Do you remember that summer? The one where it got cold real early and we all brought out our flannels in August and the air smelled like pine trees and mist instead of sunscreen and sweat? Do you remember how everything changed that summer? When your party buddy from college, the one you once drunkenly hooked up with and regretted ever since, sat down one night and tried to drain the blood from his wrists so he would never face a grey sunrise again. When the boy that you wrote letters to in Afghanistan so he wouldn’t lose it was accused of rape and your world felt like it was crashing down. When you realized the sickly sweet fairy tale your old friend paraded to the world held tangled roots of infidelity and bruises and pride not to show them. When you read the news and your heart broke open for all of the pain and all of the evil and all those people who never knew they were good enough.

It’s as though you let your guard down for just a few minutes, just a little rest please, a hot forehead on a cool pillow. And the world clamored to your bedroom and cracked your window panes and shoved its bleeding gashes in your face and begged for an answer. But what could possibly be the answer? How could you assuage the dark shadows behind those sunny people? Who could have predicted that you would never have predicted the pain? You, you who sees through facades like shiny new glass. You missed it. How could they? How could you?

Brokenness and broken messes cover the floors of the earth where we dance barefooted in each other’s shadows. But perhaps the dancing cleans the glass off the floor a little. And perhaps the sweeping to clear the dance floor makes way for the Dancer whose dance changed everything. And perhaps all we can do is not sink into the shadows and bleed among the pieces on the floor, but keep pulling new partners out to twirl despite the cuts on our feet, the pain of those we’ve lost, the pain of those who have given up. We do not give up.

Do you remember that summer? Do you remember how everything changed?


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