Will Not Break

I will not let the silence smother me.

Not the quiet breaths of my own loneliness, persuading me that I am all wrong.

Not the small flame that flickers fluidly on the wick, casting a tight shadow of color against a dim washed wall.

Not the stretch of couch where I sit curled, blanket soft and tucked to my body, painted as a second skin.

I am in solitude, but I will not succumb, though it taunts with brazen appeal.

Eyes up, ears open, poised to hear a word of comfort, a drop of warmth in the chill of quiet. Anything to tell me that life is on my side, that beauty lies before me, that I am surrounded by the silent hold of Jesus.

I asked for this.

I distanced myself from the clamor and surface-level conversation, pulled in my breath and dove down deep. It is sea bubbles tickling my nose, giving me a salty smooth respite for days, hours. I will not come up for air.

The hum of the refrigerator lets me know it hears my sorrow, murmurs in agreement.

I didn’t ask for this.

To cross miles and memories to a foreign land, in a flood of faces that don’t recognize mine. To pavement, built up subdivisions and complexes and banks, void of woods and the speech of the wind and rocking blues that slide so effortlessly into Lake Michigan.

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But I will not break, no matter the strength of resistance that’s been sent to snap me.

My hand sweeps across the air above my candle, scented of garden rain. I make the flame dance wildly, my palm holding a brief reminder that I still feel. That is enough for now, the knowledge that there are still pieces stuffed inside I need to hold, embrace in this dizzying silence.

I am lonely, but not alone. And one of these days I’ll remember to try and sew these quiet moments into a pattern I can’t soon forget.

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