photo: ‘first dance’
‘one day i will find the right words and they will be simple.’ — jack kerouac
when i had been 18 for two weeks, i decided i was moving from california to nashville. it was a spontaneous decision i made at 10:30 at night and by 5:30 the next morning, i had packed everything into my truck, mapquested directions, bought coffee and was on the road. i drove for 4 days — crying most of the way — listening to “turn the page” on repeat for at least 600 miles. it was the sort of decision that i made by closing my eyes and being quiet. it was the sort of decision that i made by listening to myself.
it was a simple decision to make.
really. it was one of those moments in life where all of a sudden everything is clear and sparkling and all the broken glass has turned into stars. the discordant humming turns into melody, turns into an arc, turns into something beautiful and graceful and clean.
there’s something to be said for those moments. those perfect moments when happiness is tangible and you can taste it dripping off your tongue. when you’re walking down the street and the sunlight is perfect and the trees are alive and it feels like everything is so full it will burst. those moments when you feel more alive than you’ve ever felt. when she feels perfect in your arms and you can’t forget the taste of her lips. when you can’t remember anything ever being so beautiful.
i like to think that these moments are like little marbles that you’re saving up in a rough, unsuspecting bag. a small little thing that you carry around in your heart and in your body. and sometimes this little bag spills — you see a photograph that triggers a memory, you hear a certain song, you smell perfume — and all of a sudden you fish around until you find this little golden marble in your hand again. there it is — you’d almost forgotten about it — and you roll it back and forth on your palm before placing it gently back inside.
it’s bittersweet, this little marble. it’s always bittersweet for me, anyway. i always feel a little melancholic, a little worried that i won’t have any more perfect moments to add to my life. that i’ve met my quota and i’m bound to a life of fishing around for memories, holding them in my hands briefly — only for a moment — then tucking them back safely away. back in the shadowed streets of my heart and brain. back where memories clunk into each other blindly without my knowledge.
and then something happens.
something always happens. you’re driving with the windows down, your arm extended, Bruce playing on the radio and you’re struck with just how perfect every goddamn thing is. how big the world is, how big you are, how much love you contain.
there’s a lot to be said about where you are now. right this second, drinking your coffee or yawning or rethinking a conversation you had. stressing about your job, feeling awkward or unsure, deciding what to do next. this is where you are.
walking through the streets of your life.
and not just walking through the streets, but walking new streets. a new territory. a new city, even. where everything is different and maybe you don’t know who you are or where you’re going or even where you want to go. and that’s okay. and it’s okay to walk slowly, to take too long tying your shoe because you’re a little bit scared to start again.
but don’t stop. and if you want to, close your eyes and let everything fall into place. let the fire dance at your feet, let the world spin, let the lovers neck in the backseat, let the old men play chess in the park, let the dogs chase birds.
you’ll be fine.
it’s always that simple.