The house is dark and silent when you’re the only one in it. Your feet move slowly, leaden; the world has a weight it didn’t have before, it presses in on you. You go through the motions of eating, but food sits in your stomach like stones. You can’t sleep with the space in the bed next to you, and the dark lies on your eyelids. In the world outside you stand shadowed and cumbersome while the chatter of others lifts and darts, like fireflies. You were warned about grief, but you didn’t expect this – this dense, tangible creature with the heavy feet.

Every morning you stand on the balcony in the cold twilight of dawn, and watch for the sun to rise. But it never does.

One day it will. You will be surprised to hear the ponderous tread ring lighter through the house. The dark, alone at night, will gradually cease to press, and will embrace you softly as it used to.  You will move out of the shadows and your words will tentatively gleam and whirl.

One day you will stand on the balcony in the cold twilight of dawn, and the sun will flood the sky with light. Your heels will lift from the stone, and you will spread your arms and rise, like the bubble of the sun, into the golden air. You are as light as nothing: you ride on the wind that blows through you. You may never stop going up.

10 thoughts on “Light”

  1. Fantastic piece of writing. Sad, but beautiful.
    It flows so nicely. Each sentence feels crafted, like you’ve lovingly moulded and poked it until it’s ready.
    Very emotive and conjure-y.

  2. Thank you – I’m glad it worked for you. It is indeed extremely crafted, I spent two days tweaking it – one of the reason a lot of my writing never sees the light of day is because I craft it obsessively and never feel it’s right. This is almost right, but looking back at it now I can see things that need more tweaking. For example, that sentence “The dark, alone at night, will gradually cease to press” is awkward and needs reshaping. But at this stage I feel that would be cheating :>.

  3. Fantastic writing. Love the complex mix of despair and hope. Came across to me as honest and beautiful.

    Your writing is crafted and careful and I feel unqualified to critique at all but that is the point.
    Love the change in tense from the dark present to imagined bright future.
    Love almost all your metaphor like: ‘tangible creature with the heavy feet’ and ‘chatter of others lifts and darts, like fireflies’. – fantastic, visual and thoughtful
    But ‘food sits in your stomach like stones’ jarred by comparison; also ‘as light as nothing’ left my brain reeling in a distracting way for such a gentle piece.

    The last paragraph must have been the most difficult; so few words left to get the uplifting-ness rocking. It all worked very well for me but I felt the very last sentence was slightly too ‘much’ for my taste.

    Wish I could have written this…

  4. I thought this was a beautiful and emotional piece of writing. The imagery is powerful. I particularly love “you stand shadowed and cumbersome while the chatter of others lifts and darts, like fireflies”. That imagery is fantastic and the feeling recognisable, and I love the use of cumbersome.

    It is difficult to criticise this piece, as it is so beautifully and carefully crafted, but I have two comments. The addition of “heavy feet” to the description of grief evokes large hobbit-feet for me, which interferes with the mood a little. I agree with docinatrix about the “dark, alone at night, ” sentence – the beginning is a bit clumsy, but I love the comparison of darkness memes at the end.

  5. This has a great vibe, beautiful density. I love the transition from present to future to present tense as a way of making time move – it works great and gives the story momentum. Particularly liked the firefly sentence – evocative and the reference to light really works.

    The first section has a few awkward lines: the stones line; the repetition of “feet” and “dark” in a piece this short; the “dark, alone at night” that does not quite gel. “Tentatively” can go, and so can “through the house” in my view, but this is nitpicking.

    The main thing to watch out for when describing grief is that it’s possible to sound like the main character is feeling sorry for themselves. This may well be the case and the intention, but I thought it was genuine, pure grief, and in that case the reader’s sympathy should never waiver. Some of the first section does sound a little too elaborately described to maintain that sympathy. I am not sure if anything can be done about that, and it is not a major issue.

    Thank you for writing a story, nice lady :)

  6. This seems to me to be a piece about living with grief after losing a loved one. It offers hope that at some point the grief will pass.

    I think this is a beautiful piece of writing. What works the most for me is the great sense of timing and rhythm in each sentence. For instance, “Your feet move slowly, leaden; the world has a weight it didn’t have before, it presses in on you.” Lovely.

    I wanted to offer something more constructively helpful; my apologies, but I can’t offer much. AHS said that “as light as nothing” distracted him; it didn’t distract me, but it does stand out slightly. Perhaps its the tense change, but I’m undecided.

    Thanks for sharing your work!

  7. Loved it. Some bits were a bit much, I think, I don’t see the linking of “tentatively” with something as active as “gleam and whirl”, for instance. But I really liked the visual of the last paragraph.

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