It was summer and she was hopeful. They had been out by the water all day and had gone in for a rest. Now they were clean and dry, except for her damp hair that blew wildly out the open window.
The city lights were nearing, speeding quickly on as they drove up and under and around the tangled highway. She could feel the energy of the city spill out to meet the energy increasing in her. The air and lights and cement and radio were churning and pulsing, matching the beat of her mind. She smiled and turned to look at his steady, un-churning face. This is what she had come here for.
They entered the city and crossed straight through it to reach the water once again. This was not the well-kept beach where they had spent the bright, carefree day amongst the usual summer crowd. Here the water met rocks and then cement. Here there were no crowds and every dim street light cast shadows. She was still carefree, but his clenched jaw and fists told her that he was not. She had made her choice and was now free to live in it. Here was where it was his turn to make his. She was hopeful.
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.
I thrust out my hand,
Hold it over a flame.
As though it were a bad thing
To prefer fire
Over numbing ice.
I walk forward
Into an unknown,
Braving for once
To take a chance.
As though maturity meant
Being willing to stay
I come to the shore,
Fling away my clothes,
And walk unhindered into the waving waves.
I delve into the water,
For once fully alive:
Light entwined with darkness,
Life a play thing with death.
You sit dry on the shore
And wonder at my wanting to be cleansed of your
“There is nothing else,”
So I turn away
From colors, from sounds, from eyes that see
To grayness and a blank
Placed for those who are not sated.
“You were wrong,”
(And you’ll never let me forget it),
So I draw out the blade
Over the last of untouched skin.
“You were wrong,” you repeat,
“To offer any sacrifice.”
No sincerely-I-do love,
No level of child’s understanding,
To counter your “This is all there is.”
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.
Everything is clear.
All you tried to give me
I can now accept,
In this state,
In this altered reality.
It’s really not that bad,
To feel more than you thought you could feel,
To feel more than they say you should feel.
Everything is clear
When I can see your face un-obscured,
Untainted by the reality they bring to us as chains.
What I wanted you to give me
I now place before your feet.
I won’t ask
For what I’m not willing to receive.
“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.