Like a thief in the night.

A thief always comes before dawn. At 6:53 AM this morning, a voice-mail appeared in my box. It was my father-in-law, five thousand miles away in California. His voice trembled unlike anything I had ever heard before as he witheringly requested a return call. I knew in that exact moment, without any further communication, what had happened. Cardiff might as well have been Mars or Wonderland for that matter, because in that moment the world darkened from the dream like state I had been living in the last few days.

In our darkest hours, when the light is faint, it is in this moment that we must remember to shine our brightest.

There’s a feeling that I can’t quite describe. I had forgot that feeling. That feeling, like, you’re living a life, a reality that you can’t believe is real, even when you’re right in the middle of it. It’s a feeling that makes you fall in love with both yourself and your life. I hadn’t felt it in almost two years since leaving Europe. Considering I’ve written extensively on this phenomenon before, the Cinderella Complex, a feeling of being transported somewhere magical, often as a result of independence, should have been to be expected. Yet, once again, here I am intoxicated by my surroundings, finding myself living a life I’ve only dreamt about. Sometimes, I over analyze the whole situation and wonder why my friends in Cardiff don’t see right through my adult fa├žade and laugh at my childish fantasies. To dance all night, the room spinning, the lights blinding, to wake dazed and confused among friends whose accents gently caress my ears and which give my own tongue an identity crisis, has been the greatest gift I’ve ever known. I mean, I grew up simple, my life’s aspirations were not very high after high-school. Even California seemed exotic to me then. A few years ago my use of English, written and oral, was less than stellar (I still struggle), and to compare my former self to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, wouldn’t be much of a stretch. So sometimes, I turn around and find myself lost as to how I ended up here, surrounded by such amazing people, and doing such amazing things. I literally say to myself “I can’t believe this is my life!”. Yet I’m so afraid someone is going to see through me, see that girl from North Carolina who used to have a southern accent and was embarrassed by it, felt grammar was optional, and never believed she was good enough to be more than average. These days I’ve mostly gotten over the whole “I’m not good enough”, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel a sense of entitlement about this life I’ve given. I’ll always be grateful, always be fearful that I’ll be thrown out from it at any given moment, and told I don’t belong. In all honesty, I accept that, that, is a real risk, and if it happens, I’m simply going to enjoy every moment in Cardiff until the end.

Because you never know when that end may come. My mother-in-law wasn’t exactly old when she died this morning of cancer. I’ll admit she wasn’t the best mother-in-law, and I probably was the most perfect daughter-in-law, but despite all that, I always loved her. I always wanted that second family, to have that second mother, a sister and a brother. It never really happened, she was never fond of me turning her daughter into a lesbian, but her death never changed anyone’s mind. As long as she was alive, there was always a hope that the dream could come true. Unlike my mother-in-law, I don’t think she was ever surprised by her life. In fact, she made her purpose in life to never stray to far from her own expectations. In fact you could say the only time she ever knew that feeling of being alive, is that moment she actually was thrown out of this life, and told by some cosmic lottery of genetic luck, that her story is over.

In that sense, mom’s tale is that of an allegory, to live every moment like you stole it, because that’s essentially what you’ve done. Be the thief of life, so others’ riches can be thy own to spoil you before death comes for us all, some sooner than later.

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