Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Pedestal

"Take me down, please," I said. "I'm really not a fan of heights. And I shouldn't be up here anyway. What were you thinking?"

"No," she replied. "You belong up there."

"I don't."

"You do."

"I don't. But I can see that arguing with you will get me nowhere. Can I please come down?" I looked down at my feet, which stood square on the small patch of ceramic. My knees knocked together, most likely due to nervousness, and my hands shook. Even my teeth began to chatter. Then, my eyes met hers.

"It's like this." She adjusted the hem of her shirt and the strap of her purse against her shoulder, and then crossed her arms over her chest. I could see the furrow between her brows grow bigger. Was she trying to figure out what to say? "You are who you are. You're a great person. You have a life I'd love to have: a partner, great kids, a job, and a passion. You have a supportive family and fantastic siblings. You go about your business with joy. I want that."

"And putting me up here then, does what?" I looked around at the sky, which seemed to grow gray over the last couple of minutes. I pulled my jacket closer to my body.

"It reminds me of what I want. That's what."

"But again, what purpose does that serve?"

She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and looked away, toward the distant hills. The wind picked up even more and the grass bent against the arms of the strong breeze. Bags and papers rolled down the street like suburban tumbleweeds. When she moved her eyes back to meet mine, they were the color of the storm.

"I don't know," she said. "I just know that I want what you have and so I ruminate on it. Maybe I live vicariously through you."

"But don't you see?" The emotion that charged my voice pushed me off balance and I fought to regain my posture on the small square. "You can have this. Stop looking at everyone else and what they have. Concentrate on your life, not mine. If you spent as much time analyzing yourself as you have my life, I think you'd have found your answer. You'd know what to do to make yourself happy."

She nodded her head but said nothing.

"And I've fought hard to get here. Well there --" I pointed to where she was, the square of grass upon which I would have preferred to stand. Solid ground beneath my feet. "Don't you think I've had my own share of tribulations in my life? Don't you think I'd look at other people and say, What do they have that I don't, and why? It's all how you look at it, girl. It's perspective. If I'm happy and content, it's because I choose to be that way, regardless of what life throws at me. Now please, can I get down?"

She hesitated for a moment, and I wasn't quite sure what to think. But as the wind whipped my hair around my shoulders and threatened to topple me, an action which would only cause irreparable damage for us all, a spark lit up behind her eyes. Had I gotten through to her? Would she be able to change?

"I'll go get the ladder."

There was hope.

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