The flame I display today is numb. You will only find it if you lower your head deep into the hole beneath me. It's there, I know it. It is soft, a murky flicker and barely grasping to the wick. Colors are dim, bland, unimpressive. My body, cold, heavy and slowly crumbling.
The forest that surrounds me is damp, cold and empty. I know I can thrust up. If I could move, I could plunge to the other side. But, I don't want to. I don't care. Here, this moment is a pattern of thick air and low visibility. I find myself grasping pieces of wood that look sturdy enough. I find loose branches, twigs and sturdy strings of bark to hold the pieces together. I will build a door so that it will open to something else.
Each piece of wood is a different. The density and strength of the fibers are unlike the other. Some pieces fresh and strong, others are crumbling and charred. Nothing fits together perfectly. They are shaped oddly and I struggle to bind them together.
I'm running out of resources. I'm running low on fuel. My knees are sore, my mind lost, and my heart hurting.
"Dearest friend...", a distant voice brushed past the nape of my neck.
"Why are you building a door when you already have one?"
I was confused, disoriented. All this effort, all this life. The pile of wood I had been stashing aside was dark, rotted, no longer a mountain of hope.
My chest instantly became sore, bound and tight. There was a cold mass in the base of my throat. A shear glaze of panic started to set in. I couldn't breathe. The pain was intensifying, from the base of my lungs to the top of my heart. My chest enslaved by tight ropes squeezing me smaller from the inside out. My skin was collapsing. From a sudden urge to avoid choking, from the base of my spine came a deep involuntary inhale.
Fallen by the power of my own demise, mud on my forearms, dirt shadowing my face...the release from my chest was so magnificent I gazed down to see if it had imploded. Still overcome by liberation, it was a delirious discovery to notice my sternum had breached into a raw opening. A dark door swayed sluggish and heavy on the hinges of my ribs. The resonant vibration of my mended breath pushed the door...in and out...in and out. I was open, unfastened. Rescued.
A light flutter returned to my skin, my heart beat to the rhythm of the door, of my breath. The sensation in my lungs was an expansive freedom. Open, wide, glowing with life. The forest around me had brightened. The trees, taller and stronger. There was a glow coming from the sky, bleeding through the thick pine needles above. It was just enough to shed familiarity on a narrow passage through the trees.
I could feel the wet leaves under my feet, the bristling of dirt around my toes. A soft essence of warmth perched on my skin. I could breathe. And I had a door.
Hello, I'm Julie.
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