Secret Pop

Dec 21, 2003

Memory Box

It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.

What are we holding on to, Sam?

There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for.

I get hung up sometimes on how, when something goes wrong, there's no undoing it. I feel so defeated when what was once perfect becomes marred or even destroyed. Breaking things that do not mend. Losing things that can't be found. Taking paths that do not allow for retreat. It's the not going back that flummoxes me. Because of this very thing. The fear that what lies ahead can never be lovely when so much that lies in your wake is ugly and twisted and awful. And memories leave you with nothing to smile about. I think looking forward is a habit. A thing you learn from being delighted. Looking forward is what you do because you have spent your life knowing that what waits for you around the corner is something good. If you keep rounding corners only to be punched in the face by an old woman with a brick for a hand, perhaps the looking back becomes more appealing to you. And then looking forward just becomes that thing you do because your friends tell you that you must. And you cringe inside, because it sounds like faith. And faith seems brittle and naive. And you hate to have to admit that you may have lost yours. While everyone else parades theirs around so proudly. I envy people with something to believe in. And sometimes I pity them at the same time. It's difficult believing in anything when you spend so much time just waiting to be proven wrong. And succeeding at it.

But there might be some huge joy to be found in letting the pieces find their places. If you accept that joy can come and go. That the fact that it doesn't last forever doesn't diminish the value of having it for a time. Maybe that's the greedy part in me mucking things up. Not wanting anything good unless it can be sustained. Fearing the loss of it more than the absence of it. Because the loss begets regret begets sadness begets grieving. And grieving is something I tire of doing on a daily basis.

I hope I will one day be able to look at something beautiful without always being reminded how ugly most things are. It's the way I keep the scales in place, but these days, I'm longing to tip them.

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