Lion in the Sky

reading time: 3 minutes

Written By: Travis Knight

Illustration By: Joshua Maddock

Sometimes I like to believe that it’s already waiting there,
yearning for my use when the waves grow too turbulent.
A cold ring,
but much heavier than a finger cloak.
This dense,
brittle ring,
it teeters top-heavy,
and might just be my ticket out of here.

A smile wiggles and stretches into a smirk.
No more pain,
confusion, expectations, letdowns.
and sleepless nights,
for the ones I love.
No more tear-ridden eyes,
deepening caves in sullen faces,
for the ones I love.
Those eyes that once shone with hope,
now pant exhaustively,
overworked,
beaten,
and exempt from ever smiling again.
All because of I,
silly weakened I,
no longer stands on strong feet;
no longer stands up straight with confident gait,
and strength for all.
No.
This metamorphosis has met its final stage.
Early?
Questionable.
I’m not sure if a time-limit lurks for this specificity;
it’s not like learning to walk.

Lightening blindly explodes throughout the room,
just like so many adored Florida-thunderstorms from my past,
and then,

the roller coaster unfolds.

A flamboyant woman pronounces us man and wife on a brisk, Vegas night.

My long hair blows freely on the Interstate 5 —northbound— with friends and brothers chuckling; good times all around.

The sand crusts my tears on a Davenport beach, my love’s head sadly resting on my shaking shoulder. I find beauty in myself once again; redemption.

A coconut plops with a heavy thud as my cousins and I climb a towering tree in West Palm,
blinded by innocence;
knowing not that one of us will never make it to that achieved age–the age which meets that of our grand-folk.

The pitter-putter of a tattered golf cart screams through a Providence night, as the midnight dark hair of my compadre flows effortlessly above a contagious smile; eternal brothers.

“Check this out,” the voice of a lifelong friend says, as he shows me my first, raw skate clip on a one-chip camera; road dogs for life.

The mouth of a rental car gobbles up the yellow lines of a barren highway, and that smile—oh that beautiful smile—now lost and gone—lie on your face brighter than the brilliant day about. If God exists, we found it that day.

Then the thunder claps.
An inevitable event to any atmospheric flash.
Finally,
what my toiled dreams have projected,
finally,
breathes forth.

Now I can hear it.

Those peaceful mid-summer afternoons,
those adored Florida rain showers.

So utterly powerful and boisterous,
yet lulling and soothing.
Knowing that the chaos lies so far off,
gracing us with an elegant sonata,
as a small, newfound family cuddles in a cluttered apartment.
Safe, and with each other.
Then the cold ring burns hot,
but just for a moment;
just a tinge of discomfort, and then…

Every story has an end,
or so it seems.
I think most just struggle to find their way back;
back from the other side.
Because there is no return,
once you have left the comfort of your abode,
your memories,
your love;
once you have pierced and plundered into,
an adored Florida thunderstorm.
Such a comforting place then,
at the beginning of my life,
but now a means to an end,
marking the end of this strife.

Roar, Lion in the Sky, roar…
Because now,
and at last,
I am coming home.

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