Emmanuel Sanchez Angel Guzman is a senior at PLU majoring in English writing with minors in Literature and Publishing and Printing Arts. His writing comes from a place of wonder, and is inspired by music and emotion in equal parts. He hopes you always keep a curious heart.
It happens during the quietest hour of the night as I lay in my room, looking at the stained, white ceiling, counting all the scratches I can see in the inky blackness. After my eyes have adjusted to the lack of color, the thoughts creep up on me from the parts of my mind that I fear more than anything. My heart begins to race, my breathing comes in short gasps, and I begin to hate this cool blanket that wraps around me like a noose, constricting my lungs. I twist my head, desperately trying to make out the title of a book—any book in my room, needing to lose myself in another world. But my eyesight fails me. Instead, I squeeze my eyes shut, curl myself into a ball, and create a new world—one that doesn’t have night. Slowly, too slowly my heart stills, my mind wanders, and I find myself staring at the sun outside my window. I sit up, taking in my honey colored dresser, my brown-black bookcase, and dusky black desk in the corner of my room. A smile forms, and I reach up to rub the sleep out of my eyes, feeling the knife in my hand for the first time. The thoughts come back almost instantly and the urge to plunge the knife deep into my heart draws my hand closer, coercing the gleaming tip to seek the depths of my life, to sever it from the chains of my flesh. My room turns black once again as I wake up, taking in shaky breaths, willing the air back into my lungs. All I can focus on is the fan spinning rhythmically over my head. I breathe in deeply, close my eyes one more time, and whisper into the night “Am I going to live through this?” The only response comes from my heart, slowly beating through the night.
How do you sleep?
One, two, three, four, five. He heard the slap echo around the house, felt the pain from skin striking flesh reverberate through the walls, burrowing deep into his bones. It was half past midnight but the boy lay wide awake—body tense—moving only to flinch after each slap broke the silence in his parents’ room. He knew what came after the slapping. One, two, three, four, five. The heavy scent of liquor tore into his lungs as the door to his room silently slid open. A crack in the window blinds let in enough moonlight to reveal a pair of feet enveloped by shadow. In the presence of his father he forgot to still his heart, each quickening breath risked his being discovered. Time slowly ceased to exist as he closed his eyes and rolled onto his side. He flinched one last time as a too familiar weight joined him on the bed. He didn’t need sight to know that a hand was moving towards him, reaching through the shadows to claim his body. It gently traced circles on his back, trying to comfort. He almost recoiled at the absence of space this hand created, almost gave himself away to his predator. The hand stopped, “¿Mijo, estas despierto?” He knew what stillness meant. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
The water swells, a small wave coming to greet my feet covered with gritty bits of sand. Through the clouds, a bright yellow moon looms. It captures my attention as my thoughts wander. Yet, they too, linger on the cracked surface of the moon, on the cracked surface of my heart. I am alive only for a moment on this sphere suspended by a string called gravity. Yet I am born with the light of the moon and the breath of the stars. Moonchild, I call myself. And as I stand on this shore, I see the horizon. I become the horizon. I am the horizon: empty. And I pray that the string would just snap, letting me finally fall into the dark unknown. But what is a prayer if not a cry for help? A silent plea thrust into the world— this cruel and beautiful world.