Like Soil Yearns for Rain

Like Soil Yearns for Rain

On the table beside his bed, the alarm clock blazed the bright bold numbers 3:12. He grew weary of the sight of his ceiling, too low overhead. The bed beneath him was only marginally comfortable. His limbs were stiff and his mind restless. He longed for something.

Something...

The pages smelled musty, aged somehow. They felt thicker than he remembered. Stiffer. Older.

But the ink on the pages was still as vivid as the day his hasty scrawl laid it down. The words still bore homage to all the things he once held as sacred truths. It all seems so high school drama now...

The pen felt alien in his hand, the wait unusually heavy for something so small. Who writes this way anymore? Yet he pressed the pen to the page, the motion as familiar as it was alien. It felt right.

I forgot I had this thing. He forgot he still carried it everywhere, though somehow he always remembered to retrieve it when he left. Why? I'll never understand. But he always kept it in a drawer, near to hand. It kept the thoughts furthest from his mind. He rarely thought of it, let alone looked at it or read it.

His handwriting stared back at him from the pages, the letters far from uniform, the scroll so hasty he doubted anyone else could decipher it. He should have been satisfied with writing anything on the yellowing page; the date, the time. Yet he felt driven to continue.

With the advent of computer technology, everyone keeps their journals on their cold, emotionless laptops. In their online blogs. In their voice recorded files. Does it separate them from their thoughts? Do the computers keep them safe from what they feel?

As we move into the space age, the computer age, into this new world, we forget so many things. Ink to the page. The smell of aging paper. The movement of the hand as it forms the words. The way the ink fades as time tries to dull the memories.

We've forgotten so much more than books. We've forgotten what it feels like to breathe fresh, unrecycled air. The soft spring of fresh grass beneath your feet. The damp of morning dew. What the stars look like from a distance, while you lay on a hill in spring, rather than inches from your hands, the void held at bay by only a few inches of hardened steel.

Did we forget what we were in our rush to become what we are now?

Who am I to think of such things? Not a philosopher. Just a man; tiny and insignificant in the vast universe.

No, it's just that I'm hiding.

Again.

I'm always running. I'm always hiding.

Why is it we fear most the things we carry inside us? Is there anything more frightening than the dark secrets of our own hearts? Nothing I can think of.

Then it's time to stop running again, just for a moment.

The clock says I have slept this night. I don't believe it. The numbers jumped up the hours in steady increments, but I've seen more of the ceiling than the back of my eyelids. It's been so long since I felt this way. So long I nearly forgot…

But can you ever really forget something like that? The feeling your heart has been torn from your chest? Standing on the edge of that terrible abyss, wondering why you don't just throw yourself into the yawning darkness if it will stop the pain. Feeling that void rush into your chest to replace something warm and wonderful.

Now it does sound like I'm writing a high school drama.

Kith… Your face still haunts my dreams. I see you every time I close my eyes. Where have you gone? What are you thinking of now? Will I ever forget you? Do you ever really forget the first time you fall in love? The first time you give your heart to someone? Do you ever really get it back?

Kith, you still have the best part of me.

I wonder if you ever think of me the way I think of you. Did it hurt when you walked away? Did you know how deep the wound would be? Did your heart bleed like mine? Do you kiss someone else now? Do you give them the sweet words that used to be for me?

Why is it, when I think of you, I don't recall the warmth and joy of the endless hours we spent in each other's arms, but instead the bitter stab of pain the day you turned away from me? I recall so vividly the grey that drowned my world when you walked out of it. An ocean so deep I was certain I would drown.

I felt sorrow then. I feel anger now.

Why, Kith?

Why is it he can accept me, but you couldn't?

He lays with me, kisses me, and accepts me for what I am at the core of my soul when you, who loved me, said you could not. How can someone who's endured such hardship and strife be so much stronger than you? What happened that left you so weak, so frightened, you couldn't love a soldier? Why couldn't you accept me as I was? As I am.

How could you love me if I were something else? If I put aside this flame, if I put out the fire, I wouldn't be who I am now. Can you only love someone who isn't me?

How can he love me, then, when you so clearly never could?

What kind of things are these for a soldier to think? If my father caught me writing this, he'd slit my throat with this pen. I don't doubt it.

But when have I ever cared what my father things? I didn't care then. I certainly don't care now. Let him rot in his own sour juices until the end of time for all I care.

It's been so long since I felt this way.

When you left me, I honestly believed I would never be able to love again. You took that part of me with you when you waltzed out of my life. Back then, I didn't want it back. I was content to be cold and distrustful, to hide behind my walls, keeping everyone forever at arm's length. I was content to be alone. Solitary.

But now, when I look at him, I remember that warmth. I want it back. I want to feel that way again. I'm tired of wandering aimlessly. I'm tired of doing it alone. I'm tired of the moon and the stars. I want to feel the sun on my face again. I want to smile at someone without feeling a stab in my gut.

Why should I mourn you when you've been gone so long? Why should I long for something I'll never have? It was you who rejected me. Why should I feel guilty another man has caught my eye? A man who wants something more than sex. A man who won't walk away, like you did. A man can only take so many emotionless one-night stands.

Why should you hold claim of my heart when it's clear you never wanted it?

I'm taking it back. That part of me that you carried away with you when you left is no longer yours to neglect.

I banish you from my thoughts. I dispel you from my dreams. I bar you from the heart you broke. Get out. Stay out. Haunt me no more. I will no longer wander lost in your shadow.

For the first time, I feel I can love someone else. I won't let that love be marred by your memory. The paths I walked with you ended long ago. The past is gone.

I'm letting it go.

Goodbye Kith.

He let the pen fall and the book close.

He tilted his head back. His eyes slid closed. He inhaled deeply and let the breath out slowly. His first unlabored breath in a hundred years.

He returned the journal to the bottom drawer, close to hand but far from mind.

He returned his head to the pillow. He closed his eyes again. At last, sleep came to wrap him in its soothing, warm embrace.

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