Maybe

Maybe cries out to me. “Molly, listen! Don’t go yet!” She pleads with me to stay. “Let me tell you everything I have in store for you, if you’ll just hold on a little bit longer!” Maybe hands me an armful of promises, shining, glistening, precious, and each perfect in every way, as is a spider’s web as the rising sun illuminates every jewel droplet of dew. But Maybe’s promises are fragile and will break into a million pieces, unless I care for them. I could plant them, and see what grows, or I could put them on the top shelf of my closet and save them for a rainy day. Or I could drop them and let them shatter and then go stomping on them to be sure not a single one ever develops. Maybe begs me to take care of them. “I made them for you myself,” she sighs. “I spun them for you from the raw materials you gave me for thread -- longing, loneliness, tears, imagination, patience, and love. So here they are-->your dreams. What, don’t you like them? Don’t you believe in them? Has your heart lost all hope? Oh, Molly,” she sobs.

“I’m sorry, Maybe, but I just can’t. It is just too hard, too painful for me. Please just lock them in a trunk and store them deep in the depths of the attic in my heart, and in many, many years when in need of comfort, perhaps then I will open the trunk and hold all of your beautiful promises to my heart and remember fondly my young age and all that might have been. But I can’t now. It’s just too painful for me. Please understand,” I say softly to Maybe.

“Molly! Please,” she insists, “please hang on until tomorrow. Don’t you see? Without pain there is no joy, without sadness no happiness, without anguish no love. You must understand, Molly! You are asking me to lock you up in a trunk and hide it far away. For when destroying your dreams to save you pain, you are killing your humanity! Without feelings you are not human. This is your soul, Molly, that you want to be rid of. Your soul!”

“I don’t care! I can’t take the pain, the anguish of yet another set of broken dreams, slicing into my heart. I will not love, I will not hope or wonder or plan or wish or dream anymore. Then I will feel no pain.”

“No pain and no joy, Molly! Do you see what you’re sacrificing? Do you understand what you are trying to lock away? Listen: I once knew an old old woman who had lost many people dear to her in her long life. She most fondly remembered her beloved cat, Trouble, who died when the woman was about fifty. The pain and sorrow of losing her dear friend was so great that she would never let herself love anything in that way ever again. She often remembered Trouble and was very lonely without a pet. I suggested that she get a new cat. But she never would because she knew it would die one day, and therefore gave up many happy hours such a friend would bring her. Do you understand? She gave up love and joy to save herself from pain, but ended up lonely and sad anyway. You can never be happy if you take no risks. Yes, you must make great sacrifices, but love and happiness and friendship and peace are worth it in the end. The rewards of your sacrifices are great. I won’t let you do this. I won’t let you bury your dreams and wishes and hopes. I won’t let you kill your soul.”

At this, she bends down and pulls out a huge warm quilt, the most beautiful thing I have ever ever seen. It is warm and radiant and glowing with the most vivid colors and the most vibrant and beautiful and golden and wonderful pictures. It is the most incredible thing that I have ever seen in my entire existence. It is far above and beyond anything I have imagined. I am speechless. Maybe hands it to me.

“Here, Molly. This is yours. I made it for you with cloth made of love: your love for others and their love for you. This is the most precious thing I can give you, and really, you’ve made it yourself. This is tomorrow, Molly. This is the beautiful tomorrow that will always exist for you as long as you keep loving. As long as you let yourself love and be loved, this is your tomorrow. Whenever you feel lost or hopeless or alone or afraid, just wrap yourself in this quilt, in your tomorrow, and remember to love and to keep going. Never give up, Molly, and never let go. I love you, Molly.” With that, Maybe walks away from me and travels to the door to the attic of my heart. Maybe locks the door to the attic, making sure that I will not be able to hide my feelings there. Then Maybe goes back to her own little room inside muy heart, where she sits now, ever weaving the most beautiful maybes a tomorrow could ever hold - all for me. I love Maybe. She is me.

22 June 1995

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