End of The Tunnel

 

Above all, trust yourself.

 

Defeated. I sat on the cold ground in the dark, feeling nothing but the wisp of air blowing through the tunnel, it distinctly sounded like a fiddle playing. I wasn’t scared at all, just fatigued like I was throwing punches at something that wasn’t feasible. I must have folded my fists and coaxed myself with “just do it”  a thousand times, but each time I end up uniting my buttcheeks to the dirt beneath me. I even dozed off and at some point and created several hypothetical scenarios of the many ways this could go and when I woke up, I allowed myself to linger on the thought of fighting till my hands were in shackles and my eyes, gouged out.

 

Slowly, I rose to my quivering feet and each step became a little easier. A winged buddy sidled next to me and split into a handful, and then some. Honestly, I was glad to have any manner of companionship and from intuition, I knew they were happy to see me too.

This time,  I wasn’t looking at the walls, my focus was straight ahead as I marched on. After a while,  I noticed that my butterflies weren’t flying ahead as they usually were. Perhaps something was blocking me but I had no way of confirming this, I couldn’t see that far. The winged creatures stayed close to my peripheral vision.

I was perplexed, something was out there as sure as I could instantly feel the doubt overwhelming me and soon I could make out a silhouette, not a tall one. I got nearer. It was in black overalls, it’s back towards me, it assumed a bent posture as if the world was weighing down on it—– or kyphoscoliosis. I stopped behind it.

uhmm” I muttered, quite unsure, “can I pass? what are you doing here?”

I hear a soft moan, I knew then that it was female.

“do you want to pass?

I nodded

“So why don’t you?”

“Because… ” I quickly retracted my reply. Something told me she already why. She turned, her chest towards me now.

“Because you fear being followed in the dark”.

“Who are you?”, Her face was like a shadow. I couldn’t make out anything but her brows and eyes.

“We used to be best friends,”  she sighed ” but you abandoned me, like you do with everyone”

“I still keep in touch”.

“right, keep telling yourself that,” she chided, “you’re here because you unlocked a memory, you let your mind wander too far.. and now you can’t get back.”

Her tone became aggressive, her eyes glowered.

“You think life is just gonna give you stuff because you say pretty please? you’re nothing.”

“that’s not true”

“You think that by completing this grandiose quest of yours, you’re worth something,” her voice waned to a whisper, “well I’m telling you, you’re always going to be the empty person on those walls”.

No no no no, my mind was shattering.

She let out a derisive laugh, “you know most people whose mind wander off like yours have two things to ground them. An inflated self-esteem and a support system. You have neither, Idara, you’re pathetic”. Her laugh grew more hysterical.

“NO!,”  I finally heard my enraged-self say, “I know exactly who you are and while I may not have friends, I trust myself no matter what you or anyone thinks”.

Those words seem to act like twenty upper-cuts to her torso because I could immediately see her weaken and fall. I, on the other hand, have never been more assured of my senses.

“You hear me? I trust myself”.

She let out a deafening shrill and exploded into several pieces before my eyes, leaving behind ashy feathers. I allowed myself a moment to process what just transpired before hobbling on, careful not to step on the “evil” feathers. I started wondering if there would be more tests as I could only deal with so much but right about then, I saw it. Light. Real actual light, not the illumination from the butterflies, I was ecstatic.

I  ran the last few meters. I felt great, like a detox after a bad hangover, like purity and golden sunshine rolled into one. The butterflies were disappearing and this time, for good reason. The air felt great compared to the muffling metallic scent, although, I don’t know how long I was in there……”Hey,”

It was him.

I’ve been searching all night for you, where have you been?”

I glared behind to find everything but a tunnel.

“Needed a walk to clear my head”.

“I was worried, found your phone and house keys. Some folks say it fell out your pocket and they were trying to return it to you but you were…… nevermind, how are you?

“A bit tired”.

“C’mon, I’ll take you home, catch some snooze before day-break”.

I took his extended arm and he cradled me like a toddler but I wiggled my way to his back because piggy-backs are better. We walked off into the distance, out of the park, speaking audibly.

“You know I didn’t mean to upset you when I said I trusted you”

“I know Viktor.”

 

 

image source: darkbeautymag.tumblr.com

 

 

 

 

 

The tunnel

 

We thought we could escape our troubles. We thought if we climbed the ladder fast enough, no one would stop us.

 

Across the bed from him, I sat.

“I like you, I really do.”

He blushed, licked his lips and placed a palm on my thigh. I liked that. I shut my eyes and allowed myself to dwell on this simple pleasure. His hands lingered from my thighs up to my waist before grazing my cheeks. I opened my eyes to meet his pearly hazel ones. It was the first time I permitted myself to look so closely into someone’s eyes. It was intriguing to see them dilate. He parted his lips and I listened to the words that fumbled out….

A Volcano erupted in my heart. My being was shaking; like an earthquake, like an explosion went off in my head. My ears could bleed, my voice was gone, My lips were quivering from the horror when he said, “I trust you”.

I jumped up, and for a second or five, I was patting myself as if searching for something. His face grew worrisome and he constantly asked me what was wrong.

“I have to get out of here”

“Where to? this is your house”.

“Nowhere,” I replied, “Just need a walk.”

I sprinted out the room into the night. My legs were moving, one after the next. The people I walked past were staring at me, as if in shock or sheer curiosity. Maybe I have something on my face but I’m acting as normal as I possibly can. My mind is a war zone, the more I try to focus, the more nothing seems to make sense. All I see is a tunnel of darkness that I’ve never been brave enough to walk through to the other side. But now, it beckons me and right there in the park, I could make something out of the rusty air. A tunnel.

“Idara,” I heard a voice call from within the tunnel. It sounded like a child with a thick accent, Western African perhaps, “come”.

“Why” I muttered hesitantly

“Because you will never be able to face your truth if you don’t”.

I heard the fluttering of wings, and seconds later a butterfly was in front of me, so close it could perch on my nose. In a blink of an eye, it’s wings would change from violet polka dot to black with white streaks then to brown and white with blue streaks then again, and again, each time, a unique blend of colors. I was too mesmerized that I almost didn’t notice that now there were two of them, and in a millisecond five, then twelve and they just kept multiplying. They formed a line before me and begun flying into the tunnel. I pushed some air down my lungs, took a step and then another and I was inside the tunnel.

My mind was simmering with thoughts and they were chaotic but with the light from the butterflies illuminating my path, I felt less anxious. I noticed the walls had phrases and sentences inscribed on it and there was a sense of familiarity I had when I read them, I remember them because I lived them.

At the tunnel entrance, I read:   “you were always there for me.’ I recall smiling when I wrote that. I recall feeling lonely afterward.

“when I count my friends, I count 1 person 10 times”.  I know who that was for, it came from a sincere place.

the next one read; “you’re the bitchiest bitch out there, but you’re also the only person that piggybacks me home when I’m drunk”. Actually now I just think she’s a bitch.

The farther I got into the tunnel, the more cynical the phrases were. “This may probably be the last time you see me, I’m not going anywhere but I can’t promise I won’t wander off.”

The other read: “I can’t stand the pain, it makes me cry. I want people to care, I want things to work out”.

At this point, I noticed that the butterflies were reducing, disappearing. I was feeling unsure again, anxious. In an attempt to forge on, I staggered through the never-ending corridor with my resilient companions.

The next I saw went thus; “it’s not in my nature to express myself so wouldn’t it be weird, stupid to people if I started expressing myself? wouldn’t it seem like I was impersonating someone I’m not?” 

I sidled on like a lummox drunk in a grave-yard, I refused to look at the walls any further. I tried focusing on making it to the end, but my mind wouldn’t stop buzzing and I kept on wishing I was out of there, I’ve never been more restless.

My gaze settled on one final inscription on the wall and I couldn’t help but read it through; “so once again I was alone staring at the walls as it were empty like my soul.”

I stopped. Thrusting my back against the wall, I read the phrase again as I slowly sank to the ground. The lights fluttered around me urging me to rise to my feet. I couldn’t move, I’d lost all my strength.

“I was alone…the walls…empty like my soul, alone…walls..empty, empty….

The butterflies wouldn’t stop but I ignored them whilst they continued to vanish.

“Get up,” the voice was back. “Come Idara”

“I can’t,” I yelled, my voice resounded through the walls. I watched the butterflies fade until the last resilient wings were flapping right before my nose. Its light began to flicker and went dim until it was gone. Everything went silent and cold. No insects. No buzzing. No light. Just me alone in the dark tunnel.

“I can’t,” I whispered. “I can’t”