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The cure to loneliness is the voices in her head. When she’s alone, lonely lying in bed with the white night light on the desk beside her, she stares at the ceiling, looks at the room. She wonders where the whispers of night will take her, where the light breeze that blows from her window has traveled from and what deserts and roads it has seen. She has nothing to do, all memories have been wandered through one too many times. She is tired of replaying them in her head, the what ifs, what could have beens and they were the ones I couldn’t live withouts. She looks outside and there is the quiet sky, not a single star to gaze upon. Tonight, the only journeys to be travelled are the ones within the walls, inside her mind.
She visits her words, begins to read through her past works. It’s like visiting ghosts, spirits she inhabited or that once inhabited her but are no longer in this realm. Her wishes have been written down, undone, wished away. Her stories have been birthed into the world and once they are there, they are no longer hers. She reads through the words, flicks the letters in her tongue one-by-one. She begins to play word associations and finds, through careful reading of her rhymes, certain phrases and patterns emerge.
In every story about the boy there is lightning, always a flash, seen from a high building floor. There is static and tension and it builds to a setlist of jazz and a French crooner, trumpets tripping, saxophones serenading in syncopated rhythms, off- and on-beat. There’s the slow charm of the word dance, ladies dancing and dresses waltzing and the girl and boy, hand-in-hand swaying to the symphonies that yearn from their lonely heartbeats. It is night, it is always night – there is something about the edge of the day that brings her alive.
The night awakens whenever there is liquor imbibed or spilled on the floor. It collides with a bottle of alcohol and a shot of whiskey and a glass of wine and cup of Coke rum and together they bring about a tipsiness to her words. Her thoughts begin to tumble like drunk girls walking alone home tripping over sidewalks and her imagination bumps into personalities on the street she imagines stumbling like her – where is the beauty of drinking, of letting go of inhibitions, if it is done without another?
As the day begins to fall deeper into night, the darkness emerges and when it does it is all-consuming, no words not about the dark can come out. When she finds herself back there all she can say is I’ve been here before, I don’t know why I’m here again, and when will this ever end. She walks through the well-tread trail, feels the familiarity of the chest aches and the sudden, short breaths as the forest grows in front of her and the path extends, telling her it will never end. There is no way out of it. She must see in the darkness and fight through the unknown and reach the end of her limits before she can open her eyes.
And then there will be the first glimpses of light, the striving for hope. She writes, in self-assurance, that there is always hope and a way out and she is glad to have seen the darkness because it has shown her there is nothing worse. To keep evils at bay she begins to dream of worlds in which she is in control, in charge of her own destiny. Her footsteps are frequent but measured and sure. The air always eases, carries her to a place that is safe – a song she knows, or a place she once called home, but wherever she goes the one thing that leads her there is her words.
Alas the spell has ended and loneliness has returned. She is back in her room, the white night light beside her, still and aglow. Her mind draws away from playing with self-induced escapes and the mysteries of imagination. The criss-crossing of memories and made-up marvels that cannot be seen – only felt – disappear. She re-reads her words to remind herself that what she felt was real but the moment of magic is gone. Tomorrow when it is night and she feels loneliness begin to arrive, she will revisit her devils, her desires. They will call upon her muses to stay with her just like they did tonight.