Colors flashed by me as I drove. Colors of a rainy day, a smoke filled sky that reflected in my mood. I was angry, I was hurt, I was reckless. The wet rain ran down my windshield in a cumulation of depressing grays and blacks. The steering wheel was power under my finger tips. 90 miles an hour on a highway was my only strength. I knew I was blowing things out of proportion, making more of an impact then I should, but I didn’t care. My life had been a steady montage of violent storms and my father leaving had been the last straw. Never mind I had just been accepted into the most prestigious college in the state, never mind I had a beautiful girlfriend. The anger that pulsed through my veins overcame every feeling of light in my life.
It is funny how quickly your life can come to a close. One moment I was a starting player on my football team, the most desirable guy in all of high school, slamming into the opposing team’s players with competitive athleticism. The next moment I was slamming into the side of a car with anything but grace. I had been too busy staring at my phone, sending insulting, hurtful text messages to whoever I could.
How can a life end this quickly? I would give anything for another chance. The rain made tornadoes around my car as my wheels screamed on the asphalt. I saw the pale face of a young boy turn and look at me through the other car’s window. My anger left me in that moment. His glance contained so much love, so much innocence and I knew in that second that it would be destroyed.
Slow motion. Liquid red. An iron scent filled my nostrils. A woman’s voice pleaded with God for something. I stared at the ceiling of my car, upside down. Forgive me. Forgive me. Tears streamed down my face and I knew it was over. I twisted my head as much as I could and I realized I was on the bank of a creek, inches away from the water. The other car had not been so lucky, and it was sinking slowly into the water’s edge. A small body was inside and in a rush of love, I decided to choose integrity. I chose to rescue instead of wound. I don’t remember much, except that I had unbuckled my belt and found a way into the other car. I dragged a small baby boy’s body from that sinking vessel. A beautiful woman with a streak of red on her head accepted him from me. She looked like my mother and I suddenly remembered how much I had hurt her.
In the last moment, the little boy’s eyes opened. A deep green that was filled with so much of the love I had never known. I collapsed with relief on the creek’s bank, and the little boy held my calloused hands in his smooth fingers. “Thank you,” he said over and over. I closed my eyes to the light of the sun setting for the last time. I was broken inside and there was no more anger to know. In the final moments of my life, I had done something right. I felt the little boy’s tears on my face and I knew no greater love. And then I faded. I drifted far away from the creek’s bank and my lifeless body. I drifted into a place where love abounds and I watched as that little boy grew up and became one of the greatest men in history.
Redemption had grown from my mistakes. Love had transcended my hate and transformed into freedom.
The other day my mom dragged me out of bed to go yardsaling with her. We drove along the hot Florida streets and finally stopped at a home that was having an estate sale. The couple that had lived there had passed away a week earlier. I am not a fan of estate sales, as it is kind of creepy walking through someone’s house with all their dated furniture, wondering what kind of people they were.
I walked around smelling the musty smell of the aging home and curiously glancing at all the possessions. Nothing had been touched since the couple had passed away. It was almost disturbing, seeing the finger prints in the dust on a woman’s dresser. There was make up in it’s case by the mirror. I found myself picturing a little old lady powdering her face that morning, perhaps perfecting her lipstick. Her multiple perfumes lay open in the bathroom. I breathed them in, smelling the flowery scents.
I moved into the bedroom. An expensive fur coat lay on the bed, along with high heels on the floor. This woman had been very stylish, even in her old age. I walked over to the closest, where all her clothes hung. Perfectly adjusted as if she just finished hanging them up moments ago. I could picture her stroking each outfit, remembering the times she wore it. The beautiful memories intertwined with each piece.
My eyes moved toward her wall where pictures of her were in a golden frame. The main picture was from long ago, when she had been about my age, probably no older than 19. She was dressed in a wedding dress although it wasn’t white, her hair in beautiful curls. Her new husband was tall and handsome. Though many in old photos didn’t tend to smile, I could see the girl had a grin of her face, mischievous as they come.
Surrounding that picture were others, pictures of her as she aged. Pictures of her children, her kissing her husband, her in her 50s at the beach. The pictures continued until they painted a picture for me, a story where I knew she had been happy. A story that told me she had stayed married and been in love until the day she died, and that she had many grandbabies and lots of laughing and happiness. I am sure her life had contained it’s share of heartache, but from what I saw, she had made it full and bright.
A feeling of bittersweet sadness washed over me. This girl was just like me, probably so young and excited to be married. Her clothes all remained here untouched, drenched in memories of years gone by. An urge to meet her overwhelmed me. I wish I had known her, talked with her, seen her embrace life like her photos say she did. I looked through her closet and found a white dress. It was covered with multi colored designs and was obviously my size. There was a picture above the closet and I could see her dancing with her husband in this very same dress. I couldn’t resist.
For four quarters I walked out of that house with memories in my hand. I held a dress that a girl had owned. A girl just like me had grown up, cried, fallen in love, married, held children, laughed, danced, and passed on.
Many told me that it was a little disturbing to buy an old dress from a dead woman’s home. I don’t care how strange it is. I wanted to be apart of her life somehow. Her life ended, as mine will one day, but she was free and happy and beautiful. I want people to know, I want anyone to know. I am desperate to keep her story alive. I know if I had been her friend, I would have thought her beautiful. And through generations passed, I will wear that dress. I will remember her.
Chelsie & Ryan's Tumblr Video
I don’t want to live through the internet. I don’t want to use up the beautiful moments of my life scrolling through my facebook page. I don’t want to endlessly post on tumblr. I want to live….I want to feel the crunch of real gravel under my feet. I want to smell autumn leaves. I want to physically play in the ocean, get buried in the sand, hold your hand….not just read about it on a blog post. I want to go for a drive, tell you I love you, see things with my own eyes. I want to taste. touch. smell. hear. play. laugh. frown. kiss. hold. hug. I want to be there, really there, for every experience life has to offer me. I don’t want to waste living whimsically, freely, fully. I don’t want to just blog about life, I don’t want to just read blogs about life, I want to actually live life. For ever second I waste online, I miss a chance to explore, love, romance, walk, run, skip, hurt, see. Nothing is worth passing those moments by. Nothing. This fabricated online life will never surpass the magical emotion that the true world has to offer. The offer to wake up from my slumber, from my computer screen, and see the rising dawn of a sunrise. Reality
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
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