The room was filled with inky blackness, and only the faintest glow of light could be seen from around the edges of the door. Once in a while, that faint light flickered, announcing the existence of someone in the hall. The sounds behind the door were mostly low and muffled, but every now and then, a shrill scream or clanking of metal could be heard. The most alarming sounds were the sudden scuffles of feet and the dragging of nails across wooden floorboards. Stifled whimpers often followed the tousles, along with deep moans and echoing groans. Sometimes the light beneath the door would abruptly disappear and then reappear as footsteps faded away. It was a lonesome place, with very little to do, but the sounds could stretch the mind, and for that, it was anything but uninspiring.
I watched the whole lot of them, the fence line sagging in protest. Each smoking and joking, eying up the classics on display. I found the sight troublesome knowing how boys will be boys, and as the cigarettes wore down, I could see their restless forms swaggering my way. Shivers ran down my spine as the jostling jokers spotted my gaze, and I tried to shrink into the backdrop, but the prowling had already begun. Darts of catcalling were hurled my way, each unsettling word, a dagger to the innocence of my soul. This act of playfulness reminded me of how a lion toys with its prey, and I knew once the hunt began, anything left of my dignity would not be spared. I tried to act inconspicuously, walking backward one trembling step at a time. But then the books I held began to slide right out of my arms, and the movement caused a chain reaction. Like red-flagged raging bulls, the whole bunch began to barrel my way. Caught in a panic, I tripped and fell, but the embedded asphalt was the least of my worries. I tried to stand but realized it was too late, the pride was already circling, waiting to pounce. In the end, my tormentors were too tough to deter and all I could do was fight with bated breath until my virtue no longer remained.
Amid the chaos of our cluttered world, sometimes we have only but a past moment, something distinctly different from all the other colorless days. And that one solitary moment, the one we treasure with fondness and love gives us something to cling to when we can no longer see a single thread of light. Those rare moments exist to reassure us during the times when the dark dares to snuff out our light. That one blessed memory is often what unexpectedly sees us through.
I remember the way the branches curled towards me that day, the way they swayed to and fro. It was something beautifully unexpected, a miracle of nature, a divine curiosity. And I remember standing there in wide-eyed awe, losing myself to the sheer loveliness, lost in a state of childlike wonder. Chills crept down my spine in delightful little bits, and goosebumps erupted as a plethora of tingling sensations washed over me from head to toe. But the thrill wasn’t meant to last, and after one breathless sigh I blinked, and the exquisite array vanished. That was when the heaviness began to gather at my feet, and an unforeseen darkness approached from a place I’d never been. As the winds altered their direction, everything changed. And the wondrous splendor of that unforgettable day is still nowhere to be found.
The afternoon settles into a quiet calm. But it’s here in this noiseless state, where I find myself interrupted by restless winds. Those unexpected currents stir up buried memories of regretful sighs and uneasy bitter truths. Then with trepidation coursing through my veins, a quiet declaration is made. I move in silent determination, carefully traversing those frustrating fields, where chaotic blooms begin to mushroom in my mind. At last taking control, seizing those past reflections, wrestling with the delirium of all those unspoken things. And finally after hours of agonizing lamentations, those lingering grievances begin to crumble inside an iron-gripped will. All those listless thoughts long in their coming, turning to ash, fluttering lifelessly to the ground, tasting their very last words.
I’m the girl who collected music boxes. Each one was delicately carved and crafted as if they were made just for me. I remember losing myself in each heart soaring note while the fragile little figures twisted and twirled, delicately dancing to the sighs of my youth. Watching those tiny dancers was one of the only ways I could pass the time while locked away inside my dingy little room. I remember the thin, mustard-yellow bedspread and the thread-bare golden colored carpet. The uninspiring small room couldn’t have been more unappealing, and my imagination was my only saving grace. There was always a book resting on my knee and a flashlight hidden beneath my pillow. Those two items were critical to my overall health and well-being. Although to be found reading at bedtime often meant facing a fate worse than death, but I still took my chances because reading was my only escape.
The window above my bed was out of reach, too high to see anything except the smog-filled sky, and that dreary view seemed to envelop everything, even me. There were many occasions when I was ordered to stay confined to my bed, so I would perch on the edge of my pillow, setting the gauge on the quarter-sized timer that I’d bought for ten cents at the swap meet. The dial was hard to turn and always hurt my hand whenever I tried. But somehow, the ticking noise that abruptly followed after spinning the dial made it all worth it. My spirit was somehow calmed and comforted by the tic, tic, tic. The tiny treasure gave me hope that one day I wouldn’t be forgotten, and I thought perhaps someone would come and rescue me before the buzzer sounded. Sadly, most days, I was just shushed back into silence once the dial made its final round. I always wished the familiar chime would mean certain freedom, but that was just another lie I kept choosing to believe.
*Just needed to repost this today. Been thinking of my grandfather and his patriotism. He was my hero and loved this country more than anybody else I’ve ever known. He gave me my love for the United States of America and taught me to never say an ill word about our country. I love you so much grandpa. You were a rare gem in this world and will never be forgotten by me and all who knew you. May you rest in peace today and always.