by C. Ikpoh

Walking alone, you only ever hear one set of foot prints even when you wish you heard two. You look to your side and see no one in a crowd full of familiar faces. Every voice is known. Every name is remembered. Yet, you remain alone. There exists no singular person with whom you relate. Amidst the path, you realize just how alone you are. Words flow over your ear drums, beating, pounding mercilessly with songs of intention. Nevertheless, you are the sole individual marching to the beat which drives you. No one else's music can change that. Many composers have tried and all have failed, leaving you lonely on that path. No halt in your stride is ever long enough to satisfy the hopes of someone catching up or coming back. You have fallen too far behind and are too far ahead. The space on that path is yours and yours alone.


The horizon whispers promises of endless possibilities. Unbeknownst to you, the horizon is the sweetest of liars. Alone, as you have been, is how you will remain. Each step breaching those distant path marks  brings nothing but more of the same reality you have become sewn into. You - are - alone; utterly alone. The pseudo gestures of love are but mere mirages perpetrating your desires, enabling the feeble feet beneath you to keep walking. They are drops of elixir stolen from the fountain of youth to enrich your resolve. Alas, as stolen, those drops never belong to you and they are of no help. All are placebos gauging the distance to your next checkpoint, providing only enough endurance to stumble across it. The horizon lies once more, saying it awaits with open arms. Those arms are never reached though, and they never will be. You try to embrace yourself, but your arms are inadequate. It is then you realize again the space on that path is yours and yours alone.


Understanding is elusive. Who you were, are and shall be to deserve such a fate will never be known. What has, can and will be done is escaping. Where you were, are and will be is indiscernible. When it began, now is and shall be is foreign. However, these inquiries pale in comparison to the one which truly matters. Why you were alone, are alone and will be alone is the only question that is of concern. Never known to be company, masters of knowledge beholding all answers swarm around you. On the tip of their tongues is the readily available solution to your golden inquiry. Their hands conceal their mouths though, preventing any aid as their fingers are nailed into their faces. You shall never become their friend, and they will never remove those nails to speak. The only sound this path wants to generate is that of the ground massaging the soles of your feet as you journey alone. An occasional exception is made to hear you weep however. This noise is amplified, drowning out any echo of dirt underneath your gait. Your soundtrack consists of dust and cries, and is repeating perennially with the subliminal message repeating the space on that path is yours and yours alone.


You shall have nothing. You shall know nothing. You shall share nothing. No life, no heart, no mind nor voice will ever be there to present itself...


"... Hello?..."


"... Yes..."


"... I see you have been traveling alone..."


"... Yes..."


"... May I join you?"


Suddenly, from obscurity, from darkness, from nothing emerges a voice through the wall of despair and sorrow. A hand reaches out and returns your senses to a time before the path was traveled upon. Two sets of footprints begin emerging. You look to your side and see this person materialize from thin air. They are glorious, absolutely glorious. The silent masters of knowledge become cursed by their own gift. They cannot remove their hands to shout their disdain. The horizon cowers in shame when realizing its taunts no longer hold substance. The broken record of your life scratches to an abrupt halt, leaving the sweetest music of golden silence; a comfortable silence shared by you and your savior. They know you need time to enjoy their presence, to allow it to settle. They would never dream of interrupting your joyous moment. Finally, it is you who revels whilst traveling the path. You are bonded to a mate that shall never leave your side. Eternity is exponentially favorable. Walking hand-in-hand with your savior, you exhale, realizing the space on that path is yours, but not yours alone.