Hands up

By Tabitha Lean

Lying in the darkness she had grown to fear, 

cocooned in the loneliness she had grown to know, 

she figured she was in some kind of shock- 

no, not a dazed shock so much as denial. 

She went about her days as though nothing was happening, 

straining extra hard for normalcy, 

but falling just short of achieving it. 

Everything was just a bit different than yesterday. 

Nothing drastic, just the little things. 

Her food tasted a little strange. 

The air smelt a little different.

She lost all awareness of time. 

She had been left alone sitting in miserable silence 

watching the world flash by her window. 

It felt like she was the butt of a cruel joke 

or a plot to which everyone was privy, but her. 

And tonight, the quiet scared her because it screamed the truth, 

so she lay in bed, 

quilt pulled up to her neck and listened-

she listened to the rhythm of her own fear-

because the sorrow…

well, it was never ending, 

only amplified by this isolation…

it had gotten into her pores, her teeth, her bones.

Some days it’s all she could do to just breathe through it. 

She knew her brain had created unhappiness ruts in it, 

like tunnels bore into soft tofu,

and like a diligent soldier, 

she just trundled back and forth, morning and night…

over and over the same terrain of torment. 

She thought to herself that maybe she had

gotten so used to being unhappy 

that she had forgotten what real happiness felt like, 

is that why colours had no discernible hue anymore? 

Oh yes, she was so far below ground level 

that just breathing felt like too much work,

fear was shrinking her spirit 

and she knew that there would come a time 

when she would have to choose 

between turning the page and closing the book… 

but tonight was not that night… 

no, not tonight…

she closed her eyes tight and thought 

if the sky was indeed going to fall down, 

then she better brace herself 

and hold her hands up.

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