just before dawn

[i’m dragging this one out of the archives because i need a reminder. a reminder about holding on and letting go. and, perhaps most importantly, a reminder to myself to make the choice.]

where the road ends

you know those things we all hold on to? the if onlys?

if only i had the time…

if only i had the money…

if only i had the words…

those things become crutches, excuses, diversions, distractions, ways out of uncomfortable moments, and, for me, they become a trap, a holding pattern. and i get stuck. waiting. waiting. waiting. if only

so, there was this boy—(isn’t there always a boy?)—and he made me smile, and then he moved away. and if only i could see him again and talk things through — then, i could clear the air — then, it would all make sense — then, i could really say goodbye — then, i could move on. of course, if onlys don’t actually happen. at least not to me. until that one night, just before dawn.

and so, it was me, and him, and the night — of that much, i’m certain. the rest? it might have been a dream.

it might not really matter.

that particular night was of the finest vintage — early october — cool, dark and deep, with a soft wind that sauntered around whispering of times past, and of innocence, and of falling stars. it crept through the city blocks carrying with it the faintest hint of moisture — a promise that the dawn would be softened by a blanket of fog and a shimmering carpet of dew. it was one of those rare nights that held a space for something important to step in. or someone.

and there he was, and there we went, together. and, i must admit, when the object of your if only is suddenly and unexpectedly there, with you, in the dark of a night as curiously magical as this particular night, something is bound to happen.

i never thought i would be here, like this, with you. it’s like a dream.

and just like that, my if only was handed to me on a gilded plate, topped with truffles and saffron threads and almas caviar. just like i said i wanted. just like i said i needed. and i froze. i had nothing to say. it was all a hoax. i didn’t really want an if only, i wanted an excuse to hold on, because letting go meant admitting defeat, surrendering to an ending i didn’t want. sitting with him that night, i realized that none of that really mattered, not anymore. he had long since let go and moved on. the ending was already written, i was just stuck waiting to turn the page. so i surrendered, i let go of my if only, and so, we passed the time together — with words, and smiles, and laughter, and a single kiss on my cheek. it was unencumbered and sweet beyond telling.

my if only had come and gone. and i never really needed it in the first place.

so long, fare thee well, goodbye.

we’re all riddled with fears and insecurities and expectations and entitlements. we’re all struggling to make sense of things and to move along without getting stuck waiting for something, or someone. that night, though not a shadow of what i anticipated, was exactly what i needed, an object-lesson on letting go and living in the moment — me, and the boy, and the night.

and that’s something worth holding on to.


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