Swiftly moving through the woods. Wandering with a purpose. The air is cool, dark. Blue and grey. It’s foggy. Early in the morning. When everything is a shadow. The trees. The rocks. The clouds. All silhouettes. Unable to distinguish what is real. What’s alive. What’s breathing. What’s beating. What’s waiting. What’s leaving.
Am I breathing? Is my heart still beating?
The wind is asleep. Air still and thin. I’m anticipating a faint whistle. A breeze. Something. Anything. I’m expecting it. Whatever it is. And in this place of expectation, I get lost. Forgetting I was ever gone. Forgetting I ever was. Memories fade.
The anticipation gains momentum. Accelerates. Snatches me up. Is it here? Can you feel it?
At least I’m not alone. At least I have company. My shadows are with me. They tag along. Keeping a distance. Skipping and playing with each other as I carry the bags. There are two of them. Both younger. Nine years apart. I feel safe and secure knowing they’re here. Knowing that they are home. My sisters.
Layers of emotions rumble in my chest. Don’t forget about me.
The transition. The shift. The static. That sacred time between night to day.
I inhale. I listen. I wait. And I hear nothing.
I feel a quake in my throat. The pressure builds.
And then, an opening. A marked trail. A path through the foliage. I see it in on the other side of the train tracks. Urgency presents itself. I hurry across. My shadow sisters follow closely behind. I don’t need to look around for them cause I know they’re there. They always are.
My ears vibrate. Holding back tears.
We tip toe through the opening and get to a clearing. Change of scenery. No more foliage. Now, more rocks. Dirt piles. A boat ramp that once was. Gotta be quiet. Gotta lay low. We must remain unseen.
I close my eyes. Trying to contain it. Breathe.
We’re on the edge of an endless body of water. Standing on a bluff. Looking down at this crystal clear water. Lifetimes beneath us. Worlds beneath us. I’m hovering above their crowns. Enjoying the aerial view. They’re getting ready to jump.
I close my eyes. Standing at water level now. Looking up at them. Try to get my phone out. My camera. I desperately want to capture this moment. I wish I could be where they are. I wish I could feel their excitement. I wish.
My phone is out and I’m ready to take the picture. Eager to document this beauty. It’s almost too much. Filled to the brim. The type of beautiful I feel guilty for even attempting to capture. I’m a fool for thinking a picture would do it justice. Nevertheless, I attempt.
They lift off. Headed straight for the water. Slow motion. Time frozen. Watching it through this tiny screen. Scrambling to snap as many pictures as possible. The camera follows them under water. I continue to shoot.
And then they’re gone.
The pictures turn out better than expected. They’re motion photos. Less than a second long. My sisters are flying. Soaring. Holding hands. Their clothes act like wings. Turning in to fins as they hit the water. I keep playing this picture over and over. Eyes glued to the screen. Feeling a painful type of joy as I watch them fly. Deep longing and sadness.
This joy is a place I visit. And I never want to leave.
But I gotta go. I resist. Continuing to watch them soar. Wishing I could touch them.
Tears, flowing. There it goes.
Heart. Still beating.