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The Inside Ouch

A Lyrical Prose Experiment (Definitely no Michael Ondaatje here)

By Roy StevensPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
The Inside Ouch
Photo by Zoya Loonohod on Unsplash

The big kid stood beside the silver metal wall and felt darkness visible* for the very first time. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise; he knew poverty and a touch of abuse, so he was nothing unusual. Yet the horror startled him into this new grim awakening. He suspected already that this fresh place within him; it’s drop-pit sensation of looking out… down into the infinite hole of the night sky, only far distant stars as companions on the fall, was to be his regular, unwelcome guest forever.

And for such a kid, he was just a kid after all wallowing in his muddy mid-teens, for such a kid that particular forever was a place of glaring terror. Dante knew it.

Thrust hands deep in pockets mostly emptied, he watched that silver wall move past, rolling along the street as the bus pulled away. He didn’t look up at the window above, but he breathed the diesel perfume of her passing and blinked at the high retaining wall on the corner opposite. He didn’t even sigh.

For her part, inside her silver refuge she moved down the hill into her unknown future. Heart-heavy, she’d finally made the break only she realized was necessary. Too much, too soon, too scary- maturity her burden. She was transiting toward her unknown, starting right now.

It would be okay; for the most part it would be okay. The darkness visible would eventually find her too and her own story, her path would take her down her eerie corridors to people and places as yet undreamed. Finally, there would come an unexpected kind of love in what he would someday hope meant peace for her.

Many years later, hearing of her personal battles with the darkness visible, his resident sharp pang for the lost myth of her would suddenly transpose to a strange grief for the truth of her. Too familiar with that old enemy, he desperately wished such pain was not also hers. From such distance she was still special. Fraught decades later and without a word, she was still special. He hurt for her hurt. The gulf of time and distance vanished then, but only for him. She couldn’t know his thoughts, still the inside ouch was always there on her behalf. He could only wonder if it would have been a comfort for her.

However, we feel only within ourselves, all our communication forms fallible. The walls between us and our outside worlds is high and our shouts to each other only sibilant, almost silent supplications to those on the other side.

The wall that was the bus was gone. The kid stood alone; more alone than the word itself could ever be, hands still thrust in pockets. He made his gallows walk home down the dark paths of abundant abandonment, like all our paths of abundant abandonment, toward the darkness visible and its ever looming threat.

*Darkness Visible is William Styron’s brief, brilliant memoir of his own battle with a bout of severe Melancholia, the deep depression which hospitalizes and frequently kills. The book is hard but recommended reading.


About the Creator

Roy Stevens

At Vocal people actually read my writing, thank you everybody! I spend most of my time herding cats. Please press the 'like' symbol if you read my stories and think they're deserving enough. Either way, thank you so much.

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Comments (2)

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)2 months ago

    I like the Tone of your Storytelling ❤️👍

  • Donna Renee2 months ago

    This has so much beauty within… The way you wrote this really gave some amazing depth to the emotions expressed. I have not read Darkness Visible but am usually fascinated by stories like that 🤔

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