I woke up on the floor. There wasn't any sound. There wasn't any light. Everything seemed frozen. Tiny moments of time dripped onto my forehead and I wondered how I had managed to come this far. The floor was hard and the air was cold. I thought about closing my eyes and trying to sleep, but knew I had been sleeping on the floor for too long already. I knew it was time for a change. I just had no idea where that change might be coming from. I opened my arms, but she was not there. We were oceans apart without having ever known the meaning of safe passage.
Bella could remember a time long before she learned to forget. There was too much history to shred all at once. This would take some time. There was only so much she could do to shake herself free of the disappointments and failures of the past. She tried to numb her brain and limit its ability to recount faded dreams. There was only so much she could do.
"The phone is for you," mumbled Bella's roommate on her way to the bathroom. Bella hated the way Cheryl walked up and down the hall brushing her teeth and trying to do other things while keeping pace with her brush. Sometimes she did crossword puzzles while brushing her teeth. She would engage in this marathon brushing three or four times a day. It was an effort to wash a taste out of her mouth. It was a taste that had long since faded, except in the memory of her senses.
"Who is it?"
Cheryl shrugged and went into the bathroom, closing the door firmly behind her.
Annoyed, Bella picked up the telephone receiver and held it to her face. "Hello?"
I can remember moments that I believe I was not supposed to remember at all. They are twinges in the darkness. They are a pinch that awakens me to a whole new avalanche of memories. Sometimes I cannot control the memories. Sometimes I cannot focus them. Sometimes I cannot remember. Sometimes I can do all this and more.
There was a time when I opened my wings and spread them across the sky. I could feel the wind carrying me to new places and new experiences. I wanted to fly away and say farewell to the life that sometimes left me so desperately disappointed. Then, as I held my wings up towards the heavens, I realized I was only disappointed because I did not know what I wanted. I didn’t understand who I was and so I allowed myself to wish for the things that other people wanted. What they sought and what seemed to bring them happiness should have been good enough for me. It was never good enough for me because it was never what I wanted at all.
"I can’t." Bella paused. "It isn’t because I don’t want to. It isn’t because I never wanted to hear from you again. It is just because."
Because. It needed to be enough, but it wasn’t. Bella knew it would never be a good enough answer for him. She knew he needed more. She hadn’t been willing to give him more then and she wasn’t willing to give it to him now. For so long she had made herself an island. There were reasons why she didn’t want to wander off the island. At times she feared she would drown. She never wanted to lose control. Sometimes she believed control was the only thing she had.
Cheryl walked up the hallway from the bathroom. She was continuing to brush her teeth and never said anything on her walk from the bathroom to her bedroom. Bella didn’t look at her. She just hung up the telephone and walked back to her own bedroom. She thought about closing the door but decided against it. There didn’t seem to be much point. Whenever she left the door open, Cheryl inevitably came and stood in the doorway, waiting and wondering if Bella might want to talk to her.
"I never wanted to be anyone's poetry."
"Sure you did. It was all you ever wanted to be."
"Yeah, right. What do you know, anyway?"
"I care. Doesn’t that matter?"
"It isn't enough."
"When did anything ever have to be enough? Didn’t you tell me once that if you had enough you would stop looking for more?"
"I stopped looking for anything years ago."
"That's why it has to find you. For someone who pretends to be so smart, you miss the point a lot."
"I knew I should have closed my door."
I woke up on a cloud. It was dangerous to stand up, so I remained lying there on my back for a few minutes before trying to rise. When I did, all I could feel was a sensation of falling. It wasn't a frightening feeling. Instead, it had a calming effect that left me at peace while simultaneously feeling invigorated. The wind rushing through my hair and across my naked body left me feeling more alive than I had in years. I put trust in the wings I knew I had and let myself glide through the sky. I could see the ground below me, getting closer, but always staying in focus. The power of my fully outstretched wings carried me forward. I was no longer falling. I was flying.
There were reasons I could no longer leave this world. There were still puzzles to be solved and riddles to be answered. Every time I fell and every time I caught myself and found my wings again, they carried me towards the same destination. It was not always the same place. Often they were different places. There were answers in the bark of the tree and the cry of a lost lamb. There were answers in the sky and often those answers caused the sky to turn to gold. Then there was the poetry. She was my poetry and my life had lost its rhythm and its rhyme.