by Megan Baker
Swirls of something and nothing flow as rivers of sand in my dreams, teasing me with little glimpses of him. My daydreams told me he would show up at the perfect moment, scoop me off my feet, and we would ride off into the sunset on a white stallion. Reality told me otherwise.
My life was everything but ordinary. I spent my childhood battling aliens in distant galaxies, saving earth from the malicious wizards who use black magic to threaten the innocent, and brawling nasty ghouls who threatened to take away my superhuman abilities. On the shore society curse the brave sailors of the mind who dare fight for possession of the vessels of thought. Without warning, I’m betrayed by my own crew and cast off into an enraged sea filled to the brim with forbidden imagination. Picky dreamers lose their chance at ever reaching outside the realm of reality.
The day it was announced my family was leaving all I ever knew, my world was shattered. Fierce winds grew into a roaring flame that burned away all my dreams, and left me in the dark. I’d never seen myself as a quitter, but balancing on edge of deadly fall I couldn’t help but to begin retreating into myself.
When I moved away from the small town I called home to the city, I said goodbye to the rolling hills of green pastures and starry nights that guided me to sleep, but the feel of the wind in my dirty hair and the smell of the apple orchard never escaped my mind. At sixteen, I was supposed to be considered a “young woman” but I’d rather be making mud pies than practicing being a housewife by folding laundry and scrubbing filthy carpets.
Age had brought the dream to have the world in the palm of my hand closer, but I had a strange feeling growing louder. Perhaps having the world just for me and my shadow wasn’t the way it should be. Alone in my own little frozen world, playing pretend became an unbearably lonely task.
Life continued throwing new state of the art experiences my way. The first day of college was one that could easily be tossed into the mix of worn out books and used pages, until a somewhat familiar face changed the course of the next couple of hours. A sea of unknown faces and juiced up murmurs fluttered about, but it all flew over my head because I was kitten with a ball of yarn being dangled in front of me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t listen to the heinous words from society or fall for their nefarious tricks. They’d played their games and toyed with my heart, enough was enough. I stepped out of arena and told myself I would be 100 percent me. It’s the unceasing animadversions that build walls of steel alloy. Although I was intimidated by this old acquaintance, I continued reading aloud a ridiculous love note I’d written on some stranger’s desktop. He smiled at the perfect moments, and if I was lucky he’d let out an inviting laugh. I would say the most nonsensical things I could think of just to get him to chuckle, even if it made me look more insane than usual. His eyes met mine, and for what seemed like an eternity, I was lost.
I concentrated hard. The teacher who stood in the front of the room had some tough competition for my attention. My Romeo sat close enough for me to hear his timely breathing, and pencil move about his paper. I drew an imaginary bull’s eye on the teacher’s face in an attempt to keep him in the spotlight. He was quite unattractive, probably in his early thirties with a face that looked as if someone had taken a baseball bat and smashed it repeatedly then sprinkled breadcrumbs on it. For a split second, my eyes were drawn to the shiny indents in his forehead that looked like oatmeal that had bubbled over onto the stove, then got all crusty. As his mouth moved, particles reclaimed their freedom, and flew in triumph through the air. My mind once again wandered away from the class and drifted off into a world where I could actually be Juliet. I’m too realistic to stay in the serenity too long. The thought that I couldn’t possibly be admired by someone like him echoed in my mind. It burned holes in my stomach and made the distance between the heavens and I seem so much greater. It made the sky turn to ash, and the sun lost its warmth. It did not rain, and the vibrant life faded into dark. It made my world shipwreck.
I found something in him I did not foresee. He was unbearably patient, no matter how obnoxious I was. When apple picking you don’t expect to find an orange, but what I saw was completely out of the ordinary. He was different than the others that crossed my path. I almost didn’t want him to be the genuine person he was. He had me sailing the deep waters once again, for the fear that I might actually like someone crept into my mind, but his gentle words calmed the waves. Words I’d never been able to force between my lips began to overflow the boarders of my being. The plethora of ideas, emotions, inventions, hopes, dreams, and heartache started to create a harmonious current that encompassed my life odyssey. I’m far from graceful, and there’s no doubt that elegance is beyond my comprehension. I dance to the beat of my own nonexistent drum and any other rhyme would have more uses to a wall than me. Instead of trying to mold me into something I wasn’t (like ones the previous to him), he brought life back to the pieces of myself that I’d locked away from judgment. We are night and day, but when we meet at sunset and in the twilight, I see colors I have not laid eyes on before; ones I cannot see on my own.
We hadn’t been alone before, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. He wanted to search for tacky Christmas sweaters, it was not really date material but he always keeps me at the edge of chair. A cocky smile filled his face.
“Do you trust me?”
In that moment everything changed.
It was massacre of a sailing ship in the seaman’s tale of the legendary Kraken. I’d fallen through the cracks in the world. The harsh wind against my chapped cheeks reminded me of innocence. I could hear atrocious waves crashing against a sandy shore; the aroma of salty water filled my lungs. The deafening silence screamed my name with a force more powerful than the howling wind. The clouds broke, and light filled my sky once more. Wind rustling through the trees sang me lullabies, as my thoughts wandered to corners of my mind I’d long forgotten about.
It was almost like we’d known each other forever and yet things were always new and exciting. He shared his city-boy dream to see the night sky filled to the brim with twinkling lights, and I exposed my undying love for palm trees…although I’ve never actually laid eyes on them before. Passions, hopes, and ambitions were traded along with fears and doubts. At times I heard a loud booming thunder telling me he’s the one, more often it was a whisper from a blooming flower.
It seemed like no time at all had passed before he started talking about our future as if he was so sure it would happen. I prayed that his confidence would lead to reality.
“I hereby vow to dance with you under a starlit sky surrounded by palm trees.”
His pinky locked around mine and I saw colors in the traveling light. He took my hand; the heat on my icy skin sent chills up my spine.
“I love you?”
His words echoed in my mind. For the first time, I couldn’t describe what I was feeling. It was strange, foreign and possibly out of this world but I didn’t care.
I don’t dare think “happily ever after,” because I know for sure there will be times when I want to pull all my hair out and take a long walk off a short cliff, but as long as I have his hand to hold it will be perfect.
Forever is a long time but I wouldn’t mind spending it by his side.