The picture is very vivid and it plays over and over in my head from time to time. I see all the details and I can feel and smell the warmth every time I go back for a visit. Have you ever been in the hot sun, as sweat sizzles on the back of your neck like Saturday’s breakfast bacon, and your skin has goose eggs all up and down your arms? There is a faint smell of skin cooking but it isn’t pungent, it is sweet-smelling. That’s the warmth and aroma I’m talking about. There is a little blonde girl. I’m pretty sure she is me. Maybe?
This little girl is wearing a dress with a big bow wrapped around her waist. For a second I pause every time as I watch this scene unfold because if I recall my pictures from childhood, I was a hopeless mess at times. One picture, in particular, haunts me in my dreams because my bangs are chopped in an angry and drunken triangle shape; I’m rocking a really long “Joe Dirt mullet” and my monogrammed red sweater with a white ruffled collar doesn’t fit the ‘little girl with a dress and a bow’ type. I am appalled that no one called Child Services back then because clearly there was abuse going on in my home. Any parent that sends their child out in the world with a “Joe Dirt mullet” is mentally abusing their child. Of course, I had a few crooked and missing teeth to polish off my look. I tend to be a little dramatic in life but this kind of crap scars permanently.
Alright, back to this kid. She is twirling around a fountain and it looks like the fountain that can be found in the opening credits of ‘Friends’ (shout out to Ross and Rachel!).The fountain water is dancing as if on stage as the sun shines behind it as the backdrop. The water plies and pirouettes together and every now and then a splash of water goes rogue and wants to steal the show. Proving yet again there is always one in the dance company that pulls their inner Diva out on stage and tries to show off way too early as if they made a “mistake”. As if! You know what you were doing, Water Dancing Diva!
My eyes are drawn to the field of wheat that surrounds the fountain in a semi-circle in the background. I see all the particles of dandelions floating in the air, the sun playing its’ part in creating art, as the dandelions sparkle like glitter because of this braggadocio sun. The translucent sparkle is probably leftover angel dust from the raging party they had the night before because angels probably puke glitter in my mind. How else do I explain what I see scattered before me? The whole scene seems fake but I think it may be a real memory from my childhood.
I can hear the girl giggling as she holds her dress in a ladylike fashion and her dress dances along in sync with the water fountain. I’ve always loved musicals and plays and I don’t even have to pay to watch this play out before me! Strangely there is nobody around and she doesn’t look scared as I watch her from a distance. Now I know if this little girl is really me we are talking the early eighties, a much safer time in history, but I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t let me roam around a wheat field without some parental guidance. This is where I teeter from dream or reality in my brain when this vision comes to me every now and then. Regardless if this is reality or not, the little girl’s peace is contagious. So I sit in the grass patch I’m standing on from a distance because I want some of what she is having.
Immediately I feel the green grass tickle my body as I lay down and let the sun warm me up even more. I hear the faint laughter of this precious beauty serenading me in the background. I make grass angels in the patch and I can feel the grass locking fingers with my fingers like we are on a first date. A sensation washes over me and the feeling of peace and love push out my fears, questions, doubts, and set up camp. It pierces through every vein in my body and now instead of superficial warmth that is all surfacy, I am baking like a cookie in the oven from the inside out. I feel content inside; a cozy content nestled up to the hearth of my warm beating heart. I am not alone. She is not alone. We are not alone. We never were but somewhere down the road, we lost sight of that.
Like that rogue water in the fountain, I went off on my own and tried to do it all by myself. I took my act out on the road without a director to help me with vision, my lines, and assign me a Hollywood-type costume designer so I didn’t have to wear monogrammed sweaters (death to first world children everywhere). Obviously, I am not the only one to do this, I’m not a pioneer when it comes to paving your own way without guidance, and I won’t be the last. Interestingly, believers or not, we tend to blame God in times of troubles, bad decisions, and for hairdressers that were trained in beauty school by Joe Dirt himself. Why can’t we at times embrace the fact we are gifted with free will from birth? Our whole life is full of choices after choices after choices. We can choose to be pissed off or we can choose to forgive that person who slighted us in such a way. We can choose a purple pillow to offset our gray walls or choose an orange one to drive out the point we are different from the normal and expected. We can choose to throw on our backpacks, hit the road on our own with a couple of Cliff bars, and an endless supply of Slim Jims. We can try to hike the path by ourselves but eventually, an unforeseen accident happens on the road. You don’t know what the Hell you are doing because you thought about the needs of your stomach like all humans do, and you didn’t pack bandages or hydrogen peroxide. After all, you were merely taking a small hike to get a bit of fresh air on your own. With a childlike innocence, you got a little ballsy, and you took your talents to South Beach without consulting anyone. We can choose to believe there is a God and have faith in every painful and celebratory step we take in life. We are gifted with free will and it is up to us how we use it. Free will is the most selfless gift and such a gift it is!
I choose to believe that little girl is me and I will grasp onto the hope that I am not alone and I never was. Even in the moments of great disaster and piss-poor scenes that were written in my life, I was never alone but given free will to do whatever pleased me at that time. It doesn’t matter if this vision is real or a dream, all I know is that when I am taken back to it, the whole scene permeates through me to the very core of my being. I am reminded that peace is a choice too and like that little girl I choose it. Every time I welcome peace it runs through my fingers like the green grass I get to lie in; paints my arms and legs with content, and I can smell the dewy freshness of peace as it surrounds me with soft warmth. If it makes me crazy to believe so deeply in a higher being that is greater than me, sign me up, get me my straight jacket, and load me up on Seroquel. I don’t ever want to hit the road again and go out on my own without my lantern ever again.