To tell you the truth, I think that everything in Life stands for something. I've seen a lot in my day, and as someone who collects things when their time has come, I can promise you, Life and I have differences that aren't clear to the untrained eye. We may both be cunning, quick and unforgiving, but Life has a strange way of surprising you in a way that I have yet to learn. Everything about me is clear, straightforward, and bleak. In Life, not a single thing is obsolete. Everything, every tiny atom that you don't notice, has a meaning.
Every person you pass by on the street, every item that tempts you in a store window, every bird that chirps by your window at the crack of dawn; they all mean something that you don't realize at the time. It's not that you're too immature or aloof to notice these subtle hints, it's more that whenever humans go through something, whatever that may be, their brain reflects their emotions onto seemingly insignificant objects. That's when those motifs begin popping out in front of you.
The couple that walks past you in the street, hand-in-hand, remind you of what could have been with a certain someone. The scarf in the store window reminds you of a quiet night in the snow. The birds' songs outside your window remind you of how it feels to wake up next to someone you love. The older you get, the more symbols you notice. It's Life's game, you see, and you're simply her pawn. All humans are. Just take a look back through your life so far. You'll know I'm right.
You're a child and your mother explains the concept of wedding rings. She says that it's tradition to never take them off, to keep it with you, always. You think that's slightly idiotic, to never take a ring off, but she shakes her head and smiles. That's love, my darling, she tells you, and you notice that when your grandfather passes, your grandmother's ring remains untouched and shiny as ever on her finger. Love, you think. Remember?
You're in the fifth grade and your father takes a swig of his bourbon. Before you know it, he's had three glasses and is reaching for more. Your mother is sitting stony-faced on the couch, not saying a word. You ask her why and she tells you that he's an excellent father and a good man, but not an ideal spouse. You find that confusing, because all you've ever seen from your parents is smiles, laughter, and what you thought love was. You glance at your dad as he downs his fourth bourbon, watch as it makes him unapproachable and rude, and the only word you can think of to describe what you're seeing is destruction. Remember?
You're a teenager at the secluded park now, staring straight forward into a pair of deep, hazel eyes, wondering how the universe could have possibly created something so remarkably beautiful. Before you know it, the two of you are leaning in, and your heart rate is quickening, and the birds amongst the bushes behind you chirp gleefully. After a moment, you pull back, a flustered blush on your face and see a butterfly land on one o the daisies at your feet. You think about butterflies, then you look up again, into those captivating eyes, and feel those butterflies fluttering around inside of you. Remember?
You're on your way home from college and you're sucking on a stale altoid at the auto repair shop, waiting for your oil to be changed. Sitting in the dingy waiting room full of flickering flourescent lights, you watch the man and his little girl sitting on the metal chairs opposite you. He's a father teaching his daughter to flip quarters with just her thumb and after a few failed attempts, she lets out a tinkling laugh as the coin sails smoothly through the air. You think about seeing your parents again and feel your chest swell with emotion, and when the quarter lands on the ground with a satisfying plink, family is all you hear. Remember?
You're seeing it now, aren't you? Every little symbol, ones of romance, sadness, joy. They're all there; they always have been. You were just so swept up in your own thoughts that you didn't grasp what was right in front of you. And I know that the ones from your heartbreak hurt, just as heartbreaks generally do, but take it from someone who's been around for quite some time: all Life-related things end eventually. The symbols are souvenirs from your past, bits and pieces to bring you back to your roots, even if for a moment. To remind you that no matter how hopeless or painful a chapter in your life may be, a new one will always follow.
It may seem that the birds' songs outside your window will only hurt you, or that the scarf in the shop window and the couple in the street are taunting you forevermore, but that is now. Now is not forevermore, and forevermore holds a myriad of possibilities you've yet to imagine. Possibilities filled with rings, alcohol, hazel eyes, and quarters. I, of all people, understand how confusing Life can be sometimes, but if I can love her, not despite her mysteries, but because of them, you certainly can, too.
This is your story. You get to choose how this new, post-heartbreak chapter is going to start. I'm no expert, but I suppose, now that you've had all of these eye-opening epiphanies, you might as well start off on a high note. Keep your head up. Smile. Walk with confidence. Kiss that hazel-eyed beauty. Grab that drink out of your father's hands, buy the scarf, and sing along with those birds. Remember, I'll be by to collect you before you know it. Use this time wisely, take the end of this era in Life, and make it the beginning of you.