I am free.
Squinting, I can make out the road of my life, bending and turning here and there. Ruts in the road in places, some where the sides fall off and you’d slip off into the nothing if you weren’t careful. Some flat stretches of road, the ones you coast on with your arms in the air on a warm August night, with nothing on your skin but the buffer of the wind and the goosebumps you feel rising up your back.
I have ridden it, I have been made nauseous by the steep climb and abrupt falls. I have marveled at the glory which stood beside me, the new lives, the smiling hearts. I have stood motionless as the world fell before me, waiting. All I had to do was reach out and pick it up.
This road was mine once, with it’s chaos and it’s absolution. I left a child there, a girl, a near woman, parked near a tree with low hanging branches, heavy with fruit.
I have found a corner.
I was riding the bus home tonight, my forehead leaning slightly on the window as I stared at the setting sun. It lit the clouds until I could imagine they were bands of silver reaching in supplication to a dying sun, penance paid. They glowed around the edges, diamond saws. I smiled to myself, wondering if anyone else was watching the ordinary magic play out before them.
I feel both ordinary and magical.
I was broken, and yet now, can barely remember how it felt. The aches and agony of a few years past have faded, and I smile again. I laugh once more. I laugh because it feels good, and right. My dreams are coming back-and not the terrifying dreams of death as they’ve always been, but pedestrian ones, the ones you maybe should have, where you fly, instead of someone chasing you around a skyscraper with a gun in their hand, bullets painted with your name.
I realize then, what I have wasted. How much of me I have wasted, how much time has slipped past me while I was busy contemplating my ache. And I realize how much sweeter the day tastes when you grace it with a smile, a laugh and a shrug, content to race the morning.
I feel radiant. I feel centered and whole and hopeful. I growl at the walls in my bathroom and shake my fist in warning. I start heaving doors from hinges, leaving the sander close to terrify the wood into submission. I buy curtains for what may certainly be the first time in my life. I write lists and make plans and think of all the wonderful things I’ve yet to do, and can do, if I will it.
The radiance comes from the surety that I am truly whole now. The shy smirk-that comes from having to lose almost everything to find me.
Hot damn it’s good to be back.