I wrote this a few weeks ago, at the behest of my longest, dearest friend. The one who has stuck by me through good times and terrible. I was having a bad night, and he told me to write. Begged me to write, for release. Just for me.
You see, I was sitting in my car, in a store parking lot, and we were talking on the phone. And the dam burst. I had had a bad day, a bad week, and the deepest cries of my soul burst forth into him as they have so many times over the years.
I’m sharing it now.
Watching the clouds roll in, she could feel the mood shifting. It shifted in the way a wounded animal’s mood shifts. It shifted in the way a broken heart shifts. It shifted in the way a distraught soul shifts.
The mood of the Universe was shifting.
She observed the rich but deepening blue of the night sky grow increasingly dark.
It was the clouds. But calling it a cloudy night is spurious, a red herring to throw one off from the event unfolding. It wasn’t a cloudy night. The mountainous wall of thick cloud laid waste to the sky, laid waste to the light, as it marched forward, assaulting the beauty of the night and robbing her of the glory of the Cosmos.
She was one with Cosmos. It had always been so.
She could feel the pulse of the earth.
She could feel the wind’s breath.
She could feel the raw power of storms thundering through her body.
She could smell the salt sea and sense unexplored depths.
She could smell the crisp clean air of untamed mountains and wildernesses.
She could feel the humid, damp earth of the forest floor and spot the slick and shiny slime trails of banana slugs and wonder upon their journey and purpose.
She could feel the shuddering earth as herds and hordes raced across the land, to greener grasses, to better mates, away from danger.
She feels the moods of the Cosmos. They are connected in some ways deeper than the connection of lovers.
She weeps when the Earth weeps, when the sky weeps.
She aches when animals are in pain, and she shatters when humans tear each other apart.
And she yearns. She aches. She needs.
Always looking up. Attuned to both the Earth and the Heavens. In awe of the unique and nightly paintings splashed across a shifting atmospheric canvas. In awe of the sea of stars carpeting the night sky. In awe of powerful light sources that looked so dainty to the naked eye, but were in truth powerful enough to burn one alive should one approach too closely, their beauty too much to behold in full.
She is not empathetic. She is empathy. And only the vast and mighty Cosmos understand her, and she it.
And tonight, she wonders, and not for the first time…
Am I feeling the pain of the Universe?
Or is the Universe feeling mine?
Is the mountain of clouds drowning my light?
Or is my own darkness shrouding the universe in a cowl?
She tilted her head up, unruly curls whipping wildly about her head, and gazed up at the terror unfolding. The Others seemed oblivious. Doing their shopping, scolding their children, honking their horns to hurry, hurry, hurry. But not her.
She was attuned to things others ignored or had never been aware of at all. She could see that which was real and dismissed that which was not. She could see into the eternal. Searching in earnest for a sign. Any little sign that it would all be okay. And just as she was about to hang her head and weep, she spotted it.
A single rogue star, peeking out from the shroud.
Her breath caught, her pulse quickened, and she emitted the tiniest little squeak of joy.
And then it was gone.
The star was overtaken.
She gulped back tears, and the pain in her chest intensified with every advance of the mountain. It was overhead now, and as she gazed upon it, she could see in its darkness a swirling, seething mass of heartache, loss, lack, loneliness, pain, hate. It overwhelmed her gentle soul and seemed impenetrable. She collapsed to her knees on the pavement, one hand gripping loose asphalt, the other gripping her chest.
The Cosmos were dying, and she was dying with it.
Her heart pounded and hammered and raged against the dying of the light, until slowly, slowly it became the tiniest flicker of the tiniest ember. With the last bit of strength she had, she forced her head up through the viscous mass of cloud. She could see nothing. This was no mere darkness. This was a complete and utter lack of light. She slowly, uneasily and with growing frailty rocked back on her heels, thrust her hands up into the mass and up toward where she knew the heavens hid.
She opened her eyes to the darkness. She allowed it into her. She became one with the darkness and felt all of the pain. All of the anguish. All of the love and loss and heartache and death and betrayal and war and famine. All of the poison. All of the lack. She felt it all. Overwhelmed by the vastness of it all, she gasped for breath and clutched her chest once more.
Please, she whispered.
Please, she pleaded.
If I’m causing you pain, I’ll do better.
If I’m feeling your pain, please help me.
I’m dying under the weight of your pain.
Share it with me.
I’m taking your pain into me; take mine.
Be one with me as I am one with you.
Let us heal each other.
When the first fat raindrop plopped onto her cheek, she brushed it aside as yet another tear. But then another and another and another raindrop followed, until she understood and looked up, bathing her face in it.
These aren’t my tears at all.
Let us bathe in each other’s tears and cleanse each other of this palpable darkness.
Let me love you.
Let me love you, and others will follow.
And the tiny ember of her heart kindled once more into a crackling warmth. And she knew, she knew all would be right with the Universe. With herself. And so she did the only thing there was left to do. She stripped down to her naked skin and gleefully bathed in the fountain of the Universe.
Because no matter how thick the clouds.
No matter how dark the void grows.
The fountain always appears; the font never dry.
They simply have to hold fast through the storms, through the darkness, through the pain.
And the fountain will rejuvenate.
Thank you, Tomás.
For the words.
For the listening.
For the kindred.
For the soul.
For the unconditional.
For the fountain.