My Little Icarus

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A breath in, a tornado out: that was how she always came and went. A pirate, a poet, a person of perennial ambition… that was how she saw herself. She would be no person’s muse; she was her own muse. Wandering inspiration with the sailing imagination of someone whose heart was never at home. On a prayer and a whim she winged through life…

My little Icarus.

And despite all her cries for autonomy, agency, and all the other fallacies of our fate…

My little muse.

Oh, how she hated it when I called her that. But she’s gone now, so she doesn’t really get a say in this. This is my story: I am the protagonist. And she was but another character in the sordid tale. A catalyst for growth; the beginning and end of yet another arc. The Alpha and the Alpha’s low-slung right hook that squares you straight in the jaw. As the stars still daze in your eyes and you taste the blood beneath your tongue, you hear the Omega cackle.

The Gods must be crazy. But Icarus… you were crazier.

I tried. Oh, how I tried to tether you, and maybe, that was wrong. I counselled slowness – sometimes, you listened. For a while. A small while. But the relentless pursuit for satiation cannot be hindered; my spaghetti-strung arms clutched desperately at frayed weatherboard, but I could only hold the gales of the tempest at bay for so long.

I can only hold the seams together so long as I can hold myself together, and I am but a sandman. I only feel the weight of myself in our dreams, and in my dreams, you were always there. You were always the one I dreamed of. Even before you ever took my hand and asked me to fly with you, just that once, you were always the one I dreamed of. You always will be.

You asked me once, “Why would you want to be with someone like me?” You were crying as you did; worse yet, you were breaking.

I gave some answers: they were vague and uninspired. I worked myself down to simply saying, “Because I love you, silly.” I still like that answer now, but I don’t think it’s the one you deserved.

I would want to be with you for all the reasons I fell in love with you. Paradoxically, so many are the same reasons I find my bones broken time and time again by your restless winds.

I fell in love with your ambition. I fell in love with your poetry. To some degree, I even fell in love with your piracy, though I may loathe the ocean.

I love your curiosity. Your authentic interest in a world that only gives you hate and scorn. You are never boring. I love that you never stop trying to be better.

I fell in love with your heart; that no matter how many times this world grinds it into the dirt, it never wants to stop believing that the world can still be better. That we can be better. That we are already halfway there. I love the grace you give the snakes of this planet, no matter many times they constrict you. Asphyxiate you. Cut you at the knees and bleed you from the throat.

I love that you challenge me, sometimes so much so that I want to throw you out the nearest window and watch you swoop away. I never want to stop hearing the endlessly chattering radio of your mind

I love when your round face, spoony eyes, and crooked grin fill my vision and the peripherals fall away. In those moments, you are all there is. And those are my favourite moments. The morning you left, I couldn’t stop crying every time you tried to fill my vision and make me smile… Because I was going to miss that sight. Perhaps it sounds stupid, but that is all I want: to wake up with that beside me. No more adventures; no more fool’s quests for lost cities of gold. I could become the most boring and banal entity on the planet, but it would be worth it if you were by my side.

My muse, I love you. Not for the idea of you, and not for how good you may look beside me, whatever the hell that means. I love you for everything that makes you you, and that includes the things I hate. I even love the things I hate about you. And that means I have to let you be you. And that means I have to let you fly.

My little Icarus, I tried. I tried to clip your wings; build you a nest; give you a home that could satisfy your quest for more. But the harder you snip at Icarian appendages, the harder they flap away. Ultimately… inevitably… you’ll find the sun. Inevitably, you’ll find yourself seared, crisped, burned. Ultimately, you’ll always fall – we all do. That’s just called life.

But my role isn’t to hold you back, nor to push you faster towards your fate. I am only here to catch you when those falls come. The genius of the hole comes for all of us, but we can still outplay it as a team. And I love you because you are the best team member I could possibly ask for. But to have my back, you have to be at my back. And that’s simply not how this works.

I’ve heard it said that to be with a girl who wanders, you have to walk beside her. You once told me that sometimes, together, we walk through the fire. And sometimes, we have to walk through the fire alone as the other cheers from the sideline.

The problem is that you neither walk nor wander: you fly. You sail the winds, soaring so high that I can no longer see you. And I’m starting to understand…

My role is to wait. My role is to catch you when you fall. Every time you fly away, I just have to hope that you’ll fly back again. Just as he did for me so many times in my Icarian days.

Eventually, I flew too close to the sun. And when I fell, he was no longer there to catch me. That was the hardest fall I’ve ever taken – it knocked the air out of my lungs and my wings in a way that has never come back. Maybe now that’s why I get so sad: because all I want is to soak up those precious moments with the ones I love. And all you want, is to fly.

But he trusted me to always come back, and now I have to trust you too. Because trust is love and I love everything that makes you you.

This is who you are. You like the chase. You like the danger. Hell, maybe you like being burned. Or maybe you just haven’t been burned bad enough yet.

Only time will tell. You will be burned. You will fall. We all do.

That’s not to say you will fail; did I mention that I love how unstoppable you are? I have faith you can do anything you want; I just don’t have faith that all anythings can encompass us.

But for now, I can only trust. I love and I wait. I wait for you to fly, and for you to fly back to me. I wait for you to fall.

Because every time you do, I’ll catch you, for as long as I can, until I can no more. I’ll bring you back to the nest I built you. So you can rest… and heal… and soar away again. I’ll let my heart break over and over again so long as it still has the strength to watch you go.

It’s worth it. You’re worth it. I know you don’t believe that, so I can only ask you to trust me when I tell you that it’s true: you are worth every tear and every smile. You are worth waiting for. You are worth catching. You are worth loving, no matter how hard it may get. My Icarus, you are worth the winds you bring, because carried in your winds, you bring me more joy, comfort, and understanding than I ever thought I would find.

Maybe that’s what I should have said to you that day you cried and broke apart in my lap. Alas, now, you are gone. I only find you in my dreams where my weight is real and you are not.

And in my dreams, we are always flying. Together.

A girl of Icarian tendencies walks out into the ocean and a setting sun
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