Although I had decided not to listen to any other self revelations from the recording those three words stayed with me. They weren’t constant but once they started the self maintaining loop, they were worse than any earwig pop song.
Sleep was elusive even when dusk turned to night. My insomnia was a two-pronged problem. On one hand my mind wouldn’t, or couldn’t let go, while on the other I wasn’t ready to return to the darkness of sleep. What might wait for me in the unconscious slumber scared me.
No matter how much I tried to fight the pull of sleep it gained the upper hand on occasion during the night, but it failed to be restful and when morning came I was exhausted and out of sorts.
After the briefest of ablutions I decided that a walk would do me good. The dark corners in my mind that usually retreated with the dawn were more persistent than usual. I needed time in the sun. Donning my shades to hide my tired bloodshot eyes I headed out to the park.
After having walked around for what felt like at least an hour I could feel my spirits rising, while my energy depleted. I decided to sit on the closest bench and enjoy the warmth of the day. I crossed my legs and closed my eyes, leaning back to get the full sun on my face.
I hadn’t been sitting long when a shadow briefly fell across my face. I ignored it until a voice quietly asked, “May I?”
I opened my eyes. A blond man of indeterminate age stood there. He gestured to the bench. He clearly wanted to join me. I gestured back indicating he should feel free to do so.
“Lovely day,” he said as he sat.
I hardly took any notice of him and didn’t want to get into conversation so nodded, hoping that he would take the hint. He was good looking but I hadn’t come to the park to cruise.
“But the shadows remain,” he added in a deeper tone.
Now I was interested. “Sorry?” I asked.
“I know you heard. I know you understand,” the blond stranger told me.
“You wha…?” I began to ask then switched to, “who are you?”
“Someone who knows,” he replied enigmatically.
“Knows what?” I asked him. He knew he had me hooked. He had a satisfied look on his face.
“How it feels, and the answer to that question stuck in your head. But…” He started to stand up.