Brave arts.

You have to suffer a little, she tells herself. That’s the thing about life, it gets you when you least expect it and before you know it, you’re suffering. All the artists know this, and the smart ones do something. They weave poems that whisper into the cracks of hardened hearts, or form hand-molded sculptures with elegant lines, or pound out songs that get you where you live. Those kinds of things.

The ones who aren’t smart, they suffer, and they don’t have a damned thing to show for it besides ruined eyes and shriveled guts. Years go by and they look up to realize that their children are grown and their sensitivities have frozen, their salad days have iced up in the harsh light of disenchantment and the chill of regret.

Come on, she tells herself, be brave. Remember that anxieties are aroused by these inner beliefs: bad follows good; if you get too excited/happy/relieved, God will punish you; to be negative is to be realistic; only fools indulge themselves in optimism.

Her intention is to trust the good coming her way, to ask the gift to settle in and stay a while. He hasn’t religion, but she has enough for the both of them: she’ll go down on her knees to laud God for putting him in her path and she won’t fear affection. Not everything is on a trajectory to harm you, she reminds herself. Some things can’t work out, it’s true.

But then, some can. That’s true, too.