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The Darkness

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Darkness, it’s everywhere. It’s consuming me. It doesn’t even know I’m awake. It doesn’t even know it’s eating me alive, but it is. Smothering me in heavy black darkness, like a thick wool blanket. Like I’m buried under snow, or maybe even buried six feet under, in the ground, dead, in a nice oak coffin. Deeper, deeper, it’s digging my grave. It’s putting me in the hole, sealing me up. The dirt, it’s spilling down. Down, down, down, down, down. Nothing, I can’t see. But I couldn’t before. And what if I don’t want to? What if I like the dark? Do I just stay in it, or do I try to fight my way back up, out of it? Does the darkness spit me up, partially digested? Or am I enveloped in it for good, never getting out? I don’t know. No one knows, but I have to. I have to or I’ll just die. And it’ll put me in my grave, and the dirt will come down, down, down. Six feet of it. Why would I want to escape the dark? It’s nice, I’m alone. But as much as I like being alone, I hate it. No one there. No one to love you, to kiss you goodnight or say hello or give you a hug. No one to care about you and your wellbeing. If I’m hurt, no one to take me to the hospital. No hospital to be taken to, and no one there to fix me up. And if I’m sick there’s no one to make me soup, chicken soup. No one to make me feel better, to make the fever go away. And when I’m sad, no one to tell me it’s alright, it’s not my fault. No one to give me a big hug and tell me they’ll be there for me, no matter what. But when I’m not in the darkness, I have all that, and more. I have family. Wife, kids, parents, all of that. Friends, too. And they all care. They’re sitting there with hugs and kisses and love and soup, all for me. I couldn’t just abandon them and stay in the darkness. I couldn’t let them down, and I know they wouldn’t let me down. Like little Max, my four-year-old. Born with a heart defect, but he’s still here today. He’s a fighter, and I ought to be one, too. My dad’s a fighter, too. Fought cancer for two long years, and he beat it. I have to beat the darkness, beat my urge to stay in it, dwell in it, live in it. For him. For Allie, my wife. Could they come into the darkness with me? I don’t think so, but if they could, then what would be the point of the darkness? It would just be night. Forever, eternal, never-ending, everlasting night. The darkness is no good, I’ve made up my mind. I want out, but I don’t know how to escape, or if I even can. Maybe if I just think real hard and will myself to get out, I can. Or maybe I really have to push. Struggle. That’s it. I’m pushing, struggling, trying so hard. Can I make it? The darkness - it’s fading! It’s disappearing, almost gone, graying. Turning into white. I can hear now, too! Voices, I hear voices, but I don’t know whose. I can feel myself! I’m aware of my body now. My arms, my legs. And, most of all, I can move! I force my eyes open first, then I try to talk. All I get out is a low little moan, but someone hears it. A woma. She comes running on up, yelling. "He’s alive, he’s awake. C’mon, look at him, he moaned. He’s awake, he’s awake, alive. C’mon, he’s got his eyes open, he moaned, he’s awake, come look." I try and moan again, but what comes out are words.

“Who? Where? Why?” She’s got her face right up above mine, she’s peering down, smiling real big, laughing. And I recognize her. I know her. Allie, she’s my wife.

“Oh, god, you’re alive!” she laughs, and I laugh too. It hurts, but I laugh.

“Allie?”

“Oh, god. I love you so much. I can’t believe it, you’re alive, Matt.” I laugh again, and it doesn’t hurt. Or if it does, I don’t care. And then we’re silent, the world is going on all around us, but I don’t see it. All I see is her, and all I don’t see is darkness.



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