Were I to have told this tale with anything but a casual sense of woe, I would be accused by the reader of the most flagrant of lies. An overwhelming sense of dread, peppers my thoughts, causing my words to tremble with every breath. I sit on the precipice, no the iron railing of an ancient crossing, staring lost into the swirling black waters below and look for my answer to boil up, framed neatly in a white triangle from the base of a giant 8-ball.
"No", it says silently, "you must proceed."
And I search through my muddied past for thoughts, to jell and form cohesive into something blessed with logic that I can grasp. But it escapes and the pounding grows louder. I fear the thought will be vanquished and another white triangle appears in ghostly silence to offer some guidance down a foggy path.
"Pierce your vanity with desire" and it is gone again as quickly, as softly as it rose. What hand, what devilish scribe offers these signs to guide me. What am I to learn? Why won't someone just tell me: This is the way, this is the answer.
Where is the knock on the door at 3 AM, that startles you, raises fears only to find the visitor has chosen the wrong door. You are standing in night's chill, fear drains from inside and you realize, it has just been a mistake, a horrible and sad mistaken choice made by an unknown hand looking for somewhere you will never know. It was not suppose to happen. Somewhere, in some other empty room waiting, there sits another whose face turns towards the window sharply at every flash from the path below, who feels every creak in the walls and the disturbing brush of dry branches on the roof above. We have all been there. Alone in the dark, shrouded in late hour and later thoughts and have never felt so alone realizing we are alone always, whether in the brightest field or on darkest night. No one is there.
And if they are, they have approached the wrong door at 3 AM and they offer no solace.
And again, just before it settles back into the black from view, the words form then fade. "Save your fears, the Past returns" and inside the unsettling words churn deep. You feel the dull acid against your night emptied soul, or what you believe to be a soul. The Past returns. Was there something so wrong in the past that it returns to revisit? Did the past not accomplish fully what it set out do? Was there a window left unbroken, a wall left unscarred? You will be forced to live the past again, bound to a chair, watching the scene play out in the shadows on the ragged wall you face. You cannot close your eyes. The shadows still move and you are forced to stare blankly as it plays again and again and each time you have no more than you did before but part of you is gone.
What happened? Where did it go? Why are there only more questions and the darkness offers answers to question not asked? And yet again another surfaces " Reach out. There is only Time" and yet again "Fall back. Know it always ends this way" and finally as your thoughts bloat and refuse to see any further "Only listen to the song outside your window. Do not approach or it will leave you"
And as it leaves for the last time and you feel the ages close upon you and the Past scuttles away. It is quickly gone and for a moment all is quiet. You are puzzled that it seems you are continuously being bumped on the street. They mumble as they walk away. Waiting at your light, a car pulls alongside and you turn you head, They are all watching you. The car windows are stuffed with dead eyes, black and glistening and your light turns. In crowds, someone calls your name. You pause to look at empty faces. Your name fades into a thinning vapor and is gone. You move on and for just a moment, just a little longer than you should, you wonder.
The railing is cold now, its edge digs deep into your legs painfully dulling them. They are no longer legs able to storm off. They hang over the side like heavy anchors. Your hands feel the rough rust hard and crusted like tiny barnacles on ancient hull. Your body senses a swaying on the bridge as if the waters rushing below have become angry and impatient.
You know if you drop, each sensation will be sharp and distinct. For a flash, until you reach the water below, all will be empty, all of the weight of all of the questions will empty and fade for just a flash. And then the black and for a moment, you will snap cold and sense wet on your lips and brow. From beyond the black, as the chill turns to cold then to ice then to nothing, there may be a light. There may be a knocking on a door that startles you alone in your room at 3 AM.