My Dearest Friend,
I would have thought my writing these phantom letters to you would have ceased after this much time had passed. Yet, here I am, writing to you with an urgency that is just as great as the day you died. I can not help but think of you and the joy you brought to my life and wonder if you received the same type of happiness from me.
I hope you did. I pray that you did.
Afternoon storms have become the norm for this season. I can not help but be grateful for them. They mirror what is happening on the inside of my body. The mornings find my insides calm and without pain. I walk with a heaviness that I can not shake. Yet, as the day wears on, and right as the lightening strikes outside my office window, the electricity is turned on inside me and something catches fire. Whether it's my surgical incision, my torso, or just my arms, something feels like it is engulfed in flames. My body becomes tired, worn down from being awake, and every nerve ending I posses becomes angry. They argue, fight, and scream at one another.
On the outside everything appears normal. On the inside I am in pain.
The worst part of all this is my hands. They are always hurting. Sometimes they throb. Sometimes the lightening shoots through them, making something as simple as holding a fork impossible. And this scares me more than anything else. More than the lesion that occupies my kidney. More than the follow up CT scans that I must keep every six months. My hands are my gateway. They are what keep me sane. They are how I write. If I can not write, then I cease to breathe.
The doctor calls this pain Fibromyalgia and is in the process of trying different pain medicine for me. One medicine helped with the lightening that ricocheted throughout my body, but it colored my days a shade of black that I had never seen before. I could do nothing to escape it. Food lost its taste. There was nothing behind my smile. One night I viewed the shotgun that sits beside my bed, not as a last line of defense, but more of something that would allow me to escape all the blackness.
I went back to the doctor the next day. I welcome the pain over the blackness any day.
I try to look back over the past year to see when the pain started. But, it never really ended from the tumor. I can almost pinpoint the moment my hands started to hurt. When the itching started. Sleep is now a joke. I know if I do not take something, I will not sleep. My mind, forever vigilant against whatever goes bump in the night, will not allow any medicine to put me to sleep for eight hours straight. I am constantly waking. I am constantly on guard.
I am constantly hurting on some level.
In the year since you passed, I have become a loner. A hermit. I eye people suspiciously. I am not worried about what they want from me, or need from me. Rather, it is the time they ask of me. Enough time has been robbed of me in the past, that I am skeptical of anyone else wanting more. I am less than willing to share my time with just anyone.
Instead, I spend most of my alone time in reflection and prayer. 'Reflection' and 'Prayer' are terms that I use interchangeably with writing. I do not talk to the sky for God is not there. He does not live amongst the clouds. Instead, He is here. With me. He whispers to me in a soothing manner when I am upset. He sends me His message of hope and reassurance through those I do trust when I need it. He walks with me because He knows I can not maneuver this life without Him. He gives me patience. He blesses me.
I must leave you now. My hands have begun to ache and the children are ready for my attention.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "But, I'm going to hurt you."
I looked into the brown eyes of the man I loved. We were standing at the edge of a cornfield. The cloudless night revealed a full moon that was breath taking. Stars littered the sky. The wind, soft and warm, rustled through the stalks as it played with my hair. It was a perfect Autumn night.
He had brought me here to talk. Talk about us. About the future that seemed ripe with promise. We'd been flirting with the idea of a relationship for over two years. While I'd quickly fallen in love with his dark skin and black hair, he remained on the edge with me. Never really trusting my smile or my good intentions. He never fully believed that I was who I claimed to be.
But, I trusted him. I believed in that wide smile that spoke softly. I understood the curious look that peaked out above his eyes. I held firm in the belief that we were destined to be together. His arms, strong and protective, locked around my waist. It kept me safe, away from the big bad monsters of everyday. His scent, warm and inviting, calmed me as I inhaled him. This man was not just a man to me. He was home. He was a little piece of heaven that God saw fit to put here on earth. Just for me.
I nuzzled into his neck. "What do you mean?"
"I'm going to hurt you," he repeated as he stepped away from me. In the moonlight, he looked like an angel. I could see the worry cross his face. He took two steps back and looked me up and down. I could imagine what he saw.
I am taller than most women. My hair, black and curly, falls into untamed locks around my shoulders. My skin, a light brown, is always cool to the touch. My brown eyes mirror his. Where he is muscular, toned, and athletic, I am slim with a wide frame.
I shook my head. "I don't understand. How are you going to hurt me? Are you going to hit me? What?"
Again, he took another step back. Shaking his head, he apologized softly. "I'm so sorry. I never set out to hurt you."
Confusion clouded my thoughts. In the years that saw my pursuit of him, he had often hurt me unknowingly. His reluctance to accept me as his was enough to send me to bed with tears in my eyes. Countless nights I had cried over this man and begged God in all His mercy to end my suffering and send me someone new to love. Yet, God, in all His infinite wisdom, is mysterious as He is silent.
My prayers were never answered. And my love for him continued to grow.
Shivering in the warm wind, I wrapped my arms across my chest. "Explain yourself," I demanded.
"I'm going to break your heart."
With that simple statement, my heart froze. The air turned still. The corn stalks, once rustling in the wind of the evening, now stood quiet in anticipation of my next move. He waited, looking at me with those lovely brown eyes of his. I tried to breathe, to get the organ that resides in the center of my chest to take up its beating once more. I inhaled deeply. Yet, the air that I took into my lungs was stagnant. Empty of anything that could sustain life. Dizzy, I bent over, putting my hands on my knees.
Breathe. Breathe. 1....2....3....
I wanted to ask why. Why would he do this to someone who loved him? How? How could this be? Words swam through my mind, barely touching the transmitters that would bring the message to my lips. I opened my mouth, ready to spill forth my questions.
Instead I vomited.
"Are you ok?" He asked as he approached me.
"Stay back," I whispered. I held out my hand to keep him at bay. "Don't you dare come near me."
After the moment passed, I stood erect. Unable to make eye contact, he looked away.
"Why?" I asked him.
He began to speak about prior obligations. He spoke of work and how he had no time for anything other than the tasks he had previously sat before him. But, I knew these were all lies. Obligations are nothing more than a mask that he wore to hide the fear that he carried with him everyday. Fear of me. Of us. Fear of getting close. Of loving me. Of the possibilities. Of what could be. But, I doubted he was scared of getting hurt. He left that cliche behind when he past his thirties and greeted his forties as a new man. No, it was something else. He was fearful of things working out. He was scared of being happy.
As the minutes wore on, his voice was replaced with a wooshing sound that echoed throughout my head. Waves upon waves of despair crashed through my vision. I could see nothing but anger. Red lights flashed about. As I stared at him, the corn that provided the backdrop to this horrible sight erupted into an ocean of fire.
Oblivious to what I could see, he continued on. "I am so sorry. You are so sweet. I never intended to hurt you."
Intent. Intent is nothing more than energy that propels an action into existence. Without the intent, the action can still occur, but at a much slower pace. Pain, when inflicted with the speed and force of a hurricane, can render the recipient unconscious. However, when pain is delivered slowly.....thoughtfully....it can make your knees buckle. Under the slow delivered pain, a person can be tortured to the point that they no longer recognize themselves or their surroundings. Their insides will contort, twist with each hurtful word, until the only thing left for the victim to do is to summon up their last little bit of strength and strike back.
It is much better for both parties involved if the hurt is administered swiftly. Like lightening.
With one sentence, one utterance of his intentions, he had managed to strip the soul away from my body. All that stood was a breathing carcass that wanted nothing more than to tear him limb from limb. The whooshing sound that I heard gave way to the sound of my heart beating. Echoing in my ears. Violently, my chest shook with each brutal thump. I clutched at the center of my core, hoping that my hand could calm what rose from underneath. I tried, in vain, to breathe through it all.
But, I couldn't. All I could do was surrender to the rising of the red current that swept over me. Knocking me off my feet, the tide threw me to the ground. On my knees, I began to eject black vile onto the dirt.
"What the hell?" He whispered.
I desperately tried to shake the images and sensations from my mind's eye. I begged for God to take it all. I was going insane at that very moment, crouched down at that particular spot. But, I couldn't let it go. The pain and anger consumed me. It filled me with fire and as I began to feed off of it. I realized that it pleasured me more than it hurt.
On my knees, surrounded on three sides by corn, with my back to the car and the old country road, I threw my head back in pure, unadulterated bliss. It felt as if there were thousands of tiny knives penetrating me from every angle. I began to rock back and forth with each puncture. I inhaled deeply, feeling the pain turn to a sweet sensation that started at my finger tips and swept through me at a speed that took my breath away.
The remains of the black sludge that I'd thrown up just minutes before dripped from my mouth. I traced my tongue over my lips, tasting the acidic vile. Feeling it dance around my taste buds, I grinned sweetly at him as I swallowed it back.
"Oh God," he said.
"God is gone," I said matter-of-factly. "He left you to me."
I watched with satisfaction as the man I loved tore into the cornfield behind him. I did not give chase, rather I waited until I heard his screams. I knew they were coming. I knew he wouldn't get far.
Fear. Such a senseless emotion when it is conjured up out of thin air. It wrecks havoc on an otherwise peaceful existence. More times than not, fear is an imaginary creature. The boogey man that lives under the bed that disappears once the light is turned on. I would show him what real fear is.
I am the monster that lives in the light.
I followed his screams to the center of the field. The corn stalks parted, allowing entry into its maze. The air was thick with malice and regret. Blood splattered across the corn stalks, painting them with polka dots of crimson red. I traced my finger across the stalks and licked the sweet blood from my tips. Up ahead, I heard the moaning of a wounded animal. It withered in pain, begging for forgiveness and mercy.
As I made my way to the sounds, leaves reached out to me. They slid down my back side, caressing me along the way. The stalks twisted around my neck and torso, assuring me that they would be on my side. That they would do my bidding.
I found the animal in the middle of the field. The corn stalks had laid down in a circular pattern, allowing for a clearing for me to do my work in. He was spread eagle, a stalk having each limb and pulling it tightly. Blood was everywhere, splattered against the corn and all over the ground.
How is this thing still alive?
"Please," he whimpered. "Please. I'm so sorry. Don't kill me."
"I don't understand why you did this," I said. "Why hurt me?"
"Trust me," he croaked. "Had I known you were capable of all this, I would've never pissed you off."
The stalks tightened their pull and I vomited once more as he screamed. The black vile shook my body as it rose up out of my throat. I watched, in disbelief, as the slithery vile made its way towards him. Even in the still night, he could see the thick liquid approach him.
He began to scream.
"What the hell? What the hell? Oh God. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please."
Amazed at what my body had produced, I watched as slithered up his leg. It disappeared under his pants leg.
He stopped screaming for a moment as he tried to see what was taking place.
"What the hell? Get it. Don't let it go any farther. Stop it. You gotta stop it."
I was powerless over the whole scene. I could do nothing, so I simply sat down on the corn stalks and watched in amusement.
"Do you what that is?" I asked him.
"I don't give a fuck," he cried. "Get this shit off of me."
Ignoring his response, I continued. "It's anger. It's fear. It's what happens when you play with someone's heart. When you proceed with no intention of loving someone. That is hurt. That is terror. And it's going to hurt you. Worse. It's going to violate you."
The look on his face was pure horror. The black slime made its way up inside him. His screams were animistic. He screamed. Cried out in agony and terror. His body began to contort and seize as he tried in vain to escape what was inside him. Blood spewed from his mouth as his insides were torn to shreds.
After what seemed like eternity, but was very well only a few moments, the black sludge made its way out of his mouth and back towards me. I sat calmly, waiting for it to return home.
The corn stalks retreated back to their original positions as they let him go. There was no concern over his running away. His face, frozen in horror and pain, was empty of any life.
The liquid pooled itself beside me, giving off a burning heat. I did not welcome it back. I wished to leave it where it was. Understanding my silent command, it disappeared into the soft earth.
Eventually, I calmed down. My anger, once pulsating and alive, seemed to retreat with the corn. I made my way back to the car to head home.
Tomorrow I would try to love another. But tonight...well tonight...I was done.