Writing in the dark

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It felt as though I’d hit a bump in the road

By NaBeela Washington

This doesn’t feel right

This knife in my chest

A well in my soul

To the brim with unrest.

I search for the light 

Through the tightly closed blinds

Chasing my breath

As I overcome demise. 


It felt as though I’d hit a bump in the road, leading the car to veer off of its path. We met a nearby tree head-on and I was thrown from my seat, kissing the glass on my exit, onto the damp grass in front. As I lay there, the headlights radiated off of my face and I gazed up at the night sky wondering how I might get back to my pen and pad to transcribe these feelings. 

To properly notate the feeling of having a well of some sort, lodged in my chest, filled to the brim with ceaseless unrest. To describe the sloshing of its murky broth, back and forth, with slight fluctuations throughout the day. To relive the many times I’d force a smile, with it teasing at the back of my throat, only to run off to a bathroom to violently vomit tears as it seemed too much. Then a hush would come over me and I’d dry my face and head back.

The crickets sang and their song became comforting as my body became one with the grass. I tried to raise my head, but the weight of the well pushed me back into my place. A sigh escaped me and I ogled the broad strokes of light across the night sky; buffering and then blazing about as my twisted body lay beneath it. I only longed for my pen and pad to hopefully jot down these feelings. 

Feelings of hopelessness. Feelings of “I’ll do it later” and then “it’ll be fine”. Feelings of “everything’s going to work out” when my body was affixed with sharp blades of glass. Feelings of electric despair, shooting up my backside. Pulsating through my weary heart. 

I grew cold and I was sure I could feel death lurking nearby. There was a soft wind carrying whispers of hope, then those of taunts, but I still longed for my pen and pad to desperately cry out these feelings.

Feelings of “how many times will I have to say I’m depressed”. Feelings of “God doesn’t hear me anymore”. Feelings of pity, then anger. Feelings of exhaustion and sweet delirium. Feelings of a darkness brewing and building; waiting and sifting this life. 

And then there was complete darkness. And the sounds and stirs around me became one and I just an irrelevant speck of it. When I awoke, it was morning. The darkness had gone and I could see that I had never left home. I sat up a bit, shifting on the mattress, and leaned into the stillness.  

The air conditioning let out a soft hum against the birds outside; I felt a small pinch beneath me as I flexed my body and saw that I had been laying on my pen and pad. I happily greeted the contents of its pages as I had longed to transcribe these feelings.

Feelings of “it does get better”. Feelings of resilience and bounty. Feelings of a gradual liberation that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. Feelings of suffering, then healing, while writing in the dark.