maybe if she ran beside me instead of trailing behind, we’d be stronger in our quest for what we long to find.
In an attempt to ease my mind, I speak these words in kind.
“There is no wrong turn when you refuse to look at a map, which means a destination can never be laid, so let’s keep traveling and see who we meet along the way. I’m sure there’ll be more sorrow, but there is a chance for happiness too—just stop thinking of the unknown as something you need to control and remember that beyond those clouds is a sky that will always be blue.”
Thank God for my hopeful heart, who has never forgotten the true meaning of what it means to hopelessly fall in love.