thoughts on freedom.

By Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy):

For the longest time, she lived her life looking through the wrong end of a telescope.  She liked to see life from far away, from her window and in her mind’s eye. Her daily ritual, dreaming of what was to come and reveling in the antics of her ant-sized neighbors, helped take the edge off of the bothersome treading of water that otherwise filled her days.  A safe, sterile, sweet, uncompromising view of life from the eyes of an outsider.  A spectator.  One day, bored and peevish as her favorite neighbor (a crotchety old lady who made it her business to collect leaves from the street, one by errant one, and shake her cane at passing strollers), she cast the telescope aside. The glass shattered and the room was silent.  She rubbed her eyes and called for help.  No one came.  She sat and she cried and she cut her hands on the broken glass, but still, nothing. 

After a matter of seconds, minutes, hours (they were all the same to her, for she had no perspective for which to call her own), the tears stopped and she stood.  Bandages on her hands, she swept up the wreckage of her precious telescope and surveyed the damage.  Her head swam and her eyes hurt, but she felt something stirring deep within her.  She did not know what to feel, for feeling was for other girls.  For her, it had always been a prospect, a theory, as had most other things.  Whatever was going on, she liked it, in a perverse sort of way, for such was her mood. 

She stepped out into the garden and took a deep breath.  Ecstasy. She had seen others do this, but she had never done so herself.  “What else have I missed?” she wondered.  At this, she began to run.  “Running is better than flying,” thought the girl, “for flying is for the dreamers and running can be done by anyone, anywhere.  There is beauty in this”. 

It was a day like no other.  She plunged herself into a stream and felt the ice crawl through her veins.  Running until the shivering stopped, she picked wildflowers in a field and got scratched by a feral cat.  She sang at the top of her lungs, and though she didn’t know what she was singing, it felt as natural as breathing. She danced with a scrubby looking little boy heading home after a fight at school, his nose bloody and his right eye fast turning blue.  He gave her a strange look and walked on, but she caught him grinning once he thought he was out of eyeshot.  Her clothes were dirty, her hair wild, but her smile was radiant. She was happy in the here-and-now for the first time since she could remember.  She did not miss her little telescope at all, though she thought she might get it repaired, if only to have it serve as a reminder of how not to go about things.

“What a fine frenzy I’m in,” she thought with a smile.  “A fine frenzy indeed.  What a lovely state.”