So I thought a degree would raise my intelligence, spur me to greater things, open up proverbial doors in my future. I thought I could get out debt free -or nearly. Thought I would do something and be someone. Thought this would be the beginning of the rest of my life. I thought I'd thought it through.
Turns out I flunked on a life lesson before I hit the classroom; no degree can offer the degree of change I needed in my life. College doesn't teach common sense, just common core. No deep morals, just assumes itself to be morally deep. No genuine reflection, just reflecting on generalization. So, I thought again.
I thought of what my money could buy, that would be of true use. I thought how with agency and hard work, I could come up with a thing or two to do without the to-dos of college. And then, when I lost my scholarship, I thought maybe I was gypped.
No degree. No career. No time. No energy. My early twenties spent on double days of work and school. No recognition for three-fourths' completion. No one cared about my GPA. No. No. No.
Maybe next time I'll think better.
This little one is soft and sweet and smells like calm between the cries. She's plumping up and cooing sweet as all the world awaits her time.
Nothing wrong had happened yet. She's pure and innocent and safe. Her heart is growing stage by stage as mind and body change their shape. She's happy now, and sleeping sound. Her skin is soft, her face is round. The plush pink cheeks will giggle soon as eyes wide open scan the room.
Not the Story I Want to Tell
Once upon a time is such a cliche way to start a story, but here we are; chewing up letters and spitting them out. I'm still an amateur ink-blotter, so I can't run the machine by myself. They've only given me the crummy stories to work on, until the pen stain on my pinky is deep enough to qualify me for "Punctuation and Prowess." That's the workshop I need, only then can I start my own tale. The one that keeps me up at night with the creeps. For now, I guess I'll have to settle with telling you how I got here. You see, I never wanted to work at the talking words factory.
Not From Around Here
My eyes lift from the screen as he walks up to the cafe counter, twenty feet from me. I can't make out the details, and it's rude to stare. Eyes back on my work. I glance again. He is looking for a seat. Maybe when he's settled I can study the odd nuances better. Someone sets a laptop on the table next to mine. It's him.
Silver to brown tight cornrows thread from his scalp to his shoulders, half tied back in a controlled pony tail. His dark skin isn't common enough around here, and I'll be caught gazing if I'm not careful. A crystal around his neck, fastened with wire to a gem-stone rock above it doesn't shine, it just sits there softly. He's not too thin in build or personality. He has a presence, and I'm unsure what it hold.
I ask him how his day's been. This should be interesting.
Slowly waking up from a dismal world into a place of peace. Ah peace. Peace is not quiet, just the result of blowing up all the mess between me and God. To get to peace, I've had to walk through all the vacancy and peril painted up and down my past. I wanted it ignored. I wanted my sins to disappear.
Nailed to a cross, and the mess still lingers? Perhaps I missed something. Ah yes, I've spent a lot of time trying to pull them off the wood and stuff them back into my life. At least God's not just one man.
First He made me. Then He threw His life between me and death. And now...
Now is the hang-up. I'm still a mess, and I shouldn't be. Should I? Well, there's one more part of God, the One that's stuck around to pull the crap off of that I've insisted on wearing. He won't strip the strife without permission though. So I have to mend this cruddy relationship with me, too!
And there's another rub. I really am not always my biggest fan. In fact, I've avoided my soul as if it's paparazzi and I've misbehaved in the spotlight. So I snuggle into a dark shadow where I think I'll die alone. Alone from myself and from God.
Then? A nightlight comes on. No one makes me leave the shadows, but the Light lingers softly, changing the length of shadows until I finally feel ready to move again. But where can I go? I feel like I've burned all that was once green and good in my life.
He offers a hand, and says He'll take me to a new land. One I haven't marred. A place I can't dream of, control, or contrive. My rap sheet of wrongs will melt as we get closer, and He'll give me something nicer to wear.
I guess I'll go. I'm so curious.
My jaw screws tighter, and then I let go. My scream feels fresh and free, and the tears, oh the blessed water of my purging soul. No one around me matters in the longterm; for this moment, I see only now. The throb building in my gut sickens me until I scream. I just want them --all of them-- to know my pain. The words are sweet on my burning tongue before I can part my lips . . .
This is how it feels. And when loyalty does not forbit, this purge spills into reality.