I’d been walking down a dark tunnel with only a seed of hope blooming inside my chest to guide me. I’d been watering this seed of hope, in hope that it wouldn’t die in the darkness, in hope that there was something worth waiting for. I was hoping this hope would keep a spark alive, or maybe ignite a flame. The seed of hope kept my feet moving. Step by step. I’d learned not to strain my eyes peering into the darkness because I never knew when something would leap out at me and even when I thought I might know what it was, I never did. The shadow shapes would always be something different, and often more than what I expected. Like a hand handing me something beautiful and placing it in my heart. Perhaps a friend for my seed of hope.

With every shadow creature that greeted me, turning into beings of bright colour once stepping into the radius of the dim light provided by my seed of hope, new seeds were planted and soon I could feel a garden growing inside of my rib cage, flowers climbing up my bones. I felt like Spring, like no amount of rain could ever drown these flowers. I was a rainbow when colours leaked from my smile and these colours created light.

The glow around me was no longer dim and I was beginning to see more of this tunnel I was in. I could see the shadows of the shadow creatures further away now as they hustled and bustled within the leaves. This tunnel wasn’t dripping with damp remnants of storms or buzzing with wings that only want to rub it in my face that they can fly and I can’t. This tunnel was like a rain forest, with vines and flowers climbing the walls. It started with just a few, but as my steps led on, the foliage became more and more dense. I thought perhaps it was leading to something. This something I’d been waiting for. The end of the tunnel. The new world I’d been hoping for that always seems just a fingertip away, but never is, because I always have to keep walking.

It’s my little garden of hope that kept me going. If I reached the end, all the flowers would detangle themselves from my insides and join the field of fantasy flowers that I (can only) hope awaits at the end of the darkness. I didn’t mind this darkness. This darkness isn’t dark in the way you might think. This isn’t sad darkness. This is simply unknown darkness. I don’t know what’s coming darkness. Because I didn’t know. I didn’t know what was in the darkness, nor did I know what was beyond it. That’s why the hope kept me going. In hope that I’d one day know.

Today I found out.

But at the same time I didn’t. I didn’t learn what’s at the end. But I learned that I’ll never know. It clarified for me what I had been afraid of… that I’d been walking and wearing away my shoes for nothing.

But I saw the end of the tunnel.

My colours had never been brighter and my garden had never smelled sweeter. I saw the end of tunnel. I saw it. But only for a split second. All in the same moment, my heart opened up, my eyes filled with light, the garden inside me leaped free with petals outstretched like tiny fingers, in unison with my own hands. The end was in reach. The moment I’d been waiting for no longer just felt like a finger tip away. It was a fingertip away. But it remained a finger tip away. I saw the golden light. A glimpse of what I’d been yearning for. But it remained a glimpse.

In the same moment everything opened up, everything closed again. My garden couldn’t get any closer to the light than I could, and all the flowers withered and died within a second of not being close to my heart. My flowers needed my heart for the hope and I needed the flowers for it too. But everything was snatched away. In the blink of an eye. It was so quick that I’m not sure it even happened. It almost feels like it was just a dream. But I know it did happen. Because every time I think about the moment the end opened up, I feel the same wrenching feeling inside my chest of my seeds of hope being yanked out by the roots. I have no hope anymore. Because I know I will not reach the world that I wanted to reach. I guess I was just never destined to reach it.

The tunnel slowly dissipated as all of a sudden nothing was an unknown anymore. I knew what was going to happen. Nothing. Nothing was going to happen. After the initial shock of the tearing away, it took a little while for the sinking to happen. The realisation of the reality. Everything was colourful again and nothing was dark. There were no shadow creatures bearing gifts. But nothing was colourful like the hope. Hope is dangerous. Once you know how it feels, you can never go back. Nothing will ever look the same once you know what it feels like to have a fully blooming garden of hope. But today a hopeful possibility and an idea turned into an almost. I almost reached it.

At least now I know, though. At least now I can move on and I no longer have to wander endlessly through a tunnel of unknown and confusion. I no longer have to try and search for comfort in the confusion, while my seeds of hope try and conflict those thoughts. Now I can just be happy where I am without a part of me wanting more. Because with a possibility of more, I’m always going to want to try and chase it. A small something died inside me today. A seed of hope that grew a garden is now compost somewhere. But now I can grow something new and worth growing.

And now I don’t have to waste my water.

Posted by:Lauren Kathleen

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