Friday, January 26, 2018


Night, which had become his most steadfast companion, spoke to him one evening.

Why, it inquired of him, do you continue along this road? 

“Because,” the man answered, “it is the only one remaining to me. The one to which I am consigned.”

Night contemplated this a while, as the man walked on.

Forgive me, Night said at last, for I am but darkness, but I dare say you’re wrong. There is always another path. There is always turning back.

The man, requiring no contemplation, replied, “Not for me.”

Ah, said Night. Punishing yourself. You choose this path in penance.

“In truth,” said the man. “I can no more choose it than I can choose to breathe. And every breath speaks that truth. Speaks her name.”

They were silent a while more, until Night said, in scarcely a whisper: I know. I’ve heard you.

The man nodded, walked on. A latticework of stars traced across the deep-set firmament. Flickering in their fathomless remove. Planets and galaxies entire waxed beneath their aegis, these coldest of sentinels; the passing of a nameless, wayward soul, of not the slightest consequence. 

Do not begrudge them, urged Night. Even their light shall one day extinguish. 

“I begrudge them not in the slightest,” said the man. “If a broken heart is the worst of my travails, I should call myself lucky.”

Be kind to yourself, Night offered. Loss is loss; pain is pain.

“Yes,” said the man. “That it is. But to have lost the love of my life, is at the very least the rawest validation of having found her. There is no greater blessing.”

Night smiled at this, in that nearly imperceptible way of things incorporeal. An easing, however brief.

What, Night asked the man, did you love most? Was she the woman of your dreams?

“She was the woman who gave me the dream,” said the man. “She was all things love and light. Light in the darkness—err, no offense—and light in the light.”

No offense taken, said Night. But light in the light—what do you mean?

“She lit up the world. Everyone. No matter how things were in that moment. Made the dark days brighter. Made the bright days, brighter still. Saw the best in me. Loved me even for my worst. Made me believe again, in the man I could be, the man I must be.”

You loved her deeply.

“Still, and always.”

There must be anger; there must be pain. 

“Only the latter,” said the man. “Sometimes I want to be angry, but I can’t. She is the only soul on earth for whom my heart cannot harbor an angry sentiment. Even in this pain, there is but love. That is her legacy, whether she desires it or not. Even in her absence, she’s taught me true love.”

They walked on, these sojourners. At length, a wind kicked up, and the smell of rain perfumed the air.

Storm coming, Night said. 

“And let it,” said the man. “Therein resides one reason more. She was at once, my storm and my refuge. Never did my heart know such tempest, and such peace. No matter that she’s severed it, never a stronger connection have I felt.”

To this day?

“For all days. No matter where we were, with her, my heart was always home. She remains, and ever shall be, my touchstone.”

The storm grew nearer, but they walked on, for their road was their road, and the storm was a storm, neither the first nor last they would encounter.

You still live for her. 

“In many ways, yes.”

And would you die for her?

“Aye,” said the man. “I have.”

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