Somewhere along the way, I lost the Quiet One.
She was so beautiful, and so sensitive. It tore her to shreds to watch the movie version of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. How her soul hurt for that other little girl, so far removed from her own world, who suffered and tried to live and died anyway. We killed her, Mama, she said, but no one else saw it that way. She cried herself to sleep that night.
She was so special, making friends with the tiny, perfect violets when they grew all around where the old tree had been cut down. She missed the tree, but the stump made a perfect seat for violet-watching. I think they thought it strange that one girl, so small, could occupy herself with flowers for so long. Come on, they said, let's go, and so she tore herself away.
She was so sweet, her wide eyes and shy smile endeared even the ones she wished would go away. Loved faces brought so much joy, she could hardly contain it. Why can't you go to sleep? someone asked. My mama and daddy aren't home yet...I want to see them.
She wasn't always sweet. Anger poured over and through her just like pain and joy, and poured out her mouth and her hands. She never pounded or hit or bit, though I won't tell you about the times she wished she could.
She was so creative, riding the stairsteps with the curving banister like a train and making all the dolls she could find sit up for school. Sometimes, those dolls got in others' way. Make us a path, we have to get through, they said, but school wasn't any fun with people walking through the middle of the classroom.
I think a lot of people missed her completely. They mistook sensitivity for weakness, shyness for inability, intense emotion for stage-worthy overkill, and creativity for something that got in the way. And to such a sensitive, little soul, being mis-taken burns inside like cold fire. Is it me? became How do I fix it? and when she found that she couldn't, she went away.
What else do you do when it seems like the whole world hurts?
You know, I don't think it's right to say that I lost her. More like, I spirited her away, hiding her somewhere where she couldn't be found. She's too special, too loving and sensitive and wide-eyed and precious, to have to suffer not being understood. If no one else would value those things, I'd put them in a place where only I could see them.
And yet, she's sometimes lost down there, beyond the place where interfacing with the world becomes coping and coping becomes that-thing-you-do-without-even-thinking. She got lost because she got forgotten, in the hurly-burly of trying to figure out life without her.
The thing is, I want her back. Not just the little bits here and there, when I remember her or see her in my conversation or when she starts to tiptoe out because the people I'm with are safe. I want her to come home, to be the me you see when you look in my eyes. I want a second chance, with her and for her. I want her back.
Has anybody seen her?
**Do ya'll even require the disclaimer anymore? This came to me last night when I was falling to sleep, and it encompassess so much of my journey here on earth, my journey towards God, myself, and others, now and in the past and probably in the future, too. Right now, I'm not overly sad, depressed, angry, or anthing else you could come up with from reading this. I'm just holding this, nodding, saying, "Yup...'s all true."