No. 22 Carve a Heart into a Tree

I want to be remembered.
I want to own this moment. Forever.
I have something to prove.

These are the reasons we scrawl across desks, toilet doors, trees, mountains, walls, our bodies, trains, roofs and the sky. I WAS HERE!

Remember this. Remember us. Remember me.

When I was 15, and uncomfortable in my own skin, something happened that revolutionised the way I thought. It was something inconsequential and immature… but not to me. Not at 15.

Picture it: girl speaks to boy, who has been her best friend since they were 11, on the phone (landline no less, a ritual between these two, she sits with her back pressed against her parents bed frame, knees pulled under chin, attentive, because all the things they say to each other matter, she’s never in a rush to get off the phone, they have hopes and secrets to share. They are becoming.) One day, boy speaks to girl of an undeniable magnetism she has with his best male friend, this is a long running conversation… She denies it but her knows her. On this day though, he doesn’t tease her, he simply murmurs, “We went to the roof last night, I said to Rich we should write the names of the girls we could imagine actually being with forever. He wrote your name. He didn’t even hesitate, he just wrote your name.”

That was the moment the girl realised she was visible, her sense of presence could stretch outside of physical proximity. It blew her mind. She could just see it, her name laid out up there, with the stillness of night stretched all around, thousands of others yet to see it, and wonder about her, when they climbed up there for reprieve from everything. She could see the stars pressing down on it and her name looking back in defiance… Bold and assured. YES, UNIVERSE, I AM HERE!

Months later, she climbed the roof with both boys, one was holding her hand. She saw the name for herself, it was half a metre long and had been scratched into the granite with another stone, none of them mentioned it. Her face nearly broke with that smile though, the one she allowed when they lay side by side and stared out into the blackness asking the sky for answers and being sure they would all come.

That little anecdote isn’t an unusual one, think of the Love Locks Bridge in Paris:

Think of blood brothers! Two, mostly sane people, who actually cut themselves to share blood. It borders on obsession, maybe there’s a menacing possessive undercurrent too, but at its simplest form, I think sometimes people just feel they need to push themselves further to own that wonderful moment, to demonstrate their conviction. There are so many rainy days, why not make the sunshine epic?

In ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Sam stands with her arms thrown skybound, out of the roof of the truck, and Charlie looks at her and thinks ‘and in that moment I swear we were infinite’ and isn’t it really just moments like that we all need? (It must be, it’s the most cherished line from the book.) Aren’t they the ones that make up the patchwork of fragments we desperately need to believe we can hold on to? It’s so easy to get lost inside thoughts that revolve around expectations that we never seem to reach, or the noise of the negatives. It’s so hard to just have a conviction, like a bell ringing clear across a town, that just as we are, we are beautiful.

So, I carved a heart into a tree. What did it mean? The only thing that ever really needs to be known. While I might age, be tested, suffer and fear, be ground down and challenged beyond my abilities. I still have a heart full of love. This universe is still my very own beautiful playground. I’m so happy that I am here, right now. I believe in it all. That smile, that I elicited while I carved that heart, it was real.


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