“My throat seized up, and I could feel my gut wrenching as I rose my hand to knock on the door. I clenched my fist and felt the weakness of my hand as my brain took any strength from my body and sent it straight to my stomach to compensate for the turmoil that it was in. Gently, and almost too lightly to even be heard, I knocked on the door, hoping that they wouldn’t hear the knock. ‘If they can’t hear me knocking,’ I reasoned, ‘then I can justify leaving.’ It was a shameful thought. Fortunately, at least for the sake of my guilt, the door was answered very quickly. They must have been on edge waiting for my arrival. As the door slowly swung open, I saw the most burdensome face I had ever seen in my life. The girl’s mother was standing before me. Her eyes were bloodshot and heavy, and her cheeks drooped as if they were struggling to hold up the weight of her jaw, which was also drooping heavily. Her hair was extremely thin, like that of an aged woman lying on her deathbed while one after another her members relinquish any control they have left to try and remain full and alive. Her eyes brought life and form to sorrow. They were filled with everything that defines what it is to be alive: hope in the midst of hopelessness, peace in the midst of overbearing stress, and trust in the midst of being led through uncharted waters with only miles of darkness in sight. As I gazed into her eyes, I felt my soul being sucked out of my body, and I felt heavy, as if I were standing underwater.

She slowly stepped out of my way with a welcomeness that brought reassurance to me. I waded through the thick mass of emotional density in the room as I walked inside. The girl’s father was sitting on a sturdy, wooden chair, leaning in with his elbows on his knees. He turned his head toward me and greeted me with a look that closely resembled that of his wife’s, yet it revealed a vast uniqueness of its own. His hair was thick and wavy, with deep ridges in it that surely must have come from countless strokes of his fingers. His jaw was long and firm, and his skin was deep and heavily weathered, yet his eyes were unmistakably calm. If his eyes had looked any different, I most certainly would have felt a lack of connection with him. He was brawny and masculine, the way every young boy aspires to be at some point in his life, yet his eyes brought so much depth to him. Instantly, he was a man that I wanted to know. The amount of trust in his eyes was baffling, and almost unnerving, to me. He made me question myself. I had never seen so much trust in a person’s eyes in regards to me, and certainly never from a man of his stature.

The third person I saw, however, brought the most memorable feeling of all. The girl whom I had come to see was lying across two chairs with 3 thick blankets covering her. Her eyes were almost completely closed, yet I wish they had been fully closed. A dim whiteness broke through the thin space that kept them from being closed, and it was the most lifeless sight I had ever seen. Her body showed absolutely no signs whatsoever of any remaining life. It was as if every part of her body had given up. Her beauty, however, was sobering. It was the only thing that assured me that life still remained. There were no immediate signs of any long-lasting turmoil. Her beauty wasn’t completely innocent, yet it appeared to have kept every possible amount of childhood innocence. She was a flower growing bountifully in the valley of death. I immediately felt out of place when I looked at her. I felt as if my eyes weren’t pure enough to gaze upon such lasting beauty. I had come for a very specific purpose, yet in that moment, I had no idea why I was there, and that thought gripped me with fear as I struggled to hide my cluelessness. I realized now, that all of my previous experience counted for nothing. This moment was brand new, and I had no idea where to begin.”


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