Everyone is asleep. And I should be, too. Frankly, I don’t have any idea why I awoke out of my impeccably peaceful slumber. After all, I had Violet Bleu in my arms, a whole wide world full of possibilities in front of me. I should’ve stayed there, listening to the quiet breaths she took, inhaling her sweet strawberry blossom conditioner. Feeling her silky skin against mine, bathing in the absolute bliss of young love and second chances and our youth.
But, something nagged at the back of my mind. My tired, tired mind. It begged me to sit up, to drink my morning coffee, to watch the Maine sunrise peek over the Cadillac Mountains. And so I did, carefully rolling over so I didn’t wake Violet. My beautiful, beautiful girl. She was, is, awfully exhausted. After finding out the news about her brother, her brain just sort of shut down. She is still present, don’t get me wrong. She still gives me morning kisses and nightly declarations of adoration. But, there’s something lacking behind her eyes. That were once so transparent to me, to the world. They’re dark, now. They’re tired. They’re the eyes of a stranger. And I’m trying to be patient, because God, I know she’s hurting. But, I was not born a patient man. I can’t just sit here and watch her crumble, watch her slowly dissipate.
So, here I am. Sitting on the edge of the tallest cliff in Maine, waiting for the sun to rise. Waiting for one of the only constant things in my life to appear in front of my eager eyes, to bring me a source of comfort, of still air amidst a hurricane.
The many sounds of nature invade my ears. Birds chirp, singing their songs of worship and sorrow and great joy. The early morning wind rustles the trees, and I sigh. I feel completely, totally, utterly at peace. With myself, with Violet, with Alex, with the entire freaking world. And, when I open my eyes, I might not. After this one sunrise, this one morning, the sudden rage and disappointment might return full circle. But right now, sitting here at the edge of this cliff, I am at peace.
I can feel the warmth of the sun’s arrival caress my body, my soul. I smile, slowly opening up my eyes to give it a proper greeting. I flip my bangs away from my face, gazing up into the vast sky. The colors change from dark blue, to orange, to a light pinkish glow. An array of bird fly across, seemingly over, the sun. A chuckle bubbles up in my throat, begging to be released.
Frankly, I don’t know why I feel the need to laugh. But I do, and when I finally let it ring out loud, I grin so hard I know that I must look like an insane person.
This is what it feels like to be free.
The thought invades, takes over, my mind. And somehow, I find myself paying no attention to the cold breeze that chills my being to the very core. I find myself stripping my clothes until I’m naked from my head to my toes, until my heart is exposed for all to see. This is who I am. This is me, this is the real William Grey Anderson. No barriers, no strings attached. Take me or leave me, universe. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting here. On the edge of the tallest cliff in Maine, watching the sunrise with eager eyes.
And as I sit here, embracing the feeling of being free, I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach; this is the moment. The moment where everything I’ve ever known will change. And the most amazing, the most exhilarating part of this entire experience is that for the first time in my life, I feel content with it.
I shut my eyes and lay down on the dirt beneath me. I get some in my hair, bit I really don’t think it matters anymore. Nothing matters, besides the sounds of nature that are gradually beginning to fade . The bird’s songs begin to sound a little quieter. The rustling of the trees above my head began to seem like mere disturbances.
You know, when I reached this moment, I expected to feel remorse. I expected to scrape at my ears, begging to achieve the victory of hearing the raindrops plopping onto my head for the very last time. I expected to cry, to scream in petrified panic. But, right now, sitting on the edge of the tallest cliff in Maine, I feel whole.
Everything is quiet. Until it is dull. Until I can hear nothing at all. And the thing is, I can still hear, even though it should be impossible. The birds songs still sound perfect, their chirps in synchronization. The wind still sounds hollow in my ears. All of these sounds, these factors, are still present in my mind, in my heart; my ears just got the short end of the stick.
I’m completely deaf, and I’m okay.