You look just like you did when I was a boy.
Flanked by Christmas lights on both sides, you glow, comforting me in the most cavernous depths of my heart. Just like I remember, you sit alone in a city park, begging for intimacy and companionship, anyone to keep you company in a grey December night.
I am much older now, and I still believe in all of the things we shared. It is harder these days: my mature mind attempts to filter out anything abstract or remotely whimsical. With you I was capable of dreaming far deeper than wishes for a better career, nicer things, or a more suitable lover. We all have these dreams occasionally, the trivial musings of adults never content with what is before them. In our dreams, weeping willows were long-limbed, brilliant old women with reassuring smiles. Flipping a coin into a pond with you revealed uncontrollable potential, and potent capability, only visible to us. Dreaming lives in innocence, and even the most well-to-do of us lose that at some point.
How do we lose our innocence? What brings on the day when nothing lives at face value, people lose their trust in one another, and everything becomes so complicated? By the time we truly do fall in love, ten, maybe twenty years later, we become blind to the beauty that comes from innocence. We forget how to count freckles that orbit someone’s eyelids. We forget the deep satisfaction of smiling, staring, gazing at another person with no intention of murmuring a sound. When we are innocent, we embrace the shards of wheat stuck in our hair from hours of cloud gazing. Now we insist on being perfect, at least what we think is perfect.
You have somehow not lost your innocence. It remains untouched, all details permanently locked, like a creature in a thick syrup of amber. Perhaps it is that people are incapable of holding onto their innocence, but you have kept yours because you are not a person at all. You are a footbridge, a simple wooden one with white handrails and archways at either side. Returning to you is a return to innocence, at least the feeling of what it once was. With your boards beneath my feet I am able to look back, holding onto those last fibers that still know how to dream.
I don’t want to be innocent again, I have learned so much and love the life that I live. But to look to my past, to a boy fearless of everything but himself, a boy that found it easier to dream about tomorrows than ever dwell on the grey clouds of the todays. I am now here, in that tomorrow, and I wish that boy was standing next to me here so he could see for himself. I am living that whimsical dream he crafted, a world where impossible does not exist. Innocence is only that: a blueprint for how to never stop believing.
I throw a coin into the pond beneath you, and I watch the ripples that pour out from the crater in the placid surface. The vibrations reach farther and farther, like broad arms into the infinite.