Under the streetlight.

Everything falls apart eventually, unless held together by belief and determination, at least that’s what she believed in. One of her peculiar rituals was to look out the window at 1 am in the morning, every day. I always wondered why? Why at 1 am? I remember looking out the window with her, searching for the reason that grabbed her fancy each night.

“There, do you see it?” She looked back at me, eyes wide as the summer sky, and as deep as the darkest recesses in the ocean. She was brimming with a sense of eagerness coupled with hope, hope that I would also see what she did. I peeked, but found nothing except the bare wall, scribbled with despair and age that leaked through the cracks. I shook my head, afraid to meet her eyes, terrified of the disappointment reflecting back at me. The only view outside was an old house, with tall, green grass embracing its foundations with a lone streetlight standing upright, tired of the world, I presumed.

“I saw someone. Did you see him too?” She asked, curiosity apparent in her voice, but I heard a slight note of hope again. I had left the last shred of hope left in me. I was 18, while she was 16, with all the new feelings and joy womanhood might bring in her, although of no use. “No, I don’t see anyone, stop it, please! Nobody knows, nobody is coming.” I said, a little more harshly than I’d intended. The sound of chains clinking echoed between us, I looked at the worn, mold walls. The only illumination in our lives and in that room came from the streetlight outside, trickling in through the barred window.

I’d always wondered what it was like out there, to touch the rusted iron pole on which the bulb rested peacefully. The air, the fragrance of summer, the sweat that sparkled on your skin after lying under the sun all day. I wouldn’t mind getting a tan, or sipping chilled lemonade, just thinking about it gave me goosebumps. I looked up and saw that she was gone, the metal bracelets felt heavy on my wrists. I smiled, and with a deep sigh I lay down on the rotting mattress on the floor.

She always arrived at the same hour, at 1 am, to look out the window. I knew why she did it. She had looked out once, and seen someone. But, she didn’t realize who it was under the glare of the streetlight. He’d seen her too, just like he’d seen all of us, but it’s been 2 years now. She was never seen again, of course, he’d punished her. He punished us everyday, but her punishment lasted longer. The sound of chains clinking echoed again.

Her body was buried under the streetlight, and she was the only friend I had left. The only solace after being captive for 3 years. Nobody knows, nobody is coming.

The door creaks and screams open, just like my thoughts are. He stands and beckons me to come to him, the chains echoing louder and louder. “Come, it’s time.” He says, polite and respectfully. I see her standing behind him, but he can’t see her.

“We’re going to be together forever, now you will see what I see.” She said, smiling.

I look up at the ceiling and smile. I’m ready.