Countless

There were countless reasons for her not to step over the threshold. She had been born into this home, and her love for it was one of her oldest, and greatest, memories.

She had been brought to life in this home. She had been close to her family and had created friends in it. She had found love in this house and had seen love go away.

She was familiar with all of its rooms, its hidden corners, the scariest part of its dark, cold basement. She had been to its highest turret, and had crawled up to the highest point of its roof to see the vast sky unobstructed.

During all her days and all her nights, she had dwelt inside this home. She living in this house had been her truest definition of herself. This house was all she had known.

Yet she stood at its threshold now, looking away from it. The house had not changed and the people in it remained. Her room in the house was still reserved for her, and it still brought her comfort. She still liked the ways of the house, the way the floors creaked and the way the windows let in the midnight moon.

There were countless reasons for her to close the door and stay. There were countless reasons and her entire life so far.

But here she was at the doorway looking out. This behind her had been her world, but this before her was the world.

She could stay inside and be safe and keep living her life in the way she loved. She could stay with her family and her friends, stay in familiarity and in warmth. She could stay and be well.

There were countless reasons to stay, but now here was one reason to leave:

What if all the world out there would love her more than she loved this home?

 

In response to The Daily Post’s prompt Countless.

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Siren

She was young, but she should have known better. The days had been bright and hot, but tonight was cool. The sky was starless.

She waited until her family was asleep and then carefully went down stairs and out the door, pen and notebook, Bible, and discman in hand. Now it was just her and the night.

She was young, but not too young not to know.

The darkness was coming in. If she had had eyes to see, she would have seen it swirling slowly to her, like a haze drifting forward over the ocean. The darkness – the depth – was coming.

She was happy with her music and words she believed were true. She was happy writing worlds that no one else could see. Her eyes were nearsighted but sparkling. She was safe in all she did not know.

But she should have known.

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Man-Made

I don’t know
How this is where I came to be.
They said, “Stay away,” and now this is where I’ll linger.

I came, searching, because you would not show me plainly.
I came, hardly aware, of how bright the sky could be,
Of how solid death could be,
Of how dim and weak my life has been.

They said, “Don’t! Because…what if?” And now the what-if’s are all I see;
They’re shroud in gold, and freedom, and peace.
All the what-ifs I was made to fear
Now walk besides me hand-in-hand
Afraid of me.

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To the Bottom

 

She went to the bottom because she thought that was the only place to go.

She had climbed to the top and had found sky and wind and light. She had enjoyed it there, with the freshness and expanse and things laid bare. She had lived that top fully and for years had been happy in it.

Then something had changed. The wind had stopped blowing. The clouds had come in low to crowd her space. The air blurred and cast everything in shadows. The top had thrilled and filled her until it didn’t. So now she needed something more. Now she’d look for earth and stillness. Now she’d look for unobscured clarity.

So she went to the bottom.

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Crank the Night

She revved the engine and looked out into the night. The tangle of neon-lit streets spreading out before her seemed to gather at the end of her vision into one single, brilliant point. Finally, she thought, I’ll make it there.

All her life inside the city walls she had been waiting for her keys, for her car, for the ruler who people said was in charge to say, “Go!” But he had never said that word to her; he had never spoken to her at all. So she had decided to find a way out herself, going throughout the confines of the kingdom to barter for a car, to forge its keys, to take one step closer to the outer perimeter, and then another, to see how far she could go before the ruler interfered. She had gotten everything she needed, and he had never tried to stop her. She took that to mean he did not mind much if she left.

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Angel Wings

“I’m removing my wings,” she said to the angel beside her.

“Your wings!” he exclaimed turning to look at her. She was beautiful, like they all were, but her beauty was different. It was bold and untamed, contrasting with the faultless uniformity of everything around them.

“I don’t believe you,” he said shaking his head. “No one would ever leave this life.”

She looked around and knew he was right. Here, everything was beautiful. There were no petty wars that caused pain and death. Nothing new or unexpected arose to disrupt daily life. No need, instinct or ephemeral feeling drove angels together. Here, everything was ideal, in all places and for all time. No, no one else would ever leave.

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A Breaking of Time

She took his strength for oppression and packed her bags to leave. She took his silence for indifference and shut the door behind her.

He didn’t stand to follow. He didn’t speak to ask her to stay. He just sat in his chair, unmoving, and watched her go.

“30 years and it’s come to this,” she said to no one as she almost ran down the driveway. “It’s all come to nothing.”

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