A couple days ago I experienced one of the worst days of my life.
Guess whose tennis coach will be moving to Orlando in a month?
A) Barbara Walters
B) Saddam Hussein
C) Mary the janitor
The correct answer would be...drum roll please...D for damn it, why must these things happen to me? Because it's all part of the bigger picture, that's why. Because we're all like puppets in fate's cruel hands. Do you really think that just because we can make our own decisions and do what we want we're free? No, that's not freedom. I'll tell you what freedom is. Freedom is invincibility. The zap of electricity across a neuron that sounds faintly like, "Nothing can touch me." But by definition humans can never be free because we can never be invincible. This sinew falls prey to the simplest of nature's mechanisms. And this soul succumbs to a scrap of the horrifying beauty of despair. But there's a secret I'm going to let you guys in on. Please, do tell anyone. If you listen even harder to that freedom-spark's flight across the brain, you can dimly perceive a new juxtaposition of consonants and vowels,
"Anything can touch me."
And that, my friends, is liberation. Once you topple your pride and accept the vulnerability that trails on life's heels, then you can be free. Realize how truly powerless you are and you will become more powerful than you could ever imagine. When you accept that anything could happen, anything could touch you, anything could harm you and you are no longer afraid, then you can be invincible in your own way. And that's what I have learned.
So Francisco, my tennis coach, told me two days ago like 15 minutes into the lesson. When he told me I was in such a state of disbelief I was completely numb so I just nodded my head and acted like nothing happened. Then a minute later when I realized the full exent of it I had to battle my emotions and choke back the tears the rest of the time. It was torture forcing myself to hold back the flood again on the ride home, but as soon as I found myself in the privacy of my room I just collapsed and cried for half an hour. I calmed myself down for a couple minutes so I could get into the shower and then cried in there for another fifteen. I don't know if you guys really understand how much Francisco means to me. He's my mentor, my hero, my brother, my best friend. He's seriously the best part of my life. When I go on the court with him and play, I feel like an entirely different person--reborn into the flesh of a true warrior. I feel like I can conquer the world. Invincible. He taught me how to feel that way. He gave it to me as a gift. It's as if God revealed the heavens and held them in the palm of his hand and told me they were mine. Such is the feeling that he has instilled in me. He's the first person to ever tell me that I could be something. That I'm something special. That my dreams are not children of vain hope and childish fantasy. That one day they could blossom. That I am truly beautiful. He's given me hope--and I'm afraid that it will fly away with him on his jet to Florida, an invisible carry-on setting off no alarms but my own.
"Well you'd like to think that you were invincible, yeah, well weren't we all once, before we felt loss for the first time?"