There’s this song that comes on a lot at work.
It’s played consistently on all of my favorite pandora stations.
I find that I hear it playing most mornings when I open the store.
Today as I walked from the back putting chairs down I heard the opening line.
I looked up at the speakers and smiled like it was a favorite regular.
Nice to see you again.
“She lifts her skirt up to her knees. Walks through the garden rows with her barefeet, laughing.”
My heart springs to life at the beginning.
The way that he sees her and takes note.
That’s the romance that my heart aches for.
Romance being a word that I’ve felt disjointed from for the length of my existence.
It all feels so contrived; jewelry, fancy dinners, boxes of chocolates.
A series of events or gifts meant to signify the same thing for everyone.
I guess I just want to know that I’ve been seen.
That you notice the intricacies in my existence and are curious about the things beneath the surface.
It’s the only thing that consistently tugs at my heart strings, the only thing I really ache for in companionship.
To be known, discovered, delighted in.
To share the same curiosity about another.
“Let fall the flowers from your hair, and kiss me with that country mouth so plain.”
I think of my early years.
Time spent running barefoot through tobacco fields, digging holes in the woods, and collecting mud from the creek.
I think of that little girl, bright eyed and fiery, chasing after her brothers without a hint of fear in her eyes.
I remember her, bright and innocent with a layer of dirt on her hands and feet.
I put the bagels in the oven, and start to wonder where that spirit has gone.
The one that ran on sparked kindling, and he continues.
“Well, I looked my demons in the eyes, laid bare my chest, said, ‘Do your best, destroy me. You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times, I must admit you kind of bore me.”
I arrange the muffins.
“There’s a lot of things that can kill a man, there’s a lot of ways to die. Yes, and some already dead that walk beside me.”
I fold the hand towels.
“There’s a lot of things I don’t understand, why so many people lie. Well, it’s the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me.”
I take a final glance at the bakery case.
I look through foggy eyes filled with unshed tears.
Ones that I refuse to release for fear of losing hope along with them.
The hope that one day that fire will ignite in me again.
That sparkling, fearless, and unashamed little girl who knew how to run after life, those tears are saved at the hope of her return.
I start the coffee pot and he sings on,
“Will I always feel this way? So empty, so estranged?”
And one is lost.
I stare at it, resting listlessly alongside the freckle on my hand.
I imagine the return of my fiery spirit.
She’s running toward me in the field beside one of my childhood homes.
One of the earliest ones, where I’ve kept all of the good memories and left all of the bad.
She’s dirty and her clothes are clearly hand me downs.
But, she’s smiling and it’s so bright that you can barely look at it.
As she approaches me, my hands grow quivery and I brace myself.
But, she greets me gently, grasping my hand and leading me with wisdom in her footsteps.
I know that her return means a change in my world and how I exist within it.
Foggy vision replaced by the eyes of my youth.
Eyes that serve as a channel for light.
Choosing to see the brightness in others and sharing their own light openly, without fear of consequence or rejection.
And we walk together, our skirts pulled up to our knees, barefoot, and laughing.