Children’s story books are known for teaching the little ones valuable lessons of love, kindness, and patience through the wefts and weaves of adventure. The earliest form of problem solving where the solutions happen to be as simple as “one plus one equals two.” We keep fond memories of bedtime stories retold by someone we’ve learned to love. How every word tickled our imagination with vibrance and a self-orchestrated ensemble, how it sings us our favorite lullabies so that we dream of pirate ships and fairytales, how we see ourselves as heroes of misadventures to that magical somewhere — it all mattered.

It all mattered, yet unfortunately these stories do not age like us. The heroes stay timeless, their adventures perceived to be ageless, while our perceptions fermented from the childlike clarity of water to the fearful opacity of wine. The lights dim the moment the world turns into to the most personalized history class, where every aching soul and every broken bone lectures us about the capricious nature of reality — how everything is bent over backwards, how life is as cold as stone. A story book where fantasies are withheld, names remain misspelled, and its magic fated to be mispelled. Its lessons are taught with an iron fist, the growing pains that are all too familiar, yet so hard to resist. Its dates, once fondly remembered, are left to be memorized by our bodies, continuously being dismembered. Every birthday, a celebration of three hundred and sixty something breaths in the making, but also a funeral of our childhoods that are quickly fading. We realize the story books we had were maps to happiness worth treasuring, while the game of life doesn’t have the prized “x”, a spot we should be marking.

So, we grow into the heroes we wished we had. We play the protagonists of our childhood, recognizing the chapters of life as unequal parts happy and sad. We traverse the days of our first chapters, every passing paragraph fated to wither. We wield our weapons, bloodied, bruised, bitter. We gather the strength fostered from the hopefulness we mustered, and we walk along our misadventures into stories we wished to never have. Our books are turning pages faster — every word a bullet, every emotion, a trigger. The intensity of the wars we wage, a struggle on every page, lead us to our untimely sentence of being locked in a cage until it’s time for our heads to roll on the stage.

From innocence, we thrived. From maturity, we climbed. From mortality, we lived until we died. From death, our story books are burned to dust and swept to the side. Only then, we realize our divine comedies were born from our versions of Neverland. Only then, we understand the platitudes of lonesome fairytales were our happy endings, taken to the seas, lost in the abyssal sands .

Only then, in the deep, we smile knowing we live in a newfound happily ever after.

lost is found.