December 10, 2010

Chasing Ghosts Isn't Profitable

"Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you, baby, one more time again, now"
Fire and Rain- James Taylor

You screamed when I told you that he was gone. I don't think that you were cognizant of it. I don't think that you had any awareness of anything other than raw grief. I don't know if you knew how my heart broke when I told you or how each time you screamed it tore another chunk of my heart out. The pain in your eyes was indescribable and it was all I could do not to join you in wailing in sadness.

I tried to pull you into my arms to comfort you but you pushed me away. I bit my lip and took a step back to let you begin grieving in your way. In the movies I would have forced you to cry upon my shoulder. You would have fought me for a moment and then relented, but this life isn't a movie so I had to choose another path. So I stood there and watched you sob and wondered how I could help. Watched the tears roll down your cheeks and grew angry at the unfairness of it all. Stood there and watched in silence while I tried to find a way to give voice to my rage.

"It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me"
Superman (It's Not Easy)-Five For Fighting

Blame it on too much television or a love that is overpowering, but I always wanted to be your hero. And for a while, I was certainly him. I was your knight protector, the man who wore the white hat. Always willing and able to protect your honor and to fight on your behalf. It was a role that I took on unexpectedly but with no hesitation.

No hesitation because I loved it, or maybe because I loved you. It was natural and effortless. I remember walking with you. I lumber and you float but we did so together. Our strides and pace perfectly matched. It opened our eyes to new possibilities and we saw what had once been old as new. Long conversations about life, love and dreams turned into passion foretold by poets.

"Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!"
Wild Nights-Emily Dickinson

There are tales that could be told and songs that should be written. It matters not that there are but two people who would understand or appreciate them. Such is the way of love and lovers. We walk upon clouds that sometimes evaporate beneath our feet. Sometimes fortune smiles upon us and our falls are broken by wings that sprout from nothing.

And sometimes fickle fortune fails to answer the calls that we send forth and we find ourselves plummeting back towards earth at a frightful rate. Perhaps it was that fall that caused us to forget who we were and to ignore who we are. I did my best to catch you so that I could break your fall. I tried to ensure that I hit the ground first so that I might try to save you.

But sometimes the hero fails. Sometimes the capes we wear bestow no power other than to serve as a silly looking fashion accessory.

"She put him out like the burnin' end of a midnight cigarette
She broke his heart he spent his whole life tryin' to forget
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind"
Whiskey Lullaby- Brad Paisley with Allison Krauss

So I stood there and surveyed the wall that had suddenly been erected between us. I took its measure and considered going over, under, through or around. For some time it felt like the hero was bound to fail again.Super strength wasn't enough to remove the obstacle nor was super speed. It was a conundrum of the first order and something that accentuated the ache and the hole in his heart.

And then one day the hero remembered that sometimes the best way to tear down the wall is not through demolition but conversion. Build a door or build a window and what was once a wall evolves into an entryway that can be used as a path into a future of bright and sunny opportunities.

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