It is so easy to walk carefully on the surface of our lives, never going too deeply into the dark corners where the truth is waiting. Until that is, you are face to face with the thing that shows you how much you’ve been avoiding.
The heat from outside called with the promise of early summer breezes. Tonight was a chance to detour the confusing, circular path that life had become, and she was ready for it. Looking forward to this for months, she had no idea that this one evening would send her in another direction entirely, even if just in her own heart.
Squinting into the windshield on the way downtown, the playlist did its thing. “Summer’s up in a haze,” she thought, already wishing for cooler weather. It was all so very…June.
I’ve been holding on to the weight of these decisions a little too tight, she knew. At some point it would be time to figure things out. For now, it was the time to be with her friends, some of whom were already on the other side of a very familiar door that held so many good memories.
The music started, and it was like going back in time (her favorite pastime). Opener. Headliner. Dance. A little water to cool down. As it all ended, the simplest hello. It almost knocked her over. Struggling to make sense of the charge that had just been transferred, her usual happy numbness was replaced by something completely surprising. It had been lifetimes ago that she had felt such an instant connection to another person.
“And I am,” she thought immediately, trying to understand what had just happened, “swimming up on a tide” of something new and hard to grasp.
She could sense it, though. Maybe somebody is waiting, and the truth is that she has been waiting, too. To feel this way. She has no words for it, but as the conversation continued, this flash of time, she became a different version of herself.
“I have been getting by,” she thought, “and I am so tired and laden pretending everything is OK.” At that moment she was starting to realize the extent of the walls that had been built over the years so that she could keep going. Those walls had blocked in so much, and kept so much of herself out. But there it was; this heat making those waves between them. Could anyone else feel it, or was it just her?
And just like that, the moment was over. Her feet on the pavement wanted to go back to him, but she moved toward home. As someone known for doing the right thing, all of this felt like it was happening to someone else. She tries not to think about what it could mean.
In the morning, she wonders if she has found some other haven in this person, and how that could even be possible. She can barely face it. Thoughts keep emerging, one by one; this has never happened to her before, and she is completely unprepared.
And then she hears the whistle from next to her. Another hello, an invitation, so kind. He has no idea of the complexities. The vines are growing up the walls, trying to reach her. It is everything she was hoping for, and dreading, at the same time.
“How can I acknowledge this?” her mind keeps asking. “No. I simply can’t,” no matter what she may be feeling. So she sits most of the day, hid out and shaking. “Lord, what is happening to me?”
She’s convinced herself that saying no is the right way, the only way. She hates herself for it, both the decline of acceptance, and the overwhelming desire to do just that. The next months pass with no resolution. She is embroiled in a personal battle that no one else knows. At the same moment, acknowledging to herself that something massive has taken hold, and berating herself for even daring to think it. She’s trying. An inner resolution. But she’s not herself and hasn’t been in awhile. “Well, I’m gonna be back someday,” she says. But….what if this is something real?
Cause no one’s holding these hands tied up on me, she knows. She is free to make big decisions - to be honest. But she holds back; fearful to say certain things even to herself. That these years of building a life could be over, have been over. And all I’ve caught of a soul is this beautiful person who visits me in small and lovely ways.
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