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I could never understand my decision to always let her back into me. Without her, I often found that my subconscious would speak her name. It happened as the dreams rolled against the shore of my sleeping brain, and it would involve a picture of me calling for her amongst the fog. Never had something disrupted the normalcy of the often dreariness, and yet I could never reckon why she always ended up leaving or in this case disappearing. Either she would leave or I would cut her down enough to push her to an edge. Wednesday. It went too far. It’s now Saturday.
Most of the nights in between, since her last departure, the chances of dreams have been slim. Instead the teaming thoughts of her in desperate situations often lulled me into a state of the in between; never was I asleep nor did I sink into the familiar darkness. Mostly, as I teetered on the edge of lucidity, the feel of her name seemed to etch itself upon the curve of my lips. After the soft pressure of what I thought were the curvature of her lips against mine, I would speak to no one, whispering the sounds that seemed to be the only description of what had gone missing.
Those consonants and vowels would echo across the corners of the room, even if I failed to recognize their utterance.
Those few days had turned into several months. Not a word, only what I spoke to the unresponsive darkness. She seemed to have poisoned me again. Friends called for me, family began to worry. I had convinced myself that if I left the last place we had been together, she might come again and there would be no me to greet her return; a return desperately longed for. Often, my bones would recreate the memories we shared in the confines of that economically conscious space; the space she had created. No longer did I control the motions, my heart took what it knew and tried to create the instances that made it feel most alive. My hands would make dinner for two, my voice would often read aloud the poetry she loves, and my eyes would often search for her in the corners she occupies most. At night, before my dreams would recreate our final night, my skin would seek the heat it often feels near only to be met with the same rejection.
While my eyes would search the space, sometimes the darkness of a shadow would jump at the corner of my eye. Turning quickly to maybe a catch a lingering figment of her, instead I was met with the black of my own shadow. Time passed without any recognition, there had been no reason to keep track. Without her, time did not exist. Irrelevant. I had been unable to recognize any actual importance to the days or months that had passed, only because she was not there to give it her importance.
Soon the answering machine grew with increasing red numbers, informing me that I had missed a number a calls. I listened to every single one, but none of them were her voice. None of them were my Belladonna. Then there was a knock on the wooden door. My heart began to race. Was this her? Looking at the God above in awe, a prayer had been answered. Lurching towards the door, my fingers began to unfurl in order to expose the figment that had dominated. The door swung on the loose hinges to reveal nothing, more so a lack of revelation.
“Cecil? You can’t be serious.” The ring of the unfamiliar sound bounced against the corners to return to my ears, unwelcomingly. A sister never seems to appear at a good time.
“What do you mean, ‘am I serious?’”
“It’s nice to see you breathing instead of covered with maggots and flies. Everyone has called, but yet again Cecil is too bothered by himself.” I invited her in, and she managed to choose the only spot Belladonna had ever liked. It made the ivory teeth of my mouth clench, knowing how sacred a familiar seat could be.
“I’ve been waiting, that’s all. Belladonna…she’s gone.”
“Belladonna,” there was a tense strain to the tone”, she’s gone. My fault though, the first time actually.”
“Cecil, I don’t understand. You’ve never mentioned her before…” There was a flicker of fear beyond the brown of my sister’s irises, recalling a memory. “Where did you meet her?” I continued to stare into her direction, but never did I actually recognize her features. At the time I strained to even interpret her questions. My sister asked where Belladonna and I had met, that was easy of course. We had met…my brain began to dissolve.
The face that had clung, fingertips bleeding, to the farthest corners had suddenly gone fuzzy. A picture of her inside my head blurred, as if the photographers hands had been shaking. My fingers began to dig deep into black-haired scalp, trying to clasp at anything. Warmth began to spread, trickling down the rough cracks, eroding the skin of what it thought it had known. Soon I began to swim in black, losing sight of the dim room. Then I spotted it.
At the end, almost as if a train hurtling towards a destination in the underground depths stood her lean silhouette, whispering. Only a murmur was distinguished, barely could the inflection be recognized, trickling down into my subconscious and tickling the outer skin of my ear.
“To you, I am always real.”