I don’t know why she followed me, and I couldn’t figure out if I was glad she had, or if I wished she was anywhere else.
“So. This is where you wander off too.”
I didn’t say anything. Hell, I wasn’t sure if I could find any words, even a simple yes, or no. I wasn’t sure if I felt like she was an invader into my world, into one of my safe places, or if I was happy to see her, to see she’d finally followed me. Whatever I felt, I’m not sure it mattered right then. With her there, I couldn’t hide, not from her, not from me.
I nodded, and turned away from her, my hands shoved as far as possible into my pockets, and everything inside me screaming something different.
“This empty field? This is where you come?”
I wanted to answer, I really did. I wanted to tell her I went there to escape the noise, and the chaos in my head. The voices that were screaming at me, and arguing with each other, as I tried to figure out why everything had gone so wrong, so suddenly. But, those parts of me, the ones that were in my head, screaming at each other, made it where I couldn’t.
She seemed to know that, to understand that. I heard her thinking, I swear I did. But I couldn’t tell you what, I couldn’t hear her over the screaming in my head, over the angry, scared, confused, frustrated, impatient, and wounded voices in my head that kept screaming, endlessly.
I don’t know why she did it, but she walked up next to me, and didn’t say a thing. Not one word. She just stood there.
I was a wreck. The screaming was so loud, so overwhelming, I couldn’t escape it. I looked at my hands, something I always did. Like I was blaming them for everything. Blaming them for being alive, being able to feel anything. The wood from a table top, the Formica on a counter, the cold steel of a metal kitchen sink.
The texture of the skin on her hand as she took mine, and laced her fingers between mine, and waited, I have no idea how long, for my hand to stop shaking, and finally, slowly, respond to her, by holding her hand as she held mine.
“I sometimes wonder,” I heard her voice, magical, like music, like a favorite song, that somehow cut through all the noise, all the chaos, “why the lake dried up, why the stream died.” I know she looked at the ground, dried, broken dirt, where a stream had been.
That cold, heartless part of me answered her, “For the water.”
She didn’t answer, she simply kept holding my hand, as the screaming in my head started to fade, and the voices fell quiet, one by one.
“I come here because it’s quiet, and I can…” I couldn’t figure out the words to say, “Sometimes I need the quiet.”
Somehow, I managed to look at her, at her face, with those eyes, and that magic smile. I don’t know why, I don’t know what happened to me when I did. But I always felt safer, calmer, when I did. Somehow, she could always reach me, when no one else ever had. She could always reach past the chaos, to me.
“I come here because it’s quiet, and I can escape the chaos.”
“Yeah. The chaos. Inside of me.”
There was that smile, like when the sun comes out after a big storm, when it first breaks through the clouds, and the world gets lighter, more colorful. She kept holding my hand, “What do you feel, right now?”
“I…” I realized I couldn’t answer. Not because I didn’t feel something, but because I felt everything. I felt too much.
“You’re safe with me, you know.”
I nodded, because I couldn’t talk.
“And maybe, together, we can help you learn what you feel. And not be afraid to feel.”
I knew she understood. I didn’t know how to live with me. Didn’t know how to live with everything I felt. And the voices in my head were my emotions, screaming at me.
“I come here to hide. Somewhere safe. Alone. Until I can get back in control.”
And we stood there, her holding my hand, until I could breathe once again. Until the screaming in my head was gone.
Written in response to the prompt for week 163 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.