“I’m full of dark places,” he told me sadly, but I shook my head.
Looking at him, I finally knew the truth. In spite of the pain on his face, he was glowing; his body was engulfed in light that radiated not from the sun, but from himself. It was almost like he was on fire. I could imagine the valves of his heart pulsing, gently fanning the flames throughout his body.
“No,” I replied. “You’re not. But that’s man’s greatest curse. When you’re at your brightest, you trick yourself into seeing darkness again. Just because you can’t accept the fact that you’re free."
He frowned, narrowed his eyes, and made as if to argue. But before his mouth opened wide enough to utter words, I stopped him. Pressing my lips to his, I nearly forced myself upon him. My hands desperately tried to trap the heat I felt on his skin, wanting to keep it for as long as possible. I craved the warmth that seemed to permanently reside inside him.
Finally, when I felt as if I had given him everything, I let go. Stepping back, I again managed to stare into his eyes, and even saw myself reflected in the curve of his irises.
“There,” I whispered, breathless. “I’ve given you a taste of my darkness. True darkness. What do you think?”
Later, he asked a question that jarred me terribly.
“Where did you get it? Your darkness?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” was my nonchalant response, but I watched my hand shake, it’s tremors progressing toward my fingers. Even my chest, usually so steady, became erratic: palpitating and gasping. Trying to fix a hole that wasn’t there.
He nodded at my answer, though the movement did nothing to ebb his curiosity. In fact, it almost seemed to encourage it; his simple action acting like a catalyst that rocked increasingly sharp words out his throat.
“Please?” His everything begged, though I’m not sure he’d ever experienced empty.
I sighed. “It’s not a happy tale. But I suppose you deserve to hear it.”
“... because it’s almost a part of me. Darkness never left. It delivered me to my parents, but lingered long after Mother tucked me in. And when I woke screaming from the night terrors, who do you think it was that held me?”
At that he looked up, finally meeting my fervored gaze. But his eyes--his evergreen eyes--were not mocking, nor cautious, nor cruel. They were anguished, wounded. Like the lonely tide wrenched away from its ocean home.
“I would have, if only you’d have let me.”
Leonor Morrow is a nineteen-year-old writer and photographer. She plans to study Culture and Politics at Georgetown University. She will soon begin working as an intern with the poetry non-profit Split This Rock. She still uses a thesaurus even though she knows plenty of words, and she thinks that sums her up pretty well. Her poems have been featured in Hooligan Magazine and The Harpoon Review, among other places. Visit her blog at www.leonormorrow.tumblr.com.
Photo by Mehran Djo