I saw a little girl at the mall yesterday. She couldn't have been a day past three years old, but she was brave like she had lived her whole life already. She ran from her father, back and forth and back again, her long brown hair whipping with each turn, her too big clothing barely hanging on at her top speeds, squealing with the joy only a toddler knows. Nothing could hurt her then. Nothing could even catch her. What if she had gotten away? What if her chubby little legs had finally gotten enough speed to duck around a corner then another and he didn't find her again? What would have happened then?
Well, the laughter would've stopped. Quickly. The other side of the mall would've been able to hear the laughter stop. Even over the incessant construction and the click-clack of the trophy wive's high heels.
She found freedom in running from what she knew to be safety. If she would have ever actually succeeded, however, then she would've had to face real freedom. Scary freedom. Where there's no net to catch her when she's running just to be caught.
She runs not to get away, but to remind herself that she can't.
As she gets older, she'll still run. Her feet will pad the dirt softer, her legs will be longer and leaner, but she'll still take off at a moment's notice, if she has to. And she'll have to.
She'll run not to to be caught, but to remind herself that she can't.
She's free now, after all. She's found it. "Independence," she calls it. Nothing can keep her and she's going to prove it to you. She has to prove it to you.
Because not long ago, she used to be that little girl who wanted so desperately not to get away.