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The Awakening

A sea of blackness across my vision. The sorrows and hurt of the past paint my skin in a bloody red and tearful blue. Every night, for many years, maybe as long as I can remember, it has been like this. Maybe it has always been like this. There has never been and end to it. And sometimes, I believe, there never will be an end to it. I always see myself as a creator.
A catalyst of hurt.
It is all very real in the moment, and I recall that when I wake, the memory of what exactly it was fades, but the aching feeling in my chest remains, it sits like a heavy stone at the pit of my heart there for days. Like something you can’t swallow. Like something that can’t be taken away.
I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried to call for help. I’ve tried to fight back. I’ve tried to rip the nightmares to shreds, to fall into such a deep sleep that they’ll never return, but they always do, clawing at my skin, tearing at my insides. So, now all I do is endure. Endure like I always have--hold on in some fragile hope that maybe, someday, somewhere, someone will see my masked face and take me away, far from here.
They never do.
I have repented, time and time again. What more do I need to do? Must I kneel? Bow? Grovel? Give up all that I am? Take my body, take my life, take everything I have, just take me away from the hurt, the eternal hurt that is here in my mind, waiting for my conscious to wane, waiting for my defenses to falter so that it may trickle in, then drip, then flood as it breaks past the cage.
Then, I hear it. The golden, velvet edge of a voice. “Take my hand,” it says. I reach out in vain, but my hand grasps nothing but cold. “Follow my voice,” it continues. I stand up on fragile fawn legs and slowly, surely, step forward, the act of controlled falling. “Come, come,” it speaks, the voice getting louder and clearer.
The cotton is removed from my ears, and the blinders are ripped from my head, and the chains, well, the chains fall away like burning vines as hands, hands, hundreds of hands, they touch, they pull me into the light.
The soft, gentle palms of youth. The worn, thin fingers of elders. The calloused digits of workers, the veined joints of parents.
The unmistakable caress of a lover.
“You’re safe,” a thousand voices say, a thousand voices full of love for all that I am, all that I have been, all that I will be. The darkness may return someday, but for now, in this exact moment, I am blanketed in light. I am swaddled in stars and they kiss me, they kiss me endlessly with their short bursts of rays, tickling my skin from birth until death.
When next I wake, the heavy feeling doesn’t remain in my heart. I still don’t remember the dream exactly, but there is a lightness in me, like something has been lifted. And still, I can hear a voice, someone behind me, someone who cares.
“Oh, I love you.”