The Beginning of the End
Could this be it?
The enclosure of trees surrounding the campground loomed over our heads, ensuring a certain amount of darkness would shroud our vision, an aberration of the bright day we had known just a few hours earlier. It was a perfect juxtaposition, the light alerting us to a new beginning and the night signaling us the coming of an end. The temporary lapse of emotions ended and the outflow of turbulent, heart-wrenching feelings returned. It stung in brief jolts, like small thumbtacks pinning against skin, but I couldn't determine the cause. Fear? Sadness? Hope? Maybe all three.
I looked around, scouring for something to take my mind off a fleeting night. Sooner or later, the starry skies would fill itself with rays gleaming down upon a new day. How ironic it was, the urge to have this moment pass with little recollection, while also mourning the possible end of it all. Between the bristling fire and still waters, my mind kept wandering towards the parallels of it all. As much as I preferred an armistice, another war waged internally, like two kings of the heart unable to allow the other to take the throne. Pride presently sat at the throne, with justice leading the rebellion and its attempt to jettison whatever known to be sin.
Here I was, slaving away, some could say, to another year of fruitless endeavors, all amounting up to the inevitable. The clock had begun ticking ages ago, though I had only just taken a look now. Uncertainty plagued every second leading up to ceremonial homecoming. I hoped for the worst to come, so that the best would pass, and in some odd way, find solace in knowing this stipulated a lock I could never pick. For that moment, my eulogy laid in constant flux, taking different forms but all ending with the same result. This was a burial and I wanted no one in attendance.
No one needed to tell me I was the maker of my own denouement. I read over the script, crafted it the best I could, but couldn't guarantee any of the actors would follow their lines. Call it stubbornness, my preemptive decision to forfeit all I had built, with no real ultimatum staring at me in the face. Stubbornness, as I found, thrives on the freedom of choice, for in that entitlement sits the unwillingness to accept any other outcome. To no fault but my own, I forced my own hand.
Suddenly, I heard Samitta's voice, inching closer and closer.
"So, what's going on? You haven't really spoken to anyone for the past thirty minutes or so" he asked, curious of my thoughts. I couldn't let him know.
I stared at the sky, brimming with speckles of light, and sighed. "Not much. Just thinking about how far we've come as a group. It wasn't like this when I first came" I replied.
"Well, is that a good or bad thing?" he asked. I wasn't sure how to answer that. Samitta's question wanted me to choose between memories considered both fond and forlorn and prescribing these words to one memory more than the other couldn't be done.
"When I think about the future, the glimmer hope exists for us all to be jointly intact, but it also wouldn't surprise me to find everyone, separated, in their respective universes. If I could tell you what'll happen, then they wouldn't be dreams" I said. "But how about first" I said, changing the topic "you talk to Koa."
Samitta looked at me, flinching at the mention of Koa's name. "What do you mean? There's nothing going on between us. I haven't even spoken to her in months."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean you can't say something now. You two hit it off last time! I don't know why you didn't give it a chance. Sometimes you just have to take risks" I explained to him. He stared me in the eyes, unsure of how to respond. I continued "You're going to thank me one day when you're married to her." Samitta chuckled at my prophecy, and began to walk away, but not before I heard him say "maybe."
The thought of Koa and Samitta being married amused me. I enjoyed playing matchmaker, even if just for the slightest bit of glory if my prediction comes true. Slowly, my mind pieced together images of how their wedding would look: a shout out at my direction, plenty of anecdotes, and probably one too many "I told you so's." But that wouldn't matter, because the joy of such an affair far exceeds the petty teasing.
But all of this went away like a weak flicker of fire opposing a gust of wind. Even this small hope of jubilation seemed threatened by the prospects of father time. For all my desires, I knew God might never fulfill them, and who was I to complain otherwise. Whatever destiny awaited, there proved no use in resistance. I had a choice, freedom some would say, but it was all accounted for. I knew years, maybe months, meant the rise of a community, or the rebellion of an uprising.
I gradually made my way back to my room, fully aware moments like these may never occur again. The hallway dark, I reached out my hands like a blind man, unsure of what lied ahead of me. How fitting. A musty smell, of wet grass and fresh soil, filled the air, the kind you expect in the wee hours of the morning, as some sort of tribute to the possible beginning of an end. Still, the hallway remained pitch-black, and I the traveler with no source of light. All around me consisted of the fruits of my life, and the darkness threatened to consume it.
The door to my room was locked. My pockets held my wallet and phone, but no key, only remembering now I had lent it to Samitta. Defeated, I decided to sit on the floor, with little desire to make my way back to the crowd, but also no hope of entering my room. I closed my eyes and pictured a world under the dictation of my heart. A lush green field planted next to a sandy beach crossed my mind, with adults and children running around. I recognized these people, family more or less, and it made me feel at home. Suddenly, a body sat beside me and fixated a pair of eyes on me. She smiled, and I did so too, in some acknowledgement of unity, until the darkness abruptly resided, and a white light beckoned me to open my eyes.
And there, at the end of the hallway, stood a figure.