Out of the Darkness

May 2, 2012
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It is 3 AM, and she cannot sleep. Wandering the lonely streets, her shadows guard her in the darkness of the night. The icy winter air is brisk. She walks aimlessly without a destination; there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. No one to run to at this late hour of the night, not anymore. Some nights, the painful past unexpectedly pushes up through the floorboards like an ugly nightmarish weed cultivating a horrible species of heartache. But this night is better than the others. At least she can think, walk, breathe. The pain has become familiar, constant, but she is not numb to it - not yet. The passing of time has allowed her to steadily heal, and she is beginning to breathe easy again. Unfortunately, the smallest details that remind her of him set off tidal waves of heartache, the memories flood over her, too quickly for her to even be able to catch her breath; it’s like a snowflake that starts an avalanche. Soon, every element starts to remind her of him and the way things used to be, but the thoughts of the premature, bitter end are worse. So she doesn’t think, she just walks.
Walks and walks and walks. Walks her way to the seashore. The beach is pitch-black, only lit up by the gleaming stars and bright moon in the nighttime sky. The wind blows her silky, long black hair and a shiver goes down her spine, but the cold doesn’t really bother her. She likes it; she has always liked it. The sound of the waves crashing at shore calms her. Taking in a deep breath of the scent of the salty rustic ocean further soothes her. She stares off into the beauty of the water, becoming adjusted to the rhythm of the waves, allowing herself to get lost in her thoughts.
She thinks about the dreams they had, the memories they shared, the future they had planned. If only she could stay in those moments forever. If only she didn’t have to say goodbye. If only she could be with him once more. She would tell him that she loved her big brother and he would tell her that he loved his baby sister. Her protector was now gone, leaving her vulnerable and alone is this big world. The hardest part of saying goodbye is knowing you must move on even though every fiber of your being is pleading and screaming at you to obey your instincts to cling for your dear life. She feels that oh so familiar the lump in her throat, but this time she doesn’t choke back the tears but lets them fall. She truly allows herself to fully feel the pain for the first time since the night of the accident.
“He’s gone. He’s really gone.” she whispers to herself.
“It’s a beautiful night isn’t it?” a strange voice speaks.
Startled, she whirls around to find a boy of about twenty-one, just a couple of years older than herself and about a foot taller. Dark hair, kind eyes, warm smile. He is wearing a gray sweater and worn out denim jeans.
She takes a minute to compose herself before speaking “I didn’t realize anyone was here.”
He looks up at the sky with an enigmatic smirk on his face. “I don’t really sleep much, kind of a night owl, and this is my go to spot”
She turns back around and looks to the depth of the heavy blue water. He takes a seat beside her, “I love the way the water glistens in moonlight.” She doesn’t reply. He takes that as a sign to continue on. “I really like coming here at night, usually there is no one here, but me. It’s always so quiet, it scares me a little.” He chuckles, “But I always end up coming back here. The beach at this time of night is so peaceful. It’s my serene escape.”
Serene escape, that concept triggers a pain filled emotion, and she looks at him. He can see the hurt in her eyes. “Would you like to be left alone?” He asks. She knows when he leaves she will fall apart once again. His presence is keeping her together. There’s something more to it than just simply not being alone, there’s a warm kindness in his voice, a sort of compassion that makes her want him to stay. She nods her head, barely audible, “No,” she says. “Stay, please.”
He acknowledges her wishes and stays seated. They sit together on the soft cool sand under the twinkling starry night in silence. The silence is not awkward; there is an unknown comfort between the strangers. She feels safe with him. Light cool white powder starts to sprinkle from parachutes of fluffy, dense clouds. The first snowfall of the year is always magical.
She puts her palms out and looks up in wonderment. For one breath, everything feels better… hopeful. She smiles a genuine smile. The specks of ice glisten from the light of the moon. The snowflakes look like falling stars. The snow is gentle; the type of snow that just barely kisses your hair before vanishing. Her smile melts away as quickly as the cool crystal specks; winter was his favorite.
She breaks the silence “Why- why is it that the faster you try to heal from something painful, the more frequently it tends to haunt you? When will the monsters under the bed give up and go home?”
He softly whispered, “I’ve been there, you know?” She looks into his eyes. He meant it. She cannot help but think that it was fate that they met; that her big brother sent him to help her, to be her protector. “I’m not telling you to forget your past; I’m not even telling you to forget the pain. But you can’t let the darkness overcome you. Learn to live in the present, and make it beautiful. Keep those memories in mind and move forward. Move forward into your future and make it amazing. And then one day you’ll look back to these dark moments and be immensely proud of yourself for defeating your demons. And once you’ve emerged from the darkness everything shall be twice as beautiful. But first you must be brave and let go.”
That’s when she realized, her big brother did send him here, not for him to be her protector, but for her to learn to protect herself. To be her own hero.
“You’re right, it is a beautiful night” she smiles.
They sit together watching the waves. He takes her hand, and she lets him.





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