8.18.2013

I Still Believe In Magic


It's Sunday morning. Haggis and I went for a walk, much like we do every morning. It was gray and wet and the world felt like it was still in bed. There was no one walking around. There were no tv's on as we passed the houses. There were no cars driving by.

We reached the end of our road and turned on to Virginia Avenue. At that corner is a Schlotzky's. Usually in the morning there's a yard crew or a cleaning crew buzzing around. This morning, no one. Nothing. Just dead silence and gray cast light from the outside bouncing off the chairs stacked on tables. The Greek joint across the street was just as silent and still. The same went for the Pizza Hut and the laundromat and the coffee place. The gray sky held its clouds so low that I couldn't see the airplanes, despite being at the airport. All there was was the dull, constant roar.

Just the roar. With no one at all around, and nothing at all happening. Except me and haggis, walking. The pats of my feet hitting wet pavement and the light jingle of her collar and the dull roar of desolation.

I stood at the corner for a moment and looked down the mile of Virginia Avenue that ends with the hill. Traffic lights lit the misty air around them green and red, signaling to no one at all when it was their time to go. I felt my breath as it went in and out of my lungs. The damp air clung to my throat and my chest and didn't quite want to enter and didn't quite want to leave.

I looked down at Haggis. She was sniffing at an empty chicken container at the bus stop. I would normally stop her, because we would normally be jogging. But this morning, I saw no harm in letting her imagine what life would be like if she just happened upon a big box of chicken while on a routine walk. Everyone's gotta have a dream. I'm not about to take that away from her.

I know how that feels. All too well. People reaching into my life and into my heart and into my head and pulling my dreams from my tree before they're ripe. No's and Can'ts and Won'ts, wilting the fruit of my mind.

Yet, still they grow. I'm 36 years old, and I still believe in magic.

I could be jaded. I could be cynical. I could erect stone walls around my heart and put up blinds on the mind's side of my eyes. But I won't. I can't, in fact. They just won't stay up. It is my blessing and my curse. I have hope.

It's reinforced every time I see someone's eyes light up the first time they see the full background from a scene in Akira at one of my exhibits, never realizing just how much more there was to the scene. Every time someone reads something I write and tells me it's exactly what they needed or wanted to hear right that moment. Hell, even when someone laughs at a joke, or smiles at a compliment, or softens in any way.

Magic. Every single time.

And all that reinforcement tells my heart that it's not silly to believe in love, and meeting your future best friend for the first time randomly in the middle of an airport, and having something you've written be read by thousands of people who needed to read it when all you wanted was to share a moment in your life, and going after a job you know you can do despite having no experience and getting it, and winning the lottery, and even happening upon an entire box of chicken randomly left at a bus stop on an empty Sunday morning.

Sure, that box that morning was empty, and every other box she's run into has been too… But oh, the possibility that it might not be! There's another box! Better check it out!

There's a chance to work on something I've always wanted to, better check it out!

There's a $300 million jackpot tonight, better check that out!

There's a person I've never met with a smile I felt in my heart before I saw it with my eyes, better check that out!

There's something in my heart I need to say, better check that out!

I won't take that from my dog, much less anyone else. People deserve their dreams. They deserve hope. And they deserve the chance to check them out, over and over again amidst disappointment and defeat, to their hearts' content.

Haggis finally lost interest in the empty box. She must have been waiting for a few minutes while I continued staring down the road at all those empty corners and glowing traffic lights and empty buildings, listening to the dull roar of the airplanes I couldn't see.

All I could see was the smile of someone I haven't met yet. Because I still believe in magic.

And magic tells me that the odds say, I will likely be hurt again in love, and fail in a project I want to do, and not place at all in my first ever Crossfit competition, and take another beating and bruise my heart and you know what? It's worth it. Because fuck the odds.

I smiled. What a beautiful morning.

I looked down at my dog, who was looking up at me wondering just where her dad went for a while. I started walking, and the pats of my feet hitting wet concrete were complimented by the light jingle of her collar as we walked on home.