A Broken World

By , Bassett, VA
In that time, days were much brighter than they are now. The gray flowers on the ground once bloomed in bright reds, blues, yellows, and greens. Even the nights, now so fearsome, were filled with hope, and the stars shone bright over the world, smiling on the children as they slept soundly in their beds. Ah, the children… even they are different now. At one time, they were wishful, and followed the sweet sounds of the wild, but now they are reserved. They are so scared, so, so very scared, and from the things they’ve seen, even the toddlers are just as adult as the adults themselves. So many things have changed, and often I wish we could go back to that time before, but that, at least now, is impossible.

After all this time, it seems the world has gone away. Those endless days of love and joy have long departed, and now, as I stand here, I see nothing but those dead flowers, and the earth, once the strongest thing in existence, is so frail. But at least it offers me rest, and I will take it, though it is so much harder to sleep without the calming songs of the night birds, and the howl of the forest’s many wolves. I see no stars in the sky, only blackness, and I can’t help but feel that all the wishes that were made upon them were so hollow, so useless when one thinks of it. This feeling in me is increased by a young boy sitting by a fountain that has long gone dry, crying out to the sky, perhaps to lost friends and family, maybe for food or drink, or possibly just be cries of loneliness and sorrow. I’ve heard enough of him, and there is no help I feel I can offer, so I walk away, trying to find another place in this nearly empty world to rest. The boy’s cries behind me ring louder, and a tear falls, unbidden, from my eye. I can’t help but think that it is the first one in over three years.

As I find a new place, one that is mercifully empty, I lay down, and before I sleep, I, as always begin to contemplate this life. I wish that I had cherished it more before, thought of all the wonderful things it had brought me, and been thankful instead of selfishly desiring more. I wish that I had taken the time to simply lay down in a wide field, such as the one I rest in now, and just laughed. I wish I had looked at the world through the eyes of one who appreciated it for what it was, instead of wanting to change it, make it even better. And there, simply more hollow wishes, and not even on the stars now. Given to the air, I suppose, and as I thought this I heard the echo of the boy’s cries again, though I was so distant from him now. I can’t help but make another wish, this time for the boy, and hope that he slept soundly that night.

Sleep still eludes me, and I continue to contemplate. I remember an old saying that I’d heard before, something about there being a gain for every loss. Despite my situation, I believe that it is true. Though I have lost my previous care-free life of happiness and joy, I have gained much knowledge. I know that I should’ve appreciated what I had before it ended, and I know that I will try my best to do that from now on, though I have nothing but the tattered clothes I now wear on my back. I will let myself keep flying on, love this life I now live, and do my best to let it continue. I will be different, even if it is too late for me to change my ways.

I stand up again, sleep having horribly distanced itself from me. I walk back to the fountain I had left, where the little boy lay sleeping with his head resting against the fountain. Dried tears cover his face, and he doesn’t even stir when I lift him up and carry him to the field to sleep on the cool grass. I’m suddenly glad I came when I did, as who knew what could’ve happened to the boy as he slept this deeply. I look down on him, and I feel worse than before, despite my resolve to better myself, as it seems so unfair for a simple child to deal with this world. He looked as though he was barely twelve, perhaps less, and I look away from him. It is too much to see him right now, his time as a child stripped away before he was even born. But I stay strong, I look at the sky, and renew my resolve to live this life to its fullest. I lay down beside the child, and look up at the black sky for but a short while before sleep finally overwhelms me, and though sleep only leads me to more empty blackness, I make yet another vain wish that tomorrow will be better.





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