We were in tight quarters and behind closed doors. The room was overly warm, as I eventually find all rooms to be. In the upper right corner, there was a camera, pointed directly at us. It was a barely transformed supply closet someone voted to call an office. It was a claustrophobic’s nightmare.

The individual speaking to us seemed too experienced, too talented, or too something to have chosen that space, that career, that path or that something.

We notice more than usual when sitting in a supply closet.

He was prideful of his appearance but seemed uncomfortable wearing it upon that stage. His suit was perfectly tailored and his shoes perfectly matched, polished or brand new. His eyes were lively, soft, and shy. His fingers were fat, the only jewelry a unique wedding ring that had no chance of removal without a tool of some kind or a severing of his finger. His fingernails were cut dangerously short, but it was the dirt embedded around the edges of his nails that helped to make him recognizable.

No matter how well we cover our bodies, voices or intentions, who we are always finds a way to seep out. I wondered if the world was a sandbox to him, and if he considered that he’d jumped out to join us on a swing. A swing the world might have told him he needed to get dressed up for. Near the end of our meeting, he spoke of my having habits, but not wanting to offend, he offered an alternative word-clouds.

I smiled, because truth when spoken without malice, doesn’t offend. It uplifts. I smiled because it feels impossible to trust kindness that has not been tested behind the closed doors of where I sleep. I smiled because deep down I felt his humility, which asked me to trust his kindness. I smiled because I loved perceiving my habits as a repercussion of sitting inside of a cloud. I smiled because I hoped to come up with the right words someday, to enlighten him to his own, because he was too young to believe the limitations of the fake office he’d conditioned himself to fit within.

He spoke of too many things, too many passions, too many hungers, too many things the world probably told him he should disregard for only one. He was like me and dare I say, like you. We all must choose, and he was no different, knowing his hands would get dirty in doing so, because the politics of the free world finds no value in a free mind, and six degrees of separation may as well be three hundred.

A free mind will always be left to its own devices—Its bare hands.

We will sink them below the dirt to source our soul’s nutrients, as the world pretends to subsist on clean energy. It’s there that we’ll share our truths in novel ways, and occasionally paperback print, where illustrators will reform our dirt on front and back covers—highlighting the swings of poetic inscriptions.

You’ve seen people like this in your own playground, or maybe you too are playing in your sandbox alone, waiting for someone to come along on the swings, someone you can exchange pushes with.

Consider for a moment that our swings are but a hunger to eat something that doesn’t come pre-packaged and labeled, something that doesn’t scream that we’re incapable of discerning what our hearts require to be nourished, something that doesn’t dictate what is or is not healthy for our spirits.

Then consider the fullness of sitting in and pushing the swing, versus the solitary sandbox castles our tears build and destroy in the passing of life’s unending waves.

If you are like me, you might find value in playground bars and skyward aiming chains.

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