I hope that we come back as birds. I hope the next life we live doesn’t tie us down to one place or one taste or one understanding of the world as it appears on solid ground. I hope that in our next plane of living we are freer than we were ever in this one – that we follow any wind where it blows and we don’t worry about where we call home and that we never have to feel lost or found because wherever we rest our weary wings together, we know we already belong. I hope that in the next life we get, we’re untethered. That we belong to the sun and the skies and to each other and that nothing has to tear us from the wild.
I hope that we come back as trees. I hope our roots nestle into the earth, our souls learn to scream out in mirth and that each winter drives us deeper and closer into the dirt we’ll return to in the end. I hope our branches reach up to the skies and your roots start to intertwine with mine and that we never hear stories of the pastures, the fields and the open roads that could have beckoned us away, toward some Neverland with always-greener grass. I hope that in another lifetime, exactly what we have is enough.
I hope that we come back as spiders. I hope that in our next life, we are creatures so dreadful and loathsome that our sins no longer feel caked on our skin – that our repulsion and disfavour is a God-given part of our nature that we can no longer deny. I hope we have no qualms about the badness of our being in the next life we get to live out. I hope we relish in the chance to be dreadful – all our actions so evilly pure and intentions insincere. I hope in our next lives, we come to make peace with our atrociousness.
I hope that we come back as pilots. I hope we spend years scanning the skies, passing each other by – just a few miles or a few airports or a few patches of turbulent weather apart. I hope you tip your hat to me late one summer afternoon in a dingy airport lounge. I hope I daydream about you that night – eyes growing hazy and hands growing lazy with the thought of your lips upon mine. I hope we die in a fiery crash, thousands of miles above the earth, never knowing quite how explosive we could have been down on the ground.
I hope that we come back as strangers. I hope I’m raised in a cramped Brooklyn loft with a burnt-out pair of parents who name me something asinine and you’re a rich kid from the upper East side and our eyes lock one day on the 6 train when my tethered, choppy style entices your lopsided smile. I hope we share a wine-drunk kiss in the back of a Soho bar and that you make me forget where we are and that for one night our star-crossed love affair can light all of Manhattan on fire.
I hope that you come back courageous – as someone stronger and taller and braver than you ever knew how to be in this lifetime. I hope that you don’t second-guess who you are, that your capability stretches far, that the distance between your heart and mine becomes small enough to bridge in the world that we have to look forward to.
I hope I come back as someone who can love you. As the kind of girl whose mind doesn’t race and whose knees never quake and who knows how to offer my heart in a way that won’t waiver or wane. I hope that I am big enough, brave enough, whole enough to realize that a lifetime beside you could be greater and wilder and freer than any I could entertain on my own.
I hope we learn to call each other home.
I hope we come back as people we’re not. As ones who aren’t afraid to make a move or take a chance or base their lives on happenstance. Ones who don’t need a rhythm or rhyme. Ones who don’t worry if the stars are ever going to align.
And ones who don’t have to pin their hopes on the existence of some other lifetime.