A Cry In the Night
Stars twinkled, the moon glittered, and everything seemed to be where it was meant to be. Still something, some ephemeral wisp of knowingness, nudged her from the depths of slumber's embrace.
The weight of despair was unlike any she'd faced before...a despair that did not dramatically reach inside and tear her soul to shreds. No. This was more like an anvil made of iron bearing down upon her spirit...relentlessly. He's coming, she knew it in her bones, in her marrow. He's coming!
Rising from the warmth that was her bed, her movements mechanical, without design, she slipped through the cavernous darkness, that was her haven from all that lurked outside. Until tonight. Now there'd be no haven, she felt darkness creeping in.
Once outside, upon her patio, the star studded sky stretching far above her lonely stance, she spoke a silent entreaty, a heartfelt prayer, wishing for that missing wishing star up there, and praying she was wrong.
'Please God,' she silenty plead, 'Let me be wrong!'
She did not remain alone for long, for that was not the purpose of this night's call. From the endless shadows of silent night, he moved, and the dread that awakened in her, grew.
As he neared, she hungrily memorized every familiar line, the distinctive arch and contractions of lean muscle, the beloved slash and dash that framed the fullness of his form...and her soul wept.
In the growing heartbreak taking on a life of its own, far beneath her quivering breast, she knew what was coming. It was there in the slump of his shoulders, the sadness in his eyes, and the movements of his normally agile body.
Her mind roiled, her gut curdled, and spewed upward until it burst from her in just one choked word. "No!"
His eyes, for just that interminable moment, caught in time's own fracture, closed. His body trembled, like a man who's just taken a full body blow from a boxer in the ring.
His breathing shallowed, his bones stiffened against what he knew he must now do, his pain evident as he looked directly into her imploring eyes.
"There's nothing left for me here," he said, in a voice she knew so well.
The anguish, the pain, the grief that swept through her...never could she have known that one person could contain so much hurt within them and still continue to breathe.
"How will I go on without you here, "she cried, her voice shaky, as shaky as the fronds of the distant willows dancing on the subtle autumnal breeze. "Please don't go?"
His eyes reached out begging her for understanding; begging that she not make the inevitable parting, harder, so much harder than it already was.
"I cannot stay," he quietly explained. "I have tried to make it work. You know I have."
He spoke the harsh truth, still she wanted...
"I know this is hurting you, and that is the last thing I ever wanted to do."
Her eyes filled with an ocean of searing tears. A lump formed in the delicate curve of her throat, as she reached out to pull him close, as close as her shattered body could, till not even a heartbeat separated them...She held on for dear life.
Absorbing every texture, composition, the scent of him, the flex of muscle and the hardness of bone, the staccato rhythm of his thundering heart, she felt her world splinter. All that made him, him she inhaled into herself, consigning every atom of his unique fabric to the eternal repository of her senses.
For both their sakes she knew she had to be strong. Later, after he'd long disappeared into the yawning infinity of nights ahead, she could collapse into the heap of endless despair clawing at her all the way down to her soul. Now she had to be a slate of blank indifference. She had to let go of that final link.
Stoically she found her smile, or something somewhat similar and hugged him hard, one more time. Reaching into her well of hidden torment somehow she managed to find the courage to say what must be said; Good bye.
The words came out of frigid lips, death knells in this darkest of nights.
He looked at her and she looked at him, the moment frozen in time, and then he turned, beginning his last retreat.
She leaned heavily into the railing's posts, her teeth draining the blood from the strain not to scream. Her heart stampeded and her mind swirled with the enormity of the strength she was exerting to keep her tormented body from sinking to the cold ground beneath her.
Through the trembling pain, a part of her railed anyway. She wanted to turn tail and run back into the emptiness of her lonely home...and die, but she knew this might very well be the last time she saw him in life, so she stayed, her back pressed tightly against the support of the railing's post.
Long after the night shadows had swallowed him, she was still there. Her knuckles a bloodless white, and her shaking body were oblivious to the bite of the night air. Her heart was bleeding out from wounds no else would see.
Finally she turned, the weight of her anguish heavier on her fragile shoulders.
Retracing her steps, she tried not to think, or feel; she turned into a robot, with emotions locked so deep within her she doubted she'd ever find them...or maybe hoped she'd never find them.
Her slender body seemed to have aged making the climb up the steps slow and endless.
At last she regained her bedroom and crawled back into her ice cold bed, where she huddled in a tight ball against a cold that wasn't out there.
Her heart and mind replayed the events of this night, her whimpers becoming pathetic mewls. Over and over, a video on loop with no stop switch, it replayed the pain she hadn't let herself feel when she watched her beloved son, a man who would always be her baby, walk, not ride, nor fly, out of her life.
No one ever told her how much it would hurt when your adult child leaves for good. No one ever told her being a wise mother could leave you broken inside.
Her last conscious thought, many tormented hours later, before the blessed numbness of exhaustion and hopelessness released her, was for God to please watch over the son she no longer could and help him find the pride of self and success he was looking for.