There are these bright moments of abhorring darkness when someone does something so vile that you feel bits of yourself falling away, and the spirit of self-damaging pain takes over like a slithering poison.
These moments are so trivial and yet their effect is astounding. You play and replay scenarios in your head, wondering how much further you could go down the chasm. It’s subtle but overt, quiet but cacophonous.
When they takes stabs with their sharpened words, there is this millisecond of thought that flashes in my mind and soul, and disappears just as quickly.
In that millisecond, I think of the dying.
They will try to make you stay,
steal the peace away from you,
soak your actions in self doubt,
if you don’t live the way they like.
My eyes are dark and my lips are rosy. Through the hallway, down the winding stairs, out the cloisterious triple-entrance, and onto the corner of the street. Down the block, past the brick apartments and straight to the station ahead. A stop for coffee somewhere crowded, people entering and exiting, me passing through in the same fashion. Down the neverending street with its tall yellow lights illuminating the twinkling lights and passing barges down below, along the river. The wind pushes me along as I cross the bridge to the other side. The sky is periwinkle and carnation as twilight descends. Books, I see tables filled with books upon books upon books. I exhale puffs of brisk evening air as I look through a box of science fiction titles. I leave the books and walk up the bank, to that familiar spot. There you are, bundled up, waiting for me.
Specks of sadness dance in her dark eyes as she tells me of her life on the road, always moving, always unstable. Her next deployment is across the sea and over the mountains, thousands of miles away from here, from home. He wanted to be with her, she said, but then she received news of the assignment and so he stopped asking to be with her once the reality set in. She has one more year of service before she is free to be herself again, to reclaim her freedom. She said she would dye her hair green when she returned home.
This weekend I will try the new coffee roastery by my place and go for a walk afterwards, under the cool and brightening Los Angeles sky. She will head back to base and make preparations to set off for one year. She will leave everything behind and venture into unknown territory, to the other side. The point is that she will be so far from home, from her family. It will be one year before I see my friend again. It matters not what side I stand on, because I love her more than all the politik combined. I admire and appreciate her courage, and I am reminded of the value of my freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom to be. Let me never forget. I will miss her dearly.
I revv down the winding mountainside as my machine’s purposefully crafted chassis compliments the sharp turns and alternating speeds. The noon winds ride beside me as they take me into their soft and strong arms, like a companion in the ring, light as the clouds but hefty like velvet. I breathe in deep lungfuls of air as I pick up speed. I’m spiraling down the path, each turn more treacherous than the last, but I’m in control and anticipate every move. There is no one ahead or behind me. The way is mine.
Somewhere in the distance, I know you’re there, watching as I wind down the side of the mountain. I catch the faintest hint of cologne in the air, it smells like deep waters, like the dark ocean ahead. I smell mint and sea water. You beckon for me, smoky ghost hands outstretched in the clear cerulean sky above, certain and inevitable.
I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve bypassed my choices with fleeting glances. I’ve refused myself. I want to be free. I should let you love me.
Wide as the ring of a bell,
gone all star white,
small as a wish in a well.
Iron & Wine | Sodom, South Georgia
Will you sing to me when I’m gone?
The moon gathers those wispy clouds around her tonight. She might be cold. She could be lonely. Probably in need of company. Her fleeting friends dance around her in slow motion, the delicate and fickle creatures.
My days have been warm and anxious, my nights cool and fulfilling. I’ve let things go, let them fly up and into the dark skies, spreading through all the pines. I’m here in my body at last, in agreement with my thoughts.
Wednesday marks the 18th year since you died. I’ll be at the manse on the hill to whisper simple words to your memory and bid you another peaceful year of happiness, wherever you are. I’ll walk through the grand entrance with a straight back, into the hall of candles and statues, up the hill to your place of rest and there I’ll shrink back into my 13-year-old self.
It’s fine. Tomorrow is a new day.