in the blink of an eye, i felt the world crumble around me. i pulled my knees to my chest as i curled into a ball and closed my eyes. i prayed that shutting out the light from the world would make the world disappear, and along with it, all those things that scared me. the harder i squeezed my eyes, the less light i could see, but somehow, it didn't make a difference.
try as i might, i knew that when i opened my eyes, the world would be as i had last remembered. or were those images burned into my mind really what i remembered? this time, tears came out when i squeezed my eyes shut, but i knew it was useless. i didn't know up from down, let alone reality from fantasy. what had happened while i was asleep? had the world finally abandoned me with little to hold onto?
for days, i believed i had nothing left in this world. who was i? had it been real? i saw myself walk toward the edge - the edge i knew so well - the edge that had haunted me for so long - the edge. there on the edge, i closed my eyes and wished for the world to disappear, knowing nothing would come of it.
but then i heard my name. faint but distinct. for a second, i thought it was just the wind, but i heard it again. this time, it was closer, right behind me. i took a step away from the edge and opened my eyes. i wanted to turn around, but what would i find? i took a deep breath and swiveled my head just enough to see behind me from the corner of my eye. there was someone there. and he called my name again.
who was he? i turned around completely and faced this stranger. he continued to call my name; it was still the same soft voice i had heard just a minute ago, but clearer. he reached his hand out toward me, beckoning me. he wanted me to come closer. or did he just want me to move away from the edge? both perhaps? i took a step toward him, and another, and another, until i was close enough to touch his hand by reaching out my own. i stopped. what was i doing? he saw the question on my face and stepped forward. he nodded, wanting me to put my hand out.
our fingers touched, and i felt a sudden warm tingling run up my arm. it spread through my body, and there was nothing i could do to stop it. as it coursed through every vein, jumped across every synapse, settled every nerve, i closed my eyes. he stepped forward again, this time his hand enveloping mine. i opened my eyes and turned to look behind me at the edge. i could no longer see it. it had... disappeared. i turned back to the stranger; while i had my head turned, he had positioned himself just inches from me. he stood with my hand still in his and looked down at me. i wanted to run, i tried to run, but my legs did not work. i tried to scream and close my eyes. nothing. he leaned forward, put his mouth to my ear, and whispered, "i'm here."
suddenly the world fell away, and only we remained. he gently let my hands go and closed the last few inches between us. he put his arms around me, and this time he whispered, "we're here." i felt myself drift. i buried my face in his chest. around me, i could feel something changing. i didn't have to look to know that the world was rebuilding itself.