Writer | Editor


Photo by Emily Ibarra


You danced through the door, full of life and sweet nothings hurled in every direction.

I watched you move through the room with ease, pulling others into your wake; your eclipse meeting the shadows head on, and I wondered if you even noticed them at all.

Lungs tight, my back against the wall, I traced the names carved by young lovers in decades past. We whispered their names through smiles to breathe life into a forgotten love, and we swore to each other “That will never be us.” I clung to those rough spots, knuckles white and fingernails torn, terrified of opening my eyes to see how far I’d fall if I let go. My toes brushed the edge of the shadows as I tried and failed every night to disappear.

You pulled me from my corner, from my darkness, off those steep mountain peaks and into the light. “Sweet girl,” you said. “I’ll show you what it’s like to live without fear.”

Arms outstretched, eyes soft as cotton. “Jump,” you said. “I won’t let go.”

I saw it then, that perfect light of yours that you always gave away so recklessly.

You took my face in your hands and pointed it towards the mirror with a smile.

“You and I, my love, we’ve got champagne problems. And that’s not a bad place to be.”

You watched from the shore as I drifted further out to that sea of shadows, fighting with each breath to carve out my place in your world.

The current pulled me away, and I watched as the horizon slowly swallowed you up completely. Swept up in your tides, I fought against those waves, but I’m too weak. You were always so much stronger than me.

Lungs burning, clouds in my eyes, your light reached me before anything else. Those waves crashed and raged at every turn, daring us to stand, and for the first time, I saw you stumble. You flinched, then faltered, and as I caught you I felt those familiar sweet breaths and velvet words whispered against my neck. “Sweet girl. I’ll show you what it’s like to live without fear.” I held you tightly in my arms and pulled you free of the soft decay that always seemed to creep into your wake uninvited.

That light that used to burn so brightly seemed faint now.

I brushed the hair back from your face and you slipped your paws into mine. I traced the lines around your eyes and listened to your slow, measured breaths; purity against resolve.  

Rest, my love. I’ll carry you the rest of the way.

Arielle Mullen