If I could stop time I would have chosen that night in July.

The night was balmy and quiet, the perfect setting for a secret rendezvous. Probably there were many that night behind the scenes of my own story. Maybe some of them had happy endings. That’s who I am, the girl that attracts happy endings but doesn’t ever get any. At least I have a purpose. The stars were bright that night and everything felt possible. I knew my future was chosen, but in that moment the future felt like too far a destination and that was all I could hope for, a moment to feel hope brush against my spirit. It was an hour or two before dawn and already it felt like I was locked in time. However, that was just an illusion. I knew time was ticking and soon the sun would drag me back to reality, to a world that would keep moving even when I was too terrified to move with it.

That’s the thing about taking a leap of faith. It’s much easier if you don’t have to wait for it, because you’re not so sure in the moment before that you want to take it. In fact, I was sure I didn’t want to jump. It wouldn’t matter if I couldn’t fly so long as I stayed in the nest. And I was so sure I couldn’t fly.

We kissed over and over in the shadows, close to the woods, close to the highway. It was very romantic in the way everything is when you’re a teenager, when every kiss sparks fireworks and every love feels like a fairy tale. I’ve never had the heart of a teenager, though, too jaded by life to feel romanced by the first pretty boy that came along. The distraction had been welcome and that’s what he provided. But if I could have stopped time I wouldn’t have needed any distractions. I could have run into the woods and screamed until the angels took pity and decided to help me. Or run out into the highway and kept running, gone to a new town and gotten a new life with a new name and new circumstances. And who knows if it would have been any better? I don’t and that’s the problem. That’s every single problem.

There were so many paths I could have chosen, even the ones I had been too young to think of. I would have stopped time while I took every single path. Found the destiny I actually wanted. I imagine there’s a sweet kind of comfort in knowing you made the very best choice there was. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I made it, I want to believe in myself. But the problem about belief is that it doesn’t leave room for doubt, and I still had doubts. I wanted to stop time until I was sure.

But if I could have stopped time until I was sure, I never would have restarted it again.


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