When the girls talk of dreams and regrets, love and heartbreak, I almost feel like I’m hearing myself and these conversations are merely ghosts — whispers of my longing and loss that have refused to go into the night and be at final rest.
When the girls talk about childhoods that shape them, I think about how sad mine was — to have constantly pretended that a family exists just because there are members to make it up.
“At least you have a family,” I hear her voice retorting always. Sometimes more viciously, other times more woefully. I never, ever, argue back.
When the girls talk about love that don’t end up in “happily ever afters” as promised; I refrain from saying “That might not be such a bad thing” and succeed only because I can still recall what it feels like to keep falling down that cursed rabbit hole, even to be bored of falling, so bored that flashes of bright optimism that suggest there could be possibilities other than memories that suffocate, succeed in pushing themselves to my consciousness — only to be just as quickly snuffed out by by my own hand just so I don’t allow myself to be taken over by false hope of recovery or to give in to the crazy idea that one day, I could move on… and anyway, oh dear, just remember, I’m still falling.
When the girls talk about longing and pining and wanting oh-s0-much for things to be okay… I ache as if I too, am still waiting for those arms to take me back, for those eyes to see me once more, for that heart to match my heart’s desire once again, and for my world to be righted on its proper axis where it is okay to dream, hope and yearn fearlessly and completely as if nothing could ever threaten those ideals.
“You’re cynical, like you said you will never be,” her voice reminds coldly; this time, I honestly struggle to deny that can be true.
When the girls talk about their present state of wandering and their frustration at not arriving, I think about how maybe that is a state to be celebrated because you just never know what joys await right around the next bend… and in a more silent and passive way, I hear myself wondering about the choices I would make differently if I could do it all over again and then about the choices I would make the exact same way in an instant, and just how truly tough it can be to navigate a path between the two.
The girls talk about chance meetings, missed opportunities, loves that arrive suddenly and disappear just as abruptly, random hellos and forced farewells.
I think about how episodes and sagas may come and go, and feelings would remain through all these occurrences. After all, doors can close and be sealed shut to prevent us from ever attempting to return to the same mistake again, but windows still invite us to take a peek every now and then into the life we walk away from.
Then the girls talk about hopes for the future and fierce determination to make paths straight. I listen with great envy and admiration for their courage, passion and strife.
And I think about how walls can be self-erected to serve as great divides and necessary barriers to keep us safe and protected… but also how they can be quickly destroyed and taken down by our own hands so we can create havoc within ourselves when we dare imagine how love and life stories can take a different and more unique turn.
And when the girls talk about sharing their lives to make a difference to another, in big ways and small, measure by measure, heartbeat by heartbeat, I feel the fire in my soul relit, spurring me to get in on that.
“You’re too idealistic,” her voice chides, more gently this time, to my mind and in my mind. And now, I acknowledge her — I agree.
The girls talk about encounters of hope and God moments in life and accidental everyday experiences that leave them a little short of breath because maybe something else has awakened within and glimmers of grace can be felt and small flutters of serenity have lodged within the heart.
And the little girl inside me, the one who doesn’t forget, realises all over again that when paths converge and life stories are shared are precisely the moments when we’ve arrived at a pitstop in life, to take stock of just how far we’ve come, get refuelled for the adventures that lay waiting, and to take a breather, raise a toast, dance a little, get reacquainted with falling… before we take a leap into that next rabbit hole.
When the girls talk, I examine, I remember, I yearn, I suffer, I celebrate, I hope, I dream and I dare.
So when the girls talk, I listen, hard. To them and to the girl within whose voice I may not hear as audibly as the years pass, but who remains defiantly alive and in turn, lending me breaths of hope and grace.
Inspired by girlfriends younger than myself who are living grand stories and making up the rest the best way they know how — with courage, love and a never-give-up attitude… this just needs to be written and shared. First published on medium.com Thanks for reading!