There are books I reserve for days like these.
Books with dog-earred corners and stains made from spilled coffee. Books that hold sentences that have been underlined manically with a black ink pen, the ink blots a testament to the fact that someone else, somewhere else, understands.
There are journals that I reserve for days like these.
Journals I tuck away in the bottom of overflowing drawers. Journals whose pages are filled with the curve of my own hand, words that speak of pain, their edges blurred with dried salt, a drop of the infinite ocean within.
There is music I reserve for days like these.
Lyrics I recall like the syllables of my own name. Music that lulls me, rocks me, cradles me in a basinnet of audio promises, that this day will end, even if I may not.
There are clothes I reserve for days like these.
Clothes so worn that each thread has its own story waiting to unravel, slowly at first, and then quickly, like bare soles in quicksand. Each tale usually speaks words of failure, yet at least one of them tells a story of survival, one thread that still covers skin, flesh and bone, so I’m not naked in the elements alone.
These days call for little more than endless black coffee, so dark and strong I can’t drown in it fast enough. The caffeine beckons words from the depths, words that have never seen nor understand light, so they hold a beauty crafted by shadows and hollows instead.
On these days, life is perfect in its sheer imperfection.
After trying so hard to stay on the straight and narrow, falling into the raging gaps and blatant potholes are a welcome relief,
Sometimes you only learn to love something, when it becomes a sporadic intrusion, rather than an everyday occurrence.
I surrender willingly to these days now, because they are few and far between.
I recognize their beauty and I feel their power. I inhale their seductive aroma and I listen to their words of temptation. But they have no hold over me anymore, not as they did long ago.
I can dwell here, we can be friends, me and this darkness.
I can rest in this home I knew for so long, enjoying the solitude and the absence of life. I can hide in the jagged grooves and lay down upon the damp hard floor, knowing for a moment, I can surrender, I can disappear.
Yet, I don’t overstay my welcome, I keep this new role reversal as it is.
The darkness used to be the one to find me, to chase me, to intrude into the alcoves of my sanity. Now I’m the one that visits and we remember what we shared, just for a while.
For the mind has a way of remembering the good and not so much the bad.
It remembers the smiles rather than the forced muscles behind the lips. It remembers the short days as opposed to the long years.
The quiet darkness is ever so alluring to eyes skewed by the tentacles of a troubled mind.
So I leave just before I’m done, because to stay any longer is to loosen the reigns, reigns I fought so long to master, learning the exact grip, the balance between holding on and letting go.
There is a difference between being free and being lost, that I never understood before now.
When the real darkness of night returns, I say my polite thank you and depart. I nod and say I will return soon, for to think otherwise is always an expectation laced with failure.
The darkness and I, we co-exist like a pair of lovers who just can’t let go, even though they know that together, only one of them will survive.
I always leave a little broken, the light of day a little too much to bare and my instinct is to return, to hide, to surrender.
Alas, I take a deep breath and one step forward. I have learned how to maneuver through this existence, this road of jagged glass and smooth stones and I wouldn’t pass up one for the other.
For every candle casts a shadow and it is in the play of light and dark, where the flicker of stories begin.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kelly Fielding
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renee Picard
Photo: Hartwig HKD/Flickr