There's this little table, this little table in our old living room. It's a little red and green gnome with a long white beard and rosy cheeks holding up the top of a tree stump. I always thought it was a dwarf, though I have recently come to realize that dwarfs are not as jolly creatures as this being appeared to be. The little tree stump the gnome holds is made of plastic, serves as the table's top and was often covered with books or coffee cups.
My mom gave it to my dad for his birthday and yet I've always considered it mine. No one in my family is agrees with this, but I know it's mine. See, I always thought the table was real.
And because it was real and yet never moved, it was obviously enchanted. So once when no one was looking, I kissed its cheeks and then its little red lips. It did not stir.
But then I became very afraid, very, very afraid. My kiss hadn't been enough, and such made sense. I didn't truly expect it to come to life by my kiss, it had been very unlikely I was the gnome table's true love. I had just kissed it in case there was any chance I could save it.
But now I became afraid, afraid and very very ashamed. I had wasted my kiss on a gnome, a gnome I did not love. And so my young heart was thrown into guilt. Why would I kiss that which I did not love?
And for a long time I felt very guilty. I felt guilty that I had so carelessly thrown a kiss away. I finally confessed my sin to my mother. She held me as I cried. I doubt she remembers it now and if she does, it probably amuses her.
Today, I dropped a little gnome I have and broke his hat. My immediate impulse was to apologize to him and kiss both of his cheeks. And so I remembered this. And I laughed.
But now that I think back, I really don't think I've changed much from that girl. I'm impulsive, I always have been. I always feel guilty. I've tripped over my own heartstrings too many times to count, but I never tell till I crack. I don't believe in breaking my own heart and I guess I still believe in kisses bringing enchanted beings back to life.
Sometimes I wonder, I wonder, how long I plan to feel guilty for feeling, for feeling a little too much. How long am I going to feel the need to confess that I cared too much? It's been almost seventeen years and I constantly tell myself to stop throwing my emotions around. Why can't I just feel and not feel guilty for feeling so much?
I've always been the one who cried at little things, who picked up bugs stuck in buildings, and apologized when no apology was needed. I've always been the one who promised not to write poems about that one person but did anyways. And I've always been the one who's felt guilty for being that one. I've always felt guilty for feeling so much sadness, so much happiness, so much compassion, so much infatuation, so much mortification. So much emotion.
So I'm taking back that apology to myself, to my mother, to that gnome table. I'm not sorry for kissing that gnome. I'm not sorry for feeling and acting upon compassion. I'm not sorry.
I don't want to apologize for my heart anymore. I don't want to tell myself that tears and goosebumps and blushing cheeks and butterflies and sighs and flashing eyes are all wrong.
One day I just want to feel everything, everything but my guilt. And that day may not be today, but I hope it's coming. So today, I'm starting by taking back that apology to that gnome table.