Voice Against the Darkness

by Evelyn Floyd

"Sing for me." I said and he gave me that look, the one that asked, "Do I have to?" I smiled at him and nodded. He looked nervous, and he dropped his head for a moment, wringing his hands together. Then he got up and moved to the other side of the dying fire. When he brought his head up again, I saw a new look in his eyes. It was a look of determination. He would sing for me and it would be great. He was nothing if not a perfectionist.

"What.. what do you want to hear?" He asked, and it only took me a second to decide. I told him which song I wanted him to sing. He frowned, asking if I was sure. I nodded. A sad look flitted across his face, but as soon as it appeared, it was gone. He was a performer and he would give the audience what they wanted, even if his audience was just a single person.

I sat back, watching him and the backdrop of the night time forest seemed to be the perfect stage for him. His voice started soft and low, so soft that I could barely hear him over the crickets in the grass all around us. But as the song progressed, as he got along farther into the lyrics, to the chorus, his talent as a singer began to shine through.

I began to sing along with him, not loud, just under my breath. He sang the song, but I lived those words. I rode the river of the words he sang, I lived in the memories of my past, and then, as always happened when I heard the song All By Myself, I began to get emotional. The tears began to roll down my face and I heard him falter. I lifted my head and I waved for him to continue singing. "Finish the song." I gasped, my voice thick with emotion, "please."

He lifted his voice and the sounds of the crickets faded into the background. There was no music; it was just his voice against the darkness, and it was, as always, everything I could ask for. When he got to the part about love being the cure, I completely lost it and began bawling like a lost child.

And then he was there, holding me in his arms, trying to comfort me, and apologizing for making me cry. He kissed me and comforted me, and I let him, because he was the cure. He was the love I had been looking for my whole life. I was old enough to be his father, but that really didn't matter, to him or to me.

Finally, I got myself under control. I pushed him away, but not too far, I made sure to keep a hold of one of his hands. I used the other to wipe at my eyes. When I lifted my head to look him in his eyes, he gave me a gentle smile. He asked me why I had asked him to sing that song, given the fact that it upset me so much.

Now it was my turn to smile. "Because it reminds me of how important you are to me, and of how much I love you." He blushed, feeling suddenly self conscious. I pulled him against me and the fire suddenly flared up, pushing away the darkness, just like the darkness of my memories were pushed away by his presence. We sat for a long time in the dark, taking comfort from the fire and from each other.

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