When I first realised my confinement, I clawed at the unknown walls of my prison in mounting desperation, until the fight in me slowly died, surging in defiance with decreasing regularity and sinking to an inevitable, cowardly defeat.
I no longer feel cold though, which is, I suppose, a blessing. The voracious hunger has also left me too. When I think of it, how consuming once seemed to consume me in return, it feels so strange. Almost alien. When I turn my attention to my stomach, I’m gripped by the irrational fear that it is no longer there. I’m frightened, but I don’t know what to do.
It’s the same when I try to laugh or speak – that sense that while the spirit is still willing, I am still here; the flesh is not just weak, but – gone. I am held, alone in the dark and powerless except for my thoughts. I have the sense that I am quite undone.
And then even my thoughts begin to leave me. I see them drifting off into the dark after my body. It happens slowly, like they’re slipping through an hourglass, although in truth it may just be a heartbeat, because time has now stopped, for me at least. I know this must be the end, my end, and I would cry angry, defiant, wailing tears if I could, but I am no longer really here and so I am forced to let go and allow the darkness to take me.
I didn’t expect to wake. The darkness was so total, so blissful I have to admit that the light was a shock at first, almost an irritation. I blink and the reality of having eyes again to allow it jolts me into full wakefulness. One thought now compels me – I need to get out!
I can see the light through the walls of my prison, and they are so much more insubstantial than I had conjured in the darkness of my mind. I kick at them with my legs, biting and tearing until one glorious ray of light hits me, it’s just a pinprick, but my heart surges with love and so I redouble my efforts, pulling and tearing at it until there’s a hole big enough to push my head through.
The sun hits my face and I pause. I’ve no idea of how long I’ve been working, but I am exhausted. My body shakes with the effort of it. My body! I have a body again, but not as I remember. My memories of the darkness are fuzzy now and fading fast and the pull of the sun and the feel of the warm breeze on my face urge me on. Beneath the exhaustion, I realise there is also pain. It’s everywhere, biting like fire ants, but I push through it, focussing on the incredible scene unfolding before my eyes and letting it draw me on.
With what feels like the last ounce of my strength, I pull myself free of my prison. The relief is so palpable I feel it in every cell of my body. I want to shout with the sheer joy of it and so I do – but I do something else too, which is so surprising I almost fall off my leaf; I open my wings.
Image by Ilja Tulit via Unsplash