Today, I thought of the boy who rewrote that poem of mine.
It’s hung on my mirror for the past two years, and now it has been packed and unpacked with the rest of my things that were moved into my new future home.
There may not be another reader more familiar with my poems and darkness and bitterness and aspirations than he. For three years, he was my unofficial editing partner. When the professor would ask us to pass our stories or poems, our eyes would meet in a rhythm and we’d pass our papers like secrets.
It was my junior year when I wrote that poem about a heartless beast. And he rewrote it with hope. With all of my frantic questions like “You read my blog??” and, “Who is this about??” it never once occurred to me that he thought my heart was silly. Walking down the stairs after class he said, “I just want you to know that not everyone is bad.”
With his poem for me now sitting in the home I’ll move into with Greg in a week, I wonder where he is now. The last time we spoke was after he graduated and left me at that little school in the mountains; we said we’d always be thankful for the internet and the chance to always watch what would happen with each other’s lives.
And I wonder what he would think of me now.
The girl he said could only write, “grey things.”
What would he think of my poems now? Would he stand up and clap? Would we share a smile and not have words for one another?
I’d imagine he’d laugh and say, “I told you so.”
And maybe he sits in his quaint England home an ocean away and smirks at his computer screen to see just how far I’ve come, how far these words have come.
How strange that I sit and read emails from anonymous strangers from all over the world, bleeding their secrets out onto a website in hopes that the right person will read their words– how strange that now I’m the one who so deeply wants to take a shot out into the void, to find him and wave my joy in front of him, screaming, “Look, look! I did it. I wrote a different story. I didn’t see it then, but I get what you were saying now. Thank you, thank, thank you.”
I’d tell him that not everyone is bad. I’d tell him I didn’t believe him, but I know better now. I’d ask him if he’s proud of me. I’d ask him if he likes my new story.
Our last semester together before he graduated, we had a creative writing class that spring. His poem was already hanging in my room at this point.
The first day, he took a seat next to me. Fumbling through my back pack for my books, I heard him say, “So. Will I be reading any hopeful stories from you this semester?”
Blowing the hair out of my face and finally heaving the books up on to my desk, I smiled.
If something inspires me.
Sometimes people can be ebenzers of how far we’ve come and what God has done. My ebenezer just happens to be a British boy with blue eyes who makes redemption feel like a poem.
And now I can tell the rest of the world that not all people are bad.