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I hear her laugh from behind the wooden windows. She’s enjoying the shadows again. I walk away from the old house silently, heading towards the whispering trees. Everything in the night always seems so blissful and tranquil yet melancholic. All that your eyes see have a life of their own. A story to tell. The calm ground staring back at the dark skies, the damp plants faithfully waiting for the early dawn, the crickets that fill the silence with their constant sound: God’s creations that effortlessly make their spectators envious of their beauty. They all display such wondrous charm not even the shadows in the absence of sun and moon light can conceal. But despite the enchanting images they present, a different feeling lingers from their glorious faces. A less appealing, somber emotion hidden, as if refusing to be made known for fear of shame to be in direct contrast with what is physically evident and tangible. My heart can hear that feeling loud and clear, like an intimidating scream you just can’t easily ignore. The peaceful, perfectly designed masterpieces are crying out. Possessing their own unique elegance and their incomparable value, they remain empty. Not knowing what they truly are or what they truly need, they simply strive to exist. Somewhere in my mind I thought, maybe they believe that there was nothing more to their life. Maybe out of all their experiences and lessons, they found that everything merely runs in circles. Everything belongs to a fixed routine and there was no escape. I began to wonder if the plants were really longing for the sun or were they only hungry for the light it feeds them so they can continue to exist. I also wondered about the crickets, do they find satisfaction in being the creature that they are or do they only function for the purpose of why they were created?

In my deep reverie, I suddenly felt a pull from back down the trail I’ve made. Back to the old, locked down little house. I imagined her face. I failed. My memories must have been permanently erased. For years I’ve tried to recover evidences of her existence. I searched everywhere that my hands and feet could reach, even the farthest places in my soul, but I never found anything. I even tried to destroy that little house just to see her. Just to know her once again. Yet my strength was not enough. The house was always too strong for me. Now all that I know of this person is the sound of her voice. She only knows how to laugh and to cry. She doesn’t speak. I don’t know if she hasn’t learned how, or if she only chooses to express her feelings through either of those two extremes. Throughout all those years, we’ve lived and grown together as strangers. Neither of us has ever seen the other. Neither of us has ever shared anything with each other. We were connected, though. I don’t know by what means, but we were connected in a way that is unknown to both of us. Strange, I know, but for whatever reason this is how we are.

Right now, I am standing beneath the whispering trees, a few feet away from the old house. I can hear her laughter again. I wonder what she finds amusing in that dark lonely place. Does she even wish for the light every now and then? Does she ever hope to someday be out in the open and see the world again? I wonder if, like me, she also ponders about the truth of things, questions reality, thrives to learn about herself, or asks God why she had to be a prisoner in that place. We were both trapped in that unknown forest. The only difference is that I am living outside and she was living in that house. Despite this, I still think in my heart that somehow, there’s a possibility that we are just one and the same. Maybe there is no real difference in the way we live. The sadness and isolation she feels are the same feelings I have even as I appear to be the more privileged one. I can see the forest and the skies. I can feel the wind from the trees. I can hear the crickets. I can smell the damp soil. All she sees is darkness. All she feels are her feelings. All she hears is the sound of her heart, her breath, and her voice. Her life is like nothing. She has every right to complain, to cry, to curse, anything she’s able to do so she can vent out her bitterness. Yet, how come I feel the same as her? I still search for the answers. Every day, with the same hope I had from the very start of this seemingly hopeless journey. The same hope that I pray would be strong enough to endure until I finally reach the end of my questions. The same hope I have placed in my heart for her release, for her freedom, and for the day that we will finally meet face to face. That day when I will finally know her just like the very first time, the time we were born.

© 2019 Hannah Grace Reyes