By Chris Kuhn
She had left the gift there in a box.
Tied with a red velvet bow so many years ago.
When she was told to put down that glistening, colorfully garbed present, for it was too early to unwrap.
Or to get those rebellious fingers out of the decadent bridge mix for they had sneaked into the candy dish too many times already. Supper would be spoiled.
And when she started to cry because she was told a jolly man who could make each dream come true were all pretend and he disappeared in a puff of smoke, something else vanished that day.
Her head was always in a book.
Sometimes she would peek over the edge of the page, only to find no one staring back. Until one day, someone was, and the most exhilarating rush overtook her.
The smell of roses filled her small apartment, she clutched on tightly to his promise tied with a red velvet bow as ‘I love you’ and ‘I do’ wrapped her in hope for the future.
Blind to truth she could not see, this man dissolved into dust as pretense fell away and with it her notion of happily ever after. She would gather the pieces into a silk scarf and tuck away her heart. For now.
She lined her path with pretty words. She knew she held a power to wield them.
Words that could unearth the hidden meaning of our sighs, bring more clarity to the horizon or pull us out of rough currents if used as a life preserve and not an anchor.
Nothing easy to say could be carved without careful placement of the right words, meticulously chosen and weighed for their worth beside each other and neatly lined up in a row. A complex thought, a strategic proposal, an emotional waterfall wrapped and tied with a red velvet bow.
She had no idea where words might take her and the possibility intoxicated. But with every sentence she wandered deeper into her own forest, closer to the perimeter of a burial ground of submerged memory and forgotten promises to herself. As each suspenseful page turned, she got a little bit closer to the conclusion of her own story. And this frightened the hell out of her.
She never thought about the past before but its ghosts rose to the surface. Summoned by her own words.
Experiences that shaped who she had become and who she knew she could never be though she had tried so hard. Dimensions of her character she did not always understand but had grown to accept. Parts of her she wished away but refused to leave.
Why is it we muster the courage to change our life only when we no longer possess the time nor energy to do so?
Life becomes that perfectly wrapped present under the tree you simply must not touch. Or the tempting candy dish you dare not divulge in exploring, because that would be wrong. We still allow ourselves to believe in magic men who will solve all our problems and bring us everything we could ever want, beautifully swathed in glorious color and sparkle, tied with a red velvet bow. But the light in our eyes has dimmed as our expectations wane.
Would we trade in every drop of what we know to be true to believe again? To hold wonder and awe and joy, and never, ever let go, no matter who insisted that we should? Of course we would! Every day of our lives, and not just during the merriest time of year.
And, oh, what a gift that would be.
© Chris Kuhn 2016
Below are links for Chris Kuhn, author of THE MUSE UNLOCKED and OUR SEASONS, available in print and Kindle on Amazon.com. To purchase her published work, visit Chris’s author page on Amazon.com.