Sometimes we forget to open the gates. We plant ourselves in the faded blue armchair, bowl of chips in our lap, and gaze bleary-eyed at the TV screen. We mimeograph ourselves for each new scene. We scroll through Instagram, eyes glazing over their weddings, their puppies, their daughters, their kisses.
Sometimes we forget to open the gates. We choose lemon chicken, over and over. We wear the faded flannel nightgown. We let the ukulele gather dust. We speak softly. We ask for nothing.
Sometimes we forget to open the gates. We don’t walk barefoot at dusk in June. We don’t buy ourselves that lilac perfume. We don’t run our hands down their strong, naked backs. We seek what is simple, what is common, what is known. We remain alone. We don’t stomp or swear or sully.
Sometimes we forget to open the gates. We plant ourselves in the faded blue armchair, retelling the story of his betrayal with the blonde and what she should have done and how we might have been and who is to blame for what. We forget to open. We forget to reach. We forget to dig deep. We close our eyes, the ink dries. We clench our fists. We forget to water our papery souls.
Sometimes we forget to open the gates. We think if we do, that the well will run dry. We think the herd will wander away. We think the children will rush in to pluck the tulips from garden beds. We buy more padlocks to keep the livestock, foliage, and flowers safe.
We forget to open the gates, unknowingly choosing safety over the mysterious full moon howl of our lives.
Here’s to the full moon howl of our lives. Let’s choose it.
(Thanks to Chris Fraser + Firefly Creative Writing‘s “Coming Home to Writing” class, which prompted this piece.)