Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where the Past Lives


So you’re walking home from babysitting your neighbor’s three children. It’s midnight; dark shadows have enveloped every house, driveway, road, tree and blade of grass presenting the illusion that all and everything is asleep. This is only the dream of life after 10 p.m. The darkness is masking an electric energy that only comes alive when it can be hidden by shadows. The black trees silhouetted by the shining moon carve gnarled branches onto the earth. A hooting owl startles you. A cool breeze stirred by the passing of a car washes the magic of the night over your body. As your feet grind the road’s gravel, you can see dimly ahead at the shapes of pine trees dotting your yard. You step foot on your driveway and reminisce about those events that make up your life, those things done years ago, the past, the touch of his hand, the force of his words. Your words of resistance and your cries for help that never vocalized, stifled by his presence. Suddenly, you wish the night was over, that those things your mind brings up could be chased away with the rising of the sun. For the shadows of the trees and the sound of the wind and the dark places around the mailbox, houses, and your own body have recreated an image of what had been. It seems the very ghost of your past has escaped its closet and has robed itself back in his flesh to haunt you. You can see the form of his body in the black shapes of the gnarled branches spread out on the lawn. You can hear his voice in the sounds being carried to your ear on waves of chilly wind. Your body is shaking with the thought of him being present and still having control of your mind in this space you thought had ended years ago. You run for the front door and beg your thoughts to come back to the light of day where he no longer is waiting for you. As you step into the warm light of a lamp lit waiting for your return, you breathe deeply the smell of escape. You walk to your room and lay down on your bed willing sleep to engulf you and transport you to a place where the sun is shining and you are moving on and making your own choices. Morning comes quickly and it isn’t long until you are stretching and looking out onto the beauty of the maple oak that stands proudly in your front yard along with a cluster of pine trees. You smile as you watch the robins fluttering their wings in the aged tree branches. The mailman has just opened your mailbox and slipped in some envelopes. The neighbor’s houses have a charming quality as a line of laundry is waving in the wind next to their garage doors. “All it takes,” you mutter, “Is a slight invert of light, a shadow of blackness, to remind me of what used to be. If it used to be, it should no longer exist, but it does, the past is the present, in the corners of my mind. How do I escape the night?” You turn from the warmth of the sunlight in your window and face the reality of today.

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