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 Desire of Death
 

The sunset sea sportively beckons with a wink and a gentle whisper.

"Come," she calls. "The air is chill and I am warm. The world is cruel but I am kind. Come, gaze upon my placid waters. Join with me; I will envelop you. I will hold you, you need struggle no longer. Here you will find peace forever. . . . If you don't delay."

Her voice mesmerizes, lulling me. . . . She is freedom from my torment, from the pain that slashes at my insides. Everything within me desires what she offers; my soul reaches for it, shaking the bars of my body in desperation. Still, there is something fearsome in her whisper, in that word "forever"-- a harsh finality.

"Don't delay." A subtle urgency shadows her words, like a naughty child who hears his mother's footsteps on the stairs.

So I withhold trust, though I painfully long to plunge in completely. She begins to speak again, in her soothing, hypnotic voice that washes over me, wave after wave, slowly and steadily eroding my fears.

The sun's last rays fade, making the sea almost indiscernable. My desire to go to her overpowers me. "Don't delay," I parrot to myself. "Soon it may be too late to reach her. Don't lose your nerve now." I grit my teeth and take a few tenacious steps. For a moment I am certain I will go through with it; I will execute my plan; I will reach her. For an instant I can almost taste my goal. I strain to reach it, then stumble and fall roughly to the ground. Sharp rocks pierce my flesh. My fear returns, mingling with pain to form a mass of confusion.

"But this is what you wanted. . . . Get up! Go through with it, you coward!" In the chaos of my mind I do not know if the voice is mine or hers. I am paralyzed by a familiar terror. I sit slumped in a mass of limbs and tears and blood. Night falls like a thick mist around and upon me. The darkness slowly coagulates. The voice begins again-- taunting, daring, soothing, seducing, coaxing, demanding, alluring. I am defenseless against her. Aside from the voice that continuously caresses and assaults me, I am utterly alone.

And I am angry.

I am angry at myself, at this terrible, wonderful choice that lies before me, at my craven hesitation. I want to take it, to accept the welcome invitation that would put an end to all my pain, my fear, my hateful self.

I cry out in rage, certain I will not be heard. "Help me, damn it!" I cry blindly to anyone who will listen, though I have long since given up such hope. I drop my head to my bleeding knees, ashamed and self-loathing.

A sudden, startling presence kneels beside me in the darkness. I squirm at the immediate proximity; I can see nothing but I know he is there. And I am overcome by a different kind of fear. He will not harm me-- but he blocks my way to the sea, to the completion of my plan. I could easily go around him, but that would entail moving closer, and I am afraid. I struggle to flee, but an inexplicable weight drops me to my knees again. It is no longer the heaviness of darkness, but a sort of embrace unlike anything I have ever known. I sit there hating him, resisting him, hating myself more than anything. I despise him because I sense something in him I have never known but know I don't deserve. And yet I cannot hate him.

He stays with me throughout the night, unmoved by my obstinate resistance. He says nothing, but his presence remains intense. Morning approaches swiftly. I dread the inevitability of looking into his face. I hear the distant crash of a wave, and a final, futile rebellion seizes me.

"Why are You here?" I scream, terrified of the answer.

When it comes, I know that I have never heard Truth spoken to me until this moment. His Voice strips me of every defense that I have built for myself, every wall that I have raised for my protection and jealously guarded. His answer is simple and undeniable, and yet so unfathomable.

"Child of Mine, I love you."

I am undone.



 
Erin Metcalf
1999

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