What did you want to be as a kid? I ask you – myself – what did you want to be as a kid?
Did you want to be a slave to your obsessions? To your insecurities? Did you want to feel trapped inside your own mind? Did you pine to be, just simply long to be, an outsider, misunderstood by others, misunderstanding them in turn? Did you wish to lose yourself?
If not these noble dreams, then what?
Maybe you didn’t formulate it. Maybe you failed to think it through. Think of it at all.
Youth was great. We were the lucky ones. I was a lucky one.
Strength of spirit and endless optimism and boundless hope. Enjoying life as it came, sharing experiences with friends and family.
Hikes and canoe trips and watching TV on Mom’s bed.
Oh, the antics and joyful shit devised with friends!
Shooting hoops outside and swimming in freezing pools. We didn’t need vacation. I didn’t need vacation. It was all – all – right there.
No. Not all.
I remember like yesterday walking my street alone, or with a buddy, in the early morn, on the way home. Sometimes drunk, yet always completely sober. And dreaming of nothing, and of everything. This, this whole world was mine, and I loved it, and it loved me.
The stars were so bright on these nights. And when not, then only for the light of the full moon, lighting the gray road and loose stones of the shoulder.
Yellow dashed and solid lines. Black threads of tar filling cracks. Can you feel it? The roughness of the asphalt and the gummy tar and the smooth paint of the dividing line as you slowly jog barefoot down the middle of the road?
This was my road, illuminated by my stars, and the moon, the moon was my deepest friend, my….confidant. And I was so aware, so very aware, of myself, and my feet on the solid ground.
The houses housed guests asleep in my world. I was content they were there. Live and let live. And they let me live.
As did my mother. She let me live. And my father. He let me live. Hell, they encouraged it…life…and me, in whom they had faith. And my sister too. Perhaps she came to see I was a viciously free spirit, stubborn, passionate. Arrogant. Oh so arrogant! Not with aggression, nor malice, nor sickening self-pride.
But arrogance in my optimism and self-confidence. And why not? For me, I was the king of my world, this sleeping, trodden street.
On my road. On my road. Arrogant happiness and naivety. Walking on my road. Ask me anything. ‘What would I like to be?’ HAHA. What a silly question. Can’t you see, I am content right here?
What did you want to be as a kid?
In all honesty: nothing precise. Nothing defined. The wind perhaps. Yes, that’ll do.
I wanted but to remain in that blissful state, forever.
It was all right there.
And now the roads are all foreign. The stars, well they don’t shine as bright. And my feet don’t trust the shifting ground.
I say live and let live, but I don’t understand the rules of life.
And I have a family, kids, a wife. I have a job, a car, responsibilities.
Football games and bush-craft.
And I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.
Well, maybe one thing: to have it all as I have it now, but to have me included. Yes. Me included.
But who am I? I am here, in this form, behind these walls, writing these words. But a part of me is back there. On that road. Where it all made sense.
A part of me walks that road every single night.
A part of me has never left.
Optimism. Unbridled hope.
What do I want to be?
My answer: nothing. But to have that peace again, in whole. To see those stars again, as bright. To be guided by that moon again, back home. To find me again, barefoot, on solid ground.
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