Chapter 2: In the Deep Under
It was raining when you first got here, and it was raining when you left. Such poetic companion for your arrival and departure, you’d definitely gloat about it. That pride of knowing that the sky celebrates and mourns you. But of course, you always expected it.
If memory serves right, one of the story books you gave me tells of Earth and Sky as partners, paramours. Earth’s version of love was to be entwined with Sky, to grow vines around that twist and turn and knot. Sky, meanwhile, preferred a kiss carried by the winds, the gentle caress on the cheeks by moving air, the soft hug of clouds. As they grew closer, vines turn to tree trunks, thick as twenty men, strangling and wrangling. Kisses turn to spats, and caresses to screeches and slaps. No matter what or how hard they tried staying together, they just end up getting hurt.
At long, long last, tired of the pain, Sky cut off tendrils, sticks and branches with her dagger, flew through the first gap that could fit her, and stayed far, far away from Earth, mourning a life and love that could never be. The story ends with rain, Sky’s messenger of affection and sorrow, falling on Earth, seeping through the soil, an apology and a vow. Whilst Earth, absolutely devastated by the betrayal, dies little by little, until rain falls once more, reviving his hopes and and pushing him to reach out once more.
I think you always thought of yourself as Sky, and me as Earth. That I was holding you too tight, and someday you’re going to cut off my tendrils and fly away. You made it clear that my clinging was something you only tolerate, and that I needed to work on it if I am to be someone better.
So I tried. I held myself back from asking where you are at times. Or who you’re with. I count the times you came to me and I was happy and grateful. When you said there’s still barely room to wriggle, I stopped initiating conversations, though I keep glancing at the phone screen hoping for you. I stopped suggesting places to visit together because they couldn’t meet your taste, and let you take the wheel to wherever.
And so I shrunk myself as small as possible, hoping that you finally have enough space to breathe.
Yet, you continue to choke.
This was not in the story. You were supposed to fly away and be free. The tendrils and branches and vines are cut. Or are they not? I couldn’t see any left. Perhaps I need to shave off the trunks. Should I dive deeper into the soil? Maybe then finally there’s room for you.
I didn’t know what to do.
Desperation was unstoppable. It was desperation that gave me the strength to dig further underground, and desperation that begged me to stop, curl up and die. In a way, it’s like drowning, but in air. Tiny wisps of air flowing out of your body to deprive you of life.
I believe a part of me died back then. It must have at some point, the conditions were terrible. How on earth does one survive in a vacuum? They don’t; they die. Alone, helpless, and in the dark, waiting for the last drop of life to get squeezed out.
At least I dug myself a grave.
Too bad it’s so far in, your rain can’t seep through.