I wrote this November 19, 2018. It was inspired by a writing prompt from one of my cousins. The prompt was the first sentence: “I was never afraid of the dark.”
I was never afraid of the dark. A starless night never scared me. A pitch black room never frightened me. Darkness is my best friend… but I hate shadows, because shadows don’t point out the darkness. Shadows are the evidence of light. And if there is one thing I am afraid of… it’s light. Light does not let me hide. And I don’t want to see myself. I don’t want to see this broken creature that answers to my name. My name? I don’t remember. No one speaks it in the dark. But I don’t want to remember. Memories are like light. They expose me. They reveal everything. I stay away from light. And I forget everything, because the past is the worst light of all. It is truth. And it is sharp and bright and blinding. It is too much pain, too much sorrow. I must forget. I must hide. Hide in forgetfulness. Hide in darkness. I was never afraid of the dark. Never… until today.
I fled to the darkness because I was afraid of light. Afraid of being seen. Afraid of what I would see when I looked at myself. Afraid that everyone would see what I saw. Afraid that nothing I could do would hide the brokenness inside. Afraid most of all that if someone saw me they would see everything. All the pain, all the sorrow, every mistake. And they would leave. That is why I sought out the darkness. To hide, where no one could see me. I thought it would be a comfort to know that no one could see all the mess that was inside me. And it was…until today. Now I think I am terrified of everything. And I don’t know what to do, or where to go. The light still scares me more than anything. But the darkness… the darkness is heavy. It presses down on me. It suffocates me. And I realize that if no one can see me… if no one knows me… if I can’t even remember who I am… Do I exist?
I am afraid, afraid that the darkness will swallow me. I am afraid that I will become nothing…. no one. But I am also afraid of the light. I am afraid of seeing what I have forgotten. I am afraid of being known. I am so afraid. The fear crushes me just like the darkness. The weight of it all is too much. The darkness is thick. I breathe it in and it burns my lungs. But there is nothing else for me to breathe. I have put myself here. I have trapped myself here. I would try to escape but to escape would be to face my greatest fear. I cannot face the light.
Fear. Heavier than darkness. More blinding than light. It paralyzes me. It crushes me. It is everywhere. I cannot breathe. I cannot think. I cannot escape. The sorrow. The pain. All the mistakes that I was hiding from here… were they ever as heavy as the fear that presses down on me now? I cannot imagine that anything could be this crippling. But I thought that this was my escape. I thought that this was my answer. I cannot even remember what I was hiding from. I have no memory of the brokenness that was once so disgusting to me. I forgot it all. I left and thought that I had found something better. Darkness. But the darkness is now killing me. And it has invited fear to devour me.
I am slowly dissolving into nothingness. Constant weight grinding me down into dust. One last desperate sound escapes my lips. A cry. A plea. “Light.” A pin prick of light appears above me.
But I am not afraid.