9 Days

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I sit staring out into the yard. I’m waiting. Waiting for something to happen. It’s a thing that will never happen again. A puzzle piece slips from between my fingers snapping me back to the room. I realize I’ve been listening. Listening for his key in the door.

I think, “You have 9 days to come home before the year ends, no questions asked, no hard feelings.Just please, come home.” 9 days and I will love you harder this time, I will hold you here with me forever. When it comes time to leave, we’ll go together, hand in hand, the same way we walked through life. You won’t be alone. At the end? You won’t be alone again.

My ears wade through the silence, evaluating it. My mind is mapping the room, searching. My heart is thudding with an insatiable expectation that has been there for 356 days. 356 days of missing sounds, missing disruptions in air currents, missing the detection of a presence that has been there for 20 years.

Fact: You’re missing. You cannot be returned. The dead do not return.

Facts are quickly discredited in favor of hope. Hopeless hoping. Hoping against all that is known of this universe. Hope for things that cannot be. Hope for the sound of your key in the front door. Hope for your form moving through the fog in the distance. Hope for the sound of your voice calling, “Hey, I’m home.”

Would you be sorry? If you walked through that door again, would you be sorry for doing what you did? Would you apologize for this unimaginable pain in my heart? Would you apologize for tearing a wound through my very soul?

I bleed. Every day. No one sees. No one can. But I feel it.

It pours from me. Leaks from my eyes. Sprays, invisible, like a fierce geyser from my mouth. It rises from the very pit of my being and it pours in a painful soul crushing surge outward, spilling into my reality. Disrupting my balance. Threatening my sanity.

I hold onto hope. It is a vain endeavor and still my mind grasps it like a life preserver. It lives in the back of my brain, a constant companion denying fact, shielding me in a protective layer of ignorance. Denial. A fear of feeling the full impact of truth.

My ears pierce through the thickness of the surrounding silence.  They lock onto the handle at the front door. My mind measures the distance. My heart leaps in anticipation. The silence wins out. Again. There will be no key. No return. No warmth. No joy.

And time keeps ticking ever downward. For hope, it is running out. 9 days. There are 9 days before reality crashes into my existence. Again. Like a knife, slicing me from chin to abdomen, splaying all my reality over the ground for all to see. Silence.

You have 9 days to tell me it was all a mistake. You have 9 days to stop this play. I was never a willing actor in this theater.

You have 9 days to come home to me. No questions. All forgiven. Alter this reality.

9 days before silence and shadow become my constant and only companions.

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The Fight.

I have fallen into a pit. It is deep and dark save for one tiny spot of light in the middle of the floor. My entire being is pain. My soul screams. I crawl with extreme difficulty toward that light. I want to give up. I want to stop. I make it to the spot and I look up at the faces staring down at me. Worse yet, I look up and there is no one there. I do not know who to ask for help. I do not know if they can help me at all. I do not even know what kind of help I need. The pain overwhelms me. I scream. I cry. I try to lift my head. It is pure weight; as though the entire universe now rests on my shoulders. I cannot do it. I cannot continue in this pain. I want to reach out toward the light but my arms are so heavy; leaden at my sides. I cry out. There are no words. Incoherent sounds. Garbled by pain. My mind is telling me to give up. Let go. I see the fear in the few faces staring at me. I am causing them pain. I cannot protect them. I am making them feel helpless. They do not know how to help me. Just stop. I hear my own voice in my mind. Just Stop. Don’t fight. You’re tired. Rest. Let go. I do not want to let go. I just want someone to help me to rest. I want the weight gone from this being. Who can take away this weight? Who can give me that rest? Where do I turn? The pain shoots through me. Like a bayonet, it slices me inside. I feel I am hemorrhaging and I cannot stop the blood. I do not know how to make it stop. There is no one who knows how to help. A single bandage isn’t enough. A single bandage only gets you so far. They wear away and fall off. They get torn in battle. I am in a battle. I have been in this battle for a very long time. There is no break. My enemy takes no breaks. It is relentless. Jab after Jab. Volley after volley. On my knees I fight. On my belly, I fight. With my head held down into the mud, still I fight. I fight because there is no other option. There is no break. This is a word foreign to this battle. My soul continues to scream. Pain pours from me like sweat. I weakly reach out for help but there is no one. Silence. Give up. A whisper from my own mind. A betrayal of my own person. Let go. They are better off without you. The battle can end. You can have peace. A delicious promise. A dark temptation. I gaze into the silence of the abyss. It is cool. It is weightless. It is dark and silent. I could float there. There is no more battle there. I could breathe again and never have to fill these lungs. No one need help me there. I am not helpless there. Don’t leave. We need you. I turn away, back toward the battle. Through the mist and mud there are shadows. I am not alone. Hundreds. Thousands like me. Crying. Crawling. Screaming. Some on their feet. Some on their knees. Still others no longer move. They reach out toward me. You are one of us. We need you. Don’t let go. Of us. I wish for the abyss in this realm. I want to bring it over and give it to every battle worn warrior that crawls along beside me. I want it here. I put my head down. I steel my arms. I draw in a breath. Another. I push off. It is worth the fight. I can have that peace here. I know I can. We can all have that same peace here. You have to fight for it. We are the chosen. I bless the fallen all around me. They will not have perished in vain. I push off again. I climb.  Alone.  It is a long journey. It is my pit to climb from.  It is so very deep.  The spirits of the fallen push me forward. I consume their strength. The war wages on. I have been chosen. To stay the battle.  I have been chosen.  To fight.

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Ethereal.

Wisps of air rushing all around, caressing skin imperceptibly; ions charged, floating through the atmosphere, each one whispers of things greater than I.

Unknowing, I walk the earth, bound by the laws of nature, tormented by my lack, plagued by the misery of knowing only enough to create the pain in my soul, consciously blind through existence itself.

Freely the flow is all around me, unbound, all knowing, on a plane unfathomable to the dullness that is my earthly mind, it charges through my corporeal being, dancing from neuron to neuron, this vast knowledge, pure, energy, in every breath, in every beam of light there is what it means to Be.

The essence of Life itself. Purest forms of being. Incalculable. Imperceptible. Beyond simply celestial. Greater than spiritual. The I transcends. Leaving behind the shell. The earthly. The tangible.

You have become ethereal.

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