See that? That’s my current view.
I’m laying, propped against the cracked oak headboard of the same bed either my brother or I slept on as a teenager. Outside, the English fall is quickly turning to winter. This island is cold and wet and drab this time of year, yet there is something magical about it. Maybe it’s the moss covered rooftops. Maybe it’s the way the moisture makes all the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. Maybe it’s simply because it’s not like the place I come from, where everything is dry, boring, and seemingly the same.
Maybe it’s because being away from home makes home all the more incredible. Having a chance to miss my child and my girlfriend makes our relationships all the more powerful. Having a chance to miss my routines, and my places I go, and the stops I usually make has a way of making me realize just how fantastic my everyday has become. Maybe it’s because going without all the creature comforts and gadgets and unnecessary amenities I have afforded myself over the years makes me realize how blessed I am to have them all.
I really don’t know it this bed was his or mine. Our beds matched. Either way, a lot of memories happened on these beds.
Late night discussions with my brother about friends and life.
Sleepovers in which these beds were filled with Mormon teenage boys being stupid late into the night.
I went through some of my life’s hardest years sleeping in these beds. I went through some of my life’s most fantastic and growing years.
Across from me on the dresser is my travel satchel. In the outside pocket is a manilla envelope filled with hand-written letters from the girl I love.
“Open this when you miss me.”
“Open this when you need to know precisely how much I love you.”
“Open this on the airplane.”
“Open this the night before you come home.”
At least a dozen more.
I opened one of those letters last night as I again lay on this bed. Its content made me grin ear to ear. An overwhelming feeling of love draped over me and accompanied me into the darkness of sleep.
I don’t use the word “overwhelming” lightly. I think back to all the original nights and years on these beds. My heart was a constant obliteration during those times. I didn’t cry a lot. I don’t know if I cried at all. I just grew to hate so much of the world. I remember coming home so many times, staring at the ceiling while laying on these beds, just hating the girls who would prank me with pretend interest, fake invitations to parties, and the girls who would stand on the sidelines laughing while their idiot counterparts physically tortured me and verbally taunted me.
Now to lay on this bed, opening letters from one of the most beautiful, most intelligent, most kind, and most sincere women in the world… Well. It’s overwhelming. There is no better word for what I’m feeling. The past and the present are colliding to challenge the very self-beliefs that have made me who I am today. And it’s overwhelming.
Wow. Look at the sky now.
Life is good. Life is so good. The gloom and the drabness has a way of disappearing so quickly and when you least expect it to, doesn’t it.
Yes, life is good.
Tomorrow I’ll be running and jumping alongside my brother through thick sludgy mud, getting shocked with electrical wires, and diving into giant vats of ice water. Life might not be good tomorrow for a little while. But it will probably be one of the best days I’ve had in a long while (I’ve had a lot of those lately). And when it’s all over, I have a good bed and an envelope full of letters to come home to.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing