not sure if you have noticed, but i have been suspiciously absent for the past week. the culprit? i’ve been away to a distant land. a distant land called I Like A Boy. but what’s kept me away so long isn’t the land itself–i’ve visited there quite a few times, taken some day trips there–but this new part of town that i stumbled upon, He Likes Me Back.

this latter land is an elusive one, hidden out in the far fringes of the landscape. you have to traverse some steep mountains, being sure not to tumble down the rough terrain and rugged cliffs in the process. you have to wander through the flat, lifeless fields where it appears to just be an endless plateau with no end in sight.

and then you finally make it to that point where the grass starts to get greener and the leaves start popping from the tree branches. you’re still walking and sweating, but it’s not as bad at this point in the journey–in fact, you’re quite enjoying it. you’re looking around and noticing the beauty of the peaks you passed and the swaying grasses and hidden creatures of the meadow. a woodpecker swoops down and reminds you: there’s more than meets the eye here.

so you sigh and smile and soak in the journey as it continues on.

and that’s when you find it. that’s when—when you least expected it, when you’d finally grown content in the pace and scenery around you—that you walk smack dab into this novel little oasis.

this land is ruled over by a young prince named Paul. he greets you at the edge and you take notice of how blue the skies are overhead and how, here, the butterflies dance about and the birds are whistling a fresh summer ditty. he offers to show you around.

you’re used to the journey so you say yes, and walk alongside him. as he takes you farther into his oasis, he tells you all kinds of magical tales about bright shooting stars and other distant lands with princesses. you’re so rapt in the storytelling that you forget to pay attention to where you’re going, because you don’t need to: you simply follow. but then, you stop suddenly, remembering that this in fact is a journey (and you recall how treacherous they’ve been in the past) and look up to see that he’s led you to the very heart of the land.

you’re now surrounded by a wall of pale yellow roses and bright, sunny daffodils that bend down and whisper in rhyme, “Hello, how do you do? We’ve been waiting for you.” he chooses a bunch and offers them to you; he asks you sit down and stay awhile. he promises to show you more around the land tomorrow, because there’s much to see. this is only the beginning…