These entries from October's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "October Writing Challenge."
To Be Happy
He had fireflies in his soul. When it was dark, they had expelled the grey clouds within him. The years continued on, and his friends had fallen one by one. They were lost too deep to keep from drowning. He turned away from their darkness, refusing to brighten it, afraid he might sink alongside. They were ships lost in an ocean, and for so long he had been their lighthouse, guiding them to shore. But this time, they were too far out for his fingers to reach. This time, he left them in the storm.
She smiled, and its brightness radiated through his soul. He swore he was in love. Suddenly a shared laugh sparked happiness for a whole day. She captured his imagination, and it was all he had ever wanted. She was a feather who floated into his life and, unexpectedly, landed on his heart. Every touch, every smile — he was in a state of euphoria. She had been scared of what she didn’t understand, but with him, she was free. They danced, and above them the sky was yellow — the color of happiness. It was the color of sun and summer and friendship. They were gold, hearts overflowing with the taste of bliss.
But then, all at once, it was gone. It seemed as though she was ash, the dust of a memory, ready to escape with the wind. They were a photograph fading and tearing. He was hollow. A hole had formed in his chest where the sun used to be. The gold drained from his heart. His skin was bare, and he had forgotten life before her presence. The dark night opened up above him, and summer became fall. The indigo sky melted over the city, as stars appeared in the black night, ready to swallow him whole. And he almost let them.
It was a long walk home, for returning to the past is never said to be easy. He saw his friends still struggling between the cracks. And although it would be easy to fall alongside them, there was a smile leftover on his lips. It was hope, a spark of light. And there he looked within, and saw the fireflies inside him. They were dying, but it wasn’t too late. So he smiled at his friends, still drowning in their tears. And he hugged them. Because even when the darkness surrounded him, he found the light. It was flowing — inside out. Happiness was just a word before he gave it meaning. There was a light beyond the clouds. Maybe only he could see it, but it was there. He walked towards it, guided by the dancing lights within.
He asks me if I got everything ready, and I only see myself nodding in return. The sinking feeling inside my gut is starting to devour my innards, but I try to shove it off my mind. He goes inside the lighthouse, and there I look at my creation. The photographs he took with her as the subject of every single portrait festooned on the ceiling, some white feathers strewn on the ground, and the fronds I personally picked from our backyard. I’ve long believed that I do have a knack in designing. Now that I think of it, I shouldn’t have said yes when he asked me to help him woo her. But she’s the first person to ever attract him this much and make him smile the way I couldn’t, so how can I say no? How could I when the only way to be with him was to be their bridge. That the only way I could stare at his face was when he would tell me stories about her, how their day went, how he loves her so much that the words have tethered me every time he says it because it’s not for me but for the girl whom he truly adores. If being their bridge has to be the only way to still keep seeing his face glitter, though it’s not because of me, then so be it.
Memories by the Ocean Side
And to this day, I look back on that photograph.
To the day we left our hometown in the city and adventured to the ocean.
The day I brought my camera, deciding to give photography a try again.
The day where I felt more alive than ever.
My heart as light as a feather.
For the first time in forever.
We were only two young kids, still yet to grow up.
Young and experiencing love for the first time.
Sometimes life feels like one big movie. One beautifully complex novel.
I still remember the sunset was so brilliant.
I still remember how you said it looked like lovely autumn leaves.
And we found that old lighthouse. It was dark and broken.
I was scared to explore it.
But you took my hand and I felt alright.
There we watched that sky until it faded into a starry night.
We talked for hours. About existence and how strange everything is.
The sound of waves soothed us as we shared our dreams.
I still remember the way you smiled at me so brightly.
Brighter than any city lights.
Than any autumn sunset.
Your eyes sparkled in the moonlight.
It was then I knew I would never forget this moment.
I had to snap a picture. It was the only one I took that night.
………………He may be gone, but I can never forget.
I still wonder if he remembers too.
The lighthouse may have been abandoned and empty, but it was full of moments and memories made there.
Heavy with nostalgia. With feelings.
And now it’s a cold autumn day. And the leaves remind me of that sunset that felt as if it belonged to us.
So I will just keep writing, until my heart feels as light as a feather once more.
For the memories will remain infinite in these words of mine.
In this mind I have.
And in this photograph I stare at.