I am a self-diagnosed maybe person.
According to Webster, maybe is defined as “possibly but not certainly”; but within the dictionary, there is no definition of a maybe person.
A maybe person, I think, is one who teeters on decisions; one who enjoys the safety between yes and no; and one who, at times, lacks the confidence to choose, in fear of disappointing others.
I see better though writing, so let me explain the risk I present to myself through a story of my own.
Once, there was a home. A Victorian home, old and weathered, bargeboard and shutters misshapen. It stood in the forest of a small town, and although it was ancient, it had old-fashioned beauty.
After its years of vacancy, a young couple moved into the home, and together, they raised a family. As time went on, their children grew strong, and they grew older.
The Victorian house, though, had its secrets. After it was built, over a hundred years ago, strangeness began.
Each night, with the humans unaware, every object within the home came alive.
The tables and the chairs, the silverware and the drawers, the grandfather clock and the wallpaper, the books and the shelves, the lanterns and the matches.
The objects lived peacefully at night, and they did not disturb the humans.
When the young couple moved in, however, the objects became frightened. Their magic, they knew, would be destroyed if the family removed them, for the magic was in the house, and only meant for the original objects.
As the young couple renovated, year after year, objects began to disappear. First went the matches and the lanterns, then tables and the chairs, then the books and the shelves, then the silverware and the drawers. New objects replaced the old, and they were unable to come to life. Eventually, the grandfather clock and the wallpaper were the only living objects left, and during the nights they would speak.
“We should tell the people our secret,” whispered the grandfather clock one night in the dark.
“Maybe,” said the wallpaper, always less courageous than his friend. “But why?”
“They might keep us that way.”
“Maybe. You don’t know that.”
“It’s a chance we must take,” said the grandfather clock. “For our survival.”
“Even if the humans accepted, I’d still feel lonely without the others. Imagine it. Forever in the home – without them.”
At this, the grandfather clock became excited.
“Haven’t you listened to the humans?” he asked. “They didn’t throw away the others. Our friends are in storage, somewhere away from here. We could ask the humans to return them.”
“Yes, maybe,” said the wallpaper nervously. For a moment, he thought of the consequences. “What if they’re afraid of us?”
“The humans? Well, what choice do we have?” He then thought of the future. “They’re our last hope.”
“They might throw us away,” said the wallpaper, “if they were to know our truth.”
“You can’t base your decisions on fear.”
The wallpaper fell quiet. After a while, he whispered, “How do you propose we tell them?”
The grandfather clock allowed his hands to tick before answering. The soft echoes filled the halls, and the wallpaper became anxious.
“You must do it,” said the grandfather clock.
“Me?” the wallpaper murmured. “I can’t.”
“Tell – tell me why.”
“We’re only alive at night,” said the grandfather clock, “and at night, the humans are upstairs sleeping. Your paper runs into the bedrooms. You’re the only one who can speak to them – and wake them.”
“I don’t know,” breathed the wallpaper. “It’s dangerous.”
“Please,” urged the grandfather clock.
The wallpaper thought. “Maybe,” he said. “Let me think.”
For days, for weeks, the conversation continued. The grandfather clock would plead, and the wallpaper could not decide because of his nerves.
One morning, the humans left for town, and they returned with large canvas sheets. The husband carried gallons of paint, and the wife held brushes and putty knives. They worked diligently as they peeled off the wallpaper, strip by strip, until the wall was bare. Then, that afternoon, they painted and repainted, and soon, the wall had a fresh shade of blue. That night, they went to bed and slept well, for the work had tired them.
When the sun had completely fallen, the grandfather clock awoke and looked to the wall, ready again to plead his case.
He stared at the paperless wall and could not speak. After the shock had passed, he began to weep. His last friend was gone, and his hope to tell the humans was destroyed. He cried deep into the night, and when his tears dried, he realized how lonesome he would forever be.
His hands ticked in the dark, and the humans, sleeping happily upstairs, were deaf to the sound.
As I begin college, I hope to wipe away the maybes inside of me.
Maybe, by doing so, I’ll save my future self.