Some people want it. Some people need it. Most people think they have it, but like grains of sand it always trickles out from their grasp.
One day it’s there, another day it’s not. It compels death yet it persuades life. It pulls you away yet it inches you closer. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.
And so, I found myself upon a crisp, white bed with the pungent smell of disinfectant shrouding me in its acrid fumes. My family was there. My friends too. Surrounding me, joking with me, telling me stories, hugging me. It would have been perfect. It would have been surreal considering the bleakness of the path that stretched before me into the dark mist. The only problem was, I couldn’t laugh with them. I couldn’t accept their embrace or return it. I couldn’t even open my eyes let alone speak. Such was the pain of the darkness that engulfed me. Such was the pain of the unconsciousness that conquered my every nerve and my every cell. Such was the pain of this coma.
Night once more blanketed the realm in its velvety blackness. I lay awake, staring at the darkness of my closed eyelids and felt the weight of it all press down upon me once more. I wanted to cry yet not a single tear managed to run down my pallid countenance. The monotony of being an observer yet not a participator, the agony of hearing everyone around me cry yet to be unable to give them any form of ease and the incident replaying over and over as though my brain existed only as a broken tape recorder; it was all too much for me. I wanted it to end. I wanted the torture to stop. A ringing began in my ears and once more, I found myself thrown back into the dark abyss that had become my one and only memory.
“Aspen! Wait for me!” my mother cries out. She rests her hands upon her knees and takes a gulp of air as she tries to regain her breath. Her face is flushed and she beams at me when I stop and peek back, “Honey, don’t run off like that. We’re on the road; remember what I said about road safety? And I couldn’t see you for a couple of minutes, I got so worried! Stay where I can see you my child!”
I can understand it now. She was hiding all of her anxiety behind the mask of a smile but did I understand it then? No. To me it was all just a game.
I smirk back at her and reply, “Well then you better catch up,” and I hurry off again, giggling.
My foolishness at the time disgusts me today. She warned me as well. If only I had known, maybe I wouldn’t have been so imprudent and reckless; but the truth remains that the incident is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it now.
I keep sprinting. The spears of wind blow into my face, tossing my hair into a haze of black and brown. The trees sway back and forth, the sound of everything except my breathing disintegrates. I close my eyes and laugh.
It was a moment of madness but it was the one moment that cost me everything.
I take another look back but instead of seeing my mom chuckling as I expected her to be, I see her visage painted with horror. I turn back around to face forward and before I can even make a full turn: agony.
The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital bed and I have been for 2 years now. My mom sometimes comes to my room and tells me what had happened on that day. How I had run out onto the road and been hit by a car and barely made it alive and how the doctor had said that I only had a few days left but I had proved them wrong…however, she never finishes the story. She always ends up crying towards the very end.
It’s such a strange thing isn’t it? The way it can leave you at your most vulnerable moment. The way it defines what happens and what does not. It’s the only thing I don’t have enough of. The only thing I’m running out of.
By Saanya Verma