It’s been a long time since I’ve opened the cage. I misplaced the key some time ago–when and where I can’t recall. It feels as if it’s been years since the last time the animal inside enjoyed relief from its confines. I chuckle as I remember the struggle to lure it back in and close the door.
For a while, it fought and whined until eventually tiring and resigning itself to life in the cage.
The beast sighed and slumped to the floor, realizing I had the sole key controlling its freedom. Long ago, it realized escaping was impossible. Only I could set it free but honestly, its power scares me. I often wonder if it’s too much for me to control.
I’ve allowed other excuses to keep it trapped as well: time, money, work, life’s responsibilities and commitments. They haven’t tamed the animal but simply helped to keep it confined.
But why am I afraid to open the cage?
Am I scared the animal will overtake me? Do I fear where it would go whilst on the lam? What would it cost me? Who would it scare? Would it do all the things I yearn to do myself or have its own agenda?
The beast is unpredictable and uncontrollable; carelessly chasing its prey. Perhaps that’s why it scares yet also excites me.
The animal is a part of me and it leads me to the places I need to go. More than any external factor, I myself have caged and silenced this wild creature. I’ve allowed others to tell me how to care for it. I’ve tolerated other’s demands and expectations, which distracted me from my closest ally.
I chose to keep it locked in a cage when I knew it needed freedom.
Even if I had the key, I couldn’t reach the cage; I’ve piled too much junk in front. The animal hadn’t gone mute, its cries were just muffled. One by one, I heaved the boxes aside reading their labels aloud.
Fear. Not anymore. Expectations. Not stopping me. Money. So what? Pride. Goodbye. Distractions. Leave me alone. Doubt. Peace out.
I stop. At first, I wasn’t sure the animal was still alive so I’m thrilled to hear it roused! Air and light overtake the stale air of the cage and although we couldn’t see each other yet, he knows it’s me. I throw more boxes aside as my old friend pants with excitement.
We’ve been apart for too long, but no more.
I shouted to the animal–apologizing and reassuring never to lock it away again. No matter what, I promised, we would be together forever. I need this beast with me because it’s my heart, my soul, my fire for life.
I saw a glint of metal on the ground as I tossed the last box. The key! It was buried that whole time. I bent to pick it up, reading the lone word engraved on the key: Flourish.