Friday, July 17, 2015

Catch and release—a fairytale for grownups


A story about fishing for something that doesn't belong to you:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who met a boy at Rocky Horror Picture Show. And somehow, during the Time Warp, they became entangled on stage, and stayed that way for the next month.

Some April moon it was; a magical waxing and waning. Delusional, really. The girl was certain she'd found the deepest love. And the boy managed to get as deep as a boy could, until he hit the bottom of his conscience, finally confessed that he had a long time girlfriend in a city a hundred miles away. His lover thought he was just taking a break—the off-again portion of give and take. And the delusional girl of our story didn't want to be all heroic or a martyr over this, but yeah, no one wants to be second pickings. She let the boy go. And though their paths kept crossing, she never thought to make a move to steal him back as hers. She never thought she had any sort of claim on him, although she harbored the secret belief that their month had something magical that he certainly must have recognized too. 

And then, ten years later, the boy had a tragic accident, and the girl saw him one day crumpled in a wheelchair at the grocery store with his wife looking weathered. Her first thought was to reach out to him, to tell him how much she cared, to say that he'd always been something special to her. But she hesitated. She asked a girlfriend how to go about writing to him. What was the right thing to say? And that girlfriend gave her the best advice anyone can give or receive—

"He's not yours. He's hers. She's his. They are theirs. 

Your letter is for you. Don't write it. Don't send it. Just keep letting go."

The boy's wife left him after five years, because broken people are heavy and her love wasn't strong enough. He spent his time alone in a longterm care facility, online, nothing magical. And one day he found the girl.

They bumped into each other then as they had fifteen years before on a crowded stage, completely in the dark. And she got the nerve to ask him, "Was it the same for you as it was for me? Something special with awkward timing?"

And he answered honestly, "No. It was just sex."

So reader, let me give you some sage advice. Books close mid-story for very good reasons. Your part in the plot fizzles. The characters grow bored. The tale is little more than a trifling. Your Prince Charming isn't yours. The trick is learning not to try and reopen the book. Other people's stories move on without you while your tale spins aimlessly. And unless you really can't find a way to start your own plot where you're not a wicked witch, keep in mind—

He's not yours. He's hers. She's his. They are theirs. 
Your letter is for you. Don't write it. Don't send it. Just keep letting go.

1 comment:

  1. As a UVU student participating in the editing circles on campus, I know of you. One of our mutual friends feeds brought up your blog, so I was reading the content this morning. You're phenomenally talented across the board, incredibly entertaining in your humor, absolutely inspiring in your courage and sincerity, and enviably insightful. It makes it easy to see why the faculty at UVU hold you in high regard whenever any of the current editors mention you.

    But I'm leaving a message just to say this piece is incredibly powerful. I know there are bigger things in life to worry about than guys who aren't as fond of you as you are of them, but I can't get over how empowering a few lines can be. Specifically the last paragraph and final lines. I was struggling with the crush-likes-best-friend-better drama this morning- a familiar feeling I've explored for a few years now (only one experience, but I'm still friends with the best friend who mentions him in the most cat-got-the-mouse sort of way) when I read this entry and felt, even if it's just for now, like everything's going to be okay. =)

    Thank you for that. And I hope that the strength and encouragement that you're capable of providing others with comes your way more frequently to help make life's trials a little more bearable each day.

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