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our hearts, rough as new stars

 

From a distance, everything looks beautiful, even a forest fire with its vibrant orange and yellow secrets. The way things wash up on the shore after a storm, treasures revealed and left, offerings from a god whose name is quiet, irrelevant. You pick up the sea glass all the same, wondering at the worship to be found in its smooth edges.

Smooth edges take time and patience. They’re the product of unrelenting force, current that neither cares nor considers. It is merely a habit of the moon pulling the tide. It is nature exacting its impulses on whatever it finds.

Sometimes, people are like that. Sometimes, people get caught up in currents and riptides, gravity demanding gently or insisting like a choke chain – but demanding all the same. Orbits intersect, and things collide. The result is always stardust, the beginning of a moment or its ending. It is potential without a set purpose. A reminder than even destruction can be pretty.

Is a bird flying into a storm brave? Does it consider the recklessness of the wind and rain, or does it simply move on instinct, guiding itself toward where it wants, or needs, to go? Soaking rain, gone cold with fall’s dark breeze, cannot deter it. It flies as straight as it can, even when logic demands it should not. And yet, do you have it in you to be that bird? It isn’t as simple as choosing a direction, I know. But it is a matter of bravery. We all choose our storms, and the possibilities are endless. It is when you choose nothing that you lose everything. When you allow things to be as they are, because otherwise, the lightning might strike. The wind may try to tear you from yourself. So, you sit, in a way, in someone else’s skin – because no one can see that the smile you’re smiling isn’t really yours. No one can get close enough to assess it, or those who are simply do not care. You’re surrounded by a forest fire, only you don’t know it. You’re surrounded by a hurricane, only you pretend not to feel it. You’re the sea glass, and you spend all your days trying to ignore it.

You can’t see anything if you don’t open your eyes. You can’t see the walls you’ve put up, brick by brick, between yourself and everyone else. Walls keep everyone out, without discrimination, without selection. Walls, evident in terse words or the keening of silence. Walls, evident in the fear that trips your pulse and steals your once easy laugh. Walls, though conjured for a reason, kill without mercy. There have, if you truly look, already been too many casualties already. Yours was the first – your happiness. And everyone has a right to that, no matter the inclination.

Distance isn’t reality. It isn’t passion or purpose. It isn’t possibility or potential. Distance is a monster that keeps you from yourself, that keeps your eyes closed and your heart tied with razor wire. Distance makes you a marionette, only someone else is pulling the strings. Only, you should have no strings. Only, you have in your worst moments, forgotten that.

Do not be afraid the darkness, because it is how we find, again, the stars.

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