The Cost of Growing Up

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. This is partly inspired by a conversation with someone and by the general sentiment I pick up from the rest of the world. See what you think.

Sometimes I don't mean what I say. Sometimes I say things because, well, they sound good or it's what people want to hear. I remember one time I had a date but I told Mom I'd stay home and watch the kids instead. Did I really want to baby-sit? Of course not but I couldn't tell her no. So sometimes I say things because it's what I'm supposed to say. I'm a writer, after all, and I know how much words mean to someone.

I've done it with girls too sometimes. I say what they want to hear, I tell them the words that will make them love me. Sometimes I mean it to the degree or depth I say it but sometimes I don't. It gets me in trouble when I have to pay up, you know? I wrote a check with my mouth that said I'd love this girl forever but now I gotta cash it. It's always how it goes. I can weave beautiful magic with my words but my actions can never measure up. The only time I could act upon all the things I said was when I was with her, the only girl I have ever truly loved. It is ironic that I am my own downfall in a poetically tragic sense. Those two adjectives seem to describe a lot of my life lately. Poetic and tragic.

They all say I will be fine. They say I will learn to love again. I can't say I believe them very much. I'm sure they are well-versed on life and they mean well but they do not understand. There are things in this world that once taken you can never fully regain. There are cuts so deep it takes a lifetime to fully heal from them even if you do have a healing factor. It's quite strange to me. Everyone wishes they could return to their childhood, to a time of innocence where everything was much simpler. I was innocent once, a long time ago it seems now. The world was alive then and I loved freely without fear. I was passionate then too, filled with an unending fire inside me. I often found myself at the mercy of this passion, as if I was possessed by some otherworldly force that could carry me to heights higher than my wings ever could. I remember scribbling with manic frenzy lyrics so undeniably powerful it took my breath away to read them and realize they had come from me. How I loved that passion inside me, that untamable intensity that drove me. How I miss it so much now.

People seem to think it's wrong to be innocent. People are often disgusted with how someone can be so "naïve" and trusting. What is so wrong with being able to live without regret and love without fear or mistrust? Why does the world take such pleasure in robbing someone of their innocence and almost shattering their sense of self in the process? I'm afraid I will never know the answers. I will never understand why someone must be disillusioned to the point where they cannot trust anyone freely. I will never know why the passion inside me had to be snuffed out and someone I loved so deeply taken from me forever all so I could learn some sort of stupid life lesson.

I couldn't have given her much of a life. My family isn't rich like hers and, even though I am a one-man choir, a professional musician isn't exactly the most high-paying job in the world. Living out of a suitcase is no life for her. She deserved to live in a palace so grand it would make all the kings of the world jealous. I try to envision our life together sometimes. There would've been obstacles of course but love can endure all those things. Love is stronger than strife and discourse, stronger than any force in the world. Love makes the entire world stop and everything grind to a halt so that it may bow before it. Love is forever and Julia Cabot will always have my love wherever she may be. I will forever retain the image of her angelic smile and I will forever ache when I try to imagine our life together. I would've married her eventually. We would've been together forever and even during our dying days I would've loved her no less than when I first met her.

But as I said the world seems to dislike beauty and innocence. It prefers to strip itself of all these seemingly false notions and favors instead a gray, somber countenance of one who has lost everything dear to him. Certainly the human race doesn't seem to enjoy beauty. It favors concrete over trees and smog over sunshine. We favor growing up and being "mature" instead of trying to keep our souls intact and whole. I will not pay this price though. I am not one to fight but to keep what I hold dear I will battle all the forces of creation. The world wants to make me as jaded and cynical as everyone else and thought it could by taking away Julia. It has not won this fight yet. In truth it cannot win. What is the worst it could do, kill me too? I would welcome death for the chance to be with my love again.

There is a cost to growing up in this world. You have to pay a price to become a mature adult, have to give up something in order to get what you think you want. That's the funny part though. When you're young all you can dream of is what'll happen when you grow up but when you're old all you want to do is go back to being a kid again. You give up your innocence because you think that you're better off without it. It's the way the world works but every once and a while there's someone who doesn't play the game. Some people like their innocence and want to hold onto it for as long as possible. The world has to take drastic steps then, has to rip it from you and nearly tear your soul out with it. Well, I hope the world got what it wanted from me. I am growing and maturing and becoming an adult at the cost of losing the purest love I have ever known. Love is never as beautiful and pure as when it's first given to someone. After that, you can't love as freely again. You carry the baggage of past relationships with you even if you try not to consciously. Is that the price of adulthood these days? If it is then I think I'd like to go back to being a kid again for a little while. I'd like to go back to a time when I could hold my Julia in my arms and feel her lips on mine. I'd like to go back and bottle up that fire inside me so I could use it to satisfy the insatiable hunger I feel now. But I can't do that. I wrote the check and now I cashed it. I paid a huge price, a price for growing up. I hope whatever I bought with that check is half as beautiful as what I had to give up to get it. Something tells me it won't be.