Once upon a time, the topography of love made us explorers.
Happenstance was the spark that ignited mutual curiosity and we forged ahead in inhospitable terrain.
We didn’t need a map or a destination back then, the willingness to travel together was enough; we were curious about everything.
Together, we made up a force far mightier than the sum of its parts, using challenges as stepping stones to get a closer look at the stars. We lit up each other’s existence with each breath, reveling in the miracle of life.
We carried each other’s shackles and chains, the weight of our questionable choices lighter when combined.
Alchemists of the unspeakable, we transformed crushing circumstances into wings, flight, altitude.
But illness shot us down.
Strafed by pain that wanted us dead, we did a few loops before crash landing.
The black box containing our brains went missing for a long time during which our co-pilots ejected their hearts to save them.
I thought love would be a parachute but mine failed to open.
When I came to and craned my neck in the mirror, I even found boot prints on my back.
My heart was the compass that broke in the crash.
Groping my way forward in the dark with silence at my heels, I searched for survivors but only found the dutiful habit of love hanging from a tree.
Pressure change turned my dreams into popcorn feeding vultures, and the person in the mirror into a stranger.
The world disappeared, obscured by blinders of pain that only let me see the wall in front of me. It is so high I know I’ll never scale it without a leg up.
And yet, humility demands we seek no help and go it alone; we are for others, not for that self we’re bound to and have so little regard for.
Out of nowhere, love collides with us again, almost running us over. It is an accident and we treat it like a wound, bandaging it tight to stem the outpouring from another heart determined to nurture miracles.
That love seeks us out wherever we hide, it catches up with us wherever we run off to, it tightens its grip whenever we try and shake it off.
Clenched fists and eyes shut tight, we will it away but it is omnipresent, like skin growing back over exposed nerves, shielding us from harm.
The heart keeps the mind on life support; the heart fights what reason resists.
In the dead of night, a body still seeks its kin. It clings to the embrace of memory, drawn to a love willed away, the ghosts of contented tiny moans now the soundtrack of our days.
The heart we once protected is the heart that protects us; the love we held and that held us is the love we co-created.
It didn’t die when we relinquished custody of it.
Love is a bridge, not a roadblock; love is an asset, not a debt.
When we can’t trust the mind, trust the heart for it is the repository of our only true wealth. And we are all far richer than we will ever know.
The human heart is that medal we’re too proud to wear because love doesn’t show off nor introduces itself, it just is.
We have all we need to save ourselves, excise the past, birth a new life, and nurture love. Our heart is the surgeon, the nurse, and the midwife, a battlefield hospital of one.
We are never alone; we can never be lost, only found.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.