The silence segues to something louder, echoing across the small room. Darkness engulfs me like an envelope of suffocation and the struggle for air is as exasperating as the lack of it. A jumble of images zip by, colors clashing and static sizzling through the corners of my mind. I sniff more, the powdery substance inhaled without restriction.The sun peeks from the tiny gap between the closed curtains, a sliver of a ray, a fragile source of light in the dusky room. Figures lurk around, dancing between spaces, jumping over fallen books and bundled sheets, shadows that sweep across and seem to linger forever. Another light creeps in from under the wooden door, a delicate source too, the kind of illumination that catches my eyes. For a moment.
I sniff again, content.
I am alone. I tuck myself in the shadows, where the light is obstructed and I am safe away all by myself. I used to grasp for the gleam of hope left in the recesses of my heart. And yet, a penumbra of secrecy slumbers deep within me, slowly tarnishing my reputation. I fall a little bit into blackness. I used to think of the happiness the world could offer. Of being wanderlust and adventurous. But as bright as that may seem, there will always be the shadows that lurk in the corners, constantly creeping in and unable to be held at bay. It is as bleak as a stormy night, the moon trying to shine but the clouds as thick as rubber on soles. It can be as dreary as a dimly lit room, the light constricted, never being able to fully spread around in a spiral of incandescence.
Most of my life has been spent trailing along the wake of something greater, basking in the shade of someone smarter, prettier…better. I longed to be a part of the light, to be part of the societal group that are valued more but I was always pushed into the shadows where I am disregarded, save for my silhouette that is as vague as the people’s knowledge of me. Pushing people away has been a sanctuary of some twisted sort; away from the prying eyes of everyone and far from judgments that seem to call out from the way their eyes lingered on you for a second too long. Prying fingers clutch on too hard, the clammy grasps on your ankles travel upward, sliding along your arms until it wraps around your neck and you struggle harder. And yet as you do exactly that, the dark creeps in any way, creating the shadows that throw off the light from its path, the illumination from its purpose, the light from its source. Little rays push through, but it isn’t enough. I continue to fall.
There are times wherein I think of resurfacing, to shatter the barricade that separates the light from the dark, and continue with what I have started. But secrets hold on as I kick upward, a blanket of secrecy engulfs me from everyone again, and I stop. There is no way to find the light at the end of the tunnel when there isn’t even light in the first place. When it is just bits and pieces of shadows thrown against the walls, a false hope that someday, I would be back to where I started. Shadows are a part of us. They are the lies we keep, the secrets we hide, the negativity we feel and the helplessness we encounter. And yet shadows can be the bridge to being better, the flap that covers the pain, the door that’s waiting to be opened, and the night sky that’s waiting for another day to begin again.
I bury myself in problems I never needed. I hurl myself in experiences I have regretted. Through repetitive thinking and drowning thoughts, of being in constant battle with myself, I am ready. Ready to walk through the curtains of shadows and into the light of the day, where I will meet the sun as if it was my long-lost friend.