As hard as I try to be mad about the things keeping me up, I feel a frown tugging at the corner of my lips. I blink repeatedly to keep the tears at bay.
The damn moon won’t stop shining. I wish for a cloud to break the intense glare of nature’s nightlight, for a dragon to fly across the sky and block it from view – even for just an instant. All I need is a moment of peace, a chance to hide in the dark until I can make myself presentable.
It’s become tiresome to remain strong and steadfast in my stubborn ways. I want to embrace the light, let it expose my inner torment so that it can be set free. But I’ve been pissed off for too long, and I can’t remember a day without a forced smile or a begrudging laugh. There are so many layers of fear stacked on top of hope, coated in self-deprecating cynicism. I can’t begin the process of letting go, because I’m afraid that when the demolition is complete, there will be nothing left to build on. No foundation, no frame – just thin air and a ghostly haze of forgotten, childish dreams.
I’m alone, and the house is still except for the constant hum of the fan. There is no one to impress, or cause to disguise my true feelings; no reason to lie and appease the egos of others, even that of my own. So I reach into my very soul, and dig deep. Past all the outer defenses, I scratch and claw to the inner sanctum of my true self. There are many layers, and as I progress, I encounter all the past loves of my life. Unsurprisingly, they are coupled with the losses and knowledge I gained along the way.
Once upon a time I was actually in love. I’ve tried to ignore it, to pretend it never happened. It is a silly notion; simple and unrealistic at the same time. Yet I cling to it in a steadfast, stubborn fashion because it is the only way I can retain hope. With the resplendent moon focusing on me, stirring up the deep recesses of hurt and anger, I see his face. It is a face that I’ve blocked from memory; I even burned his pictures the day he left so I would never have to see it again. As flames leapt into the air and the smoke swirled, I laughed, and was reassured by people that said I was better off without him.
In a larger sense, it is the truth. I see that now, more than ever, and perhaps my absolute, reluctant acceptance is what makes it hurt so. I miss the quiet moments, the instances of emotion that can never be duplicated, even though I have tried over the years. From one to the next I’ve been attracted to equally different qualities that I once adored. After exhaustive effort and unnecessary turmoil, I’d discover it is impossible to rebuild true emotion out of spare, broken parts. Time and again I was the heroine of a lackluster novel with a different set of characters, a semi-familiar plot, and a great crescendo leading to loneliness and pain.
The sadness is visible before it has the chance to pass from my heart to my brain. Interacting with the world every day I’ve managed to perfect a stony demeanor, only changing in tune with the surrounding environment. Before the tears fall, it is possible to trace the tracks they will leave behind. How they drop from the corner of my eyes, sliding along the side of my nose, becoming one with the laugh lines that frame my mouth. Wrinkles earned from a lifetime of smiles and happy moments. As I age they fade from not being utilized as they were in the past.
I bury my face in a pillow, and scream until my voice cracks and becomes sore. The physical pain accompanying the realization that I am my own worst enemy finally breaks the dam. The tears fall fast and in haste; at the rate they are escaping I fear that every drop of moisture will be drawn from my body. Perhaps it would be less painful to shrivel up and transform into a pile of dust. I briefly find comfort in the notion of becoming one with the night air, as opposed to a solitary creature unable to attain peace.
But eventually the tears stop flowing, and I find myself in the same position as before. I’m lying in a spotlight I can’t escape no matter how fast or far I run. Embittered, I am forced to accept that I have experienced love, and without knowing exactly how, I have suffered its loss.
The moon finally dips below the trees, casting a soft, shadowy glow across my bare legs and cream-colored sheets. The mixture of anger, sadness, and awareness is replaced by a numb indifference to the world. I feel the painful revelation slink into the abyss, and absentmindedly wonder if it will make a difference in the morning. As my pulse becomes a soothing rhythm, assisting with the steady rise and fall of my chest, I lie to myself and promise that it will.