How Long Has It Been?

How long has it been? 

I can remember very little about your face. I can still feel your hand on mine, but no more can I see the way your smile outlines your eyes. No more can I pick you from a crowd. There are thousands of faces, blurred beyond recognition. 

These walls don't even feel the same anymore. They once confined me and kept me warm. They are now cold and scarce. Only holes remain where your picture once hung. Your memory seems to be split and fractured like the floor before me. To the end of the world I followed you; To the end of the world I could never get enough. We stood together on the edge of oblivion and took back the darkness.  

There was a day years ago that robbed me of that. There was an incident that took my ability to express myself as if I were drowning on land. I do not feel the same as I once was. I do not feel a confident writer. Your figure seems to mellow and not be the demanding woman you once were. You, who picked me up, dusted me off, and handed me an ax, are but a mere vague memory. I crave for that back. I feel like less than a hero and more of a victim of society. The world has shown me more than I thought I could ever battle; less than I could ever hold.

That day, I thought my life was over. That day, I had visions of dying on the side of the road and could not find your face. I could not find your help. I walked away from you and never saw you again. Do you know what it's like to feel dead inside? Do you know what it's like to meet yourself in the middle of a haze? There's no good days; no terrible; only gray.

I can't remember how long it has been since I closed my eyes and heard you scream my name. There's only once place I know that I can lean back, close my eyes, drift away and end up standing next to you. There's one place where we will stand on crumbling structures and fight back the darkness. There is only one place that takes me back to you. 

As I close my heavy eyes, I can only think of how long it's been and if you'd remember me. The world around me goes black as I feel my body sink in. My body spasms as my brain isolates. My breathing slows and I slip into the darkness.

I start to hear the echoing screams in the distance. I open my eyes and see the darkness. I open my eyes and I see a light in the distance. Blurry and painfully dry, my eyes feel like they have been open for years. My throat so coarse, I choke on the wind. How long has it been?

As my sight comes into focus, i can see the shattered concrete above me. Bent rebar; shaped like my spine and suspended amazingly from a single wall torn into pieces. Chunks of plaster around me, debris strewn about as if this place has been abandoned for decades. Years of rain, snow, and ice have taken toll on this place. Barely a shelter from the elements, it is a miracle to still be recognizable as the house we once woke up in. 

Then it hits me; Where is she? I come to the realization that I've come here to find her. To know if she knows who I am, tarnished from years of life on the other side. Will she remember me as the man I was or see me as the fallen gray-haired hero? Does she know my name and did she survive? 

The world around me seems bleak and stark of life. More or less having the appearance of a great war. Mostly ruble and few yellow lines in the road to just give that glimmer of a previous life. I take a step down the shattered staircase to find nothing more than the same. A gray dust seems to cover the night sky like a set of sunglasses over the moon. This place is so quiet it makes me choke up inside. I can barely fight the tears back. 

I walk for what seems like miles, but without a change of scenery, I could not be sure. The wind begins to wear me down and I start to loose faith, No memories of this place strike through to me. This place does not have the feeling it once did. The empty warehouses are no longer romantically abandoned and in disrepair, but instead collapsed and unrecognizable at first glance. They are more like mountains of concrete block and steel beam, covered in a grayish-blue haze. 

This world is not what I walked away from. This world is desperate to find a hero again; desperate to bring back the moonlight. The silence is broken by a memory. I remember standing back to back as the crowds of evil race toward us. I remember her heat and hear the gut-wrenching scream. My arms grow heavy and begs me to look down. I see an ax, covered in blood in my left and a shotgun in the right. We are here again. The night the world came to rip our flesh from our bones. The night we battled until the world cracked beneath our feet. 

I blink and I'm back to the stark world. Quickly I shut my eyes to get back to her, but it is futile. A fleeting memory. 

As I continue to explore, I find traces of the world once remembered. I find brass shell casings, tarnished and corroded. I find glasses, shattered. I find more rust and rubble than grass. It is then, I see in the distance, a flicker of light. A reflection. As if an energy in me awakens, I run toward it. Barreling over shards of glass and rusty spears, I find myself standing at the base of a bridge. I can barely contain myself. I rush to the top and there stands a figure. 

The figure, dressed in rags and a torn hoodie, turns to the noise I've made. 

...Is it her? The silence is unbearable. It's only seconds before my knees turn to a gelatinous liquid. With one swift movement, the figure throws a duffel bag at my feet and turns away. I open the bag to find a rusted ax with the handled taped and a corroded and pitted shotgun. 

It's only then, that I see the other end of the bridge. I see eyes, before I see anything else: thousands of eyes. With one movement, the figure rips the torn hoodie off and leans back as if to invite me in. She has been here the whole time, struggling to keep the world alive. I reach down and with both hands, grab my weapons and race toward her. As the wind drops to a dead still silence, I come to a sliding stop next to her. 

With an earth-shattering, guttural scream that is so deep and base, the bridge shakes, we start this world spinning again. 


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