She walks the same streets day after day, night after night, summer raspberry swirl sunset evenings, winter icicle frost bright and raindrop fall foliage. The seasons go red, and die brittle, broken sticks become renewed seedlings become spring.
The familiar, smiling faces nod a kind hello. The knowing eyes softly question how was your day?
How was your day?
Inside those four simple words lies the entire lifetime of one soul. She was born across the way, in a nothing-special house that breathed love and magic through solid oak doors and windowpane frame legacy. The scrappy child free to come and go, doors unlocked, windows wide open, surprise guests breeze in and out consistently. She thrived in that nothing special home, on a nowhere important street. It was good. It was a very good lie, until the shutters unhinged, the wind and rain elements wore down the foundation. Sinkholes, mud pie broken dreams and water overflow flooded her dreams.
Still, it was a good beginning, solid roots gave her wings to fly and dance and act out, be audacious, braver than the boys.
It was a malleable beginning, funny, curious, respectful and sweet. She was a pretty puddle reflection, and a smiley freckle face girl with skinned knees and a chipped tooth and Mustang wild spirit.
The child was free; the beginning was clean and uncluttered. Honesty living. It was better than average, she didn’t grasp tight the weighted word responsibility back then.
The memories sustained her when she broke free from the stifled, boxed in, stagnant, preconceived confines of supposed imagination, restless angst of teenage rebellion. Time to go, go, go ahead now and go.
Time to see for herself what was out there beyond the boundaries, across continents, seas, foreign dialects, bizarre traditions and pipe dreams. The fancy, cobblestone roads she found herself walking down were grey, lonely and bone chilling. Storefront windows closed behind steel shutters locking the world away. Not one person met her gaze, smiling back in her direction. She doesn’t turn around, run back, change direction.
She gets lost, turning and turning circles, trying to find a lucky, heads up penny that never comes.
Home was lost on her, hiding inside the oppressive, tall, luxury buildings as the taxicabs flew past never minding the girl with the sullen eyes. She looked inviting enough, her pretty beguiling face the master disguise. She loved a boy, so she thought. He taught her hate, how to despise the slightest perfect imperfection. The girl lost her spunk; she was dead walking. Running, running fast and hitting hard the brick wall constructed in her concrete mind. She loved another, a different but not better boy and another desperately, madly, craving connection. Attention.
Futile efforts, her heart was buried away, tucked up too tight inside the eggplant cable knit cardigan she wrapped around and around her body in shame. Stupid girl, how could she be loved or wanted if she couldn’t loosen the knot?
She remembered a certain kind of goosebump giddy, happy free fall feeling while climbing the highest treetop, or swinging up, up and away screeching and kicking her boots. Releasing the chain link swing grip trusting the fall would be soft and cushy, invigorating and inviting. The fall never disappoints, beautiful, momentary bliss. The giggly, giddy child lies in the sweet, tickly grass where the rough and tumble gravel mix does not frighten her. The fall does not scare her at all. She welcomes bloodied knees, scrapes and bruises.
Feet on the ground was not scary, it was as easy as devouring a hot fudge sundae indulgence. That was some long time ago.
Today, the boys make her cry, her heart hidden beneath the layers and layers of disappointment. Romantic love is the illusion that confounds and bewilders, and yet her heart screams for a second and third chance.
She loved a boy and a boy and another, but never herself. Perhaps the right nice, wise man and not a boy might love her back. Perhaps, she won’t wait. She’s done waiting.
She’s back home now, where neighborly faces greet her, welcoming and summoning her to the porch.
Her heart is not quite put back together, but is more hers than ever before.
And that do over, new old beginning is a very good place to start. She’s home safe, walking familiar ground, peeling back the layers.
Photo: ©Rodion Kutsaev All Rights Reserved