Waking up before dawn wasn’t always difficult. Some days, I was excited to see the darkness when waking up. It was ironic: I’d fall asleep when it was dark and wake up when it was dark, as if time stopped for me. Other days, I felt too weak to open my eyes, as if there were weights holding down my eyelids. Today was not one of those days. I woke up, again. I dragged myself out of the cold bed sheets. My eyes were still droopy but I felt rested. The moon was still up and the sky was still dark. Nobody was awake, the world was still, as if it was in a state of stasis. The air was cold and suddenly, I felt quite…lonely. Taking a deep breath only made the pain worse, but letting go of the breath soothed the pain.
Crack of dawn was always cold, even if it wasn’t winter. I was walking to Ariel’s stable and created little clouds on the way there. They’d live when I lived, I’d create something with every breath I’d let go, but they’d leave when I felt the pain again. The warmth I felt on my lips from my miniature clouds gave me hope. The warmth would reassure me that I’d find happiness even if I let go of something, but then again, the happiness would just come and go. Ariel was my door to freedom. She was what I looked forward to on dark mornings like this one. Riding on her back at uncontrollable speeds only made me feel like I was flying and no one could stop me.
Even from far, I could tell she was cold. Her eyelashes and dark eyes turned to me. Ariel let out a quiet sigh; I slowly opened the door to her stable. I looked at my helmet and riding gear that was hung near her. ‘There’s no need for that’ I thought. I got up on Ariel’s back and kicked and there we went, running towards nothing.
Running towards nothing was our goal; we wanted to just free ourselves. Honestly, I hadn’t known where we were going, but that didn’t matter because for now, we were one. We ran, so quickly, as if there was nothing in our way. Our legs were pounding the floor with such strength, as it if was our first time feeling the rush of running. We ran as if we had just been resurrected out of Mel’s Hole. We were alive again. The power from Ariel’s legs and thighs made me feel infinite, there was nothing I could not overcome.
Dawn had found its way to us, the sun rose and filled the sky with blue faster than we realized. The blue was all one shade, nothing more, it seemed so empty without splotches of white. Everything was as clear as a still snow globe, at least the things at a far distance were, everything close by were unclear strokes. Beyond the trees and houses, we saw mountains. Mountains that showed how little we’ve travelled. Mountains that told us how much distance could be covered. We ran through berry farms, gardens, parks, and streets. Yet still, we haven’t gotten any closer to those mountains. They were running as well, away from us. But, we ran as if those things didn’t matter, as if there was more to life and we were determined to be the first to figure it out. We ran as though no one else was around. We ran and heard a child’s cry melt in the wall. We moved people aside, and our fear of crashing was gone. We ran and we crushed anything in our way as if it were meaningless, as if we were careless and…free.
I let go. I let go of my hand, I let go of Ariel’s neck, I let go of my breath and I let go of my thoughts. There was nothing, I felt nothing, no pain or loneliness, just pure freedom. There was no bow to pull me pack, there was only a force giving me the power to move forward. I was the arrow and Ariel was the force, you were the bow, and I finally let go.
The Earth spun and kept us running in the same spot. We began to slow down. Stopped; like the waters of the Hanging Gardens, we ran and then we stopped. We let the sun soak us before it could leave. Its heat was boiling. The air became denser. I looked up in hope of finer air. The sky turned to a tangy naranga-orange, then napoleonic red, and then into a royal purple. The sky was mixing colors for us. It was painting for us. It spilt one color after the next and spun them into swirls. We waited. The Starry Night was here again on her horse.