My Dear Juniper
The next few months were much easier. I stayed home like a regular housewife and didn't let Martin do much either. We went to church, watched movies, and even listened to "normal" music. Martin did some volunteer work around the neighborhood, but he still seamed antsy. We've never just stayed in one place before. I guess he wasn't used to it, but I'll train him to like it. So many people would kill for our easy life, why couldn't he see that?
One particular day, Martin was feeling extra dull. I could tell because his eyes no longer shone the way they used to. He was almost tamed.
"What are you doing?" he asked me.
"On the computer?"
"Do you wanna go out and drop them off in person?"
I gave him a funny look. "No…"
"Oh. I just thought it might be fun to go out for a ride together." He sounded like a little kid getting deprived of ice-cream. How sad.
"Martin, I'm busy. Maybe later."
"Ok, but Juniper… I have an important question to ask you," he said.
"What?" I turned from my bills and looked at him. He was wringing his hands, just like I was the day he convinced me to feed hobos.
"Well," he began, "I was wondering if I could go up to the city dump tomorrow and look for scraps to build-wait, let me show you…" He started to pull a sketch out of his pocket. Halfway out, it ripped.
"Aww man," he complained. "But anyway, I was thinking, you know that river they just dammed up in Michigan? Well, all the fish and sea life are dying because their natural cycle was broken. I wanted to go up there and be part of the protest. While I'm up there, I can get people to help me build a run-off pond that goes around the dam for the fish so they can survive." Martin looked at me. His hands were trembling; he knew I would never agree.
"Martin, why? It's pointless," I said.
"No, see?" He handed me the half of his ripped plan. "All I have to do is-"
"Martin," I sighed. "I'm not going to let you climb in a mountain of trash to save some sushi thing. You just can't do it."
"But I can do it."
"No. It's gross."
Martin looked at me with so much pleading in his eyes, like this really, truly mattered to him. But something was different- this time, it seemed like h=my answer is what he was needing, not the project itself. But I was so close- he was almost completely the man I wanted him to be. I had stuck with this for over three months, I wasn't going to quit now.
"No," I repeated.
"No", I said, harsher than I meant to. "It's gross, it's dirty, it's pointless, and it's weird."
Martin turned to look at me. "Ok then," he said. "I guess that's the way it has to be."
As he turned to walk off, I swear I saw him lift a hand and wipe a single tear from his eye.
The next morning, I opened my eyes and found a piece of paper taped to my bedside lamp. It had my name addressed on it in Martin's handwriting. I sat up, pulled it down, and opened it up. It read:
My Dear Juniper,
The fish is a peculiar creature. They all live in the water and have to eat and breathe like we do. They're not particularly smart creatures, but they know how to get by. They live a relatively dull life.
Some fish have noticed this dullness, and have strived to be different. They have gained to ability to jump out of the water!
This is a special fish. Because of their differences, predators have learned that this fish takes special talent to catch. They work harder because something else is driving it to be better.
If life is an ocean, with soft and rough patches, amazing and deadly animals, then we are the fish. As humans, we have let ourselves become the dull, lifeless species that goes with the flow, living just to survive.
Juniper, a guitar can strum notes or it can create music. The notes we've been strumming may be beautiful to you, but I can't even hear them.
I'm not depressed in any way, my dear. In fact, I'm In fact, I'm just the opposite! You have taught me in your own beautiful ways that to be happy, you have to jump out of the norm. I can't stay here, Juniper, with noting to look forward to but the same daily schedule as everyone else. I guess I'm just one of those people with the need to get out and explore.
I hope you see this as a good thing rather than odd or weird. Juniper, you always expect everyone to follow the rules and live this so-called 'perfect' life. When people don't, and they color outside the lines, you consider it a sin. But, my dear, I don't understand this. You cannot even attempt to control people like me, we have beliefs that are too strong. The will power to succeed and strive to make a difference overpowers the yearning to be "normal". Trust me, I want to fit in, but I have realized that for people like me, it just doesn't happen. So kudos to you for fitting in and being "perfect". Many people long to be like you, my dear. To be proud or not is up to you.
You are so incredibly smart, Juniper. I know you will understand this, despite the fact that I'm struggling for words to describe this feeling. It's as if…my brain wants me to stay with you; warm, safe, and the anticipation of nothing, while my heart needs to get out and live… not just survive. Juniper, God created so many different kinds of people, why would he allow only one way to serve him? I feel it's my duty to go out and strip off all the talk and lays an emptiness disguised as me. I'm going to make a change in this world.
So, Juniper, I hope that you will wish me well on my journey. I can only hope that someday you will learn to make a difference too.
PS- I'll be in Michigan if you ever need to find me.