The soft soil falls on my face, jagged breaths disturbing an otherwise peaceful night. I’m crawling but somehow she’s still there, staring at me. I have been down here for years, and she doesn’t want to budge. Our faces both smeared with grime of our pasts, we trudged our way this far together.
She’s pawing at the ground for me, almost playfully. “Don’t look.”
Pat, pat, pat.
Pebbles crunch under her as she slowly rises to her knees. I plunge my fingers into the deep, wet maw of the Earth. When darkness calls the lure is so tantalizing.
“I can finally see the sky again, just climb.” Pulling on roots to trees I cannot see, having faith they’ll hold. Pushing my body up takes much less strength than resisting the urge to jump down and take her back into my arms. She’s cradling herself and rocking back and forth, the sound of her sobs too familiar.
I want to pull her with me, drag her up but as I reach just a little bit higher, I notice less and less of her remains; a wisp of hair blowing, a redness where her stinging cheeks were, slightly sunken soil where she laid. My vision blurs and my lashes are misted with the beginning of new tears
“It’s okay. New and different things are coming, they’re awakening inside of you.” Blinking away the tears, my breaths no longer shallow, a fluttering in my chest. I can feel the top now, loose soil of an unfamiliar foundation, but not quite unfamiliar enough to tear me from my momentum. She’s all but gone, a faint heaving shadow where we were, where we had been for too long.
Sweat beads on my forehead, my nose, my upper lip. Grunting with frustration and noise welling up from somewhere deep within, a primal yet pointed scream escapes me with fervor. Heaving myself over the highest mount I’ve ever climbed, there is color to a world that was just, a moment ago it seemed, bleak and damp.
I have emerged.
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