When she’s here, I see new colors. A few mystical beings I’ve glimpsed, as well. Or maybe I just believed I could see them, for a time.
I never knew there were so many shades of blue. I didn’t believe her at first. But then I saw them. The light and dark blues of different skies, the teal of her skirt, the peacock blue eyeliner that brought out flecks of copper in her eyes. I never wanted to smell any god damned roses before and yet she was the only person that could make me stop for a moment and look around.
I never knew life could be so funny.
She makes me laugh and it’s a form of sweet torture. Things I’ll never think to say, so brilliant, so cutting, so wrong, pop out of her mouth. I don’t think she even knows what’s coming. She can be a stone-cold bitch.
And yet, when she finds the mirth, all I can do is clench my sides and try to breathe as unbidden laughter paralyzes me and causes me to shake and roll to the floor as if I’m struck by a seizure. Tears roll down my face from laughter. At least, I think it is from the laughter.
She appeared in my life, smirking. Flitting around the edges of lens like a hyperactive, beautiful butterfly. Mischief powers her eyes. Hope and excitement bubble out of her lips and shine from her gaze.
I’d climb a mountain if she told me to…cross Niagara on a wire. I’d really do it, too. I’d never look down as long as she is there, her eyes boring into mine and commanding me to take my next step.
When I’m with her, I fly higher than I ever thought I could. I believe in myself. In her. In us. And we fly. We fly.
But there comes a time when you have to realize that rainbows can’t be chased. That life isn’t always happy, and one can’t be a child forever. “We aren’t really birds and we can’t pretend to be.” Her face freezes.
“No…I’m sorry,” I say, “I didn’t really mean that. It’s just that there is a time to be a grown up.” That comes out wrong, too.
“You have to decide what you want,” I finally say. “Making the life you have into the best one possible or risking everything you have to find something that is probably a ridiculous fantasy.”
She nods slowly, purposefully, and the sides of her mouth curve up in a smile and her eyes crinkle. But it isn’t a real smile. And she’s not wearing her bohemian clothes and dramatic makeup that she did before. No more multi-colored blues. I don’t even know what the hell color her pewter-looking shirt is supposed to be.
And every day, she’s there a bit less. Her eyes become more and more focused on the horizon although she tries to hide it. I bring her flowers, resplendent with color and so aromatic that my eyes itch and my food tastes funny. She thanks me, with sweet politeness but her eyes smile with patience and tolerance, not joy. And nothing I do can earn me back the looks she used to give me when she was happy. I don’t even think it has anything to do with me anymore. If it ever did.
I don’t know what she’s looking for. I don’t think it exists. Whatever the hell she is looking for doesn’t exist for me and I want to save her from the mistakes she’ll make. From the pain that awaits her. From the pain that awaits me on that day she doesn’t make it home again. She flies too close to the sun, drives too damn fast with no fucking gas money and won’t turn the car around for Jesus himself when she gets lost.
I’ve seen her balancing atop the bridge rail, which keeps the rest of us safe from the river below, as if she’s a girl practicing gymnastics. “My weight is mostly on the bridge side,” she giggles. Fucking hilarious, she is. I think she’d drive her car until it ran out of gas and just keep walking. Singing all the way.
Maybe she’ll never fall. I hope to god she doesn’t. Life is not a cartoon or a comedy and I don’t think she knows that. Or she chooses not to see it. She doesn’t consider what will happen when she falls and I’m not there to catch her. I’ve seen it before. And she didn’t fall far that time. I lay awake wondering when she’s going to cliff dive on a dare and find she can’t make it to the surface. I bet she thinks the dolphins will save her.
I watch her and know that in her mind she is the star of some overrated Broadway musical. The chorus is booming and the set and dancers sway and urge her toward the life she thinks she is “supposed to have” after settling in a village where she forgot how to sing. I can see it in her face as she bobs her head to a soundtrack I can’t hear. I stare at her in disbelief. She pretends not to notice my incredulous stare, or she doesn’t give a shit.
Because more and more her eyes don’t look back at mine as she gazes long and hard at the horizon. In her coloring-book brain she is driving down a road made of marshmallows in a car fueled by dreams. There is no point in talking to her about the futility of her visions. I’m the evil voice of reality, hell-bent on holding her back. Unless I break out singing and tap dancing, backed by an orchestra, or leprechauns, my words are like some unwanted chatter in the audience. Unconcerned, she continues tapping her feet, hums a peppy tune and stares, concealing a tiny smile, at something fascinating and make-believe on the horizon.
Katya Evangeline (c) 2017
Photo Credit via Pixabay