The Shining (Excerpt from MIDNIGHT)

There’s no arguing here in this place; only shadows on shadows where light can’t be seen. I see the still and wonder if I’m in Heaven or Hell. But the smell of tacos and gasoline remind me I’m in neither because they’re a combination of both.

It’s strange because I feel half myself and half something else. Not quite here but not quite departed, either. I have the same feelings and same senses and the mirror tells me I have the same bags under my eyes and around my waist. I’ve still got tired eyes after dying. Can’t a guy get a break?

My office remains with its desk and computer and loveseat. This is where I rest. I guess ghosts sleep. Sometimes. Even though the middle of the night seems like the logical place for me to be. But nobody is around for me to haunt or watch or simply pass by.

sandis-helvigs-509166-unsplash    The winter, so weary and so hell-bent for war. Snow piles and keeps me in. When I go outside I don’t see my tracks in the flakes, but I do feel the cold. The blizzard breathes and melts against my cheeks and tongue. Vehicles drive by as I search over the sidewalk but nobody waves or notices or knows. I’m a six-foot-tall snowflake.

My heart sometimes hurts but I think it’s more from the loss than from pain. Can ghosts feel pain? I know the hurt swells inside.

I picture Tamara and me walking on a snowy sidewalk holding hands so I can keep her from falling. God–the notion of holding hands seems so foreign now. I want to hold it and squeeze it and never let it go. To drag her on into my world and place. But then I think of the girls and I know I’d never do that. I can’t. I won’t.

This world is a wonderful contradiction with its beauty blemished by weather.

So it’s so easy to hide in the snow. The streams facing north and south. Cutting into your core. I stay inside. In the dim light. The lone bed. The coffee maker I only look at. The fridge that’s empty.

This is The Shining turned into a novella. Everything is smaller. The place I’m in. The people I’m around. Everything’s been edited to one solitary soul in a claustrophobic place.

Not sure how long the days and nights and weeks last. But they’re long but they blink and they’re gone.

Like life.

Like breathing, breathless life.

The river I pass daily, many times, still moves. Always.

Even in the ragged chill, I will stop and look down. The drop would take about two seconds. I stare at the endless, steady current of water below and I know. It’ll always be there underneath this stone bridge.

Eyes circle and shift. I clench a fist. It’s really not for effect. It really does make me feel a little better, this tight and angry squeeze. There’s nothing loose or joyful about my soul right now.

Maybe I could simply dive into the river and be baptized and set free.