I think he wants to run

We had a picnic in the bed of the truck the other day.  It was the first nice day of spring, and of course I forgot to change the light setting on my camera.  Blërg.

We were sitting in the parking lot outside the zoo.  I thought animal crackers would be a fitting treat.

In the zoo Grey saw an animal she thought was a cheetah.  It was lovely and spotted and sad.

It was actually a serval, but I didn’t correct her.  She said, all contemplative-like, “I think he doesn’t want to be in there.  I think he wants out.”  I asked her why she thought that.  “I think he wants to run,” she said.  A man next to her laughed.

I said, “I’ll bet you’re right.”

My highschool boyfriend and I talk a couple times a year.  We were best friends before we were anything else, and I think we’d be friends now if we lived closer and didn’t each have such a stubborn streak and the confidence to back it up.  He told me recently that he was discouraged from going out with me (by whom?) because I was rebellious, because I had a hard time with authority.  When he said that, all I heard was “because you weren’t going to be easily controlled.”  I don’t remember being particularly resistant to anyone other than my own mother, so hearing that has made me wonder if I really have always been this way, or if this is one of those things everyone else knew but I only discovered about myself after The Bastard Who Broke My Heart.

Dan and I grew up in similar homes, similar schools and the same church.  It seems he has found solace and life in the truths we learned as children.  I only found half-truths and restriction and death.  Thinking back now, my heart catches in my chest, feeling caged.  Somehow my heart feels like it could drown, like it’s fighting desperately for freedom, trapped beneath a lead net.

My heart, I think he wants to run.  I know it.  I feel him even now, beating on the door of my ribcage.  I imagine him running, then leaping like a giant cat.  I see huge, heavy wings bursting from his sides; he takes one last step and hurtles himself into the sky.

Ten years ago I read a quote.  “Sometimes you just have to leap and build your wings on the way down.”  At some point I think that’s what I did:  I leapt.  My heart soars, mostly free.

  1. rick said:

    Freedom is an interesting thing, particularly when paired with rebellion. When we are young, we think it is the ability to do what we want. As we get old, we find that true freedom is the power to do what we ought.

    I hope the rebellion you have is because those in authority are not delivering on their promises or because they are not acting in the best interests of those over whom they rule. (Sometimes the most horrible abuses of power we suffer are accompanied by the words, “it is for your own good.”). Just as importantly, I hope that your wings will enable you to accomplish what needs to be done. Doing the right thing in the face of opposition nearly always results in a feeling of satisfaction.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Thanks for such a thoughtful response. I think true freedom is something we’re all pretty scared of. I heard someone say that we can really only live freely within appropriate constraints (like a goldfish can’t truly be free outside of his tank). I like your take on it.

      Some of the most horrible abuses of power are also accompanied by claims of love.

      My mom wrote me a note this morning after reading this. She said, “You should know that you were not a rebellious child or teen. … You always tried to do what was “right” and to be “good”. Maye a little mischievous, but good. Whoever thought you were rebellious didn’t really take the time t0 know you. Not the inner you.” It’s nice to hear that from the person who knew me best.

  2. Grace said:

    I think too often people misconstrue someone who thinks for themselves as rebellious. Not being a yes-man doesn’t mean you have a problem with authority. I getcha’.

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