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a rose, the moon, and all of the stars

Wonder keeps me alive.

I want to see the world like a child does, to make believe and keep the beliefs I’ve made and hold them for as long as I’m able. I want to forever marvel at the beauty around me, the magic.

There’s a blood-red rose perched on the top of a branch hanging over the walkway out front. It towers over my head, unreachable and unknowable and eternal.
The light of the moon shines down on my face in its strange, lovely, lonely way that makes me feel just as strange and lovely and lonely.

I don’t want to think about the vibrant blood of the rose seeping out in the sunlight, the wind stripping the bleached petals and scattering them underfoot.
I don’t want to know that the moon doesn’t emit light, that the eerie, wondrous glow isn’t the magic it feels like it is, that it comes from something utterly explicable, measurable, knowable.

I want the rose to live and the moon to shine.

I want the stars to be tiny twinkly things, perfect and shining and real and always, always changing.
And when I bring them into my living room to watch them dance across the walls and glow from the ceiling I don’t want to think about the little plastic globe projecting light through star-shaped holes, or the next pattern of stars it will show or that there’s a pattern at all because I can’t unknow that and I can’t unsee it and I can never again wonder at it with a child’s eyes, never re-make myself believe once the magic is gone.

But I will keep finding things to wonder at, things that still hold that inexplicable magic, things that will let me see again. I will keep believing and making and making and believing because the day that I can no longer look at a single thing with pure, innocent wonder is the day that I stop looking at anything at all.

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This is how the ocean exists in my dreams.

It isn’t sunny and it isn’t kind. It doesn’t promise to lap softly, tamely at my feet. I’m drawn to it not because of its beauty, not because of its danger, but because of my own unrest, mirrored in tumult of the waves. It’s dangerous, this indigo shine on the water, a shade lighter than night.

It’s a living being, wild in the half light. It sends waves out to scour the shore, to grip the land and pull it in, to build the wall between wet and dry. The waves crash together at harsh angles as it draws them back into itself.

This is how I like it, this is what it’s like. This is when it’s real.

I follow it as it draws away, just like I do in my dreams. I know the water will come back, come higher, come over me. All I want is to get closer. The wind batters my ears and it’s all I can hear above the waves.

Last night in my sleep I walked to the edge of the sand cliff, curiosity tempting me forward. I went too far and it captured me, just like it always does, pulling at me as I clung to the cliff, crashing over my head. It held me in its infinite arms, indifferent and strong. I didn’t escape. I never do.

I walk toward it now, the ocean of my dreams, curious as always. The waves pull at my feet, dragging me deeper.

But awake, I am not afraid.

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Snapple Factor

I have glass in my big toe and no one to blame.

I suppose I could blame Snapple for not making their bottles shatterproof.
Or whoever paved the streets of San Francisco with asphalt instead of pillows and marshmallows that wouldn’t have shattered my Snapple bottle.

I could blame the checker at CVS for not insisting I put my hydration agents into a shopping bag so I didn’t have to juggle a bottle of smart water, a gallon of crystal geyser, and a bottle of mango madness Snapple.

I could blame my friend for suggesting the Snapple and making it sound so appealing, or for not noticing me stopping in the middle of the street and juggling the items so I could take my phone out and take a picture before the light changed.

I could blame the architects for designing the picturesque buildings in that alleyway, or the workers who built them, or the companies who supplied the building materials.

I could blame the Snapple bottle itself for perspiring and slipping out from under my arm and shattering against the pavement at my feet.

I could blame the asshole who’d stolen my phone and, on it, all of the pictures I’d taken of the city, making it crucial to take as many more as I could with my new phone, of everything I saw, which included those buildings down that alley at that precise moment.

Or I could blame myself for not being more careful with my phone in the first place, or for refusing the grocery bag, or for not asking my friend for help. I could blame myself for not taking into account the fact that I was precariously holding a perspiring glass bottle while trying to take a picture in the middle of the street.

Or I could just accept that I will never know my Snapple fact and that assigning blame won’t change the actuality that there is glass in my big toe.