Shelter From The Storm
by Claire Epting
You’re safe. You’re safe. I love you and you’re safe. I repeat this over and over in my
head as I lie in bed panting from another vivid nightmare. One where our planet was
eaten alive by the sun’s flames. One where I had caught an illness, filling my lungs with
clay until I could not breathe. Each time I emerge, I suspect it is your arm around me,
gently lassoing my waist back into dark, warm reality. Then I remember that you left me
in January, and the sensation is only my wool blanket, wrapped tightly from fits of
unrest. The familiar weight begins to settle in my chest like a sinking stone: I am alone.
Maybe I should get a dog.
When I walk across the bridge, I believe I see your face in every car that passes by. I
stare each one down, analyzing its cargo for your hair, your eyes, your nose. That
gentle smile that once lit up my life. I have lived like this for months. I must appear
insane. Of the hundreds of cars that pass, one of them could be you. It is this that keeps
me walking. I walk further among the rows and rows of homes, all aglow from within.
Then I hear it, pouring out from an open window.
The sound of that voice that has called the loneliest of hearts like a siren to the sea
"Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue, the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
Come in, she said
I'll give you shelter from the storm"
All this time since you left me, I had been living in the storm. Waiting for you to end it by
telling me you missed me. Waiting for you to let me back inside. All the while, I’d been
soaking myself to the bone in an act of…
Was it devotion? Defiance? I will never know.
But there are times when the best resolution is dissolution. The battle between the
relentless pelting rain and feeble man is never lost nor won. Rather, the storm is simply
ended. There are no rights, no wrongs, no glory. Only the stretching of thick charcoal
clouds by invisible hands, revealing the light. The sweet, unfiltered light. I look at the
distant San Gabriel mountains ablaze with pinks and oranges in the setting sun.
Finally, it dawns on me.
My storm had ended. And you had not said a word to me at all.
Claire Epting is an actor, writer, and musician based out of Los Angeles, CA. She grew up on the shores of Huntington Beach, CA, where she developed a love for the ocean and its hidden depths. A recent graduate of Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, Epting has contributed work for publications including Screencrush, TIME for Kids, Ranker, and Merry-Go-Round magazine. When not writing, you can find her at the local farmer’s market, a secluded hiking trail, or a cute coffee shop pretending to get work done.