I’ve always been a paddler. Small strokes, swimming laps around and around, at the top of the surface, barely breaking below the water. You’re a diver, all or nothing. You’ve never been one to want silver or bronze, it has always been about the gold for you. Gold is worthy of being shown off; silver and bronze ain’t worth sharing.
Paddle forward. Float backwards. Deep breath. Head under the water. Come up for air. Repeat. That has always been my cycle. Repeat until it isn’t worth repeating anymore. Come up for air. Breathe. Clear my head. Start over.
It’s a bottomless pool, depths unknown but yet you dive. Head first. Fearless. You’re a seeker, yearning to discover lands previously unknown and secrets waiting to be told. Eyes closed, hands out. Patient and peaceful.
I dive under the water. One second. Two seconds. Three. Come up for air. Breathe. I glance around. Cautious. Like I’ve always been. Always paddling, never swimming. Slow motion. Swimming is risky. It’s let’s race this out and whoever finishes first wins. It’s exhilarating. Adrenaline racing. I’ve always been a paddler. Slow motion, around and around and around the divers, the all or nothing-ers, the gold medal winners, the risk takers. I see you come up for air, eyes closed, hands out. Patient and peaceful. You open your eyes. I take your hand and learn to swim.
I can’t be gold by paddling. I can’t be your gold by paddling. And that’s what it comes down to, being your gold. Being the one you’re proud to have by your side, the medal you want to show off because no one is ever about that silver or bronze life. Gold can brighten a mood, make a bad day good. Gold is life. Gold is being held in the middle of the night talking about families and past hurts and secret dreams. Gold is catching secret smiles. Gold is making silly faces and having stare offs. Gold is belly laughing until we cry. Gold is how our hands fit together, like cradles when we need to be held. Gold is looking in each other’s eyes and feeling like we’re coming home. Gold is knowing that we don’t need to be completed because we’re already whole. Gold is knowing that we aren’t broken and we don’t need someone to fix us. Gold is knowing that we aren’t a puzzle missing a piece but rather a puzzle whose pieces are upside down and backwards and out of order. But gold, oh gold, gold is making all the jumbled up pieces make sense again.
I’ve never been a swimmer and you’ve always been a diver but I’ll take your hand and we can swim together and I can learn to be your gold medal and you can be mine.