by Wood Reede

Light illuminating a dark room

I am gone—not gone in the sense that I’ve disappeared—but gone just the same. I ride a wave of euphoria that promises to transport me someplace other than here, anyplace but here. I close my eyes, lean back, and fly through space. Stars explode and planets spin. I must remember this feeling. Do you know what that’s like? Ever gone a little mental? We all have at one time or another, right? Ever want it to stop, make a deal with the devil? Sure, you have. You probably aren’t going to advertise the fact, but let’s be real, sometimes it just happens.

These days, the more I fight for control, the more I lose footing, and the more I am lost. It is a secret I keep close, or at least I think I do. I often wonder what would happen if I flew in the face of this frenetic life of mine—cracked up, crumbled, ceased to be. Would others whisper condemnations, accusations, criticisms? Censures most likely. Censures and contempt.

It doesn’t matter—I’m flying, and it is all OK. And even though I say it is OK, it isn’t. I hate myself for giving in, for letting go, for surrendering. I value strength above all, and right now I am anything but strong, anything but resilient, anything but balanced.

The room is dark, the air is cool. Crickets play a concert in the late-night hour. A circle of light the size of a dime shines on the floor. I stare at the light as it pulses and glows and comes alive. It grows and shrinks and invites me to touch it. The room fills with actors and street signs. The floor is fire and the streetlight smoke, or is it the other way around? They drift through the window until the smoke, the streetlights, the actors, the fire, crowd the air, crowd the room, crowd my head. I am not alone and yet so alone. I lower my hand and imagine the circle of light kissing my fingers, kissing my wrist, kissing my palm—so soft, so constant, so simple. I watch it travel up my arm to my shoulder and then glide back down, a shy stranger. I want to live in this light forever, never leave, never fall. Closing my eyes, I resolve to do just that—just as soon as the smoke clears, just as soon as the actors leave, just as soon as I land.

Category: Featured, Fiction, Short Story