When I stole a moment of freedom


Yesterday was a Monday. I stayed up too late the night before; my night was plagued with unproductivity, and my day was weighed down with exhaustion.

I left school at the end of the day feeling my poor decisions under my eyes and stress coursing through my veins. I had too many things to do, yet my evening schedule was already stacking up, a towering list of to-dos casting me in the shadows.

An ordinary day, at best.

I climbed into my car and headed for the highway, en route to GRCC to talk to my professor. I plugged my phone into the aux; its music streamed out of my speakers, surrounding me as I turned it up louder.

My seven-hour school day had hidden the outside world from me. Now unleashed from its clutches, the sun greeted me, beaming down at my surprise in seeing its presence.

As I drove, the sun’s smile shone too bright, and I giddily reached for my sunglasses, happy to dust off my shades after weeks of gloom.

Underneath my winter coat, I was starting to break a sweat, but downtown Grand Rapids had never looked more beautiful, even while blanketed by a dismal, grey sky. I could feel summer, and I could hear summer. The sun was out, and somehow, my phone was playing all the right songs, and it felt like summer was sitting in the shotgun seat singing along to the music with me.

It felt like I was driving away from my teetering list of commitments. I felt carefree and stress-free and commitment-free for a recklessly sweet moment.

For a few minutes, I was getting away from something, but even more so, it felt like I was getting away with something. It was as if I had stolen my moment of liberation like I had to chase after it and snatch it away for myself. Life had been having its fun with me, gleefully dancing round and round, taunting me with a dizzying array of hills and valleys, but for a second there, I had plundered away a moment of bliss, basking in a fictitious utopia that extended as far as the shell of my car.

But my drive had an end, and when I pulled up to the parking garage, the bleak concrete frame elbowed the sun I had so missed out of the way, shrouding my car in darkness as the mirage dissolved to nothing.

But somehow it was okay. My moment had an expiration, but it existed, and it was mine. I parked my car, busying myself with gathering my things and unplugging my phone, and I recognized my stolen gift and its ending.

But then I looked up, and the openings in the parking garage allowed me a reunion with the sun, and I realized then that my moment wasn’t so finite. That I didn’t really steal anything. All I did was go outside and look at the sunshine.

It was that simple.