Childhood was slipping from my grasp as I faded off to sleep. My mind conjured up a favorite memory--I was in kindergarten, we were let out of class early for a special trip out to a mysterious dome in the field. As we entered, it was dark and unsettling for some, but for me it was pure joy, like stepping into outer space. The lights began to glitter and dance. It was then that I decided this terrestrial life was no place for me; I needed the chance to dance on his dust and play on his starry playground--I was going to the moon.
The years passed, but the dream stayed safe and unchallenged in the back of my imagination. I was twelve and on the verge of adolescence. Reasoning skills were in the brew and I made a disturbing departure from dreamland, back to my bed.
“How was I going to get to the moon?”Before my mind could even reason, my heart quickened. I jumped out of my bed, ran up the stairs, swung open the door, brushed over the porch, through the backyard, past the regal old ash tree, and scanned the brilliant skies.
There He was.
Bright and smug with that calming glow He’s always had. He hung there unaffected by my concern.
How did I let this happen?
Why had I held on to this dream for so long?
Why hadn’t I let it go before it had welded itself so severely to my heart?
Tears welled up in my eyes and a pit formed deep in my stomach, like a wormhole through an apple. I tried to escape back to the ignorance I had lived in only a few hours earlier, but it was no use, forlorn and fallen I melted back to my unassuming bed. I stared at the ceiling for a long time, as if mourning the death of a dear friend.
Why hadn’t somebody told me I couldn’t actually go to the moon?
This was worse than Santa Claus, and this was definitely worse than the lousy old tooth fairy and somebody had thought to tell me about those disappointments long ago.
I had heard that Misery loved company, so I told everyone I saw that they too, like me, were never going to go to the moon. Nobody was quite as troubled about this as I was, and so without satisfaction I kept my feelings in.
Months past, then a year, I painted over my glowing constellations in an effort to purge my dreams, but one night an old star shown through and I was reminded of that emptiness. I again began to ruminate and tense. Then in my daze of despair I was swirled back in time to the parking lot carnivals, specifically that ride with my best friend that could make me feel like we were really flying. I jumped to the scene of my first kiss, me shaking with innocent excitement, the linger of Burt's Bees Wax on my lips. And then to the time my brother broke my heart with his selfish decisions. I tasted the salt of those tears, but up and over through time and space to Coronado Island where I fell in love, real love, the kind you can really trust.
I realized that although the moon would have to wait, there were plenty of things here on Earth to explore and discover, Pains that make us stronger, Joys that make us better, there are Mistakes we have to learn from and Mercies that bring us to our knees. All waiting for us here on Earth.
There He is.
Bright and smug with that calming glow He’s always had. He’s taught me that things don’t always go the way we might have planned, and that might just mean that we need to change our plans.