Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Island

The anger, frustration, and sadness of her life mixed in with the ink as she began scrawling the words that would tell the story of her life:

"It began on the Big Island. I was merely a child; not old enough for preschool, yet too old to be called an infant. Barely a toddler. My parents walked into the cave much like they had stepped into parenthood. Blindly and with little thought of their actions. They toured, keeping me in an unsteady tow behind them. The tour guide spoke about stalagmites and stalactites. Or I assume he did. What else would one speak about on a cave tour? I wandered, the oils from my fingers killing the rocks that I touched. I wasn't concerned. They should have been.

We went on like this from crowded space to crowded space until I fell. I wanted to cry out, but the fall was long and the air seemed to float from my body to the top of the whole. I was colder and damper than I had been only moments ago. And now, I was without my parents. It was this realization, that at my young and tender age I had already lost the adults most people call parents. Not physically, but emotionally and mentally, that finally forced sound from my body. I screamed and cried, the grief over taking me.

I heard startled voices and shuffling feet. I cried harder. Please, I begged, someone save me from my own future. Please! Something large and dark fell down next to me. It scooped me up and brought me close. I could smell its rancid breath, feel it's hands wrap around the circumference of my body more than once. It pushed me higher and higher into the air as I continued to scream about my misfortunes. Having reached a plateau, I opened my eyes and looked to see if it was monster or creature that had lifted me so high.

A light shone down, casting the shadow of my body down and I saw him. My father stood below me, my slight body at the top of his reach as he tried unsuccessfully to hand me up. It was the two of us stuck in the hole. It would be the two of us repeating this pattern for the next 35 years of my life. The two of us stuck together in dark times, damp times, cool times. Always together. Him pushing me away from him and me struggling to move even further away.

He tried climbing the walls, but we only tumbled down again. We were not meant to climb out together. A few more failed attempts and he threw me. I flew away from him, excited by the freedom. Once, twice, thrice and some other strong, reassuring hands caught me. I was free. He continued to struggle, clawing and grabbing at the sheer sides of a hole he had gotten himself into. I watched without pity, but with hope and prayer.

Finally, he pulled himself out. He was more bruised than I. His clothes were filthier. He had been beaten. My mother ran to the both of us. She held me close for a moment before going back to him. I was fine and he was broken. This too would follow me throughout my life.

It was a lesson I was far too young to understand. A telling of what my life would be like for a number of years to come. A lesson I couldn't grasp then or when I fell out of the car and rolled down a gravel, but gentle slope of a volcano or stepped into a sinkhole in the ocean or twisted, twined, and chewed the uncovered ends of electric cords. Opportunities to escape and a stubbornness that made me fight through them. A stubbornness that also shaped who I was and who I am now."

She set the pen down, wanting to write more but knowing that sleep was approaching.

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

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