Yesterday I wrote the poem ache, today I decided to try and write a short story based on the poem. Here they are together.
Encroaching darkness, swirling in the air.
Ache in my heart, my anxiety talking.
Fog billowing, thick and heavy at my feet.
Ache in my soul, have I lost my way.
Grey skies, mist falling down on my head.
Ache in my bones, summer has come and gone.
Thunder crashing, lightning pierces the sky.
Ache in my head, thoughts jumbled and jagged.
Somedays I wonder when it started, when I first began to see the darkness in the world. I do remember that I started seeing tiny wisps, almost like ghostly images on the periphery of my vision, disappearing as I turned to face them. There was fear there and not just the fear I felt upon seeing them, no there was a primordial fear that emanated from the wisps reaching out towards me. Were they just a part of the daydreams I had as I sat in class distracted or was there something more that my prepubescent mind could not grasp. I occasionally have flashbacks to when I was in Germany, 4 or 5 years old straying away from the housing area into a farm field and opening this door in the hillside, a hovel for storing feed. Back in the darkness that seemed to suck up the daylight I could see a Raggedy Andy doll tattered and dirty, there was a feeling of terror that emanated from the darkness. I ran all of the way home that day and never strayed into the fields again. Maybe that was when it first began, maybe something from that hovel attached itself to me.
As I grew older the darkness encroached upon me, still just out of focus but swirling in the air around me. Occasionally it would stray a little too far and I could glimpse shadowy figures silhouetted against the world around me. The figures filled me with terror but I could not look away or cry out as no sound would come out of my mouth, no matter how hard I tried. I could not tell anyone about what I saw, everyone would laugh at me, just like they did when I got embarrassed and turned bright red. My parents would have gotten mad at me for making things up again, I had a hard time differentiating between reality and my day dreams most days. No, these visions were mine to endure alone and alone is how they made me feel. At some point I developed an ache in my heart that would overwhelm me and leave me feeling even more helpless and alone in the darkness. It would be over a decade before I understood what anxiety is and the tightening in my chest was just a symptom of an anxiety attack, I suffered alone for so long that I just came to accept it as part of life.
Not sure at what point the darkness gave way to a fog that went with me everywhere. Thick and billowing, obscuring my every step. Unlike the darkness, the fog was everywhere I looked, as far as my eye could see. If I looked close enough I could see the same shadowy figures from the darkness, only now they had taken on more form and substance. Somedays the figures mocked me silently, my terror in seeing them had not abated and they seemed to relish the terror I felt, feeding off it and growing stronger as I grew older. I wondered if other people could see the fog as well, yet still I felt too embarrassed to ever utter a word about what I saw. I plodded along through puberty into adolescence keeping hidden my day mares. My soul began to ache from the loneliness that I wallowed in, I looked for solace in the world around me turning to music that seemed to speak to me there in my darkness. As I embraced the darkness that had settled around me like a mantle I continued to plod through the fog.
As with most adolescents I sought out love and relationships, yet I was thwarted at every turn. Each rejection imprinting itself on my soul. I wandered alone in the fog, unable to find a way out. I was lost within my own prison, obsessed with breaking free from the fog that surrounded me, shaped me, molded my understanding of what life was and would be. Along the way I made bad choices, chased after the wrong love for the wrong reasons. I found pain in the rejections and a form of bliss, I desired to be loved so much that I became obsessed and the fog grew thicker feeding off of my pain and obsession. The relationships I formed would quickly devolve into rejection. I wondered if they could in fact see the fog and darkness in which my soul dwelled, perhaps that is why they all ended the way they did, even as I tried to run away from the darkness it had become such a part of me that it spilled out into the world around me. Lost and alone I struggled for meaning in philosophy and religions.
At some point I stopped looking down at the fog and raised my head only to be met by grey skies stretching out to the horizon. My life felt like an illusion, propped up by the soft mist that fell from the sky, giving shape and form to my body. Even as I looked out to the dismal skies, the darkness pulled at me once again dancing in my peripheral vision, daring me to turn and look. The shadowy forms I was so accustomed to seeing no longer interested me, I had grown numb to the terror that they relished. And yet they still danced about me, depended on me to fill their bellies with my negativity, we were trapped in a symbiotic relationship. I gave them purpose in a life that was different and they knew me intimately, even though they no longer terrorized me. All they had to do was hang about and wait awhile for the depression to set in, the food that sustained them had changed and they didn’t mind as long as they got fed.
They also found nourishment in my physical pain, not as sweet but beggars can not be choosers. So, they tread along with me knowing that their bellies will be filled one way or another. The aches in my bones sustain them while my moods are up and they ravish the buffet when I am down, they eat well everyday. They have found sustenance and ripe fields even though the summer has come and gone, autumn has set in and I am still trudging along through life. Still they dance around me, beckoning, longing to be seen; these dark shadows of the world. Somewhere along the way I recognized them for what they are, the darkness in this world. They are the pain and suffering of myself, but also of others, I see their corporeal shapes even if I cannot see who they haunt.
The more I study them, I find grief that I cannot deal with, loses that I have lived through. My own personal darkness has chained itself to me so tight it hurts to breath. If I take a moment to look closely at any particular figure, searching for understanding, thunder fills my ears to bursting and lightening pierces the sky. Everything is illuminated and I can no longer see the darkness only the brilliant light imprinted on my eyes. I stumble around blindly, distracted, my head aching. I lose my thoughts in the jumbled and jagged after flashes of the lightening.