what i cannot promise you

by tobias crabtree

i cannot promise tomorrow. i’m pretty sure it’ll come, it always has, but i cannot promise it.

i cannot promise you that you won’t cry again, i hope you do. it’s good for you, you should check it out. don’t do it all the time, though, it’ll run people off.

i cannot promise you that there will be coffee in the morning. if there isn’t, you should have planned better.

i cannot promise you that the newspaper will set your mind at ease when you read it in the morning. hell, you can read it whenever you want and it won’t set your mind at ease.

i cannot promise you that people won’t die tomorrow. i can’t even promise that you won’t die tomorrow. it’s kinda spooky, but that’s just the way it is, sorry.

i cannot promise that you will be happy. chances are, you’ll be happy at some point. if you’re lucky, you’ll be happy a lot. but i wouldn’t count on happiness, it’s a slippery fish. you could always do what i do and grovel in some self pity for a while and it’ll make happy moments seem fantastic.

i cannot promise that i will never lie again. i’ll try not to, but i will lie again, i’m sure. i’ve lied to those i love the most so it’s kind of a sure thing. what sucks most about lying is that it pulls the rug out from under you. lies will make the best person look bad. so yeah, i’ll probably lie again. maybe soon.

i can’t promise that you’ll find love. you probably will, no matter who you are, but here’s the catch. if you do find it, you will suffer. you might love someone who doesn’t love you back. you might love someone who loves you, but also loves someone else…more.  you might even find someone who loves you dearly but you can’t find a way to love them enough, and so they leave you. there’s a ton of ways to suffer if you fall in love, but the heaviest is if it is perfect. if it’s perfect, then one of you, someday, must lose the other. we all die.

the only things i can promise are things i can’t really prove; like, i hear crickets in the oak forest above the farm; like, i watched the finches in the corn talk in the sweetest, softest tones to one another for 30 minutes today; like, i feel pretty good right now. but really, promises are kind of bullshit. they might change and then, so what? life is one big fat bundle of changes and we might as well get use to it.

i ain’t sure what causes us to get up out of the wrong side of the bed, but i know it happens. sometimes i wake up and i have ugly written all over my face. i should know, i see it in the reflection of the window, or in the mirror if i’m brave enough to go there. (mirrors aren’t my favorite human inventions — when we’re not looking at how pretty we are, we’re ripping ourselves to shreds.) but i realize that i’ve done this since i’ve been conscious. even back when i was a 12 year old, smily-faced, protected little boy i had my bad starts. i guess it’s just a part of being human.  what i’ve noticed is that bad starts look a little uglier on a 46 year old face. if i ever want that job as a super-model i’m gonna have to keep my “ugly-mug” starts to a minimum.

hell, it’s ridiculous that i complain at all. i can see the stars. the ‘poorwill is calling from beyond the hedge. the old ‘fridge is groaning, but i bet the cream will still be cold in the morning. the fall harvest is coming on wonderfully. there are breaths to breathe and loves to love. there’s roads to bomb on our skateboards. there’s wild mountains that are ready to teach us. there’s rivers that hold secrets in their granite bellies. there’s caves whose walls hold the etchings of our history in ancient form.  it’s here for us to behold if we just pay attention. the world is full of soulful humans who are hoping and fighting for a higher way of being.  i can close my eyes and think of dozens of people with the power to change the world. i have a certain confidence that reaches beyond bombs and poisonous gases…it reaches into the hearts of the open-minded, the ones who swim deeper, the fire carriers.  strip away money and belongings and you get people. give me them kinds and i bet we’ll make it out just fine.