Nothing prepares you for the ache of mourning. I am mourning my idealism today, trying to hold onto the ideals in a quicksand hug while reality grapples me like an inseparable birthmark. The trajectory of growing up is learning how to make a coral museum of grief inside the wormholes of your heart. Unable to build a Lego bridge where your idealism kisses your reality, unable to write yourself a soft epilogue.
Before we were trapped, we had nursery rhymes in our smiles and technicolor cartoons in our eyes. Marigold cheeks engraved with red constellations carved by English teachers and moon craters for dimples. Before we binge ate cynicism cookies, there were slices of sunbeams for breakfast and playdoh dreams in our hearts.
I like to believe that time is pixie dust washing away in an hourglass. This year, it seems pixies were playing with the hourglass like Tiktokers play with playback speed buttons. I saw loneliness courting humanity, foxtrotting around the planet like Newton’s law of gravitation.
They didn’t tell me growing up was nurturing houseplants of responsibilities and often failing to water them because you are binge-watching a DVD of nostalgia on nights when loneliness sublets you it’s house. They didn’t tell me growing up was walking in circles in my room past midnight trying to remember the face of my imaginary friend. Dimming in my mind in slow motion like the night mode of my phone.
My heart and mind are caught in a bar brawl and I am writing a list, 101 reasons why I do not want to take a bath in a tub full of cheap barroom whiskey. I am under so much pressure, that every time I yell about my mundane frustrations, a diamond falls out of my mouth.
This year morgues served welcome drinks no one ever wanted. We inclined towards ice skating, tiptoeing with skates on sheets of paranoia and uncertainty. Silly! You don’t tiptoe on ice, you will plummet like snowflakes that never had the chance to twirl magically in a Disney movie.
I am a liar.
Let me tell you a story you wouldn’t even try to understand: I have vanished into easels and thrown myself into an ocean of stories.
Yesterday night, I swirled a globe with my fingertips that shimmered under the neon fairy lights emerging from my roommate’s canopy wall. It looked like a dilapidated disco ball of a downtown club that shut down not long before the pandemic followed. My eyes were filled with the portion of witches, predatory hunger and gentle fascination, a toxic hazard.
You see, I was desperate, searching for the map of a magic shop. A magic shop that still followed the barter system. I wanted to barter my fears for better dreams.
On good nights, I can think of the future without flinching as if I have crushed the stars of fortune and constellations of fate as if I learned cartography before I learned to dream. The map of the future is planned and scaled, pinned with rusted rose gold push pins on the corkboard of my heart.