Hear my Prayer for South Africa

You called them by their names, even though they meant nothing under the blood sodden flag of their homeland. Age made no difference when their blood trickled into the soil of the country we promised to lift up to You. The country we were born in, the nation we belong in and fought for is no longer the country we were taught or raised in. The laws You handed down for us to abide by turned us into strangers in the land we once loved in. With each name that is carried away by the wind, into the sky and past the stars, to the lights that reflect Heaven, we don’t know how to keep You above the flag of evil when their numbers outweigh ours so profoundly. We ask only that You still remain at our side.

Our history tells us that when we charged, the enemy fell. When we defended our country, and fought to bend the knee to only You, our rivals died. As young as our South Africa once was, as tired as our country men and women were, we fearlessly defended our culture, birthright, and Christianity. We did so in faith because You were by our side. Victory was always ours when we raised our nation to You.

The British had their day. The Zulu tried to have their way. Today, the enemy that is formed from collective tribes and are taking us like thieves in the night, will soon be judged and cast off our sacred territory. We know that. We have always known how it ends. They don’t pray like we do. Believe like we do. Love like we do. They don’t honor, obey, or bend their knee to only You, rather, they command our bended knee in service and worship to them. Like demons faking halos, they torture and kill while presenting the world with a validation of suppression instead of repression, and acceptable retribution.

Those who have escaped to a place far beyond the sky without guns in their hands, will know that You have always been on their side. Like all wars, ours came slowly, but like before, it will be over promptly. Some might never understand the brutal and coldblooded attacks on us, but because we know that You practice fairness and justice remains Yours, we have learned to accept it. Acceptance with dignity, because when we stop asking how many must still die, and we stop counting the dead without forgetting their names, You will once again march us to victory.

We’ve always had to fight an enemy we didn’t make. We’ve always had to defend our territory against those ready to claim our lands as their own. We’ve always been fighting something even though we didn’t quite know why, and through the centuries, those waging wars against us, we’ve forgiven. Friendships were forged despite the thousands that are buried beneath our feet. A new flag was raised more than once, new alliances formed, and rivals became friends, because that’s what You ask of us, and that’s what we do. Now, as we learn to identify our modern enemies coming back to end ancient feuds, we know that another war will come and although it’s a brand-new clash, the reasons have never changed. Once again, we will show that we don’t attack, but defend our own and don’t fear the end. Each of us are the descendants of survivors of war and once again, we won’t run or hide, but courageously accept our battle, even though we’d rather encourage love, peace and prosperity, because that God, keeps You on our side.

With the weapons we don’t have, we know it won’t be a fair combat and that we might not get far. But like before, the greatest defense will always be Your army, Your grace and Your mercy as long as You are still on our side. So many dark hours have come. None have really gone. We think about the destruction and hatred from dusk until dawn, sunrise to sunset. So many of us lost, and to the world, their names will never be known. So many taken up through the lights in the sky paying for an undeserved betrayal and unprovoked hatred. The promise of defeating us, walking away from a conquest of torture as a prize. It must be that their hearts died a long time ago. You say that there is always a way back to You and Your light, and to lead those who hate us with love and integrity. But how can we offer ourselves like that when we are so loathed by instruments of evil and extensions of demons? The only value to their existence is ridding us of ours. We don’t understand God, but we know that soon, the truth and Your wrath will bring them to their knees when You destroy all that is not of You. All that demolishes that which is Yours.

As the next one is carried away far beyond the sky, we’ll once again be left disillusioned, trapped in hell, confused, with no words to utter even though they fill our hearts and minds. We’ll again fall to the ground, and on bended knee know that You will remain forever on our side, and we’ll once again battle through a confrontation, and do so knowing that into the sky and past the stars, beyond the lights that reflect Heaven, we have won the war.

With love,

Alice VL

The Cemetery No-One Talks About

Picture by Lita Fourie

If you meet a South African Farmer, a Boer, or an Afrikaner, you wouldn’t know that a White Cross Monument was erected bearing thousands of white crosses, each holding the name of a cold-blooded, ruthless, and targeted murder. You wouldn’t know the stories they keep, or the brutality each cross raised represents. Most of all, you wouldn’t know how it grows each day, or how many stories will still be kept hidden behind those names. You wouldn’t know much heartache, fear, and sadism they represent, because this tribe no longer relies on justice, impartiality, or protection from a country whose flag is drenched in the blood of these men and women. They no longer mourn over the blood spilt on these lands, instead, they cover the spillage with soil, shake it off with barely any time to grieve, pick up the pieces, plaster a smile on their faces, pull their family together and pray to survive another day. Another sunrise, and another sunset. They no longer cry out for help because there is none. They no longer tell their stories because no-one wants to hear them. They know that the world is at the mercy of the media, the wealthy and the powerful, and they don’t fit into a narrative that guarantees the eradication of their values, morals, and beliefs.

You wouldn’t know about the White Cross Monument, the cemetery no-one talks about, because the same government presiding over these farmers, are secret enforcers of these murders. We all know. Every South African citizen knows, but it remains a perfect denial. The White Cross Monument is a wound, a reminder to the puppet-masters that farmers must be suppressed and stifled. It is the story of unwarranted retaliation and unjustified revenge against the Boer and Afrikaner for land that was stolen, the slaves taken and murdered, and the annihilation of black tribes across the country. The problem with this narrative is, it isn’t real. It is a propagandized lie conjured up to incite hatred against a Christian, and culturally distinct community. It is a ploy to capture, torture and murder one of the smallest nations in the world, because of the color of their skin, and because of their cultural differences.

No matter what you believe, or who you listen to, these murders cannot be disputed. The racial discrimination against this tribe cannot be ignored or invalidated. The anti-white employment laws cannot be contested. The absence of recognizing this reality has led to an unnerving, yet comfortable delusion for all who wish to remain uninvolved.

Each white cross holds a name of a father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, or grandparent. Each name bears witness to a gruesome, horrific killing that came in and destroyed a family who was simply trying to survive. Each body bag carried out of a home, a place that was supposed to be safe, tells a story of a torturous night that had played out for hours before God mercifully reached down, nursed their brokenness, and freed them from their nightmare. A grandmother who was raped over and over again, just so that a grandfather or a son could watch as pure evil attempted to conquer what belonged to God. A mother listening to the cries of her children being burnt, boiled, or strangled, who had to watch her attackers finish her off, leaving her only moments away from death. A father and grandfather kept alive, but crippled to prevent them from defending their families, just so that they could endure the scenes of torment in their homes.

War is ugly and its everywhere, but war is swift. The killings are quick. The enemy goes down swiftly. The war waged against the Boer and Afrikaner nations are cruel, prolonged, and evil. These deaths follow hours of sadistic torment, hatred, cruelty, and barbarism. Cruelty that is intentional and enacted by emotionally indifferent beings. A tribe of attackers with role models such as, but not limited to Idi Amin, Fidel Castro, and Robert Mugabe. Power structures and methods of control is applied through violence and fear, and results in an environment overcome with stress when these men and women, fathers and mothers are unable to provide for, or protect their children. These killings have become rituals to a tribe that performs sacrificial rituals to ancestral spirits, relies on genitalia of white children for their voodoo and potions. When it’s all over, when the voices have become silent and the bodies lay lifeless at their feet, the attackers have one final act of desecration. To urinate on already maimed bodies and find pleasure in the brutality inflicted upon them only moments before.

These crosses are testament to an immorality that for no other reason other than the color of their skin, and cultural differences, ended lives in a way too horrific to grasp. There are often no words to describe the violence inflicted upon babies or the aged. It almost seems like an exaggeration when we are looked at in disbelief. We question the repugnance at times when we hear our distorted and sorrow-filled voices describe the horrific scenes that a family had to endure before they were able to let out a final breath. But it’s when we talk about law enforcement, or the military equipped with military-grade weapons that are implicated in these attacks, that we understand the doubt in someone else’s eyes. It’s when we begin whispering that political parties with a number of seats in parliament are the orchestrators of these murders, that we know others question our integrity. When our president publicly displays contempt for our nation that we realize our punishment for crimes we haven’t committed isn’t over yet. When cabinet ministers openly threaten or condemn us for their failures, we know that through their hostility, they approve of these murders, making way for lawlessness and a hunger for our blood.

This is the price a God-fearing nation is paying for a world that turns away and settles on an illusion it’s comfortable with. A world where some believe it to be retribution for the propaganda of stolen land and oppression. A world that’s okay with raping, murdering, and using any weapon possible, from power tools to automatic rifles, to snuff out these lives. A world quick to condemn wars between conflicting countries, even though the lives lost are far less than the casualties between tribes in South Africa.

How is anyone okay with that?

It Was Later Than I Thought

Time trailing off was somewhere on the other side of an undetermined horizon, unseen and yet to be reached. There were still many steps to take and thousands of miles to go. I thought you’d reach your last stop many moons from now, thinking there was such a vast distance still to travel, and a few turns to take. I never really thought about the steps that were inevitably moving you forward, or how quickly the miles added up behind you as you kept on walking, and as you stood still. Even though you didn’t move as swiftly somedays, and no matter how much you would slow down on other days, you were still moving forward. Time was still happening. You couldn’t fight it or defeat it, cheat it, or deny it. It didn’t speed up or slow down. You couldn’t conquer it, ignore it, or deny it. I wasn’t counting the miles behind you or estimating the distance ahead of you. I wasn’t keeping a schedule, it wasn’t necessary. There was time. There was supposed to be more minutes, hours, and days. We still had years to count down, plans were made and trips to take. I didn’t know that it was later than I thought.

I watched you growing tired, but I didn’t want to see it. I heard you try and tell me, but I didn’t want to hear it. Others were telling me that you weren’t the same as I remembered, but my mind wouldn’t let me consider it. Maybe so, I thought, but you had time. I saw the sparkle in your eyes grow hazier each time I looked into them. Your smile wasn’t as broad as before, and your voice became quieter. I attributed your silence to the fact that you were listening rather than wanting to be heard. Your eyes smiled more but you laughed less. I couldn’t make sense of it, so I ignored it. There was time. I tried to identify the change in your tone, and your need for less. You gazed intensely into my eyes, as though you wanted to say something crucial, but didn’t know how to. I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to hear it. You kept our last call longer and your messages came more frequently. You seemed to have so much more time, and we had so many plans, but I didn’t know that it was later than I thought.

When you reached that unchartered horizon, I felt cheated. Conned. Tricked. Time exposed itself as cruel and heartless. A liar. It had deceived me and offered me no warning. You had more time. There was supposed to be more. I wasn’t keeping track of your calendar, but even if I did, it still didn’t fit in to the schedule my heart had drawn up. It just couldn’t be right. I went back and forth, stopped, and started again. Over and over, I tried to count the steps you took. It suddenly felt as though they were far too big and far too quick. Time didn’t add up and when I tried to match it with the steps you took, I was appalled to discover that it was so much later than I thought.

Perhaps, time held me hostage, or I took the enemy and tried to cage it. Was it because I still had so much to do with you that I kept us frozen in time? I didn’t see the horizon approaching, and when the sky turned dark, I looked back and noticed how the light had started dimming behind you long before. I thought that perhaps you found another route, a short-cut to the border between here and there, because it was just too short, or you had walked way too fast. I couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t see the horizon approaching. I couldn’t calculate the steps you still needed to take, or the time you would still have, but I do know now that it was later than I thought.

Retracing your steps, I want to shout out to you to stop. “Stop walking so fast!” Stop allowing time to push you forward. Stop. Just stop. But when I look back, I can see for the first time how often you stumbled. How torn you were between passing through the passage of time, or letting it pass you by. You have known for a while that your calendar was almost full and right on schedule. Time was perfectly set according to your timeline here, and the beginning of your timeline over there. I don’t want to change it. I don’t want to set myself up for a bitter warfare with time, because I can’t win. Because, as hard as I would fight, plead, and beg, time wants to happen. Time will happen. It doesn’t adapt to broken hearts or bucket lists. It doesn’t show mercy. As messy as time is; as unfair as it seems, and as ugly as it can be, I don’t want to fix it. Time has always been on God’s schedule, the Master of all calendars and timelines. Time can’t be fixed because it isn’t broken. Time takes God’s diary and carries out itineraries drawn up by Him. Its service is to God alone. Not for my broken heart or tears. Not for my silence or anger.

So, instead of trying to wrestle and negotiate with time, I am doing my best to try and catch up to it. Perhaps, if I can persuade my heart to match His schedule, I wouldn’t walk around in disbelief, angry at time, or miss you so much. If I could be perfectly aligned with time, then maybe I won’t hear you call my name in the wind, or stare motionlessly at your photograph, before running my fingers across your forehead, and lightly touching your cheek. Perhaps then I could smile at the eyes staring back at me instead of hunting for answers in them. I keep looking out for that cheeky wink and tight-lipped smile that says, “I’ve got this,” but the truth is, you did have this even when I couldn’t see. Maybe, I would stop reading and re-reading your messages, hoping to find a clue or identify a tone that would give me just an ounce of closure. Perhaps when my questions are answered, I might even be able to stop the tears from reaching my eyes and landing on my cheeks. Maybe then the hole inside of me that wasn’t there before wouldn’t feel so enormous and sore. I might even be able to start breathing normally again, instead of holding my breath because it manifests in an intense, physical hurt. I want to expel the anguish by holding my breath forever, but it happens instinctively. Unconsciously. Spontaneously. It doesn’t let me just stop. Time hasn’t yet received my itinerary. I don’t want my calendar filled just yet, I just want the messiness and agony of grief to lessen. If I could just get myself perfectly set with time, I know that I can once again find the light I keep reaching for.

I don’t ever want it to be later than I thought again.

Did The Universe Ask You To Love More Than One?

You promise him that it is him you want and that it’s him you want to be with. You pledge your love and devotion to him, because you do love him, and you are devoted to only him. You love him wildly. You love him faithfully. You love him so incredibly passionately. Your heart can compare him to no other, and you dream of your tomorrows with him. You have every intention of being faithfully dedicated to him, to just one. In the end, we all can only love one. We are made to only love one.

There is only one lid per pot. We were never made to love more than one, the same. We were never made to love more than one at the same time, were we? And at first, it is only him. You bind and pledge your truest of love and allegiance to only one. All that came before him, no longer matters. A love that you once cherished and held onto so feverishly before your new him showed up, is at once, abandoned and disregarded. It must be forgotten. You tell yourself that it was never love, and that you just need time to adjust to your new him.

You are keen to distract yourself from your other him, the one you once knew so well. Someone you might have clung to because of familiarity or shelter, but not love. It could never have been love because you love your new him, you know you do. You are convinced that the lingering emotions for your other him will eventually dwindle. You are sure it will. It must. We were not made to love more than one. But the time you’ve allowed for yourself to adjust, changes nothing. You still and do love him, the new him you undertook to love forever.

But then, one night and without warning, you pretend to be asleep because you were unexpectedly reminded of your other him’s scent earlier on. No matter how hard you tried to ignore the memory of him, no matter how desperate you were to disregard the rush of emotions that had abruptly found its way back into your heart, you just can’t shake it off. Your new him can’t know. You question why the sentience of your other him’s odor so absolutely unnerves you.

You lay reminiscing about how he once touched you and how he felt against you. You rebuke yourself for thinking of your other him again. You begin to whisper silent “I miss you’s” to your other him when no-one else can hear, and you hate yourself for doing so. You punish yourself for being suddenly perplexed by what it all means, and where it would all end? You try to think back to when it all began, and why you failed to see it creeping up on you? You wonder how long he has truly been on your mind for, and how long the memory of him will still last? You don’t love him; it has to be so. You love another, it has to be so. You make no sense of anything as you urgently aim to decrypt your untaught emotions. You try and find a trigger. Why is he on your mind when your new him is so staunchly set in your heart?

Why does the memory of your other him’s voice make way for the broadest smile on your face? You want your other him to stop launching, what you deem to be, a brutal attack on your heart and on your mind. You choose your new him. Your soul mate, he has to be. Why is your other him living in your mind? Why is your heart searching for him again? Why does the memory of him suddenly hurt so much? Is it your heart that made the very first move? What about your new him? Why are you still so captivated by your other him that you continue to seek him out, but at the same time, you can’t let go of your new him?

Why do you set aside time to find your other him in your mind, and linger there with him? Is your soul pursuing him? As you dawdle with your other him in your mind, you discover in horror that your body too, still craves his. You play your “could-have-been’s” out like a movie in your mind, and you can barely breathe as your heart begins to race fiercely. While you lay there, pretending to sleep, you see your other him’s eyes staring back at you.

You turn over to your new him who lays staring out into the dark, leaving you to pretend to be asleep. You say that you just want to look into his eyes. You are desperate to hear your heart whisper that he is the one. Your heart does not let you down, it tells you that it loves him, and it can’t lose him. You ask your new love not to move, not to say a word, and not to ask you about it. You whisper how you love him, but your soul reminds you of your other him, at the very same time.

You lay watching him as he falls asleep. You realize that you should have known that it was coming to this. You were blind, you never wanted to see. There are traces of them both in your eyes and in your heart. You know that you love them equally, just differently. You choose one to love in full view of the world, while you can only love the other in your mind. Equally, just differently. He might find the proof of your shredded love in your eyes, but there are no lies in your love for your new him.

You don’t love your other him like that, you can’t. You know that you love your new him, but the universe has asked you to love more than one. It has asked you to choose one, and long for the other, for the remainder of your life. It has demanded a choice and when you finally choose, it unforgivingly begins to toss memories of the other him at you. It heartlessly begins two different stories in your heart, and it watches you play out the love you have for them both. It has cruelly allowed you to be torn between two hearts, two souls and two him’s. It reminds you of the one when you are with the other. It lets you long for the other when you’re with the one.

It let you choose, and it left you feeling as though you were never equipped to make that choice. You should never have had to choose. You should never have been damned into an eternity of loving two, equally but differently. You can’t choose. You never could.

You love them both. You need them, both. Your heart won’t let you choose now, when it’s already too late. When you have already chosen. When you probably would have chosen exactly the same, again. The universe has allowed another to stroll thoughtlessly into your heart, and blind you for a while. Only for a while. Only for a bit. For only a moment, it let you believe that you love only one. It let you breathe before it hurled your other him back at you, and asked you to love them both, equally. Yet differently. It has asked you to love them both all at the same time, when the world allows you to love only one.

Can You Paint Me A Love Story?

On the corner of a busy and bustling city street, she saw him behind his easel as people hurriedly passed him by, almost as though he was fiercely guarded from the world around him. He smiled slightly as he clutched a paint brush in his hand and whistled a love song that could not be drowned out by the lively noises of the streets. With each brush stroke, he brought to life the waves of an ocean that were crashing harshly on the sands of a beach.

She stood silently as she watched him paint the seas that reflected the rising sun of the morning sky. She gazed longingly at the life he was creating by the mere strokes of his brush, and through the gentle whistles of his love songs. With a trouncing heart, she walked up to him, and through the shudders of her own voice, she asked him if he only painted scenes of the oceans and the skies? He lowered his brush and grinned, before he told her that for a few bucks, he would paint her anything she wanted.

She fell to her knees and grabbed his warm, brilliant hands. She stared at them, confident and hopeful that they would create a painting for her too. She asked him if he could paint her a love story? Without pausing to take a breath, she went on to describe how it should look, just like she had planned when she was only a little girl. She told him of a little blue house, a slight way out of town. She asked him to paint a porch with a swing, so that she could watch over her horses and gaze out onto her flower fields.

She begged him to paint her on that swing in a white cotton dress and make it the very first day of spring. She squeezed his hands tighter, and asked him again, to paint her a love story. He glowered when he noticed the despair in her persuasive eyes. He hurriedly seized a blank canvas and picked up his paint brush. He asked her where she would like him to place her love in the painting, and when she began to whimper softly, he knew he would have to be placed right beside her, where she needed him to be. She asked him if he could perhaps peek into her heart and see how it longs for the way it was before. Before, when her story was a painting that she had once owned. And then, she implored him to place her love’s arms back around her, just like it once was.

She told him how the bright sunrises contradict the dense mist that weighs down so heavily on her. She said that she needed him to paint the joyful sounds of the birds in the mornings, so that her heart could hear them once more. She gently whispered how she wondered why the world continued to turn, and that without her new painting, she was just not sure she could begin again. She asked him to add fireflies to brighten her darkest nights, and she told him to place the stars like a silvery gown around her. She said that she wanted to hang it above her big, empty bed where she feared the dark and dreaded the dawn, all at the same time.

She softly confessed that she reaches for her love in vain, and that she tearfully whispers his name, just as she is about to fall asleep. She reminded the artist not to forget to paint daffodils, so that she can smile instead of cry. She told him to take his time because at that very moment, her heart does not yet have a home, and that it is just a painting, until it becomes her love story.

To Go Back To Before

Among thousands on that city street, she looked past the crowd and saw him standing there. She could barely move when she noticed the abrupt recognition in his face. Her world stood entirely still for just a moment as she anxiously fought to take in a breath of fresh air. With nowhere to hide, her togetherness fell apart and her transparency faded away as he came closer to her.

He was scurrying to catch her, and when he finally reached and embraced her, her heart instantly shuddered and reminded her of their once. Something she had carelessly forgotten, and thought was once lost, had found her again. The tempest inside of her was raging when she remembered how perfectly flawless she felt in his arms. He recklessly evoked the scent of her skin as every memory of a promise they once lived, came flooding back to him. Almost like a song he was once besotted with, but hadn’t heard in far too many years, and how the lyrics remained imprinted in his soul as he memorized each word.

Instinctively, she wanted to grab his hands and beg him to go away with her. To run away. To go too far. Just for one night. To go back to before. Before she was someone else’s wife, and before he was another’s man. To before they knew too much and felt too little. To when they could still effortlessly function on love and desire alone. She wanted one more night to evoke the she, she once was. The she, she was with him.

Far away to a time when they were a them. To let go of their now and forget how they grew up and lost their magic. To before their lights were so cruelly turned down. To a time when no-one else mattered, and not much else was real. To when their bodies spoke so much louder and so much clearer than their voices did. She wanted to go so far back to when their hearts dissolved into their souls, just like they once did. Before life stole their passionate flames. She wanted to sit with him and hold his hand tightly into hers. She wanted to drown in the puddles of his eyes.

She wanted to splash around on the shore with him and gaze up at the stars as they counted almost everyone. She wanted to dream the same dream as he once did, before life stepped in and flung them into separate and untaught terrains. She wanted to go back just for one night and forget that she became someone else’s love. She wanted to forget that she had pledged her heart to another. For one night, she wanted to be free to unreservedly, love him again. She wanted to whisper how her heart still sought him out, and how her body still craved his. She wanted to step back into, and shamelessly linger in a moment she once thought she would never lose.

Instead, they talked and chuckled about old times and just about all they once went through. They spoke like old friends but fell silent and remained hushed about their old love. As though it no longer mattered. As though, it never mattered. As though it never happened. As though, the stars had stolen the memories of a love that once so distractedly captivated and obsessively consumed her.

He hugged her while she desperately held onto him. But, as she was about to beg him for just one more night, she knew that she had to forget him for a while longer. Perhaps forever. She gave him her very best smile as she died just a little inside. By the way he so profusely fought against an uninvited lump in his throat as he unashamedly lied about how wonderful his life had been since, just reminded her of how far they had come without the other.

He held her close enough to whisper how dreadfully he had missed her, but that he was in a hurry to go back to his life without her. He had to leave. When he walked away from her, he was only moments away from asking her to run away. To go too far. Just for one night. To go back to before. Before he was someone else’s man, and before she was another’s wife. To before they knew too much and felt too little.

She So Wishes It Didn’t

The world still turns. The seasons still come, and the seasons still go. Autumn changes the color of the leaves, and with winter comes the cold and the snow. In spring, the world cheers at the sight of blossoming flowers and new beginnings. And then in summer, laughter fills and lingers in the air. The world still turns.

The roads are still filled with the sounds of cars making their way down the streets, and the voices of people on city pavements still echo in the distance. Children are still born each day. Lovers fall in love, and lovers fall out of love, every single day. Death comes for those whose time is up, and the world still turns.

Mornings still come with each new sunrise, while the darkness covers the universe with each sunset. The world awakes, the world goes to sleep. Plans for a new home, a summer holiday, a wintery escape or a reunion with loved ones are still made. Thanksgiving plans still go ahead, and Christmas is still the happiest time of the year. When the dawn of the new year breaks, she watches how those around her catch their second breath as they joyfully embark on brand-new journeys, changes and brand-new dreams. The world still turns.

But hers doesn’t. Her world stood still a long time ago, and it no longer turns. She no longer sees the seasons come and go. To her crushed heart, she is stuck in a long, cold winter. Her days may be shorter, but her nights are the longest. It’s when she can barely breathe. It’s when she hears her name being called out over and over again. It’s when she sits up at night, and glares at her hand. She can still feel his in hers. Nothing has changed in the days, weeks, months and years since his leaving. Her world stood still. It has kept her trapped in a kind of a limbo she can’t get out of. One, she just can’t escape from. Everything around her changes, yet nothing is different. Her world stood still. Her life has been shaken, and her heart is shattered. But, for the rest, there is not even a slight indication from the universe that something has changed, something so important to someone so much lesser, has been lost.

There is nothing to tell her that his leaving has somehow impacted the world, shoved it off-course or shook it slightly off its track. Like it did her. Like it shoved her to the ground and kept her there, some days overwhelmed by an excruciating heartache that becomes physical. It cripples her. It debilitates her. There is nothing to tell her that he was crucial to this world, to this life and to her heart.

Yet, while the world forgets him, she searches for him at the break of each day, and at the last light of each night. She hunts him between the walls of the home he once lived in. She traces the footprints of a life he once existed so profoundly in. She follows the trails he once took on the city streets, and she continues all the way down to the dirt roads he once found solace in. She retraces the paths he took to the beach, and she follows his tracks to the forest. She searches for him.

She keeps looking for him. She still hunts him in her world. She tries to find him in crowds on busy and bustling streets. She sits on empty beaches, waiting for him to come up from behind her, and tell her that she was stuck in nothing more than a nightmare. She watches each footprint, listens for each voice, and gazes into many eyes. She hunts for proof that he was once real. She clings to photographs, and she holds on to the memory of him. She does not want the world to forget. She doesn’t want to forget.

And still, the world turns without him. The laughter in the distance hasn’t changed. Love songs drowning out the sounds of busy streets, hasn’t changed. Lovers meeting and dancing at night, hasn’t changed. Strangers brushing past her without noticing her pain, hasn’t changed. Her tears are still hidden behind a convincing smile. She still hears his voice even though he has been quiet for years. She still follows his scent, even though it never is him. She still hears him whisper her name when the wind blows on dark and cloudy nights. She still sees his shadow when she feels him close to her. Nothing has changed, and it reminds her that the world still turns. She so wishes it didn’t.

One Promise Too Late

She came home today. She couldn’t quite figure out how many sunrises she had missed, or how many sunsets there were since she had been gone. She came home today, just as she promised she would come back to when she was still a bright-eyed teenager with a million dreams, and a gazillion smiles in her heart. She came back to the village she left her soul in, just like she swore she would come back for someday. Just as soon as she had found her wonderful.

She came home today, to the village that had kept her heart safely tucked away in its palms since she left, almost a thousand moons ago. The village that had patiently watched her dream, carefully guided her on all the roads she walked on and led her to all the roads she would end up taking someday. The village that had finally raised her. She came home today to the houses she knew so well, the trees she had found shade in on so many scorching days, the school she had found family in, the people she adored and the children who had now all grown up.

She came home to a religion her village had passed on to her, from the very moment she was born. She was too young to understand, and not old enough to know that it would someday be the village, she would leave everything behind for, only, it would be one promise too late. She came home to the mountains that echoed the laughter that used to hang in the air as they climbed to the top, where they would sit together and watch the sun set over their village. It was almost as though a curtain to a stage was being drawn, and they … the audience.

She came home to the waves that continued to whisper their names as they crashed heartlessly onto the shore. It was almost as though to remind her that her soul had remained behind, yet, it continued to linger somewhere in between the stars and the ocean. She came home to the streets that would still lead her to the place where her heart found a home all those moons ago. She came home to the trees that once blew endless messages of love into her ear, as she walked through the lanes. It was not that long ago that she left her village, and her love behind. It was not that long ago that she swore to him she would return, just as soon as she found her magnificent. She said that she would bring all her wonderful with her, and she promised to share it with him someday. She vowed that she would never forget him, or the village that her roots were firmly planted in.

She asked him to wait for her, and she begged him to believe in her, and her promise. She thought that the city streets would be paved in gold and that the morning sun would be so bright. She thought that the city stars at night would perhaps, blind her. She thought that the nights would be shorter, and that her days would be warmer. She thought that she could get lost in the crowds of a thousand strangers on the city streets, as she quietly and inconspicuously, searches for her beautiful. She thought that she could become fabulous and be amazing before she goes home again to the village that was keeping her roots watered. She thought that she could grow up and win her worth in the world before she came home to her forever.

But how was she to know that her value was never found in her search for wonderful? How was she to know that her splendor would not mean much at all, and that her hunt would all be for nothing? That it would end up being one promise too late? How was she to know that her glory was inside of her, all along? How could she ever have known that when she finally came home, she would come home to a hollowness she never thought she would feel in the village that once filled her with butterflies and bubbles?

She came home today, just like she promised she would. She found her wonderful, and she became extraordinary for him. She found all she had ever searched for, and all she thought she would ever need, but she came home … one promise too late.

Coming home one promise too late, was never in her plans or her dreams. She never thought that he could leave. She never thought that her village would grow up and change just as they did. She never thought that the faces she once knew so well, would be gone from the only home they had ever known. She never thought that she would be welcomed by a whole lot of nothingness when she came home again.

She never thought that their village would become a total stranger to her, with strange new people and strange new buildings. She never thought that the trees that were once a part of their religion, would be cold-heartedly cut down, and that their mountain would be covered by brand-new houses. She never thought that he would leave. She never thought she would be one promise too late.

As she drove through the streets of the village that was still holding firmly onto her heart and her roots, she realized that she never needed to go in search of any kind of remarkable. She was already extraordinary for him. She never needed to hunt any kind of fabulous, he had already spotted that in her. Just like him, she came from the village with its own fairy tales and enchantments, and that was all the wonderful they ever needed.

She came home today, to discover that he had found his own kind of exquisite. His very own fairytale, and his very precious wonderful. He had been talking to his angel about new sunrises and brand-new sunsets. They had spoken about a place where he could see the sun come up again, and where the streets were paved in gold, and lined with flowery blossoms. He had found his delight in the echoing of the moon, in the whispers of the stars, and in the drops of the rain. He had spoken to his angel about finding a place where his soul could rest for a while, and where his heart could love forever. He asked about taking one final breath over here, and he whispered about taking another first one, over there. There, where his eyes can once again, see through the foggy mists that were blinding him over here. There, where his heart could be unbroken, and where he no longer had to wait for her to come home.

He asked his angel to close his eyes, but not to let hers cry. He told his angel that she always had to run, but that he just never really knew why? He said that sometimes, he could feel her fall entirely apart under their stormy skies, but that he just knew, she wouldn’t be home soon. He told his angel that he could feel there had to be something more out there for him, and that he could sometimes, feel the rumbling underneath his feet. He told his angel that he was tired and could no longer fight. He said that he’d hate for her to see him so broken and defeated, and that they both knew it would be one battle he would lose. He asked his angel if it could perhaps be his turn to find his very own wonderful, away from their village and away from their world? His angel said that it was alright, she would anyway be home, one promise too late.

She Turned The Lights Off, One By One

She wrote him a note on a day much like any other day before that. She nervously slipped it in underneath the door of the boy who had lived next door to her for almost all her life. With her trembling hands, she wrote him that she’d grow up soon, and she asked him to wait for her, until she does. She said that she was a little shy, but that she was sure he was the boy she would love for the rest of her life. She told him that she was saving her heart just for him, and she signed the letter with love, from the girl next door.

He smiled when he read her note, and after he read it one more time, he slowly made his way over to the house next door. Her tears rolled callously down her cheeks when he told her that he was leaving their little hometown, and that he just couldn’t wait for her to grow up. He reminded her that she was only sixteen, he twenty-four, and he assured her that she would forget him soon. As he turned to leave, he told her to leave a light on for him, perhaps he would have one more last chance someday. Maybe when she had grown up and perhaps, if his heart brought him home to her.

It was on the day he left that she turned the front porch light on. She wrote him a letter and told him that she was turning the backlight on too, she would hate for him to get lost, if he ever wanted to return to her.

As the years slowly passed by, every light in her house was turned on, one by one. She was afraid that he might get lost while looking for her, and she wrote him to tell him that her backyard was as bright as the crack of dawn, and the front of her house looked as though it had runway lights. She told him that it looked like noon in the dead of night just for him, if ever he decided he was tired of being gone from her. She signed her letters with love, from the girl next door.

As he lay in bed on a cold, winter’s night, he re-read her letters and with a pounding heart, he understood for the first time, how her words and promises were haunting his dreams of her. He wondered if her porch light was still burning as he climbed out of bed and packed his bags to catch the first flight out, and back to the house next door.

But, in the days before he would return, one by one, she began turning the lights off. First, when she met another for their first date, she turned off a bright light she had kept burning, inside of her house. When her new love stayed over for the first time, she turned off another bright light. When she said yes to her new forever, she smiled sadly as she turned off the light in the backyard. When he placed a ring on her finger, she turned off one more light, and when he carried her over the threshold, she finally turned off the last of her burning lights, the light on the porch that would show him his way back to her.

He hurriedly ran all the way to the house next door, and as he stood in front of her house, he was just in time to notice her turning off the last of the lights she had sworn to keep burning for him. He wanted to beg for one more last chance as he frantically knocked on her front door. His tears rolled indignantly from his eyes when he heard that her name was not like it was before. She told him that his one more last chance had ended that very day, and that he had been gone for too long. She just couldn’t wait for him. She told him that he had been gone for ten years, but just as he once swore to her, she promised him that he would forget her soon. She told him that she had pledged herself to another, and that she had turned the lights off, one by one.

She Searches For His Soul In Someone Else’s Body

She walks the streets at night as though she’s the crusader of her heart, her body and her soul. But all she rules is a dark and murky empire where stale tobacco smoke fills the air. In her kingdom are stains on the bar counter, surround by stools reserved for the lonely. When she takes her seat on her throne, her wine glass becomes her magic wand. Each night she arrives just as the darkest of the night sets in, dressed in a silky dress, sparkling jewels and shoes that are slightly frayed.

All night long, men flock around her hoping to win her hand and her body as prize for the loneliest of hearts. But, as she swallows back on her wine before she points to the winner, they can’t know the many roads she has travelled on, or the many paths she has wandered along to find his soul in someone else’s body. They can’t know that she was once just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary world, and in love with an ordinary man. As they gather around her, she gazes desperately into their eyes, anxious to find him there. She searches for a sign, a smile, a frown, or a hand that tells her he has been looking for her too. She frantically hunts for anything to tell her that she has finally found his soul in someone else’s body.

In this world, his skin can no longer press against hers. He can no longer run his fingers lovingly over her hand. He can no longer touch her neck or place a hand on her back, overcome with a burning desire for her. There is no beginning and no end for him anymore. With each touch on her face, she could feel his warmth seep over into her. Without saying a word, he would comfort her. She belonged to him, and he belonged to her. Each time he would step out from the shadows, he stole her breath, and he embezzled the warmth of her skin. She could barely breathe in just enough air each time he placed his arms around her. And, as his hands would fold around her back, he would draw her in closer. 

So, she lets the strangers of the night touch her and hold her as she tries to find his soul in someone else’s body. As she frantically searches for a sign of oblivious confusion in their eyes, she tries to breathe him in and smell the familiarity of him. She feels their lips press against hers, and when her tears scold her for her carelessness, she realizes they aren’t the lips her heart is dying for. From the shadowy darkness, she can almost hear his voice reprimanding her. She closes her eyes for a moment and evokes his once-familiar face illuminated by the flickering lights as her emotions turn from near-elation to utter horror. She steps back, and with a faltering voice and unintelligible croak, she whispers that she just can’t find him.

Suspended by grief, she stares at the stranger’s face in front of her. He isn’t the one in the picture she keeps beside her bed. Her heart does not recognize him. The stranger stares back at her and frowns, mystified by the confusion she is trapped in. He is sure that the pain in her eyes must be the ruins of a lifetime of dread. He lowers his head, suddenly fraught to reach the scars of her heart, and spend one night with her as he walks with her in her pain. Her suffering reminds him of a teddy bear formed from shards of glass. He looks up at her again, and realizes that the tighter she clings to it, the deeper it cuts into her. Before he walks away from her, he hopes that someday she will swap her razor-sharp teddy bear for a softer, warmer one that will keep her safe and cozy under the stars.

As she watches him leave, she is beleaguered by the reality that each moment spent with her love had turned into nothing more than painful memories. Sharp and merciless as it cuts right through her soul each time she thinks of him. His leaving pierced her soul and stripped her of the ability to celebrate their memories. Memories she had become deathly afraid of. A broken mess is all he had left her with, and as a picture of his face flashes before her, she wants to scream out in unbearable pain. Her life is no longer her favorite book. Instead, she is sure that someone else’s story has spilled over into hers, and she is left to simply play her part as though there is no greater meaning anymore.

When the night is over and the men have left her kingdom, she knows that she is still searching for his soul in someone else’s body. She crawls into her big, empty bed, tired of trying to fill the void he had left her with. She pulls her knees to her chest and clings to the pillow beside her. She no longer wants to face another day without him. She no longer wants to live with herself or the extremes she goes to, to find his soul in someone else’s body. She no longer wants to be haunted by the memories of him swirling around inside her head.

To the world, she is mediocre and purposeless. They see the Queen of the night as she wins the favor of the lonely. But all she is, is a splintered soul desperate to find the missing parts of her. All she needs is the warmth of his breath as he whispers in her ear. All she asks for is the eyes she’s looked into a hundred times before, to be returned to her. He had figured out his heart long before she could ever set her own. Without him, her life had become nothing more than a blur. If only he could see how broken she was without him.

Her story had changed. Her normal had been altered and her extraordinary had left her crushed and alone in a world he no longer has a connection to. How does she go on without him, when her love for him penetrates through time and distance? Or, has it simply raised the vibration in her longing for him? She awakes each morning, distraught and deeply wounded by the brutality of the universe. She feels betrayed when she considers their unfinished love, their fragmentary life and their incomplete story. His absence profoundly incapacitates her. Her dreams cling to her like shrapnel while she walks around feeling numb, empty and lost.

She has become the pain she feels. Each day, it reveals the pieces of her that are shattered as it slowly strips away all that she once was. She wakes up feeling robbed, as though something irreplaceably valuable had been stolen from her. She feels as though her body is being torn to pieces when the pain becomes dreadfully physical. With each step forward, she crashes into the soreness that has become the most heart-wrenching loss of her life. He is gone. The better part of her has left. The couple they were was gone forever, and it left her feeling dazed and insecure. She didn’t want to face this universe without him. She was deficient without him, while overcome with loneliness.

Each night, she goes looking for a haven as she continues to mourn him. It is the driving force that keeps her locked away in her grief, and unable to breathe without a dagger piercing through her heart. She climbs the bus to her shadowy kingdom with renewed exhilaration, while the sense of danger engulfs her. Perhaps tonight she will find him again. Perhaps he will be there waiting for her as the sounds of the piano drowns out the noises of the lonely when she walks in.

She knows that the memories of her nights are formed each time she strolls into the realm of the lost and the lonely. She knows it would come back to haunt her for years to come. She has seen things. She has done things that has revolted and shocked her, things that would follow her for the rest of her life and ultimately leave her with so much more pain. There would be no escape from the agony, and she would accept the torment as punishment for all she had done in her quest to find him.

Perhaps tonight it will be his eyes she sees, his touch she feels and his warm breath on her. Perhaps, when the night is over, she could kick off her shoes and hang up her dress forever. Perhaps, after tonight, she will no longer search for his soul in someone else’s body. Perhaps tonight, her search will be over.