Darling, where did we fall?
When was it over?
My suitcase smells musty. Then again, it's been tucked away in the attic, unused and un-thought of. It was one of those things that was purchased for me, before I could even stand on my own two feet...a case bought for a day that I was never told about, and for which I could never truly prepare.
I fold my possessions into tiny cubes; all my thoughts, all my dreams, all my childish games of old are tucked into the corners of this dusty, grimy case, and I know they will never unfold in quite the same way. My carefree summer days, running about barefoot in the cool grass...I put those days in this case. The nights of winter, sipping hot chocolate by the fire with my best friend, laughing over some lame joke...yup, that's packed away, too. But it will never become uncreased, these memories that I stuff into this trunk. They will never be fresh again. They will grow old and wrinkled, monotone and forever fading.
I lug my overburdened heart down the stairs into the car that smirks outside my fortress. I gaze up longingly at the rock walls that kept me so blissfully ignorant for so many years, until the vehicle behind me coughs impatiently, a cloud of brume blacking out my beloved castle. When the smog finally clears, there is nothing left. No familiar stone work, no drawbridge that allowed my imagination to come and go as it pleased...just a barren gravel pit, devoid of life, devoid of love.
The drive to the station is grey, with thick, billowing clouds that look so low that I could reach out and touch them. It's oppressing. As I travel, not knowing or caring who the driver is, I see the clouds form into an oddly comforting shape, like a fluffy towel being wrapped around a small child after a warm, relaxing bath. The mother's hands are embracing her offspring in a protective circle of understanding and care...
The train station is crowded when I arrive, and the car I travelled in doesn't even wish me farewell, but speeds off in a screech of rubber that burns my ears. There is a babble of different languages, none of which I understand or care to understand. I am bumped and bruised, passers-by ramming me into the stone pillars that line the tracks. My flesh cringes at the thought of boarding my train, and I hug my suitcase to me, trying to keep what precious memories I have left intact. I fear many are broken and torn already.
I am pushed aboard this mystery train, its tracks headed deep into a fog that covers the tracks. I am forced onto this bullet, not told where I am going or even what I am doing, simply told that I must. Because everyone else is.
That is no answer to me at all. But if I must, I must...
As I hang on, leaning out the door of the long tube of metal, amongst all the different people that mill about the station floor, I spy her.
Brown, bowl-cut hair. Long, buttercup-yellow tee shirt. Rainbow tights. Bright white sneakers. The grace of youth and the liveliness of those who have the gift of joy.
Her shoulders are unburdened by cares. Her eyes are unhindered by worries. Her brow is untroubled by the chaos around her. Her smile is not a mask to cover her fear and shame, but rather, it is the most precious jewel she carries, and she wears with pride and happiness. She is without a horror in the world, her mind only weighed down by the thoughts that her make-believe world conjures for her. And she controls it. She has her masters to deal with the outside jungle...they deal with the burdens of everyday life, the woes of the world. She is simply basking in the sun's glow, and indeed, a single shard of light illuminates her face.
I call out of her, this beautiful, pure creature, and I plead with her. I try to break free of the human wall that now blocks my exit from this damnable train ride to nowhere, this mystery tour of the earth beyond my doorstep. She simply smiles a gap-tooth smile, and waves. I scream for her to adopt me, to take me in her arms and tell me that all will be fine. I ask her to take me with her, back to the glorious realms of a child's innocence, where the sun is shining and even when you are sad, you are happy.
She turned, her hair bouncing, and her laughter ringing. I scream at her, but her steps are sure-footed and her pace is quick. The guards push me back onto the train, which now roars with steam and smoke, the metal under my feet moving. I yell to her again, and fight the guards, trying to release their grip on me so I can chase this memory, this ghost of a former self, back to a happy place in my mind, back to my days of youth. But these dictators will not let me leave.
I look back to my saviour, the one who could set me free...
She is gone.
And so am I.