It is as if she has retreated inside of herself; instead of being here with me, she's watching in the same way she watches television. It's as if the sounds are arriving in her brain from far, far away and my touch is somehow disconnected. And so I tell her over and over that I'm really here, that I'll always be here. I tell her softly yet at a volume that reaches inside and soothes that which ran and hid. It takes time for the soul to reemerge, to seek the sunlight instead of the shade, but there is no other way - patient love, time, welcoming the bond that develops, keeping it steady and real.
I know I'm scared when those old fears run through my head, when I hear the taunting laughter of years past, when I was a skinny kid and punchline of teenage jokes. I know I'm scared when these bad memories cut loose their chains and invade my confidence, eroding the person I have built since those dark days. The fear comes most when I'm tired and flees in the nighttime, vanquished by the time I awake. So when my thoughts tumble into that abyss and the rope ladders burn, I put down my phone, turn off my computer too, and curl up where it's dark and warm. For my dreams are my helicopter, my dream-self is the pilot, and she's waiting to take me out of here the moment I let it all go.
Her eyes were fire in water, if you can imagine such a thing. They were passion in ice. So even on our first meeting I knew, she'd be a friend for life, never dominating nor submitting, but a companion who walks freely alongside. And that she was and more. There were days she looked at me with such love and playfulness those blue eyes became butterfly wings, hers and mine.
Here we are with the wild flowers rising from the earth, looking to the casual eye as weeds until they bloom. Who pays attention to their chaotic stems that twist in the joy of new life until they wear colours as bold as any festival dive? Then there they are in the air that becomes more welcoming each day, a community of colours, a feast for butterfly and bee.
I gripped on so tightly despite the fact that my palms where sore and burned. My nails dug deep onto the corroded strings to give myself a better grasp, to give myself one more hope that I would succeed. A tear rolled onto my cheek, but I didn't care; I had to stay focused. I used to tell myself, "I need to stay focused"…but after a lifetime of being oblivious torture, I let go. I realized that you didn’t care and so I stood up and walked away from you - that stupid rope of hope and everything you had done to hurt me. And… I started to live again.
The edges of the broken glass were as the coastline of a small country, perhaps one long ago under the night sky, before the time of neon lights. The glass itself was a grey-brown, inviting the mind to see the settled dust even at a distance. Around it was the brickwork, perfect beneath the dirt of years and rising upward to the sky and cloud. It must have been abandoned for some time, a building waiting for a reason to remain standing.
The bus rocks us from side to side as we travel these familiar roads, our brains afforded the time to daydream or rest. There are those who chatter, their voices rising and blending together in the sweet ritual of friends. Some absorb themselves in music, others drift into worries that will erase themselves on arrival, when their body rejoins the world of moving and speaking to others. And so it goes on that way, all of us together and separate, feeling all the same turns and bumps.
The cold moves in only to meet the warmth of my blood, my defence against such ice. I feel it wash over my skin, again and again, only to be met by the beat of my heart, again and again. The truth is, as hard as it is, that so long as I keep moving I'll win. The ones who stop are the ones who freeze; the victors reach the safety of home because one foot always moves in front of the other in defiance to the wind, in a rage against the winter blasts, at ease with the volcano that breathes under this snowy mountain top.
After the long days of being so alone, the pain ebbed. I thought I would feel the knives in my back forever, the long blades slicing into such sensitive flesh. There were days my brain felt electrocuted, so violently defocused and the pain, the emotional pain, was so all encompassing I simply existed as a matter of will power. They say you come out of these things stronger, and I guess that's true, but you come out wiser too. I still have my loving heart, I am proud to say. I still have my idealism and courage. I still take forward leaps whether I can see the ground or not. But this heart, it's not for everyone, it's not for the ones who threw the knives, forgiven though they are.
Everyone knew the old house was haunted. It was run as a hotel and it's status brought ghost hunters from around the world to sleep in the arcane four poster beds. There was no running water or electricity and the windows were single pane, but other than that it was in good repair for a mansion of it's era. There was debate about whether the cackles and giggles were real or staged. Once in a while a guest snapped a burred shot of white light in an otherwise dark room. Visitors swore they got chills as unseen spectres passed through them. Then came Halloween night. Every guest had vanished in the morning. The police were brought in but not a trace of anyone was found. Their luggage was untouched, not a thing stolen. Sniffer dogs and infra-red scanners found nothing. The case went cold. Then the old place was bought up by a city dweller for dimes and he started the whole thing up again. More tourists came, but the prices were ten fold. They got fancy dinners and a wall certificate.