Guest Post: Departure

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It feels like just days ago I was a timid little kid,

fresh, green, young, inexperienced,
taking my first steps through these unfamiliar halls,
cowering in the shadows of the seasoned veterans.
These gates seemed so high and imposing,
walls like a prison, thick, sturdy, inescapable.
The faces I saw and voices I heard as I trudged along
grew dull and monotonous, blurred together
like raindrops running down the smooth glass
of the great window that was my life:
fragile, bland, unblemished, clear.
Simple.

It feels like just days ago I was a timid little kid,
confused, scared, naked, alone,
taking my first small steps in this new alien place,
the new fish in a sea of sharks.
But here I am now, walking these halls for the last time,
on the edge of everything I know,
looking back over my shoulder at this once-terrifying Citadel
and seeing only the place where I grew up.
These aren’t the walls of the Bastille anymore,
ominous, forbidding, menacing,
but the walls of Westminster, 
safe, nurturing, comfortable,
a refuge, a solace, a sanctuary.
A home.

It seems like just days ago I was a timid little kid,
staring through the great window that was my life
and seeing nothing but beautiful days
spread out behind the pristine, perfect glass.
The glass isn’t so perfect anymore,
it’s cracked, gouged, frosted.
My window isn’t so clear anymore,
it’s stained, smudged, fogged.
But I’m not so fragile anymore, either.
I’m harder, tougher, stronger, older.
I’ve loved, laughed, lived, dreamed,
been rained on and kissed by the sun,
been showered with roses and stones,
summited mighty mountains and forded murky swamps,
I’ve grown – I’ve seen, I’ve heard, I’ve done –
I’ve developed, learned, evolved
with every lesson I’ve sat through,
with every test I’ve failed,
with every hit I’ve taken,
with every shot I’ve missed,
with every word I’ve choked on
and every song I’ve bungled.

And here I am now, eyes closed but looking forward,
toeing that line between my past and my future.
Everything I know lies behind me,
everything I’ve done, everything that’s ever shaped who I’ll become.
Everything I am fans out before me, 
the people I’ll meet, the places I’ll go, the lives I’ll touch.
And though my window is no longer perfect,
and my path is no longer clear,
returning to the simple days is no longer an option,
because no matter what people say, my past doesn’t define my future.
I don’t know what lies ahead, don’t know whether my next step
will be on solid ground or in thin air,
or whether it will lead me towards a life of luxury or austerity,
or a bright stage or a dim basement.
All I know is, I have to take it.

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