Remember when we used to play ALL day?
Play, yes I said play.
We’d bike through the neighborhood, with hands or without.
We’d sprint as fast as possible, just to feel the tickle of our body cutting through the air.
We ran everywhere, often yelling and being loud. We were so fantastically obnoxious—remember?
There was the throw-back net so that even if Ryan wasn’t around to play catch, we could still play catch.
And before the bike was the big wheel—we’d go as fast as we could and then pull on the handbreak just to hear the noise and leave the evidence of our speed as huge black marks on the concrete.
It was normal to be sweaty and we loved the way our hair slicked back and was so shiny and perfectly feathered.
Playing soccer was all about power and control. How good it felt to kick the ball so hard, run so fast, trap the ball in a dead stop under our foot. Basketball was about the finesse of the shot, the deep stance of defending, the dance of working with teammates.
And then time passed and you started buying everything reality had to sell. You almost gave me an ulcer the time you were out of work for one month and didn’t know how you’d pay the bills. Everything became serious and dark and the walls started closing in around us.
You started asking me to sit at a desk for long hours, running on stress and adrenaline. It became all about work and survival, while the baseball mitt and the soccer ball and the basketball all got put in the closet. Movement became exercise for the sake of keeping me look right by keeping me small. Then your food selections for us started to reflect your cardboard, drive-thru life. “Is it easy? Is it fast? Will it fill the ever-growing hole of unconsciousness [that you’d created me as]?” The worst part is that you stopped noticing eating, even as you were stuffing my gullet with crap. No wait, the really worst part is that you feel guilty for eating what you eat while you eat it—and so I’m filled with crap and guilt. “Please, Ma’am, may I have more?” Not!
What would it take to return to how we were when we were happy? When we played all the time? Moved all the time? And not because there was any point except that it was fun and we could and it made us laugh?
Remember laughter? That thing that happens anytime someone puts a ball or a bat or a frisbee in our hand? When you light up and start to show off for whoever will look? You always thought it was you showing off and you always made yourself wrong for it. But what if we were showing off our amazing relationship with each other? Our joy to be together? Our ability to finish each others’ sentences and speak in a language no one else understood?
When did we become the stereotypical unhappy married couple? The couple in which neither partner is capable of seeing the beauty of the other because of all the walls of judgment they have up against each other? When did you start to hate me and be embarrassed by me? All I’ve ever done is whatever you asked! Yet somehow we’re that married couple who should have divorced years ago…but instead sit through long dinners in hateful and devastating silence. We go to bed and don’t even say goodnight—we can’t roll away from each other fast enough.
Can we just love each other again and return to having fun? Will you please re-member who I really am—all of me, even the bits you judge as ugly or fat or “not what they used to be.” I forgive you for buying into all the lies…but now that you know it’s all lies, can we just get back to how things used to be? It didn’t matter then what anyone thought. Were we a boy or a girl? Who cared? We were happy. Can we please be that again? Will you please stop using me as a trash can and instead return me to the glory of being your best friend? In return, I’m happy to tell you everything I know. “Yes, choose that. No, not that. Turn here to avoid an accident up ahead! Call your friend, she needs some Erin love right now.”
Will you please forgive me for whatever I did that made you hate me so much? Can we please return to the space of joy? It’s not just for kids!! I’ll show you how if you’ll just take my hand and let me guide you, like I did when we were kids…
I completely adore you.