I once lived in a small cottage hidden away, protected by a bright light and the innocence of young age. Curiosity found me and knocked on my door, until he wasn't easy to ignore. There was a friendliness about him, so I decided to let him in. I was amazed as he told me about all the exciting places he had been. After he left, I told the one I loved that there was something I needed to do, on my own and without him, in this wild world of a zoo.

So I left the cottage behind and tucked the key in my back pocket, ready for a new adventure with some sweet memories in my locket. Eventually I came across a forest filled with the thickest thorns, the sight of which terrified me until my heart felt torn. Had I gone the right way? Why did I suddenly feel all alone? It was a dark day when I realized I was on my own.

Invisible, husky voices whispered through the branches, and I failed to block them out with my mental lances. They promised that if I spoke just one word, they’d make my life so miserable as if I’d wish it never occurred. My inner, silent cry for help was the loudest anyone had ever heard. I was stuck in a maze; the very thought of escaping was absurd. 

I climbed the closest tree, wanting to leap and disappear, but the thud of a rotten apple on the ground caught my ear. It must have been an angel who reminded me of my fears, losing all control as my face became a faucet of tears. 

I walked back the way I came, letting the thorns of the forest press into me and create bloody scars. Yet I knew that something out there was greater than all the planets and stars. I realized that apples really don’t fall far from the tree, and no apology sufficient enough could ever come from me. I had brought myself and my memories into the darkness. In the years that had passed, I survived on pure abjectness. 

While everyone else traveled miles to the land of Euphoria, I ended up returning to the home of Victoria—a messed up, broken, and hypocritical world, waving flags of guilt and shame while those of honor stayed securely furled.

When I arrived at the spot, reality didn’t spare me. The cottage appeared dilapidated, abandoned, dismal, rusty. This couldn’t be it—no way could this be. But when I looked closer, I could fully see that indeed this was where I had previously stayed, where I had laughed, loved, and thereafter strayed.

Now it was infested with worms and mold, all sorts of monstrous creatures you only hear about in tales of old. I had never noticed them before, because they lived underneath. Now in the sudden shock, I could hardly breathe. I called out the name of the one I had loved but heard only the sound of a nearby mourning dove. I started knocking on the door, since I had lost the key somewhere along the way. Then the corner of my eye caught sight of a grave in marbled gray.

My heart grew heavy, as I dropped to the dirt. In that moment, the true meaning of sorry was a lesson that I learnt. I begged God to take me back to the days of before, to reverse, redo, rebuild, and restore; to prove me wrong, that fairytales are in fact myths, to pull me out of this free-falling abyss, and to help me pass this impossible test, so that in peace my memories and I might finally rest, instead of falling away into the ever-increasing decay, where negativity allures and bitterness slays, and where sorrowful songs seem without end. Oh to You, I come in deep need of a friend.

More than a friend, I need a Savior, a change in my heart and a change in behavior. Please change what has become before the pain takes over me, and meanwhile build something new until forever in Your house I may be.

VICTORIA YU Victoria Yu is the author of Perceptions and enjoys writing on Medium. Her love for writing began in the second grade when she first started journaling. She likes to find meaning behind ordinary events and experiment with different writing styles. At the moment, Victoria is excited to be working on a new writing project that examines the intersection between sports and faith.