I was walking to the car. The schoolbag was heavy and my shoes were anchors strapped to my feet. Through squinted eyes I saw it up the hill, the once red Honda wagon, and the beat of my footsteps against the cracked concrete slowed. I shoved my bag into the boot and trudged to the passenger side door. As I climbed in I was careful not to knock my headphones. The engine revved and the car pulled out of the gutter. My forehead rested against the vibrating glass and my eyelids half covered my staring eyes. I heard her voice augmenting beside me and increased the volume of my music. Heavy metal screamed at me and so did she. But in the end, the music always won. Her throat grew hoarse but in my ears the next song played.
The car rolled to a stop. I remained still and tensed for the thud that shuddered the entire vehicle and then the second, more muffled door slam a few seconds later. I lumbered out of the car and retrieved my bag. I was hopeful, so I went to the front door, but the knob wouldn’t turn. Without a glance at the dent in the wood the size of my foot, I traipsed around the side of the house and forced up the window. I tossed my bag in and dragged myself through, my feet thumping against the face of the nightstand. I yanked the cords from my ears and threw them onto the desk littered with papers and wrappers and dinner plates. My bag slammed against the wall in my closet and my shoes followed one by one. Exhaling deeply, I fell backward onto the bed. I stared at the crack in the ceiling for a while, my shallow breaths allowing the musty air to cloud by nostrils, before my eyes slowly closed.
When they opened again, the room around me was thick with darkness, and pale light streamed through the open window. I groaned as I heaved myself out of bed. Only when standing did I feel the growling in my stomach. I eased the door open and plodded into the kitchen, my socks smothering the sound of footsteps on the wood. My eyes scanned the empty bench chairs and the dining room table before I opened the refrigerator. Its yellow light illuminated my face, yet deepened my shadow. I spread mayonnaise on bread and piled ham and cheese on top then dumped it on a plate. Turning, I walked back to my room, leaving the loaf and the chopping board on the bench. I ate on my bed, staring at the floor, at the perfectly square patch of light seeping into the floorboards. I watched how it gushed through the glass, its glow lustrous yet soft. My mouth slackened mid-chew and my shoulders tensed when I saw it. The fluidity associated with breathing suddenly seemed a long forgotten concept and my throat rasped with every breath, my eyes growing wider each inhalation. I felt my heartbeat in my mouth when I saw the light move. Flickers of incandescence danced in the air, constituting space. The plate fell off my lap and clattered on the floor as I slowly stood. I moved forward, my hand reaching, until my skin made contact with the rippling beam. Laughter burst from my lips, the sound bubbling from the depths of my stomach and spilling from my mouth, as my fingers grazed the circulating gleam. The cells blanketing my sensitive skin burst with feeling, the tingle of silken warmth sinking through flesh and embedding itself into bone. My hand, immersed in a sense of weightlessness and thriving pulsation, throbbed tenderly with the scintillating light. My eyes followed the undulating waves to the pane through which they tumbled. The light bespattered the glass in swirling patterns, resembling a snowflake consisted of luminosity. I stepped forward until I was submerged in the pulsing lustre, my body engulfed by its glistening swirls. Submerged, my body was drenched in the light, its tendrils kissing through skin and mingling with my blood, flooding my veins and encrusting itself into my marrow. Trembling softly I walked to the window and climbed through, the icy wind licking my illuminated cells. I closed my eyes and inhaled the crisp air, allowing it to flood my lungs and fill my chest. And when my eyelids fluttered open, I saw it before me. The streak of coruscating white above the grass. Pure radiance taking a physical form, igniting the air it touches with an undyed flame. And emitting from it was the living glow, the surging light that bathed me to my core. There were no thoughts, no attempts at comprehension, no flickers of disbelief across my face. I stood, my mouth ajar and my hands limp, as the luminescence blended with the colour in my widened eyes. Inside me my heart sang, its song tearing from my chest with a pain felt deeper than the breaking of skin; than the internal screaming that once filled my mind. But never has an aching been more welcome, never has pain healed what inside me was broken. Tears poured from both heart and my eyes as I beheld the light before me.
All through the night it shone to me, alive in the darkness, and with it I stayed until the golden streaks began to smear the indigo sky from the east. And with the gathering of daylight, the beaming white faded, until my half-opened eyes could no longer see it at all. I dragged my feet to the window and hauled myself through, not bothering to rise when I stumbled and fell. I lay sprawled on the wood, my eyelids drooping, and when they closed memories of the light danced in the darkness. I didn’t cringe as she burst into the room. I didn’t fight her when she shook me awake. I didn’t scream inside when beside me she sat, the car a cage to her as much as it was to me. I didn’t need to escape, because deep inside I knew that the light was waiting for me in the