The Days of Light
Once, there was a world filled with light, and love.
There was a home, whole and fine, even if it changed into different homes over the years. The home was warm in the winter and had a fire, and was cool in the summer with open windows. There were woods to explore, bikes to ride and paths to follow. There were bright toys, shades of color and paper to take them, and a pen to write down the adventures of the mind.
There were walks in the forest, great trees towering monumentally overhead, cascades pouring down through the green glens. There were great treks of many days across the mountains, soaring peaks and biting rock and shivering snow, a tent pitched by a crystal alpine lake, and the wonder of a map as it led down twisting and winding roads.
There were friends who would come to birthdays, who would bike to school and who would go rock climbing on Fridays. There were beloved teachers and caring parents, if a little overbearing. They encouraged and fostered, gave love and grew confidence. There was music, and there was writing, and there was the soar of the imagination. There was a full life, and there was joy.
The Days of Dark
And then, one day, the light and love disappeared.
The home became a prison, one that changed into other prisons over the years. The windows remained shut, and the shades were drawn. The fire became candles, lit only in the depths of the night, in a room all alone, the door locked. The woods were forgotten, the bikes gathering cobwebs. All the colors turned to black, and the toys…they turned to razors.
The trees appeared gnarled and twisted, even in the midst of summer; their towering heights now oppressed, threatening to crush and choke from above. The mountains became evil, and a jailer, a torment that prevented the comfort of a bed in a corner in the dark. The world was dim, and the sun failed to pierce both eyelid and heart.
The old friends left; new friends came, and shared the blackness of the world. They would drive to school with doom on the radio, and would go drinking on Fridays. The teachers and parents looked with sadness and despair, and all their encouragement fell on deaf ears, their love on a broken soul. There was no confidence, no hope, and the imagination saw only the ending of all life. There was an empty life, and there was misery.
The Days of Gray
And so life went on, for many years. There was no going back, no return to the days of light. The nature of the darkness changed as the homes once did, but always against a background of blackest black. There were days when life was bearable, and days when rising from bed was more effort than there was to spare.
But there was one, a single person who refused to give up. One who would not accept the lethargy, who refused to allow the darkness to thrive. She fought, and for her efforts received anger, and abuse. But in the face of this was an indomitable will, a knowledge that, free of the pits of despair, there was a soul worth saving.
And there was a child. A precious, tiny child who did’t — who couldn’t — understand the darkness. A child who did not deserve to be subjected to its despair. And that broken soul, it saw the child, and for the first time in forgotten years, knew that here was a thing to live for. The survival of this infant life was, if nothing else, the sole reason to begin to fight the darkness.
The battle is far from won. There have been great triumphs, and even greater falls. Wonderful joy when the child shows thoughtfulness and caring, and the deepest guilt and shame when it displays the same rage and obstinacy of its father. And what makes it all the harder is that, in the face of inarguable proof that the darkness must be abandoned, that broken, stained soul still longs for it with a great, empty ache. The darkness lived for too long, and is now an inseparable part of life, no easier parted with than one’s own finger.
But the struggle will continue, and it will continue because of that one, single person, and the child she gave him.
I love you, sweetie.
4 thoughts on “Tales of Despair: Oh, For the Dark World”
Beautiful and haunting.
You put into words so much of my life in a way that I can’t! The light and the dark were easy to read, amazingly written. The gray. I don’t know about you, but the gray hurts more than the rest because it involves someone besides me. Not so easy to read because of that but still amazingly written. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome, Mandi. I know there are a few of us who’ve had this life; I couldn’t think of a particular ‘Tale of Despair’ for this week, so I thought I’d share my own.
I think you’re right – the grays are harder to live through than any other. The effect you have on the people around you – the people you love – is an ever-gnawing guilt.
I’ll never be like I was when I was fifteen, and I wouldn’t want to anyway. Any person, at any given time in their life, is the culmination of everything that has led up to that point; I can’t wish for the things I can’t change. I’m not yet content with how I am, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.