Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Remember when I told you I wanted to take some time to imagine the chronology of our story? Don’t think I wasn’t serious about that, Sweetpea. Wherever we are right now, you should know me better than to doubt that when I say I’m going to do something, gosh darnit, I can get as stubborn as a four-horned bull (yes, I just said four-horned bull…they could exist in the future….) about it. I’m like that annoying sticky tack. You literally have to pry me away from my goal.
So, anyway, I got to thinking about the beginning of our story. Actually, I’ve just been sitting with the word. I’ve been letting it roam and scamper around in my head for a few days now.
It’s a trickster word, as I like to call it. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? The beginning is the start. It’s that one event that sets in motion a chain of events that resemble a long stream of falling dominos. It’s the first. Nothing came before it, but everything will come after it.
But then at the same time, the word is deceptive. How, really, can you pinpoint the beginning? How exact can you really and truly be in your measurement?
Think of it like a book: It has a beginning, a middle and an end, doesn’t it? But how can you know where one ends and another begins (see, there I go using the word again)! Sometimes in life, which obviously isn’t as neat and put together as a book, everything – time, events, people, places – it all just seems to blur together into one giant puzzle. And sometimes, you can’t take one piece away without another piece or two coming with it. And with a book, sometimes one chapter blurs into another. Sometimes things just aren’t so black and white, so cut and dry that you’re able to say “Yes, this is precisely the beginning. I’m 100% sure of it.”
So in the end, where is the beginning? What sets our story in motion and unleashes those tumbling dominos? Is it that first glimpse from across a crowded room or busy street? Is it that first casual and effortless smile? Is it that first touch – that touch that, for the first time, didn’t feel the same as the others?
Or maybe our beginning had me in mind and made it more of a Melissa Moment. Maybe it’s the first time I accidentally run into you with my wheelchair and awkwardly try to apologize. Maybe it’s the time I drop an entire stack of papers and you come to my rescue. Or maybe the beginning is when you see me stranded in the middle of an open field, my wheelchair tires spinning in circles deeper into a pile of mud. And don’t think that actually hasn’t happened to me before, Sweetpea.
Or, maybe I come to your rescue. Yes, I like the sound of that a bit better, don’t you, Sweetpea?
In some respects, maybe you can only view the beginning once you’re far removed from it. Can you only do that years later, when you’re looking back on your life? Maybe you can really only view the beginning when you’re looking at it from the lens of the present, when you’re looking back, and you’re at once removed from the moment rather than in it. Maybe one day we’ll be sitting on our porch in our matching rocking chairs, our hair grey and our arthritis flaring up and bickering like the old married couple that we are, and I’ll say, “Sweetpea, do you remember that time when you helped me carry my bags because my wheelchair battery was dying and I’d just gone on one of my classic shopping sprees?”
“What? The time? Oh, it’s 4:30. We should probably put dinner on soon,” you’ll reply, looking up from your crossword puzzle.
“No, no,” I’ll stammer. “The time we first met. After I’d gone shopping.”
“Shopping? We just went shopping yesterday, dear. What could you possibly need more of — we’ve got enough Vick’s Vapo Rub to get us through the winter.”
“You’re not even listening. I’m trying to remember the first time we met. Don’t you remember it like it was yesterday? It was in the parking lot on that hot day. I think it was in the summer.
“Oh, right. Ummm, I remember. I’m sorry. I did order that summer girls video on pay-per-view, dear. I didn’t think you’d notice.
“Well, I did notice,” I’ll smile, really thinking of that day so long ago when we were so young, and smiling wondering to myself how my Sweetpea could ever prefer a video of young women on spring break over me. “I’ve always noticed you.”
“Good, then it’s settled,” you’ll reply. “Let’s go make dinner. I’m starving.”
In the end, maybe I’ll have to wait a few years to pinpoint our true beginning. Maybe we can never really ever be sure of the beginning. Just like we can never really be certain of an ending. Because there are so many possibilities that it would be pretty closed-minded not to be open to everything, wouldn’t it? I’m certainly looking forward to it, Sweetpea. Until we meet…