Tonight I am Sad: The Cliff

I am not a happy camper tonight. I am sad, frustrated, and fighting a long lost battle with sleep that I may never regain. I stand on the edge of a cliff, scars bared from my own perilous fall off it — watching someone else I love about to do the same.

I remember toes lingering over the edge, thinking of the thrill of jumping. Doing what all the others had done, fulfilling their destiny and being their “own man.” I was going to do things my own way. And I did. I jumped.

I jumped away from the cliff that held everything I had ever known. My beliefs, my identity, my loved ones, my all. I jumped into the night wind of certainty, sure that my enlightened youth would benefit from the steep decline below. I fell. I fell hard.

The stone floor of despair hit me like a ton of bricks. The wind of certainty and youthful understanding was knocked clear out of me. The throbbing in my head told me intrinsically that something was wrong, but I had no clue just how wrong as of yet.

I stumbled in that dark place a long time before I realized it wasn’t everything that the “others” had told me it would be. Occasionally I would hear the call of a loved one from high above on the cliff, calling out to me to return. Their call was one of uncertainty, as if they were unsure there was anything left of me to hear them. There was.

The graveyard of darkness was a frightening sight to behold down in that pit, as viewing it in its entirety was something altogether different from the brightly lit tv vantage point in which I had viewed it before. I lay many a night against the stone wall of the cliff, staring at skull named Media, it’s glowing bones staring out at me in the dark. Hollow holes replaced eyes, how empty they were. How empty I was, and yet full at the same time.

Full of remorse, full of regret. Full of panic that even then still hadn’t fully hit me yet. Fear of my failure, fear of never returning home. Fear of just being completely alone. The day finally came, where I made up my mind. I was going to climb that cliff, and probably die trying. But at least when my loved ones looked out over the cliff, they might see for a split second I was no longer dead, I might live.

If I could just get to the top, I would tell them I’m sorry. I would hug their necks with my bruised and disgusting body. They wouldn’t care, I had made it back. I was alive, and that was that. There would be consequences, I could be sure. That was fine, scars and bruises and more. Tales of my agony, they would cry. But I would be alive.

I climbed each day, but not alone. I could hear faint voices egging me on. The pain going up, reminded of the ease going down. The path up was much harder, and less traveled and sound.

The summit hurt worse, but man it felt good to kiss the soil where my feet had once cockily stood. I was alive but scarred. Hurt but free from abandonment. I was safe, I was home, I had family. And that was done.

I never thought I’d come back to this place. See that cliff and stand on this hill face. Never stand in the “loved ones shoes,” and watch how much I had to lose. I’ve told you my story, you’ve seen my scars. I’ve told you not to jump and yet here you are. I’ve depicted the gravestones, I’ve drawn out the skull, still you insist that you’ll jump with a run.

You’ve launched yourself up, and yep down now you’ll go. I’ve been there before, I’ve seen the demons below. I had no one then, but I’ll sit here and listen for your call. All I need is one word, and I’ll come as I’m called. I’ve made the trip up once, I’ll do it again. I’m stronger now, and I’m willing to carry you friend.

Tonights post ended up being half metaphorical short story/half poem, so forgive me for the inconsistency. Sometimes the heart just speaks, and mine was full tonight. Maybe someone can relate, we’ve all seen the cliff. It looks different to everyone, but you know the pain that comes from it. Blessings to those standing atop it searching for those below, and prayers for those at the bottom and slowly making the climb — you’ll get there. I’m rooting for you.