“It was all this, or nothing at all.”


Zane said these first words to me in something like a cryptic language only he and I could understand. It was my first time meeting him, but he spoke as if he had known me his entire life. His words flowed through the air and landed beside me with the strangest sense of remarkable familiarity. I looked at him and felt like I should have already known everything he had to say. His unspoken words took on the form of a song from another lifetime and seeped right through my body. They danced through silent changes above our heads and awakened a distant memory – like something stolen from a younger and way more powerful me in the imperfect and painful world I traveled from in order to meet him here. I felt like I was looking at the person I should have been. The person I really wanted to be, but lacked the courage to become.

Seven oceans flowed through his veins. His skin and hair made it oh-so very clear. On his head strands of that deep and curly brown mane exalted themselves up to the clouds in a beautiful symphony of wavy disarray. His skin was the richest amalgamation of honey and husk hues I had ever seen. These same hues rested right around us in the sea of wheat where we stood. The field was ripe with harvest and up above the sun was warm and abundant with life, but still cool and blissful with respect. Not overbearing at all. The rays met the ground a thousand times over and Zane’s energy matched this feeling in the most arrestingly calm and complimenting way. His essence was confidence, and self-assurance radiated its way out from his core in every possible direction. The field of humanity between us was so palpable I could feel it rise and fall on my chest in a steady rhythm again and again.

All over his body he wore the most powerful shade of black I had ever seen. His leather jacket was the absolute coolest leather jacket a little boy could have. I wondered where he got it.

I wondered where he got his power.

Words continued through the air.

“It was all this, or death.”

“This was the only way to live. All of me, unabashed, or no life at all.”

He didn’t look old enough to drive, but a car stood further behind him. Black and powerful just like his aura, so I knew it belonged to him. And just like how I made sense of his unspoken words, I gained sight of what took place before I had arrived. Behind my eyes were flashes of this boy tied up in the back seat of that same car speeding along to some unknown destination. Most likely to a place where no good resided. 

But somehow he escaped and made it to the field in time to reach out to me.

The circumstances of Zane’s liberation were unclear in that moment, but the next morning I woke up with the most immense sense of knowing I had ever experienced. The specifics of his story weren’t as important as the message it carried. I appreciated the solitude of the wilderness, but Zane came to make sure I made it out and didn’t stay there forever.

He is the reason I am alive. 

He is the reason I’m sharing Purgatory.

He is the reason I’m hopeful for the chance to continue sharing even more.