Freshly cut shadows are bleeding in the sharpened silence.
Pulling my leather jacket tighter around myself, I clench my fists, scarred white with the cold and my nails. My shoes leave water prints from the puddles I’m stepping in, and the wetness seeps into my socks, my clothes, pinching my skin, trying to slip into my bones. I pass under a lamp light post and it flickers, coughing in the fumes that my thoughts and actions have produced. Cold fingers of water drip from solid things above and soak into my hair.
I try to get lost in the movement of my walking feet. Rhythmic. But invisible eyes pressed against the windows continue to drill holes into my body.
My feet pick up the pace, splashing in the mirrors on the ground. The water droplets curl around my legs, arms, and swirl toward my face, slither into my eyes.
It begins to rain inside.
The ground blurs around me. Adrenaline pounds in my head, telling me to run run away go away leave disappear die be nothing. My soul writhes, clamoring to be uncaged from my bones. It twists in the part in my chest where my heart is supposed to be.
I keep running, the cold burning in my throat, my eyes, everywhere. Past whispers echo in my head. My fault, my crimes.
I slow down near the bridge when I can no longer breathe.
I cannot run away from myself. No.
I shut my eyes tightly and darkness engulfs me. A tear slips out of the corner of my eyes.
Sorry, I say to my soul, please forgive me.
I open my eyes. The first whispers of light breathe into the charred sky.
I put my hands to my chest.
The people I believe in say one day I will defeat the cold.
I don’t believe it. Yet. But I believe in the people I love. They say . . . I will be extra-ordinary.
I feel it pound. My heart. One, two three. It slows. A steady song in the chaos of my world.
I believe it.