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Little Paper Boats
“I had a strange dream a few nights ago.”
“All right let’s hear it.”
I looked at the doctor’s frail frame as I spoke to him. He was about as tall as me. His black hair with a classy touch of grey shone from the sunset lighting to his left. His larger than average ears supported his rounder than average glasses that were pointed at me expectantly. I ought to speak.
“Well it was me when I was younger. A lot younger. Maybe around six or seven years old? Anyway I was in this beautiful field in autumn. The landscape was various hues of yellows and reds and oranges delicately painted on beams of brown. The sky was still and it was cool. The wind was a rumor. I was walking in this field and then I started to run toward something in the woods. It was a small creek. Not much wider than I was tall. I felt the cold muddy water swim between my fingers and saw leaves falling into the water and floating on. I liked the sight of that. I got up and pulled a single sheet of paper from my pocket and began to fold it. And from my hand appeared a small boat of creased lines. I set it down in the muddy water and watched it as it was gently pushed down the stream, bumping into leaves along the way. Then this awful feeling consumed me and I started running. Trying to catch up to the boat but I never could. Like there was something on the boat that I make a mistake in letting it go. Then I broke down on the earthen floor and cried. That was the end of it.”
The doctor gave me a half confused half unintrigued look. Pondering I assume.
“How many times do you have this dream?”
“A few times a week.”
He gave me a prescription that should “help me out with this stuff”. I have depression and social anxiety disorder. That’s why I go to him. My mother and father and terrified that I’m going to off myself one day. I think about it. But don’t we all?
I rode down to the drug store and got it from Flo. We were on a first name basis at this point. I was somewhat of a regular. I say thanks and ride on.
Riding your bike is one of the most freeing things I’ve experienced. You feel totally in control. The wind blowing past your ears unties the binds of thoughts in your mind. That’s when you’re truly free. Riding as fast as I can down the streets is a sort of therapy, you know? One of the few things I love that loves me back.
When I got home I laid on my bed and rested for a second. My list was on the night table and I looked at it again. No different from last night. My doctor told me to do this. He says I have a fixation on the past and I am unable to move forward in my life because of things in the past that I can’t forgive myself for. Things that I don’t know how to handle. So he told me to make a list of everything that keeps me up at night. Anything that I’ve done that I regret and can’t get out of my mind. I reached full front and back last night. Every night I read this list and add more but I’ve filled the page. I don’t feel like opening more wounds. I just want to bury it into the ground.
This familiar feeling overcame me. It’s like when you’re driving and the light turns yellow and you have to make the split decision to stop there or punch it and go. My gut wrenching, I felt like punching it. So I did. I sprinted out the door, note in hand, and just started running as hard as I could. The tears started coming but I ignored them. I ran past the park I rode past on the way to my house every day. Innocent little kids playing on a breezy summer day. If only they knew how good they had it. Or maybe not. If you don’t know it hurts less when it all falls to pieces.
I ran past the sculpture made by the art student/barista. It’s nice. And I kept running. Wind blowing the tears off my face. I’m crying and it felt like if the wind weren’t holding me up I’d be falling. I finally got to the edge of town. The river. I stop crying and go to the edge. The dream started playing in my head again. The piece of paper full of my fears and regrets started to fold. The pages cringed as my hands guided it toward a shape. All my attention was on this. This little paper boat of mine
When I leaned over the water it was incredibly hard to let go of the paper. It almost hurt me to. But as my fingers lost their vigor and gravity took hold of the little paper boat, I felt some sort of relief. My troubles felt no longer mine. And as my list flowed down the river, I didn’t feel compelled to run to it this time. The tears were gone with the weight on my shoulders and I walked on.