Much love to Dawn and The Boyfriend for giving me confidence.
The night was moonless, pitch-black. Hollow. There was no breeze tonight, no wind to animate the still trees around me. The rain fell silent and steady on my bare shoulders, and the only sound cutting through the darkness was the rhythmic beat of my feet against the pavement.
Breath escaped my throat in hitching puffs; I swallowed hard. It wasn't my furious pace that had me gasping for air, but rather my frantic attempt to escape my own reality. It had been working so well for me lately; why not keep running?
Why is this happening to me? I was immediately angry at the unbidden question. Even the tone of my thought was colored with desperation, and I was horrified to note that my eyes were beginning to sting with unwelcome tears.
I shook my head. Another question might be, when did this happen to me? When had I become… like this?
But of course I knew. This hadn't happened overnight. I was by no means a victim. I had liv… existed like this for years, and I had actively participated in this transformation. I owned that now.
Every day I had woke up and felt a bit more distant, slightly more disconnected. It was easy, though, to chalk my apathy up to exhaustion; my detachment to my unrelenting focus. I had unflinchingly punished the lingering part of me who recognized that something might be happening, really happening to me... but no bother. I quickly concluded that emotions were counterproductive and only served to waste energy. It became necessary to replace this silly instinct to feel with fierce determination.
So I did.
Eventually, the pain had become blunted static which I then forced to retreat somewhere deep inside of me... and in its spot was left blackness, stagnant and consuming and, god help me, perversely soothing. I suppose I had unconsciously accepted that numb indifference was a much more tolerable option than actually facing my demons.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped caring that I didn't feel anything anymore.
I still woke every morning, all breath and pliable flesh. My feet moved beneath me and I functioned. And I functioned exceptionally well, thank you very much. Shamefully proficient, really. Externally successful and efficient, charming and even beautiful. Plastic smiles masking a controlled but boundless void.
I had shoved that part of me that gave a damn so far away, stomped her down with ceaseless running and sweating and burning… that I had forgotten. I had forgotten that I was alive.
He had reminded me.
My legs screamed in protest.
He had peeled back stained layers of grime, uncovering secrets. My soul was raw and exposed, bluntly sensitive.
You can NOT stop now.
I ran harder, feet savagely pounding into the wet ground below me. The night was thick; I choked on it.
I was no longer following the familiar righteous path to which I had resigned myself years ago. I was now blindly blazing inky black forest trails, and his fingertips were lightly tracing new map lines, charting areas of my soul to which I had never allowed anyone entrance.
But I knew I couldn't escape. Not anymore.
Those days were over, and my body knew it. My feet tangled around one another and I stumbled; my strides were interrupted and my knees buckled as I struggled to remain upright. My body doubled over both in exhaustion and in defense; I clutched at my heaving sides to protect myself from the onslaught of thoughts and epiphanies that wouldn't. stop. coming.
The blissful numbness I had grown so dependent on had disappeared weeks ago, and its absence had left me brutally… aware.
But my conviction had still remained; my absolute certainty that despite everything, I still could do this on my own. That my suffering was justified. The desolation I knew was merely the truth of my life...
I was meant to be alone. The simplicity used to be comforting.
It didn't matter that my father could so easily hate me and my mother could so easily forget me. My life was up to me, only me, no one could help me… Easy. Right?
But tonight, I had come to the vicious realization that my problem wasn't that I was just different.
Turns out, I was crazy.
And just like that, yet again, I had found myself running through the dark.
I was soaked. The rain sluiced down the curve of my bent spine; fat currents of freezing water fell from my hair in heavy ribbons onto the sidewalk below me.
Squeezing my eyes shut, I tried to concentrate on the geometry behind my eyelids; whirling triangles and polygons, bright white starbursts, popping…
I felt him before I saw him. Electricity licked at my overheated skin.
Of course he knew where to find me. He always did.
I was overcome with the joy that his presence naturally brought me. I fought against the ever-present desire, the pull, the need to touch him again… but I wouldn't allow my feet to move toward him, to where my body so desperately wanted to be.
I straightened up and faced him. I didn't have a choice.
His eyes, as always, were waiting for mine. Emerald green locked with hopeless brown, tense and tangible, across the space between us. We were separated only by the pouring rain.
And for the first time in my life, I was truly terrified.
Did I mention that I don't own Twilight?
'cause I don't.