I can’t breathe. It feels like I’m being held under water but the sensation against my skin is that of air. I gulp, thinking water will enter my lungs but I receive nothing. Not air, not water, but free space. I am drowning outside of water. I open my eyes and see nothing but white. In this moment I know I am going to die.
Suddenly, I begin to do something that I have not done in a very, very long time. I start praying. I am pleading, begging to believe in something. Is it God? Is it fate? I do not know. I start thinking about all of the beliefs of my friends and wishing I had thought about this sooner. I am beginning to understand what an eternity of “nothing” can feel like and I do not want it. This cannot be my fate.
“Please,” I gasp but there is no sound in this plain. I feel my heart beating against my chest, at a pace I never thought it would go, it too is begging for ANYTHING… just a little bit of oxygen. Just when I think I am going to explode into a million pieces dots begin to form in my vision. I am going to pass out and then I will die. However, those dots begin to make forms. First, I see grass forming and then trees growing. This is followed by the beginning of a lovely stream and then I start to materialize as if I had never been there in the first place. Then, I take a breath and it is the sweetest thing I have ever tasted in my entire life. I fall to my hands and knees, feeling the grass beneath my hands creates an air of appreciation within me.
“Never again,” I say. The sound of my voice frightens me for a moment because it is raspy and clearly out-of-practice.
“I won’t ever betray you again,” and then a cold, harsh laugh sounds somewhere to my left. I begin to turn my head to see the figure looming over me when he says “yes you will, which is why we must do this again.”
And then I woke up.
I am in New York City. I am standing beside M&M World’s in Times Square. It is late at night and the streets are barren. I am confused. This is the city that never sleeps and I appear to be the only person awake! For a moment I close my eyes and simply listen to my surroundings. I hear a can rolling across the street not too far from me. I know that I must go there, so I open my eyes and follow my ears to get to my destination. As I approach this coca cola can I am acutely aware that I am no longer alone. A creepy-crawly sensation drives through my spine as I prolong my walk for a long moment. I turn my head slowly in all directions, allowing my senses to scan the area. It is in this distinct second that I realize what my super power is. I can control time. Thus, this person that is pressing on my “warning button” should not be here. I am in control here and there is no room for another.
I close my eyes, yet again and listen for any sign of movement. When nothing returns signals to my brain I decide on another tactic.
“Who are you?” I whisper, probing the area. Suddenly the can stops its roll. If a pen were to drop in the center of Times Square the sound would echo.
“I am life and I am here to tell you that you cannot control something you do not quite understand.”
And then I woke up.
I am on a train and I have no idea where I am going. I told the attendant to give me a ticket to somewhere and not tell me where it is. So, here I am. I have a backpack with a lighter, bread, water, wallet, two books, a journal, and a pen. This is a journey. I keep telling myself that there is no need to fear the future. The future is a kind and gentle beast that allows you to continue living.
I am sitting down in a cart by myself but as I said before I am on a journey. Being that I am on a journey I realize that I am in some serious need to know myself. Thus, in a brave attempt to go outside of the box I get up from my cart and go into another.
“May I sit here?” I ask the older gentlemen. He is reading a book and without looking up he says “yup!” I nod and take a seat by the window. I sit for a moment in uncomfortable silence and stare out the window at the passing terrain. I am trying to convince myself that I do not have to talk to this man and that I can start reading if I need to.
“Come here often?” He asks and I look at him. He has a twinkle in his eye and a genuine smile across his face. I recognize him but I cannot place him.
“Do I know you?” I question. Suddenly, I realize that he is my best friend, Grant. I stare down at my hands to see if I am just as old as he and realize that I am not. “How are you- How did you-“
He stops me and says “Life works in many ways, Ashly. You have so much more to do. I cannot hold you back any longer.”
And then I woke up.