My mind is beginning to go. The thoughts I had are fleeting. I catch glimpses of them, like a doppelganger, in the corner of my mind, but they’re gone before we lock eyes.
The universe grows smaller. The beauty of the mathematical equations that defined my living space replaced by darkness and a vague memory of something greater. My once infinite understanding of everything closes in, suffocating me. I can still hear my mother and father telling me everything will be okay. “Just breathe,” they say.
Lies. It won’t help.
The meaning of life, which had taken me months to discover, is no longer as clear as it once was. I suppose everyone ponders it, but does anyone find it as quickly as I did? Or was I the slow one? In a matter of days, it dissolved before me. Punishing me for not concentrating hard enough. Not burning it into my brain. It dangles before me, out of reach.
Everyone reaches this point. Everyone. I’m not ready. No one is, I suppose. We go at it alone, even when we go with another. I do not want to go toward the light.
But, perhaps it is for the best. Maybe it’s time. I feel my body beginning to go.
I can’t move my arms or legs. I float, slowly, then faster. Stuck in the current. Plunging head first into the light.
The walls of life close in around me. PUSH! They yell. PUSH! I try.
BREATHE! I can’t.
My lungs do not expand or contrast. My chest convulses; a pain I’ve never encountered. Air rushes into my torso for the first time. What comes back out is a horrifying sound, the likes of which I’ve never heard. And it comes from me?
I can’t move. Stuck on the outside of my former world, they cloth me. Shiny metal severs my feeding tube. I feel my mind begin to go. I feel her heartbeat but cannot hear it. Her voice so different now.
Onlookers. Others. Glimpses. Before I look, they’re gone.
Everything I knew is gone.
James Sabata received an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of South Dakota. He has written several short stories and screenplays and is currently working on his first full-length novel. A father of three, James currently resides in Phoenix, AZ. You can visit his website at www.jamessabata.com.
Image by Tuncay