A lovely, little girl called Sandy looked up at her father, begging him to buy her ice cream, just this once. It reminded her of her mother, a beautiful, wide-smiling woman who used to take her out on Sundays to the park for her special treat. She missed her. It just didn’t feel the same without her here. The man towering over the little girl shook his head and roughly pushed her forward. He was stuck with this little human mess for the rest of his life.
Sandy was fifteen when she decided it was time to let go. In fact, it didn’t feel like a decision. It felt like it was the only option left. She just told a boy “hey…I really like you” and he had burst out laughing, snorting. He looked disgusted. He didn’t understand. So Sandy let go. Let go of everything she had ever dreamed of. To be seen. To be held. To have someone whisper in her ear “you’re beautiful”. To mean something. She let go. Because it felt safer to not feel anything at all anymore. She knew she wouldn’t be able to feel happiness anymore. But she wouldn’t feel the pain anymore either. Complete neutrality.
But the human heart was never made to let go. Ever.
Now Sandy is thirty-two. Never got a degree. Still lets her dad call her a useless bitch. She chops her hair really short, loves to hide her face in a wide hoodie. When Sandy watches TV, she seeks out the most violent series to watch. That way, she sometimes still feels a twitch inside her stomach. A sign of emotion. A dull heart slightly stirred. She pushes herself to remember what it means to feel. Just in case. Just to remember that she used to be a person who laughed and cried. Before she let go. The memories have become her new dreams.
But you never really let go. Those who tell themselves they do not care, care the most.
Today, Sandy walked to work, the burger place just around the corner. Her fingers tried to brush off the sleepiness that was still resting on her face. She turned up the radio as she slipped behind the counter. It was easier not to talk to people when you pretended to listen to it. Her gaze always hasty, her movements always strained. Like a volcano could explode any minute and she’d have to run and hide. Like a bomb was about to burst, and she would lose her head. Like every single person in this place was out to get her and there could be a knife planted in her back any time now.
Then, a man walked inside. A regular. He had big and round questioning eyes, the perfect haircut but clothes that reminded Sandy of her dad. He ordered the special. Sandy nodded, hastily turned around to fix his drink -a skinny latte- and avoided her reflection in the huge mirrors that hung up behind the bar. When she turned around again, the man was staring at her, so fixated it made her cringe. The only reason a man would look at her, was out of disgust. Pity. Mockery. Or so she believed. She felt nauseous and dizzy, her hands grasping the side of the counter to keep herself from collapsing. Stop staring, stop staring at me. A constant scream inside her head.
Then the man said: “You remind me of my mother. She was just as beautiful as you.”
Sandy frowned, a million plans flooding her thoughts. How to run. How to brush off the comment. How to tell this guy to fuck off when all she wanted to do was cry. Was he really that cruel? Pushing her buttons just to play around? Or was he just genuinely nice? But why would he be. A billion questions.
“I just wanted you to know,” he said with a soothing voice, nodding as if he was encouraging himself that he was doing the right thing. He then cast his eyes down and continued reading the newspaper he had brought in. As if what he had just said hadn’t been a big deal. As if it had been easy. As if it was true.
Sandy had waited over thirty years to hear something like this. Of course, she didn’t truly believe what he had said. But there was something about his sincerity that had struck her. It felt as if she just witnessed that soft, caring and good side in others for the first time. The birth of the other side of the world.
She left work early that day. The man hadn’t said anything else, but he had left her a huge tip. And the brightest smile she had ever seen. When she got home, she sat herself down in front of the mirror and sat there the whole evening. Looking at herself. Getting to know herself. The girl she had been avoiding for over fifteen years. She cried. She laughed. She allowed herself to feel, shutting off her mind from the moment.
That evening, Sandy truly let go. She let go of her endless attempts to hide from herself and the world. Although Sandy would still feel afraid, hurt, full of pain and misunderstood, she let go of the idea of letting go. She made a vow to allow herself to feel again. Because if she could survive the bad feelings, there would be more room for the good ones.
When you know, see or meet someone like Sandy, remember that deep inside, they always care. They are just afraid, so afraid. With a few genuine words, you might be that one shiny star in their night sky, even if it’s only for the night. You can make a difference. That’s one of the wonderful things about being a human being. Our beating hearts. The love that they hold. So much love.
If you feel like Sandy, remember that the world not only holds dark and painful things. If you are willing to open your eyes to the good, you will pull yourself through everything that is bad. That’s the beauty about life: when you feel down, things can only go up. Not everything that happens in your life is in your hands, but you always have a choice when it comes to how you are going to deal with the things that happen(ed) to you. And…you are never on your own, although it might feel that way.
You are never alone because there will always be good-hearted people walking this earth.
Love, Froe x