By Kathleen Locklear

It is hard to describe what I do, but the most accurate I can think of would have to be with shards. Imagine you, surrounded by pitch black darkness, and your friends. You hold shards in your hands, sharp and jagged, dark yet glowing dully. You are responsible for guarding them with all your being, keeping them a secret between you and each person who gave them to you. Each of your friends gave you different shards. Your friends come to you in their times of need with tears of pain, and you reach out to them, embracing them and sharing their pain, hearing their stories, giving advice, and embracing the shards as they are given to you. You do not want them, do not want your friend to have them and need to give them to you, but you will take them because it will relieve their pain. You do not care that these shards cut you, make you bleed, as you cannot put them down and cannot share the burden with anyone. It is simply impossible, and you would never betray your friend like that. You stand in the darkness, looking hopefully for them to talk to you outside of giving you their shards. Sometimes you get a conversation, sometimes acknowledgment, sometimes you are simply ignored. It disheartens you, but you go on. Then, you see them again, walking up to you and sitting down beside you, and you know by the tone of their voice what is coming, yet no matter how you brace for it, you are still impaled by the force and pain of this new shard they give you, as you grapple to hold it with all the others, all digging into your flesh and being, bringing tears to your eyes as you sob, and finally break. But, they are free from their pain, and that makes it worth it. Whenever you feel close to defeat, the tears and blood from constantly holding the shards for so long weighing on you, there are shards that glow brightly in with the others, shards that are comfortingly warm and dull, not cutting into you but soothing you, they are the ones that know your pain, and are thankful for you, as small as it can be sometimes

“You’re a great friend, you know that?”

“We really don’t appreciate you enough, do we?”

“Thank you”

These are the shards that glow amongst their dark companions, the ones that soothe the soul and keep you going. They are the ones that dull the pain, and they are the ones that make you persevere. You will always be there for your friends, no matter what happens or how many shards you have to hold, because you hold them with pride, because you know your friends trust you enough to share their shards with you.

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