Put to ash

The water swirls, bubbles, swims in the stream below my feet. The sound of the water piercing the quiet of the night, with only the stars to bare witness to my silhouette as I stand on the bridge above my flowing companion. I hold the page before my eyes in an outstretched hand, its form precariously dangling over the railing that guards my body from the cold, calm churn of the ceaseless waters. The shape of my handwriting is all that is visible in this light. I raise my lighter, and spark a flame.

A moment before. The pen swept, trembled, paused as it moved – almost by its own volition – across the page. The touch of the pen tip against the vast canvas was the only sound that punctuated the still air as I sat on my bed. It was well past midnight, and the world outside was asleep. Inside, my thoughts and feelings raced, bursting forth into my journal with wild abandon. So much, that has been carried for so long, finally ready to be seen, heard and felt. My phone, face down on the pillow, a reminder of the voice that broke the dam walls within me. I could not put my head down to rest until I had honoured those words. The writing ceased. I tore the page out, put on my shoes and a coat, and closed the door on my way out.

A moment before. The words spilled, tumbled, imprinted themselves in my mind. Carried across an impossible distance, sounded by this indifferent device, articulated by a dear friend half the world away. The hours slipped past as we spoke, her words penetrating to depths I could scarcely recall housing in my being. The world was upside down as I sat upright in my bed – fully attending to the invitation my soul had been silently seeking. “It has been too long – you no longer need to carry this with you. Your whole body is begging you to set it down. Write it on paper: everything – every feeling, thought, association that you are ready to release. Then start a fire… and put it all to ash.”

Now the flame dances, flickers, plays in the darkness that holds it. As I raise this gentle glow to the page I see my handwriting shudder – heavy, wary, ready. The sound of the water below rises to meet my ears – sweetly encouraging me to continue, promising that I can both leave this here and go on. I take a deep breath in… Almost there. I slowly release the weight of my lungs into the receiving air above the swirling waters… It is time. I take the flame to the edge of the page.

Categories: #shortstories


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