The Evidence is in the Goosebumps

Steven - Gilbert, Arizona
Entered on December 6, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope, love

I believe in magic. I’m not referring to the word in a religious sense; rather, the magic that is felt through connection, love, and belief. That thump of the heart that is felt during an especially startling moment of life, that joy that you feel as you share a moment with a special someone, or the simple excitement that comes from looking forward to an evening with your closest friends. That is the magic that I’m talking about.

I, like most (I hope), have a few people that I absolutely cannot face. In particular, the one that I got involved with several years ago, who latched onto me and sent me running from the scene, my innocence barely intact. All too often it seems the same scenario unfolds for me. I’ll be at school, or at work, or some other place that I thought was safe, and I’ll round the corner and bump right into this person. For one single beat, my heart is replaced by a massive bass drum, and that single beat knocks the wind out of me, and I have to fight tooth-and-nail against the urge to turn and run. Thankfully, this exchange happens rarely, but the power and fear that it demonstrates makes it seems like I’ve just gotten over one encounter when I’m faced with another, equally as unexpected, and therefore equally loaded with debilitating, heart-stopping shock.

But before those encounters came a different, kinder, sort of magic; the making of good memories. Good times at a restaurant or a park, at my house, in bed, spending time with our friends, or sitting in the theater paying no attention to the movie, whatsoever. The locale doesn’t really matter; the strength of the memory lies in the goosebumps that plagued my skin as the focus of the real-life scene zeroed in on me and my lover exactly. Those little bumps along my forearms say what words never could. Those little bumps were the magic of the moment rushing over me, and making me a person more whole.

But then the magic changed, it doesn’t matter why. The goosebumps were gone, and I was left alone, running my fingers over my smooth skin, unable to stop myself from trying to figure out the ‘why’ of it all. I’ve decided that it was simply ‘reality’ reasserting itself upon my situation; nothing that good can last for too long, apparently. After ‘too long’ came to pass, that person that I had wanted to spend every free moment with… now I couldn’t stand to spend another second with. And it wasn’t because I regretted it. On the contrary; whenever I get the chance, I replay the whole story in my head, and I reminisce, entranced like a child held in the grip of a fairy tale. But the magic has turned bad. What once had the power to give me my dreams now has the power to throw on the shackles and drag me down into the misery of realizing how much of myself I gave up.

All was not lost, however, for as surely as I believe that the weight of my mistakes will one day bury me, the belief that I will one day find redemption can just as easily save me. I’ve come to see that. These days, I keep my chin up, and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, because I believe that the magic will come back around. One day, the weight of my mistakes will slide off my shoulders, pushed aside by the excitement of a new companion, and I’ll be free to smile again. I believe that one day the goosebumps will return.