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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Friendship · #2169301
Let me tell about one of the lights that shine at the end of my tunnel.
I don't know where to start really, I want to tell you about this friend of mine.

I've had a lot of friends in my life, I need to show you how and why this one is special. I think I need to remind myself of this as well. My destructive ways are visiting again. They've been telling me lies, whispering twisted truths in my ears. I need to remember.
She saw me.
The first person to ever truly see me. As trite as it sounds, it is also true.

Believe it or not, I was once full of life, deams were a part of me. I had my life planned out, nothing could bring me down. Not for long, anyway. That was all before I met Death. I have never known him to be proud, forever creeping by when he's least expected. Rarely arrives when someone's looking. Vanishes before anyone's noticed his presence, only noticing his work. I wouldn't call that proud. He just is, as you and I are.

He comes, takes what his dead and leaves again. It's unfortunate that parts of the living cling to the dead. It's like taking down a building. It's not the same as building it. It's never a neat case of taking every brick out. No, it's a messy affair of destruction, you'd be lucky to find one whole brick. You take it down, paint and all. You only meant to take down the building, the paint had nothing to do with it, but because it clung to the bricks, it went down with it. Same with Death, he only takes his dead, the pieces of the living clinging to the dead inevitably go with him and as such are subjected to the same fate as the dead. They won't be coming back. He's not horrible really, he just is. In fact, I believe him to be one of the purest of beings to exist. He takes not what is not his to take. Why do we fault him for existing when we don't fault ourselves for doing the very same?

I was 7 years of age when I met him for the second time. I'd met him before when he'd come for my grandmother, but he was on the other side of the road, we barely made eye contact then. He came for my brother, this time he was in my house. We not only had eye contact, we brushed against each other as the pieces of me on my brother brushed against him. I was not going to forget him this time, we knew each other now.

My family thought me to young to understand what was happening. I was young, but I was also aware of what was happening. The tears on everyone's faces, my mother's scream the night the village men brought the news, my sister's sobs as she came home from work a day later, my father's howl of agony as the long box came in, carried by men dressed in black. Those clued me in as to what was happening. Waiting by the window Friday night for a car that would never show up, the headlights that would never shine through the window, the absence of his smile as he carried me to bed because I'd fallen asleep on the couch waiting for fo him, the absence of the apple on his bedside table Saturday morning. Those? Those realized everything for me, there was no way of denying it now. He wasn't coming back.

It was years after his death when tears finally rolled down my cheeks, in a class full of my classmates. No one knew what was happening, they couldn't have. It was so long since his death that even my mother wouldn't have made the connection.

I met her nine years after my brother's death and a few months into our friendship, she saw me. She hadn't known me when I was still whole, but she knew that something was missing anyway. I'd shared a photo of myself with her, she complemented as only a friend would. It didn't matter that I didn't believe her, I liked her for it.
"Tell me, why is it that in all your photos I see sadness in your eyes? " She'd then asked.

I couldn't answer her. See, I hadn't known how to lie with my eyes then. Hell, I hadn't been aware that they were selling me out to the world, telling my pain, without my permission. I knew then, so I began working on fixing that little hole. I closed it eventually and put a picture of happiness on top. Like a hound on a hunt with a scent, she never forgot. She set about trying to erase the pain she could no longer see.

I did say before how I'd had friends before her. Thing is, they never stayed, they always left. It must've been my fault, something was obviously wrong with me. She never left me though, She stuck on like a tick. Trying to suck all the pain out of me, but the misery is my blood, She couldn't drain me.

Even with her showing me time and time again that she wasn't going anywhere, I prepared myself for her inevitable departure. They all left me at one point, so would she. She hasn't left me. It's been five years and she's still around. I cannot tell you how many times my demons have tried to convince me that she isn't really staying, that she's only pretending. Except I never really understood why she'd pretend, I have nothing to offer her anyway.

I have let her go so many times without her knowing, but every time I do, she calls me. As though she knew what I was up to this whole time, only waiting for me to actually let go so she can pull me back in. I hide my pain, she can't see it, but I tell her about it, I don't know why I do that.

I don't deserve her. I'm selfish for keeping her. As imperfect as she is with all her flaws, she's still too good for what I give her. She takes it though and appreciates it, calls it a gift. Tells me she counts me amongst her blessings, I'll never know why. What I know is, she keeps me.

If I woke up tomorrow to find her gone from my life, I'd carry on as though nothing changed. Because deep down inside me, I'm expecting it. Part of me is even hoping for it. Wishes she'd leave already so I can go back to my darkroom with no one to pull me out. Every time I go in there, she walks in after me, bringing the light in. I hate the light, it has shadows.

I hate her for bringing in the light with her.
She's my friend though.
And I LOVE her flashlight.
I hope it never dims because she belongs in the light.
Her smile agrees.
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