She walked out of the cave confidently. Her dress was torn and dirty, almost as dirty as her hair and her face. Her bones were prominent under her skin. The skin on her feet was calloused. But she walked regally, in the filth and wear and wasted away, out from the darkness and into the light.
She walked out, head held high. It had been days, months, years. All that time hiding, away from light, away from the others, away from the ones who had known her by name. The darkness had been full and deep and everywhere. Everywhere she turned in those days and months and years it had been darkness all around, sinking into the walls, sinking into the sky, sinking into her skin. Darkness that followed, that dwelt, darkness that was the only one who spoke her name. For days and months and years it had been nothing but darkness.
But now the days and months and years were up. They had had their say, and God knows they had had their way. But their time was up. Their say had been heard, and it had been answered. The darkness that permeated would stay and permeate and sink, but not into the space in which she would now live.
Tomorrow comes in a gallop set to beating drums and snapping whips.
Tomorrow sits high and aims straight.
Tomorrow comes to take what is his.
When you first came here, Tomorrow was your way out,
Your escape, your doorway, the exit from a deep, air-less cave.
Tomorrow was welcome salvation from agonizing Today.
When you first came here, Tomorrow was your friend.
It brought you newness and treasure chests filled with time.
When you first came here, Tomorrow rode out to meet you with glittering banners and songs. Tomorrow welcomed you with a smile and a sure hand.
When you first came here, Tomorrow was life.
If only I were brave, she thought, forgetting that she’d come all this way on her own.
She had been walking for miles, along the ragged shore. The wind had blown and the waves had risen. The cold water had splashed her shoulders. The sun had been bright and yet without warmth. The sun had liked to keep its distance.
The shore had wound almost endlessly behind her. She couldn’t remember now just when she had started on its path. Periodically she raised her eyes from the gray-black stones to see more endless raggedness before her. One day she had started walking and had kept on. She kept on now.
The sun started to move further away, falling back away from her, and she felt it shrink it rays away from her.
“That’s fine,” she said to it without looking back. “I know you like to go. I know you’ll be forced to return tomorrow.”
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.