I was walking through a dark passageway. No lights. Trees shrouding one side of the lane which passed between two buildings.
It was a shortcut. One I’d taken many times from the visitor parking to my girlfriends condo.
This night, I had just dropped my freshly turned 18 year old daughter and some friends at the bar to carry on their birthday celebrations. I drove her car back to my girlfriend’s where I was staying while in the city and took the shortcut I knew well.
I wasn’t expecting trouble. I wasn’t expecting a figure to leap up from the darkness of the trees. To appear like a ghost rising up from the shadows.
And there he was. A dark figure calling my name.
For one instance, I froze. I froze and felt fear vibrating throughout my body.
And then I screamed and ran.
I did not stop. I did not respond.
I screamed and ran.
And I kept screaming until I reached my girlfriend’s who, on this night thankfully, had not locked the front door.
I burst into her home, locked the door and she called the police.
And I collapsed.
Later, her next door neighbour would tell me how she could hear my cries through the walls. How my wailing, gut-wrenching sobs broke her heart. How she wanted to cry with me and hold me and rock with me.
I have not thought of that night in a long while. Yet, last night, as I left the office and waited for the elevator, it came back to me. It arrived, unbidden, with the opening of the elevator doors and for a moment, a fissure of fear entered and I wondered if there was a dark figure waiting on the elevator.
It was empty. As was the main lobby of our building.
And I smiled. And breathed deeply. And stepped out into the early evening light.
Spring has arrived early and the air still held vestiges of the day’s warmth.
I was on my way to meet my beloved, C.C., at a restaurant for dinner.
I had nothing to fear.
It was only my mind playing tricks on me.
In the passing of the fear though, I was left with thoughts of my deep-seated tears that flowed that night. I was left with the feeling that those tears, those tears that tore out of my gut and hurled themselves into space were vastly, deeply healing.
And I am reminded of the poem I shared on Monday. Rain, like the sun, are necessary for growth.
Perhaps it is that tears are not grounded in the pain, but are rather, the pain’s release. Tears released my heart to beat freely.
Perhaps it is that tears are necessary to rid our bodies of painful memories, to turn sorrow into wisdom, wounds into joy.
Perhaps, my tears that night 10 years ago were a right of passage to flowing joyfully in love today.
I know it is so.
I do not think of that night often. And when I do, I think not of the man who rose out of the bushes to try to capture me once again in his weave of lies and deceit and hold me prisoner to his abuse. I think instead of the power of my voice to cry out against abuse and rise up above the pain to sing my song of freedom today.
Smiling, I stepped out into the spring night and drove off into the sunset to meet my beloved.
What a gift each breath is when filled with love.