Stars, Lullabies and a Rope

By , Staunton, VA
Being alone and being lonely are two very different things; but it’s only a pained soul that can tell the difference. And it’s not that I’m alone; I’m not trusted enough to be alone, but it’s that I see all these people and know only I am lonely. And they ask how you can be surrounded by so many and still be utterly alone. Oh, if they only knew…Because it’s not the company, it’s how the company and you interact, and I’m lonely because we don’t. I’m lonely because I never make a collision, like I’m riding a train parallel to theirs. So it’s passing ,passing ,passing me by and I go to the last cart and sit until I can’t see it anymore, then move to the front because the circle of forever will bring the train of togetherness beside me again, perhaps I’ll leap for it this time. Or maybe fly across. Make a crash. Light a fire where the rain was all that was. But a monsoon kept pouring and my fire died before the train came back. No-the drought was back. It dried all the passion up. Broke us down, told us we couldn’t move anymore and the fire slowly burned away. I watched as its ashes fluttered away. As they flew into a night that was rushing past me on a never-ending train ride to more desert nothing. And midnight comes by. The darkness evades all the emptiness we felt, leaves us wanting more on our midnight train ride. Praying for a morning we know isn’t coming, because in a nightmare, nothing good ever comes, because I missed his train. And the monsters chase after me, stuck in a station with lonely beggars inviting me to a life of haunting shadows. “The train comes but once,” they say. I was mesmerized by the beggar’s voice. He sounded so much like a wise man I once knew, but he was a boy then. I was hypnotized in memory and your train left me standing dazed in this graffitied station. Because now I had the past begging, the present happening, but my future was leaving me so quickly behind. The voice crept into my thoughts. His voice was hoarse, deep and yet held a glimmer of hope I’d lost to fate so lone ago. I started to shake, the memories of the train ride home whispering against my deep black hair. The wind whipped around me and the echoes of the beggar’s voice thudded against my ear. I couldn’t forget the way his whispering words were the same my favorite man used to say, but I know I lost him long ago. I let my past take me away yet again. His breathing matched my heartbeat; a cold, lifeless tune. He was a picture brought to life. Something I lost and something I learned to live without. But now I felt that I had it again. It was a magical remembering. I wanted to go back to the station where my hair was flaked with snow and my face red from the cold. I wanted to go back and ask my daddy why he left me so long ago, only to pretend he was back again now, without even telling me…I realized who he was when I was gone and yet when I returned, he himself had vanished as well. The break in my heart made me fall and my tears stained the walk. And the beggar approached, helped me up as my daddy once had when I fell off the bike. And I was that little girl again, the one with skinned knees…Recalling now, he used to put a band-aid on me and whisper in my ear (even now, I don’t know if it was a secret or if he told my siblings, too) that the more I cried, the more I would bleed, so shush. And he’d cry all my worries away for me someday… I hope he’s crying now, just as I wish my tears would fall. He said one day, we’d drown together in all our tears and the thought of swimming through our sorrows always made me laugh at daddy. Until I realized how true it was. Now, I know my daddy knew that one day he’d leave me alone. He knew but never told me, for it might have been different. We might’ve both run off together. Because, I never wanted to be without a father; it was a man who wanted to be without a daughter. Now that I swim in sorrow alone, I wait for him to join me. But a voice in my head cries for justice. The little girl knows her daddy won’t come. But she refuses to let him go. She wonders if he falls asleep thinking about her. Because every night, she falls asleep thinking about him… The man was a bad one. Never anywhere on time, always drunk, but oh how my little girl heart loved him. And it wasn’t the way he screamed, and the coldness about him, but the gentle way he held my hand as we walked to the train station together. And one day, he took me to the station so I could see him off. I walked home alone without his hand to guide me and passed all his favorite places. I didn’t cry then. Too young to understand he was gone. And who knew when I was doubled in age and size, I’d return to embark on my own life, but his memory would keep me here… trapped as he was for so long. He tried telling me he needed an escape, but then, the only escape I knew of was when we were swinging as high as we could on the rusted swings of our old park. The only escape was jumping off and knowing, for a few seconds, angels were carrying us, and we flew on their wings…





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