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Myth of Lasting Sympathy
by A Lot Like Birds

Someone cruel gave me my dreams last night. I barely stood before a darkened closet, baring skin and soul before its unseen jaws. "You will never be the creature that you were when you were younger," it whispered. We get disconnected from our childhood. We tell our stories like we read them in a book but had not lived them. I don't remember much from then but I do remember what a closet becomes when the lights go off and I know the many things that fill it up. When we used to have dreams like this we called them nightmares. We ran barefoot through the halls of our house and clung to our parents sheets like they were the only real thing left in the world. And my mother? She would save us, you and I. She would lead us hand in hand through the hallway that made us feel silly for seeming run by shadows and endless only moments before. And I'm here now, barely standing in the land of dreams before it, and I see you, I see myself as a child sitting inside. Scared. Crying. And you have every reason. Because while we grow up through song and story learning that love is everything in this world and that while we believe it and want it more than any single thing...I know that when we have it, we destroy it. That when we grow up, you and I, that we cheat. That we find the girl we love and that we lose her because we learn to love ourselves much more. That the friends that we make will drift away once we have leeched them dry. That the mother who turned our darkened scary hallways into pathways to a bedroom will call us and miss us and love us and we will stay hidden. That really, we will be cruel! That in the stories we want told to us before we fall asleep, the heroes are ideals that never get reached and the villains are absolutely ordinary. And we are absolutely ordinary. And you stare back at me through the closet and into the world that I never really changed and ask me the only thing you want to know. "When we grow up, do we still get scared when the lights go out?"


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