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Figments in the woods

by Today Letter

Photo by Macie Jones on Unsplash

Today I thought about you. And you. And you as well.

I wonder what you think about me, when your memories are likewise unpacked and hooked about your head like a series of collected ornaments, out of season and shaking loose too much glitter and dust.

Is it pretty? Does it also smell like strawberries and that whipped cream in a can, the kind that tastes like childhood and corn syrup? How do you remember us when our memories are draped and dangling?

I don’t talk about these things much here, or anywhere else, for that matter. Not anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve already spent too much time telling the same story wrapped in different shades of paper. Like wandering through the woods looking for a trail and repeatedly stumbling across the same clearing—every path loops back to its origin; every seemingly fresh start returns you to that well-traveled place. Eventually all trees take on the same shape.

They sold us love while they sold you ambition, painted the world in different colors, as though we belonged to separate species incapable of recognizing the hues provided the other.

The story is a bore, yet it’s the only one anyone seems to tell, perhaps because it’s the only one we were taught to recite.

Not you, though. They sold us love while they sold you ambition, painted the world in different colors, as though we belonged to separate species incapable of recognizing the hues provided the other.

That sin is hard to forgive.

Still. It was a story well-sold. Hard to shake. And you were handed your own fairytales destined for deconstruction.

Like wandering through the woods and repeatedly stumbling across the same clearing—every seemingly fresh start returns you to that well-traveled place.

We had some beautiful moments, though, didn’t we? When the light sifted through us like dusk and the heat from the sidewalk made us dance like crickets. You were beautiful, too. And so were you. And you as well. Beautiful and so often brave, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t braver. That’s okay. They painted courage across us differently, too.

I only wish they had explained that all of the good ones break your heart, that sometimes it’s the heartbreak that makes it good, because there is no other way to learn your own humanness. There’s pain, but the pain is worthwhile.

Stop circling figments in the woods. Be the many-headed beast of your dreams.

Let go, dear.


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