As a child, I had a best friend. He was mischievous and funny. His smile sparkled and his eyes twinkled as we ran through the grass down the bottom of our garden. It was our secret time in our secret world, but he had to leave.
Or was it me that had to leave?
The fog of age clouds the memories of a child. The banality of modern life smothers us under its bills and bustle. All the noise, but none of the music. All of the colours, but none of them sparkle.
I grew up. I finished my studies and got a job in a big city. I moved there and fought through the traffic for eternity. I met a man. He was a good man, then. We married. We were content for a time. But, when the children came, eventually I could not even remember what my best friend looked like anymore.
One evening, after the children had grown up, the parties had finished and work had ended, I sat on our balcony overlooking the twinkling lights of the city below. My bones ached, or was it my heart? My hands looked so old that I did not recognise them anymore. How was I this person now? Suddenly, I remembered him. I suddenly remembered how real he made me feel in my secret world. Our secret world.
I stood on the edge of the balcony. Far below, I could feel the long, cool grass and all the mysteries it contained. My man was out with another woman. He was not my man anymore. My house was empty and my home was far, far away. The children had their own lives and I was not included. We were all strangers to each other. The people who called themselves friends all wanted to talk about men and money, and shoes and celebrities. They all wanted to stay young, but they had lost it too. They did not talk about it, but I knew that they could not see the colours anymore either.
Far, far below me, I could feel him. He was calling to me. The secret, magical world was still there. I just had to find it. He wanted me to come play. Come dance with him. Come home. He wanted me to see all the colours I had forgotten. He wanted me to touch the sky and breathe in the infinite air. I could see his pale, thin hand stretching out like a wispy twig from the old tree we used to climb.
“Just a step away. Just a step will take you home. Just a wee lil’ step, and you won’t be alone…”
And I stepped towards him. I stepped back to the long, cool, uncut grass at the shady, bottom of the garden. I could feel the infinite air rushing passed me with that single step… I was going home.
“It has been a long, long time, child,” he quietly chuckled, his musical voice sending sheer joy down my spine as his eyes sparkled green and all the colours exploded around me, “Welcome home, child, welcome home.“