Her salted caramel corn scented candle settles to a slow burn as it reaches the end of the wax. She flicks her finger in the flame absently, not feeling the heat as her mind rolls over itself like clothes in a dryer. Hot and staticky.
It is stifling, the big city. Even when she sits alone in her room, doors closed, blocking out the world. Time crawls by, and also flies by, but she’s still there. Rolling around inside her mind, trying to be free.
The smell of the candle infiltrating her clothes, her carpet, her couch, reaches inside and pulls nostalgia out of her heart and brain. It doesn’t change anything. The rain still falls and Iron & Wine still plays from her iTunes, like there’s nothing else in the world. She gets up, goes to work, stays within her mind. If she reaches out, even a little, someone slaps her back in.
DON’T GO OUT.
IT’S DANGEROUS OUT THERE.
Ok, fine. I’ll stay inside. I won’t go out. Because I know, it IS dangerous out there.
People are mean. They ignore you, snap at you, glare at you, stare at you. She reminds herself of these simple truths.
“I think I’lll just stay in today.”
She wraps herself in a blanket on the couch. Takes a sip of tea. It’s getting cold. But the swirls of black, earl grey goodness dance on her tongue in time to the music drifting from her speakers.
The kids that live upstairs scream and fuss and the dog barks. Never any quiet.
NEVER ANY QUIET. ANY QUIET. ANY QUIET. QUIET. QUIET. QUIET.
But the candle scent calms her, reminds her that the world is lovely. There are little things every day to be thankful for. Today it’s the candle. The sour candies she ate until her tongue felt raw. Tea, blankets and music.
And last but not least. Never least. Him.
He breezes through the door and she breathes him in. Wraps herself in him. Loves on the way he cocoons her with his arms. The screaming in her head quiets just a little.
A smile. The only one she’s had all day. Everyone else smiled at everyone else. But not at her. There were fake smiles, fake “how are you’s”. Fake fake fake. Forget it.
He smiles at her.
She melts. Like the candle, her insides liquify and spread out in a puddle around her.
And she thanks God for this wonder, this gem, this beautiful person He put in her life. Who loves her despite her incapability to go outside and brave the world. Loves her because she feels it all. Everything.
And so even when the wind blows through her mind and scatters her thoughts on the breeze and pushes her creativity, love and joy out of the window and out of her reach, he grabs a net and catches them for her. Helps her put them back together in her mind. Gently. Like he loves her.
Holding her, kissing her. It’s going to be all right.
Everything will be…
“Let’s go outside. Ok?”