Sometimes, when darkness seems like the easiest path, I think of a woman I know. I don't know all the details of her life--do we ever, really? But I do know this: She has been through the darkness. Even so, she has embraced and remembered and carried and shone the light. She reminds me of that knowledge I've been given. She reminds me that even in the dark, there is always the sliver of perfect light waiting inside.This story was inspired by her.
Once, there was a little sliver of a thing. It floated, happy, in a great water. Warmth surrounded it and beauty was its home. Above, brightness danced and filtered and cascaded slowly down. Below, shadows slipped and whispered. Bright colors zipped and zagged, darting this way and that.
The little sliver could not imagine a better place to be.
One day, the little sliver caught hold of a current and road it down, down, down. Current riding was a favorite past time, and the little sliver would have screamed with joy had it a mouth.
This time, the ride was different. The little sliver didn't catch the current back up; instead, it tumbled into the soft depths of something new.
The little sliver, being comprised of fairly laidback molecules, was not, at first, alarmed. The new place was warm and salty and dark. It was as good a place as any to settle in for a rest. The sliver rested for a while. It considered leaving, but let security lull it into a longer sleep. There was always tomorrow for current riding and brightness watching.
Had the little sliver been a timekeeper, it would have marked the passing of days, weeks, years within the dark, salty prison. As it was, the little sliver only knew that it wasn't happy at the changes; it wasn't happy in the prison. It wasn't happy about anything at all.
The little sliver dreamt of bright colors and light dancing. It dreamt of current rides and shadow whispers. The little sliver, who was a philosophical sort, considered that all those good things had only been a dream. Maybe they didn't exist at all. Maybe life was only this dark, salty existence.
More time passed, and the little sliver wanted to begin to believe only in the darkness and salt. It would be easier to exist, just believing those things. But it couldn't shake the wispy memories of color and sun and current. Always, deep down within itself—beneath the shell growing daily—was the memory of something greater. Of something glorious and filled with light.
So the little sliver passed its time, struggling to discover within itself more of that beautiful memory.
One day, a miracle occurred. The dark, wet, salty thing jostled and shook. Current rushed around, washing the round, hard thing that the little sliver had become. Above, a crack appeared. Light bloomed in the darkness. Color crashed in on all sides. The little sliver felt something in itself give way, explode, join with the beauty that surrounded it.
The little sliver could never quite explain—even if it had the mouth and words to do so—what occurred on the journey that began with the crack of light. It understood, only, that it was being changed. It was being remade. Its remaking, which had begun in the salty, terrible depths of darkness, was being completed.
A word bloomed, complete and pure, in the heart of the little sliver; if it had a mouth, the little sliver would have cried, "Home!"