There exists, as sure as your eyes glance these words, a woman of unusual aptitude and beauty. A woman easily identified by her feisty persona and fiery hair. And although she is called by many adoring names, she is best known to my heart as Racer. A name which simply reflects the form my heart adopts whenever she is near; infinitely erupting in sweet palpations. But, I am perhaps giving away too much of the story. So I shall arrest my inadvertent attempts to spoil this ending and tell you a story of monsters in couches, ghosts in mountains, beluga whales, and miles of every kind.
Our story begins as Racer was preparing for a journey. Her preparation required she swiftly cover sunny southern roads. All of these hot and winding summer streets were purposely leading her to a northern city. All the while Racer remained unaware that a greater adventure awaited her under a flag of two light blue stripes and four red stars.
As months fell into weeks which diminished to days, Racer’s efforts intensified. Soon her preparation included speaking her fears and hopes to the night sky. Words I eagerly awaited to receive as they crashed around me amongst autumnal colors, even if they were not specifically intended for me. Her words touched my soul.
I befriended early morning hours simply to catch her words. I stole sleeping moments to dare a response. Gradually, Racer sent her star cradled words directly to me. There growing a conversation crisscrossing a nation guarded by fifty stars and thirteen stripes.
Our conversations quickly established a well trodden path between two souls, and a path leading Racer to alight into my world. And on the day before Racer would prove to herself that nothing is impossible, we met in an embrace of twisting anticipation and twirling joy.
The following day, chilly concrete and a clear sky awoke to battle Racer. Purposely crossing a line which signified her willingness to meet the challenge, Racer quickly found herself in a battle where every step counted. That day Racer was given every opportunity to quit before she finished, but she refused. For Racer found within herself a drive to continue when all excuses would allow her to stop, and when her body was pushed to its limits. Every step on every road she had ever paced built deep within a foundation of strength. Then, finally, the marathon of roads conceded and Racer emerged triumphant.
Only a few days later, sore from prevailing in a momentous battle and carrying her shield of perseverance, Racer and I rejoined. Together again, we first clasped hands under the eerie light of jellies. Acting as silly as penguins and as loving as beluga whales, Racer and I realized something special awaited if we were brave enough to fight for it. But, Racer still had southern roads to conquer, and so she went away.
Yet, not long after, Racer would sneak away to rounded mountains. There, nestled in caverns of ancient cliffs, Racer was confronted by the ghosts of her past. As wrathful spirits sought to accost, our ever-running hero was at a crossroad. Racer could jump off to one of several byways, thereby avoiding the haunts of prior years, or she could stand and vanquish her tormentors.
Racer, of course, chose to fight. On a sharp winter day, standing on a wooden bridge, Racer and I wiped away tears stolen from us by a westerly blowing winter wind. On that arc of wood spanning a river, Racer and I said “I love you.” And, amazingly, the ghosts of Racer’s past where stripped away. She was protected from them forever by her newly found armor, an armor of vulnerability.
Still, Racer and I remained separated, I under a banner of blue enshrouding elk and moose, Racer under a banner of diagonal red lines cutting through white. But such emblems only represented an obstacle of distance, and Racer and I continued to throw words to each other across the night sky. A love growing across a nation.
One day, while Racer transversed country miles, monsters asleep in couches awoke. Upon returning home, exhausted and unexpecting, the horrible monsters attacked. Like the worst kind of monsters, these monsters invoked Racer’s own fears and self doubts.
A battle for nothing short of Racer’s own happiness was at stake. And Racer will tell you, there were times when she felt she could not win. The feeling of invincibility she had previously known was waning. Racer struggled and faltered. She collapsed amidst despair. But Racer would not succumb to her inner monsters, and she rose like a phoenix. For deep within she found her strongest weapon, an absolute belief in her own strength. Racer rose and wielded her sword of confidence, slewing every monster.
Now, armed with the sword of confidence, the shield of perseverance, and an armor of vulnerability, Racer knew only one thing remained missing…a banner of her own making. Thus began the last quest Racer would ever embark upon alone. For, Racer could see that I too was seeking a unique banner. So Racer braved her way to a land of winter skies above miles and miles of rolling hills.
Only, not every quest goes as planned. One day, while seeking a prize to serve as a token of my desire to spend all future nights gently sending words across a table, under the security of a shared roof, and not across the starry night, I was entrapped. I had been ensnared by tentacles of woe and dismay. I was trapped. And only my brave Racer could save me.
Racer set out to rescue me, confidently returning to where our adventure first began, to the home of jellies and beluga whales. Arriving at the fourth stroke past the afternoon hour, to the place where our hands first clasped, Racer found me waiting to ask one question. One question that would deliver us into each other’s arms forever. An answer that would allow me to mark this day with a white stone.