Memoir of a Free Spirit

It was her reflection I saw in the mirror when I studied my face for more than a moment. I attributed this to the youthful glow I seemed to wear these days, the one that had everyone doing a double take when I confessed my age. I’m not sure when the metamorphosis bound us, but shades of it have been shedding in layers for a few years at least.

I feel her breath in me at times and know it is hers by the bittersweet scent of sunshine that tingles at the back of my throat. These are the days I remember to dream my dreams into reality. These are the days I remember what it feels like to almost fly. To break away from the world’s stronghold and feel the earth fall from my shoulders the same way the top of that mountain must feel after the weight of an avalanche sets it free from the burden of such a heavy load.

This is why I let her go off ahead of me like that. And I scoffed right back at the scoffing onlookers too preoccupied with what they perceived as wise and prudent to understand the real wisdom in the heart of the matter.

And when I say scoffed, this translates into delivering the sweetest smile as if I hadn’t a clue in the world why they eyed us the way they did. I don’t know if I’ll ever tire of the amusement I attain from watching what this does to the critical scoffers of the world. It either silences them by fixing the grimace upon their already sour faces or it lightens the atmosphere. This is just one of those things that I meditate on often: Is wisdom feeding the feisty fires with feisty fuel or is it smoldering the flames with kindness?

This same quality weaved itself into my daughter’s fibers while she was still in the womb. I think I might enjoy watching her maximize this approach more. I’m undecided.

So as the distance grew between us on that path, my heart grew so light I felt it flutter. I watched her ride that bike with the speed of the freest spirit. I knew that she was racing for the edge of the world just as I had so many times. Like the time I walked out into the ocean as a child pushing farther and farther past the shouting voices as I could feel the edge within reach, I was sure of it. Or the countless times I climbed our trees to their highest points looking for an opening latch in the passing clouds or a hidden ladder that would take me the rest of the way.

I knew this fight for freedom well, and I saw the burning flags shine from the cages within her eyes. As the distance expanded, I was relieved to see those guardian angels by her side. And I knew they’d be there with her just as I had felt they were always there with me while I pushed past the boundaries of this existence trying to find a door or foothold into that other realm.

Memoir of a Free Spirit

Jenifer DeBellis

Dryden, United States

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