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Do you believe in forever?
Your mind constantly reels back to that one question, your life nearly revolving around it. These days, at least. Those not-so-distant memories of infinite happiness, stretching to the ends of the world fly into your mind as you reminisce about when nothing felt like it could ever hurt you, when nothing ever felt like it could go wrong.
When, above all, everything felt right and perfect.
But you should’ve known better. After all, perfect is a lie, a beautiful, malicious, omnipresent, biting, evil lie that never could and never would exist.
Under the sun, each day feels constantly blissful, until, that is, the day ends. Then the reality hits you, blunt, with the force of a truck, sending your mind reeling into a brick wall. Your face falls, and your chest aches. Your stomach twists with some unnamable sickening sweetness, and it’s as if the very ground below your feet falls away. You let your porcelain mask of smiles and laughter drop, making a resounding crack against the cold tile floors, blending in with the sound of your heart splintering.
You spend the night curled into yourself, burrowing into the crook of your bed as expletives stream out your mouth and tears slip from your eyelashes, teeth viciously gnawing and ripping at the pillow in an attempt to stifle the sobs and contain the dry heaves.
The sun comes back up, and it’s as if the night had never come. Your mask slides back on, with no resistance, and the shadows ebb away from the light, not daring to come out.
At school, you look around, and everywhere you see, the hallways are littered with them. Your friends. You can name each and every person you walk by, name their likes and dislikes, fears, and dreams. You light up when you see them smile, and you’re sure that if your heart were visible, it’d be near bursting with happiness.
It isn’t until later that you finally see – each and every one of your friends, all holding in their own tears, swallowing down their own sorrow. All of them, slipping behind their own porcelain masks, all of those masks, slowly breaking. You’re almost sure the sound of your heart shattering to pieces is audible, but then you catch sight of one of your friends, tears fresh, fighting back a sob, and you’re positively negative about the fact that your soul is breaking into a million fragile fragments, nearly disintegrating.
You stand awkwardly around, not sure how to react, how to comfort her when your own life is just as broken.
The night comes, and the demons take you again, too long, too late, too far, too fast. But somehow, you manage to ignore them, eyes locked on the shining heavens, clouded over by the blankets of thick filth, yet still glowing through the pollution. Your hand extends skyward, but you’re not sure why; you aren’t sure of anything anymore, not these days. Not at night. Vaguely, distantly, you think that you can’t think, however that's possible.
Time slips by, through your fingers, through your skin, through your mind. Either that, or time stops, you’re uncertain which it is, and frankly, you don’t really care. Today is the one day that should last an eternity, whether or not eternity or today, for that matter, exists at all. The celestial bodies above twinkle, light passing through the atmosphere and shifting, like fresh tears on a rosy cheek, a shuddering body.
A last day, a first day. Does it really matter any? And really, aren’t they the same?
Today was supposed to be a gateway, a milestone, a step up, but instead, you feel all the more rooted down, the mechanical flow of life cranking to a stop, gears creaking and groaning.
Timeless moments pass, and something flares to life beneath you, the vibrations sending sensations rippling through your nerves, through the air. A chilly ocean breeze swims through the night, belatedly leaving your skin tingling with its frosty afterbite, as you realize that your phone was what had broken the still, started time again.
You whisper, hesitant, into the phone, your voice getting lost to the wind, Hello?
You’re not sure what to expect, or if you even expect anything when a warm voice spills out of the phone, simply stating, Hey. Turn around. Too tired and too awake to question the voice, you swivel around, only to come to face – Oh, God – the sun, burning and bleeding its way into existence, a light fringe of scarlet lacing the edges of the marshmallow-y cotton adorning the sky. Somewhere in the distance sirens blare, slicing deep into the silence, but it doesn’t matter to you. The only thing the sirens prove to you – is that time and life still goes on, despite what it feels like to you.
And somehow, that fact greatly comforts you, lifts buildings off your shoulders, as if they were filled with helium. It’s – oddly disconcerting, yet at the same time ultimately assuaging.
Light always comes, the owner of the voice murmurs, soothingly smooth into the phone, coming out like the sound of a piano on your end. Light always comes, you echo, the waves bouncing off into space, spreading and thinning, but still there.
Just as humans breathe and love and hurt, the sun rises; it was inevitable, undeniable truth, complete truth. You exhale, breath intermingling and dancing in the wind, and wonder, as the corners of your lips slowly, barely quirk upward, if maybe, just maybe the sunrise would paint your life, brush against it with its eternal warmth.
And you think – you just might believe in forever.