A place I have never been, but yet will return

Some directions are straightforward enough. Drive three miles, then turn left to find that theater that your friend has been raving about. Heat the pan until a single drop of water just bounces on its surface before you lay the buttered bread inside for a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Turn the bolt to the right to tighten. Follow the map, survive the trip through the woods, gain wisdom, live happily ever after. Simple.

Except. The important journeys aren’t ever that simple, are they? The woods hide an entrance to Faerie that nobody ever heard of, until you stumble across it. The wisdom, hard-earned though it is, opens up another set of questions, harder than the last. The grilled cheese disappoints, just a little, when it’s not made with that one kind of cheese with the hard to pronounce name, the one they never have at the grocery store around here.

Still, what is there to do but to follow the steps anyway? To travel down that road to the land of hard questions and rare cheese and Faerie bargains, because that place where we gather – fleeting though it is, impossible though it is, pensive though it leaves us – that’s a place of magic. It’s a place where not having the answer to the question isn’t a failing. It’s a place where we might just see one another through a veil of positive regard for a weekend, a year, a lifetime. It’s a place where we might just see ourselves through that same veil, for a stolen instant or two.

Of course, it doesn’t really exist, at least not as a place we can find with a map. It’s just…where we are, in whatever configuration “we” happen to be, that time. It’s a moment of silence before song, a deep inhalation in the midst of hard work, a wondering if we deserve the gift we’ve been given. It’s a resolution to deserve it, in the future, even if we haven’t earned it quite yet.

It’s a dream that we’ve dreamed together – one time, or a dozen times, or a dozen dozen.

It doesn’t exist, but I swear I’ve visited it before, and so have you, and maybe – just maybe – we can meet there again.

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4 thoughts on “A place I have never been, but yet will return

  1. cynthea Jones September 4, 2019

    Jason That was wonderful! Magical. Beautiful Made me hunger for a grilled cheese.

    • Jason Frey September 4, 2019

      Thank you so much, Cynthea. In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote it before dinner last night, so sandwiches might’ve been on my mind.

  2. Jason Frey September 4, 2019

    In related news: Registration for Expanding Inward’s final event closes at 12pm Central time on September 20th. Check out those details here:

  3. Ed September 23, 2019

    If you haven’t seen the movie Scorchers, with Faye Dunaway, James Earl Jones and Denholm Elliot. Check it out. Your story is similar to Jumper’s tale of Lost River. You find a magical place and you know deep down that you have found that magical place. You can’t point to it on a map. You know you have been there and people you tell about the place know you have been there. And as Jumper says, once you leave the place it would take a miracle to find it again.


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