The moon’s radiant light illuminates the calm waves. Each gentle lapse of the water glistens like a priceless gem being twirled by a dealer. If these were actual gems, I would be rich – destined to lead a bountiful life; alas, they are just cruel reminders of a life that is slowly escaping me.
It is no longer as cold as it had been before. The initial plunge was frigid and pushed the air from my lungs. My muscles had seized, and any attempts to move them were for naught. My arms and legs were rigid boards that denied me efficient motion; I merely splashed about until the water quickly enveloped my body. As I slowly descended, I began to relax my useless movements. I calmed myself.
I was astonished by the fact that I had recovered so well after those initial seconds. Many people cannot stand the water in late autumn. Yet here I am –seemingly-stranded – treading water for hours. Surviving. It isn’t all that hard, actually. It is more of a mind-over-matter occurrence.
I allowed myself to drift into the past. I remembered the crash that had started it all. I had been thrown into the abyss. It was needless and could have been prevented numerous ways, but it remains set in stone no matter my efforts to change it. They were all gone. My friends, each one of them, lie in the bottom of a lake some place – awaiting my arrival. Their beckoning is sweet and sincere, their lifestyle laid back. I cannot join them, however. My pride would not allow it.
So I drift back into the present. It would be simple to just let the waves take me into the mysterious depths that they worship. How long would I float before I began to sink? I gently move my arms along my side like a bird in flight. I am on my back now, and I gaze up into the starry sky. Each light glows proudly; they remind each other of their rightful place in the sky. Some joined together to form constellations – others prominently stood their ground alone. I remember a time when I felt such unity. It felt so distant now. How long would it take once I let it consume me?
They were always my anchor. In retrospect, I should have learned to become more self-sufficient. Yet they were forever there, and they never shed a negative thought toward me. Helpful, reliable, and comforting: I would use these words to describe them. I could always rely on them to make a joke or pass some wisdom when I was feeling down. No matter my condition, they had the perfect remedy. But where were they now?
The cold has left my body, and I begin to feel warmth emanate from within. My muscles begin to weaken, however; I know that I cannot continue this way for an eternity. My friends will likely be upset if I end up joining them prematurely. Sure, they will be joyed at being with me once more, but they each will know the cost. Twenty years, thirty, forty, or maybe more. Plus, I have my brother and sister to look out for. My relationship with my family is trying at the best of times, but they are my kin, and I love them. How long would my family suffer?
I hear my friends’ echoes of motivation. They tell me to move on with life – fulfill my potential. They wish for me to live the life that they no longer have. I ponder whether this is what they truly want, but they are certain. I draw on their strength and feel a surge on energy shoot through my system. I feel truly alive, empowered. I have stood idly in life for too long – it is my turn to glow. I stand up.
The water is up to my torso. The cold air bites at the newly exposed skin. It is painful, and I begin to feel sick to my stomach. I wade out of the water, feeling pain with every inch of new skin that is revealed. I want to cry out. The agony is overwhelming, but I learn to find pleasure in it. After an endless duration, I feel dry rocks against my feet and spin about to gaze upon the water. I open my eyes to simply see darkness; the moon has resigned for the night, and the stars have gone their separate ways. Their light remains inside of me though, and I turn to leave as the sky begins to brighten to a soft glow. It is my turn now: my turn to live.