Approaching Shadow

February 1, 2018
By , Sherwood Park, Alberta



I stood there, with my back against the wall, tucked behind the corner of a street I couldn’t name. The sun was shining down so bright that it was enough to force my eyes toward my shoes. What used to be white as snow was now a solemn gray colour from weeks of built up dirt. As the sun hit me I felt a wave of relief throughout my body. I could feel my formerly tense muscles relax to a point of security that I hadn’t felt for weeks. I tried to remember the reason I left home. Yet, another thought shone through and overpowered it. It was the reason it took me so long to leave in the first place. Up ahead I could see a shadow approaching me. The cool enticing darkness getting inches closer every minute. It was as if it was calling out to me. Only, I was stuck. Stuck standing frozen in the sunlight, where it’s warm, beaming rays wrapped me up just as a blanket would. Where I could be certain of what was before me. I could feel myself still holding onto my past, hesitant to let go of the way I’d been raised.

In that moment I was brought back to my home, which was probably just a few miles south. Back to that small town where at every turn I was greeted by a smile and a familiar face. I lived in a typical family home with my mother, my father and my older brother. My life was comfortable and easy; every day like the one before. My mother never had to work a day in her life. I remember sitting on the couch with her and looking through old pictures. She was once a beautiful women capable of turning any man's head who’s path she crossed. I got much more of her traits than my fathers, to my advantage. I’d been told countless times as a girl that I was pretty, but the compliments never satisfied me. I didn’t care much for my looks or intend to use them as my mother did. She married into a quite well-off family and began a life as a standard, at-home mother. Stuck in a routine that was set on repeat. My mother became so entrenched into her routine that it was as if she had become a robot with it programmed into her system.

My father was another story. He’d been a businessman all his life. At least I’d never known him differently. Not that I knew him well. Half of the time he was travelling for work and the other half was him in his office. Mother told us to never bother him when he was in his office. He’d spent all his time trying to make a good life for us. The only time we really saw him was when he joined us for dinner, and it was always the same empty conversation. Father told me I too could have a life like my mothers. Entice a wealthy man into letting me be his wife and raise his children. It worked fine for my mother but I always knew it wasn’t what I wanted out of life. I wanted to feel fulfilled and it always seemed to me as if she really wasn’t. I couldn’t stand being cooped up for one more minute. I was almost an adult and I knew if I didn’t get out then, I would never have the courage. I decided to take the risk and I ran.

So, now I stood there. No sense of what to do next. Only something had changed in my mind. The approaching shadow that previously sent shivers down my spine was now somehow welcoming. I felt the last bit of light slip away from me as I became engulfed in the darkness. I should have been scared, but for some reason I wasn’t anymore. The cold brick wall against my back made my skin tingle. I could feel the breeze make the hairs stand up on my exposed arms, urging me towards regret over my decision. I didn’t regret it. I didn’t regret it one bit. Besides, I prefer the cold anyways. Heat is too comforting. Heat makes you think of laying at home with a book in your hands, drinking your third cup of coffee from the same batch you make every morning. I wanted out. Now that’s where I am. Out far enough that not even my past can find me. The only thing that could touch me now is the gentle wind that I could hear rustling the leaves on the trees. I slowly forced my body to take a step further into the darkness. I started walking faster and faster until I was running without even thinking about it. I ran for what felt like miles with no idea of a final destination. But somehow I knew, every step I took was a step closer to the future that I wanted to build for myself.  






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