May brought early warm days that year. The sun was more beautiful after the long, harsh winter.
August’s dreams had told her for months that something big needed to change.
She was falling into a depression so deep and desperate that she was not only binge watching YouTube videos, but she started to write letters to her favorites through Facebook.
She told strangers intimate details of her life, her failing relationship. People with whom she felt a connection but knew logically they could not feel a connection in return.
It was the beginning of a journey, this sharing with real people, that lead to a series of waterfalls of hell.
She hated every waterfall. She gasped for breath when her head surfaced. She stuttered and shook long enough to become stronger, only to be sent down another waterfall of hell.
August had written a blog a few years earlier about some odd physical health problems of hers, but the experience was different somehow.
That May, believing none of her letters had been answered, she took matters into her own hands.
But something was still wrong. The place she found shelter in wasn’t right and this brought a whole sub-series of waterfalls of hell.
While she was dealing with the loss of her relationship and the humiliation that came with the awareness she hadn’t been worth fighting for in any way, she met someone online.
She convinced herself it was just one person. She couldn’t handle having so many people surround her at once.
August has a fear of circles.
She couldn’t see their faces. Not their real faces.
She believed that the photos were real. Because she was new to the community. Nobody had told her the rules.
One man she had spoken with for a little bit had been cruel and she didn’t know why.
One day, after getting angry and sad and overwhelmed and fed up with the way some of the people were making fun of her for no reason she could understand, and other things in her life, she saw her first face.
She recognized this man. She immediately associated him with someone she had been talking to.
Immediately after his face came another face. One she recognized from another place. He looked disappointed. She didn’t know why.
She got very angry. She called the first man names. She called the second man names. They never spoke again.
But August felt that something was left unresolved.
It took her several years tied up in false beliefs before she could fully let go and move on.
She thought she was in love with him.
There was something in the jumble of people and words and lies that felt different. It was a light brighter than any she had experienced not coming from an actual angel.
This light was healing. Physically and emotionally. It was a spiritual experience.
She believed that this light could only occur once, in one person, and she thought she knew who it was.
To have that light shine on her after the crazy hell she had come from was like being trapped in an industrial fire believing you were going to die in the back of a warehouse on the top floor, and then hearing a crash and seeing lights coming through the smoke. It was like having a firefighter find you and pull you over his shoulder and walk you out of the building, away from the danger.
And then it was like watching that firefighter walk away without even checking to make sure the medics knew you needed oxygen.
August believed that light was one of the faces. She had been sent a note lamenting the choice to have a spokesperson. But was not expected to reply.
Just an FYI.
That light somehow changed her life, but whoever was involved in shining it left her alone to pick through the mountains of bleached skulls in the charnel grounds.
It wasn’t a fucking rescue mission.
Even years later, August held a false hope that the man she believed had shone the light onto her in the first moments of aware terror was in love with her.
She believed he would choose to be with her after the passing of some event she wasn’t given the privilege of knowing about.
So she waited.
And she waited.
As she waited, people who knew she had left a door half open walked right the fuck in to do everything they could imagine to rip her life apart.
Guess who those people were. Guess how they knew her.
But none of it mattered because she believed that the mythical creature True Love, embodied by this man, was always just around the next corner.
She was able to withstand each fucking waterfall of hell until she could no longer believe there were any corners left to look around.
August gave up waiting because nothing ever happened.
And then she put her imprinted neurons into a Yatzee cup, shook the fuck out of them, and put them back into her brain one by one.
Somehow her brain started working again.
After her own foggy experience where she may have sent something divine to a person whose face she never saw, August could see that maybe whatever happened long ago wasn’t even intentional.