By J.L. Pendall
Tides turn and days pass. I have nothing but hope for you.
I certainly don’t want to speak of certainties, which are bleak and few. Certainty rarely offers anything but pain as the peripheral chaos sporadically sweeps in and turns our worlds upside down. Loss is certain. Loss is certain.
In stark contrast to that, there’s the beauty. The joy behind you is ahead of you too. Its arrival is often uncertain, like a funny meme sent by a friend. Happiness unfolds out of the blue, a sudden spring, a burst of light. Then all the burdens fall away, and it’s easy being yourself for a little while.
Those good times can shine through the haze of monotony, lifting you up to face whatever comes your way. Those days are ahead too. Those days and those perfect moments. Even the next one could be one.
Hope can be dangerous because what we hope for might never happen.
Being realistic is one solution, or learning to roll with the punches. Or we can go the other way, letting our hopes be vague but passionate, wide open to possibility. Open like sails on the sea, pushed through the waves by the pull of could be.
This is what I have in my darkest hours, when the tenuous plank I was standing on snaps, plunging me into absence. Into that black water that’s so cold that it burns. Curling up to keep the heat, caring for that little spark of joy that remains.
Hope has always kept me moving. “There’s something to this whole life thing. I don’t know what it is, but I know that it is.” That’s why I can’t stick with an -ism. If I thought I knew the meaning of life, then what the fuck would I have to stick around for? Besides, we all know that it’s 42.
Meaning is elusive because things are always changing.
It’s tempting to think that that means it’s all meaningless, but really it’s just that we haven’t adapted to the new direction yet. Sometimes it takes time to see how where we are fits with where we were. When it clicks into place, that’s like adjusting the sails to meet the breeze.
“But where are we going?” That way (points down). But, for now, uh, that way (gestures cluelessly). It’s funny because the unknown can be so terrifying, but it’s really the knowns that cause the most pain. The ship is gonna sink. In the meantime, we’ve got the whole sea to play in.
We’ve got campfires, fireflies and laughter. We’ve got chocolate, autumn nights and melodies. We’ve got stretches, satisfying burps and lulling showers. When we don’t, there’s still hope. Good times behind, good times ahead.
I could withstand a thousand days of darkness for one moment of light. Even if that is kinda like what life is, I’d call it a fair trade. I can picture myself elderly, on my deathbed, looking back at one perfect moment. Just one. Despite the pain and loss, it was worth it. It was worth the ride.
In the meantime, days will pass and tides will turn.
Editor: Dana Gornall