I can’t help but smile. And I also can’t help that even 24 hours later, when I smile about this, a couple of tears spring to my eyes as well. Something happened to me yesterday that I had been waiting twenty years for. There really aren’t many of those things; I’ve only been alive for twenty-five. And yet this is one of the few, and indeed one of the least likely to have transpired. But it did.
This is a story of magic and love. One that, like the smile and the prickling tears, I can’t help but share.
Last night, I was driving home from my boyfriend’s band’s show with him in my little blue Civic. We chatted briefly about mundane things — plans for the next day which included a bro-down for him and a ladies brunch for me. About halfway home, he told me that he’d gotten me something. I thought, Huh. Good thing I got him something too. He informed me that it was something I had mentioned in the previous couple weeks and that he had resolved to get it for me.
I was intrigued; I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it could be. The only thing I remembered mentioning that I wanted was pie, and I rather doubted he had gotten me a pie.
He went on to tell me that he would surprise me with it. I might not get it tonight, but maybe in the morning. Or next week. Whenever the moment seemed right. And no, it wasn’t sex. This made me even more confused, and more firmly ruled out pie, since he already had it, and I don’t think he would give me a week old pie.
I was thoroughly curious by this point. I told him I had something for him, as well. But that it was a small thing I’d picked up at the Dollar Store, and no, my gift wasn’t sex either, nor anything remotely sexual. We came to the conclusion that anything sexual from the Dollar Store most likely was not to be trusted. Luckily, I’d just gotten him a basting brush. My boyfriend happens to make some damn fine bruschetta, and each time we shop for ingredients, he always pauses at the basting brushes and then never gets one because they’re about $8. So when I saw a red Betty Crocker silicone basting brush for a dollar, I had to get it.
An hour or so later, we were in bed. We had a long conversation about my previous blog about dating musicians, including the thoughts that I’d had about what that meant about priorities. He kissed me very gently on the forehead, and as always, I could not help but smile into his shoulder.
I rolled over and put one arm under my pillow. It encountered something there. It felt like plastic, cool to the touch. Like a tube of some kind. I exclaimed that there was something under my pillow, thinking it was just something that had gotten thrown there accidentally before we made the bed. I wondered aloud what it was, and he turned on the light so I could see.
Rewind twenty years.
A five-year-old girl humbly asks Santa for something extra special for Christmas. Beyond the Care Bears, her heart’s desire was set. This little girl was convinced that magic was out there, that it was real, and that one day, it would find her. So she did what anyone would do in that position: she asked the most magical person she could think of for something magical. A magic wand. With real magic.
Christmas came and went — the Care Bears arrived, but the wand did not. The small girl lifted her voice and with it, she made a deal. “Santa,” she said, “I know you’re very busy. You had to get to all the little kids in the world, and so I understand that you probably didn’t have time to bring it. But…I really do want it more than anything. I won’t try to see you — just leave it under my bed when you get the chance.”
She looked under her bed every morning for over a year. And even when she finally stopped, she knew magic still existed. Even when the time came two years later for her to stop believing in the Santa that rode in his sleigh delivering gifts and exchanged that image for the picture of a box from a stranger, wrapped in brown paper. A stranger who heard her letter on the news asking for Santa to fix the leak in the roof above her bed and paid for it himself, along with everything else that she had mentioned in her letter — every jewel Polly Pocket and the crown of all, the princess castle. In fact, she was even more sure magic existed. She knew that she would never be surprised when she found it.
When the light came on, I found myself holding a black stick, silver at both ends. My jaw fell open. “It’s a magic wand,” my boyfriend said. Dumbfounded, I stared at him. “And you already have the magic for it.”
“You got me my wand.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. In that moment, I was five years old again, looking under my bed, expecting a miracle. Tears fell. I had told him the story over brunch at our new favorite restaurant, sipping delicious strawberry lemonade and eating sandwiches made with waffles and sweet potato fries.
As I hold it now, I’m sure. I can feel it in my hands, in my blood, in the air. There is magic in this wand, real magic.
I always knew I’d find it.
i’ve just realized that i am absurdly excited about life right now. i have a veritable smorgasbord of glory to look forward to — so of course, i decided to blog about it. like ya do.
beyond simply being excited to get the hell out of class tonight (five hour lectures suck my arse), there is a lot in the future that’s gonna rock.
first of all, this weekend. my friend mallory is coming to visit from denver — i haven’t seen her in well over a year, and i am so stoked to hang with her here in the great state of maryland. (silver spring, represent) so that’s gonna be sweet.
next weekend, albannach is comin back to the renn faire, and that’s just effing awesome. especially because i was sick as a dog when they were here a week and a half ago, and i barely remember their set at all. and i convinced the beautiful hannah to come with me so we can wear sexy corsets and show off our boobage, which, ya know. is awesome. and if i see the guy who said he’d give me penis to mouth, i’ll just grab a claymore and lob it off. save him the trouble of trying to get it bitten.
next weekend after that, a couple friends may be coming into town (i am trying to bribe them), which would RULE…because the reason i’m trying to bribe them to come that particular weekend is cos my boyfriend’s band is gonna be playing a sold out show with far at dc9. (yep, i said boyfriend — more on that later) so if the dudes come from toledo, life’ll just freaking kick ass.
the weekend after that is halloween. and there is no explanation needed for why that’s exciting.
the weekend after that, the fourth kind comes out, and i plan to go get the bejeezus scared out of me with my boyfriend. so awesome.
then born empty’s comin to dc and also releasing their new album, the oddyssey chaoti-pop oddity.
then it’s my birthday, which i have decided will NOT suck this year.
and after my birthday comes another awesome holiday…goin to toledo for thanksgiving with le boyfriend, and that’s just going to be amazing. so basically, the next two months are going to just kick some serious ass. and tfa said i’d be in an emotional freefall. psh.
sooo…back to the boyfriend thing. basically, it’s a real long story. if you know me, you probably know parts of it, but here’s the super-speedy nutshell version: i met him in my living room in nashville, which also happened to be his living room. we lived in the same house for three days, then he moved back to toledo…and i stayed in nashville. we clicked. four months later, i spent an amazing halloween with him in ohio. three weeks later, i saw him at thanksgiving. a month after that, we talked it all out. we both ended up in dc…and now here we are. that really doesn’t do it justice….not hardly. but the point is that after a long 16 months of wondering if we’d ever get our chance, we finally decided to take the leap. he is, quite frankly, an amazing human being. and i’m pretty much the luckiest woman in the world.
i have an awful lot going for me right now. i’m gonna savor it, bask in it, and roll around in it. so there. 🙂
i’m not much of a fatalist. the movie serendipity is one of the most noxious fairy tales i’ve ever seen — due in part to the fact that i’ve known people to base their lives on the epistomology of this movie. which, for whatever odd reason, seems to somehow fall spectacularly to bits when held up to any kind of scrutiny, or when put into practice — causing tears, recriminations, and binge eating/drinking. if you haven’t seen it, allow me to sum up:
if you meet someone special, and a seemingly insignificant obstacle gets in your way (ie: the piece of paper she wrote her number on blows away when a street sweeper goes by), you should just assume that you’re not supposed to be with her right then.
instead, devise a series of concocted ideas and tell each other that if they all come together in exactly the right way, you’re meant to be together, so there. then, a few years later, you will find each other again and live happily ever after when fate brings you back together after you found her mysterious toenail clipping in your lasagna at maggiano’s. works every time.
or, in the real world, you’ll never see this person again, and you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened if you’d just written the damn number down again.
here’s why it’s dangerous — when taken to the extreme (as, of course, they do in the movie), you will start seeing “signs” everywhere. like a dude named peter? every other person you meet is peter. or married to a peter. or is watching peter pan. or says something petered out. or invokes saint peter to kick you out of heaven. or summons a wolf and stalks around to prokofiev. whatever. but these things don’t actually mean anything at all. you notice them precisely because you have peter on the brain — that they occur is merely coincidence. if you liked someone named…mark, perhaps, you would never notice all the peters floating around the world.
the human brain is a spectacular mechanism. complex, intricate, and fascinating, the brain is capable of doing things we haven’t even discovered yet. people tend to like to categorize things. if we don’t understand something, there’s a decent chance it will be put in the box with “unexplainable,” “miraculous,” “god,” “mystery,” etc. the fact is, however, that just because something is heretofore unexplained, it doesn’t follow that said thing is henceforth unexplainable. get it?
the unexplained is something i like to ponder. and today, my contemplatory musings ran away with me and led in an odd sort of direction.
i was trying to think of plausible explanations for a situation in my life. i thought carefully about the circumstances of the last ten months, wondering to myself how on earth so much time has passed. and a thought came into my head. what if the event that started all this hadn’t happened? june 17, 2008. what if that day had been different in one arbitrary way? what would have occured then? what would this year have looked like? without…i’m at a loss. without so much of what made it good.
2008 was a right shite year for me. the situation in question — we’ll call it the purple blanket* — lent me strength. gave me courage. made me smile, and gave me some of the highlights of that horrible year. without it, i would probably still have gotten to where i am now, but i would have fallen down a lot more on the way.
and i realized something. if that seemingly arbitrary event had robbed me of the purple blanket, i would still be on the path i am on right now. the main factors that influenced my choices remain unchanged without the purple blanket. in fact, without the purple blanket, i may have been even more resolved to the path i have chosen.
i say this because the purple blanket unwittingly gave me strength to walk away from something bad. reminded me gently that no, my chances for happiness are not over. they didn’t end in august of 2007 after all. that i am, in all my me-ness, okay. i’m okay just as i am, with all my baggage and mess, my foibles and quirks. just as i am. this gave me strength, gave me power back that had been stripped from me.
without that, others would have filled in that gap, but not before i got a lot more hurt. not before i got wounded more. and maybe not before something worse happened.
in essentials, however, the main factors would have remained the same. i’d have still met ana and my friends who worked so tirelessly to see obama elected. we connected on an entirely different level. and in the end, it may have been they who moved me forward. but i would have moved forward.
when i realized that, i had a startling moment of discovery. if june 17, 2008 had played out differently, if the purple blanket had been shunted away in a moving van and gone before my feet touched nashville soil, it would still be waiting for me in dc this summer.
when that thought flitted through my mind, i felt as though the world moved around me, as if i were falling through the air, feeling the wind raise the hairs on my arms in gooseflesh, or the charge of electricity that precedes a spring thunderstorm.
i would still find the purple blanket. because now, as it stands, i’m not moving to dc to get to it. not at all. but somehow knowing that if i hadn’t found it in june 2008, i would find it in june of 2009 makes me wonder. fills me with awe, really. while i certainly can’t say what would transpire if this parallel version of the last ten months had happened, i do know that i’d at least find the purple blanket.
and that leaves me to wonder about this thing called fate. i don’t know if i’d step out on a limb and say that certain things are meant to be. a billion times a billion different things could have happened in the past ten months, could have moved me in a different way entirely, but they didn’t. and had they hinged on who i found in the living room on june 17, 2008, i’d still be here, counting down.
and maybe weeks from now, i’d ask a different question. what would have happened if i’d found the purple blanket in 2008? i’d wonder then what it would have changed. and i might laugh at the whole thing. think to myself, “no way would we be here right now — it’s impossible.”
but i’m here. i exist here, april 3, 2009. thinking about the purple blanket. and it’s not impossible. however improbable, however unexplained, it happened.
maybe it’s serendipity after all. maybe it’s a miracle of life. or maybe, just maybe, in all the prosaic nature of finding something unexpected when you least expect it, the real miracle is a simple as looking at the odds, and seeing them beaten. maybe that’s all the explanation i need.
*if spinal tap may be your thing, please excuse the color scheme. i chose it for the memories, november days and halloween. some stranger things upon reflection still move us in the same direction. i can’t tell where it goes from here. we’ll soon find out — it’s been a year.
I decided to start a second page about various thoughts of mine…like a journal, I suppose. On a pretty background.
It’s Tuesday now. Thursday through Sunday were days filled with so much awesome that I really don’t know what to do with myself right now. Between Chipotle, good movies, H & M, and resolving some if-only’s, it was quite the weekend. Perfect, in fact. Perfect weekend.
It did leave me with a few more if-only’s, but there’s not much to be done about that right now. Sigh.
On Saturday, whilst driving down an autumn-lined road, I saw something odd. A leaf, suspended by nothing, seemed to float in midair above the parking strip. We backed up the car to look at it. From the car, it was really something interesting. It fluttered a little and bobbed in the breeze, but didn’t fall. Upon closer observation, we found out that the leaf was stuck to a long strand of spider webbing that spanned several yards. From a few feet, the thread was invisible.
This morning, I saw another one. It is fall, so there are bound to be many of these leaves hanging around, but the one in Toledo was by far the coolest. I sort of feel like that leaf. The wind might blow me around a little, and it probably looks like I’m not hanging on to anything, if you look at me from a distance. Only ripples from far off places seem to touch me at times. So I sit there until someone drives by and notices me, then backs up to take a closer look. Most people just drive on by and don’t see me.
If I really was that leaf, I’d be pretty happy to be noticed. I’d be a little odd, of course, just hanging there on an invisible thread, floating in space, while all the other leaves litter the ground, but I’m a rather firm believer that we are drawn to people and things that remind us of ourselves. Everyone in the car was pretty drawn to that leaf. I think each of us in our ways were like that leaf. Just from what I found out about the others in the car that weekend, we like to be noticed for our uniqueness, our suspended leafness. Sometimes we’re surprised when people pay attention, and it makes us self-conscious. I feel like that. We’re tempted to flee to the piles of leaves instead of hanging out and seeing who will back the car up.
If I’m that leaf, I think I like being me.