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Night #2

His shadow had a different voice beneath the moon. It was cold, like the light that cast it.

“What is it you want?” his shadow asked.

“I want to know what to do,” the boy said.

“In what sense?”

“I feel a pull, but I don’t know which direction to turn.”

“Have you tried listening?”

“Listening to what?

“To the pull,” his shadow said.

The boy kept silent. He listened for a sound beneath the tugging in his chest. Crickets chirped, waves fell. He strained and heard the movement of the earth, felt its rotation through the void. But there was no sound beneath the force inside, the pulling had no voice.

“Nothing,” the boy sighed.

“Not all desires speak,” said his shadow.

“What am I to do?”

“What you must. Choose a direction, make a path.”

“What if it’s the wrong one?”

“If it’s wrong, turn around and you’ll know the right direction at last. "

“How long will it take?”

“As long as it must. But it will take forever if you never choose,” his shadow said.

The boy stood. He closed his eyes and turned in a slow circle. He felt the pull, waited for it to lead him, but it remained constant in each direction.

The boy stopped. He opened his eyes. His shadow stretched out before him, pale beneath the moonlight. At its head, a narrow path opened into a forest. The trees were thick; deeper night clung to their trunks.

“In there?” asked his shadow.

“It’s a direction,” the boy said.

“It will be difficult.”

“I know.”

“The road behind you is easier.”

“I know,” said the boy. “But if I take the easy road, and it doesn’t lead to my goal, I may not have strength enough for the difficult path.”

“Do you have the strength now?”

“We shall see,” said the boy.

He took a step. His shadow rose to meet him. Together they stepped out of the night and into the waiting darkness.

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  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryanabout 6 years ago

    bravo. beautiful. xx

  • Thanks PJ, much obliged!

    – Talking Watermelon

  • PintaPinta
    PintaPintaabout 6 years ago

    golly brad, you have no idea how apt the timing is for me to be reading this this afternoon. i absolutely completely adore the shadow themes in your work… the two versions of the one self talking to each other. and this piece is no exception… i like the idea of being kind to your self, telling yourself all the answers you already know to all the questions you ask. you’ve captured it beautifully here, that knowing. i’m beside pj with the applause, bravo indeed.

  • Thanks so much Holly. Being a hermit allows a lot of time for reflection and sometimes the right conversations spring onto the page. For every ten pages of utter rubbish, I seem to stumble upon something worth polishing up. Shadows seem to be a running theme, yet I can sit down to intentionally capture one… go figure?

    – Talking Watermelon

  • rateotu
    rateotuabout 6 years ago

    aah for want of such a helpful shadow, we may endless walk in circles

  • If you go straight for long enough, you end up where you were.

    – Talking Watermelon

  • butchart
    butchartabout 6 years ago

    ah brad… if we could all be this wise… introspectivve and eloquent…. the world would be a better place………. you’ve found a way to show the breath and heartbeat of a life decision…………. beautiful writing my friend……. you inspire me……………………….b

  • Wow Butch. Thank you… I don’t think you’ve ever said anything quite so humbling… I’m flattered that you’re inspired, but I think you’re the type of person that can find inspiration almost anywhere. I am happy you found some here.

    – Talking Watermelon

  • Arcadia Tempest
    Arcadia Tempestabout 6 years ago

    Taking the step forward not knowing if you will succeed but knowing you have to move as no movement creates no breath…..your writing speaks loud and crisp in the shadows of indecision…. wow !

  • Thank you for reading, and for the ‘wow!’ I always beam with those three letters!

    – Talking Watermelon

  • ufosIsee
    ufosIseeabout 6 years ago

    Nicely written.. We must all choose a path, something I have worte about and lived…

  • We all must choose, or be chosen. “The fates call those who will, those who won’t, they drag.”

    – Talking Watermelon

  • lianne
    lianneabout 6 years ago

    But if I take the easy road, and it doesn’t lead to my goal, I may not have strength enough for the difficult path…what wisdom Brad. There’s such insight in this for indeed, we must choose or remain at the mercy of those who would do that for us. It takes such a great deal of self-awareness and reflection to hear the lowest whisper of that pull beneath all the other sounds around us and enormous courage to take that first step not at all certain of the road ahead. I’ll say like Butch – you inspire me with both the beauty and the determination of this piece.

  • Hey lady, it’s great to see you! It’s been a while and I was beginning to worry. I hope all’s well on your side of the world, and getting better with each passing day. Thanks so much for your comments. I wish I could say that I’ve never taken the easy path… but lies are nasty things. I wish I had the strength and insight that the boy does… perhaps that’s why he keeps popping up – “You are always the student in a one-person art school. You are also the teacher of that class.”

    – Talking Watermelon

  • CDeblin
    CDeblinover 5 years ago

    I’ve been trying to make a life changing decision for a long, long time now.

    How powerful a tool words can be to those who are open to their core message!

  • Words will always be just words. Sometimes someone will put them in an order that makes sense to few. Other times they’ll be placed to appeal to many. They’re always the same words – ours to share. I am humbled that you’ve seen order in mine.

    – Talking Watermelon

  • RosaCobos
    RosaCobosover 5 years ago

    Great metaphor…..
    We usually frighten before the shadow.
    We usually deny it.. refuse to even live with it…. but it shows the way, it helps to turn when we are wrong sided…wrong directioned..I love the shadows and what it represent, not just i our soul, but in Nature as well..I feel safe, when the sun starts to sink and then, the bodies, the objects, the light stretches along in darkness… and everything is vivid and moving around.
    Love the poetry that encloses your writing, too, the phylosophical questioning, the energy for pursuing your inner pathway…the travelling about to be started… with steps resolutive and brave.

  • Shadows are the truths of ourselves laid bare. Light and praise will always shine, but the shadow of truth will always find a texture to fill. No sense in running. It will always find your heel.

    – Talking Watermelon

  • RosaCobos
    RosaCobosover 5 years ago

    Becasue the Shadow is our better friend and counselor….once we do not fear it… and you have expressed it in such a interesting way… your writing deserves it.

  • Thanks so much Rosa!

    – Talking Watermelon

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