Jennifer Angelina Petro
No One was there when I opened the door after being awoken by a frantic knocking. I stood there, afraid, and yet, by some miracle, invited No One in. I cleared off a chair and invited No One to sit down. I asked if they needed a drink of water. They nodded yes. I turned to get some water and No One started weeping. I stopped, knelt at No One’s side, and took their hand. No One wept like a torrent of rain. They collapsed off the chair and into my arms. They started to try to speak through the sobs. I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I caught pieces of words and phrases: Lonely, please, it’s chasing me, afraid, tired. I rocked No One in my arms and they wept for a long time. In fact, Time stepped aside and let us be together for as long as No One needed. I was grateful for Time for letting go of control and allowing No One’s pain to be witnessed in the kind of timelessness they reserve for dreams.
No One gradually wept into a deep sleep. I stayed there, holding them in my arms on the floor. My legs started tingling and falling asleep. I got up slowly and lifted No One into bed. I stroked their hair and pulled the blanket up over their deeply breathing body. I sat down in the chair and wondered why No One had come to me. Who, or what was chasing them? What could I do to help? And with those thoughts drifting through my heart like wisps of mist, I too fell into a deep sleep.
Inside (or outside?) my dream, No One had risen from the bed and stood radiant and strong, alive. I watched in awe as No One began to change their form. Their body shifted and fluttered, lighting up like a million fireflies, taking on other shapes and forms, until, at last, No One had transformed into Everyone, and it was then I understood why they had come. But then, Everyone too began changing shape. Their illumination settled a bit, and their form, a moment ago like a sun that somehow fit into the space of my apartment, began to shrink in size. As Everyone continued to distill in form and intensity, their light became focused and channeled to a specific spot in the room. It was then I understood why Everyone had changed. They had changed, wonder of wonders, into myself. And yet somehow, Everyone was still there. We were one being, one light, one heart. And No One suddenly flickered into the room, never to be alone again. And I let myself, wonder of wonders, be embraced by Everyone, as they rocked me in their arms, for I had collapsed from the chair weeping like the rain.