I never learned to crawl. As a toddler, I would watch at the park as other children balanced awkwardly on their feet, motivated from all fours to take steps in the lush grass. They would be exploring the world as I just sat content with whatever was before me, never concerned with anything beyond the six-inch reach of my grasp. My mother would try and tempt me, holding out a toy to further my developmental milestones, but nothing would persuade me. I would just sit, content to be in whatever space I was placed. Life came to me.
When I did move, I didn’t walk, I ran. My mother was working in the yard, tending to her garden when a bird fell from a nest above. I watched as the bird hit the ground and flopped to one side, its wing bent. It fluttered before me in an attempt to fly. As the bird moved further away in its plight, I moved with it. First getting on my hands and knees, then hoisting myself up on both feet, I stood and followed the injured bird. I wobbled in my quest, as the bird was fast, but I was faster. Soon I could feel the quick pulsing of the tiny heartbeat within my grasp. Suddenly the bird fluttered, startling me as it took off into the sky, it flew away in an awkward flight of survival and I watched as my prize disappeared from my hands. I immediately began running after it as my mother turned to see her only child upright and in pursuit.
I was still running fourteen years later at the age of sixteen, restless for life to find me. Determined to catch it with both hands outstretched. Since that day in the garden as a toddler I have felt like life was leading me towards something, a moment, and I was right about to catch it. I assumed that I would recognize it instantly when it occurred, when my purpose would unveil itself, and I could finally begin to live out loud.
Which is why I never thought driving to the country club on that Tuesday would be anything other than typical, unaware that the day was going to mark a changing point in my life. Only instead of a big bang of an announcement this would occur slowly. Steeping steadily onward, merging into a road of self-discovery that would leave me in my own desperate flight of survival.