Once upon a time, there was a young girl who left home at 16. She claimed it was to attend school, but she chose the school based solely on how far away she could get.
She put hundreds of miles between her and where she never wanted to be again, and still they weren’t enough. She wanted to rid herself of that oppressive atmosphere, the pain and violence, the loneliness and sadness.
She carried with her the burden of her virginity, a gift she had been unable to give away.
It no longer felt like a gift; it was a yoke around her neck, binding her to what she knew would soon be the old version of herself. It suffocated her, like a coat of armor that made it impossible for her to dance gracefully through the world.
She had tried to unbind herself of this before, and others had tried with her, but none were succesful. She waited like a princess in a tower but no princes could manage to rescue her.
She was too young and small and strange and smart, and much, much too eager. And they joined her in this eagerness, falling upon her delicate frame, fumbling with clumsy hands.
While she stayed tethered. Turning every prince back into a frog.
And there were always brothers around, violent and shrewd. There were so many of them one was always somewhere she was. Guarding her.
They tried to tell her she couldn’t go away; they insisted she stay home to go to school, but she laughed in their faces. Their home had always been total anarchy and she left to her own devices. They would not tell her what to do now.
She left, and never returned.
It was a magical town at a magical time and she turned 17 there. It was a beautiful place with fields and waterfalls and lakes and woods and there she reinvented herself. Here she turned herself from a strange and skinny ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.
But still, there was the matter of her innocence. It was a shackle that dug into the tenderest parts of her soul.
Here, she waited. Because here there was magic.
Here, the weather got warm and she walked around the tiny town in her bare feet, putting out her thumb to get a ride from cars passing by. Driven by strangers who were always just friends she hadn’t yet met.
And in this clean air, she could finally. Breathe.
There was a boy who liked her. He wrote songs for her, which he played for her on guitar while they sat on a blanket by the waterfall and had picnics.
One day he filled her room with hundreds of wild flowers he picked in the woods. “White for purity,” he said, and she laughed and pressed them to her nose.
But this boy would not be The One.
And one early summer evening she stood on a porch and saw a man who saw her, seeing him.
And she knew he would be The One.
He was 21 and had one year left to her three. He was tall and strong and his eyes were green; the color of the moss next to the waterfall where that other boy had declared his love for her.
They stood on the crowded porch and the laughter of partygoers swirled all around them. But now there was no long any need to be there; in each other, they saw the reason they were both there. They left together as if it had already been decided.
Which it had.
And that night the walls of his room shimmered in different shades of gold. On the next night and every night thereafter they were just brown, but that first night she remembered them as gold.
And later she would remember his smile and his moss-green eyes and his strong gentle hands. And his patience.
There was wine and music and candles and the walls glowed in prisms of gold.
♪♫ Whatever colors you have in your mind,
I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine ♪♫
Their rhythms were not in sync and her heart was beating too fast. So he moved very slowly.
And in the morning, as the sun rose over a pastoral country dawn, her face smeared with fatigue and want and need; finally, finally this man took from this girl what she had wanted so badly to give.
And she lay next to him, grateful and glad. And brought his hands to her mouth and kissed them.
She looked out the window and saw all the colors of the world opening to her at once.
There was nothing left of who she had been.
And she was Free.
(But really, the Beginning)
Did you ever realize the clip-clopping sound in the beginning of “Lay Lady Lay” was cowbells? What songs remind you of the most incredible moments of your life?
Talk to me. I’m listening.