Submission — Acacia Johnson

Into The Light

14. Dezember 2014 — MYP No. 16 »My Voice« — Text & Photo: Acacia Johnson

Wind batters the side of the house, thrashing upon the frosted windows in great sheets of wet, blowing snow. Tungsten light spills warm across the floor; I feel it in the wood grain under my toes. I sweep its surface clean, smooth, reflecting the ever-present blueness of the world outside. Tor Edvin stands at the door, lacing his boots, buttoning his coat.

“I’ll go dig out the car.”

A gasp of howling wind shudders through the door at the moment he opens it, snowflakes billowing into the room. I sink my hands into the last of the steaming dishwater, miraculous in its froth and heat. Soon everything is clean, and we are scraping ice from windshields and passenger windows, hands numbing in the storm, and our little world of golden warmth is speeding behind us as we depart town. First, glittering clusters of harbor lights illuminate the roadside; next, the bridge to the mainland glows dimly through the blustery haze. All too soon there is nothing, nothing but us and an eternal blur of white, Tor Edvin at the wheel and glare ice under our tires. Into the oblivion we soar, barreling through an infinite whiteness that descends steadily into indigo.

Hours pass. Heat pours from the little slots in front of the passenger seat and I press my fingers to the warm plastic, fidgeting. I have to tell him, I think. The radio fades in and out of coherence as our car plunges into valleys and crests mountain passes, dipping around corners of remote peaks. Music. Static. Stories. Silence. I watch Tor Edvin watch the road. I watch the road. I watch the mountains and the sky, and the ocean, when we glide alongside its ominous waters. The words won’t come. I close my eyes and watch my dreams. The snow grows thicker. We see no one. I feel small and fragile in the car, a little creature clinging to a precious piece of warmth, bundled so tightly in down and wool and sealskin.
Hours pass and finally there are lights on the horizon, at the seaside. A lone ferry looms through the winter storm, its dark shape a vague silhouette in the wind. We pull our car into its vacuous hold, dropping our coins into the weathered palm of the ticket-taker. Harsh artificial light stings our eyes, reflecting off the melting snow that pools under the car where it sits parked, exhausted and encrusted with ice.

Silence in the wake of the engine. Slowly we unbuckle our seatbelts and open the doors. Our breath comes in clouds that shine silver under fluorescent lights. Our footsteps echo across the empty platform and we slip inside just as the ferry begins the gentle rolling of departure.

Rows upon rows of empty seats greet us, a ghost ship, and I think we have traveled here before, you and I, in some idyllic world of golden sun and endless light. I press my face to the cold windows and watch the glimmering lights grow fainter and fainter until nothing but perpetual blue surrounds the boat and we are leaving this world behind.

Hours pass and there are no streetlights where the ferry finally touches land – just blackness and blowing snow that weaves and snakes across the road in swirling patterns, flakes blasting past the windshield like racing stars. A last chance. The words well up inside, spinning, pressing – but they remain, buried. I try to ignore the increasing slickness of the swerves underneath our tires; trees grow thicker, the darkness deeper. Our isolation, greater.

When we suddenly see it, we know. Home. A little sign in the darkness, a smaller road, a thicker forest, those granite walls caught in the headlights. My heart pounds, yet the fear wins. We have traversed worlds. I leave my words calling and crying out in the abyss behind us, buzzing electric under my skin. We step forward into silence, into the light.