Meghan O’Hern

[FICTION] Cosmic Promises

“You just have to trust me,” he whispers as we find ourselves consumed by the vastness of the universe. “One day you are going to be okay.” The empty promises spill from his lips, as they have so many nights before – but somehow, this is different.  Stars stretch themselves out in front of us as we talk. He points out constellations filling the comfortable silence.


“You don’t understand,” I yell at him
“Yes, I do,” he whispers. “I really truly do.”
“I’m so scared,” I mumble, ashamed of the way anxiety has taken hold of me.



“I know. You are safe. We are so safe here. I promise,” he tells me.


As the panic loosens its grip on my throat, and I slip back into my skin again. He talks to fill the silence, telling me stories of the nights his own struggle felt too heavy to carry alone.


Light begins to break on the next day when we finally rise from the place where the night was spent sharing stories of the dark times we have seen. We walk from the safety of the statues to my apartment.


“You truly are okay; try to get some sleep.”


“Thank you.”


He wraps me tightly in his arms,


“Peace, for now, friend.” Whispered before we part ways.


Days pass before we speak again; when we do, it’s his name that scrolls across my phone, checking in to see how I am feeling. He asks if panic has swallowed me, the way it did the night we spent at the statues.


I lie, pretend panic has not returned, wrapped itself around my bones and refused to let go.


“Okay, I know that’s bullshit. It’s okay to not be okay.”


“I’m having a hard time,” admitted through the shame.


“I know, one day you will find peace.”


“I hope you are right,” I say. “I need you to be right this time.”



Meghan O’Hern is a senior at Bradley University, studying English and Creative Writing. She is eternally thankful to Writehouse Ink for being a safe haven, and to the friend who inspired this story.

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