We are all just floating. Floating, drifting; some sailing, others hovering. Like dust making its way through the air hoping to stick to something...anything, we face collision along the way and just hope that it won’t throw us off the path we cling to like oxygen.
As for the final destination, well, it’s unknown. For all we know, it could be the monsters we once feared were under our beds as children or the self-deprecating voice coming from our anxious teenage mind. But why do we aimlessly wander, waiting to land, when we don’t know where we are landing and what will be there when we do? It seems like a suicide mission after all. But every person accepts the journey for whatever fate lies ahead.
Why? Because just maybe when we stop floating and colliding and hovering, we will land and the dust around us will settle. And when our eyelids flutter open, and I mean truly open, we not only see what’s in front of us but see everything. We see the world that, before, was a muddled blur. We feel the ground beneath our feet molding to us, cementing us into this new foreign territory. Our bodies no longer feel limp and our minds no longer dazed.
We will be rejuvenated, reborn with passion and purpose. So that is why we embark on this odyssey: for the one tiny, microscopic iota of a chance that we will float down and fall exactly where we are meant to be.
The Southern California evening sun painted her skin as she sat atop Dreamer’s Rock, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. She had been sitting there for hours. Knees tucked into her chest, bare feet grasping the rough surface, and emerald eyes watching the people below her. She saw the locals below, saw them surfing with their multi-colored boards breaking through the tranquility of the water, and saw them grilling as the smell had wafted up to her, filling her with immense comfort. They laughed, danced and embraced one another under the faint lanterns hanging above. She bit her lip and delved back into the moments from this morning.
“Your mom...she’s here.”
The world around her froze. All she could hear was the pounding of her heart filling her head—so loud she swore the whole neighborhood could hear it too.
Turning to her roommate, she mustered up the only word she could: “Where?”
“No, she’s not here. She’s in the country. She got her visa cleared. I’m pretty sure she’s in Arizona right now.”
She felt herself relax a little and let out the breath she didn’t even realize she was holding.
“Oh,” she responded with such a timidness in her voice she didn't even recognize herself. She felt herself leave her body. She was drifting again.
Her roommate looked at her, unsure if she should say what she wanted to. She figured they were best friends and that if she was going to take a chance with anyone, it should be her. She swallowed hard.
“You know, Rio, she’s probably looking for you—maybe you should reach out and maybe, um, go see her?”
Rio couldn’t even feign shock at this. Deep down, she knew. She knew that when she decided to turn her study abroad into her permanent life, she wouldn’t be able to leave all that came before her. She was surprised she had even lasted 6 months. Her heart ached at the thought of her mother out there alone in the Arizona desert desperately looking for her one and only daughter. They were once inseparable. The box of tattered polaroids and scrapbooks in the depth of Rio’s closet served as evidence. It was the two of them alone to face the world.
The rest of the details didn’t matter. They were insignificant in Rio’s mind. But now, back on top of Dreamer’s Rock, Rio had a choice to make.
She could lift herself out of the roots she had here, return to an abyss, and go back to the desultory state of being she had overcome. And she could just pray, pray that maybe the stars would align once again, pray that she would collide and be thrown off course at exactly the right angel, and pray that she would once again be guided to the light at the end of the tunnel.
She spoke her first words since this morning, breaking her unconscious vow of silence and nearly startling herself: “I can’t.”
She couldn’t kid herself. She knew that the stars had already aligned once, and that to expect them to do it again, would be selfish and naive. There was no life for her back in Dublin. She had been floating her whole life, seeing the world through an unfocused camera lens, unsure of her place in this void of a universe. But for the first time in her life, luck was on her side. Her eyes opened up, allowing all the light and beauty of the world in, and her feet hit the ground. The minute she landed, the sand filled between her toes, and she took in the California sentience around her. She knew she was finally home.