North

Grace is a beautiful dance.

But I’ve got two left feet, and I stumble.

I spent ten hours in a car with myself driving home. After ten hours, even I get sick of myself. I drove through rain so heavy I could barely see, but I knew I had to keep driving north.

Tornadoes touched down to the east, but I keep going north. Sometimes home is your only true north. I’m not good with directions, but I know which way is home. My heart beats for home like a young drummer who has just learned how to play—it’s got more soul than rhythm because you have the passion to keep playing no matter what.

I still write you letters because I don’t know how not to. But like ballet slippers hanging from the ceiling would remind me, it was never home for me. I will never be a mention in liner notes. I am not the one you sing about when you pick up your guitar.

I used to hide in my closet and talk on the phone to a boy I’d practice signing my first name with his last name. But he was never the one who would look my way. Instead it’d be the boys I never wanted who would scratch my name into the back of park slides. I’d blush and roll my eyes when he would ride by on his bicycle to baseball practice professing his love for me when all my friends could hear. But now one is married, and the other is probably a drop out. Which is probably why you should realize the value of those others make fun of, because they’ve always been the stronger ones. And if I could go back, I’d say, “You are going to make the world a better place; also, you spelled my name wrong.”

Life teaches you lessons when you have your eyes closed. It smacks you in the face to wake you. And when you’re too naïve, it shakes you.

I planted a garden inside my soul, but you were rocky ground. Still through it all, new life emerged and I learned the difference. Some people are here to nurture you. Take time and water you with words of hope. Other people take your hand and say they won’t go anywhere, all while inviting you under the covers that were never meant to keep you warm. Then they leave you in the October cold for whatever excuses they choose to tell you, and you can realize the permanence of words are nothing compared to actions.

You said to ask you tomorrow, but you were gone. So I will keep driving north.

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