Dear Shadow, the Night Does Nothing to Hide You

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story in which the same line recurs three times.... view prompt


Fiction Suspense Teens & Young Adult

If only there had been more time...

 Shadow, you are right. You are me, not mine. I wanted you to be mine, so I can leave you by the road to die and drive away. But when I stepped on the gas, you hit the breaks. When I stopped by the Cafe, you ordered black, and a new pastry on the menu. And remember when the waiter said, "We don't have that today," you shouted back? Why didn't you shout at Sam like that? Is it because he beat you first then hugged you from the back? Did you feel comfort in his arms after that? Dear shadow, don't lie to me. I know you formulated a plan immediately after.

Light, where do you go in times like these? I need you in this dark time. You know Sam is a violent man, a liar, a tank full to the brim with rage and pride whom I no longer desire. Could you not have illuminated some of that for me before I married the man? If only there had been more time between ring and finger.

Shadow, you know the night does nothing to hide you. Not on any night. Even when you felt confused at Sam's grave as you dug it in the night, you felt a guilty joy in your tightening chest. You were burying the pain, throwing dust over the rage that had grayed your life and blackened your eye. And then when we went home, you laid awake in bed with your wedding album, and I laid awake with Sam in my head. When I woke up the next day, do you know what I realized? We hadn't buried anything anyway. Not the dead, not the pain. Not the running away to a different city, or crossing the ocean to another country, or selling the house, or climbing mountains in Africa to hide you or find me or both, but non came close to chasing you away. None was able to pull you from my mind or veins, to drain me lifeless and ache less. To firmly state that I walked a day without your vice in my head, your "You're the mistake."

Light, why are you so shy? Or rude? Or indifferent? Good, where are you? Blessings, what say you? Miracles, you too. Where are all of you? I told shadow, "I can't carry you." Shadow said nothing at all. When I cried, shadow, still silent, pushed the tears out of my eyes. When the moon's light arrived, I thought, 'how lucky. You have your own light.' And then I looked into the night, bright with stars and city lights and I thought, 'how lucky that you all have your own lights.' I didn't ask where mine was, but waited patiently for a night where there would be no light. For a night that would feel like mine in the absence of life. In the absence of love. In the absence of safety, where God was far.

Remember Frank? The one that pulled out your chair, not your hair. The one that left you sweet notes not sores? Shadow, remember how you ruined that? How you doubted love? How you threw tantrums at the peaceful man? Remember how when he said he'd really love it if you didn't push him away, you pushed him away? How, after Sam, no other ever filled that gap? And when you saw your friend Julia walking down the isle, remember your warning to her? How she chased you away from her wedding after acussing you of not being happy for her? Of deflecting your unhealed trauma on to her when you told her to watch her back? When you told her that beneath his smile are fangs? Behind his hugs lie slaps and punches of belittlement? That there would be so many threats to come behind his 'I loves you's'? That he'd hug her from the back and tell her, "Try that again, and the backyard will have a grave with your name." That there is no avoiding that? When you shudder then cum right after, what is that?

Shadow, when you thought you had invited in the light, by confessing to Sam's murder, only to realize a little after that you were pregnant, did you feel at home in that darkness you'd birthed? If only there had been more time to wait, to hope, to love and climb more mountains, and search more deeply as others have, to heal the broken girl, to let love show the distrustful girl the way foward, the way within, the something missing in her everyday smile.

When I gave birth to my baby in a cell, I said, the way foward is with a broken heart, but shadow, you remained, you led, and light remained dead.

To love you instead, to make peace with the dead, to accept my soiled fate, to hold my baby again and again, and then to have her taken away, to realize she had brought the torch, and realize too late, to live your life in a confined space, shadow, you've had your way. Shadow, you were not the only presence, but too strongly felt, I thought you were the only thing present. I was wrong about the light. It has always been somewhere by my side; in the many deep calming breaths in the mountains, and Frank's gentle ways, and in my baby's twinkling eyes, in Sam on some of his better days where a hug was just a hug, in the rekindling of friendship after a big fight, in the kindness of a prison guard, in my baby girl, again and again.

Shadow, you are wrong. You are mine, not me. I can't abandon you on the road and drive away. You are mine with all your tortorous ways. To the way you smile at my pain, and stay, and keep me in bed for days, I say, you are mine in the night and day, and who I am is the light that chases you away. Who I am is the light, night and day, on any given day.

July 09, 2021 19:51

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