Dissolving into golden warmth and purple freedom


Olivia Luplow

A picture of me from the summer: before I realized the pleasant pain that is purple and gold

Dormant on the wet ground, the endlessly long highway I’m swimming in caresses me violently. Bereft of any virtue, I cling to the jagged cement in an attempt to fortify my absent courage, but my palms sting with the brimming emptiness of a desperate hand. And so, I decided to swim a little longer, and I basked in the sweet defeat of raising a blood-stained white flag. 

In this moment, time stopped.

I drew back, crossing the lines I drew behind me while inadvertently crumbling the enduring destitution of my cowardly dreams. Content with my own contempt, I kept going, and I watched the cities I built fall around me. I destroyed every remaining blotch of innocence on my own character, and I laughed as I found my footing once more. 

No longer swimming, I began to run, and backward became forward until my inevitable demise became my long-awaited ascent. As I soared higher, I sang louder until my battle cry became the victory song of the clouds. My avarice entitlement dripped from my body like candle wax, and my newfound, sunbathed conscience pooled in the chasm where my heart used to lay. 

This was rhapsody.

With each pump of my effervescent winged heart, my self-doubt rotted away, leaving me with the winsome taste of foreign freedom on my tongue. I flew higher until the clouds were golden and my liberty erupted in velvety, violet fireworks all around me. It was in this mellifluous mess that I knew rhapsody was the sweetest song. It was this mutilated melody that assured me of my own miscalculated ignorance.

Until this second, I knew not the sanctity of conquest nor what it meant to admit that sometimes our deepest problems are also our proudest daughters. My heart was sullen with the loss of the name I used to answer to, but until now, I had never known how it felt to be this alive. 

Until this second, I knew not the sanctity of conquest nor what it meant to admit that sometimes our deepest problems are also our proudest daughters.”

As the miracle of time quivered onward, I dawdled in its enchanting wake, seduced by all the possibilities ahead of me. These atmospheric tributaries of potential rushed around me, forming veins that reached out to the crescent future of the moon. It was in this fluid interstate of the ether that I realized how glorious promises could be, like a solar flare in a helpless universe. 

Intoxicated by the Dionysian and sensational embrace that was the ability to choose, the momentum of my newfound independence began to dwindle into a placid, complacent solitude. Under the influence of hope, it was here where I felt like I would be diving in for the last time: the swan song of my dreamy expeditions.

The precipice of finality augured the threat of beginning for the last time. I stood here in a statuesque, standstill state—overconfident with patience I didn’t have. Before me, the tributaries once crystal clear with budding destiny began to change, polluted by my own indecisiveness like Sylvia’s figs.

My eyes aglow and my heart on fire, my novel Atlantis began to burn, and, with a moment’s notice, I dove into the stream before me. As my body inversely breached the surface, my eyes were the last witness to the water turning black as our two bodies collided, and for an even shorter moment, I saw a lonely boy drowning in his own potential.

And then, time resumed.

Gasping for air, I jolted awake with my vision blurry and the only audible sound being my pumping heart. When I came to my senses, I felt the wet ground below me. Although everything felt hauntingly familiar—down to the jagged cement—I had no idea how I had gotten here or where this holy water came from. 

Nevertheless, I started to swim.