Silence tattooed its crude abundance into the monotony of my senses. I cannot think of a punishment so harrowing as the torture that is to deny someone of all sound, all beautiful noise. To be heard is a passion, listening is a right. Deprivation of either is the vice of authority.

A hushed room is prison, a hushed mind–sin. 

How to Prepare for the SAT:
  1. Sleep with your SAT review book. Dream with a heightened vocabulary.
  2. Remind yourself that there is a curve, and that it is OKAY to rely solely on it.
  3. Eat a lot of cheap pizza–until your wallet runs dry. Brain fooooood.
  4. Sit by the pool. People watch. It will help prepare you for your essay. 
  5. Surf the internet. 
  6. Reward yourself with a piece of cake every time you answer a practice question.
  7. Scream.
  8. Make a short music video about an SAT test booklet driving ‘round town with the girl you love. 
  9. Recall that many successful people in the entertainment industry did poorly on their SATs. That could be you. 
  10. Who needs college anyway?

It’s quiet here. A perfect silence. Riding under the shade of the aged sea oaks and palms, the call of a cicada can barely be heard. The tires on my bike sketch perfect shadows parallel to the low hanging branches. Spanish moss hangs like a snake and wavers in the wind, indifferent to all that surrounds it. The air is untainted, fresh and light without worry. Life turns slowly among the sea-oats and the sand is made from glass. I’m on island time—wake me at the close. 

There’s something about a place with no means in which to govern itself, save for the natural order of the land.  

I was off on one of those self proclaimed adventures, the kind where you are supposed to go out into the deep expanses of nature and find yourself among the wild things. 

As I hiked into the next valley on the long worn and sometimes wavering trail, the sky opened into absolute hell. I took cover underneath the canopy of a grove of small trees and looked up in awe as thunder struck the sound barrier. A light rain slipped from the rolling storm. The clouds were dark as night and thrust a deep shadow across the dampened land. A bolt of lightning raided the air of peace, and sent small animals scattering beneath the brush. 

I stepped out from the cover of the heavy branches and let the rain take me. I looked up and closed my eyes to let nature soak into my soul. The moment was profound, and I wished it to last a decade. 

The world is filled to the brim with things that will astound you. 

Embrace them. 

I don’t remember much–except falling asleep that is. I recall reaching for my glasses in the morning on the bedside table. I thought that maybe my eyes were sealed shut, it was spring and allergies were a consistent nuisance. I tripped reaching for a wash cloth in the bathroom to clear my face. It was futile. Darkness had impregnated my vision, leaving a perpetual night. I spent ten minutes in the confusion finding the buttons for the emergency number on my phone. There were ambulances, sirens. Rough hands and a stretcher. The sounds of a hospital. Then total block of all my senses. 

In my other life, as I like to call it now, I was a photographer. It was my keen sight for the beautiful, the compelling that kept cash in my pocket. That paid my rent for that expensive apartment. It really was too spacious for me. 

But I’m stubborn as hell. I wasn’t going to give up. I discovered that the only time I found my vision again was in my dreams. I saw everything beautiful once more. And as a member of this fine society, I did what was only logical. 

I capitalized. 

I learned braille. I took classes in typing across those raised boards, my fingers became acute. All my senses became acute. 

Now my photographs are my words. Typed across the page. I describe my dreams, those stunning lands that I travel to in the night. And much better than a photo–my stories are living. 

Literally, by losing what I found most crucial–my wildest dreams have come true. 

It’s funny how things turn out. The good always beats out the bad. 

See you in dreamland. 

From the reserve, that cache of sadness, it creeps. No mental stability–no iron-strong will can halt its digression. A well of emotion rises from the deep and spills over that crumbling, stone cold expression. But the levees hold true, save for a single drop. A lonely tear. It wanders through the barren expanse of the cheek, lost without the warm, familiar embrace of another’s hand. With anticipation, the vagabond finds the limit of the paled skin. Water meets air, sweet sorrow parts with time. Suspended in space, that outcast reaches the end. 

May every tear be cast from there; to be somber is a choice. 

All grief will fade.

Believe in tomorrow–not the past.

It probably wasn’t legal. You know, trespassing and the like. 

The entrance was a roofless cave. Never-trodden, deaf to time. Walking lightly was not an option, our feet painted impressions–molding our guilt. The sea oats were the stalagmites, wet with the wind. The antechamber exposed a vista across the marsh that was incomparable to any other. It stretched into the horizon like an African Savanna. The river ran through the reeds like a lioness, proud and feared alike. It’s kin were the creatures waiting beneath the surface, prey sharp in their sights.Yet, all else was calm. The waves crashed in swells sending impulsing peace into the dunes. 

We were at peace.  

It was a long drive.

My heart was racing with the turn of wheels. The road was rural, it was familiar. The fields were stationary portraits of memories long left behind. I had insisted on driving, it was natural and comforted the anxiety of returning.

I was homeward bound and not a moment too soon–another second and I could never last. I had been gone for what seemed a century or more. Those shooting pangs that scar the soul breached my entirety. I fell into a trance, brief in substance and long in thought. 

I missed them. I missed her. I missed the fresh air of a Southern breeze, the wind of the pacific was stale. The heat of the summer months was something I could only look at with welcome and a peaceful gaze. The splash of the creek, the rush of a storm. The fluid atmosphere, the relaxing manner. 

Suddenly, Family surrounded me in a warm embrace. It was as real as the ground beneath my feet and as flowing as any dream. The walls came crashing down and a smile sent a glimmer of stars dashing across the sky.

Welcome Home.