The rope was rough, the slide to the – bottom? – so gradual, I almost didn’t know it was happening. No bloody hands, no frantic scrambles for footholds, no fear of falling. But a very definite slide down nonetheless, the more frightening, really, for its lack of drama.
It was dark. Very dark. Like darkness I’d heard about but never experienced. Not pitch black, though, not THAT dark. There was the occasional shaft of sun that made its way through the molasses night, but it would fade and I’d wistfully watch it go, straining for the dance of dust motes I knew must be there, but was hidden from my eyes.
There was a knot. A big knot. So the slide stopped. But I was never good at climbing in gym class. I always tried – I was so determined to get to the top! And for a while, I could navigate the knots and pretend I was climbing the rope. But I was really climbing the knots. So the knot below me held my feet, and all I could do was hang there.
You can tell me.
No I can’t, because I don’t know, I don’t understand, I have no words for what’s happening. So I say yeah (-: and he believes it and I hang there.
Night comes for real. And morning, according to the clock. But still night. Brilliant sun, a glorious day – but still night. A much anticipated road trip to a place of fond memories – but still night. All day, just night. And night again.
Then … jarringly … the rope is gone, the pit is gone. Not forever, not for always, but for a blessed time. There are clouds and lightness – below me? Below me! I feel the sun, blossoms of joy again like so many daffodils welcoming the spring. And I remember normal. And I like it. And I realize that the slow slide, that was NOT normal. And it scares me.
I come through the clouds, toward the ground. I come down. There are spikes waiting down there – spikes everywhere. But they AREN’T spikes – they are hands, hands reaching up to catch me, to cushion the falling, to welcome me back, to protect and to hold.
They are hands with voices that speak, that tell me, “Never forget what a wonderful person you are,” and “I’m going to tell you MY story,” and “You are not alone.” They are loud and joyous and insistent these hands – many of whom belong to people who sometimes seem to be none of those things. They say, “We heard, and we wondered, and we weren’t sure, but we were watching.” They say “It can happen to anyone.” They say, “I’m sorry,” and “It’s ok” and “Hey!” and “It’s our turn to hold you up.” They say, “I love you,” and “I need you,” and “Be patient.” They say, “HUGS.” They just say. And there are many. So very many.
So I close my eyes and drift…down? toward reality? toward hands. And down isn’t as scary as it was on the rope. I know, for now, it’s ok.