She didn’t write while I was in prison, and I didn’t call when I stepped out the gates, but days later– after a series of happy-but-traumatic decisions — I gave up on everything else.
Sprawled on the floor of a bathroom– I dialed her number, all the familiar fours and sevens that have studded our adventures over the last 13 years. We caught up in short soundbites, replaying the highlights of our very different lives, unworried about having grown apart, because we’ve never grown together. We are the giraffe and the lioness– diametrically unlikely friends.
“Early this year, I damaged my hip and thought I’d walk with a limp forever,” I summarized quickly and jumped to the real substance: “and that’s when I realized I am incredibly vain.”
“You didn’t know?” she rejoined instantly, lovingly, with a light chuckle.
My snort of surprise turned to a giggle, and I felt my soul stretch upwards. Tall enough to reach the farthest leaves on the highest trees. From my vantage point, I could see the vastness of our plains, and all the hills and valleys of our landscape.
“It’s only about the most unlikely and magnificent of things, though.” she explained, and I believed her. She has always watched after our feet, and made sure we stayed grounded.
A silence washed into the conversation, and we let it flow through our jungle of turbulence and thought. Then I told her about what I saw in the distance, and she warmed towards our future and purred movement into our faith.
For slow minutes, we spoke many fears, and pocketed many secrets, and watched as the words we left unsaid floated above our heads and popped like balloons filled with confetti and tears.
Good things are on the horizon, I promised.
We can get there, she promised.
And we believed each other, because it’s our habit to believe in unlikely and magnificent things.
“I can’t stop kissing you.!” he shouted into my ear. His five-year-old hands cradled my face and bit my cheek. “You’re real, Rara. You’re real and you’re free, and I love you.”
I laughed and rose, letting him tackle me back into the soft sofa so I could fall a little harder into his arms.
“I’m sorry everything sucks for you right now.” I mumbled, looking down, watching my green sandals pulling in more sand than not.
“I’m sorry everything sucks for you right now, too.” she said, looking forward at the ocean rolling in and out. A small grin blossomed on her face with a thought, and my heart waited for her heart to express it. My smile is a loud snap– but hers is a long note soulfully, honestly held– and I listened to it sing behind her next words. “Well. Not everything sucks.”
“No,” I agreed, “Some things can’t help but be wonderful and then we do what we do and… well, survive the stuff that needs surviving.”
My smile clapped, and another chorus rose over her face, this one tinged with impudence and jazz.
“I wonder how many dogs have peed in that spot?” she pondered aloud, staring at a red metal dog silhouette propped in the middle of the beach.
I thought about it. “Thousands? Sand is pretty much just pee and poop and dead skin and…”
“Death.” she completed.
Still, we stomped over it and swam right through it– letting it slide between our toes and cling to our skin– because if life hadn’t stopped us yet, the perils of sand certainly couldn’t.
I’ve been collecting all types of joy lately– making new joys, but keeping the old. One is silver, after all, and the other is gold.
I’ve developed a taste for this new gritty kind that has sneaked into my world– full of slapped truths, cheek bites, and death sand. And, all the while, I stock pile my golden joys– the Love that can be found in a best friend’s certainty, a child’s arms, and the smiles shared between old friends who just met.
Yes. My joy lights my dark, and helps me find the way to the words I need to keep my worries at bay.
“Listen up, Fear!” my joy announces:
Listen to the Fish &
This was written for Sreejit’s Dungeon Prompts. Stop by and check out what the other participants have to say, and maybe even add your voice to the joy he’s collecting this week?