The chirping of crickets was the only thing that broke the silence as I sat in the night’s abyss. It’s strange how different and unfamiliar everything around me appears at night. My eyes surveyed the landscape of my backyard as though I had never seen it. There was a sense of mystery that followed the surrounding darkness.
“Let’s get a fire going. You want to put some wood into the fire pit?”
The question startled me. I gazed over at the bundle of wood sitting next to the fire pit and decided that it was a good idea.
“Sure Justin, just give me a moment.”
I grabbed several logs of wood and threw them in. Immediately, Justin lit a match and tossed it in as well. Slowly, the fire from the match caught onto a piece of wood and began to travel its way over it. We both quietly stared as the tiny candle-sized flame grew in size and brightness. Soon, it illuminated the once mysterious backyard into its former familiar self. We watched in silence as the fire danced in the wind and painted everything around us with its orange embrace. Minutes flew by like seconds. It felt like time drew itself away from us to pardon us this moment.
“Do you feel like you’re progressing?”
I peered over at Justin in confusion but he didn’t turn his gaze towards me. His very demeanor emitted calmness as he sat quietly.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Where you currently are in your life, do you feel as though you are making the steps and decisions to progress?”
His question struck me. It made me wonder if I truly have been. Up until now, what have I truly done to progress myself, not just in my ambitions, but progress as a person? Am I making the efforts to become the best version of myself? What am I working for? What am I chasing? As these questions filled my mind, I was overwhelmed with grief.
“Honestly Justin, I don’t think I do.”
“You know, something that I am in constant fear of is the fact that I could possibly live as though I am truly not alive.”
His words traveled deep within me and they continued to trail off into every corner of my being. There was a heaviness that rested on the air around us. Could I possibly be living as though I’m dead inside? The more this question began to gnaw at me, the more my anxiety and fear grew. I looked at the fire pit and noticed that only the remnants of a few embers remained. In frustration, I sighed as I glanced around and watched as the moon’s light drew shadows over us.
“Perhaps, I have not lived.”