There was a long period of healing and silence in my life. Then one day, unlike any other, I was paralyzed by her. It felt as though someone took my throat by their hand and threw me off a cliff, tossing my body for the pressure of the deep ocean to finish me off. This feeling lasted less than a second until I realized the woman I saw wasn’t who I believed her to be. Regardless, the reaction I never wanted to experience occurred, even though it wasn’t you.
Her long, golden hair, plain t-shirt, and Converse left me dumbfounded because she could still pass as you out of the corner of my eye. You, with the gumby walk, the cheerful eyes, the outstretched arms, and the wide, bright smile. This woman fooled me to believe you were here, somehow. But every second longer that I looked at her, she grew darker and darker, running farther from an image of you and into the person she is. She was beautiful, but the golden hair dulled because it wasn’t yours. Her face was plain and absent of freckles. Her eyes were blue, but unable to capture the universe as the ones I knew so often do.
She made me feel emotions I had hoped to wither and cease on their own, yet here I was, made to chat with a shell of you. And here I was, my body craving to talk to her about you. You, someone she’d never know or meet, and still I thought of every excuse in the world to throw you into my reality once more.
Maybe you would appear. If you can meet any stranger on a given day, why is it that our paths would never cross again? Maybe you would fill her body and the more I tried to spark conversations that you and I would have, the more she could converse like you. But I knew that to be impossible from the start.
There’s a reason you glow on a sunless morning and radiate warmth through a phone call in the cold. You are like the last sunflower to wither in a field – the one that passersby find beaming back to them amidst the fallen – and forging that is simply hopeless.
But my time of viewing that field had passed, and for the first time, I wanted to numb my feelings for any other golden-haired girl. I never wanted you to appear out of the corner of my eye again and crumble like I had. There were so many ways I tried to make this happen, to no avail, but I kept coming face to face with my fears.
It wasn’t fair to be afraid of you though, because it wasn’t you who scared me. The real monster under my bed was the idea of caving to feelings I’d tried to let go of. I became terrified that I would never find a person to look at me like you had once done, and with more time the shadows crept from my bed and up the walls every night. Even when someone brought light to my room, I could still see the shadows feeding on the silence between you and me. I didn’t know how to end it, until it ended.
I came to realize that you will always be a presence in my life, but that my eyes are the ones that determine how to view you. You, the walking embodiment of light, could remain the shadow that haunts the back of my mind, or you could return as who you deserve to be, and my friend.
As it has always been with you, it was easy. Suddenly, facing this monster head on with a few words between us diminished it to dust. And suddenly, the weight of my fears lifted and my mind opened to the idea of one sunflower beaming back to me, who is not you.
We all deserve the freedom to find someone who brings light into our lives, and little did I know that facing my fears would nip them in the bud and bring about that liberation. Now at a glance, long, golden hair and bounding strides bring about a nostalgic hum of Summer. I don’t shutter at their appearance like I once did, but I do think of you. I treasure the moments that existed between us and hope you find yourself appreciating the infinity that we created within an instance, just as I do. Moreover, I hope you find someone to bring you light, or to stand with you in the field until you do.