I became a loser at the age of nineteen in a 1999 forest green CRV.
It’s almost crazy to know that with just the slamming of a car door you could lose the one who knew all your pet peeves and favorite song lyrics. That was the last they’d ever know of you, just those moments before the slam.
For a moment I prayed the door might never slam. And then I prayed for the resolve to know the truth: there was no other way.
It was after I reversed down the steep driveway that I noticed the two yellow lines on the roadside for the first time and the fact they did not touch. Same direction but separate in their getting there.
I’ve never admitted it but I sat in the middle of the road that night and put my hand between the two yellow lines, as if to forge a bridge between them. As if I knew those two yellow lines needed a bridge.
So you lost, I’d say to the girl sitting in the roadside with her head hung in her lap and her tiny hand placed between painted yellow lines. You lost. You lost. You lost. You lost. You lost.
But you know what, the world is still turning and some might even argue that its spinning faster than ever before. And if you just turned the corners of your lips upward a nudge then you’d still have a brilliant smile to show for yourself. And I am willing to bet that if you just tilted your head a bit, that strand of hair would fall between your nose and your eye and give someone reason to call you beautiful from nearly two miles away.
This kind of Losing can happen when you give someone your Time & Stories & Deep Seated Fears. They suddenly become a Singular, the Plural scattering away like teenagers running from the cops. Like a pack of boys sweating through their dress shirts as they skirt to the outsides of the dance floor while you stand in the middle. Hair curled. Palms on a plum purple dress. All the symptoms of a Taylor Swift ballad running through body. Everyone else falls away for a boy in a grey tie and clean khaki pants.
And Singular is more dangerous than Plural, little girl. You have many more chances to lose a Single thing. You’ll miss a Single thing much more.
That’s the risk that sits at the table when Two Messy Souls learn to lean on one another and put love into action. After those first touches, losing will always be a haunter. A ghoulish, ghost. A sugar-induced child with a sheet over his head, two holes cut out for eyes, eventually ringing your doorbell to collect his candy.
So you are a loser, little girl. A loser. You might not know it now, but one day it will be lovely. Lovely because you’ll have learned how to find again.
You’re looking at me crazy as if I don’t know what the days ahead will be like.
Oh, I’ll warn you, there will be days where you’ll wake up, put on your shoes, and walk outside, fearing that the whole world can see a crater sitting in the middle of you. As if they are all just shaking their heads and thinking to themselves, something perfect used to fit right there.
And there might be days where you stay crumpled up in the sheets because you really just want to roll over and find a Familiar Head of Tossled Hair on the pillow beside you, not the foggy remains of a dream that you only want to share with that same Familiar Head of Tossled Hair.
I can promise it gets easier, the world eventually stops parading around you wearing memories of the Two of You like chunky costume jewelry.
I could tell you, though I know you would not agree, that you’ll thank the Good Lord one day for making you a loser. For bringing you to your knees and breaking your heart.
You know, I have to believe we were made to be losers. We were made to lose: friends, lovers, ourselves. Not always, but sometimes.
Because, like I said before, with Losing always comes the Finding. Finding that you couldn’t fix it. Finding that you tried. Finding the Goodness where you thought only Bitter lived. Finding you are better as the hours pass by.
Finding you won’t ever let it get this far again, finding you are happy to start over and uncover the passion and mystery waiting for you in the folds of your surroundings.
Finding that Hansel and Gretel, they were smart to leave breadcrumbs. To retrace the places they had been if only to get back to a place called home.
Finding that two yellow lines painted on a roadside don’t cross paths for a reason. Maybe we’ll never know the reason but does it really even matter? Though they never touch, the two lines always seem to be getting exactly where they need to be.