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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oh metaphor, I've missed you.

Concrete steps, half wet from the remnants of melting snow, make a nice smoking spot. Nothing too spectacular about them, or the scenery they provide. It’s Canadian suburbia, neat rows of family homes nestled in side-by-side. It seems like everyone has a minivan, and a big, loud, white truck. Not surprising for super-moms and oil rich Alberta boys (the ‘grown up’ versions).

 So I find myself on some damp steps, watching smoke swirl away through this picture of domestic paradise…and I still feel like… something is missing.

 I look to the setting sun, and laugh. Of course.

 The neighbour on my left has a rather ugly thicket of branch-like trees lining the edge of his property, and the sun sets right behind them. Through those branches, I can see my preferred version of suburbia. The one with pieces missing. Not just behind trees, but every little thing we can’t see, behind all the beautiful doors and windows. Each one covering up all the secrets, the lies, the scandals, the anger, the sex. 

And the love.

 The kindness and the patience enclosed in lace curtains. The beauty of what I already knew, vividly contrasted against the poetry of what I didn't know, and would never know. Missing pieces of my setting sun, inspired a profound image of individuality.

 I am not a box. I am a million pieces of cardboard… most of which, no one else will ever see. Even if I could write down every one of my experiences, choices, adventures, thoughts, and memories, at every point in my life… they would still be incomplete. I can’t write the smell of the river-bank flowers from my childhood home.

But I can remember.

No one, not my parents, my siblings, or even my son.. will EVER know who I really am. Their version of me, and your version of me, is missing pieces.

 It’s a setting suburban sun seen through the shadows of tree branches.


ibjon3 said...

So true of us all. I'm sure half the pieces of my puzzle are missing.

Johan said...

It's one thing not to base your self-worth or identity on the opinions of others, but if nobody knows the true you, are you sure you do?

Are you sure you remember the smell of the river-bank flowers from your childhood home and not a different smell altogether, however similar it may be?

And in a slightly different way, are you not both sun and branches at the same time? Don't you choose which parts of yourself you obscure, and doesn't that choice reflect something of yourself as well?

After all, actions speak louder than words, and the shadows of your actions are as much as part of you as the rays of sunlight are.

if you happen to be a billionaire...